July 29, 2012
A new season, a new kit, a different pre-season venue to play in, but the seemingly the same old problems for Arsenal. In the second match of the pre-season Asia Tour, we played well against Manchester City, however couldn’t convert chances and were punished for some slack defending on the break. It’s important to remember that it was only a friendly; however it’s never good to lose to a rival like Manchester City, especially when the loss came in a similar fashion to many of the ones we’ve suffered in recent seasons.
The squad for the Asia Tour is still missing a large number of first team players because of injury and fitness after Euro 2012, however we still fielded quite a strong team against Manchester City. Being honest, I didn’t rate our chances of winning the game as very high. We didn’t start with a regular striker, and had the inexperienced Kyle Bartley at centre back. Seeing a City team sheet including Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero and Yaya Toure was a concern, and their clinical counter attacking proved to be the difference.
The 2-0 score-line didn’t do the match justice, but rarely does a result reflect the overall flow of a football match. Hopefully we can get these matches out of our system before the season starts; where we dominate, but don’t turn that pressure into goals.
July 5, 2012
Let's be honest, deep down we all feared that Robin van Persie wouldn't sign a new contract. As Arsenal fans, we've seen these situations all too many times in the last few seasons. If Robin had decided to go quietly, we'd have accepted it and understood his desire to leave. He'd have gone with the respect of the fans for giving everything for Arsenal, and would have been remembered as a great player for the club. Yes, it would have been massively disappointing for fans, but we'd have lived with it.
Then there was this. Robin van Persie's statement on his official website was damning of the club, and horribly misjudged. I'll be surprised if van Persie wrote it himself, because I'm struggling to believe that he would be so blunt about the club when financially we don't have to sell him, when he's still club captain and when the statement wasn't expected by the club.
Most Arsenal fans have been through the mire enough times in the last few summers to not take van Persie's side of the story and not have sympathy for him. I can understand some fans siding with him about the different directions of the club, but ultimately Arsene Wenger is never going to spend the same amount of money as clubs like Manchester City. He never has done, never will do, and wouldn't want to compromise Arsenal's financial position. Wenger's stand point on this shouldn't have been news to Robin van Persie. He's been at the club eight years, and were it not for Wenger's policy, Robin wouldn't have been given the chances he had as a youngster, wouldn't have been backed despite his injury problems, and wouldn't have become the striker he is today.
Finishing the series of blog posts looking at the Arsenal squad, I’m going to rate, and in some cases slate, the Arsenal players for their performances over the last ten months. To say it’s been an eventful season for Arsenal would be a massive understatement, so I’m sure there will be plenty of disagreement with my ratings, so feel free to comment at the end of the blog. In my first blog post of the day following yesterday’s events surrounding our captain, it’s time to rate the strikers.
9. Ju-Young Park
One on those rushed through the checkout during Arsene Wenger’s trolley dash at the end of the summer transfer window, Ju-Young Park hasn’t really made his mark on Arsenal Football Club. The Korean captain was cheap, and did score an excellent goal against Bolton in the Carling Cup, but he just wasn’t given the chance to prove himself for the first team. That was partly down to the form and fitness of Robin van Persie, but also because I don’t think Wenger trusted him to lead the line. Undoubtedly a strange signing.
July 3, 2012
Continuing the series of blog posts looking at the Arsenal squad, I’m going to rate, and in some cases slate, the Arsenal players for their performances over the last ten months. To say it’s been an eventful season for Arsenal would be a massive understatement, so I’m sure there will be plenty of disagreement with my ratings, so feel free to comment at the end of the blog. Moving up the pitch, it’s time to look at the midfielders.
2. Abou Diaby
The international man of mystery was only seen in fleeting glances during last season. His campaign was summed up by his cameo against Liverpool at Anfield. He came on in the second half, looked rusty in some of his runs forward but still showed he has some real talent on the ball, but then he tweaked a muscle and went off again. I can understand the argument for cutting our losses on Diaby and getting him off the wage bill because of his injury record, but we’ve seen with van Persie and Rosicky, that patience can eventually lead to a player flourishing at Arsenal. I think Diaby can still become an important part of our midfield, we just need him to stay fit for a prolonged period of time.