The Missing Piece of the Jigsaw?

July 31, 2018

For years, according to the Gooner blogdom experts, we’ve been 2 or 3 players away from having a team capable of mounting a serious assault on the Premiership summit.

Arsenal goals Centurion he may have become, but Monsieur Giroud (gorgeous though he was) never looked capable of pushing the team that little bit further with 25 or 30 league goals in a season. Now we have Auba and Laca who both seem to have a much more natural, born-goalscorer’s disposition.

Again, perceived wisdom from the multitude of fan social media sites would have it that Arsenal have lacked a key player at the key defensive midfield position since first Gilberto, and then the Flamini of 2008, left the squad.

Step forward one Lucas Torreira, the man born in Fray Bentos, Uruguay. Could he be the man to put the beef back into that crucial zone just in front of Arsenal’s back four?

                      Courtesy AFC/Getty

Slight of stature in the mould of a Makelele or Kante, he is swift across the ground, strong in the tackle and appears to possess that uncanny knack of sensing where his team’s defence is vulnerable.

An apprenticeship at Pescara in Serie B, followed by two successful seasons at mid-table Sampdoria in Serie A, have seen his star rise enough for him to make his international debut this year and then look completely at home on the world stage at Russia 2018. His previous manager at Sampdoria rates him up there with the best – ‘second most effective DM in Europe’ after the loathsome Sergio Busquets.

At 22 and with his best years ahead of him, he’s decided to join the best Club in the world. There’s a real buzz about Arsenal’s pre-season; could our new Uruguayan signing be the final piece of the puzzle?

Some might be wary of building up hopes too high even before Unai Emery’s Arsenal has emerged from its chrysalis properly and they’re probably right, but who knows, fingers crossed, we could be in for a real treat this season.

 

 

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The Catalyst that Sparks the Revolution?

July 30, 2018

LB wonders what it is that’s different in the air. My observations, amateurish though they be, can be summarised in three words. Pierre. Emerick. Aubameyang.

He never EVER stops smiling. And if you look at training vids/photos, publicity moments like the new kit launch, or even match time, Mesut seems to have taken a real shine to him.

I think he’s going to turn out to be a phenomenal signing, not just for his goals, and general play, but for his esprit de corps (a while back I posited a theory about Wenger’s handover: well here’s another one – the arrival of Mkhitaryan, PEA and Sokratis, all from BD, almost at once is no coincidence). And I agree furthermore with FGG. Bring on the Golden Boot!

Will the Sanchez/Mkhitaryan player swap plus subsequent signing of Auba turn out to be one of the most significant pieces of transfer business ever done by the Club?  Only time will tell but let’s pray to Dennis it is! (ed)

Taken from a comment by Maxwell


That’s Entertainment – Arsenal thrash PSG

July 29, 2018

If football is meant to entertain, lift the spirits and make us happy then watching Arsenal beat PSG in Singapore on a Serbian stream while sitting on my sofa in London ticked all of those boxes.

It was good fun wasn’t it? Something new is happening, it may not be the much talked about high press, well not yet anyway, but there is something. Maybe there is a new found determination, maybe there is a new found freedom I can’t quite put my finger on it yet. It’s like Unai Emery has added oil to where oil was lacking and the whole thing seems to be flowing much smoother.

The format followed that of Atletico: there were three parts to it. In the first 60 minutes UE played a sort of serious team, this gave way to half a dozen changes for what seemed like giving certain players game time and then the third part in which the remaining academy players got a run out.

There is no doubt that up front we have an abundance of riches — and we have Iwobi. Özil was playing with a smile on his face as wide as the Bosphorus; that would be the same Özil that was playing with the body language of a dead frog only a month ago. (That description makes me howl) His goal was superbly taken.

Taken that is from a beautifully weighted pass from Aubameyang who was (if I am not mistaken) playing out on the right this time. Mkhitaryan looked as classy as ever and all this without Lacazzette who not only turned up in the second half looking as fit as a butchers dog he had sharpened his shooting boots as well. Two really good goals, the first being the peach of the pair which I had to watch at least five times to see just how he had made Buffon look — well silly.

Guendouzi was the standout, I am afraid to say it but I think he has made Elneny redundant already. Xhaka with a Side Show Bob hair do? The young Frenchman seemed to be everywhere and he is never going to be accused of not wanting the ball. There was a touch of show boating in the Atletico game which had vanished this time againsd PSG after what must have been a stern word in the ear.

Hector looked sharp; in fact the whole squad looked hot damn fit and ready to go. Kolasinac was left wanting for pace when conceding a penalty; he is surely only filling in for Monreal who himself is just filling in for what must almost certainly be the next heavy weight signing. No offence Nacho, love you to bits, it’s an age thing but fear not there is will be a role for you for quite some time just look at Lichtsteiner.

Goalkeeper looked ok; he made one clearance that we nearly scored from which I was impressed with. Good to see Eddie get on the score sheet again.

Yeah, all in all a fun day’s viewing and looking forward to the Chelsea game.

Written by LB


Atletico Arsenal – Deja Vu?

July 27, 2018

So, what did we learn today after witnessing Unai Emery’s first game in charge? Your guess is as good as mine but as I am writing this it is my guess that is going to be heard. Did we see evidence of a new much talked about high press? Err not really. Lacazzette was looking as fit as a butcher’s dog and was covering the final third with what seemed like a new found determination. The number nine is his but the Frenchman knows that he has to earn it every week because it is only a short hop across from the left wing for Aubameyang who, as we all know, is more than capable of playing that role.

