I was excited to see what happened at Newcastle, not simply because it was the first game of the season, but actually because this is Emery’s team now. Newcastle wasn’t the whole picture and we probably won’t really be seeing what his team looks like until October, when the majority of the players are back fit.
Was there anything to take away from the game itself? Plenty. Joe Willock and Nelson have proved that if there is a battle to be had on the pitch, then they are up for it. Nelson and Willock both took a fair bit of rough-housing and they stood up and gave no quarter.
There’s a fantastic video doing the rounds of a moment in the game where Willock was pushed off the ball by Shelvey and he got back up, got back at him and won the ball back, starting a counter.
As the video shows, Emery was furious (*not)
This, this ladies and gentlemen is what we all want to see. As Arsenal fans, we picture ourselves fighting like that for the shirt. Emery was clearly and rightfully enamered by it and so was his backroom staff of Carcedo and Ljungberg.
Nelson brought some bright moves down the left and was supported well by Monreal. I’ve caught a bit of flak on Twitter for suggesting that we should sell Kolasinac this window, keep Monreal for at least this season and see what options are around next summer for a backup left-back/competition for Kieran Tierney.
My thoughts are simple, Kolasinac is on over 120k per week. That’s an awful lot of money for a player who can’t actually perform at left back. Unless he has some kind of bonkers turn-around, he simply isn’t that good at defending. Monreal is a far better defender than Kolasinac, but Kolasinac is a beast going forwards.
An expensive beast though. When we have improved our attacking options I just don’t think we need to spend that money, we’re currently (at least) spending 6.2 million pounds a year on Kolasinac.
That’s a lot of cheese for a player that most of us would consider second/third choice left back right now.
Move him on, get the money, move on Elneny, bank that money, move on Mustafi, bathe in that money and then in January, or at the end of the season improve the team again.
We cannot be afraid to get rid of the “nearly there” players, we have a strong squad, we don’t need an “almost great” player, we need to build a strong squad with great players. Either home grown through our academy, or buying the best talent available to our coffers.
Finally, thank you Raul. You really, really did have a great plan. You executed it well and battered that transfer window. Great job.
Til next time