Aug 012010
 

The Emirates Cup is quickly turning into an indicator that the serious football is about to begin, and having managed to snare a ticket to day one, I’ve had an earlier than usual look at our squad situation, in the flesh. And despite Milan coming back to snatch a 1-1 draw, I’ve come away feeling extremely positive about the season ahead. Here’s why:

1. Chamakh. Wenger’s first signing of the year looks to be a belter. Looked lively throughout, scored a composed goal, and the standing ovation he was afforded when substituted in the second half said it all. But his end product was only half the story – I spent a few minutes just watching his movement, the way he was dragging Milan defenders this way and that, and any opponent of his is going to be in for a tough time this season. We knew he was good in the air, but he is intelligent, calm, and decent on the deck too, capped by one outrageous piece of skill where he controlled a forty yard pass with a Cruyff turn. Not bad for a free transfer.

2. Koscielny. Prior to the game, all I could focus on was how scrawny our new centre half is. And while true, watching him in action makes you realise that although he needs hours in the gym, he could become a terrific defender once his physical stature improves. And to be fair, he was biting into tackles in a way that made him seem more imposing than his slight frame would suggest. Excellent reading of the game, pacey, and on this evidence, first choice. Wenger still has time to demote him with a new signing, but he appears to be ahead of Djourou in the pecking order, and capable of forming a solid partnership with Vermaelen.

3. Cesc is staying. I cannot for one second agree with anyone who thinks we would be better off with a boatload of cash.

4. Much of our forward line is still to return. Milan are known for their defensive tenacity, and while some of that discipline is missing in pre-season, it was still very encouraging to see how often we stretched them without Cesc, Van Persie and Bendtner available. Bear in mind that the trio, along with Arshavin, were expected to create everythinglast season, and you can see the shift. That said, we could do with Van Persie or Bendtner firing early in the season to take some of the pressure away from Chamakh – once he was taken off, we looked lightweight up front.

5. Nasri looks ready to step up. It is easy to forget that the Frenchman had no pre-season last year, missing the early stages of the campaign with a broken leg. But his performances over the last couple of weeks, coupled with some from early in 2010, suggest that this year could be his breakthrough year.

6. Wilshere is not going out on loan. Confirmed by Wenger, the 18 year old will now be given chances in the first team that many believe are overdue. There is no doubting we’ve been careful with young Jack, and rightly so, but having impressed with Bolton last season, he has proven himself ready for Premiership action. Had Joe Cole been signed, another loan may have been on the cards, but at ten years Cole’s junior, Wilshere is the long term option.

7. Competition for places. I should caveat this point by saying injuries may dictate the team, but it is an oft spoken truth that you need two players for every slot in the team. Gibbs and Clichy look set to battle for the left back berth, a fit Djourou will be itching to play, Eboue will challenge Sagna, Frimpong was excellent again and may have moved ahead of Eastmond to be Song’s understudy, and the wealth of attacking midfielders will all be looking to stake their claims. Up front, we have three able to lead the line, and even more to play just behind. Any position without injuries will be hard fought.

Plenty to be positive about there, but there are still some concerns. We are only just heading into August, so any issues have time to be resolved, but a few things still worry me:

1. Defending set pieces. You could see it coming, and Milan aren’t even as proficient from set plays as many we will face this season. But once again a simple ball defeated three defenders, and a free header was planted past Fabianski, who I feel was blameless. It is a weakness that persists, and to resolve it we need to stop allowing strikers to make the runs they want. Pato was free to do as he pleased.

2. The keeper situation. In fairness, Fabianski did nothing wrong, but then he actually had nothing to do – no chance for the goal or when his crossbar was struck, and no other notable saves to make. More and more it seems he may become our first choice, and while I’ve backed him vigorously in the past, that still makes me nervous.

3. Lack of centre halves. To be fair, I’m less concerned about this because Wenger himself acknowledges the need to strengthen, but we need to get any new player in quickly because otherwise we are left with Vermaelen, aninjury prone Djourou and Koscielny, who could still be raw (asking him to make Vermaelen’s instant impact is unfair). For me, we need someone powerful to prevent the likes of Stoke running amok, and quickly.

