The Blog is a day early this time around as I’m on a 5 hour round trip to Liverpool via train and have blogging on the brain.
This is going to be a massive season for many players within the Arsenal dressing room. There are a few who will be playing for their future as a whole career, a few who will be playing for the potential reward of a new contract and a few who will have a point to prove from some of their performances last season.
First and fore-mostly Jack Wilshere is going to be under the microscope this season. There are a number of reasons as to why including; his injury record, the rise and rise of Ramsey, smoking, he’s English & the competition for places he faces within the team. He is to my mind a brilliant footballer, but much like Ramsey the season before last, he is caught in a limbo as to what he should be doing on the football pitch from a positional point of view. What I love about Jack is that he naturally drives the team forward, he can pick up the pace of any game with the ball at his feet and his ability to receive the ball and turn on a six-pence is astounding. But for all of his strengths he has many areas of his game which can be improved upon and as we’ve seen with the movement on Calum Chambers, Le Boss is not afraid of ousting players who many of us see as the future in Carl Jenkinson. This season will be one where Jack Wilshere will need to be at the top of his game, be injury free, do the simple things well and be there to give Wenger a selection headache. To make the manager have to choose is fine, but to make the manager make a really difficult decision is what Wilshire needs to do.
Moving onto our midfield duo of Flamini and Arteta. Playing for contracts. Playing to maintain their position as the anchor of the team. Arteta has the obvious preference of Arsene Wenger and Flamini has much work to do especially if we are to bring in an additional defensive midfielder, as I think Wenger will. They are both the wrong side of 30 which means we’ll need something of a more long term nature to replace them giving them both more of a reason to fight tooth and nail for the club (not that Flamini needs much of a push in that direction!).
Then there’s the keeper conundrum. Having 2 brilliant keepers will keep both of the on their toes. It’s not really an area of concern but an area where only one can survive.
Finally there’s Olivier Giroud. He had a really good season in my book. Outstanding in fact. He contributed not only through goals, but a lot of assists and key passes in build up play that either did contribute to goals or should have. That being said it becomes a big season for him as we have a certain Alexis Sanchez that may well become the main man up top. This does depend on a multitude of factors such as where Wenger sees Sanchez playing, whether Sanchez plays alongside Giroud or whether Giroud is at the top with Walcott and Sanchez either side. The point is that a question (in fact many questions) will be asked of Giroud as to whether he can step up in the big games, which is where he hasn’t quite hit the mark yet. The early chances v’s Chelsea and Liverpool come to mind where an early goal for the away side completely changes the mentality of the opposition and the complexity of the game.
In any case I feel that all of the above will make for a hungrier squad all round and ensure that we aren’t too ‘comfortable’ with each other to create a winning mentality.
In other parts it’s been a fairly quiet week football wise; US tour completed, popularity grown, merchandise sold and reunited with King Thierry. PR wise the tour seemed to go very well and a few first teamers got some crucial minutes under their belt before the season begins (only 3 weeks – yay!). This is what I feel fans should focus on this time of year, minutes and injury free status. Results are nice but as we saw last season beating Man City in a friendly doesn’t mean anything when you play them in the league.
There seems to have been plenty going on behind the scenes of the US tour however. A couple more signings seem to have come through the door (or are just waiting outside of the door wondering where everyone else is!). David Ospina being announced as an official signing makes that 2 replacements in and 1 marquee signing. We still have room for one more and it is the missing piece in the puzzle that is a defensive midfielder. Come on Arsene…just one more!!!
Have fun in the sun this week.