Daily Archives: August 12, 2012

FC Cologne Preview: A Benchmark for the Forthcoming Campaign

The Olympic Games have been labeled as a big success so far and the world has witnessed so many records smashed to bits by certain talented individuals that have taken the planet by storm. One can look no further that those Jamaican speedsters that have proved to me, and other bewildered folks out there that they actually train with cheetahs.

Lightning Bolt has been a beast on the track but Yohan Blake has given him a run for his money. It was also nice seeing an Arsenal fan, Mo Farah, winning his second gold medal with his 5,000m win.

Farah won with a time of 13 minutes 44 seconds, becoming only the sixth member of an elite group of athletes who have won both long distance events at the same Olympics.

Moving over to football, there are fixtures to look forward to as the day passes by. Manchester City and Chelsea will raise the curtains on the forthcoming campaign with the Community Shield, but every Gooner will be focused on Arsenal’s final pre-season fixture against FC Cologne scheduled for 5pm.

FC Cologne suffered the ignominy of relegation last season, and as expected, they lost a handful of their key players. Lukas Podolski was very influential for them last season, but the defense was no different from a basket with water flowing through. In this context, the water is represented as goals.

The game offers the chance for the German outfit to see their hero one final time before he jets off to London to embark on a new adventure with his new club. I’m pretty sure that this is a game Podolski will relish for a long while.

The squad is in its full capacity with the only exceptions being Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Tomas Rosicky while Aaron Ramsey will probably get an extended break from his Olympic Games adventure.

The squad has looked really good in training and there have been many smiles as well. Mikel Arteta has stated that the new boys are blending well and he, as a senior player, will do his part in making life easy for them.

Santi Cazorla for instance, is a Spanish lad with no stint in the shores of England, and he’ll certainly be looking to Arteta for guidance on some off the pitch issues. However, he’s tipped to be a monster on the pitch and his versatility will make him a great asset for Arsenal this campaign, as Arteta rightly stated.

Lukas Podolski is a vastly experienced international with over a century of appearances for his motherland. With the presence of the Big Fuckin’ Giant, Per Mertesacker, Prinz Poldi will feel right at home, and there’ll be someone to drink beer with as well as sharing Bavarian jokes while he learns the language.

Well, there’s no point laying any emphasis on Olivier Giroud. The last time I checked, Arsenal has always had its fair share of French contingent, and Giroud knows that he can meet his gaffer or teammates for anything. Just give him the fucking ball, he’ll fucking score.

Today’s game against FC Cologne will give the Gooners a chance to judge the team ahead of the forthcoming campaign because I have a hunch that Wenger is going to start his strongest XI with the Sunderland match beyond the horizon.

I expect Wojciech Szczesny to stand between the sticks in the first half at least. Like his new jersey number indicates, he’s Arsenal’s number One and he showed great signs of improvement last season. It seems as if the want-away goalie duo of Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone are staying afterall, so it’s going to be an interesting showdown for all three goalies.

The central pairing of the defense has more or less picked itself with I and many Gooners out there relishing the prospect of watching Thomas Vermaelen and Laurent Koscielny forge an impregnable partnership for the forthcoming season. Johan Djourou and Mertesacker will get some action in the second half I presume. Arsene Wenger is certain to be in a dilemma when selecting his fullbacks for today’s game. However, I expect Andre Santos and Francis Coquelin to be selected ahead of Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson.

The midfield has an exciting outlook but I suspect that the regular figureheads will be selected for the game. Alex Song will start in his holding role and he’ll be supported by Arteta in the box-to-box role. Santi Cazorla will be drafted straight into the team to play at the tip of the midfield three, offering a lethal dose of creativity to the attack.

The attacking trio will be tweaked a bit in my opinion. Podolski will be given a chance to grace the home crowd from the start but he has to be content with a place on the left wing. Arsenal’s version of Usain Bolt will hit the ground running from the right but the attack will be spearheaded by the captain, Robin van Persie.

I’m going to watch van Persie closely to study his body language as the game progresses. Despite the fact that his mind is probably focused outside Arsenal, I can hope that he takes a professional approach in today’s game. Olivier Giroud will replace him at half time.

So there you have it,

Szczesny

Coquelin – Koscielny – Vermaelen – Andre Santos

Song – Cazorla – Arteta

Walcott – RvP – Podolski

I’m sure that you’d have preferred a better schematic for the formation but this post is created from my BlackBerry. Sorry about that.

Enjoy the game wherever you are.

Sayonara.

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