Daily Archives: August 25, 2016

Granit Xhaka: The Key to Arsenal’s Title Chances?

Image result for xhaka leicester

Arsenal were much improved last season as the Gunners secured a second-place finish behind shock champions Leicester City – but many fans were left disappointed as they fell short in their pursuit of the Premier League title.

This season, Arsene Wenger’s men will look to go one better as they hunt their first league crown since 2004; and summer signing, Granit Xhaka, could be the man to lead the club back to the summit of English football.

If truth be told, the Switzerland International’s arrival has taken Arsenal’s midfield up a notch. On paper, Wenger now has the best middle formation in the top flight at his disposal and Xhaka’s skillset will prove crucial throughout the campaign.

The Switzerland star, who impressed for his nation at Euro 2016 this summer, has settled quickly into life at the Emirates Stadium and he looks ready to play a key role for Arsenal this season. After all, Gunners fans are expecting big things after Wenger paid around £35 million for the former Borussia Monchengladbach man.

The club are currently in the middle of a mini-injury crisis right now – and Xhaka’s versatility and ability to adapt to different formations could prove useful as Arsenal look for a quick start to the season.

At the time of writing, Wenger’s men are 6/1 to lift the title in bet365’s Premier League betting markets and the Gunners will need Xhaka to be at his very best to stand any chance of achieving their ultimate goal. On his day, the Swiss star can control a football match; and Arsenal’s flair players will benefit from his calming presence in front of the back four. As David Seaman said, Arsenal are lacking a Patrick Vieira – Xhaka could be the next best thing…

Xhaka won’t be a serious threat going forward but he could get involved in the opposition half if Wenger opts to play Francis Coquelin alongside him. In Xhaka and Coquelin, Arsenal have two competent central midfield players and the Gunners will reap rewards from the added reassurance throughout the core of the team.

Arsenal will need plenty of luck on the injury front to stand a genuine chance of lifting the title but Xhaka’s presence and ability to change games could prove decisive at key moments during the campaign. Going forward, he can provide key passes but defensively, he is also sound and he is one of the very best at breaking up attacks.

The Switzerland man has exceptional vision and he may form a lethal partnership with the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott in attacking areas. Xhaka isn’t the finished article just yet but he is certainly a talented prospect and Gunners fans will be excited to see him in action…

Sayonara

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Football Draws and Chambers Out on Loan?

Arsenal defender Calum Chambers started in club's 4-3 season-opening defeat by Liverpool

The transfer window will be closed in less than a week and the fans are still wondering whether the club is signing any new players. For some reason, the same guys seem to be linked with moves to the club and in Joel Campbell, the Gunners have shown that he was probably surplus to requirements, with the winger going on loan to Sporting CP.

With the vast amount of players that could feature in Campbell’s position, you can say that he may / may not be missed but with Arsenal’s ever-increasing injury list, you can never tell. Campbell was a guy that got his chance when so many first team players were out injured and many fans would feel he utilized the opportunities afforded to him.

It seems like there would be another Gunner that would be joining the long loan list but his case is quite puzzling because the team is heavily depleted in that playing position. According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal is exploring the possibility of shipping out Calum Chambers on loan. The young ex-Southampton defender has managed to make 59 appearances in three seasons with three seasons with the club and he hasn’t really reached the heights expected of him.

He struggled a bit in preseason and the writing was on the wall for Arsene Wenger to go into the transfer market to sign a new center back following the injuries to club captain, Per Mertesacker, and Gabriel Paulista, but he kept the faith with an inexperienced back line in the form of Chambers and Holding. Sadly, their naivety at the back, coupled with lack of protection from the holding midfielders and all round shitty performance cost Arsenal three good points at home, to add to the consistent torrid opening start of the new campaign.

Even though I usually don’t take such transfer news with a pinch of salt, it would make no sense whatsoever for the club to allow a center back go with no replacement in view. I have seen all that Shkodran Mustafi shit but he’s not a Gunner, so my focus will always be on the players available to us, not some super mutant player from Krypton. We will have to monitor the situation well and hope the club makes the right decision on his future.

Elsewhere, the second round of EFL Cup fixtures were concluded and the draws for the third round are out. The Gunners got a favorable tie against Nottingham Forest, and it would be interesting coming up against Henri Lansbury, one of Highbury’s favorite sons. As expected, there were some Premier League clashes with the most exciting being the Leicester vs Chelsea game.

The pots for the Champions League are out as well and as expected, the Gunners would be paired against of the European juggernauts this campaign.

Pot 1: Real Madrid (Spain), Barcelona (Spain), Leicester City (England), Bayern Munich (Germany), Juventus (Italy), Benfica (Portugal), Paris Saint-Germain (France), CSKA Moscow (Russia).

Pot 2: Atletico Madrid (Spain), Borussia Dortmund (Germany), Arsenal (England), Sevilla (Spain), Porto (Portugal), Napoli (Italy), Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)

Pot 3: Basel (Sui), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Dynamo Kiev (Ukraine), Lyon (France), PSV Eindhoven (Netherlands), Sporting Lisbon (Portugal), Club Brugge (Belgium), Borussia Monchengladbach (Ger)

Pot 4: Dinamo Zagreb (Cro), Monaco (France), Besiktas (Turkey), Legia Warsaw (Poland), Ludogorets Razgrad (Bulgaria), FC Copenhagen (Den), Rostov (Rus)

Obviuosly, I would prefer CSKA Moscow or Benfica and to some certain degree, Paris St. Germain, but I’m not entirely confident of my club’s abilities when they pair up against Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus. The first two names on the list have dealt terrible blows to Arsenal in recent times, so I will be hoping for a good draw, so I’d keep my fingers crossed.

Sayonara

Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List