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Aubameyang Signs and Martinez Leaves to Aston Villa

Arsenal news: Martinez breaks down in tears during emotional interview  after FA Cup win | Metro News

The picture above shows Emiliano Martinez and club captain, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sharing a moment in Wembley as they basked in the euphoria of the Arsenal’s 14th FA Cup victory. Martinez, despite being on the fringes for pretty much the entirety of his Arsenal career, did a pretty amazing job in the short duration he deputized as Bernd Leno’s replacement.

I had shared my thoughts on Martinez leaving but it’s something I can touch on again. It was evident that his performances at the end of the 2019/20 campaign had put the gaffer, Mikel Arteta, in some type of dilemma, but on the back of what was a very successful spell in the side, Martinez was not going to spend another season as a deputy, waiting to feature in only Europa League and Cup games. You could bet in the best online casinos on whether he was going to leave the clubs and the odds would have been low. 

Prior to when the Aston Villa move was officially announced, Martinez took to Instagram to share an emotional message with the fans about how he had his struggles with us and how he’s leaving through the front door. That meant a lot because we know how irksome some departures can be, like in the Robin van Persie situation or more recently, a loved player like Alexis Sanchez. We also need to consider the financial aspect of this deal – if a Premier League club had offered 20 million quid for Martinez while Leno was still fit, we would have bitten their fingers, wrapped the Argentine goalie in plastic, added a fragile stamp on him and ensured he got to the new club unscathed.

Aston Villa on the other hand, have their goalkeeping issues to deal with, as star goalie from Burnley, Tom Heaton, suffered a long term injury, forcing the club to sign a 136-year-old goalie to hold the fort, and we all know how they leaked goals like baskets. Martinez is going to a club where he will be a nailed-on first choice goalkeeper, so it was a win-win situation for both player and club.

Speaking of win-win, Arsenal and its talisman, Aubameyang, finally reached an agreement that saw the star forward sign a three year contract with the club. When you consider how important Aubameyang is to this club and what he has achieved for us and with us in his stint, extending his contract was the best piece of business this summer. The forward had some nice words to say as well,

“Signing for this special club was never in doubt. “It’s thanks to our fans, my team-mates, my family and everybody at this club that I feel like I belong here. I believe in Arsenal. We can achieve big things together. We have something exciting here and I believe the best is to come for Arsenal.”

Since Aubameyang joined the club, he has been in very prolific form, despite the fact he’s been played out of position. A striker of his immense talent and ability would have grumbled for not featuring in his natural habitat but he considered the team first and has been putting a great shift on the left to allow his best mate, Alexandre Lacazette, and fledgling forward, Eddie Nketiah, flourish in attack. 

The news of Aubameyang staying in the club for the foreseeable future is very welcome for everyone concerned with the club and we will be hoping he crowns it with a goal or two against West Ham at the home of football.


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Thoughts on Martinez Leaving and His Viking Replacement?

Emi Martinez reaches summit of emotional Arsenal journey to FA Cup glory -

Emi, thanks for the memories

If I had a heart, I could love you

If I had a voice, I would sing 

After the night when I wake up

I’ll see what tomorrow brings

Word on the street is that with Emiliano Martinez set to leave Arsenal to Aston Villa imminently (more on this anon), the Gunners are looking to replace him with a Viking goalie, Ragnar Lothbrok, I mean, Alex Runarsson. I’m pretty sure there’s a link between Runar Alex Runarsson and Ragnar Lothbrok – they are both Vikings! Runarsson will stand behind the sticks at the Emirates, facing a direct free kick from the opposition, instructing his defenders to mount a shield wall to block the Saxon attackers from Wessex and Northumbria. Now, I’m reaching.

In reality, I know nothing about our potential Viking goalie, so I did what was expected of any blogger – research. Starting his career in his native Iceland with KR Reykjavik, Runarsson made a name for himself when he moved to neighboring Denmark to sign for FC Nordsjaelland. It was in the Danish outfit that he was in the spotlight, winning the Player of the Season award in the 2017/18 campaign. Interestingly, he was under the tutelage of Inaki Cana Pavon, a current goalkeeping coach at Arsenal, so I am positive that the prospect of them walking together again at the Emirates would be exciting for both player and coach.

As expected, he was found by some scouts in France for his goalkeeping heroics in Lord Bendtnerland, and got poached by Dijon FCO two seasons ago. According to WhoScored, he notched up 25 appearances in his first season at the second division French outfit but his game time reduced considerably last season following the acquisition of Alfred Gomis from SPAL, with the Iceland goalie featuring mainly in cup competitions. He was part of the Icelandic setup that travelled to Russia for the FIFA 2018 World Cup but he didn’t feature in any game at the mundial. 

Signing Runarsson from Dijon would clearly serve as a cheaper alternative to allow the funds generated from the sale of Martinez and potential sale of Lucas Torreira who seems to be paraded around Italy – first Fiorentina, now Torino! Who knows, he may end up joining Henrikh Mkhitaryan at Roma. We will certainly get a glimpse of Runarsson in the Europa League and cup competitions, while our undisputed No. 1, Bernd Leno, will continue to strut his stuff in the Premier League.

