Is the squad ready for the start of the season? by Konstantin Mitov
Hello lovely Arsenal people! It’s been an eventful summer for the club so far, but with just 2 weeks left till the start of the season, we must have built some ideas of how the squad will look like.
The Singapore tour gave some youngsters the chance to shine with Emile Smith-Rowe making notice, but the star of that show was Guendouzi for me. His performances reminded me of what we bought Xhaka for, that never really came to be.
Will he be a starter though? Ramsey and Torreira are the two main candidates for the CM and DM position. But what if we sell Ramsey? Who do you start against Man City? I don’t see how Lucas will have enough fitness to start the season, nor Xhaka. Right now it’s Ramsey and Guendouzi in my opinion.
We need a good start of the season. It’s a result based business in the end. If we lose to City and Chelsea, people will immediately throw questions about whether Emery was the right man, wether his tactics are right and so on. Some will even draw comparisons to Arsene.
We need our absolute best against the champions and selling Ramsey to Chelsea will be so bad considering his pre-season is with us and he can explain our ideas to Sarri.
Then again Arsenal do love a pile of cash and after the Alexis drama we might sell. I think up front we have enough goals and we do have a lot of players for the CM role, but I still go with Ramsey for the footballing reasons.
Moving on, we have a lot of players with a point to prove. The whole Ozil drama was very poorly handled by both sides. First, taking pictures with your football shirt with a man who fired and jailed tens of thousands of teachers and intelligent people due to his fear that he might lose his power is not exactly the dictatorship image I’d want to be associated with, let alone embarrass my football club with it.
Then the way the DFB used this to single out Ozil as the scapegoat for Germany’s world cup failure was pathetic. Muller, Neuer, Boateng, Hummels weren’t any better and wasn’t the coach the one who picked him? This reminds me of the way Wenger used completely unrelated topics to excuse for his failures. Yet I didn’t like that Mesut quit. It’s the easy option, and now puts even higher pressure for him to deliver at Arsenal. He has nowhere to hide now that Wenger is gone and he must prove everybody wrong with performances and I hope he does, because he has the quality and it was nice to see him on the score sheet with the armband!
The captain issue remains unresolved though and I would really like to have 2 players selected for it and get it done with. But who will they be? The most senior players or the ones that actually play? Do we have a character that will scream and shout at everybody else and they will listen? It remains an open question.
But in terms of others with a point to prove, Cech and Mustafi were solely responsible for quite a lot of the goals we conceded. They’ll be given a second chance and I remain conscious of both. We made some defensive errors in the friendlies that were so last season. While it’s impossible to change our mindset in a flash after years of going backwards, we need to look for shortcuts to a successful defence as the amount of conceded goals really cost us the past 2 seasons.
There were some signs of the winds of change though as we saw some more direct play, like long balls to Aubameyang and abusing the pace he has. Liverpool do this a lot, where they bypass their midfield and let the three up front do the job and it worked. We need to play to the strengths of the players we have, not trying to play a brand of football we cannot.
Overall, I hope we are well prepared for the start. Man City spanked us good last season, so we have a lot to get back at them and getting some good results against the big teams will help boost the confidence in the new coach and his ideas. Not a lot of time left before we see the new Arsenal in real action!