Monthly Archives: May 2014

Who should Arsenal sign to replace Bacary Sagna?

Astuto Uchida

Hi all – thoughts today have turned to discussing who might be brought in to replace Bacary Sagna. The Mirror is reporting today that the Frenchman has already agreed terms with Man City and will have a medical on Monday afternoon before agreeing a huge salary and signing a reported three year contract at the Champions.

Who can we bring in to replace Sagna? Many are expecting Carl Jenkinson to step in and fill the void. I’m not sure if Jenkinson can do the job to push us on to become genuine Premier League challengers and I think we need to bring someone in. Here are some of the options that have been mentioned:

Atsuto Uchida
I have to admit, I know nothing about the 26-year-old Japanese international. He’s spent four years playing in Germany with Schalke; playing in the Bundesliga seems to be very common for most Japanese youngsters, he’s short and has rapid speed much like Sagna and has played over 65 games for his national team. The player has two years left on his deal and has apparently been contacted by Arsenal representatives already – I like the idea of signing someone who still has his best years ahead of him but already has experience in one of Europe’s top leagues – definitely a good option…

Serge Aurier
I’ve watched a few videos of Serge Aurier and he looks quality. In most of those videos he was always far too forward though, so I didn’t get a chance to see how good defensively he really is. He seems to have a decent cross and pass and occasionally gets himself into the box to score goals. With 8 goals in 70 games for Toulouse, he definitely is an option for us. The one thing I would say is that he’s only 21-years-old so does he really have the experience to take over Sagna?

Micah Richards
For not the first time, Richards has been linked with a move to the Emirates. If Sagna does move to City that makes Richards their 3rd choice right back. I’m not sure why he’s still there and he would be a great option for us. Having watched him and his defensive abilities before, at times he can be a bit of a liability. But he does have strength and pace and still has a few good years ahead of him. He’s also English so he won’t need to acclimatise to Premier League football.

Juanfran
The Spanish right back has been one of Atletico Madrid’s best players in their title winning season and I really like what i’ve seen of him. The one question I have is whether or not he can produce the same creativity we saw from Sagna, but defensively he is solid.

Of all of the above names, I think I would like to see us move for Richards first and then Uchida second. I don’t think Aurier can offer what we need right now and it is almost inevitable that he will move to someone ready to take a risk on him now and throw him into the first team, someone like Everton or another up and coming Premier League team.

FA Cup winners 2014 – come on you Gooners

FA Cup Winners 2014

So, that’s the end to another long and hard season. What a wonderful finish it was indeed – and our 9 year long spell without a trophy ends.

The game itself was a cracker and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one shitting themselves after Hull went 2-0 up after just 10 minutes. It was the same kind of goal that has haunted us for many years, but not so much this season. A ball in from a corner or free kick and one of the centre backs getting a head on it. We seemed to have got that out of our game over the past few seasons but in the FA Cup final of all games, it came back to haunt us.

What came next was a rapid fire response from Santi Cazorla. He’s been a crucial player for us over the past two seasons and he proved it yet again with a stunning free kick from range to put us back in the game in the 21st minute. From there onwards, Hull were never able to really get back into the tie.

The 71st minute then saw us find our equaliser, as Laurent Koscielny got himself in the right place at the right time to spank the ball home past McGregor in the Hull goal. Game on.

Kieran Gibbs missed an absolute pearl of a chance as he hoofed the ball over the bar in the 87th with the goal at his mercy… finally the game ended and went into extra time.

From there, we finally found the winner as our hero of the season, Aaron Ramsey, scored the winner with the outside of his boot. Our barren run would be over!

What a season it’s been.. now we must grow on this success. We need to improve the playing squad and find talent that is capable of building on this victory. As Lukas Podolski said, the monkey is off the back now.

Final day victory for Gunners

MesutOzilNorwich

Well, what a season it’s been. Up and down that’s for sure… but I can’t help but feel most Arsenal fans will be thinking what could have been.

