Arsenal Supporters’ World Cup Hangover.

August 21, 2014

I have been trying to put my finger on it, trying to work out what is going wrong? I have watched two competitive games now and don’t quite understand why we are playing like spluttering diesel vans rather than the slick Ferraris that we all surely expected? Didn’t we?

The club have brought in four quality players, justifiably raising our hopes. We addressed the main problem that most people identified last season; that being, the need for a player with pin point accuracy and superb close control; you know, the one we all thought would bring out the best in Özil? I am obviously talking about Sanchez. We all saw how good he was on telly in the World Cup; in fact, we watched a month’s worth of good players and a month’s worth of high quality football.

MPO World Cup

It was this thought that made me realise where the problem may lie. Having been fed a diet of high quality football for a longer period than we are used to, it has been hard to readjust to the more pedestrian fare of the EPL and the qualification stage of the Champions League.

It obviously follows that things will improve with the return of Özil to the starting line up or at least I certainly expect things to. This should, as I suggested on Monday, herald the start of the new system of a collective front line who all have superb close control and are all capable of super quick passing as a means of finding its way round tall lumbering defences – Palace being the prime example.

Would it have worked against Beşiktaş, even though no one can accuse them of parking the bus? I certainly think so.

The Giroud doubters have been out in force and are letting everyone know who will listen that they are not surprised by his performance in the CL. I slightly disagree with Kelsey who said (and I paraphrase) that he doesn’t think that Giroud has the natural instinct of a number nine. I think he does, he just doesn’t have the speed or close control to carry it off.

Giroud’s performance, I would suggest, is also the reason why Wenger is trying to fast track Sanogo. Arsenal could have got an early goal against Palace which would have forced them to come out, this in turn would have created space for Sanogo in which he would have run amuck and could quite possibly have got a hat full. (think Benfica)

In my opinion, if fit, Sanogo would have been a better choice than Giroud against Beşiktaş. Right now, the younger Frenchman has the same level of close control but his age still gives him the possibility of improving this skill; where as, Giroud is too old in the tooth for such a possibility. This I can imagine is debatable to some but the one thing that cannot be denied is that Sanogo is quicker and that attribute would have been very useful against Beşiktaş.

And on the subject of speed: Theo would have been a better choice as CF than either Giroud or Sanogo, the defenders were lumbering giants and there was ocean’s of space behind them for him to exploit.

This all points to the obvious fact that we have more possibilities up front than we have had in years: Giroud has a place; he was a major factor in our win against Palace. Sanogo will have another Benfica day, Walcott will return as will Özil.

Memories of the World Cup are starting to take a back seat as the EPL and the CL come into sharper focus. I don’t expect Arsenal to be playing Ferrari football this weekend but a trade up from diesel vans would be a step in the right direction.

Written by LB

First leg verdict : Two slightly differing opinions.

August 20, 2014

Shard’s appraisal

The game yesterday. Frustrating, but not too bad I thought. It was an entertaining enough game. They had at least two glorious chances to win it, but I thought we could have won it as well, despite playing like numpties on ice.

Giroud will undoubtedly get a lot of stick today (when does he not?) and he was pants. Utterly terrible. BUT.. That is not his real level. He’s better than that. I would have liked to see Campbell but I think Wenger wanted Giroud to play through his bad form rather than take him off and have him dwell on it. Height may have been another concern, and once Ramsey went, I don’t think he was going to come off. I also think Wenger isn’t entirely sold on Campbell. The way he talks about him. He says all the right words, but I think he’s a little undecided.

Ramsey’s sending off, I saw it exactly like GIE did. Wilshere looked like he was getting better. Not great yet. Not at his best even. But getting better. Wilshere’s hard tackle when Ramsey was kicked in the abdomen was exactly what was needed. Not reckless, but a response to Besiktas’ increased physicality in the second half.

Besiktas were pressing well, but for the most part we played through their press with calmness (as long as Arteta was there) and I couldn’t help but thinking that a fitter, more settled Arsenal side would have torn them apart. But as we know, we are not at our free flowing best. 0-0 is a bit of a dangerous result, but I still expect us to beat them at home. Even without Ramsey.

