Even though Arsenal would normally expect to beat our next Premier League opponents Watford, or at least be fairly confident about it even though it is an away game, we would still expect Arsene Wenger to prepare for the match with some degree of caution in his tactics, rather than sending the players out with the intent of all out attack.
With just a day to go before the Arsenal get the Premier League campaign underway, I assume that Arsene Wenger already knows what starting line up he will pick to take on Liverpool at the Emirates. With the injury and fitness problems the boss has to cope with, both ends of the pitch are lacking in options but as usual our midfield is packed with options and is our strongest area of the pitch.
It might seem a bit churlish for me to question the value of this pre-season game for Arsenal, after eight goals and a clean sheet for the Gunners seems to be just what the doctor ordered as we get ever closer to the start of a crucial campaign, but I have to wonder whether a tougher test might have been better for the players in the long run.
Arsenal will head off to the United States on Monday after drawing the first pre-season game against the French club Lens, thanks to a sublime chipped equaliser from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. There the Gunners will play two more matches against an MLS all-star side including the likes of Didier Drogba and David Villa before the second against Mexican side Chivas De Guadalajara.
Arsenal still have our on loan keeper Wojciech Szczesny in the Poland squad as well as the French international pair of Laurent Koscielny and Olivier Giroud and the Germany play maker Mesut Ozil to look out for at Euro 2016, but after Jack Wilshere could not prevent England from crashing out with an abject display against Iceland yesterday, Aaron Ramsey is our only central midfielder left in the tournament.
Does Xhaka signing mean Ramsey’s days are numbered?
It’s such an amazing feeling to have a new signing tied up so early in the transfer window. Xhaka became the third most expensive player in Arsenal history after this week’s announcement. Having spent so much money to sign him, he is undoubtedly going to be first choice in the Gunners midfield next year. Keeping in mind how indispensable Ozil has become to the team, it practically leaves only one vacant space in the central midfield triangle.
Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque has overlooked Arsenal trio Hector Bellerin, Nacho Monreal and Santi Cazorla for his provisional squad for the upcoming European Championships next month.
Many countries have named their provisional squads ahead of the upcoming Euro2016 tournament in France this summer. Spain have now released the names included on their list, and is does not feature a single Gunner.
It has been quite a while since Olivier Giroud got anything but a hefty slating in my Arsenal player ratings, but fair play to the big striker today as he scored a very good hat-trick and gave Arsenal the perfect send off to a season that once again flattered to deceive. Other notable performances came from the returning Santi Cazorla and our midfield rock Francis Coquelin but there really was only one choice for Man of the Match.