Arsenal have controversialy won the Emirates Cup having won only one of their two games. They won the first game convincingly in a thrilling 5-2 victory against Benfica. However, the second game Arsenal were defeated 2-1 by Sevilla but still lifted the cup having a superior number of goals scored counting as points on the league table.
The Cup has shown Arsenal’s excellent strength in depth as we fielded two strong starting 11’s which were capable of competing against two top sides in Europe. The Cup allowed youngsters like Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock to shine in the first team infront of a home crowd. Reiss Nelson inparticular shined, with a great assist for Giroud against Benfica from an excellent cross, along with many good runs and showcasing great ability on the ball he has left many Arsenal fans excited about the future.
The game against Benfica provided the fans an exciting 7 goal spectacle. The Sevilla match on the other hand differed from the brilliance of the 5-2 match on Saturday. The game was much slower and far fewer chances were involved. This emphasised a problem that Arsenal had suffered with for the past two seasons. A lack of creativity from central midfield with the absence of Santi Cazorla. Aaron Ramsey and Joe Willock both had good games but neither posses the skill to cut open a teams defence with a killer pass, or to dissect a football match to their will as the likes of Cazorla and Wilshere can from deeper positions. Xhaka too has the ability to do this but at the moment the team are too reliant on him and Mesut Özil to create chances. Therefore to remedy this issue a new midfielder is needed to come in. Ramsey, Wilshere and Santi are all injury prone and cannot be relied upon to stay fit through an entire season. Therefore, a new central midfielder would be necessary for the upcoming season and Arsenal’s recent interest in Jean Seri from Nice is positive news for Arsenal fans. Seri fits the criteria Arsenal should be looking to reinforce the midfield with: he is fast, good in possession of the ball and is a very creative player having made 10 assists in Ligue 1 last season. Seri would be a perfect partner to Xhaka, Xhaka who will sit back and dictate the play from a deep position will give Seri the freedom to use his pace and skill to carry the ball forwards and create goal scoring chances by being inventive in the final third. However, the return of Alexis Sanchez should spark a new lease of life into the Arsenal attack, bringing pace, power and intensity. He is now back in training and will be fit for Arsenal’s first match against Leicester on the 11th. Alexis’ presence in the Arsenal team will give more freedom to our other attackers such as Özil, Lacazette and Xhaka’s midfield partner, as Alexis will be seen as the main danger man, drawing defenders closer to him leaving spaces in the defence to exploit and less defenders to mark our other star name attackers giving the likes of Lacazette and Özil more freedom than we saw in the Emirates Cup.
In both games Arsenal conceded 2 goals. Whilst we did not have our strongest defence out on either of the two games this will certainly be a worry for Arsene Wenger. It was hard to judge our defence’s performance when Chambers, Holding and Bellerin have only recently returned, Mustafi was still on holiday after international duty and Gabriel was missing injured. However, that does not take away the fact we did look frail, and bringing in a normal defensive line rather than playing a make shit defence with Elneny in the three will vastly improve the weakness and the frailties we saw in the Emirates Cup. Even so, we should get a better idea on Sunday whether this defence is strong enough to win the title when Arsenal take on Chelsea in the Community Shield.
Arsenal have brought in two new signings who both impressed on their home debuts. Alexandre Lacazette was handed his first Arsenal start at the Emirates stadium against Sevilla where he scored the equaliser. It was a typical poachers finish, a simple tap in from a player in the right place at the right time, a sign of a lethal goal scorer; something Arsenal have been in the hunt for since the departure of Robin Van Persie. However, not only was it his goal that pleased the spectators but also his hold up play and quick passing football. Lacazette showed why Wenger felt he would be a better acquisition than the likes of Aubameyang, a name many fans wanted to come in. Aubameyang who relies upon his pace to run onto through balls in behind and fast pace counter attacks, which he would struggle to find at Arsenal as Arsenal keep possession of the ball and most clubs park the bus to reduce the space in behind means that he would not suit Arsenal’s playing style. Lacazette on the other hand has the skill to receive the ball into his feet and hold the ball up to create space for his teammates, as well as, the conviction to pick them out with a pass. Lacazette displayed a good first touch and a clinicality infront of goal; he is also a player who can use both his pace in behind and contribute massively to counter attacks. He can also get involved in our intricate build up play around the opposition box, with a great control and accurate first touch passing, Lacazette is more suited to Arsenal’s style of play and will have a greater impact in the team. The new Bosnian left back Sead Kolasinac (the Bosnian Hulk) started in the 5-2 win over Benfica where he picked up an assist for Theo Walcott’s first goal. Kolasinac displayed his powerful movement and running in behind as well as his physicality and strength when going into the tackle. Kolasinac impressed and had the awareness and audacity to dink the ball over a defender to pick out Theo Walcott, this shows that Kolasinac has the ability and vision to compose himself and pick the right pass, a trait well suited to the attacking philosophy of Arsenal Football Club. Kolasinac displayed how he can be strong and skilful, contributing to many good passages of play, specifically for Arsenal’s first goal where he dispossessed a Benfica defender with a strong tackle and a elegant cross to pick out Theo Walcott to finish.
Both signings have settled in nicely now at Arsenal, but one or two more along with the return of Alexis Sanchez are required if we are to mount a serious title challenge and make a statement in the transfer window. Arsenal have a full squad with cover in every area and this season it has all being about adding quality to the team. So far this is what Wenger has done with acquisitions such as Lacazette and Kolasinac improving on Arsenal’s current options. Furthermore, Arsenal not being involved in Champions League football and a squad big enough to rotate our entire 11 for the Europa League, we should see Arsenal mount a strong title challenge as the players within the starting 11 should be getting a weeks rest inbetween games. An interesting fact to support this is that the past two Premier League Champions have not being involved in Champions League football. Surely this is Arsenal’s best chance in over a decade, this is the strongest Arsenal squad in ten years. With no key departures such as Alexis and Özil along with top quality additions in Lacazette and Kolasinac and other top players like Lemar being pursued, could this be Arsenal’s year to finally end the title drought?
Written by – TheArseView