Which brings me to the man of the hour – Emiliano Martinez. Since joining the club as far back as 2010, Martinez has always been on the fringes at the club and was sent on loan to six different clubs to earn some playing time. His appearances at Arsenal were few and far between but one can’t forget that crazy 7-5 League Cup fixture against Reading in 2013. But after so many years waiting for his chance, he got his breakthrough last season following the unfortunate injury Leno suffered against Brighton. In those fixtures he featured, Martinez was a class act and there was a dilemma for the club about who would to be the No. 1 goalie for the new campaign. 

Leno returned to full fitness in the summer and Martinez still got the shot at the Community Shield win against Liverpool. However, the gaffer has favored the German shot stopper ahead of Martinez so it makes some sense for the player to want a move away from the club and with Aston Villa offering as much as 20 million quid, it’s a win-win for everyone – Arsenal get some cool cash that can be invested elsewhere while Martinez moves to a club where he would be the No. 1 till Tom Heaton returns from his long term injury at least. 

Martinez would be missed as he was clearly a dependable back up goalie, but I guess it’s up to the newbie Viking goalie to show what he’s made of when the opportunities present themselves, that’s if Arsenal is really going for him.

I’m off to binge on some Vikings on Netflix.


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Rating Arsenal’s Goalkeepers’ Performances in the 2014/15 Season

From a goalkeeping perspective, Arsenal began the 2014/15 campaign with the sale of Lukasz Fabianski to Swansea. He made 78 appearances in the course of seven seasons for the Gunners and when he realized that he couldn’t usurp his compatriot, Wojciech Szczesny, a move away seemed like a plausible move. The Gunners replaced the departed goalie with Colombian shot stopper, David Ospina, that had a good World Cup by his fair standards. As the season progressed, injuries paved the way for young Emiliano Martinez to get a run out.

Gooner Daily analyses the performances of the three goalies.

Wojciech Szczesny (27 appearances, six clean sheets)

With Fabianski gone, Szczesny was the undisputed No. 1 for Arsenal at the start of the season and he kept his first set of clean sheets in the Champions League playoff fixtures against Besiktas. Despite winning the Premier League Golden Glove in the previous season, Szczesny had to wait till late October to keep his first clean sheet in the Premier League when the Gunners visited Sunderland. Earlier in the campaign, his rash challenge on Burak Yilmaz earned him a red card which made David Ospina have his official debut for the club.

Szczesny will not remember this season fondly, especially after his horror show against Southampton on New Year’s day.

The goalie endured a horror outing at St. Mary’s and was caught smoking in the dressing room after the game which obviously incensed his manager and ultimately cost him his place in the first team. With Ospina featuring consistently in the Premier League, Szczesny became the ‘Cup keeper’ and started in Arsenal’s FA Cup wins over Brighton, Middlesbrough, Manchester United and Reading. He’s odds on to start in the FA Cup final against Aston Villa this weekend and I hope he puts up a better performance than the one he put up in the semis.

Rating – 6/10

Emiliano Martinez (six appearances, two clean sheets)

Young Emiliano Martinez joined the Gunners in 2010 but after featuring consistently from the Reserves, he got his big break this season when injuries to Szczesny and Ospina paved the way for him. He made his Arsenal debut in the Champions League win over Anderlecht and featured in the Premier League for the first time when Szczesny clashed with Kieran Gibbs in the home defeat to Manchester United.

With Szczesny set to be sidelined for a couple of weeks with Ospina still nursing an injury, Martinez was to have an extended run out in Arsenal’s goal. So much was made about him in the buildup to Arsenal’s clash with Dortmund but the young Argentinian but up a virtuoso performance against Juergen Klopp’s men, keeping a clean sheet in the process. He went on to keep consecutive clean sheets against West Brom and Southampton before struggling in the away defeat to Stoke.

That turned out to be his last appearance for the team before he was farmed out on loan to Rotherham United. A good breakthrough season for the young lad.

Rating – 7/10

David Ospina (20 appearances, 10 clean sheets)

Featuring in a World Cup will always put you under the spotlight and while James Rodriguez set the stage on fire with his breathtaking performances, a certain David Ospina looked very assured at the back till their quarterfinal loss to Brazil. He had made 196 appearances in six seasons for OGC Nice and when I heard that he was coming to Arsenal, I was hoping that he’d be a better competition to Szczesny as the likes of Manuel Almunia, Vito Mannone and Lukasz Fabianski had all fallen on the road side when challenging the big Pole.

Ospina had injury problems to contend with and was given enough time to heal his wounds. Following Szczesny’s dismal night at Southampton, Wenger promoted Ospina to the first team and he never looked back. Three clean sheets in his first four games was helpful to his course then the fans came up with a brilliant chant that should inspire the goalie. Anytime the Colombian wants to punt a dead ball, the Gooners scream his name which was a reminder of how fans can make players settle quickly.

Some say playing with a balanced back four helped his cause but since Ospina took over from Szczesny, he has been very assured and the defenders trust him. It’s going to be interesting to see how their battle for first team places intensifies next season.

Rating – 8/10

I’d discuss about the defender’s performances tomorrow.


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