Hopefully the returning Germans and some increased rotation will help us against Everton, because that will not be an easy game.

Kelsey’s appraisal.

On the whole I am disappointed with the overall performance yet we live to fight another day.

One can’t make excuses about the pitch as it was the same for both sides,and one can only give an opinion on the players who actually played.

0-0 is okish but at the back of my mind next week there is always the possibility of conceding just the one goal.

The Turks showed their intent from the first few seconds with the cheeky shot that nearly caught Sczsceny by surprise
They were really up for it, were as physical as any team such as Stoke and we never really let us get into a rhythm.

To me we looked lethargic and a lot of our play was similar to the Palace game.

Ramsey should have known better but these things happen and as Raddy just said Arteta’s injury could keep him out for a few weeks.

If we had lost 3-1 we couldn’t have really complained so luck was on our side and it was a magnificent save from Chamberlain’s shot.
Giroud showed yet again that he is a work horse but not a game changer.
Chambers again thrown into the deep end only made one real mistake and looked very composed.

Debuchy as well looked the part but generally our small lightweight team never feel comfortable in these sort of games
If the three Germans are back next week that may well make a difference but our defence still looks very vulnerable and now we have the daunting task of Everton Away before we even think of the return leg.

Two games in and and the injuries are already mounting up.


Champions League: Why bother?

August 19, 2014

How important is a positive result tonight? Is it more important than a win at Everton? Is it more important than the 3 points last saturday?

I ask the question because how many of you believe we have any chance of winning the Big Cup? Oh, come on ….. you are just saying that to be contrary! You know that the bookies odds of  20/1 are reasonable and just tempting enough to ensure some people will have a punt and thus line the pockets of already mega-rich bookmakers.

So, given the debilitating effect of the CL on our Premiership aspirations, why do we care whether we advance tonight? Perhaps we should send out the B team and keep the lads fresh for Saturday.

Just kidding 🙂 I love the Champions League even though I doubt we will win it in my lifetime.

And what of tonight? Another visit to Turkey where we did so well last season. I have to admit I was delighted when we drew Besiktas, thinking any team which comes third in the Turkish league must be totally pants, well it seems I had done no research as Besiktas have form. Unbeaten at home in 15 games, beating Feyenoord and signing a man whom we were linked with just a year ago is evidence of quality, however the Turkish season has yet to start and Besiktas lost to Wigan in one of the pre-season friendlies. Furthermore, Besiktas are only in the CL thanks to Fenerbahce being banned for match fixing, that said Arsenal will have to play well to get a result.

Given our track record in the CL qualifiers I have faith. I can just imagine the scenes at Besiktas when they drew us – all their fans and club members must have been praying “anyone but Arsenal” and then put on a smiley face for the cameras whilst thinking “we are doomed to the effing Europa again!”

Team news is a mixed bag, Koscielny is fit enough to travel, Gibbs and Sanogo are not. The Gibbs injury is a concern as he has had a full pre-season and should be at 100% fitness, given Gibbs injury history this could easily result in Mr Wenger looking for a new left back next summer (or even earlier).

Chambers will almost certainly play alongside Kos tonight. What a 10 days for the 19 y.o. An appearance at Wembley, a home debut and now a CL appearance all (so far) completed with aplomb. The hopes for him are ratcheted higher with each game. Tonight he faces Demba Ba, a quality striker who somewhat surprisingly finds himself in the Turkish league. Serves him right as he took the pieces of gold from Chelsea without giving any consideration to his future, though €6m seems cheap for a striker with PL experience.

I would like to see Rosicky start tonight, he is a better tackler than Cazorla and better suited to an away leg. Jack needs to play regularly and get past a poor performance vs Palace. Giroud will surely start given the lack of both Sanogo and Walcott.

I hope Mr Wenger doesn’t get too defensive and play Flamini ahead of Wilshere, he has done so in the past and returning to the Emirates with a clean sheet is important but I would prefer we focus upon our attack rather and bring on the Flamster at 70 mins.

