Tough ECL draw for Arsenal to reinforce need for signings

Yesterday was a busy day for Arsenal in terms of news as this season’s Champion’s league opponents were selected and a new signing was announced by the club. The Champion’s league draw pitted Arsenal against Marseilles, Borussia Dortmund and Napoli in what could be deemed a very tough group. In theory partaking in the Champion’s League does not produce easy games however there were a few teams in the draw that would be more favourable to ensure qualification from the group stages.

champs lge

It is what it is, if you want to be the best you have to beat the best, the teams Arsenal are facing are not exactly super powers of Europe with the exception of the threat of Dortmund having finished runners up last year the other two teams despite being daunting opponents are most certainly beatable.

Sometimes focus can be on opponents so much that we can forget what a challenge it can seem to the other teams of facing the Arsenal. Maybe our potential to win the competition is not as great as some of the other teams in the competition but Arsenal are hardly at the other end of the talent scale. Seriously with the right signings before the transfer window shuts on Monday the club can increase and have every chance to put in a strong challenge this season. Talent is a defining factor along with a slice of luck and fortune at times and most importantly a collective team spirit is what can carry a team that extra yard to success.

Despite the obvious lack of strengthening of the squad so far this season one thing we cannot deny is the current personnel representing the club on the pitch do work hard for each other. The bonding and camaraderie between the players is evident for all to see and is a strong starting block to build upon. If there are disruptive players in the squad I don’t know who they are, I’m not naive enough to believe every Arsenal player loves each other as they live under a hedonistic love bubble but you can see from the body language before, during and after the games there is a mutual respect and belief amongst them.

In other news a signing was announced by the club, not quite the signing to release some of the built up tension amongst Arsenal fans as Matthieu Flamini was revealed as the 2nd signing of the summer. One of the worst kept secrets as the fans anticipated when he would be announced rather than if.

flamini

A sensible signing in my eyes as Flamini’s experience will be invaluable to the Arsenal squad, whether he will directly be challenging for 1st team action remains to be seen but he will be available to be called on if and when required. The Frenchman isn’t the marquee signing we have been calling for all some summer however there is still time in the transfer window, Champion’s League qualification was confirmed only a matter of days ago and potential transfers that were conditional of qualification may be at advanced stages.

I admit I have found the transfer window frustrating, the number of names linked only for other clubs securing their signatures instead. Our rivals across North London are making signings like there’s no tomorrow certainly doesn’t help, though their acquisitions do not guarantee an adequate replacement for Gareth Bale. Time will tell how their expensive duds will work out but if history has anything to go by (Bentley £15m anyone?) they are in for an interesting ride.

From an Arsenal fan perspective all I can say is judge Wenger when that window closes, we have had the wool pulled over our eyes in the past but this time it’s different. The squad needs reinforcements and there is no way no further signings will go down well. It will surely produce a negative feeling from the stands which will filter through to the players. The injuries to Oxlade Chamberlain and Lukasz Podolski merely add to the need to sign players and are likely to accelerate negotiations for a player to fill their void. I wont use the word patience but I will just say wait until the transfer window closes.

Enjoy your day people.

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Will lack of signings dent performance against Villa?

The football season is back at last, Aston Villa are the first opponents of the season at the Emirates as there is finally real football back to take our minds of other distractions. The frustration at the lack of transfer activity has reached boiling point as Arsenal kick off their campaign with only young French hopeful Yaya Sanogo the only acquisition. Such is the irony of his signing the youngster with a well known injury record is injured and cannot play a part in today’s game.

The injuries are racking up as Mikel Arteta has joined the crocked list with Thomas Vermaelen, Nacho Monreal and possibly Carzorla could join them also. Moral is low amongst the fans and the injuries merely add to the bad vibes. It shouldnt be like that on the first day of the season, it should be one of great optimism, looking ahead to possible silverware and excitement of what new signings can add to the team.

Arsene Wenger is a manager who has pioneered the importance of the psychological aspects of the game, whether it’s from the players on the pitch or the fans in the stands and confidence adds that extra percentage that can be the difference between a win a draw and a defeat.

By delaying the signing of players to strengthen the team especially when quality players have become available at reasonable prices only to sign on elsewhere it has added to the pressure the Arsenal players will face in the game today. A stray pass and the groans start, a missed chance and the groans get louder. These things can get worse over time and is certainly not ideal to start the season.

giroud2i

Think back to last seasons opener when Olivier Giroud missed that golden chance against Sunderland to possibly win the game, he didn’t score, the fans gasped but cheered him on, they got behind him and willed him on. Imagine a similar scenario tomorrow with the  game poised at 0-0. If Giroud misses a similar chance you will see a completely different reaction, the personal built up frustration will be directed at the player and he will notice it. He’s a big strong lad and should be able to deal with any abuse but deep down abuse and criticism can affect the best of players.