Arsene Wenger went out and spent big at the beginning of the season, at the last minute of course. Mesut Ozil was the player who came in for a big money fee. Initially, and for the first four months of the season, the German was first class. After January though, he looked to be tired and short of fitness. This, as has been in the past, was the story of Arsenal’s decade. A short squad, lacking the players needed to make a title challenge.

The first few months, in and around the Emirates, it felt like we supported a different team. The fans were more friendly, the atmosphere was buzzing; people felt like Arsenal could go on and win some trophies this season. We looked like we could do it and Wenger had finally got it right.

Then the injuries started coming, as they usually do. What we need to look at desperately is firstly our team of physios and also the training that Wenger is adopting. It seems to tire out our players and makes it easier for them to pick up injuries during the big games. Think about this, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was missing this year, Mesut Ozil for a lengthy spell, we lost Lukas Podolski for a while; Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky picked up an injury for a short time, Kieron Gibbs picked up his annual niggle too. There were many. Why does this happen to us at all important times of the season?

Into January, the injury to Theo Walcott against Tottenham was the final nail in the coffin. Even though we were top of the league then and flying high, we were short of pace on the flanks, all important in the modern game. Look at any other title chasing team, Liverpool have Raheem Sterling; Chelsea have Schurrle, Salah; Man City have David Silva and Jesus Navas. Arsenal did have Serge Gnabry on the bench, but he didn’t have a go, not really sure why Wenger didn’t put much faith in him. I expect to see Gnabry play a more important role at Arsenal next year. If he’s not guaranteed a chance, then please send him out on loan somewhere Arsene.

Then, everything went downhill into the last 10 games of the season. Psychologically, Arsenal took a battering with the 6-0 defeat against Chelsea. That’s when it was all over. We still continue to show that we can’t compete against the best top teams, that really does hurt. We need to change that if we’re going to compete next year, that means we need a class defensive midfielder, someone like Fernandinho; also a good replacement for Bacary Sagna. We also need to keep Lukas Podolski and think about bringing in yet another striker. We don’t have enough forwards to challenge for the title. I wonder if some of our promising wonderkid’s will have a go next season?

As for the final day for Arsenal, it was a victory and a comfortable one as well. Aaron Ramsey scored a wonderful goal, Marco van Basten-esque in fact. Then Carl Jenkinson also got on the scoresheet as well with an impressive goal. Finding some room in front of goal and spanking home in decent fashion. I wonder if he’ll be brought in to replace Bacary Sagna next year as a straight swap? So very ironic that his first goal for the club comes in Sagna’s last game…

So it’s on to the FA Cup Final against Hull City next week and then it’s job done and on to the World Cup for the majority of our players. We have had a brilliant little spell of form recently, it’s just a shame we couldn’t hold up against the top teams this season and it might’ve been different indeed.

We’ve also got the all important and expected contract signing of Mr. Wenger coming up soon. When will that be announced? How long will he sign for? Is he doing a Sir Alex and will he retire at the end of the season unannounced? Very unlikely, but it is peculiar that Arsene is keeping his cards close to his chest. I expect he’ll sign a two year contract and that he’ll not be spending much money at all this summer. He really doesn’t think he needs to. What he should be doing though is bringing in some experienced heads to join his coaching team. Dennis Bergkamp is doing a wonderful job at Ajax as Frank De Boer’s assistant, how about bringing him onto the coaching team? What about the medical team? Can we bring in some experience from a rival club there? How about the backroom team? In the age of big data, do we have quality people who are analysing our opponents? Can we add some knowledge here… I’m sure most of our rivals do.

Anyway, it’s a final day win and congratulations to Man City. To be honest, of all the teams at the top I was personally happier that City won the league… can you imagine if Liverpool won with that average squad? What about Jose Mourinho with his negatron tactics?

Let’s learn from this season, lift the FA Cup and spend big in the summer. It’s been a mixed season indeed… onward and upward.