My team:


Debuchy    Chambers   Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey   Wilshere   Arteta

Sanchez    Giroud    Rosicky

Please note that when picking the team in the format above it does not mean I expect us to play 4-3-3  –  our team is so flexible I do not believe there is any one method of play and as any regular AA reader knows Raddy is hopeless with tactics.

We know Besiktas have fanatical fans, we know the pitch will be rubbish, we know the ref will be a homer but we should have enough to come back home with a positive result

written by Big Raddy

So, Why Was Sanogo Even Playing?

August 18, 2014

I over heard this question no less than three times as I weaved my way through the throng of people drinking beer and chatting during the half time interval in an attempt to stretch my legs.

It was fairly easy to tell that had it not been for Koscielny’s equalising goal only some five minutes earlier these same people would have been asking the same question but with far greater ferocity.


They may have had a point: Arsenal played in the same frustrating way as they did last season against opposition who, as predictably as Sunday follows Saturday, were always going to park the bus and waste time whenever they possibly could. This is exactly what they did and I should add that part of Crystal Palace’s predictable plan would have been to try and nick a goal from a set piece and that again is also what they did.

The answer as to why Sanogo was playing was fairly obvious to me: our new system is simply not ready yet; the system I refer to is dependant on our new 40 million pound player named Alexis Sanchez.

Last season Wenger would have fielded pretty much the same team only with Sagna and Giroud. Sagna would have whipped in high crosses which Palace would have dealt with as easily as they did on Saturday when Debuchy sent in high crosses for Sanogo. The result being that Palace regained possession and we had to work harder than we needed in getting the ball back.

The other frustrating similarity to last season is that although we still have the players whose intricate passing is capable of producing the wonder goal that Jack Wilshere finished off against Norwich. This doesn’t happen enough and by that I mean that Barcelona do this on a weekly basis and so should we. We certainly didn’t look capable of producing such a goal against Palace and that, like last season, was down to Sanogo’s lack of close control which is equally as lacking as Giroud’s.

This brings me back to the new system I expect to see adopted in the coming weeks. In an attempt to explain I ask this: do you think that Ozil is going to be left out of that team? No, you do not. Now imagine Sanchez playing up front instead of Sanogo against Palace with Ozil on the right.

It this scenario it would have been totally pointless of Debuchy to send in high crosses; he would be forced to do something different. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he can adapt quickly even through the brain washing he received at Newcastle to send in high crosses time after time must be deeply ingrained.

On a side note, did you ever ask yourself after noticing that Barcelona had just beaten some low league team 46 –nil or something equally ridiculous, why the opponents don’t park the bus and waste time in the same way as Palace did on Saturday? The answer is that their opponents do try — but they fail. The reason that Barcelona are able to find a way through is that everyone of their attack has exceptional close control. Well now for the first time since Henry, Bergkamp, and Pires played together — so do we.

The combination of Ramsey, Cazorla, Ozil and Sanchez is as good as any other in Europe when it comes to close control and super quick passing. They would have found a way past that tall lumbering Palace defence in no time. In fact this is the new system that I refer to and expect to be deployed with great effect against every team whose predictable game plan is to simply park the bus.

The unavailability of Ozil goes some way to explaining why Sanogo was playing but to me there is more: just look at the fixture list in March; we could have Capital One Cup games, FA Cup games, Champions League Games and EPL games. We will need Sanogo to feel part of the squad, up to speed, ready to go and the only way that that can happen is if he plays now, while he can, before the new system comes into force.

Many would have preferred Giroud on Saturday but just look how he tired towards the end of last season only having Bendtner as back up and therefore having to play so many games.

Wenger made a judgement call on Saturday that Sanogo would offer enough offensively to get a result while enabling him to take one step closer to justifiably being picked as a first team starter and he was right.

I hope this makes sense, if not I refer you to a comment made on this site after the game which sums this all up far more succinctly than I could:

“I don’t give a monkey’s “rectum” how we played, we got the three points.”

Written by LB

Ramsey rescues Ring Rusty Gunners

August 17, 2014

Some may query my headline but that is exactly what Aaron did.

