Category Archives: Arsenal

Arsenal to Agree Loan Extension for Wojciech Szczesny

The goalkeeping situation at the club was one conundrum for Arsene Wenger at the start of the season. Petr Cech’s arrival last season saw Wojciech Szczesny loaned out to AS Roma, as David Ospina dropped to the role of Cech’s deputy. It was a successful debut campaign by Cech’s fair standards, as his 16 clean sheets in the Premier League saw him win the Golden Glove award for the second time in three seasons.

With the legendary Czech goalie retiring from international football, he was shifting his focus to club football, which ultimately means that he would be the custodian between Arsenal’s sticks for years to come. This meant that Wenger had to sort out the player that would serve as Cech’s #2 in the new campaign, as Szczesny returned from his spell at Roma, while David Ospina is still on holidays after a great bronze-winning campaign with Colombia at the recently concluded Copa America.

According to Forza Italian Football, Arsenal is set to agree a loan extension with Roma over the services of the Polish shot stopper. Szczesny enjoyed a good Champions League qualification campaign with Roma, making 42 appearances (34 in Serie A) and claiming eight clean sheets. He averaged 2.09 saves per game, made about 26% punches, a distribution success of 72% and an outstanding 99% claim success, which was one of the best in the league. All stats via Squawka.

It’s also believed that Arsenal and Roma would split Szczesny’s €3 million-a-year contract evenly, even though that contract is scheduled to expire in 2018.

I wish Szczesny the best in this loan spell, in his bid to continue playing first-team football consistently.

Sayonara

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Thoughts on the Lens game and Arsenal Sign Holding

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scores against Lens

Arsenal traveled to France to take on RC Lens on their home ground last Friday. I would have watched the game live but I had other commitments so I had to make do with some highlights from the official site. I know you can’t really judge a game of 90 minutes from a few bit-sized highlights, but I’d learned a thing or two from what I saw, and overall it was a good run out for the lads.

From an individual standpoint, there were some impressive performances on display. It seemed as if our captain’s lack of pace was exploited, as it was a comical sight seeing him trying to catch up with that Lens forward but thankfully, he missed his effort. The goal the Gunners conceded was down to some terrible defending from Calum Chambers. With the arrival of Rob Stark Holding from Bolton, it’s going to be interesting to see how Arsene Wenger manages Chambers. More on that anon.

I was happy with the fact that Kieran Gibbs is still very much around and there has been no news regarding his future. He came on for Nacho Monreal and looked very tidy with the ball. Matt Macey also came on for Emiliano Martinez and made a brilliant save to deny the home side a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity. The goalie spoke after the game, labeling that save as a ‘nice moment to have‘ but he has also come to terms with the fact that it wouldn’t be easy for him to break into the first squad.

Further up the pitch, Theo Walcott looked hungry and was trying to make things happen in attack. He looked incisive in attack, and I don’t know if he’s auditioning to play a key role in the squad with his performances but time will tell. The contest was leveled when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lobbed a superb effort over the goalkeeper. The English speedster stated that he had been practicing the chip for quite some time, so I’m guessing he has been infested with a Carlos Vela spirit. It was good seeing the Ox strut his stuff after such a disappointing campaign last season. He started well with a brilliant finish in the Community Shield but his form waned as the season progressed before it was ended abruptly by a knee injury.

Wenger’s post-match interview was quite interesting, speaking about the game, Sam Allardyce getting the England job and the transfer market. In the end, it was a good run out and all focus would be in the games at America.

So all speculation about Bolton’s Player of the Year, Rob Holding, joining the club has been confirmed, as the youngster has joined Arsenal to be the third signing of the season, after Granit Xhaka and Takuma Asano. With the presence of Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Gabriel Paulista and Calum Chambers at the club, Holding will have to work his way to the top and we would be hoping to see what he has to offer during the preseason.

With Holding coming to the fray, there are whispers that Chambers might be sent out on loan, with Southampton apparently interested in his services. He has taken the #16 jersey vacated by Ramsey, which is an indication that he wants a number that shows he’s close to the first team. I’m not taking anything away from the likes of Jeff Reine-Adelaide and co though.

I wish him the very best in his fledgling Arsenal career

Sayonara

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A Look Ahead to the 2016/17 Season for Arsenal

When the new Premier League season kicks off on the weekend of 13/14th August, Arsenal can head into the weekend feeling quietly confident that they will have a strong season. The summer transfer window and its rumour mills have been dominated by other teams, notably the two Manchester clubs. United and City both have new managers in Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola respectively, but it could well be an opportunity for Gunners boss Arsene Wenger to win his first Premier League title since 2004.

His main summer acquisition arrived before Euro 2016 even kicked off – Granit Xhaka signed from Borussia Monchengladbach and he will provide some real bite and tenacity to a midfield that has too often been overrun in big game. Tomas Rosicky and Mikel Arteta both left the club at the end of their contracts but the Swiss international will bring some leadership into the spine of the squad. If Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey can remain fit and in-form then this could mark the dawn of one of the best midfield trios in the league.

One missing part of the jigsaw for the Gunners seems to be in the striking department. Olivier Giroud had a highly impressive Euros for France but there are question marks over his ability as a top-level striker who can consistently make his mark in big games – particularly as United have signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer. Also, Danny Welbeck has once again succumbed to a long-term knee injury and will miss a large chunk of the early season.

This, coupled with the loss of form for Theo Walcott, means that a major attacking arrival is surely inevitable. Names such as Gonzalo Higuain, Alvaro Morata and Mauro Icardi have all been mentioned and if any of those were signed then Arsenal’s squad would be in its best shape for years.

For the new season, Betway are offering a range of football betting odds for fans. They include options such as in-play during matches, and outright bets such as the winners of the 2016/17 Premier League title – Arsenal are currently rated as third favourites at 6/1. They also offer odds on upcoming friendly games during pre-season, including the odds on both teams to score tonight.

Arsenal couldn’t face a much more difficult start to the new Premier League campaign. They host Liverpool first, who will have a point to prove under Jurgen Klopp after a disappointing end to last season saw them finish eighth place. Next up are Leicester City, the champions, away from home in what is sure to be an early season indicator of which club is most likely to win the title. Their cause is also not helped with the fact that Arsene Wenger has given extended breaks to the likes of Laurent Koscielny, Olivier Giroud, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil. Alexis Sanchez is still nursing the injuries he suffered playing for Chile in the Copa America.

Any success is likely to depend on whether key men can perform consistently. Mesut Ozil is on the back of his best season at the club, but the German needs to have other players performing around him. Alexis Sanchez had a relatively poor second season at the Gunners and will be looking to help the club to silverware.

With Per Mertesacker being named captain of the club, he is likely to need other senior players such as Petr Cech in order to keep unity as they battle on all fronts.

Sayonara.

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