Tag Archives: Arsenal FC

Lucas Torreira, Mo Elneny & Grant Xhaka

Lucas Torreira

Saw a few fans during yesterday’s game between Egypt and Uruguay question how good Lucas Torreira must be if he “can’t even get into his national team”.

As the majority of us at England fans, is this view not a little arrogant? And extremely ignorant.

Uruguay are ranked 14th in the world. That is just one place below England – a side which Jack Wilshere can’t even get into the squad for.

They are ranked above the likes of Holland, Italy, Columbia and Croatia.

Ahead of him in the Starting XI is Rodrigo Bentancur. The 20 year old had a break through season for Juventus last season, who secured first option to sign him when he was just 17.

Also ahead of him is 26 year old Matías Vecino, who Inter Milan paid €24m for last summer.

Let’s not pretend this Uruguay is a poor team. They have an array of talented young midfielders, including Nahitan Nández (22) and Giorgian De Arrascaeta (24).

It is no shame that Torreira did not start.

Uruguay are not exactly Scotland or Republic of Ireland. They are a good outfit.

Mohamed Elneny

One player who did start the game was Egypt’s Mo Elneny.

He put in the solid if unexceptional performance that he has become known for.

If Arsenal do go ahead next year and play 3 in the middle of the park, Elneny has to be in with a shout if being the deepest of those 3.

He covers a lot of ground, is disciplined and defensive aware.

You do not win the league with 11 Lionel Messi’s. You need a Sergio Busquet’s or Fernandinho.

Elneny can do that job (although it would be good to also secure Torreira so that we have competition in the area.

Granit Xhaka

Not everyone’s cup of tea but Granit Xhaka signing a new contract is great news for the club.

With Jack Wilshere looking like he is off and Aaron Ramsey still yet to sign a contract, Xhaka is a man who the modified can be built around.

Still just 25, Unai Emery needs to get the balance of the midfield right to get the best out of the Swiss international.

Signs Lucas Torreira could be just what is needed to allow Xhaka to excel.

A midfield 3 of:

Xhaka Torreira Ramsey

Has a lot of balance to it.

Since joint Arsenal two years ago, he has had to deal with a lot of criticism from fans and the media.

Xhaka gets a lot of blame for the team being set up unbalanced. He has never really played as the deepest central midfielder.

He needs to be allowed to press and be aggressive. Sitting deep never suited him.

By having someone behind him will allow him to get further forward, to be more aggressive in the middle of the park, and know he has a safety net behind him.

I am predicting that Xhaka playing the ball from deep over the top to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a route for a lot of goals next season.

Keenos

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Great time to play Man City – PL fixtures announced

Manchester City at home

Chelsea away

Welcome to the Premier League Unai Emery.

Whilst a lot of people have winced at Arsenal’s tough start to the Premier League season, I prefer to look at it another way.

The beginning of the season is a great time to play both sides due to the World Cup.

Arsenal have just 8 players at the World Cup – Granit Xhaka, Mesut Özil, David Ospina, Nacho Monreal, Mohamed Elneny, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck & new boy Stephan Lichtsteiner.

Only really Ozil, Monreal and Xhaka start in our strongest XI.

This means for the opening day of the season, we could line up the following line up:

Cech

Bellerin Mustafi Sokratis Kolasinac

Wilshere* AMN Ramsey

Mkhitaryan

Aubameyang Lacazette

*If he signs

The only place we are looking lightweight is in midfield, as both Xhaka and Elneny are in Russia, and likely new signing Lucas Torreira will also be out there.

Manchester City, meanwhile, have 16 players at the World Cup.

The likes of Kyle Walker, Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi, Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne strut their stuff around Russia

John Stones, Vincent Kompany, Ederson, Danilo, Fernandinho, Fabian Delph, Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva and David Silva will also be out there.

Looking at their squad, you struggle to make a competitive XI out of those players who have not gone.

If they rush some players who will be knocked it early – the likes of Stones and Walker – they might be able to put out a decent XI; but an XI who would not have had much of a pre season.

Chelsea also have a lot of players at the World Cup. 14 in total.

Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and loan man Michy Batshuayi. Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Olivier Giroud N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Andreas Christensen and Willy Caballero.

Kenneth Omeruo and Victor Moses will be playing for Nigeria.

Going into the first few games of the season, they will be without a senior goal keeper and have just senior CB – David Luiz – to choose from.

Emery has a chance of starting the season off with a bang. Two wins against two top 6 sides.

Other fixtures to look out for are:

Spurs (a): March 2nd

Spurs (h): December 1st

Boxing Day: Brighton (a)

New Years Eve: Liverpool (a)

New Years Day: Fulham (h)

Last game: Burnley (h)

The post-Europa league games are also friendly. They will all get moved to Sunday and for away supporters, we have avoided any long trips:

Everton (h)

Fulham (a)

Crystal Palace (a)

Wolves (h)

Tottenham (h)

Southampton (a)

Two of the post Europa League away days in London and the furthest to travel is Southampton. Not bad.

With the transfer window closing on the eve of the Premier Leaghe starting, clubs have to get a move on with any business they have to do.

Arsenal have fairly nice fixtures in the last 8 games of the season. If we start well, we could be in with a shout towards the end.

Up the Arsenal

Keenos

Sokratis to join Arsenal today?

I am usually very anti-speculation – other than to have a fun chat about what we might do in the pub with mates. Fans who predict things usually get it wrong. Fans who predict things and present it as them knowing it’s happening end up embarrassed. But this deal seems to be about to lump over the line.

In classic Arsenal fashion, the deal for Sokratis looked all but done over a week ago, but things went quiet, they went slowly. Were Arsenal exploring other avenues? Or was this just how long transfer take on reality.

Then yesterday afternoon reports from both Greece and Germany started to align – chances are they were simply quoting the same made up source.

The talk was the Sokratis (I really can’t be bothered to Google his surname) arrived in England in Sunday evening. And that on Monday he had his medical and signed the deal.

£17m over 3 years for the Greek centre back who turns 30 in 4 days.

Petit demanded experience over kids, I wonder what his opinion is about Arsenal signing the 79 capped international – I imagine he will still moan (and I am getting a little obsessed over his comments).

Anyway, the deal seems wrapped up, should happen today, and should also see Stephan Lichtsteiner sign on a free before Switzerland fly out to Russia.

It will also be interesting to see what happens with Bernd Leno.

The German goal keeper was left out of their squad to go to the World Cup.

Swooping for him would mean Unai Emery would have his first choice goal keeper and back 4 to work with for the entire pre season.

Fingers crossed it all happens today otherwise I will look more muggy than normal.

Keenos