INTERESTING TIMES FOR ARSENAL F.C.
Arsenal finished the season extremely strong and landed a Champions League spot after many doubted that they wouldn’t make it which made the achievement all the more sweeter. The turning point came in the second leg Champions League match in Bayern Munich’s Allianz Stadium where Arsenal faced an uphill battle to progress in the competition as they had lost 3 – 1 at home to Bayern in the 1st leg and the morale was furthered lowered by the defeat to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur who had opened up a lead over The Gunners in the table.
Arsenal responded by beating the newly crowned kings of Europe 2 – 0 in their own back yard which although was not enough to progress sent out a message of intent. Arsenal then went on a run that allowed them to leapfrog Spurs into fourth place and cement and Champions League place and almost propelled them above Chelsea but this wasn’t to be as Chelsea won their final game against Everton. The last game of the season had Arsenal playing away at Newcastle and Tottenham playing Sunderland at White Hart lane both games were must wins for both clubs and the implications were massive and both North London clubs obliged with 1 – 0 wins in their respective matches.
Arsenal legend Thierry Henry made a statement recently about the manner of how Arsenal celebrated on the final day of the season stating that he had hoped they were celebrating like that because they had kept their rivals out of the Champions League as opposed to finishing fourth which is of course is right. The landscape has been transformed immensely for the up and coming season with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson stepping down and David Moyes replacing him as the new manager of Manchester United he has extremely big boots to try and fill and although David Moyes has managed Everton for eleven seasons with a relatively small budget he is not a manager that is used to winning trophies year in year out. Another two major changes in the top four sector of the table is the sacking of Mancini from Manchester City and being potentially replaced by Manuel Pellegrini who is a good manager but has not managed in England this will be a true test of his managerial skills but he had done a successful job in La Liga with Malaga although the clubs debts caused them to have to part with the majority of their prised assets including the likes of Santi Cazorla to Arsenal and now the replacing of Mancini with Pellegrini potentially being named as the new Manchester City manager and having many challenges one main challenge is turning his team from star individuals to a star team.
Chelsea who went on to win The Europa League under interim manager Rafa Benitez have once again acquired the services and love affair with Jose “The Special one” Mourinho which will make the up and coming season very interesting as the top teams vie for dominance and I believe that this is a great time for the sleeping giant known as Arsenal football club to kick on and pick up some silverware putting them back to the level that the old Arsenal faithful can be proud of. Arsene Wenger is going to have to get rid of the under achievers in the squad the list of players are as follows Nicklas Bendtner, Andre Santos, Denilson, Ju Young Park, Marouane Chamakh, Sebastien Squillaci, Abou Diaby, Andrei Arshavin, Aaron Ramsey and Bacary Sagna with the likes of Arshavin and Squillaci coming to the end of the contracts in the up and coming months that is two players who are surplus to requirements. Off the payroll others such as Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Andre Santos and Denilson all have been loaned out but their values have dropped due to their sub-standard performances they have shown that they are not Arsenal players and don’t have the confidence or the skill level to wear the cannon on their chest. Two other players in the list that have had up and down seasons are Aaron Ramsey and Bacary Sagna although they have had good games they are very inconsistent and often make mistakes that leads to conceding goals. I personally believe that Ramsey should go to a team that better matches his style and ability and there were murmurs from Sagna that he would love to play for Paris St Germain and in all true reality I think we should let him go and replace him with a consistent and competent right back who would add to the dynamics of the squad.
Arsene Wenger has been given a war chest of £70 million to improve the squad and the usual rumour mill has linked Arsenal to many players most notably Fiorentina’s Stefan Jovetic who has been on the Arsenal radar for a while but the price has been the problem as always with Arsenal offering in the region of £24 million and Fiorentina wanting £30 million once again it seems that Arsenal will miss out on a quality striker granted he has not been Premier League tested yet but he posses all the attributes to be a success in the hardest league in the world. Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain have also been thrown on the radar for Arsenal and surprisingly enough Wayne Rooney but I very much doubt that any of them will be on their way to The Emirates due to the price tags that would be put on each of the players in question. Yaya Sanogo is very close to a move to the Gunners but I personally feel that this is a throw of the dice as he plays in the French second division with Auxerre and is injury prone something that could affect his career in England should he make the move but I believe at the time of writing he has completed a medical with the club and looks destined to be in the team next season. Another problem I can see is the constant scouting in France which hasn’t really brought the success of old with the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit to name a few it seems like the place to look is Germany and Spain which Arsene Wenger stated but strangely enough the French league is Arsene’s preferred place to look for the new gems of football but there have been many flops such as Marouane Chamakh who was electrifying in the French league but has done nothing to suggest he has a future in English football hopefully he will be sold this season at a cut rate price.
For me Four or Five players could turn the team into title contenders I believe that Julio Cesar of relegated QPR, Gregory van der Wiel of PSG and Hatem Ben Arfa of Newcastle Utd would be great acquisitions along with West Ham’s Mo Diame who would bring in that steal to the defensive midfield position Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke would bring that power to the front line and could forge a formidable partnership with Olivier Giroud who in his first season scored 17 goals and 10 assist which is not a bad stat for your first season. The last two position would have to be a new right back and an assured goal keeper if these positions are filled the good times could be just around the corner and hopefully the board take heed of what the club requires to push on and become a dominant force once again.