Monday Reflections On The Arsenal

Well, we’ve had a day or so to digest the game from Saturday night, the three points are on the board and the mood has slightly changed compared to last week. No repeat of Stoke Station-esque outbursts required leaving Gunners fans to enjoy their weekly dose of Match Of The Day.

It’s Monday so it gives me a chance to give my reflections of the game, not a match report as I’m sure many have been viewed since Saturday evening but a reflection of key points from the game.

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Giroud’s valued return

How important is Giroud’s contribution to the team right now? He has returned from long term injury with a hunger to make up for lost time. Although scoring hasn’t been a major flaw in Arsenal’s team so far this season the fact that someone other than Sanchez has their scoring boots on is a big plus. Giroud brings attributes that none of the current strikers bring to the squad. What’s that? Sanogo you say? I actually think they are different types of players and until Sanogo adds goals to his CV then I can’t make a true comparison. During the Frenchman’s absence it was probably debated to death how his less pacy attributes would actually work with the quick fire zip provided by Sanchez, Welbeck and Walcott (when he returns from limbo). Well its working fine enough for now and long may it continue.

Welbeck’s goals

With the welcome return of Giroud and his goals the gloss has been taken off Welbeck’s impact to the team. There’s no denying that Welbeck is a hard working forward and his contribution to the team so far has been satisfactory in his efforts however as a forward it’s always the goals record people value the most. We have come off the back of a run of games against lesser opposition where you would expect your main striker to really bag a few goals, like I said he has offered assists and played his part In some of those games but I still see he has the potential to be more of a regular finisher than a provider. The less prolific return has resulted in Welbeck surrendering the central striking position to Giroud and playing slightly wider, a position he admitted he was less fond of at Man United. In his favour Arsene does like to enforce interchangeable positioning by his forwards and so that door isn’t completely shut. It’s also worth mentioning that Welbeck was stripped of a perfectly legitimate goal on Saturday and so I do sympathise that he was unable to add to his tally however there were other chances in the game he could have taken also. I’ll get off his back as my frustration is only aimed at what he is capable of not coming to fruition just yet

Santi hex finally banished

It’s nice to see the Santi hex is finally over, a short while ago Santi and Ramsey couldn’t hit the back of the net despite all their efforts. Slowly but surely the signs were there that the luck was changing, Santi produced an amazing run and cross to set up Welbeck for a goal at West Brom the other week and that seemed to be the spark needed to ignite Santi’s form back to life. On Saturday both of Cazorla’s goals would not be in the back of the net a month ago but the hex is finally broken and now the mojo is back. I look forward to seeing a lot more contribution from the Spaniard from now on, it’s just a shame that Ramsey picked up an injury as he also seemed to break that hex at the same time.

Defence held firm

debuchy newc

It was nice to see the team came through the game fairly unscathed taking into account the patched up back line that started. Yes a goal was conceded but the back line dealt with what was thrown at them. Debuchy is a welcome return and his performance was probably aided that little but more given the fact he was facing his old club which sparked some extra motivation. A much tougher task is due next week when the team visits Anfield, the scene of one of our worst results last season. Chambers will return however with the news of Koscielny now being unavailable for a few weeks is a concern. Liverpool may have been swept away by United yesterday but if Raheem Sterling had his shooting boots on a draw would not have been an unbelievable outcome, the odds of Sterling forgetting his shooting boots again are pretty short. Arsene will need to make working on the defence this week his absolute priority to ensure a decent result at Anfield is achievable.

Champs league draw

The Champions League draw is today, Arsenal finished runners up so will most likely face Bayern or Barcelona. It’s an annual tradition so I will hardly be shocked if it’s either of those two are drawn as the next opponents. Whoever Arsenal do get I will be excited, you can’t beat the atmosphere in the Emirates when the big guns come to town. The only thing that is an absolute given when it comes to the champions league draw is that Chelsea will get the easiest tie of the round.

Enjoy your day people.
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Good Weekend All Round For The Gunners

So, Arsenal fans we can reflect on a weekend that couldn’t have panned out any better (unless in some alternate universe Man City and Chelsea could both lose). Liverpool losing, Man United losing, Spurs losing and Everton slipping up at home to Palace.

Even with Chelsea and Man City drawing it was amusing in the fact that Frank Lampard was the one who stuck the thorn into Mourinho’s side.

The professional Arsenal haters were sharpening their tools on Saturday ready to drive a nail into their often wished coffin of Mesut Ozil and if that failed they had the failsafe of pointing out how many games Danny Welbeck has gone without scoring for the Gunners. You don’t need me to tell you how that one worked out for them.

