02 August 2014

Arsenal 5-1 Benfica Video Highlights: Sanogo did what?

The scoreline flatters us a bit on the defensive end, as Benfica threatened frequently but could only capitalize once, denying Damian Martinez a clean sheet. Then again, we could have bagged a few more of our own but for some all-too-familiar misses. The game turned into the Yaya Sanogo show as the man not only opened his Arsenal account in the 26th minute but added three more goals, with Joel Campbell also getting his first Arsenal goal for good measure. This one was well and truly over by halftime when the scoreline was 3-0. Still, the final gives us a strong edge going into tomorrow's match against Monaco. Three points for the win, plus five points for the goals, means we have eight points to three each for Monaco and Valencia, who tied 2-2 earlier in the day. We'll take a closer look at things later. For now, sit back, relax, and enjoy the highlights!

If technical difficulties with the video do arise, I'll see what I can do.

01 August 2014

Arsenal v. Benfica: Match Preview

Good God does it feel good to type those words. Look, I know that the Emirates Cup may rank a little lower than the Community Shield, the League Cup, and other such honors, and that this match is a bit of a gussied-up friendly scrimmage, but its arrival means that we're getting closer and closer to actual matches. Soon, we can set aside the speculating and the wondering and get down to some analyzing and assessing. Saturday's match ain't no walk in the park. Benfica won the Primeira Liga title, their 33rd, and finished second in the Europa League, beating Tottenham, AZ Alkmaar, and Juventus before succumbing to Sevilla in the final. They're no slouches, and winning the Cup depends on besting them.

Vermaelen to Vanchester continues to vex Wenger...

As we prepare to face Benfica in the Emirates Cup, there's a lot of talk of who we will and won't see. We won't see Mertesacker, Podolski, or Özil, who are resting; nor will we see Walcott, Ospina, or Sanogo, who are injured. We may or may not see Alexis, Debuchy, or Chambers. Another Gunner is listed as injured, but this might be a gambit of sorts related to a potential transfer. We won't see Thomas Vermaelen, our nominal captain, because he apparently has picked up an injury. He's not in any pictures of the squad training, for what that's worth. Has the time come for Tom to be gone?

31 July 2014

Just what have Everton, Spurs, and Man U been up to?

In part two of our ongoing, two-part series, we again play the part of nosy neighbors in order to learn just what it is our friends elsewhere have been up to. It's a bit of keeping up with the Joneses, except we want to do much more than keep up with the Joneses. We want to pummel them and leave no doubt in their minds as to where things stand, pecking-order-wise, and to put them back in their rightful places, leaving things crystal-clear, nice and tidy so that there are no unpleasant misunderstandings. Yesterday, we looked at the three clubs that managed to finish above us (in large part, it had to do with out-spending us). Today we'll look at three other clubs with designs on leap-frogging us: Everton, Spurs, and Man U.

Enough about Arsenal. Just what have our rivals been up to? (Part the first)

We've done a nice bit of business to this point in the transfer-window, no doubt about it, having added four players and a physio who might help them and the rest of the squad stay on the pitch. We may still crave and perhaps even need a few more players, such as an out-and-out striker, a holding midfielder, and a centre-back, and rumors abound around a few names sure to get us salivating. However, for as busy as we've been, it's well-worth investigating our competitors' affairs to see whether we're merely running to stand still or running away from the pack. There is still a month and change left before the transfer-window closes, but we can use this time just as well as anyone else in the Prem. Here, we'll look at the clubs that finished above us in 2013-14.

29 July 2014

Our most-important signing won't even play a single minute..

Forget Alexis. Forget Debuchy, Ospina, or Chambers.  Ignore any reports around any other player we may or may not sign. Those players, after all, will vie for time on the pitch with other members of the squad, rotating in as necessary or deserved and, more crucially, replacing them when they're injured. Arsenal's most significant signing of the summer won't compete for time on the pitch . He won't reduce anyone to time on the bench. His job will consist entirely of keeping our players on the pitch as much as possible. Shad Forsythe, fitness coach for Germany's national team, will come in to work alongside our current fitness coach, Tony Colbert. Forsythe's name may not be as drool-inducing as some of the players we covet, but his contributions off the pitch could prove to be even more vital than any contributions any players could make on it.

28 July 2014

Um, Arsène, no offense, but WTF?

Week after week has turned into day after day. In a transfer-window that is still weeks away from closing, it seems more and more like Arsène is signing players with an eye to something more than simply strengthening the squad. Gone, it seems, are the days when we had to wait until deadline-day to learn of a signing. 10 July: Alexis Sánchez signs. 17 July: Mathieu Debuchy signs. Then, a lull...until 26 July: David Ospina signs, and two days later, 28 July, Calum Chambers signs. Time seems to be folding in on itself at a rate that will see us signing someone else 29 July, then someone else twelve hours later, and another six hours after that, and another, and another...in short, we seem to be disappearing into a wormhole with no end in sight. By the time it's all said and done, we'll have signed every player in the known universe, after which quantum physics takes over. It boggles the mind.

Chambers's versatility: an asset or a liability?

As we appear to approach closer and closer to a deal on Southampton's Calum Chambers, the talk has focused on his youth and his versatility. Having played as a right-back, centre-back, and as a defensive midfielder, Chambers seems to check several boxes: he can compete with Debuchy (and Jenkinson?) at right-back while also supporting or competing with Kos, Per, and Verm at center-back. In a pinch, it's possible that he could also slot in in the defensive midfield. All of this versatility should feel very reassuring as we fret over our options—will Vermaelen stay? Will we land Schneiderlin or Khedira? Absent any certainty around these and other questions, Chambers seems to settle our stomachs a bit. Should he, though? A quick review of other similarly "versatile" players should give reason for pause.