What to think of our new signings?
Today Arsenal managed to scrape a 2-1 victory over our Premier League opponents Southampton, in what was a tight affair at the Emirates Stadium. An unlucky own goal from Petr Cech spoiled the starter, before Laurent Koscielny hit back with a superb overhead kick to level things up. A 94th minute penalty from Santi Cazorla sealed the three points for the Gunners, but the main talking point tonight will be how did our new signings do?
First off, Lucas Perez, who despite having competition from Wenger’s keen interest to play Olivier Giroud, did actually start for the Gunners up top. The Spanish star made his debut and had some good opportunities during the first half. Lucas made a lot of runs, maximising the pace that he has to his game, which of course is something we do see with Giroud, and ultimately he was unlucky to not be more in the mix during the game. Lucas struggled to receive positive service from his teammates, especially from the wings, and so as he was playing as a lone striker up front, it’s very difficult for him to be involved in both the build up play and have the instinct to be ready in the box. Lucas didn’t play the whole game and he was subbed off midway through the second half for Olivier Giroud. Giroud eventually went on to win Arsenal a last gasp penalty.
Shkodran Mustafi had a calm, yet strong, debut in which I felt he showed the right balance between passion and aggression. Mustafi was strong in his stance and wasn’t afraid to get a heavy tackle in, however he wasn’t clumsy with his tackling, like Gabriel and Chambers can often be. Even though he is still relatively young in his career, Mustafi played with a great amount of collectiveness on the pitch, in which his experience and communication on both the big stages of European football and international football really showed. Mustafi is going to be a great centre back partner for Laurent Koscielny and hopefully we see the Gunners dry up the amount of goals we concede in the league. At a rumoured £35 million buy, Arsenal fans had high expectations of the German international and I think they will be pleased with what they saw today.
So there we have it, two great debuts for the club’s two latest additions. I’m expecting big things from both players over the course of this season and although of course they will take some time to truly settle into the team, if today has any bearing of their potential success at Arsenal, then I think we can be hopeful that Wenger has made two good purchases here.