Tag Archives: Arsenal

Arsenal win first trophy of the season

Arsenal maintained their unbeaten pre-season record yesterday with a penalty shoot-out victory against Bayern Munich on a hot and humid night in Shanghai.

In testing conditions, the Germans settled first and went close through James Rodriguez before they were awarded a penalty when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was adjudged to have fouled Juan Bernat in the area.

Robert Lewandowski made no mistake from the spot, but we responded brightly and came close to equalising when Mesut Ozil saw his shot saved after a raking move up the length of the pitch.

It may have been nearly eight o’clock at night, but with the temperature still touching 30 degrees, the players understandably took every chance to take on more fluids.

After one such interval, we restarted brightly and Alexandre Lacazette had a golden opportunity to equalise when played clean through – only to see his shot saved.

Bayern were always going to be a big step up in terms of pre-season opponents, and so they proved, twice going close through Rodriguez and again through Thomas Muller before the interval.

Petr Cech was the busier of the goalkeepers in the first half, and he was called into action once again at the start of the second period to deny James and then David Alaba.

Substitute Theo Walcott would go close in the closing stages with a curling effort that was well held, and it looked as though we were heading for our first defeat of pre-season… before a late twist.

Our injury-time equaliser came as the ball was slipped to Ramsey on the left, and he clipped the ball into the area to the onrushing Alex Iwobi who placed his header in to spark wild celebrations among our Chinese fanbase.

That was the last act of normal time, so the match went to penalties – with Emi Martinez the hero as he saved from David Alaba and Juan Bernat to secure us the victory.

The victory saw Arsenal lift a trophy at the first opportunity of the season. Although we are unsure what trophy it was. Probably one for being best dressed team as we wore our dazzling pink strip, customized with the sponsors name in Chinese.

Up next for the Gunners is Chelsea at the Bird’s Nest Stadium on Saturday. The game will be live on ITV, as Arsenal will look to win their second trophy of the season – as long as Vic Akers remembered to pack it.

Win Saturday and Arsenal will have a chance of completing a historic pre-season as they enter the highly competitive Emirates Cup – a competition Arsenal have had a lot of success in recently; winning 4 of the last 8.

All of this is good news in Arsenal’s attempt to keep Alexis Sanchez, who is reportedly motivated by trophies, not money. Whilst he missed out on the chance to lift the trophy last night, he will realise success breads success, and a pre-season treble, and even an unbeaten pre season, matching the Invincible’s of 2003/04, will be a sign of good things to come for the club.

Keenos

Obviously this article is in jest. pre season is mainly about fitness, not winning. I imagine there are some idiots out there who will take this article seriously and say look at that AKB Keenos celebrating a pre season trophy. Well the jokes on you lads.

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Arsenal set to raise over £130 million in player sales

As Arsenal continue to move on the under performing players who’s time at the club has come to an end, the amount bought in through player sales and saved wages could breach the £130,000,000 barrier.

All going well, if Arsenal get the price they seem to be demanding for the players, Arsenal could raise over £100m from the player sales alone.

Arsenal would then save an additional £32m in wages from the outgoing players. To put that into context, it would save the club £621,000 a week.

There have been reports (badly investigated reports) that Arsenal could breach the new Premier League wage increase cap rules this summer if they end up offering Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil the bumper money they demand.

English top flight clubs are allowed to increase their annual wage bills by £7m under the rules, but in the event that the attacking pair finally declare their allegiance to the Arsenal cause, the FA Cup winners would see that wage expenditure double to £15m and be in breach of the Premier League’s short-term cost control guidelines.

Arsenal’s wage bill for the 2016/17 season was reportedly £200.5m. This would mean that Arsenal could spend £207.5m on wages for 2017/18. A surplus of £7m, not taking into account other players who have built in yearly wage rises.

But if Arsenal shift £32m in wages off the books, this leaves the club around £39m in wages to play with. That is a cool £750,000 a week.

If a third of that is given to Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez, it will still leave £500,000 a week in the pot for new signings. And that is before any wages is offset by image right deals.

Alexandre Lacazette’s deal is at around £130,000 a week and Sead Kolasinac on £120,000 a week. This still leaves Arsenal £250,000.

For that surplus, Arsenal could easily sign their first choice attacking option (Thomas Lemar) and add depth in the middle of the park and still have some change in the kitty.

Whilst I know the dangers of talking about net spend, the fact that Arsenal could sign Lacazette, Kolasinac and Lemar for a combined total of less than the out going players (all 3 will cost under £100m) ensure that we maintain the model of being a self sufficient football club.