Ramsey strutted his stuff with all the air of a player who knows he can leave and be made welcome at any club in Europe. I have no doubt that the club are doing all they can to keep him but unless you have been living under a rock for the last five years everyone knows that there is nothing that a club can do anymore to force an in demand player to sign a new contract. My guess is he will do an Özil.

The one punt I would have as to what is new is that UE wants to put his marker down on who he wants to bring through the ranks and into the first team. Maitland-Niles was conspicuous by his absence in the starting line up. Why? M-N is a Wenger prodigy, Smith-Rowe is now clearly an Emery prodigy. See where I am going with this? The same applies to Guendouzi.

As for the defence it looks as though we are in for another heart stopping season. If Emery can whip that lot into shape then he will truly deserve all the credit that comes his way.

So I watched the game on Bein Sports 2 in Arabic and when it came to the end of the 90 minutes I turned off not realising that there were penalties – doh.

Anyway, good to see the boys in the glorious red and white back in action, ohh, I almost forgot that should be the boys in the glorious red, white and pink!

Strange times.

Comment from LB


Arsenal’s Speed Problem

July 23, 2018
No idea what an Arsenal First XI’s average mph is, but I’m guessing pretty slow.
Assuming Ems Emery goes for four defenders, then the midfield will come from Torreira, Xhaka, Ramsey, Maitland Niles sort of thing. Depending on whether he goes for two or three of them, then we’re looking at a front three or four from Mesut, Mhiki, Auba and Laca.

Here’s my concern: Auba gets injured and we’re seriously lacking in pace.

Here’s my problem: Where do we find more pace and where do we squeeze it in?

Here’s my answer: we do have Danny in the wings and we also have the likes of Eddie, so if our transfer business is, as most suspect, done and dusted then the answer lies within. If, on the other hand it is not over, then where would we fit in a speedster, and where would the cash come from as I suspect some accounts balancing would be required?

Written by MickDidIt89

An Embarrassment of Riches?

July 19, 2018

Apparently an Arsenal X1 beat Crawley Town 9-0 yesterday in a behind closed doors game at Colney.

Bernd Leno made a first appearance between the sticks and plenty of other first teamers dusted off their boots to grab some playing time.

Lucas Perez and Laca bagged a brace each and Auba also got on the scoresheet.

                                                Courtesy AFC

Along with goals from Eddie, The Jeff, Reiss Nelson and Micki, it’s starting to look as though we have a very strong group of mobile attacking players to begin this season. 🙂


So Long and Thanks for all the Fish – Huddersfield Ratings

May 14, 2018

So after over 1200 games in charge, we finally reached the point where M. Arsene Wenger would be Arsenal FC boss for the last time. A goalfest in the sun would be perfect but some sneaky first away points of the year, acceptable.

First Half

Huddersfield pressed like terriers in the first twenty minutes without really creating a chance, except from dead balls. One particular goalmouth scramble saw David Ospina make his first close range block.

Two planes flew banners over the beautiful arches of the Huddersfield stadium and the 22nd minute of appreciative applause was well observed.

The Beast wasn’t sharp enough to poke home a near post flick-on from a corner before the first quality piece of football in the match produced Aubameyang’s mini record-breaking goal. Laca and Mkhi exchanged passes before setting Rambo free on the left. His outside of the boot driven cross was superbly anticipated by Auba sliding in on his derriere at the far post.

Second Half

The second half saw even more huffing and puffing from Huddersfield but little quality. Twice as many ‘attempts’ on goal than us but with one fewer on target tells its own story.

Two glorious one on ones for the boys in charcoal grey and pink were both squandered by Laca and Welbz respectively. Laca chose to lob a keeper who carried on standing up and Danny really needed to stop and change the angle rather than continue on his weaker left.

Huddersfield had two last attempts at spoiling the Wenger party, one shot flicking off the top of the crossbar and Ospina keeping out a last gasp header at the second attempt.

Ratings

Ospina – Probably did more than anyone else to ensure Arsene left with a victory … 7

Bellerin – Looked great in the Yorkshire sunshine  … 6

Mustafi – Some decent challenges and blocks … 7

Holding – Will be interesting to see if the next manager can bring more out of Rob … 6

Kolasinac – Rampaging Berserker … 7

Ramsey – Flitted in and out like a delicate butterfly  … 6

Xhaka – Great end of season, looking forward to him doing it all year  … 7

Iwobi – Scampered around trying to find a crack … 7

Mkhitaryan – on the beach already  … 6

Aubameyang – Became the fastest Arsenal player to reach 10 Prem goals, ultimately the match winner   … 7

Lacazette – Will a new manager have Alexandre down the middle with PEA on the left? – hmmm … 7

Subs

Monreal – presumably came on to bolster the defence? … 6

Welbeck – created his one on one with a fine challenge but couldn’t find the coup de grace – 6

Maitland-Niles – came on, passed and tackled well … 6

Summary

So Arsene got the send off he deserves with the team finally winning three points away from home at last.

Curiously enough, the dolphins had long known of the impending demolition of Earth and had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger. But most of their communications were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs, or whistle for titbits, so they eventually gave up and left the Earth by their own means – shortly before the Vogons arrived. The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backwards somersault through a hoop, whilst whistling the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’. But, in fact, the message was this “So long and thanks for all the fish”.

chas