Some of the key challenges for next season. by Konstantin Mitov
Hello again fellow Arsenal fans! The world cup is ongoing and we finally saw some Arsenal wins at the world cup where Lichtsteiner and Xhaka impressed again, although Granit didn’t miss the opportunity to mark his good performance with political gestures that might get him in trouble.
In other world cup news, England cruised to the last 16 and say it quietly, but looking at the other teams, this could be a good year for the three lions. Welbeck didn’t feature again, but key players of the other top 4 contenders might return late which is good for us.
Back to Arsenal players as unused subs, Ozil was made the scapegoat of Germany although you can’t say the performance was any better without him, the important thing was the drop. Will Emery have the balls to bench him? Ozil is a luxury player, who made the best out of the poor situation at Arsenal to get a bumper new deal knowing we can’t afford to let both him and Sanchez leave. We failed to manage Ozil properly and this will be one of Emerys biggest tasks.
The other obvious is the back 5. We signed Leno and it’s difficult to imagine him not overtaking Cech. Ospina did make some nice saves in Colombia’s demolition of Poland, but he’s very likely to be sold as Cech has little resale value, but could be kept for his experience.
Now for the defenders. We know Sokratis will be one, but the other? Surely not Mustafi? Do we sign someone or promote Chambers or Mavropanos? Then Bellerin and Monreal are no brainers in the squad because of the language barrier.
And if you think that isn’t important, here is a quote from an interview with Emery “Luckily, the French I learned when I was younger helped me out a bit! Of course, I don’t fully master it. One day, I heard Rafael Benitez say that he wasn’t able to transmit everything he wanted to say in English, and that surprised me because he was fluent in English and that he had been living there for 15 years. But he was missing that small percentage which would have allowed him to connect perfectly with his players”.
Now multiply this by the number of people Emery brings with him in his backroom staff and it could be a problem. I’m not saying it will be, but it might. Also the decision to let Emery bring in so many assistant coaches is somewhat strange.
We hire him to work in a structure, but we allow him to bring all his men, then we keep Steve Bould as a bridge to the past? I guess the board thought it’d be nice to have one familiar face to say hi to when the players return. But then again will Emery work with Bould when he has his trusty friend Juan Carlos Carcedo?
Another funny one is the new strength and conditioning coach – Julen Masach, who makes the role of Darren Burgess questionable. Same goes for the other survivor – goalkeeper coach Sal Bibbo, and the new one – Javi Garcia.
Emery has to win over the players. His CV’s biggest achievement are the three Europa Leagues, which might not be enough to command respect from the likes of Ozil and Aubameyang. And trying to work well with the familiar faces at Arsenal rather than just sticking to his pals can be a good start.
It was very interesting how Lehmann complained that he was axed, with a comment that the class of 2004 is no longer needed. Now I love Jens, but truth is the year is 2018 and football has changed dramatically, both on and off the pitch. And I failed to see any impact from Jens on the squad, especially in the goalkeeper department, which was one of the worst in the team.
For all his character and qualities he had on the pitch, he was just another Wenger yes man and those days are dead in the new Arsenal, but I still don’t get how Bouldy is any different, but we’ll see very soon if our defensive performances will change and if not he’ll be gone with the rest of the coaching staff, just like in any other top club (I can’t enjoy enough the fact that people would be held accountable for once)!
So all and all a lot of work has to be done and while all eyes are in Russia, it’s the players that are not there that matter for us. They have to soak up the ideas of the new coach and help the others when they return.
That’s me done for now, hopefully we’ll be back with more to talk about soon as I expect a few more signings to be announced in the near future!