Stephan Lichtsteiner: Experience, Leadership, Reliable Alternative

Stephan Lichtsteiner

The first signing under the Unai Emery era has arrived at the club and it comes with some mixed feelings. However, I think it’s a very astute signing in a position that has been in dire need of quantity, as well as quality. Let’s go back to the Bacary Sagna days when the Frenchman was so consistent, dependable and most importantly, extremely fit to the point we didn’t even think he needed a replacement. Well, Emmanuel Eboue was available for selection but Sagna’s form ensured that he played week in, week out.

Then Sagna and his beautiful Ludivine moved the petro-greens of Manchester City and a void was created on the right back position but Arsene Wenger replaced Sagna with his compatriot, Mathieu Debuchy, who put up consistent performances then suffered a dislocated shoulder following a rash challenge from the Poor Man’s Zlatan, Marko Arnautovic. Debuchy’s despair unlocked the door for Hector Bellerin and he made his breakthrough, making things difficult for the elder Frenchman on his return from injury. Debuchy played second fiddle for so long till the point he couldn’t take it anymore, and he moved out of the club on loan twice, before sealing a permanent move to St. Etienne.

Meanwhile, Bellerin has failed to find some consistency in his game and with Carl Jenkinson out at Birmingham and probably without an Arsenal future, the club needed to invest in a new right back, and in Stephan Lichtsteiner we have signed a very capable alternative to Bellerin – a player with so much  bags of experience, winning seven Serie A titles on the trot with Juventus. I’m pretty sure there would be great odds at Novibet for the forthcoming season.

In Lichtsteiner, we have a leader that can make himself heard on and off the pitch, as Arsenal is one of those teams that require leadership on several fronts. He can also provide some tutelage to Bellerin, a youngster with so much potential, and the competition they would have would be vital to the team. Lichtsteiner will also take some workload off Bellerin as I’d expect him to play the Europa League and Carabao Cup games while Bellerin focuses on the Premier League. He wasted no time in stating his ambitions for the club this season,

“There is a project to come back into the Champions League. I think it’s hard to see a club like Arsenal not playing in the Champions League. If you see the players, if you see the club, the stadium – it’s the project, the big opportunity to get back to the highest level.

I hope I can bring a lot of that mentality. I hope I can bring a lot of experience, a lot of mentality and together, with my team, come back to the highest level of the Champions League.

The important thing is what you do on the pitch, that you are an example for the young players, for the old players, that everybody knows that this guy will help us. Like me also, I need to know that everybody helps me. This is the team spirit that we need to have, to have the confidence to give each other to help us.”

You can see that he already knows what’s expected of him and he’s ready to give himself a fresh challenge after so many years at Italy. At 34, he comes on a free transfer and a one year deal, which means the club reserves the right to pull the plug on him if it doesn’t work out, but there are no substitutes for experience and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the new Swiss right back has to offer.

Sayonara.

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Arsenal Should Go All Out for Harry Maguire 

Image result for harry maguire arsenal

Like his Twitter post suggested, English centreback must have been pinching himself if someone had told him that in 2018, he would be on the plane going to Russia to represent the England national team at this summer’s World Cup.

The former Hull City has become one of the most sought after players in the Premier League after signing for Leicester from Hull City in the summer of 2018, becoming a rock for the Foxes and becoming an international footballer in the process. With Maguire in the starting 11 of The Gunners next summer, betting on the title winners should also involve the 13-time champions.

Maguire has been attracting interest from the big teams but north London outfit, Arsenal should be leading the queue for his signature. He is a physically imposing player that also fits the Arsenal model of playing the ball out from the back. Despite his bug frame, he is very comfortable with the ball, rarely wasting possession and brining other teammates to play.

Home-grown factor

The fact that he is English is a factor the club must tap into. There is a dearth of proper players that can fill up the homegrown quota in the Premier League, and having Maguire, who is a proper English no-nonsense defender will be a plus.

Tough as Nails Reputation 

Maguire will come with a reputation of a player that is hard as nails. With Laurent Koscielny out till late this year and Mertesacker retiring, Arsenal can’t rely on the likes of Mavropanos, Mustafi and Chambers going into the next campaign.