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I am not one to utilise this platform to deride other teams’ fortunes (unless it’s Spurs) so I won’t but what I will do is highlight the evident case and point that midweek European football can affect domestic form at the weekends. It seems a much more even playing field this season and some of the results this weekend are testament to that. At the moment Chelsea seem the main beneficiaries when you look at the table since they played Man City at the best possible time; that gruelling trip to Munich certainly made for a less vibrant City.

Everton, everyone’s favourite neutral team who won plaudits left, right and centre last season with their brave sustained challenge for a top four place stumbled with their first test yesterday. Liverpool too, who came within a whisker of winning the title last season struggled against West Ham; in their defence without their SAS strike force they’re not as formidable.

My theory does fall flat after this as the Gunners also endured a gruelling away trip to Germany; they were well and truly beaten that day yet swept Aston Villa away with ease. Until the first goal went in Villa did pose problems but Arsenal carried equal threat as their quality shone through. I suppose the freshness of switching up the team and deploying Ozil in the no.10 role was a tactic which threw Aston Villa’s preparation out the window.

Alexis Sanchez is synonymous with all that is good about the Arsenal attack that any team facing the Gunners would make provisions to neutralise his threat. The fact he didn’t start was the curveball the Villa management didn’t see coming.

The pressure on Mesut Ozil was intensified by a minority few in the press last week but enough to trigger a response from Arsene Wenger in his pre match press conference. If anything Ozil’s pre match motivation talk was already done by that minority of haters, You can ask any of the Aston Villa players how much of a ‘passenger’ Ozil was on Saturday.

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Same applied for Danny Welbeck who smashed in his first goal for the Gunners and was a constant menace in the first half. Young Welbeck enjoyed his days work on Saturday and must surely have cracked open a wry smile yesterday as his former team with all their superstars that deemed him surplus to requirements crumbled under the pressure from Premiership giants Leicester City.

He has a new team now that will support him and give him the chance to prove how good he really can be in his favoured position. There’s no need to look back Danny, onwards and upwards.

Enjoy your day people.
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Football Has Finally Come Back Home To The Emirates

As the kick off to the new season draws ever closer, the feel good factor amongst Arsenal fans is as high as ever in recent times. The staggered return of the players who represented in the World Cup hasn’t halted the momentum during pre-season and the squad heads into the game with Crystal Palace fairly strong and in good shape.

The results during preseason haven’t been perfect however such is the positivity surrounding the club that logic has taken preference over heart with a greater understanding of the need to fine tune and gain match fitness over a result.

A 100% pre season record as impressive as it can be does not equal points on the premiere league table, the real stuff starts this weekend and the best chance for the team to obtain optimum points is by being in the best condition possible and ready for the season ahead.

charity shield

The Charity shield has ensured a psychological boost for the curtain raiser and it is hoped that complacency doesn’t show its ugly head. The result last year against Aston Villa was a real eye opener and a wake up call of the highest order. Admittedly Arsenal football club was in a different place this time last year, confidence was low and major question marks hung over Arsene Wenger as his inactivity in the transfer market fuelled the fans fury.

The arrival of Mesut Ozil soon changed the mood around the club and it is hoped that with the majority of business being done a lot earlier this season the club can hit the ground running and sustain a serious attempt for the premiership title.

Until the transfer window closes on September 1st the door is open for more signings to be made. The need for a replacement for departed skipper Thomas Vermaelen is strong and names such as Benedikt Howedes and Manolas have been mentioned as potential arrivals.

Up front question marks remain as to whether Arsene will bring in a marquee signing to challenge Olivier Giroud or utilise the adaptability of those available to him I.e Sanchez, Campbell, Walcott.

With Tony Pulis gone it’s not quite clear what effect it will have on the Crystal Palace players, being the start of the season brings fresh optimism and enough motivation to attempt a good start to the campaign. For the players to go into the game half-assed and without fight would put serious question marks over their right to be described and referred to as professional footballers.

The excitement of getting the campaign underway is off the chart right now so the last thing needed is an unfavourable result against a manager-less team. Three points are a must as those not directly linked to the club are gradually changing their opinion on the Gunners and mention of a league title is no longer a tongue in cheek comment. People are starting to take notice so come on Arsenal lets live up to the expectation and make it count!

mertesacker

Per Mertesacker announced his retirement from international football yesterday, I suppose you could say its the best time to bow out. Winning the World Cup is a unique and special achievement which is hard to top once you have you crossed it off your bucket list. The BFG certainly played his part in the long term plan for success and has over 100 caps having been a great servant to his country, taking away the burden of international football is now likely to enhance and prolong his Arsenal career. Good call Per.

Feel free to enter the Gambeano Snitch Fantasy Premier League. Always good fun and an Arsenal related prize will go to the winner.

Enjoy your day people.
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Only One Man Knows Method Behind Madness Of Chambers Pursuit.

