Arsenal are set to make the announcements of new signings, Skhodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez but Wenger confirmed in his last press conference that a player or two would leave on loan, rather than on permanent basis. After leaving the Gunners to join Sporting CP on loan, Joel Campbell made his debut in the 2-1 win against FC Porto. 101 Great Goals have posted some of his personal highlights of the game for those interested.
With the capture of Mustafi, the journos asked the manager about the future of Calum Chambers as he was going further down the pecking order in the heart of Arsenal’s defense. It’s bad enough that Rob Holding has axed him out of the team despite injuries to Per Mertesacker and Gabriel Paulista, but Chambers has not covered himself in glory, following that torrid start to the season against Liverpool. Yes, he might have scored a goal on the day, but his defensive performance was questionable, and fans can agree that losing his place in the team to Holding was justified.
With the manager confirming that Chambers was leaving on loan, there were many clubs that were mentioned but according to the Independent, Middlesbrough emerged as the favorites and have secured the lad on loan for the entire season. Will Chambers be able to break into the Boro team? Maybe, maybe not but he’s worth monitoring and with Boro in the Premier League, Chambers development can only get better. He arrived at the club with some hype surrounding him and he did well with some early season performances but he suffered a roasting from Jefferson Montero at the Liberty Stadium and things haven’t worked out too well for him since then.
A move to a club like Boro will be good for the lad. At least, he will get away from the spotlight and can concentrate on regular football, which is what he would be hoping for.
I wish him the best at the Riverside and I will be monitoring his progress.
So I saw some tweets on social media about the possibility of Arsenal sending Jack Wilshere on loan and I took it with a pinch of salt but when Sky Sports and other reputable columns carried the story, I had a rethink. Is Arsenal really considering sending one of its favorite, if not its favorite sons, Jack Wilshere, out on loan?
First of all, why would Arsenal even consider the possibility of sending Wilshere out on loan? Is it because of Sam Allardyce’s comments on the lad that he should get regular football before he earns a place in the England squad? Is that what it’s about? Being concerned about Wilshere making the national team, rather than the team that has stuck with him through the countless injuries and what have you?
From a footballing standpoint, I think it’s a rookie move from the club because Wilshere is one of the most unique players in the squad. There is no one else that can offer us his lung-bursting runs and sleek style of play that sees him break opposition defenses with consummate ease. I know many have been concerned about his injury record and are unhappy that he can’t be relied upon to stay fit but it’s Arsenal – injuries have become a way of life here.
Look at the captain, Mertesacker, that spent the entire holidays drinking beer and watching Germany at the Euros before their exit in the semis to France. He was meant to be one of our fittest players in the preseason but after featuring against RC Lens, it was reported that he picked up a knee problem in the game (something we didn’t see in the course of the game) and bam, he was out for five plus months after a successful surgery.
Wilshere adds depth to the squad and can deputize in two playing positions, the attacking midfield role manned by Mesut Ozil and the box-to-box role currently deployed to Santi Cazorla. According to England, he can feature as a holding midfielder but I’m not convinced by his abilities there. The bottom line is that Wilshere is a player that would have his chance in the team and he hasn’t Debuchyed yet.
I just hope the news is false because it wouldn’t make any sense sending Wilshere out on loan.
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
The thing about tournaments like this is that when the football starts rolling, it never stops. It took forever for France to hit the ground running with the match opener against Romania but things kicked off yesterday with our new boy, Granit Xhaka, locking horn against his brother, Taulant, as Switzerland played Albania. Another former Gunner, Johan Djourou, was part of the Swiss squad that that gained victory in a rather tough encounter.
The game featured a lot of hard tackling and the things you’d wish for in a football game. Xhaka admitted that it was bizarre coming up against his brother,
“It was a very special moment for my family, it was rather bizarre,” he said, after being named Man of the Match.
“I think we played very well, we gave everything for our country and we’re very happy. Maybe me a little bit more!
“We knew it would be a difficult game, Albania are a great side, very compact and solid. We wanted to score as early as possible.
“There was a lot of pressure on our shoulders but it was great that me and my brother pushed back our limits. I don’t think anyone can hold anything against us. We fought against one another, and it was a football match, nothing more.”
