Okay, Arsenal’s new signing was hardly the trumpet-prompting type sought after by Gooners everywhere, but Rob Holding is a real talent, and this article is intended to shine some light on the youngster signed from Bolton just yesterday.
Written by Benjamin Dungate.
Having been an Arsenal fan through the George Graham era and having played the ‘Makelele’ role as well as right back during my Sunday League days, I feel I am ideally suited to pass comment on Arsenal’s defensive options for the upcoming season – well, better than the rest of the idiot pundits who seem to criminally underrate Koscielny.
We are lucky enough to have arguably the finest central defender in the Premier League in Laurent Koscielny. He opitimises everything you want in a modern day defender. He is fast, he reads the game well, he is aggressive in the tackle, good in the air and he chips in with some goals too. He has also taken on a leadership role within the team and will be a good shout as captain, no matter his lack of vocal strength!
Arsenal also have good options in the full back positions. Hector Bellerin is only going to improve and Monreal is a 7 out of 10 every game. But who should partner Koscielny?
I love Per Mertesacker as much as any Gooner and thought he would be perfect even before he was actually purchased. But I think the BFG’s days as a first choice are numbered. Positionally he is still a fine defender but seems to have lost whatever it is that elevates a player above being just good. At the very same time, Laurent Koscielny seems to acquired it.
The decision to just go out an buy a new defender though is not one to be rushed in to. For what we need is not necessarilly to buy the best defender we can, but to buy the best defender we can who compliments what we already have.
The complications arise when you look at Koscielny’s skill set. For not only is he our best defensive barrier he can also supply a threat when he comes out of defence to join an attack.
Of course if we cast our mind back to when Thomas Vermaelen was still at the club, there were issues when the two of them played together. Time has past since then though and Kos is a much finer defender and player in general than he was then.
So what sort of partner should Arsene search for to support Koscielny? One who will stay back and offer him the freedom to occasionally step into midfield or one who is perhaps better on the ball than Kos and be the one who ventures forward.
It is a difficult decison but ultimately we have no way of knowing what the right decision is until one is made. Playing alongside Mertesacker has improved Koscielny’s game but now a new, better partner is needed and Gabriel is not the man to fill that role for me.
There are some exciting defenders out there such as Konstantinos Manolas and Skrodran Mustafi. Both with huge potential and both very different in their styles. Or maybe the answer is already within our ranks in young Callum Chambers…
Whichever direction the manager chooses to go in, it is something that needs addressing before the season kicks off.
Written by Benjamin Dungate.
At this present moment, if a club approached Arsenal with a bid – no matter the amount – for Theo Walcott, the vast percentage of Gooners would gladly pay his cab fare, chauffeur him to his chosen destination and even caddy his belongings to the training ground.
If it was a popularity contest, never mind being knocked out in the first round – Theo would be barred from entering.
This now makes him the premier footballing hipster choice.
Posted on Goonersphere
It could be said that Aaron Ramsey during Euro 2016 has been one of the stars of the whole tournament.
After the Quarter-Finals were completed, our very own Welsh dynamo sat atop the assist stats and nigh-on single-handedly destroyed the best squad in the competition with his whirlwind performance in Wales’s 3-1 triumph over Belgium.
Now, the calls are for Arsenal to include Ramsey alongside new signing Granit Xhaka in the Gunners midfield.
Which would be a huge mistake.
In recent times, Blaise Matuidi’s contributions for the national side have been slightly overshadowed, mainly by highly-touted Juventus star Paul Pogba. At this summer’s European Championship, his performances were overlooked once again as the likes of Dimitri Payet, Moussa Sissoko and Antoine Griezmann stole the show. However, not even Leicester City midfielder N’Golo Kante could displace Matuidi in the centre of midfield – and Didier Deschamps was right to keep him in the side throughout the competition.
If truth be told, Matuidi outplayed Pogba at Euro 2016, he really did. Pogba was slightly disappointing and may have been put off by constant rumours about his future in the media but that’s no excuse when you’re carrying the weight of a nation on your shoulders. The 23-year-old is France’s “golden boy” and he should be able to deal with the pressure and expectation. Unfortunately for the hosts, he wasn’t able to live up to the hype and Matuidi was forced to step up to the plate… but ultimately it wasn’t enough.
And while the PSG man doesn’t set the world on fire, he does the simple stuff very well; a trait that makes him devastatingly effective without standing out. For example, UEFA’s online statistics show that Matuidi had a 92% pass success rate throughout the tournament, with 345 successful passes from 376 attempts. Meanwhile, Pogba was languishing at 88% – with 389 accurate attempts from 433 passes. Ultimately, this shows just how effective Matuidi was at keeping possession whilst Pogba was perhaps trying to force things a little too hard.
At times, it looked like Pogba was trying to impress – but that helped Matuidi’s impressive efforts to stand out even further. Manchester United are currently trying to re-sign the current Juventus man but they might be chasing the wrong French midfielder. On his day, Matuidi is a rock at the heart of Paris Saint-Germain’s midfield and United should potentially consider going for the 29-year-old rather than the relatively unproven Pogba. After all, there’s a reason why Sir Alex Ferguson allowed him to walk away so easily in 2012…
As of July 14th, United are priced at 7/2 to win the Premier League in Bet365’s football betting odds and Jose Mourinho’s men could do with Matuidi’s skillset to give them the best possible chance of achieving that goal. While he doesn’t boast a back catalogue of incredible 25-yard scorchers, he is perhaps the ideal man to slot into Mourinho’s midfield. Just look what he did with Nemanja Matic at Chelsea; Matuidi could be his Matic and more at Old Trafford – IF the Red Devils offer PSG enough money.
But for now, let’s just appreciate Matuidi’s phenomenal performance at Euro 2016. The France man was one of their unsung heroes this summer and it is only a matter of time before one of Europe’s elite clubs enquire about his services. Appreciate his talent before he’s gone; and Les Bleus must remember that whilst Pogba is a top prospect, Matuidi is the real deal. Do NOT take him and his skillset for granted…
Written by Ben Sutherland
Aaron Ramsey shares a common trait with a slew of Arsenal players. He has shown us exactly what he is capable of – a level of midfield dominance in keeping with the finest in the game.
Another shared thread with some of his fellow Gunners is that he also struggles with the high bar he has set himself.
Amongst the usual levels of vitriol that is the norm for the Gooner fanbase, a spike in consternation has been seen across the social networks.
Arsenal over the summer, have been conducting a survey, asking fans to vote on the clubs greatest goal.
The results are in, and quelle surprise – the list that has been voted in has caused fury with some glaring omissions and what most would see as errors.
There have been many partnerships where a difference in height has been at the fulcrum of their success.
Barker and Corbett. Owen and Heskey. Smith and Wright.
The aerial dominance of one is pure manna for the more diminutive other, who uses their pace and killer instinct to buzz around for sustenance.
With this in mind, could a partner up front be just what is needed for Giroud?
This summer, Gooners the world over prayed, wished, and made sacrificial offerings – all of this and more, to ensure Arsenal finally purchase a striker fit for capturing the Premier League.
Despite the transfer window being open for only four days, our wishes appeared to come true, as Arsenal officially announced the signing of a striker.
Welcome to Arsenal………Takuma Asano?