Overall, I’m feeling hugely positive. Two out of three issues can be solved with the pair of signings we all want – centre back and keeper – and an improvement in both departments may also help eradicate our weakness against set pieces. In addition, the presence of Chamakh means our keepers finally get practice against a striker who is a real threat in the air. They’ll need it.

Next up, Celtic.

  60 Responses to “Groan’s 10: Seven reasons to be cheerful after the Milan game…and three reasons not to be”

  1. In your reasons to be cheerful why don`t you add frimpong ,like they said to give seedorf and gattuso a run for their money is not something we see very often!!I like the look of him ,hope he makes the grade.

    • Been impressed with him, certainly. It has been interesting to see how much he’s featured, and how well he’s taken his chance. Whether he’ll play much this season is unknown, but he has staked his claim.

  2. I propose that Arsenal fans World wide post letters once a week for the next four weeks to UEFA & FIFA complaining about Barcelona FC’s ‘tapping up’ of Cesc Fabregas. Also post a letter just once to Arsenal FC requesting that they formally complain to UEFA & FIFA. I have drawn up 3 template letters that I will email to willing participants. All you need to do is type in your own Name & Address before printing off & posting. Momentum will be boosted by you forwarding the email to every one of your Arsenal FC fan family & friends, encouraging them to participate.
    The aim of repetitive letters is to create an Admin headache for UEFA & FIFA with thousands of letters received from all over the world & display the strength of feeling from Arsenal FC fans. The purpose of the single letter to Arsenal FC is again to display the strength of feeling from us fans.
    My email address for this campaign from where I will email you the letter templates is …….. ArsenalFansHateBarcelonaFC@gmail.com

    • As I said when you posted this on my last article, I can’t see this working. Authorities get pestered about any hot topic and they almost always ignore it. Sad but true.

      • And here Pete, you’re very, very, wrong.

        (a) I’ve had three letters published in the Times and one in the Washington Post making my points. I’ve even had one letter read out (positively) on national television.
        (b) I’ve had a political party alter it’s response in the House of Commons.
        (c) I’ve got a Select Committee to ask a particular question.
        (d) I’ve got a Minister of State to change his opinion.
        (e) I’ve got my local council to alter a particular policy to the betterment of everyone.
        (f) And more.

        Some small things, some not so small.

        What I’ve learned is that most people can’t be bothered under the guise that it never makes a difference.

        Writing letters matters and along with e-mails, texts, etc is the best way of changing minds. Trust me.

        All it takes is effort.

        If, on the other hand, you have first hand experience of the opposite being true then let me know and I’ll tell you why it failed. But if you could get just 50 people phoning UEFA at Nyon every day starting tomorrow (Monday) by Thursday there’d be an announcement.

        The trouble is for every one person who’ll do exactly that, there are 20 who’ll tell you you’re wasting your time.

        Go figure.

        • I’m not saying that action is pointless, I’m just saying it is misdirected. Quite a while ago I wrote a piece on how FIFA and UEFA do not act on public opinion, but they do once the media start howling (see Eduardo, Henry etc).

          The best thing that could happen is for the media to get the hump with Barcelona, not us directly. So if letters were to be written, they would be better directed at the press, who have a lot more power over the action of the authorities.

    • Go away! You are totally misguided and your idea is an embarasment

    • You’re really getting boring now!

    • There’s always UEFA junk mail filter…and delete button.
      Why do they even bother….

  3. can any 1 explain 2 me y 2week before the season kicks off we have only got 3 centre back!? And one of them spends more time on the treatment table than he does on the pitch and the other, as good as he looked 2day, is not proven in the prem! A goal keeper is the least of our worries

  4. Frimpong looks ready!!!! Koscielny looks formidable!!!! Vermaelen looks like a real captain general, Chamakh looks smooth and composed(still not sure about how much goals he’ll score though!! But looks pretty good!! Wilshere looks so comfortable on the ball!!! Oozzzing ability!!

