Archive August 2018

Ben Turner on the Transfer Window…

Now that the season is underway and the transfer window is closed I’d like to have my say on how I felt our Transfer window went and share my brief thoughts on our summer signings.

Given that this summer we have seen a complete re-structuring of Arsenal football club in the wake of Arsene Wenger’s departure and the fact this was a World Cup year I believe that Unai Emery and the recruitment team have had a successful 1st summer, each acquisition having addressed a key area.

Stephan Lichtsteiner – the 1st through the door and divided the opinions of the fan base mainly because of his age (34) however having watched Lichtsteiner during the World cup I have no doubt he will prove a shrewd bit of business. He will provide defensive cover at both RB & LB and given he has been a part of the success that Juventus have had over the last 7 years he has a winning mentality that I’m sure will translate to other members of the squad. I find it refreshing that the clubs are able to look at what a player can offer without being concerned about his age.  Listening to him speak recently, the way in which he spoke reassured me of how invaluable his maturity can be.

Sokratis – His arrival from Borrusia Dortmund is a transfer that reassured me that after years of defensive frailties we as a club were looking to sure up those problems by adding another experienced CB, Sokratis enjoyed a successful spell in Germany  and although towards the end of his time at Dortmund he wasn’t spectacular I believe we have a real leader in the centre of our defense now.

Bernd Leno – a welcome addition the squad, we have seen the GK position come under immense scrutiny down the years with Petr Cech not really showing anywhere near the type of form he once did at Chelsea & David Ospina failing to fill the fans with any confidence.  It’s an arrival that given time will really take off, Leno has made over 300+ senior appearances and for such a young goalkeeper he has real pedigree, it’s a signing I’m really excited about.

Lucas Torreira – given that it’s taken so many years to bring in a defensive midfielder of quality I am absolutely thrilled the club pulled this one off, many fans who hadn’t seen Torreira during his time at Sampdoria managed to get a glimpse of him for Uruguay during the summers WC, he tops my chart of summer acquisitions, once he has settled I firmly believe he will be the 1st name on the team sheet, he really is going to add that defensive intelligence in MF we have lacked for many years.

Then came 19 year old Matteo Guendouzi, a Central Midfielder from Lorient, Relatively unknown it was viewed that his arrival would mean a stint away from the 1st team, We couldn’t of been more wrong having seen him earn a well deserved start against Man City last Sunday.  He was arguably our best player of the pre-season, definitely a player we can look forward to seeing more of in the future.

Thanks for reading.

Ben Turner

@benturnerr2226

 

Episode 20: Opening Day Preview

Join us for a weekly discussion on all things Arsenal. We review the latest fixtures, look ahead to those coming up and cover the hot topics surrounding the club. This show is brought to you by the @sofasportspod, the @FNXNetwork and hosted by @HarrySymeou.

This week guests are Craig and Lee from the @SameOldAFC Podcast!

Also available on iTunes, SoundCloud, Acast and Tune In Radio.

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“The Chronicles of a Gooner 2017/18” Book is on Sale here: www.amazon.co.uk/Chronicles-G

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Episode 19: Torreira, The Captaincy & the ICC

Join us for a weekly discussion on all things Arsenal. We review the latest fixtures, look ahead to those coming up and cover the hot topics surrounding the club. This show is brought to you by the @sofasportspod, the @FNXNetwork and hosted by @HarrySymeou.

Also available on iTunes, SoundCloud, Acast and Tune In Radio.

Follow us on Twitter: chronicles_afc

“The Chronicles of a Gooner 2017/18” Book is on Sale here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Chronicles-Gooner-2017-18-Harry-Symeou/dp/1789551560/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529511493&sr=8-1&keywords=harry+symeou

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https://soundcloud.com/user-466255097/episode-19-torreira-the-captaincy-and-the-icc

Mesut Özil: Diamond or Dud?

Mesut Ozil is a player who continues to divide opinion amongst Arsenal fans and viewers of the game in general. On his day he can be marvelous, a joy to behold and oozes class but since his arrival from Madrid in September 2013 the general opinion is that he tends to hide, disappear and go missing in the biggest of fixtures and when his team mates need him most.  Having played an instrumental part in Germany’s World Cup success back in 2014 you could argue that Ozil has already reached the pinnacle of the game and therefore a lack of motivation could be what’s holding him back.

Whether that is or isn’t the case we’ll never know for sure, he says all the right things and you’d have a hard time proving how motivated somebody is or isn’t.  All you can do is make judgment based on what you see and there won’t be a Gooner out there who can honestly say we’ve always managed to get the maximum out of Mesut when wearing the famous cannon on his chest.  The talent is there, that shouldn’t be disputed and in fairness to Özil criticism of his work rate is unjust.  The statistics prove it – he covers just as much ground as anybody else, if not more than most so what’s missing from his game?

Is it a lack of desire? Not for me; I find it almost impossible to believe a top level sportsman would be content with simply plodding along; collecting his/her pay cheque at the end of each month and accepting mediocrity but then again, Theo Walcott made it!  So what seems to be the issue?

Arsene Wenger’s management has seen many players regress over the past few seasons and Mesut Özil happens to be one of them.  Other examples include Hector Bellerin, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Iwobi.  All of these players were given opportunities at a relatively young age, threatened to become world beaters in their respective positions yet every single one of them at some point or another, under Wenger’s leadership hit a brick wall in terms of their development.

Where the aforementioned cases differ to that of Mesut Ozil is that they were young fledglings looking spread their wings, make a name for themselves and were in need of a vastly experienced mentor and top quality management in order to maximize their potential. Mesut Ozil arrived at the Emirates Stadium as the ‘finished article’ meaning Arsene Wenger’s part to play in his career was a totally different but just as important one.

Mesut arrived in North London at a time where Arsene Wenger’s best days had long since passed him by.  His inability to find the correct balance in our midfield often left us exposed defensively and Özil to endure waves of unfair criticism as a result.  Not to mention the long periods our German playmaker spent operating from the right hand side, yet another Wenger masterstroke!  Mesut Özil has suffered a similar misfortune to that of Andrey Arshavin when he arrived back in 2009 and you won’t be surprised to hear the common denominator was Monsieur Wenger.

One can only hope new boss Unai Emery recognizes this and will do his upmost to accommodate Mesut in his preferred central position whilst also relieving him of a lot of his defensive responsibilities.  

The acquisition of Lucas Torreira should go a long way in rectifying our midfield imbalance and if Aaron Ramsey is to stay I’d expect him to be far more disciplined without the ball then he has been in recent seasons.  The new manager has a diamond in Mesut Özil and so creating the right environment around him should, in theory see him shine bright in 2018/19.

Words: @HarrySymeou