Winners and losers of pre-season so far. by Konstantin Mitov
Hello again lovely Arsenal people! We just played Chelsea in Dublin and managed to get to an equalizer with the last kick of the game and then we won our penalty shootout – in a stark contrast to the Atletico game. It’s still preseason, but there were a few worrying things still. The defense looked shaky again.
So let’s jump straight to the losers so far and we have to start with Hector Bellerin. Poor again. Easily turned by a Chelsea youngster, gave away a silly penalty and he was supposed to be one that would thrive under Emery and so far he was less than impressive. The big worry is Lichtsteiner has just returned to training and it’s very unlikely we’ll see him start against City, but on current form Sane would just roast Bellerin.
The other one is Sokratis and although the jury is still out, his lack of pace is a big worry considering we’re likely to put Mustafi next to him. Once Torreira makes his debut in the squad, we’ll have a glimpse of what our defensive setup will be like as the defence doesn’t come just from the back 5, but so far the Greek and our overall defensive performances haven’t been great.
Moving on to the winners so far, there is a clear favourite here and that’s Guendouzi. The guy is such a talent. What i most like about him is his forward thinking. Always looking up and ahead. We’ve had so many sideway players, I honestly forgot how exciting a midfielder can be with his vision. The guy doesn’t lack composure either and he seems so confident for a young lad. He’s really knocking on the door of the first team and so far I’d start him against City as he’s been the standout player.
Another winner that’s been kind of in the shadows is Petr Cech. I’ve been very critical of him, because of the mistakes he made last season, but since Leno has come, Cech has opted to fight for his place and he’s done it in style. He even saved some penalties. Is this due to the new coaching staff? I don’t know but I like the improvement.
The next winner is Mesut Ozil. After the poor season and world cup and all the scandals, Ozil has looked quite good for us in pre-season. We’ll need a major season from him if we’re to return to the top 4.
The last winner is Alex Lacazzete who looks very sharp. He gets in the right positions and if he gets an injury free season I can easily see him scoring 20 goals. The question is if we could somehow pair him up with Aubameyang as Emery doesn’t really like 2 strikers going forward.
Overall I keep reiterating the point that we need to make the best of the squad we have, not stick to a system for the sake of it. We’ve looked dangerous in attack even with the rotations, but it’s the defence that’s still is a major worry and it’s also harder to fix.
In terms of players, we’re still a commanding CB short, and I wonder what about the LB position? Rumours are Emery might sell Nacho to fund money for another move, but I don’t get this one. We also need a proper winger. Mikhi and Auba are not natural wingers. The Dembele rumours are lurking but I don’t see it happening. Even if we offer Ramsey, we’re still 80 million short of what they paid for him and we don’t spend that kind of money.
Hopefully we’ll be surprised with at least another signing as right now I feel like it’s necessary. I really hope we take a good start. Two defeats and we’ll be back to the negativity of last season in a flash and nobody needs this. Moving on to Lazio in Stockholm next.