    If we get a world class cb in then I’d be confident!! A bit upset not to see szczesny get. at least 35mins!! I think he should be number 1!!! And wenger said almunia will play against celtic!! Would of loved to see jet come on instead of bloody randall!! Where’s lansbury, eastmond!! They should all get a game b4 randall!! He looks like a diva! Sort of bentley-esqe!!

    Now all we need is for wenger to run through some defensive tactics!! And we’ll win a cup!!

    • Vermaelen is average and could not even defend the set piece. Koscielny is light weight and can’t handle Rooney. So are in for problem. Last year we conceded 41 goals when we had better Gallas, now it will be more, unless Wenger makes good of his promise of looking for good defener.

    • I agree, was surprised that Randall is anywhere near the first team and with Chamakh and Arshavin off we needed a ‘presence’ up front. I too was disappointed not to see JET. Hope AW is taking Celtic seriously and will use him tomorrow.

      By-the-bye. As a tribute to Eduardo I hope we CRUSH Celtic tomorrow. Their whingeing and complaining was a major reason the Media got on Eddy’s case and why his recovery lost its momentum.

      • To be fair, I don’t think Randall is anywhere near the first team. But playing two matches in two days when plenty are missing means that some players in that category will feature.

        I’m 99% certain that Randall won’t make it at Arsenal. Decent player, but not good enough for this level.

    • Chamakh, looks good skill wise and hard work, he very good in scoring with his head but the problem is, he needs people who can cross well and that is what we don’t have. sagna and walcott are not good in crossing.

      • the one thing i hav been seeing for seasons that hasnt improved is the “crossing”..

        for god sake.. i nvr seen a good cross from both sagna and walcott.. y dont they master this crossing skills in practice,

  5. Chamakh??? No wonder Wenger waited a whole season to sign him on a FREE!
    He’s the “Real Deal.” Can you immagine; Vermaleen, Song, Cest/Nasri, Van-Pasie & Chamakh?
    Roll on Season 2010!

    • B4 this Arsene best buy is Kolo toure for 500,000. maybe he want to better that with best buy of free.. That a record that cannot be break

    • But we needed him last January, when Bendtner and RvP we out and little Andy Arshavin was losing his enthusiasm playing CF.

      • Well you have him now lets see what he will do, but the problem with arsenal is not with midfield and forward but the defence and goal keeping. that has to change this season if we are to mount a serious title challenge.

  6. frimpong is ready for sure and thats good news because song is too slow and cumbersome. The 2 debutants were also tremendous. Wilshere is also looking pretty good. Now for the negatives -clichy cant defend and vermaelen looks nervous when hes playing next to him. Sagna for me is also very average and finally it doesnt look like Wengers buying a keeper. Oh and we need 2 more c-def because djourou never looks good enough or fit enough.

    • Ha, I would disagree with most of what you wrote…I think Song has been unsupported and has done a very decent job so far and I expect him to do an even better one this coming campaign. Whooops, agree that Wilshere and Frimpong look very encouraging. I think CVlichy and Sagna are quality and will be very good this year. I am surprised that crossing the ball is not a trainable skill, apparently. Half a whooops, agree we need another CB, but think Djourou will be a very important squad player this year.

      • I agree that song is doing his job and the defence is where that need improvement, even Wenger him self acknowledge that when you concede 41 goals you cannot challenge for title. And the goal keeping is awful.

      • Agreed – Song is doing great. I always hesitate before lauding someone in a pre-season friendly who has not shone before, so while Frimpong impressed, I wouldn’t necessarily say he is ready for first team football just yet.

        He might be, but it is too early to say.