When you try to look at Arsene’s reasons for not signing players so far I suppose apart from the obvious of poor negotiation skills and scouting there could also be some truth behind the theory that he could be putting a lot of faith in the youth.

Of course Arsenal and blooding youth is nothing new but in the past few years the focus on youth has reduced heavily as the need for experience to coincide with younger players has been recognized. we have been less dependable on youth than in the past as past projects have proved less fruitful, has there been an about turn? Gedion Zelalem will certainly play some part this coming season, Serge Gnabry and Chuba Akpoom have been talked up by the manager not to mention the possible opportunity for Ryo Miayachi to finally prove his apprenticeship is over.

These young players do excite me don’t get me wrong but i think their time should come in the Capital One Cup and possibly some FA Cup action. The premier league and champions league assault will require more experienced personnel to make the difference when it matters.

This is just me speculating and you never know what could happen between now and the closing of the transfer window, I am sure we are all in agreement that the last minute buying is not healthy going into the season. whether players are 99% signed on the condition that we confirm qualification into the Champions League proper I don’t know but i am a little bit hoping this is the case and a glut of surprise marquee signings will storm through the Emirates doors once Fernebache are beaten.

For now its time to focus on Aston Villa and the threat of Benteke, it wont be as easy as we think. the boys (who are fit) will need to be on it from the start and win convincingly to bring back some good feeling. I’m looking forward to going to the Emirates today and will get 100% behind the boys.

per skipper

Congrats to Per Mertesacker who has been nominated as Arsenal Captain in the absence of Arteta and Vermaelen. A role that shouldn’t phase the experienced BFG. Clean sheet today please.

Come on Arsenal!

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One week to go, will Arsenal sign players?

Charity shield, Community shield or whatever it is called is complete meaning there is one week to go before the Premiership season starts. A fairly successful run of pre-season games for Arsenal despite not doing the business in front of their home fans the players can look back on their performances as steady and productive. Fitness and confidence was gained and the only dampener so far has been the lack of any signings to keep the first team players on their toes and heighten the chances for silverware.

With all due respect to Yaya Sanogo his signing is one of promise and potential rather than one to give Olivier Giroud sleepless nights. The young Frenchman has every chance to stake a claim this season but at present there have been no Marquee names walking through the Emirates stadium doors to give the squad and the fans that little lift going into the opening game.

There’s still time for players to be signed before the season starts but there is no time to bed any new players in with a pre-season game to get to know their new team mates. It’s a case of hitting the ground running and maybe Wenger has bided his time because the players he eventually brings in are of quality enough to improve the team without the need to acclimatize or require a run of games.

I’m not sure if any other player has been talked about moving to Arsenal so much as Higuain has this summer only for the player to move on elsewhere. The irony of him making his debut against Arsenal for his new club was the icing on the cake. Whether the change in pursuing the player was down to Real Madrid hiking the price or whether Luis Suarez was deemed a far better option only the Manager and his backroom team will know but as it stands the Suarez situation looks just as doomed given Liverpool FC’s stance on the matter.

The latest name linked is Luiz Gustavo, it has been alleged that the club are in talks with the player over a £14m move to the Emirates. Great news if true however Arsenal’s summer of the boy who cried wolf is sure to have the fans half lift an eyebrow to such news.

gustavo bm

With Gervinho gone and now Chamakh’s move to Crystal Palace 99% confirmed it really seems weird to see so many outgoing this summer and no replacements signed as yet. Gustavo could be the defensive midfield cover we have been screaming out for to at least replace the void left by Alex Song however we are still very light at the back and require an attacking alternative to Olivier Giroud.

Arsene Wenger does seem to have a vision of a squad that multi-task and fits into other positions when needed, an admirable attribute for a player to have but if a player is covering for another players position then we lose that players contribution in their strongest position. I’m a strong believer in players playing in their strongest position, covering every once in a blue moon but not relying on it constantly throughout a season. There should always be quality cover for every position much like we have at the full back positions each of the four Sagna, Jenkinson, Gibbs and Monreal are as good as 1st choice full-backs in their own right. We need similar strength throughout the squad.

One week until season kicks off and another few weeks before the transfer window closes, the timing isn’t ideal but Arsene still has time to turn things around and make his summer business a success.

Enjoy your day people.

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