For some reason I failed to rant like crazy following the capitulation at Brighton and thankfully, I’m happy I didn’t because it would probably had been a venomous affair, but with Arsenal frustrating me and other supporters out there, we turned into neutrals to watch the semifinal match between Liverpool and Barcelona. It was certainly an insurmountable task coming back from three goals down, and the fact that they were without Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino made things more difficult.
I’m certainly not going to give the commentary about the game here but after 90 minutes, they achieved the impossible, winning with four unreplied goals, which made me think – would my beloved Arsenal win Barcelona after conceding three goals away?
Sometimes, you gotta tell yourself the truth – Arsenal has devolved to a Europa League outfit at best. I remember when we were so spoiled into believing that finishing in the top four was our birthright but in the past two seasons, things have gotten really bad to the stage where it looked like Thanos snapped his fingers and our top four ambitions faded into space. It’s not like we are asking for too much as fans – just play well enough, as it should give you that edge when playing against perceived weaker opposition. But with Arsenal, it’s the opposite – if we are not wasting chances, we are gifting the opposition the ball to hurt us, or conceding needless penalties or just playing so badly.
Even with the likes of lethal forwards like Alex Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in our ranks, the Gunners continue to struggle to kill off games, or convert clear cut chances. I don’t wanna talk about what’s going on that the back – yes, Brend Leno has been an inspiration since he took over from Petr Cech but he has had his shaky moments which can only help him to improve in the future, but when you have a certain Skhodran Mustafi making calamitous errors with such consistency at the back, it makes you wonder whether Unai Emery doesn’t see these things as well.
I remember when Jurgen Klopp went to the final last season and his goalie from former club, Mainz, had such a shocker, allowing Real Madrid to waltz into their three Champions League in a row, he wasted no time in signing Alisson Becker from Roma, and he, alongside the imperial Virgil van Dijk of course, have contributed massively to Liverpool’s defense. Meanwhile, we continue to struggle with whoever Emery decides to field in his back line. Imagine a player as important as Laurent Koscielny watching as Kasper Schmeichel lofts a punted effort from his box straight to Jamie Vardy, or Stephan Lichtsteiner heading the ball to Jurgen Locadia when a throw in would have been a better option.
The season is over but the Europa League still offers a silver lining ending so we can only wait and hope that the lads don’t mess things up at Mestalla tomorrow.
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For many years in the latter part of Arsene Wenger’s reign as manager of Arsenal, there was a mismatch of players at the club. It was either there too many average players or too many young players. This trend ensured that the North London outfit struggled to compete for the title, as the players available didn’t have the talent, quality and winning mentality on a large scale to see the team over the line.
After Arsenal lost the Champions League Final in 2006, which represented the end of that glorious team of the Invincibles, Arsene Wenger changed the playing philosophy and personnel. He turned to playing young players, but at that time those players matured enough to lead the team to titles, they were sold for a profit. It is not surprising and coincidental that when Arsenal started spending money to buy top quality players, and it ended in ending their trophy drought in 2014 with FA Cup triumph. The building of the Emirates Stadium meant that Wenger didn’t have the funds available to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and latterly, Manchester City.
It’s been 15 years now since Arsenal last won the title, a damning verdict for a team of its stature. Unai Emery has identified major problems and has addressed the issue in the transfer window. He has signed players that will improve the first team, add quality, infuse leadership and most importantly trophy-winning experience. His acquisitions have added balance to the team that needed these personalities after a few years of obscurity.
In the latter stages of the Wenger era, the players just drifted through matches; they were not held accountable for bad results, didn’t have the mental strength needed to win the major trophies and didn’t have a manager that could push them to new levels of play they never thought possible. There are so many young players that need experienced players to guide them. The likes of Cech, Lichtsteiner, Koscielny, Papastathopoulos and Monreal are players that have seen it and done that.
A team needs these blend of old and young players to lead the team to new heights: these old players have one final swansong in their careers while the young ones have the needed experience to become established players. It establishes a cycle of winning at the club. It is what the big teams do to continue winning and challenging for trophies.
The start of the new campaign saw the Gunners take on Manchester City and even though the result was hard to take, the like of Matteo Guendouzi impressed, as we also saw debuts for Sokratis Papathathopoulos, Stephan Lichtsteiner and maverick, Lucas Torreira. A perfect blend of youth and experience to add to a vastly talented squad.
Guest post by Live Arsenal, an Arsenal dedicated website that gives you update about latest news coming from The Emirates Stadium.
Following his £16m move from Manchester United to the Emirates Stadium in the summer of 2014, the Englishman may have played just enough to justify his paltry price tag, especially considering the inflation of market price in recent years. However, everyone can agree that he hasn’t lived up to his potentials, and for a player who is approaching 28, it may be just the right time for Arsenal to sell and both parties can move on.
According to Goal, Danny Welbeck would be leaving the Gunners together with a star teammate as Unai Emery looks to build a stronger team than the one he inherited from Arsene Wenger. Consequently, West Ham and Everton have been backed as the most likely destinations of the 27 year old. Crystal Palace have also been backed by bookmakers, such as betting top 10, as a possible destination.
Danny Welbeck started his career at Manchester United amidst lots of pundit acclaims which virtually all English prospects have become accustomed to. He has the pace, and could play as a lone striker or on either flanks. He was meant to command his place in the English national team, and he did.
However, as football fans all over the world get accustomed to English talents failing to live up to their gifts, Welbeck has come into that category. Similar to the case of his countryman Wilshere, injuries have not been favourable, and the forward has had to fight several injuries in all of his seasons at the Emirates.
The presence of Unai Emery at Arsenal, as reported by The Sun, could be the catalyst needed to offload the Manchester-born forward. If anything, the Spanish tactician has shown in his early days in London that he isn’t scared of letting go of established players as evident in the exodus of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere.
More importantly, Welbeck’s place in this Arsenal squad is not assured. Upfront, he has to contend with Gabonese player Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and French forward Lacazette. On the flanks, he has Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to compete with.
The former United forward played a total of 41 games for Arsenal in the 2017/18 season, scoring nine goals which is a below par return. While the total number of games played for the Gunners might seem incredible, he played 28 times in the Premier League, with 16 of those as a substitute. His number of games in the Europa League (10) was as a result of Lacazette’s injury and Aubameyang’s inability to play for a second team in the competition.
With the Gunners looking to fight City and others for the top place this season, they need to get rid of players that are not actively pushing them toward their grand goal, and Welbeck needs to create that extra space for one more top notch summer signing.