  7. I don’t agree that Flappy is not to be blamed for the goal. I will say it’s not entirely his fault because 4 Arsenal players jumped for the ball and none of them got to it. However, the header eventually came around the 6 yard box – an area that any good keeper will have in his pocket. Our keepers are all terrible at coming off their line to claim the ball but all world class goalies dominate their penalty area with confidence. Flappy should have taken a couple steps out and grabbed that ball off Pato’s head. He’s not the person to stay in between the sticks and I am nowhere near believing that he will develop – he can’t even push Kuszcak out of the Polish team and Kusczak permanently warms the Man Utd bench. Wenger definitely needs to strengthen defense and find defenders who will take command of set pieces, crosses and ball in the air in general. There is also the need for an international quality goalkeeper who thrives on big and small games and not so prone to errors.

    • The problem with arsenal defenders is, they don’t now how to defend set piece, even small team are aware of that and take advantage. I am really pessimetic about this season.

      • Agreed, we need a defensive coach. Remember Keown taking us to the CL finals without conceding a goal!

        • You need to have good coaches in every department do you think Jose Mourinho uses magic in winning trophies, no but he make sures every department is addressed and gives more attenction to defence and goal keeping.

    • I don’t know – the ball is was quick and I don’t think it was Fabianski’s ball. Had he come, he wouldn’t have got there, and he would have been lambasted. I agree he has made plenty of mistakes before, but I don’t think this was another one.

  8. On the wires this morning, guys.

    ARSENAL SIGN INTERNATIONAL KEEPER

    (AP- MOLDOVA – Aug 1) Arsenal are set to sign the talented Moldovan international goalkeeper Nilain Levroji this week in a bid to solve their ongoing goalkeeping crisis.
    The 23-year-old from Iskra-Stal Ribnita will join the Gunners in a €5million deal to be completed on Tuesday.
    Levroji has played twice for the Moldovan national team but has been rated as one of the top young keepers in European football.
    News of his transfer to Arsenal was confirmed on Moldovan TV yesterday (Sunday).
    Arsenal had been expected to sign Australian international goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer from fellow London team Fulham but the deal has fallen through with the West London club demanding €4million for the 37-year-old.

    ends

    ends

  9. I still live in hope and fight for my wonderful team that we can doing better than last season, but we still need three powerfull and quickly player to strengthen the team, go and get them quickly Mr. Arsene, don’t be late!!. One verry strong and quicly centre forward co’s RVP, Chamack or Bendtner not good enough if compare with Drogba, Rooney, and one more centre back and one keeper.In this season we want something happen or we back in dreaming.

    • I think our forward have no blame at all in regards to last season. We had our best forward injured but had more or same goals and assist with guys you mentioned by the time he got injured. imagine if MenU and Chelsea had Rooney and Drogba injured for more than a month what will it have been for them. The difference last between us and those two team was they had better defense than us and less injury to their important guys and goal keeping. Remember we are the only team that has bad goal keeping all the top ten teams in Premier league.

  10. wat about denilsons and diabys.. they have just disappeared. i hope it happens. .. wil they play in the coming season.. i doubt it because frimpong and wilshere are far better than them..

    • Too easy to say ‘X youth player is better’ – I really don’t think you can say Frimpong is better than the two established players yet. Wilshere should feature, but Denilson and Diaby particularly have roles to play. Denilson’s injured, by the way.

  11. Pls stop moaning like dogs and watch prof continue his footbal chemistry.hav any of u being a coach of any team b4?

  12. It was a good match. Our players were sharp and did not give AC much time on the ball. The goal concede is one of those indefensible crosses, any touch would result in a goal. It curled beautifully behind the CBs. Sometimes it flashes across the goal and other times a touch is all that is required. Looks like an own goal.
    Still we need a goalkeeper, fabianski is too small to be command respect from opposing forward. He would be bullied, unfortunately. Another cb would be most welcome. Then the team would be complete. There are sufficient good sub this year to challenge the first teamers and to make an impact.

    • The tactic of getting in Fabianski’s face is an obvious one, and while he needs to deal with it better, he also needs better protection from the defence. My issue with the goal yesterday was that Pato was able to run freely without anyone getting in his way. We’re too polite.

      • A bit of protection from a ref would be nice, but as we don’t play home games at Odd Triffid (the home of the referee), that won’t happen!

