Summer Signings. Balotelli, Lukaku or Costa?

March 27, 2015

Let’s take an early review of our summer business in 2014. How are Mr Wenger’s new boys faring?   They are rated like this: Balotelli – a poor signing, Lukaku – an OK signing but could do better, and Costa- a great addition to the team

1. Ospina: I am undecided. His goals against and shots saved stats are impressive and he is top of the PL for average goals conceded in games played but there is something missing. He just doesn’t inspire confidence. I like a keeper who dominates his box, controls his defence and is vocal – Ospina seems too “nice”. Szczesny is a loony – and as we all know the best keepers are nuts (Schmeichel/Seaman/Shilton/Kahn.)

BR’s Rating: Lukaku

2. Debuchy. We can only go on his contribution to this season’s campaign and thanks to injury it is minimal. On his rare appearances he seems all we we would wish for – pacy, a good crosser, good in the air and a fine tackler but 10 appearances is not good value.

BR Rating: Balotelli 

3. Chambers: The lad has had a strange season insomuch as he has been seen as a brilliant signing in his first few games and done less well of late. He is clearly a fine prospect as told by his considerable signing-on fee . I think he will become an Arsenal stalwart but right now he needs to find a settled position. As I wrote yesterday, Bellerin’s progress has not helped his season.

BR Rating: Lukaku

4. Alexis Sanchez. What a start to his AFC career the little fellow has had. Goals, excitement, energy, skill, entertainment, desire, determination, strength, speed, joy – he brings it all. It has to be said that he looks tired of late but nonetheless he is a marvellous addition to the team and at €32m was cheap

BR Rating: Costa.

5. Welbeck. Danny has yet to establish himself in the team. With a fully fit squad he is unlikely to start but we never have a fully fit squad so his input is important. To start with, he is fine value at €16m. Welbz brings enthusiasm, pace and hard work, what he doesn’t bring is a proper goal threat. To be a top striker goals are an essential and his finishing needs much work – 4 PL goals is not enough. That said, his overall contribution is considerable.

BR Rating: Lukaku

written by Big Raddy (inspiration from RC78)


Steve’s Monday Assessment

March 16, 2015

Results this weekend, in the main, pretty good week; dropped points for the Chav’s a loss for City, United starting to get it together, and for us, who are the most important, another 3 points.

Keep on winning is all we can do, We have had what can only be described as a bit of an up and down season so far. We have lost games we feel we should have won, and won games that looked like games we struggle with.

I honestly believe that new players take a while to settle, although most of ours seem to have blended in quite well, we have had a bit of turmoil with injuries. Players who were first team choices at the start of the season, who got injured and unsettled the balance. Theo of course was one who started the season injured, Wenger knew he was a long term injury so needed to add, In came Sanchez who hit the ground running.

Vermaelen leaving and leaving a big hole was a blow, Wenger replaced with a young man Chamber’s, Not many of us knew a great deal about him, but he seemed to come across as a bit of a utility player, i read that he was a right back but could be utilised across the back, It has to be said that this youngsters heroics was like a breath of fresh air. I dont believe Wenger ever expected to use him as much as he has,Injuries to BFG and Kos and then Debuchey meant he would be used for all positions.

Of course with a long term injury to new man Debuchy, a young man springs up from our reserves in Bellerin, a bit rough around the edges but with a great engine probably was the reason the Jenkinson was not recalled from a loan spell with Wham, who needed a season of premier league experience, hopefully he will return the better for it.

Bellerin has made mistakes but the effort he puts in bodes very well for the future. I would assume that once Debuchey gets fit Belerin will deputise but good experience for him for the future.

Paulista who was brought in at Christmas looked a good prospect sadly an injury has side lined him but he does look like he may replace the ageing Merts.

All in all the season has been as I said a bit up and down, Our new signings including Welbeck have started to shine, the squad seem to have been thrown together with new faces mixing fairly well.

Our need for a HM only became worse with Arteta and Flamoney both getting Injured, and one of our youngster having to be recalled from a loan spell which i felt was a stepping stone to being let go, but for Coquelin it gave him a final chance to show Wenger that he still has a future here. Coq has been immense since he returned, a couple of Motm awards has only shown this youngster has a future.