I have already read countless opinions dissecting every detail of the game from time wasting by Palace, and parking not one but two buses in two banks of four, poor refereeing, first win by us in five years, only home win of the day, but most importantly we gained the three points.

Overall it was obvious how Palace were going to play as this was Pulis’s team and to give credit to them they are a vastly improved outfit and finished a creditable eleventh last season.

It was obvious from the start that some of our players were fitter than others and generally the the three debutantes had a reasonable game.

Chambers could turn out to be one of the best young buys of the season. Debuchy played his part and his whipped cross into the box will produce goals. Sanchez though by no means perfect oozes class and is also not scared to get stuck in, so all in all no complaints there.

What worried me was the predictable pattern in the game that we have seen so often.

We dominate possession for the best part of half an hour without really threatening only for the opposition to score after an initial rash moment by Szczesny,which lead to a corner and Hangeland basically had a free header to score. Yet the same could be said for the Palace defence when an excellent free kick by Sanchez left Koscielny completely unmarked, but to give him credit he guided the ball well past Speroni.

Even with substitutions at half time because of yet another in jury to Gibbs our game didn’t improve much, though as one who has questioned Monreal quite often, he contributed quite well.

With twenty minutes left we finally seemed to find our rhythm better and the introduction of Giroud proved to be a far better option than Sanogo who IMO is at least two seasons away of possibly becoming a real striker.The OX for Wilshere was the right decision.

I don’t feel it is appropriate to criticize every seasoned player on the pitch on the opening game, but one would have thought after the resounding victory over City last week, regardless of who played, that confidence would have been at a premium.

We need a top class striker but we won’t get one and more to the point are there any available, but more importantly we need a player who can cover for Gibbs or Monreal on the left side of the defence.

The three Germans returning don’t resolve these problems so hopefully a quality versatile defender who can play left side will be purchased before the end of this month.

If Koscienly suffered an injury our defence would really suffer so although Wenger has a real headache as to chose the numerous options of attacking midfielders our defence still needs bolstering


0017 – Licenced to Roam

August 16, 2014

Excited? You should be because this season is going to be epic and it starts today

Let’s be honest a managerless Crystal Palace should be lambs to the slaughter but we found out in last season’s opener that opening games throw up strange results. Mr Pulis did well with an average side and as usual forced his team to play kick and run (with an emphasis on the kick). How will CP play today? Who knows. Who cares, as long as they don’t injure any of our heroes.

Palace have big men all over the pitch; Chamakh, Hangeland, Jedinak, Dann, Puncheon etc, all decent players and all hard workers which they will need to be. It has to be said that Palace have a decent front-line. Chamakh may not have achieved much at the Emirates but he is showing he can perform swell at a mid-table club. I wish him well in the coming days but hope he has a stinker today.

Jedinak has been much touted after a fine season – good enough for a top 4 club? Not according to their managers!

Enough of the opposition, let’s get onto the men in the white hats ……

To be honest I have no idea who will start this afternoon. I doubt anyone outside of Mr Wenger and his coaching staff do – such is the wealth of talent available. The only players I can be sure won’t play are Theo, Abou and Ryo.

Let’s start with the defence.: I am sure Merts will play. I cannot see heim as the type of chap who would holiday  in a 5 star Las Vegas hotel surrounded by bottles of Champagne after along night in the casino, then spending his daytime flaked out by the pool having his pale body massaged with Factor 50 by a bevy of hookers. Can you?

No, I see him resting and preparing himself for today’s kick-off. He is a German after all.

If I am wrong and Merts has spent the summer on the sauce, it will be exciting to see how Chambers copes; his Wembley appearance was superb which brings heavy expectations onto such young shoulders. Midweek I went to Malmo to see their top of the table clash with another Swedish team (an exciting 3-2 victory to Malmo). The reason being that I am friends with their fitness trainer – Young Ben. Ben was assistant fitness trainer at Southampton and he tells me that Arsenal have signed a monster player who is is not only a better footballer than Luke Shaw but also in far better physical condition. He says that €16m was cheap for someone who will be a future England Captain – oh and he told me that Shaw has a history of niggling muscle knack.

