Moving in a forward direction by Konstantin Mitov
Welcome lovely Arsenal people! Our positive trajectory on the pitch is being replicated off the pitch where we’re looking like making some decent business. Ozil will soon officially vacate the number 10 shirt, Kolasinac is out on loan, Sokratis’ contract was terminated and we’ve added a backup goalkeeper on loan in Mat Ryan.
Can’t complain with the business so far, and if the rumours are true and we’re getting Martin Odegaard on loan, I’d be happy. Backup for Smith-Rowe would be welcome as we really have no alternative right now. Last season Odegaard had like 7 goals and 9 assists for Sociedad. I’d welcome those kinds of stats on our side, because we need to find more sources of goals.
Our over reliance on Aubameyang showed this season when he hit a drought. It’s not all his fault as the side didn’t really create much, so all and all Odegard is a potential signing making perfect sense. That said, we’ve cleared out a little bit of the wage bill, and with Mustafi also finally going in the summer we will have gotten rid of a large portion of the players we don’t even play, and we can start actually upgrading certain positions. We just need to avoid making another expensive mistake like Pepe or Willian.
We’ve managed to put together some decent results in the last 6 league games, but the opposition will become much tougher. Southampton twice are next and although they’ve only won 1 of their last 5 league games, it was against Liverpool and we don’t have a great record at St. Marys in the league recently.
The two games will be very different. I suspect the likes of Pepe and WIllian might get a rare chance to prove a point in the cup game. We could also see Ryan if we opt to rotate Leno there as I don’t think we’ll give the flappy hands of Runarsson another chance. In the FA cup we’ve actually done very well against the Saints including a 5-0 victory a few years back.
I think squad wise, we have enough to win both games, but even on a good run I can’t say which Arsenal will turn up. There will be expectations put on our shoulders, and I don’t think we’ve handled this well recently. Still a win in the league means we’ll leapfrog Southampton and Chelsea and go up to 8th.
All in all, we’ve managed to steady the ship and lay a foundation that puts hope for the future. Even though the damage from the first half of the season was very big, the league is very unpredictable. The games from now on represent not only a chance to climb up to a more respectable position, but also a measure of how much of the rebuilding job is still left to be done.