All in all this season has shown that the squad we have, once sorted is a mixture of what is needed to win things, I think its clear that players like BFG Arteta and Flamoney along with Rosicky could be nearing the end of their journey with us, but with clever recruitment and a few from our reserves shows that we are not lacking in players. I feel Wenger will still buy the odd player in his search for excellence, but that was to be expected.

Arsenal are sitting Third looking at second, and with a turn of fate could even win the league, But at present we are still in line for top 4 any thing can happen we know, can Wenger manage another top 4 it certainly looks that way, how many times is that? Magnificent is the word, unbelievable.

COYRRG’s

written by Steve Palmer1


Paulista on his way?

January 24, 2015

Dredging through Newsnow and the newspapers it seems that there is a strong likelihood that the Brazilian is coming.

Paulista is not in the Villarreal squad which is a good sign.

Apparently so is Kevin Grosskreutz from Borussia Dortmund. A 26 y.o. defender who can play any position across the back-line and is available for €5m which in today’s insane transfer fees is just a pile of M & M’s.

Let’s assume both these chaps arrive, what then? What about the development of Calum Chambers who hasn’t played for months and needs games to fulfil his undoubted potential?

What of BFG? Is he to be a bench-warmer? I know the man is creaking but who wouldn’t after having played virtually every minute of the season. Merts is not ready for his free bus-pass – the man is only just 30 and has at least 3 good years in him.

My guess is that one of the stories is nonsense – probably the Grosskreutz transfer. After all BD are still in the CL so why sell him now? Plus, as I said, Chambers is going to be the nuts

And why haven’t we seen any rumours about our inevitable capture of Cavani? The man has Arsenal in his blood and is desperate to sign for us. The non-appearance of this story is another of the masterful Wenger smoke-screens 😀

written by Big Raddy


So Paddy got up and he sang it again.

January 4, 2015

Is it only 7 months ago? Tempus Fugit.

What an excellent weekend that was (apart from kick off until Santi scored). Can’t say I recall much of the game apart from the rush of blood when Aaron scored.

Unknown

There has been much writing on AA over the past few days about how we need to do X or Y but in my opinion we have the squad and the manager to win the PL  – the problem is that the key ingredients are lying in the medical bay. Why become so frustrated by our loss  at S’ton? Starting with a midfield of Coq and Chambers – we were never going to boss the game. Many said “men against boys” ….  in American parlance …. Hello (with the first syllable low and the second rising).

It will be a bare bones midfield again today with Ox apparently knacked at S’ton. Who is left standing? Mozart, Coq and  …. ermmm. Perhaps one of the kids – Zebbedee? (Zelalem).

We need to rest players but how? Santi has been great but was clearly tired in the second half at St. Mary’s as was Alexis.

And who plays upfront? Theo? Would you rely on him? Sanogo? Is he injured or back in training?

If it wasn’t the FA Cup and an important game for us I would suggest playing the Women’s team.

A concern is that with the Xmas fixture congestion the players will be not only tired but un-motivated. From a personal point of view this pre-match is one too many and if I as a mere fan have had enough imagine how BFG feels. If I am unable to raise enthusiasm to write another post what must it be like for the Santi/Alexis when a Hull Orc comes crunching in to clip ankles?

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But …. come kick off things will change. The Raddy living room will reverberate with the usual 4 letter words of encouragement, such as “Get up you ****ng idiot and support the defence”, Monreal, you ****, where are you?” “Alexis, you ****ing beauty” “referee, you a complete ****”,. Probably the same words you will be using  😡

Would that we were at home to Fleetwood but we aren’t, we are playing a good side who will want revenge for their painful Wembley defeat. Should be a good game and possibly a nerve shredder.

Right, that’s yer lot.

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


That’s more like the Arsenal of old.

November 27, 2014

After so many indifferent results lately, it was a pleasure not only to to see us reach the knockout stage of the CL yet again, but to see the players play out the game as a unit not as individuals. Both Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund had several key men missing, but one can only play what is in front of you.

There were several stand out performances including Gibbs, Chambers, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla and the phenomena that is Alexis Sanchez. I am sure you can all add to that list.

As I have mentioned before it is nearly impossible to second guess Wenger, and when the team was announced, there were several gasps that Sanogo was leading the line, yet within seventy five seconds, Yaya gave us that all important breakthrough. He reminds me a bit of a raw Giroud. he is strong, holds up the ball reasonably well and like one or two others needs to concentrate on his finishing. Too early to make an accurate judgement on him, but time will tell.

