Trouble in Boys’ Town

Yesterday, it was reported that Cesc Fabregas will miss 4 months with “a knee.” To my mind, Cesc is Arsenal’s first, second and third best player.

Sitting fifth in the table after a disappointing start, will Arsenal finally splash cash on big signings in January? And who stands to benefit from the Gunners’ troubles?

On top of Arsenal’s other struggles, the loss of Fabregas will make the second half of the season that much more difficult. One would expect Arsene Wenger to spend big in the January Transfer window to bring in some experienced depth to protect their VERY lucrative CL spot. However, Wenger’s “Boys Town” strategy defines him. He might well rather finish 5th or 6th his way than claw his way to fourth having brought in grown ups.

Looking at the table, Arsenal are fifth on 31 points. Forget United in fourth; that’s an illusion given their two games in hand. So Villa are three points above the Gunners in true fourth. Below “Boys Town” are Hull, Everton and Fulham. Nothing really scary there, you say? However, consider that Hull grabbed 27 points in their first 18 games. Hull! Who’s to say that an Everton or a Portsmouth can’t make a run? And how many points will Arsenal get in the second half?

Looking further down, it seems that even lowly Tottenham picked the right year to get off to a slow start. Their 19 points after 18 games is pathetic. But that’s only 12 points behind Arsenal and are bound to do much better in the spring. I doubt they’ll catch the Gunners, but that poses the question…

Who is best situated to take advantage of Cesc’s injury on top of Arsenal’s other troubles? Villa is the obvious answer, but who else do you like?