Koscielny: Now I cannot understand at all how Sakho started for France ahead of Kos. What an insult to our beak nosed Gaul. No surprise that France did not concede a goal whilst Kos played and then lost to Germany when the idiot Deschamps picked Sakho ahead of our boy. Mr Wenger would not make such an error and as such (if fit) our usual CB pairing will start.


Actually the defence picks itself doesn’t it? TPIG, the shiny new right back and Gibbs make up the numbers in what is a tight and effective first choice defence. Problems will only arise when injuries and exhaustion hit.

Midfield. This is where it starts to get difficult. Arteta and Ramsey are automatic starters. Ramsey!! What a fantastic player this lad is. The finish at Wembley last week was the work of a top class striker and this from a box to box midfielder. Ramsey has it all and, sad as I feel about it, not signing Fabregas was the right decision – Ramsey is the better player (as is Ozil 🙂 ).

Wilshere ? Of course.

And the Ox? This lad needs games – give him them and he will develop into one of the best players in the PL. He has everything except aerial ability. Great shot, explosive pace, an eye for a pass, tactical awareness. BUT where does he fit into the side? Thankfully this is Mr Wenger’s problem, but in my opinion he is too good to spend this season on the bench.

Will Ozil start? Probably not but he is ready and I would like to see our little genius and World Cup Winners medal owner line up on the right or behind the striker. If not, Santi, who had a fine game last week, is hardly a poor replacement – he would walk into almost any other side in the world but I fear this could be a frustrating season for him as there is so much competition in the attacking third.

Sanchez is a definite starter and I predict he will score on his full home debut. This man is the dogs and was the plum PL signing of the summer. I was surprised he didn’t go to Liverpool as a Suarez replacement (hahahahaha – let’s see how well you do this season Mr Rodgers) but clearly the prospect of living in Toxteth and rooming with Jordan Henderson was not particularly attractive. Hampstead and OG made AFC an obvious choice. I expect him to start from the left today – the TH14 position. He will be our secret agent 0017 – with licence to roam.


0017 – One for the Ladies

OG gets the CF shirt. Until Sanogo improves, Theo gets fit or OG hits a bad patch of form he must start.

My Team:


Debuchy     BFG     Kos     Gibbs

Ramsey    Wilshere      Arteta

Ozil      Giroud      Sanchez

At last we have a super strong bench. Chambers, Monreal, Cazorla, Sanogo, Ox, Pod etc

I hate to put a bok on today but I cannot see anything but an Arsenal win. CP did surprisingly well to get 11th place last season but let’s be honest, they spawned it as other teams went into free fall. The chances of another opening day Aston Villa are unlikely as the lads will be determined not to get suckered again.

The World Cup players apart, our boys have had a full pre-season and on the evidence of the Community Shield are in fine fettle. You lucky, lucky folk who are going to the game will have a fine time.

I will be in Peaches pocket. Actually today I am going to the Southern Cross in Løngangstrædet Copenhagen to watch the game with California Gooner. See you there.


N:B. I have yet to think of a season theme. Any ideas will be welcomed and then discarded 🙂

written by Big Raddy

Arsenal’s Top Gunner 2014-15

August 15, 2014

Only three ways to go upon arrival at my Uncle Earnests’ house.

Upstairs. Perfectly clear what his intentions are here. Might hurt, but pretty straight forward stuff. Downstairs into the basement, or what he refers to as his “private dressing room”. Yeah right. Good luck down there. Finally, sideways, down a long corridor and into his Incident Room.

The Incident Room overlooks a large expanse of Scottish sea loch, where Earnest keeps the odd lobster pot. Poachers frequent these wild and isolated open spaces. Earnest does not believe they have any “rights” whatsoever, and are themselves fair game. He had a plan, and it involved me.

My brother and I were lead to the Incident Room. We entered. Holy Crap. The enormous room had its vast French doors flung open. The aperture was filled with a large cannon retrieved from a Spanish Galleon. Ropes securing it some shrubs outside to prevent damaging recoil. Next to the beast was a brass monkey and a pyramid of 2” iron cannonballs.