I was pleased for Santi, who has been woefully out of form, and his two assists for both goals were exquisite, and his all round play was excellent..

The Ox continues to impress and was unlucky not to score with a dipping volley, but his time will come.

What can you say about Sanchez. His work rate is fantastic and even if he drops out of the game from time to time he is the best attacker by a country mile,that we have signed for years. There is definitely a touch of Suarez about him, and any top side would want him in their team.

What pleased me the most was that our passing and understanding between the players was so much better than for most of this season, and I assume there were some hard words spoken to all the players after the United defeat.

Fighting for your place,is no bad thing, so perhaps Arsene will be more ruthless, but we will have to wait and see..

Chambers really is a good prospect and though another who is so young has shaken off a couple of bad performances and had an excellent game. What his best position eventually will be, is open to discussion.

The downside is that Arteta has a calf strain and by all  accounts will be out for a prolonged period and that Podolski unfortunately just doesn’t cut it with Wenger on the field, but to be fair to him he gets next to no playing time.

Let’s hope we can now finally build on this result, buy a couple of class defenders in January, but more importantly get a run of several consecutive wins in the league.

kelsey


Calum Chambers and the Baptism of Fire

October 9, 2014

No not J K Rowling’s latest best seller but an appraisal of the meteoric rise and rise of a young footballer.

callum chambers

There can be no doubt that this young man’s explosive entry onto the Premiership stage has taken more than a few people by surprise. Only at the start of last season did he make his First Team league debut, playing a full ninety minutes of Southampton’s first game of the 2013/14 campaign at right back against West Bromwich Albion and this just seventeen days after signing a new four year contract with the Hampshire club.

Calum had joined Southampton at the tender age of seven and had risen through the Academy ranks until it was announced that he was one of four players promoted to the first team squad at the start of the 2012/13season.

During the next season he made twenty-five appearances in all, twenty-two of them in the league.

During the summer break Arsenal stepped in with a bid, believed to be potentially as high as £16 million, for the nineteen year old. On the 28th July 2014 he signed a long term contract with Arsenal.

With Bacary Sagna’s departure, Chambers was initially seen as a back-up for Mathieu Debuchy who had been signed from Newcastle United only a few days before, but it soon became apparent that he could just as well provide cover at centre-back. Indeed his very first game for Arsenal was in place of the absent Per Mertesacker in the 5 – 1 win over Benfica in the pre-season Emirates Cup.

At the time Arsene Wenger said that he, Chambers, would be used sparingly as he was only nineteen and had little experience of top flight football. Although signed as a right-back, he could also play at Centre-back but would, probably, in the future end up as a defensive mid-fielder. He would most likely play no more than perhaps twenty games in the season, concentrating on the cup competitions.

However, Chambers’ competitive debut for Arsenal was to be at Centre-back against last season’s champions Manchester City in the Community Shield at Wembley, a game Arsenal won 3 – 0.

After the match the BBC picked Chambers out for special praise stating “his mature performance defied his youthful years”.

Since the start of the season Chambers has been ever present for Arsenal in their seven Premiership matches against Crystal Palace, Everton, Leicester, Manchester City, Aston Villa, Tottenham and Chelsea. In addition he has played in the Champions League against Besiktas (home and away) and Galatasaray, and in the Capital One Cup. To cap a momentous period in his so far short career on the 3rd September he made his first appearance for the full England team as a substitute right-back, coming on for the last nine minutes in the 1 – 0 win over Norway.

On Tuesday he was called up from the England U21s to fill the vacant right-back berth vacated by the injured John Stones in the full England squad.

Chambers has received widespread praise for his composed, intelligent defending, he has good pace and excellent ball control and has shown the willingness and confidence to have a shot on goal when the chance arrives. Whilst he has accumulated five yellow cards in seven Premiership games, and one in the Champions League, there is no suggestion that he is a “dirty” player.

In none of the high profile games he has played has he been “found out” be they at a packed Wembley for the Community Shield or against the current run-away leaders of the Premiership, the current Champions or in the hostile atmosphere of Ataturk Olympic Stadium, Istanbul against Besiktas.

Early days yet maybe, but so far he has come through a severe baptism of fire virtually unscathed.

Written by  Norfolk Gooner. 

