Tag Archives: sead kolasinac

Arsenal’s New Signings: Hit, miss or Jury’s Out?

Sead Kolasinac

Named in the Bundesliga Team of the Season last season, the left back looked at bargain when he arrived on a free transfer, Kolasinac scored on his debut against Chelsea in the 2017 FA Community Shield. He made his Premier League debut on the opening day, providing an assist in a 4–3 win over Leicester City.

With Arsenal playing 3 at the back, he made the left wing back position his own, with Nacho Monreal flourishing on the left hand side of back 3. In the early months, he gave the team the aggression it had missed for some time, living up to his “tank” nickname.

He was named Arsenal Player of the Month in both August and October, with Nacho Monreal winning the prize in September.

Towards the end of 2017, both a formation change and injury saw him fall out of the side, firstly with Aisnley-Maitland Niles playing on the left, then Nacho Monreal returning to left back when we returned to a back 4.

Questions were raised over his defensive awareness as the reasoning behind him finding himself on the bench, but it was as much to do with Nacho Monreal’s great form – the 32 year old Spaniard showing that there is life in the old dog yet.

Kolasinac returned to the first team in the later part of the season, as Wenger begun to rest players in the league for the Europa League.

Going forward he has shown his class with 5 goals and 4 assists. To bring this into perspective, this is as many goals as Alex Oxlade Chamberlain has scored for Liverpool.

Just 24, he has shown enough this season to be Monreal’s long term replacement at left back. He is certainly not as bad defensively as some critics perhaps say.

Alexandre Lacazette

Scoring after 94 seconds on his debut against Leicester City, the Frenchman’s season certainly began with a bang. He went on to score in both Arsenal’s next two home games, becoming the first Arsenal player to score in his first three home league appearances for the club since Brian Marwood in September 1988.

By the time December hit, it was 8 goals from his first 16 games. A fabulous start. And then it went down hill.

1 goal in his next 13 games had fans starting to question the record signing. What followed was 8 weeks on the sidelines following Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Tottenham.

He returned in April against Stoke City, scoring the third goal of the game following Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s decision to allow his fellow striker to take a penalty.

With that his confidence returned and he scored 8 goals in 9 games.

The clubs top scorer this season, it does feel one of 3 thirds. Brilliant in the first 3rd. Poor in the second 3rd. Brilliant in the final third. But if 17 goals is considered a poor return in his first season, it only bodes well for the future.

Konstantinos Mavropanos

The 20 year old Greek defender was signed in January with a view to spend the second half of the season on loan in Germany. A decision to put him on the bench in the League Cup game against Chelsea meant this was not longer possible.

This left Mavropanos playing in the U23s for the majority of the season.

He made his Premier League debut in a 2–1 defeat against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Despite the defeat, his performance was praised by fans and pundits.

Mavropanos made his home debut in the club’s next home match – the 5-0 victory over Burnley.

His red card against Leicester City shows how quickly football can change.

It is important not to go OTT with Mavropanos; and we must remember that he has only played a handful of senior games in England, but physically, he looks brilliant.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Part of the deal that took Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United, he made his first start for Arsenal in a 5–1 home win over Everton, claiming three assists. That match was probably the highlight of his Arsenal career thus far.

A knee injury in April caused him to miss almost the entire month. That break seemed to have broken his rhythm and affected him settling at the club, leaving him with just 7 Premier League starts.

3 goals and 5 assists in his first 14 games is a decent return, but Jose Mourinho’s question marks over his fragility hang over his head.

If he stays fit, he will be a good foil for Mesut Ozil.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Whilst Mkhitaryan was the man who replaced Sanchez on the pitch, Aubameyang has replaced the Chilean as the figure head of the team.

He has continued his performances that he put in for Borussia Dortmund, scoring on his debut against Everton.

Aubameyang’s appearances were restricted due to be cup tied in the Europa League. You do have to wonder if he was not cup tied – due to UEFA’s odd rules – we probably would have gone on to beat Atletico Madrid in the semi-final. Him and Lacazette would have been too much to handle for 10 man Madrid.

It is not just the 8 goals in 12 games that has been impressive, but the way he lifted the entire club.

Alexis Sanchez was moody and selfish. Aubameyang plays with a smile on his face, and reminds me of Thierry Henry in that he is as delighted to see a team mate score as scoring himself.

Giving the ball to Lacazette against Stoke City showed he was a team player. Understanding a fellow striker struggling, his act led to Lacazette re-finding his form. You can not imagine Sanchez doing similar.

With new World Cup Aubameyang (and Mkhitaryan) will get a proper rest and full pre-season. He could be devastating next year.

Keenos

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Aaron Ramsey, David Dein, Sead Kolašinac & Alexis to Everton?

Aaron Ramsey

Against Swansea, Aaron Ramsey became the 50th Arsenal player to score 50 goals.

A man who has divided opinion over the years, we should be forever grateful of 2 of those goals, which won us 2 of the 3 FA Cups in recent years. In years gone past, he would be labelled a legend for winning us two FA Cups. I imagine this status will only come once he retires, in years too come.

He will always be remembered as that guy who scored the winning goals in the FA Cup finals.

It is easy to forget that he is still just 26 (27 in December). He still has a lot of years to go at the top level. As long as he remembers to keep it simple, and play to his strengths, there is no reason he can not go on to score 100 goals and play 500 game for The Arsenal.

Well done Aaron on your 50 Aaron.