The current Arsenal defence needs a little more than players that are just content with just wearing the jerseys. He doesn’t take prisoners as he loves a battle with center forwards. He is a player that is gamer for his physicality and aerial prowess, traits that the Arsenal backline is crying out for.

Ready to Step Up

The former Sheffield and Hull man is a man that is very ambitious as he knows that playing at a club like Arsenal would help his quest of establishing himself as a regular starter for England. He is ready to move to the next level of his career, and compete for the biggest trophies on offer.

While he has no experience of playing in European competition, playing at this summer’s World Cup will help him translate playing at the biggest stage in football to club competitions. Arsenal seems to be the best club to move to should he decide to leave The King Power Stadium as the other big clubs have established centreback in their ranks.

There is a dearth of top-quality central defenders in the European game, and they are very expensive. Arsenal will be wise to take a gamble on the player, who has the profile to succeed at the Emirates Stadium.

This guest post was published by Patrick of IPC Publishing

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A Tribute to Arsene Wenger – Epitome of Longevity, Loyalty, Class

 

Image result for arsene wenger

The only inevitable thing in life, they say, is change.

Unless you’re living under a rock with no access to the internet, you must have finally heard the breaking news – Arsenal’s longest serving manager, Arsene Wenger, has announced his resignation,

“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.  I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years.
 
“I managed the club with full commitment and integrity. I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.”
 
“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high. “To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.
 
“My love and support for ever.”

1,228 games, 704 wins, 279 draws and 245 losses – these numbers will change as the season progresses with the Gunners having only seven games left in the campaign – or potentially eight games, which is dependent on the two legged result against Atletico Madrid. This also means that the Europa League, Arsenal’s first trophy in Europe for a long while, could potentially be Arsene Wenger’s last piece of silverware with the club, after the three Premier League titles, seven FA Cups and seven Community Shields he won for us.

It has been one hell of a ride with Wenger, from being an unknown manager following his move from Nagoya Grampus Eight in Japan to being one of,  if not, the most powerful managers in world football. We know how he revolutionized the English game and came up with innovations that made Arsenal a dominant force in the English Premier League, locking horns with Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United for supremacy. The battles were so intense and the rest of England watched as Arsenal and Manchester United battled every season for the league’s biggest prize.

Then there was the football – oh Lord, the mesmerizing and orgasmic style of play that could only be matched by the likes of Barcelona. Superstars rose to prominence and made themselves counted in the world stage, with the club’s finest ambassador, Thierry Henry, earning himself a place in two FIFA World Player of the Year Silver Awards (03, 04), one Ballon D’Or  runner up award (03) and one Ballon D’Or bronze award (06), three EPL Footballer of the Year Awards. Then there were the consistent golden boot awards across several competitions and it all happened under Arsene Wenger’s guidance and tutelage.

The transitioning from Highbury to the Emirates wasn’t easy but it needed the right man to stir the ship and Wenger was there to make it work. Yes, there were challenges associated with that move – debts to pay, players sold without proper replacements and the whole nine yards, but we still tried to compete, even though we fell short on several occasions and none hurts more than the 2006 Champions League final but nine years of a trophy drought changed to sheer elation when the Gunners won the FA Cup in 2014. The trophy was retained in 2015 and the Gunners made history when they won the tournament last season, making Arsene Wenger the most successful manager in the competition.

They say if you love someone, sometimes you have to let them go. Arsene is a man of honor that stayed with the club against all odds and remained loyal to his contracts. You can tell that Arsenal was a big part of his life and he gave the best of his abilities to the team for 22 years. You can’t fault that kind of commitment from an individual to his job.

In the end, all we will have are very fond memories of what Wenger did for us in his time with the club and at this point we can only wish our appreciation for his endless years of service to the very club we call our own. The onus will be on the players to end the season on a high and I pray they rally themselves up to beat Atletico Madrid over two legs as well as the winner of the RB Salzburg vs Marseille match to give the boss the closing ovation he wholeheartedly deserves. Returning us back to Champions League will be a massive way to end what has been a tumultuous campaign for Arsene Wenger and his team.

Here’s to Arsene Wenger – an epitome of longevity, loyalty and class.

Sayonara.

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