£130m+ for players no longer needed. It is good that we are going to clear the decks, but it also highlights how much wastage we have had in recent years.

Keenos

Why the Wojciech Szczesny love in?

It is always interesting to see who’s narrative changes to suit the agenda. Often this happens when it surrounds either criticising or praising Arsene Wenger.

You will have some who will change their opinion on everything just to dig the Frenchman out, others who alter their views to go OTT in defence of him.

With Wojciech Szczesny set to join Juventus in a £10m deal, we have seen the changing narrative to suit an agenda rear it’s ugly head again.

It is two and a half years since Szczesny was dropped having made errors leading to both goals in Arsenal’s 2–0 defeat at Southampton. He was later fined £20,000 by the club for smoking in the changing room showers after the match.

I remember at the time, pretty much everyone was in agreement. Szczesny had become a liability and had to be dropped.

For most of the first half the season, many Arsenal fans had taken to social media to point at that Szczesny was a clown. And that Wenger was being his normal loyal, idiotic self, by keeping with him despite a string of high profile errors.

After Southampton, he was dropped to the bench for the rest of the Premier League season, with David Ospina replacing him in goal. It was tough to find a fan who disagreed with the decision. Many said it should have been earlier.

That season, Szczesny played in the FA Cup run. Fans were still being highly critical of Wenger and Szczesny when it was the Poles name who appeared on the team sheet for the 2015 FA Cup Final.

The summer of 2015 saw Petr Cech join Arsenal. Arsenal fans were elated. Finally Wenger had acted. He had realised that the clown Szczesny was never going to be good enough, he had got in a world class keeper from a rival, and all that was left to do was to ship out Szczesny as quickly as possible.

Szczesny joined Italian side Roma on a season long loan. This ended up becoming a 2 year loan.

During the time, he showed exactly what he had shown for Arsenal. Capable of making world class saves, but also capable of silly errors that cost goals, cost games.

In December 2015, he was dropped for Morgan De Sanctis for a league game against Atalanta after again being caught smoking following a 6–1 loss to Barcelona. Déjà vu?

Role forward to today and Arsenal are finally selling a man who has not been part of the first XI (bar cups) at Arsenal for 2 and a half years. And as expected, the narrative has changed.

Rather than people wishing Szczesny well, and being happy that we have got £10m for a player in his last year of the contract, people are moaning.

Suddenly I see people, who were highly critical of him in 2015, labeling him as the best keeper in Europe.

Good enough to replace Buffon, not good enough for the buffoon Wenger

Well let’s get a few things straight:

  1. Buffon will be the Juventus number one next season. Szczesny will be number 2. He might replace Buffon when he retires, he might not
  2. Szczesny had 1 year on his contract, and wanted to join Juventus as number 2, rather than be Arsenal number 2
  3. He is certainly not the best keeper in Europe. He would still not even be one of the top 5 keepers in the Premier League

Interestingly, a lot of people claiming that he is the best in Europe are doing it without having seen him play for Roma. They are basing it on statistics. These are the same people that would laugh at you if you ever said Giroud is one of the best strikers in Europe based on statistics supplied by the same company.

You can not judge a player on statistics they will say. Despite them doing that when it comes to Szczesny.

To reiterate, Szczesny is still a great shot stopper. But still has a tendency to lose concentration. Will still drop crosses. Still can not kick. And will still make errors that lead to goals.

Maybe Szczesny is suffering from the Michael Carrick affect. The less he plays, the less people see him play, the better he gets. Forgetting the reasons why he doesn’t play, or was sold.

It is like when Chris and Olivia on Love Island went on a break. They lasted barely 24 hours before they were all over each other again. Being apart, even just for the day, had made them lust for each other even more. They forgot why they had split up to begin with, and got back together. But then when they were together again, the old faults reared their head, reminding them both why they were incompatible.

Olivia and Chris got back together, and within 48 hours, were at each others throats again. The same will be with Szczesny. Fans have forgotten why he was discarded in the first place. Had he returned we would all have been giddy with excitement again. Until he makes that first error. And all the old, bad, memories flood back.

I have found it interesting following social media today. In summary it has been:

2015: Wenger picks Szczesny “What are you doing picking that clown”
2017: Wenger sells Szczesny “What are you doing selling the best GK in Europe”

Are you a fan who changes the narrative to suit an agenda? If you are, I probably do not care for your opinion. As it is not balanced.

Keenos