Into my hands went a box of matches, and into my brothers a hideously dangerous looking mop with its head dripping in paraffin. Earnest stood safely outside with his telescope. “Ready. Light. Fire”.

I’ve been almost deaf in my left ear ever since. Anyhow, the thought of cannons makes me think of The Arsenal and Gunners.

Last season, the surprise package and Top Gunner was Aaron Ramsey. Who could emerge from the shadows during this campaign? Given injury free runs, I think the contenders are Jack, Abou, The Ox, Mesut, Ollie, Yaya, Joel and of course Sanchez.

The reason I’ve selected these boys is that I believe they could all progress to new heights. You will also notice how I have not included any defensive players. This is because they are boring, and are simply there to do a job, not entertain.

Earnest is an entertainer, but has peaked. Who at Arsenal is an entertainer that could fire us to new heights? My money is on The Ox.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Where will Arsenal’s goals come from?

August 14, 2014

During this pre-season period a lot of attention has been paid to our defence and a lot of analysis has been undertaken on the subject.  We were badly exposed defensively in 4 games during the 2013/14 season losing all 4 away games in an embarrassing fashion 3-6 to Manchester City, 1-5 to Liverpool, 0-6 to Chelsea and 0-3 to Everton.

For those 4 games we had an average of 5 goals against per game and that accounted for 48.8% of our total PL goals against during 2013/14. For the remainder of the season we had 21 goals scored against us in 34 games for an average of .62 per game; which was the second lowest goals against average in our PL history; .45 was the best in 1998/99. So were we poor defensively for the whole season or did we simply have 4 shocking games?

This season defensively we have lost Sagna and Vermaelen but have brought in Debuchy as cover for RB and Chambers as cover for RB/CB, plus AW is on record as saying that if Vermaelen left he would look for a replacement – three questions linger.

Is Chambers the CB replacement?

Will he buy another CB?

Are we weaker if we do not get a replacement CB?

Enough about our defence for now I would like to concentrate on our offence and our scoring ability, let’s start off with a few statistical facts.

In 2013/14 we scored 34 goals less than the Champions.

Our goals against difference were 43 less than the Champions.

Our goals against were only 4 more than the Champions.

To my way of thinking everything points towards the offence as being our issue and not our defence, which raises another question.

Where will our goals come from?

We only scored 68 goals in 2013/14, which was 5th worst since Arsene has been our manager. Let’s take a look at who scored our PL goals in 2013/14.

Giroud – 16

Ramsey – 10

Podolski – 8

Walcott – 5

Chamberlain – 4

Cazorola – 4

Wilshere – 3

Ozil – 3

All others – 15

Sanchez scored 12 in 2010/11, 15 in 2011/12, 11 in 2012/13 and 21 in 2013/14, is he our ace in the hole, or do we still need more offensive power?













Defence. Are we good enough?

August 13, 2014

A quick post inspired by a kelsey comment questioning whether our defence is strong enough to survive the season.

Starting at right back. Is Debuchy an adequate replacement for Sagna? Time will tell but given that every man and his dog were asking Mr Wenger to sign Debuchy from the middle of last season we can hardly complain that he has done so! More concerning is the back-up. Sending the Corporal out on loan indicates AW’s lack of trust in the likeable gooner which means either that he has high hopes for Bellerin or that Chambers is to be Debuchy’s understudy(or both). Long term I see Bellerin as our RB.


Bellerin is 19 y.o, as is Chambers. Jenks was 21 last season, so age is not the issue for a back-up. In my opinion we have no cause for concern at RB especially given Flamini’s ability to play there.

Flamini is also a fine left back ,which given kelsey’s concerns about Gibbs being injury prone is just as well. I am not sure I agree that Gibbs cannot last a season – he is older and stronger than he has ever been and I think is currently the best LB in the league. Kelsey also has concerns about Monreal, apparently he is not good enough. Here we disagree – I think Monreal is an excellent player who has now had a season to adjust to the PL and will show why he is a Spanish international. As back up to Gibbs he is all I would wish for. Monreal has intelligence enough to be trusted by Mr Wenger to play at CB alongside a novice – if that isn’t proof of AW’s confidence in him then what is? IMO we are well covered at left back.

