Hello again. I trust you are all OK?
Pre-season is now in full swing in Asia after victory vs Malaysia XI, 4-0 thanks to goals from a Ramsey penalty, Walcott, Vela and a rare goal from Rosicky. A 1-1 draw vs Hangzhou Greentown followed.
Pre-season is always a nervous yet exciting time for everyone, from the fans to the players to the board. It is the time to see how well new players cope and adapt to different styles of play with their new clubs and fans get too see their new heroes in action for the first time.
These coming few months should tell Arsene Wenger what needs improving, and how much money he needs to spend in order to improve that position and make the team as solid as possible.
Looking back at last season, I think the place that needs improving most is defence.
With Gael Clichy being sold to Manchester City, we must and should be looking at how to replace him. Do we buy a left back in the transfer market such as Leighton Baines? Or do we move Thomas Vermaelen across?
My favoured option would be to buy someone because last season showed just how much we missed Vermaelen’s presence at centre back when he was out of action for virtually the whole of last season. We can’t afford to take that risk again if we want to win trophies, keep Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, attract other top players and become one of the most successful clubs in Europe and the world. That shows just how important he is at centre back.
The biggest problem however, which has been mentioned by sky sports countless times, is the mental stability within the team. At times we go seven or eight games without defeat, we then suddenly lose one or two and our heads drop. This means we go a few games without victory and we lose ground in the title race and lose focus in the FA cup and champions league.
If we want to become Champions League and Premiership winners on a regular basis, then we must pick our heads up immediately after a defeat and get on with things.
If you are reading this now and thinking, ‘what about goalkeepers? Surely they are a problem?’ then your answer is that I do not believe Arsenal have a problem in terms of goalkeeping at all. As a goalkeeper myself, I know full well (and I am sure other goalkeepers can back me up on this) that a goalkeeper is only as good as the defence in front of him or her.
Look at Chelsea for example; there goalie is Petr Cech but look at the back four in front of him in the likes of Ashley Cole, John Terry (he is a prick I know but there is no doubting his talent) and David Luiz.
Man United also had a strong back four last season when Van Der Sar was in goal. They had Vidic, Ferdinand and (another prick) Evra. All good quality players in front of a talented goalkeeper.
If you look at Arsenal, we had a very talented goalkeeper in Wojciech Szczesny in goal, but in front of him was Djourou who had just returned from a lengthy injury, Squillaci who looked unstable and unsettled, Koscielny who was young and not much of a presence. At wing back we had Sagna and Clichy but when one of them wasnt around, we had BIG problems. Eboue to start is not a natural right back anyway and cannot defend to save his life, and Kieran Gibbs who, as much as I like him, is unreliable and tries too hard to push forward. As much as I like and will support all those players, that happens to be the harsh reality.
Now do you see what I mean by a good goalie always has a good back four in front of him?
Finally, I would just like to thank everyone who read my last post and gave me a few tips on how I can improve.
Anyway, that’s enough from me and I will hopefully write again soon!
By Liam Mercer