Seems that our two weaker points are our back-up RB and LB…Tierney has been injured a lot so we need a player that can fill in regularly…There is a lot of chat about L. Martinez but he has been mostly used as a LCB and then as a LB so let us see. He is a quality player know as the “Argentian/Ajax butcher” because of his rough tackles. As for the RB, I don’t hear much rumours but shall we start the year with the above-mentioned players, would you feel confident?
In his latest interview, our sporting Director Edu has indicated that as a club, we are definitely focusing on young, hungry and talented players. He has emphasized that the plan is to have this group of young players to play together at the club for a couple of years (he said 4 to 6 years). The strategy is definitely one that is aiming for a medium to long-term gains, which is fine…BUT:
We need to do well already now as other clubs are also strengthening and next thing you know, clubs like Brentford, Brighton…also get bought by rich Emiratis…
It is unlikely that all our exciting young players stay with us for sure for more than 3 years…
So although, I like the strategy and the goals. We also need to ensure that we do purchase “EPL-ready to perform at a high standard players” and that we also mitigate our expectations with regards to long-term commitment to our clubs from all the players, especially the young ones that want to get playing time…
Besides that, it is a very exciting plan and if the players develop as Edu-Arteta expect them to, we are in for a fun couple of years…
Tomy – 23
White – 24
Gabs – 24
Tierney – 25
Partey – 29
Fabio – 22
Saka – 20
Ode – 23
Gabi – 21
That is young and talented and we still have Turner (28), Saliba (21), Holding (26), Lokonga (22), ESR (21) and that’s not including AMN, Tavares, Marquinhos, RN, Balogun,
I would have liked to see Raphinha join us but many are correct, he plays on the right and we already have Saka…so maybe this one is a fake one…In terms of Nr.9, we are still linked with G. Jesus (25), T. Abraham (24), Scamaca (23) and Richarlison (25) so still very young…
Out of the bunch, I am more and more inclined to make a push for Abraham or Richarlison because of their presence in the box…they also try to support defensively and both contribute with some assists…
So the fixtures are out and we can already start getting excited about the new season 🙂
August 05th – Crystal Palace – AWAY
August 13th – Leiceister – HOME
August 20th – Bournemouth – AWAY
August 27th – Fulham – Home
August 30th – Villa – HOME
Sept 3rd – Man Utd – Away
October 1st – Tottenham – Home
October 8th – Liverpool – Home
October 18th – Man City – Home
November 5th – Chelsea – Away
January 14th – Tottenham – Away
January 21st – Man Utd – Away
April 8th – Liverpool – Away
April 26th – Man City – Away
April 29th – Chelsea – Home
Our first 5 games are not against the “big” teams.
The first half of the season sees us host all the big teams except Chelsea.
The second half of the season sees us play away to all big teams except Chelsea.
The months of October, January and April will be tough and critical.
We need to be ready from Day 1 as our first half of the season will see us host the big teams so we cannot lost points then. If we do not do well in the first half of the season, I think our season will be totally compromised so Arteta-Edu, get your business done early and make sure our team is ready and roaring to go as of 5th of August!
As our competitors are slowly but surely adding firepower to their strike force, let us do a little recap:
Man City: Mahrez, HAALAND, Foden (or Grealish or Sterling)
Liverpool: Diaz, NUNEZ, Salah
Chelsea: Mount, Lukaku, Havertz
Tottenham: Kulusevski, Kane, Son
AFC: Saka, Eddie, Martinelli
Utd: Rashford, CR7, Sancho
Now if you read into the rumours regarding our competitors, it seems that Conte wants to add a new element to his front three (basically get a better player than Kulu) and that Tuchel wants to bring in Dembele from Barcelona..
On our side, we have been linked with Scamacca, Morata… (not bad but not great) type of players…
We still need to improve our midfield and defensive displays but we also desperately need to bring in someone who could finish off the moves instigates by the Saka, Ode, Gabi of our team…without this goal scoring reliability, we won’t be able to compete…for Top 4 even…
So Arteta-Edu decided to keep El Neny and Nketiah but to part ways with our captain Laca…
Laca has been a good player for us and a very good influence on the group and especially the young players. He cannot be faulted for his captaincy nor for his attitude on and off the pitch. He scored some goals and delivered some assists but this year, he did miss a lot of chances and ultimately, this has cost him a new contract at AFC.
I think the team will be sad to him leave and Arteta as well. Laca was always praised for his personality and efforts and he was well appreciated by the group.
So it seems that our very enticing attack Pepe, Laca, Auba is close to its demise, not having fullfilled its promise. Our last 2 captains and main strikers have now left the club on a free.
Our current centre-forward options for the first team are Nketiah and Balogun. I am not counting ESR or Martinelli there for now nor Biereth for various reasons.
We need now more than ever a reliable goal scorer that can make the most of the chances created by Ode, Saka, Martinelli, ESR…We need a finisher that can still link-up with his partners nicely and be a hard working player when it comes to pressing and defending. I think Toney, Watkins, Richarlison, Jesus, Nunez could be decent options but let us see who comes to us but there is definitely room for one player to be our starting CF next year.
In the meantime, let us say thank you to Laca for his 54 goals and 25 assits in the EPL in 158 games, 4 goals and 1 assist in the EFL Cup in 11 games, 15 goals in 27 games in the European League and good luck in Lyon!