Category Archives: Arsenal

Transfer Deadline Day: Cedric Soares Joins Arsenal

Cedric

Cedric Soares

The January transfer deadline day is back again as clubs make those last minute deals required to solidify their squads ahead of the grueling second half of the football campaign. Arsenal, like other Premier League clubs, have had their fair share of transfer deadline day drama, with that famous ‘trolley dash’ of 2011 that saw Arsene Wenger sign five players after the humiliating defeat to Manchester United. We also remember the Andrei Arshavin saga that was protracted to the point the transfer window had to be extended for the deal to go through.

It was evident that defensive recruitments were required this January in the wake of the well publicized challenges faced from Calum Chambers’ long term injury and Skhodran Mustafi suffering a knock as well, which made the Gunners sign Pablo Mari on loan from Flamengo. In addition to Pablo Mari, Arsenal has confirmed the signing of Southampton’s Cedric Soares on loan till the end of the season. 

Arsenal’s Technical Director, Edu, had some good words to say about the new signing, 

“Cedric is a defender with good experience of the Premier League, and of course at international level. He is another strong addition to our defensive unit who will provide our squad with quality. I know he is a player who plays with absolute full commitment and energy. We are all looking forward to going into the last stages of the season with Cedric as part of the club.”

Cedric has spent the best part of five seasons with Southampton and has been an ever-present for the Saints until this season, when he struggled with injuries and form. He had a very brief stint with Inter Milan but it didn’t work out with the Italian giants featuring him just four times. Cedric is a seasoned professional that has bags of experience and an instrumental part of the Portugal squad that won the 2016 European Championship. 

His transfer to Arsenal clearly changes the dynamic for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, that has been a good utility squad member, filling in for the unavailable folk on specific occasions. AMN is a central midfielder by trade and has done very well under Mikel Arteta but having a natural like Cedric gives balance to the team.

His transfer is also regarded as a shrewd piece of business as he arrives to the club on loan and will be available as a free agent this summer. His loan spell will serve like an audition and let’s hope he does enough to secure a long term deal.

Sayonara.

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Matviyenko, Pablo Mari and the Wait for a New Defender

Image result for Mykola Matviyenko

Matviyenko

The January transfer window comes to a close this Friday and Arsenal fans wait for a new center back to provide support to the team in the short and long term. Calum Chambers is out for the rest of the season and Skhodran Mustafi looks set to spend a lengthy layoff following his injury against Bournemouth in the FA Cup, leaving David Luiz, Sokratis and the injury-prone Rob Holding as the options in that position.

Arsenal is linked with Shakhtar’s Mykola Matviyenko and Flamengo’s Pablo Mari in the past day, but we are still hopeful for these deals to be completed before the window closes.

Pablo Mari’s situation is interesting with the back and forth discussions and negotiations going on with the player. He was spotted in the airport by Goal.com’s Arsenal correspondent, Charles Watt, who shared this tweet. The defender had his medical, which we believed was successful, but to everyone’s surprise, Pablo Mari was on a plane back to Brazil following breakdown of negotiations between Arsenal and Flamengo. According to reports, Arsenal wanted a loan move with the option to buy at the end of the season, while Flamengo wanted an outright sale. 

Flamengo defender Pablo Mari is set to join Arsenal

Flamengo has also gone ahead to sign Leo Pereira, which should probably be Pablo Mari’s replacement. According to the Metro, Arsenal and Flamengo  have agreed a deal to get their man and Brazilian outlet, Globo, has reported that the Spanish defender has travelled to London to complete his move to the Gunners.

The Gunners have also been linked with a move for Mykola Matviyenko and the Metro reports that a deal in principle has been agreed between Arsenal and Shakhtar for the young defender. Mikel Arteta has seen Matviyenko from the dugout when his previous club, Manchester City, played Shakhtar twice in the group stages of the Champions League. 

Whether it’s Pablo Mari or Mykola Matviyenko, or both, Arsenal is in dire need of options in central defense, and I will be good to sign players that will have a long term future with the club, especially with the fact that Sokratis (31) and David Luiz (33) are reaching the twilight of their careers. Their presence will be helpful in bringing the young defenders up to speed but I’m certain that their deals will not be renewed at the end of next season.

We will monitor the situation and will be hopeful that these deals get across the finish line on or before Friday.

Sayonara

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Bournemouth 1-2 Arsenal: Youngsters Lead the Way

Bournemouth Arsenal

Saka celebrates goal against Bournemouth

Match Report  Post-Match Press Conference 

Final ResultBournemouth 1-2 Arsenal

Goal Scorers: Bournemouth (Surridge 90+4′), Arsenal (Saka 5′, Nketiah 26′)

Arsenal XI (subs) (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Bellerin (c), Mustafi (Holding 62′), Sokratis, Saka; Guendouzi, Xhaka; Martinelli, Willock (Maitland-Niles 90′), Pepe (Ceballos 69′); Nketiah

Bournemouth hosted Arsenal on a cold Monday night with the lineup I predicted not far off from what Mikel Arteta selected. Eddie Howe’s side is in a poor vein of form going into this game and Bournemouth is currently languishing in 18th, flirting with relegation. Arsenal has problems of their own but when it comes to Cup football, form goes out of the window because it’s the result on the night that matters.

It was good to see the Gunners firing from the kickoff with Bukayo Saka receiving a carefully threaded ball from Gabriel Martinelli and unleashing a surface-to-goal piledriver that smashed the underside of the bar and into the net. That was Saka’s third goal of the season, and to see him score such a brilliant goal while playing as a left back was a pleasurable sight. Arsenal head coach, Mikel Arteta, had some good words about Saka in his post-match press conference.

Arsenal continued to pummel the Bournemouth defense with Hector Bellerin feeding Joe Willock on the edge of the area. The young midfielder used his upper body strength to shove off his marker and managed to release a shot but the angle was too tight, allowing Travers to make a decent save. That didn’t matter to the Gunners as they went two goals up thanks to Eddie Nketiah. After some intricate passing play in midfield, Saka drilled a cross into the heart of the Bournemouth defense and the ball evaded Martinelli, but Nketiah was on hand to side foot the ball home, sending Travers the wrong. It’s moments like this that shows the manager’s vision for his team as he made it clear that Nketiah was not going anywhere else following the torrid spell at Leeds.

Bournemouth was losing quite alright but they were not going to sleep over and play dead, as Liverpool loanee, Harry Wilson, was unmarked at the far post and showed off his good technique in firing the ball at the Arsenal goal first time, but Emi Martinez reacted well to make a good save. Martinez wasn’t too impressive for one of the corners as he found himself in No Man’s Land but the Bournemouth’s defenders header went wide off the mark. 

Dan Gosling tried an attempt from quite some distance with the ball deflecting off Holding and over the bar. Speaking of Holding, I had expected him to start the game but Arteta opted for Skhodran Mustafi instead. Sadly, Mustafi got injured and had to be stretched out of the field, which was not a good sight. This injury adds more pressure on the club to sign a defender as the ones we have are just dropping like flies. But with reports of the Pablo Mari deal is on the brink of collapsing, it makes you wonder.

Bournemouth finally got what their efforts deserved when Simon Francis’ cross into the Arsenal box reached Sam Surridge’s feet and the young forward passed the ball into the net with Martinez flat footed. However, it was too little, too late for Bournemouth. 

Arsenal’s reward for the victory against Bournemouth is a trip to Fratton Park to play League One outfit, Portsmouth in the Round of 16.

Sayonara.

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