Morning all, quick Sunday round-up for you.
Pre-season continued yesterday with a 2-1 win over Cologne in Germany – video highlights here. We scored all the goals too. New boy Gervinho kicked off his Arsenal career in some style with two nice finishes, set up first by Jack Wilshere and then Theo Walcott. Obviously he needs to do that every game or he’ll be considered a total failure.
The third goal was something special indeed. The other new boy, Carl Jenkinson, mis-kicking like a ninja as he chased back to make a clearance, and could only watch as it looped up and over SZCZ. The poor lad looked gutted but I have to say other than that he looked pretty solid and not at all out of place. Let’s hope the comparisons with Lee Dixon for his own goal scoring are also forthcoming for his defending.
With all the changes made it was hard to maintain any fluency. Stand out players on the day for me were Wilshere, Arshavin – who looked lively and inventive – while Vito Mannone only played 25 minutes but looked a more assured goalkeeper than when last we saw him. And while I know it’s pre-season there seemed to be a bit of spark about Tomas Rosicky which was nice to see.
We did look a little shaky at the back at times, which is a bit worrying, but I would suggest that worry is directly proportional to the amount of time spent listening to Stewart Robson on Arsenal Player. It’s not just me who finds him increasingly hysterical, is it?
“OH, ATROCIOUS DEFENDING”, he cries as soon as anything vaguely wobbly happens at the back. And then it becomes this thing he references throughout the game, over and over and over again, until you’re left with the impression that we are the worst team in the world ever at defending and the opposition creating a chance is something that should never, ever happen in the game of football. Lord knows when Robson played Arsenal never let the opposition have so much as a shot on goal.
Take the SZCZ save, for example. The ball bounced, span like common Peter Mandelson, and Wojciech did well to react and even get a hand to it. Robson criticised the keeper for dodgy goalkeeping. Even when replays showed it was anything but. It’s a problem easily fixed, in fairness – volume 0 – but it would be nice if the official site could have him tone down the unrelenting negativity, at least when he’s working for them.
Overall, I liked today. We took many risks and were exposed to counter-attacks but, overall, I am happy.
And on Gervinho:
He has shown his qualities. He has quick movement behind [the defence], the timing of his movement is great and he is easy to find. We have seen what he can bring to the team and he contributes to the high pace we have in the team.
So all in all a decent workout, the only downside being a potentially serious injury to youngster Conor Henderson in the final minutes of the game. He was stretchered off after falling and twisting his knee so fingers crossed for him it’s nothing too serious. The team will remain in Germany for some pretty intensive training ahead of next weekend’s Emirates Cup.
Which brings us nicely to the world of the transfer. A lot of gossip this morning, let’s look at players coming in first. The Express says we’ll up our bid for Phil Jagielka, having had one turned down earlier this week. Makes sense, I guess.
The Mail says we’re going to take the cash we get from Barcelona (I think they want to buy Squillaci or someone) and spend it on Juan Mata from Valencia and Santi Cazorla from Villarreal. The two towns are not far apart, so it could well be that we’re trying to scrimp and save on train fares. That adds a huge measure of credibility to this story for me. Ivan Gazidis on the old Renfe, I can see it now.
It’s not all about exciting players coming in though, there are some about to leave too. Again in The Mail, the Eboue to Galatasaray story resurfaces with a fee of £4m mentioned. I’ll believe it when I see it. The Mirror says Burnley want Kyle Bartley on loan, which makes a fair bit of sense, while various clubs have apparently agreed terms with Arsenal for the signing of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. It remains to be seen who he’ll choose to grace with his lyrical Twitter stylings.
And while I think we all know many transfer stories that come from The Star are usually to be taken with a great big pinch of salt, the idea that we might sell Marouane Chamakh to PSG to recoup the £15m we paid for him last summer is quite funny indeed.
Right, that’ll have to do, more tomorrow.