Back with a Bang – WiganGooner and Arsenal FCon August 25, 2013 at 10:41 am
Well it seems like an appropriate time to end my summer hiatus. I feel refreshed and ready to discuss all things Arsenal whilst swerving any transfer guff with the determination of my new Puppy and his never ending enthusiasm to get up on the bed in the morning.
So where is Arsenal 2013-14?
Well, it seems we have a new focussed Arsenal back room – we have got rid of the obvious dead-wood where possible and we have stripped the cupboard bare of the non-essential items. We are on a diet of huge talent and experience and anything that seems overly-calorific or just plain crap has been sent away to be big rubbish bin of European football.
We are now a lean, mean, footballing machine and pre-season went beyond expectations with confident performances and the continuing emergence of Ramsey in the Arsenal midfield. His confidence and ability is finally beginning to match up with excellent performances and it is about time he is getting the credit he richly deserves.
I had a twitter conversation which ended with myself and the other participants deciding that Rambo will be as critical to this Arsenal side as Wilshire perhaps more due to his ability to touch every blade of grass twice in a 90 mins period. It has never been more clear how right we were than yesterday against Fulham. He eclipsed the likes of Parker and Duff in the Fulham midfield, experienced professionals with decent CV’s as if they were schoolboys.
Up front we look lively, Theo looks like he is running on full-confidence, he looks a threat every time he runs at his full-back and that can only pay dividends, as it did against Fenerbache and Fulham. The good news for us is that he can do that against the best full-backs in the world, he looks like he is ready to start cashing those cheques and start showing us his real potential. It is an exciting time for Theo.
Giroud has been excellent throughout pre-season and it is clear to see that he has worked on the target man role and he is really putting it in on the pitch. His running has always been excellent, but now he has more restraint, he makes great runs opening space and finding great positions. The hardest bit about being a striker is being in the right place at the right time and Giroud is doing that. Typified by his fortunate, but extremely well-taken goal yesterday against Fulham, when the ball ricocheted off him from Rambo his composure kicked in and he hit a delicate flick past the sprawling Stockdale. It was a top-class finish under pressure from the ‘keeper with little time to set himself. Would he have finished that last season? I’m not so sure.
It is at the back where we have our worries, with a long term injury to Vermaelen, we are thin on centre-backs like never before. We have shipped out Djourou, Squillaci, Miquel (on loan) and we haven’t brought in a soul. The BFG and Koscielny started the season as our first-choice, just as they ended the last and looked good, prior to the harsh sending off of Koscielny against Villa. The BFG was not to be cowed however and with a rejigged defence did a great job against Fulham. Sagna is no green recruit and excelled yesterday but it was down to great communication between him and the BFG. Per is a talker and that is why he works so well with Koscielny and Sagna, two players who listen and like to be guided on where to be and what to do. They don’t need micro-managing, but they are both open to guidance and support and Per gives them that. It is worth mentioning that the BFG has put in some massive performances already (pardon the pun) and it bodes really well for us this season.
We really need to strengthen and Arsene has already mentioned the long-term injury to perpetual absentee Diaby along with the injuries to Vermaelen and Arteta really put our thin squad under pressure. We need a centre-back and a defensive midfielder or a player that can do both but in terms of squad depth I’d prefer to get two players. We really could do with another striker, I am excited about Sanogo, his potential is there for all to see, but he looked like a fish out of water in his brief cameo against Fulham and although I expect to see him perform in the Capital One Milk Cup this season he isn’t ready to terrorise defences up and down the country just yet.
So over-all, this feels like a positive start to the season. We have obvious squad deficiencies, but we still have a bit of time to address that and there is no manager elsewhere in this tiny world that loves a late, drama transfer like Arsene Wenger.
..I kind of love it too, even though it is a bit of a detriment to the team, it gives me a feeling of devil may care up until September 2nd, which is a blessing with people writing us off before the season actually starts.
I think we can be champions.