Goalkeeper. No worries here either. Both keepers are superb and we have the best two keepers in the PL (as Caballero showed on Sunday 😀 )

Centre Backs (or center backs as Didit would have it).  No questioning the excellence of the first choice CB pairing, perhaps our best since 2004. It is the back up which causes concerns. Chambers looks a fine prospect and as many point out Tony Adams was starring for AFC at a similar age. Given the experience and expertise of both BFG and Kos I would be happy to see Chambers learning alongside either one – he has the physique, pace and technique to take such a role and he needs pitch time to develop. But can we take the risk?  I think not – an experienced back-up CB is essential, Agger, would be good but there are many suitable candidates out there (Williams?).


And what of the defensive midfielder, the screen in front of the back four? We have Arteta and Flamini. Given the team set up I think we are unlikely to see a DM arrive this season. Mr Wenger likes busy, multi-tasking, ball-playing midfielders and much as I would like to see a younger version of Arteta join the squad I cannot see it.

Given that we conceded only 41 goals (of which half were to just in just 4 games!) I would say we have a sound defence. TV only started 7 games (+7 as sub) so he will hardly be missed (Chambers would easily play 7 games at CB).

We have a balance of quality youth and experience in defence and I predict we will concede a few less than last season as we close in on the title.

Defensively we are fine but I would like Mr Wenger to sign an experienced CB on a two year contract just for some insurance

written by Big Raddy

Arsenal’s four new faces, how will they fit in?

August 12, 2014

The Premiership doesn’t get under way until next weekend but the Community Shield curtain-raiser gave us a chance to size up our reinforced squad.

Although our trio of World Cup winners was be missing, due to Wenger’s generosity in allowing them a couple of weeks extra holiday, it was instructive to see how Alexis, Campbell, Chambers and Debuchy got on against the reigning Premiership Champions.

The Emirates Cup produced a truly Jekyll and Hyde performance, an excellent and inspiring win over Benfica followed by a lack-lustre, low key kick about against a more committed Monaco team.

Joel 1

Campbell, who spent last season on loan at Olympiacos, looked comfortable against Benfica and took his scoring opportunity with aplomb. His World Cup and Champions League experience will stand him in good stead, as will the memory of scoring against Man. U. at Old Toilet. Not much can be said about his all too brief contribution against City, but he didn’t seem to be fazed by the occasion.

Calum 1

There has been much talk about Chambers and the possibility of his moving to central midfield but for the present, and in the absence of Mertesacker and the sale of Vermaelen, it appears logical to retain him at centre back where he did very well in his two previous outings. In another assured performance, against City, he showed good positional sense and the calmness of a much more experienced defender. Certainly one for the not too distant future.

Debuchy 1

Debuchy should slot in well at right back, an experienced international and, more importantly, an experienced Premiership player he has all the attributes to succeed as the long term successor to Bacary Sagna. He also had a good game, not only defensively but also showed his willingness to get forward and into the opposition’s box.

Alexis 1

And finally…Alexis. Of all the players signed during Arsene Wenger’s reign this one can stand alongside those other ready-made stars Vieira, Pires and Ozil. Of course Dennis Bergkamp should be included but, strictly speaking, he was signed on Bruce Rioch’s watch. A truly exciting signing, a player who can score goals, can light up a game with his pace, movement and trickery on the ball. His 45 minute cameo was enough to show that he can slot seamlessly into Arsenal’s attack. Finally I believe he will show just how good he is now that he’s out of Messi’s shadow.

Personally, I’m really excited by the signing of Alexis, more so even than that of Mesut Ozil last season. I think he is the player that Arsene has been looking for over the long lean years of Emirates Stadium debt. The player who will make a real difference. One that can inspire the team and make a big contribution to the future success of Arsenal FC.

Norfolk Gooner.