Many Arsenal fans are waking up to hear the news that broke last night of Arsenal’s supposed deal to sign promising right back Callum Chambers from Southampton. For one the deal materialised out of nowhere, one of the more reputable news sites BBC Football even claim a medical has been completed on Friday.

callum chambers

Now Chamber’s is a player that has long been known to be admired by Arsene Wenger and has been linked over the past couple seasons, the fact that the manager made a move for the player is not one of great surprise. It is when you take into account a number of other factors that leaves you scratching your head slightly.

Bacary Sagna was a great loss to the team when he decided to up sticks and earn money bought medals at Manchester City but the manager appeared to counter the loss with the acquisition of Mathieu Debuchy. An experienced French international right back who was 1st choice for country ahead of Sagna and also Premiership ready due to his time at Newcastle.

Carl Jenkinson who has become a bit of a fan favourite due to his die hard love of Arsenal proved himself at right back during his only real run in the side a couple years back when Sagna was recovering from a broken leg.

That stint in the team proved he could eventually succeed in the right back slot, ever since that run he has been in and out the side only covering when Sagna was injured or less important games came around. That restricted his development slightly as with most players being thrown in here and there can hinder form.

The manager claimed when he signed Debuchy it would be a straight duel for the right back slot which made a lot of sense at the time. On the opposite flank Keiran Gibbs has certainly risen to the challenge of Arsenal’s purchase of Nacho Monreal.

Debuchy and Jenkinson would contest the position whilst promising young right back Hector Bellarin would continue his development with the potential to break into the team this coming season and/or secure a loan to a premiership or Championship level team.

bellerin

Now with the news of Chambers coming in throws a curveball into those plans, he won’t be cheap with a reported price of £16m being mentioned. So with that price you have to assume he will be instantly challenging for a place. Only Arsene knows his true intentions if the deal does get completed.

One possible plan from the manger could be plans to convert one of his players to a centre back. Out of the current personnel only Jenkinson seems to contain attributes to shift to the middle. Bellarin is too slight and still learning his trade at right back (not forgetting he has already made the change from winger to fullback). Many have muted that Chambers is also a player that could play there and is behind Arsene’s pursuit. Debuchy I cannot see making the shift so it’s either a position change for Jenkinson or Chambers in the offing.

The other option is the guillotine coming down on the Arsenal careers of Jenkinson or Bellarin with permanent or loan moves or could Chambers be loaned back to Southampton? Was it a knee jerk reaction to secure a long term target’s services because other teams came sniffing about? So many questions are raised from this news and only one man knows the method behind the madness.

Arsene knows.

Enjoy your day people.
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FA Cup Final Day – Bring It Home Gunners

Cup final day is finally here, the wait is over as the opportunity to lay to rest the trophy-less tag has never been greater. People play down the credibility of the FA cup when compared to earlier years but when your team is in the final try telling the fans involved it has no value and you would be roundly laughed at.

The FA cup holds a special place in the hearts of fans involved, not so much for the losing side at the final whistle but all the same the build up and experience is second to none.

WEMBLEY WAY

Those fans lucky enough to experience the game at Wembley will have tales to tell their grandchildren in years to come. The limited allocation to the centrepiece makes the experience all the more exclusive and the memories cherished.

The players will be up for it, you always hear foreign players recalling their memories of FA cup games watched on TV in their countries when growing up. No other domestic cup competition around the world holds equal prestige and I’m sure any Arsenal player not involved today will be greatly disappointed.

The keeper situation is a dilemma Arsene Wenger will have to consider carefully. Lukasz Fabianski has not let anyone down in the run up to the final whilst first choice Sczcesny will argue his right as first choice keeper.

Personally I would stick with Fabianski, he is hardly a rookie that would weaken the clubs chances if he was selected. He may be leaving at the end of the season but he accepted the role of cup keeper at the start of the season and has earned his place in the starting line up.

I believe the same situation can be argued in the Giroud/Sanogo debate. The young Frenchman had been preferred in the previous few rounds due to certain indiscretions and a period of poor form from Olivier Giroud but with the return of key midfield players from injury Giroud has certainly found his mojo again.

Sanogo put in shifts when called upon but the lack of that first goal for the club sways for the choice of Giroud up front.

It is could be Sagna’s last game for the club, he has been a great servant to the Arsenal and it would be fitting that he signs off with a silverware, something which has eluded him ever since joining.

The rumours of joining Manchester City will taint his legacy but it’s something we can address at a later time, it’s only a rumour for now.

For now it’s all about getting behind the team and cheering them on to victory, for those of you lucky enough to go to Wembley do us proud. I will have to settle for the screening at the Emirates but being surrounded by fellow Gunners fans will make the experience all the more rewarding.

EMIRATES

Get down there if you can, 25000 fans are already expected, it could possibly be one hell of a party.

Enjoy the final people.
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