Xhaka had an awesome game, creating three chances, winning five aerial duels, completing close to a century of passes and having 129 touches to his name. This earned him the man of the match award.
Switzerland’s victory brings them level on points with hosts, France, as both teams are doing their bit to take ownership of that group. Xhaka’s next game is against Romania on the 15th of June.
Moving over to the next game that had some Arsenal focus, Aaron Ramsey and his Welsh Dragons came up against Slovakia to open up the football in Group B. Chris Coleman played 3-5-2 that switched to 5-3-2 when the Welsh were defending and it was a no brainer when the scoreline was opened that the man that literally brought the Welsh to the competition, Gareth Bale. The Slovaks leveled the tie from a bloke called Duda.
Ramsey had a glorious opportunity to pull another goal back for the Welsh when he was left unmarked in the box but his header glanced over the bar. Then there was the counter attack for Wales that saw Bale cover quite some ground with his raw reserves of pace but after feeding Ramsey, the chance went begging, much to everyone’s dismay.
Ramsey saved the best for last as he had the decisive touch late on for Hal Robson-Kanu whose scrappy effort skipped past Kozacik to give the Welsh all three points.
Finally, England clashed with Russia for the last game of the day but there was some crowd trouble before and after the game. The game itself saw Russia do more of the defending but England failed to take advantage of the chances afforded to them. However, Tottenham’s Eric Dier, an unlikely source, curled in a lovely effort that breezed past Igor Akinfeev. Right at the death, a late effort from Vasili Berezutski halted England’s hopes of going level with Wales, which makes the encounter with the Welsh very tasty.
Download the Gooner Daily BlackBerry App to receive notifications on your Smart Phone when a post is published.
Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter @goonerdaily.
Visit Gooner Daily’s Facebook page.
Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List
Since Mohamed Elneny joined the club, I’ve learned a lot of things about him. He’s not only coming to fill the midfield gap (which will send Mathieu Flamini to the bench, hallelujah), he can also solve world hunger, destroy all pests, fight world wars on his own and end terrorism as we know it!
One of the players Elneny will be providing cover for in the team is Francis Coquelin. It was around this period last year the Coq rose in prominence to become a mainstay in the squad. His performances merited it and he got a contract he truly earned for his contributions to the team.
In order not to ‘stifle’ his steep progress, Wenger opted not to sign a new holding midfielder in the summer but it proved to be a wrong move as Coquelin’s ‘replacement’, Mikel Arteta, couldn’t be banked upon to remain fit causing the manager to use a Flamini that was close to his Arsenal exit and an inexperienced Calum Chambers that is still rough at the edges.
Coquelin got on the end of a poor challenge from West Brom’s Claudio Yacob and injured a ligament in his knee. The diagnosis was that the Coq was going to be out for three months so his expected return was around mid-February. However, the boss has come out to say that the lad is ‘running’ and he’s close to full fitness.
Was he motivated to get fit quickly before of Elneny’s imminent arrival?
Elsewhere, the boss has confirmed that Arsenal’s injury-prone English contingent, Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck, are also close to full fitness. It’s not like I’m doubting the boss or anything but Wilshere is one player I don’t trust to stay fit.
When I think that game against Barcelona in 2011 when Wilshere was beasting a midfield that had Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, I feel so sad for the lad because his massive potential has never been realized because he just can’t stay fit. He’s one player that offers a different skill set to what we have at the club (maybe Tomas Rosicky’s play is somewhat similar) but there are many times injuries have been the sole reason Wilshere’s services have been unavailable for his team.
Then there’s Danny Welbeck. That lad stills divides opinions following his 16m move from Manchester United last season. He scored eight goals in his debut campaign and they were some important goals (think West Ham, West Brom and Manchester United) but there were the Emmanuel Adebayor-esque misses. Welbeck has been injured since April and had a surgery around August. It’s fair to say that he hasn’t kicked the ball this season, so when the manager says that he’s close to full fitness, you’d have to keep your fingers crossed.
Having Wilshere, Welbeck and Coquelin fit again will be a big plus. These lads offer the manager a chance to rotate his squad as the Gunners are challenging for silverware on three fronts. They’re in the fourth round of their favorite competition, currently topping the Premier League and they have a daunting fixture against Barcelona next month.
I will keep you updated as the days go by