A look at the team ahead of the 07/08 season 25 July, 2007Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
I think it’s about time to weigh up our team before August comes. If there are to be any more departures I can only see that being Reyes and possibly Flamini, more on him in a bit. I’ll start at the beginning and that’s the goalkeepers.
Lukasz Fabianski was brought in at the beginning of the transfer market, predominantly as a replacement for Mart Poom who joined Watford. ‘A replacement for Mart Poom’ doesn’t sound too flattering does it? However at the time of his signing, Jens Lehmann’s future was in doubt and when Fabianski was brought in, it was as the long-term successor to Mad Jens. Now Lehmann’s future has been sorted (ish), Lukasz will be fighting with Almunia for that no.2 spot; I think for now he will be our 3rd ‘keeper but he is a young prospect who is due to step up and take the Polish no.1 jersey over the next few years which will do him a lot of good.
Back at the start of the summer after Jens sorted out where he would play Wenger said that if he had left, then Almunia would’ve been promoted. I believe this is still the case but if Fabianski shows his potential this season it might be another story.
For now anyway, Lehmann is definitely our no.1. This might be his last season at Arsenal, I’m not exactly sure, and if it is, well this season it is up to our other two goalies to see who impresses Wenger the most to become our no.1 for the season after. I believe Jens has another year after this left in him, but if he wants to go and play back in Germany then that’s fair enough.
At centre back I think we’re sorted, there is no problem there. Gallas and Toure are two of the best around and any striker in the world will find it difficult getting past them. Backing up them two are Djourou and Senderos who we know are good quality and can do a more than good enough job in our defence. However Steve Bruce is still trying to get Djourou on a season long loan which would ruin our plans. If that was to happen then we’d have to call up a reserve player or someone who isn’t traditionally a centre back.
At full back we’ve just brought in Bacary Sagna. He’ll slot right into the first team ahead of Eboue and Hoyte. It seems a bit strange that we’ve bought Sagna even though we have two right backs but it’s looking quite likely now that Eboue will be converted into a right midfielder with our current lack of wide players. Wenger was quoted the other day including Emmanuel in a list of wingers we have at the club so it looks like Hoyte is now the back up to Sagna. Also there’s Gilbert who has just come back from loan at Cardiff who’s a pretty decent play but I don’t think he will be called upon too many times this season.
Clichy on the other hand hasn’t got such a wealth of players behind him. Gallas can play at left back but you can see that it does not come naturally to him. Other than that there’s Traore. I’m a big fan of the youngster and whenever I’ve seen him he has impressed me. I think the combination of Traore and Gallas will be enough to back up Clichy. The luxury of another left back would be great but that’s not something we can afford at the moment.
Central midfield is probably the strongest area in our squad. We have Fabregas, Gilberto, Denilson, Diaby, Flamini and Song. However there are a few problems with them: Fabregas picked up a knee problem yesterday and has gone for a scan today. We’ll probably find out how bad that is when we play Salzburg later. Then there’s Gilberto who is having an extended break until September because of the Copa America. Song is just Song. Finally there’s Flamini, at the beginning of the summer he publicly announced he would leave and everyone knew he’d be off and thought a deal would be done soon. However it’s now nearly August and he’s still playing with us. The departures we’ve had this year have really shifted things around the club and possibly Mathieu might be staying. I’m a fan on Flamini; he has a great work rate and puts everything he has into every game. He put in some good performances in last season; one that stands out is Chelsea away so I think he is an asset to the squad. We’ll just have to wait and see on him I suppose.
I think this will be a great season for Diaby. He’s growing from strength to strength already but I feel the 07/08 season will be a big one for Abou. He’s third choice centre midfielder so there will be plenty of opportunities for him to play. I’m very exited about this player. Denilson too is looking good and at his young age has impressed me a lot when he’s got the chance to play. Definitely one for the future but I think he too could be in for a good season.
The central midfield is great; but out wide it’s another story. With Freddie going the other day we now have Rosicky and Hleb who are naturally central attacking midfielders, we’ve got Walcott who is really a striker who is just getting experience out wide before he moves up front and we now have Eboue. None of which are natural wingers. People I know out in Austria following the team have said Mark Randall is out there training with the first team squad. He also started the Barnet game out on the wing, this could mean he’s being brought up to the first team, but I don’t thing he is anywhere near ready yet and possibly he’s filling in until we make a signing??? Very optimistic I know. We need to sign a winger in my opinion.
We are considerably weaker in our squad for strikers now but I think we will manage this season with what we have. Aliadiere, Baptista and Henry have left now which does ruin things, I won’t go into that too much because we’ve heard it all before but we can cope without Thierry Henry. We have as strikers Van Persie, Adebayor, Eduardo, Walcott and Bendtner. This season will be an amazing one for Van Persie. I’m not guessing he will, I know it. He was our top scorer last season even though he was out for most of it but the few times he did play he looked brilliant. I think this guy is definitely a good bet for Premier League Golden Boot 2008. I believe Robin will flourish in Henry’s absence and from here on, become an Arsenal legend. Very exited about him.
His partner will definitely be Adebayor to start off with, we all know what to expect from Emmanuel. However, depending on how well Eduardo fits in, he might take Adebayor’s place. He scored more goals that appearances last season for Dinamo Zagreb but it’s just a question of whether he’s got the strength for the English league. I’m desperate to see how he does…he could be a right flop like Baptista or be the latest sensation to the Premiership.
Walcott will switch between striker and winger depending on the game and injury situation. His hunger in the pre-season games looks great and this could be another lad who’s in for a great season. Bendtner will be lucky to get the amount of games he thinks he’s going to get. I think he’ll be a regular in the Carling Cup and that but really, his first team chances really depend on injuries. He must be patient and realise that he is one for the future.
Right. A bit of a long post, sorry. It’s kinda a once a year thing. Well done if you read all that though. In conclusion, we need one winger at least. Laters.