 


On what planet is Chambers not an upgrade for Vermaelen?

September 3, 2014

It has been very interesting to watch Chambers’ assimilation into the Arsenal fold. People like me made bolshie assertions that the sixteen million pound signing from Southampton would feature no more this season than Jenkinson did last. Other, wiser bloggers like Shard saw the folly of my statement and took me to task.

I was wrong to think that this season young Callum would only be, at best, the second choice right back. But I was not the only one; I share this error with none other than Arsene Wenger.

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Wenger made clear, shortly after signing him, that he had noticed Chambers when we played Southampton and decided then to buy him as a right back even though he was obviously aware that he could play central defense and defensive midfield. At this point no one really cared or took that much notice as we were all still drunk on the news that we had signed Alexis Sanchez.

We then arrive at the Emirates Cup: Benfica being the opener. With first choice right sided centre back, namely Mertasacker, still on the Copacabana and our Belgian back up in the all too familiar surroundings of the sick bay, Wenger opted for Chambers and Monreal to play in the centre of the defense. Yet again, no one took too much notice; they were both obviously just holding the fort until the more experienced players returned.

Koscielny was available but Wenger must have wanted to give Monreal a bit of practice in the doomsday scenario that he might be needed to play there. The idea of Nacho playing CB in a competitive game probably scares the life out of many but he scares me far less than had Miguel been forced into that role. Monreal played as was expected against Benfica but it was Chambers who caught the eye of many a fan.

It was around this time that the Vermaelen to ManU/Barcelona story was starting to gather pace. In Wenger’s Friday press conference he was pressed on the subject to which he replied: should Vermaelen leave, the club will find a replacement because the Belgian is “an important player in our squad”. It is this promise that people are now waving at Wenger and blaming him for not fulfilling, some even going as far as saying that he has been negligent.

But wait, let’s look at the dates?

Wenger made that statement on the 1st August and the game against Benfica wasn’t even played until the 2nd of August. Now it may be true to say that Chambers caught the eye of many a fan in that game but we still had a way to go before outrageous questions such as: should he keep his place ahead of Mertasacker were being banded about. The blue touch paper had only just been lit at this point; the media rocket that propelled him into hyper space with all their grandiose expectations had not fully started in earnest.

Much of the hyperbole was justified: demands for an England call up seemed realistic even Arsenal’s new Tony Adams is not so wild but I for one certainly feel that it went a bit too far. The downward trajectory was inevitable and it started, in my opinion, with the statement pointing out that the nineteen year had played just two competitive games as a CB and had only ever played right back for Southampton.

The truth, as they often say, is somewhere in the middle. There is no doubt that Chambers has been a fantastic buy; he has got quality centre back written all over him, certainly good enough to play the same central defensive back up role that Vermaelen played last season.

The question now is: if he has this unexpected skill set in his locker what else is hidden? Could he be equally adept at playing HM? We have been given a tantalizing glimpse; watch how smoothly he plays the ball along the ground oooh, the accuracy. Add precision passing to the ability to defend and you have got the essentials of a very good HM. I wait with bated breath on that one.

So where are we? There is no doubt in my mind that Wenger misjudged this one; he did not realise how good Chambers was as a CB, who did? But the thing is, mistakes don’t always have to turn out badly, sometimes they can turn out well and they certainly did when we signed Callum Chambers.

Written by LB

 


To Sanogo or Not to Sanogo?

August 27, 2014

Much is made of today’s game being a Cup Final. It is. A one off game which will determine who goes into the CL group stages.

Unusually the away side are slight favourites given the away goals rule but first they have to score. Can they? Well, we have conceded 3 in our last 2 games and were hardly secure in Turkey where Ba missed a couple of easy chances (or TPIG made a couple of excellent saves). And this Arsenal team have yet to show us that they have developed the fluency we have come to expect.

Then there are the injuries. We have played 3 games and lost a player a game; Arteta, Gibbs and Giroud and given that Koscielny, BFG, Ozil, Podolski and Wilshere look less than 100% we are struggling. I have no doubts we will come good later in the year but right now there is cause for concern.