  13. Flappy may as well not been there when they scored their equalising goal.

    Schmeical and Seaman would have come off their line and caught it. Casillas would have come uff his line and punched it away.

    I would say in Flappy’s nine previous games he has made at least one mistake and conceded a goal. He is quite useless.

  14. who ever wants to blame verm for the goal and said he was average must be blind or sumthin…goal was jdourou’s foult he actualy ducked under and purposly missed the ball…djourou is SHIT

    • I swear the reason we lost yday wus cus wenger underestimated ac milan by bringing in Randall….JET would’ve done d job again wenger experimented wiv walcott alone up front I’ve always felt walcott should play on the left and vela on the right they are both strikers and have it in their blood to go for goal about 3 yrs ago wenger let walcott play on d left and he scored a messi like goal against derby….vela had a wonderful chance yday and wouldve scored if the chance came from d right…d only diffrence btw arsenal and barca in game play would b dat arsenal play wiv wingaz and barca play wiv supporting strikers…I prfer gibbs to clichy, ….clichy disgusts me….well thanks to arsenals youth policy we’ve got the new Heskey in JET…new j.cole in wilshere and new Essien in frimpong….and dnt forget milan threw everything in but we had a lot of big names missing…a cb and keeper away from a trophy drought end….arsenal forever….

      • We keep Cesc 2 more years our youngsters are ready. frimpong is like an animal, a new Essien. Wilshere improves week by week, and we don’t even have ramsey back yet.
        Just as everyone knows, a worldclass CB and GK is all it takes for the double … or more :)

    • I swear the reason we lost yday wus cus wenger underestimated ac milan by bringing in Randall….JET would’ve done d job again wenger experimented wiv walcott alone up front I’ve always felt walcott should play on the left and vela on the right they are both strikers and have it in their blood to go for goal about 3 yrs ago wenger let walcott play on d left and he scored a messi like goal against derby….vela had a wonderful chance yday and wouldve scored if the chance came from d right…d only diffrence btw arsenal and barca in game play would b dat arsenal play wiv wingaz and barca play wiv supporting strikers…I prfer gibbs to clichy, ….clichy disgusts me….Cielny is wow I’m so impressed I prefer him to met’saka b4 u kill me its becus our counter attack and offside trap set up wuld expose how slow he is….dj let me down…no more spaniards just hueva speaks french and english….I wuld love a diamond next season RvP and Numchuks strykin arshavin on top the diamond nasri and fabregas 2geda in midfield…song in dmf…verm and kons in cb gibbs and eboue overlapping and a good keeper in d post wuld do for me……
      well thanks to arsenals youth policy we’ve got the new Heskey in JET…new j.cole in wilshere and new Essien in frimpong….and dnt forget milan threw everything in but we had a lot of big names missing…a cb and keeper away from a trophy drought end….arsenal forever….

  15. If we’re depending on Fabianski and Djoure (sp), we will concede more goal than we did last season, but if we bring in players in both those positions we’ll be much more competitive. Add add a defensive coach to the mix, then I’d be much more confident of a chance of success this season.

  16. *add* whopps

  17. Disagree with your statement that you are 99% sure that Randall wont make it at Arsenal.You like me should be 100% sure.
    Im getting concerned already about the Liverpool game because as far as I can see we can only add Diaby,Song and Denilson to those on show yesterday.New signings are absolutely imperative and Wenger should get a move on.

  18. Well summarized, mate.

  19. […] Groan’s 10: Seven reasons to be cheerful after the Milan game…and three reasons not to be 2010 August 2 tags: after, cheerful, game…and, Groan’s, Milan, reasons, Seven, Three by rich Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginThe Emirates Cup is quickly turning into an indicator that the serious football is about to begin, and having managed to snare a ticket to day one, I’ve had an earlier than usual look at our squad situation, in the flesh. And despite Milan coming back to snatch a 1-1 draw, I’ve come away feeling […] The Beautiful Groan […]

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