David Dein

Once again, the name David Dein is being spoke about for a return to Arsenal. Like Aaron Ramsey, opinion is split on the former Arsenal director.

I am of the opinion that we won a lot under his stewardship, but these trophies covered up the discord he had between the fans at the time.

There is a clear split between fans on the matter of David Dein. Those under the age of 35, or who were not going to games regularly in the late 80s / early 90s, think he is a messiah. That he can walk on water. They see the league titles, the FA Cups, the world class players who joined. It was a successful period.

But then those who are of a certain age, going in the late 80s / 90s, will remember the North Bank Bond fiasco. They will point to the moment the club chased the money instead of protecting its long term fan base.

The Bond Scheme was fairly similar to the Club Level season tickets that came on the market when we moved to the new ground in 2006. By paying a big chunk of money (back then it was £1,000-£1,500), fans could secure themselves a season ticket for Arsenal for the next 150 years.

The following is an extract from the book Fanatics: Power, Identity and Fandom in Football:

There were protests, a Ban the Bond campaign involving the release of balloons. There was as much anger at David Dein at Highbury than there is at Stan Kroenke now.

Also under David Dein, ticket prices rose at incredible rates.

In the 10 years from 1990 – 2000, the average Arsenal ticket price rose 289%. From 2006 – 2016, under Stan Kroenke, prices rose 18%.

Whilst this is not to justify Stan Kroenke, it is too highlight that David Dein was certainly not a man of the people. He only cared for maximising profitability at the detriment of loyal working class fans.

On top of this, he also introduced Stan Kroenke to the club, before selling to Alisher Usmanov. He created the current ownership problems we have.

Dein profiteered from the club to the value of nearly £100m. He was in it for himself, for his own pocket.

All of this is forgotten about because we were successful under Dein’s stewardship.

It does make me wonder, would many of the current fan base who moan about ticket prices soon be quiet if we won a league title? Probably.

Dein did a lot of good for the club. But he was also the man who kicked off the current PLC mentality of maximising profitability at the detriment of match going fans. He we the catalyst for many of the problems we now face.

Sead Kolašinac

What a player this boy is turning out to be. He does have a bit of a poor injury record, so I hope the slight strain he picked up against Swansea does not turn into a season long thing.

He is a sharp reminder to us all that it is not what you spend on a player, but what player you buy.

It is laughable to remember some fans in the summer moaning that he was a typical Wenger signing. Cheap.

Manchester City spent nearly £150m on full back this summer, and Kolasinac is better than them all.

Alexis Sanchez to Everton

Bit of laughable transfer news this morning.

Everton are interested in signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal this January for £30m as former Arsenal shareholder Farhad Moshiri looks to splash his cash.

If Sanchez does go to Everton, it will be for huge wages and show that the Chilean is interested in money, not trophies. Hope he enjoys playing in the Championship next season.

 

Have a good week

Keenos

A wish list for Arsenal – 5 players we need to sign

I found this in my drafts. I wrote it before the FA Cup Final. I have no idea why I did not publish it earlier, but here it is.

Every year I write a wish list. A prediction. I play football manager with myself. Attempt to build the Arsenal squad. Who I want to see come in, who I think will leave, what I think the squad will look like next year.

Here are my thoughts on the 2017/18 season…

In goal, Wojciech Szczesny and David Ospina will leave the club. We will raise £20-30m be selling them both. In their place, we should go for Sunderland’s Jordan Pickford.

Valued at £30m, we could pretty much get him for free if we get a decent value for the other two keepers. At worst we would be looking at a £10m outlay. Personally, I do not think Pickford is ready to play for a team like Arsenal.

It is easy at Sunderland. Saving 20 shots a game, not getting criticised if you concede 6, as you have said another 14. At Arsenal – and other top clubs – you come under higher scrutiny. By getting in Pickford now, we could easily play him in the cups whilst an understudy to Petr Cech. He will learn form the goal keeping legend, and this time next year, will take over as number one.

A deal for Sead Kolasinac looks done. A free transfer. Ignore the price tag. He is the best left back in the Bundesliga.

With his height and physicality, he could drop inside and become the left side of a 3 at the back. With Nacho Monreal also offering similar attributes, it could be a case of flipping a coin to decide who players where. Kieran Gibbs will make way.

In the middle of the park, I have been a long term fan of Renato Sanches.

He went for big money to Bayern Munich last year, but has struggled to nail down a spot. Munich could well look cash in before what they owe on him increases again.

Sanches has the physicality in the middle of the park that we have missed. An all round central midfielder, he can defend and attack, pass and tackle. He covers the ground and could become an absolute beast in the middle of the park alongside Granit Xhaka.

Moving forward, after their poor season last year, Riyad Mahrez might come available.

At the right price, he could provide competition for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil. If we get him in early, it would also take the pressure off if we lose either player as we would already have a replacement.

Mahrez would also do a job on the wing, if we decide to move Sanchez up top (or behind Sanchez alongside Ozil).

Having a choice between Ozil, Sanchez and Mahrez is something we could certainly accommodate.

Finally we have Kylian Mbappe. The young striker is going to be very expensive. I am not 100% sure on him. He has the talent. But his price tag does not quite justify what he has done so far. He would be a luxury signing if signing him does not mean we have to give up on other targets. I would not sacrifice (for example) signing Sanches and Mahrez to bring in Mbappe, but once sales come in, we could free up enough money to sign the wonderkid.

It will be interesting to see how many we sign.

Note: This was originally written before we won the FA Cup Final

Keenos