Much is made of CL qualification as the carrot to ensnare new signing, I don’t completely agree. MU, Spurs, Everton and L’pool have shown this is not true. What attracts players is money (or in Balotelli’s case a team which will accept his “difficulties”). Did Di Maria move for CL games and the resultant profile? That said, qualification allows us to earn the bug bucks which attract the best players and as I have repeatedly written – I want Cavani, Carvalho (or at least an agreement that he will sign next summer when Arteta and Flamini leave) and a CB, all of whom will be expensive.

The loss of Giroud must be seen as an opportunity for the players who will take his place yet Sanogo looks way off the required quality  to win anything (though he has an FAC medal 🙂 ), and Campbell has yet to start a PL game. Sanchez is likely to get the chance tonight, he scored 39 in 88 games for Barca so knows his way to goal.

Just as interesting to me is how Wilshere will play without the need to look for Ramsey. We have discussed at length whether the two can play together and tonight we will see if JW can influence the game in the way we hope. He will need to – Ramsey has scored in 5 of his last 6 games and will be sorely missed tonight.

Mr. Wenger is “bigging up” Oxlade-Chamberlain, I wonder why. Does he think O-C needs a confidence boost? He appears to be a man brimful of self-belief. Or perhaps he wanted someone who is comfortable talking to the media so he could take a rest. Either way it gave us another insight into what a lovely man Ox is – Southampton must be the best place to develop well-balanced, intelligent young players.

images

We know how good Besiktas are. We were fortunate to escape with a draw, thanks to fine work from TPIG and strikers who couldn’t find the target even when one on one with our keeper. They work hard in midfield, defend well and are pacy on the counter. I can only recall Ox’s shot which was well saved by their keeper as good chances created by the Arsenal. We could blame the dreadful pitch but it was the same for both teams.

As we are without the experience of Arteta and Ramsey I would like to see Chambers on the bench and a return to the security of BFG/Kos, though given the total lack of pace from Mertesacker in the Everton game perhaps Chambers and Koscielny will be our centre back partnership this season!

Flamini’s role will be vital in a clogged midfield. He is playing in his normal style so far – two games, two yellows. Hopefully Arteta will return before he picks up his first ban.

My Team:

Beskitas home

So … no Sanogo. I just do not think we can go into such an important game with Sanogo leading the line. Mr Wenger is likely to disagree but I would put my faith in experienced battle-hardened players who have performed at the highest level. All the above team have done so and experience counts.

In the highly unlikely event that we are in trouble he can come off the bench and perhaps have a similar effect to Giroud at Everton, though I hope he only comes on for the final 15 when we are coasting.

History shows that we do well in these games, A good defensive display and some luck in front of goal should see us through but please Arsenal score early, otherwise the tension will be unbearable.

Quiz Question: How many consecutive seasons have we qualified for the Champions League proper?

COYRRG

written by Big Raddy


The underdogs fight back.

August 24, 2014

This was never going to be an easy game and many Arsenal fans would have been happy to take a draw before the game started. But not me. I wanted a win. Yet, I ended the day happy.

Everton have become a very good side, and their manager seems to have impressed a lot of people with not just his tactics, but also his ‘niceness’. They had an injury to Barkley, but we were without Arteta and Gibbs, while still bedding in our new signings. Crucially, we were also just coming off a midweek game away in Turkey on an energy sapping pitch. Like I said, this wouldn’t be an easy game.

We welcomed back 2 of our World Cup winning Germans, with BFG replacing Koscielny (presumably carrying an injury) and Ozil playing on the left. Alexis Sanchez got his first start in the striker position, with Ox coming in to add some speed and directness. This made Micky very happy. But it also seemed to make Tim Howard happy because just as Arsenal could not find their feet, the Ox could not find the goal with any of his shots. Arsenal went behind to a headed goal from a brilliant pass by Gareth Barry, huffed and puffed some more, but couldn’t cause Everton any problems.

Arsenal then conceded once again on the stroke of half time after Lukaku bundled over Mertesacker, and got a clear path towards goal when Chambers dived in instead of covering. He then passed the ball to an offside Naismith who scored between Szczesny’s legs. Yes, it was a dirty moment in the game and one that both the referee and the linesman should be ashamed for allowing to happen. To be fair, some blame might also rest on our defence because Everton actually had a brilliant chance to score prior to this when Mirallas got in behind our defence.

Still, to be 2-0 down just before half time to an undeserved goal was a bit of a kick in the teeth. Wenger then did the unthinkable and made a half time substitution (please let this not have been due to an injury to Alexis).

