27 July 2015

A post that is 99% free of Jeff Reine-Adelaide...

Arsenal won the Emirates Cup for the first time since 2010, becoming the first club to win the esteemed competition for an unprecedented fourth time and—ah, who are we kidding? We all know that this preseason tournament is little more than a glorified friendly, and all involved should be careful not to draw too many conclusions from the proceedings. Is Lacazette utter shite after he (and OL) failed to score a single goal? Probably not. Is Jeff the second coming of Vieira? A quick internet search suggests he is, but, again, the answer is probably not. After thrashing Lyon 6-0 on Saturday, Sunday's 1-0 squeaker over Wolfsburg might feel anticlimactic, even if it did secure a second trophy in as many tournaments.

From the get-go against Lyon, the match felt like one in which the outcome was predetermined. After dominating possession for much of the first half, we banged in four goals inside of ten minutes—from Giroud, Ox, Iwobi, and Ramsey—and the onslaught was, well, on. Add in second-half goals from Özil and Cazorla, and it's starting to look and feel like we're ready to win the Prem.

Enter Wolfsburg. Setting aside any wisecracks about Lord Bendtner, who did do his level-best to remind us of why he's no longer a Gunner, this is a squad that finished second in the Bundesliga, just ten points behind the behemoth that is Bayern (yes, yes, I know that Lyon did something similar in finishing eight points behind PSG, but none of us has the time to get into a point-by-point dissection of the Bundesliga versus Ligue 1 or the dominations thereof by Bayern or PSG. Suffice it to say that finishing second in the Bundesliga these days is a bit more of an accomplishment than doing the same in Ligue 1).

From the outset, they not only offered much more defensive cohesion than did Lyon, they also got forward with more confidence if not competence. In fact, had it not been for Bendtner being Bendtner, Wolfsburg might have claimed an early 0-1 lead, enough to open the door to Villareal winning the competition. Then again, Bendtner is and always will be Bendtner (unless, I suppose, he pulls a Jenner...).

The larger point is that we might have convinced ourselves to expect a cakewalk, a coronation, as we waltz past Wolfsburg in a fashion similar to how we lacerated Lyon. To then slog through a somewhat more-dour 1-0 win might dispirit us just a touch until we remind ourselves that we had made ten changes from Saturday's win (Özil being the only mainstay...) and that we were facing a more-stalwart opponent, one that had, among other feats, battered Bayern 4-1, the first time that those flat-track bullies had conceded more than three goals in league play since Werder Bremen hung five on them in 2008...when none other than Özil was there. Illoominati confirmed, apparently).

More seriously, this tune-up against the Teutons augurs well for the coming campaign. Aside from our ability to eventually break down a well-organised defensive side, our fitness and depth have to attract attention. Playing without Alexis and Ramsey, the two Energizer bunnies, we still harassed and discombobulated Wolfsburg's defense while trying out a backline of Monreal, Chambers, Gabriel and Bellerín, with Arteta and Cazorla "shielding" them, Reine-Adelaide making his first start, and with Walcott played through the middle. That line-up might not quite cut it against Chelsea or Man City, but it speaks to a fair amount of depth, enough to stave off the injury-crises that have plagued us season after season. That depth—that competition—might matter a bit more than any single signing ever would. I'm not saying we won't see any more signings. It's not even August.

There's still work to be done, but there's still time to do it.

Fine, You want Reine-Aldelaide, here's Reine-Aldelaide.


  1. Jeff could be massive, but let's remember that he's only 17. the worst we could do is to heap pressure him to replace Diaby or become the next Vieira. There's already enough depth in the midfield to let him ease his way into the first team. Just because he assisted Walcott's goal doesn't mean he's ready for prime time!

  2. Derrick MansfieldTuesday, 24 January, 2023

    Let's hope this is a prelude to the season to come, not the high water mark. It's one thing to see off Everton, Lyon and Wolfsburg in friendlies and something else entirely to face off against Chelsea or even Tottenham when the stakes are higher.

  3. Forget about Jeff and all the other teenagers. What should be worrisome is that, based on these matches and Singapore, Arsene is back to implying he has no need for a striker. Is that because we scored 7 goals or because one was by Walcott who just got a raise, as well.

    One by one the striker targets fade away and the days dwindle down to a precious few. The same goes for any DM targets, etc. As best I read, nor having seen either match, Arteta was either very rusty or just showing he has little left physically but is our 2nd option if an injury occurs. We ignored any number of possible midfielders and backs because they were overpriced, but.... It would appear this may happen at every position that was thought to need addressing. We got Cech and, it would seem, that was enough for Arsene.

    It may well be that the best thing that could occur in the next week is for Chelsea to thoroughly trounce Arsenal and provide Arsene the needed wake-up call. Unfortunately, Jose is shrewd enough to ease up on the pedal so as not to wake the slumbering or is it hibernating giant even though he relishes beating Arsene and wants to etch losses into Arsene's brain. Furthermore, Arsene will argue we were short Alex, Kos and others as if they might never be absent for a match or two all season long.

    The ticking sound you hear is either a time bomb soon to go off with time growing short or the alarm clock inside the crocodile coming toward us as in Peter Pan. Either one requires action.

    BTW Correct me if I am wrong, but why with a match next week why was Ozil played in both matches this weekend when all others were not or played less than one half?

  4. I agree. One can only hope there is or will be more in the tank when it gets to be serious and counts.

  5. We have played 4 pre-season matches and by now we should begin to see who are the players likely to be picked for our starting line-up at the beginning of next season.This presupposes that we do not bring any new players in
    the foreseeable future.

    My view is as follows:

    GK Cech
    RB Debuchy/Bellerin Rotate
    CB Mertesacker
    CB Koscielny
    LB Monreal/Gibbs Rotate
    DMF Coquelin
    CMF Ramsey
    RW Oxlade-Chamberlain
    AMF Ozil
    LW Sanchez
    ST Giroud/Walcott Rotate

    GK Ospina
    FB Gibbs/Monreal Rotate
    CB Gabriel
    CMF Cazorla
    AMF Wilshire
    W Walcott/Welbeck Rotate
    ST Giroud/Walcott Rotate

    Injury Replacements
    GK Martinez
    FB/CB Chambers
    MF Arteta
    MF Rosicky
    W/ST Iwobi

    The one major hole in squad at moment is substitute DMF should Coquelin
    get injured or need a rest. The team looked “fragile” defensively in first half
    yesterday. That was a combination of a weakened defence and a midfield
    combination of Arteta and Cazorla who were fairly ineffective.

    The other position in team where I do feel that we could look perhaps for an
    upgrade is left back. Monreal and Gibbs are adequate rather than brilliant.

    The team will have plenty of goalscoring potential even without a world class
    striker particularly when you factor in that Sanchez who was our top scorer
    last season has not played. Obviously bringing in a more clinical and mobile
    striker would enhance our opportunities.

  6. Nice lineups.....but you identify several of the holes. Only one DMF and we passed on some. I might have opted for Santi over Ramsey whose head may al ready be out the door. Not sure any of the three strikers are the best available and we could afford better. OG is actually fairly good and seems in sync with Ozil, but Theo needs to prove he can finish consistently and is Iwobi are 3rd best?

  7. Not sure if this is the right channel to do this, but I was just wondering whether anybody can direct me to somewhere for appraisal of Arsenal gear/miscellaneous items? Might have some in self storage units and mobile pods to get rid of but not in good condition at all.


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