With Giroud providing more of a familiar figure and a target man to bounce things off, Arsenal slowly started to get into the game, although it still took them a further 20 minutes to register a shot on goal. In the meanwhile, Everton retreated, secure in their ill gotten gains and unleashed the krack-head Naismith to kick, dive, moan, and try and get Debuchy sent off. That the referee didn’t is probably a huge surprise because he was certainly aiding and abetting this behaviour. Maybe he was just feeling the love from the Toffee crowd but Arsenal ended up getting heavily punished with yellow cards and fouls, while Everton were allowed to constantly get away with worse. It made our tough task even tougher.

While a lesser team would have collapsed, we kept trying. Wenger brought on Campbell and Santi for Wilshere and Ox with around 15 minutes to go. And it was Santi who was to finally provide a sumptuous ball across goal that Ramsey turned in, as he is wont to do nowadays.

There were now 7 minutes left on the clock and only a goal in it. Game on!

In the 90th minute Ramsey overhit a cross from the right, which was kept in by Ignacio Monreal. He in turn crossed to Giroud, who got between Jagielka and Distin to score with his coiffed head. He might have missed a chance early in the second half, (which I felt wasn’t an easy one to take though no doubt people will say a ‘world class’ forward would have scored that) but he made no mistake at the end of the second half. Arsenal tried to continue attacking, but time was running out. Sadly, Giroud’s final act of the half was to get injured trying to block a clearance and the manager says it’s not looking good, and so we get to maintain our record of an injury a match.

However, even that does not dampen the positivity around the spirit we showed in very challenging circumstances. A point gained rather than two dropped, and now Arsenal  switch their attention towards reaching the Champions League, where no toffee has gone before.

Match analysis written by Shard

Player ratings from LB

Szczesny: another solid game as far as I could tell, don’t really see how he could have done much to stop either of the goals. 7

Debuchy: made a huge stride forward, I thought, better defensively, better in attack, better all round, if he can improve that much in the space of three games he is going to be all and more that we hoped for. 7

Chambers: this was the stand out player for me over the whole 90 minutes, there was one slip again which naturally gets highlighted but Mertesacker does that every game and certainly did today on more than one occasion the difference being that if the opposition don’t score no one bats an eye lid. 8

Mertersacker: good to have our vice captain back, yes, he looked a bit rusty but what did we expect, it was his first competitive game, got more and more into his stride as the game went on. 6

Monreal: we shouldn’t forget that the Spaniard is a stand in for Gibbs; yes, he got skinned on more than one occasion but as he was the one who sent in the cross for Giroud to head home and save a point all is forgiven with me. 6

Ramsey: had a poor first half, his passes were going all over the place, but just when you are about to get frustrated with him he pops up to score the goal that gave us a life line. 6

Flamini: his role is not a glamorous one, protecting the backline is a thankless task on the best of days, he’s not bad but he’s not good. If we qualify for the CL I hope the potential revenue generated is spent on an upgrade in this position. 6

Wilshere: if he is not an attacking midfielder which he clearly isn’t, then what is he?
We have so many better options. 5

Oxlaide-Chamberlain: well we got our wish, he played but was not that effective I have to say, lots of running, all the chances falling to him in the first half, not quite what we hoped for: 5

Sanchez: first time playing up front, I thought he was brilliant; he was my MOTM for the first half. The problem of course was that the new system was so different nobody quite knew what to do. It wasn’t that he was doing things wrong it was the players around him. 9

Ozil: we heard all the jokes about him still being on the beach; still, changing flip flops to boots at half time helped, obviously not match fit but got better as the game went on. 6

Subs

Giroud: there is not a plan A and a plan B, different players are better suited to play against different opposition. If Wenger attempted to motivate Giroud by playing Sanogo ahead of him then it worked to an extent but nowhere near as much as it fired him up when he saw Sanchez get the nod ahead of him. This man had a point to prove when he took to the field for the second half. Competition for places, you gotta love it. 8

Cazorla: he aint a left winger. If he is played in Arshavin’s grave yard then we should expect below par performances. We shouldn’t forget that the reason we fell in love with him was because he used to play in the hole just behind the CF. We got a glimpse of it when he came on; he is still a quality player. 7

Joel Campbell: a few good touches, not enough time to influence the game.


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.