Wellety, wellety, wellety. Arsenal won a football match against Bayern Munich. Never thought we’d see the day, eh?
Of course we’ll ignore the fact that Bayern looked at times like they couldn’t be arsed. Plus we’ll discount that the victory came from penalties after a 1-1 draw in normal time. Plus we’ll not pay much attention to the fact that Neuer wasn’t in the sticks. The important thing is that Arsenal won. A friendly. In China.
I didn’t get to watch the entire game and have only seen snippets, like the diviness of Bernat to ‘win’ the first penalty against Maritland-Niles, which was pretty hilarious you have to admit. It didn’t even look that theatrical. He just fell down in stages as poor old Ainsley tried to jockey him.
Still, revenge is a dish best served cold, so perhaps there was some ironic justice that we won the friendly after a penalty shootout. Thanks in part to Iwobi, who had a big hand in his goal by dribbling half the pitch with the goal and then nodding in the cross from Ramsey with a few minutes to go. That’s exactly the Iwobi that we saw two seasons ago and if we can get that guy back for the start of the season not only will we have a tidy attacking option, but we’ll also have a different type of player in the team than a lot of the other options. The only other player I can think of off the top of my head who dribbles with the ball like Iwobi is Alexis and we all know that the Chilean isn’t a long-term option for us. So I for one will be delighted if Iwobi can recover some of his 2015/16 form.
The squad has food poisoning at the moment, which means we’re seeing more rotation and more of the younger players which is no bad thing, but in just glad we’ve saved our ‘Lasagnegate’ for the pre season, unlike those Tiny Totts who do it during the regular season.
I just wonder who got fired, or more likely forty lashes knowing China’s human rights record, for serving the players dodgy food during their prep for this upcoming season. Bet Rob the Chef is none too happy though…
About as unhappy as a lot of us are, I suspect, especially given the Szczesny news which became official yesterday. The ‘keeper who shall replace Buffon at the Italian Champions (let that sink in for a minute) is our Woj, who ended his 11-year association with the club and I personally feel quite gutted about that, because I think he’ll be one of the worlds best within the next five years.
He’s matured at Roma, turned in to a better goalie, but will only get to show that at another club. He’s also an Arsenal boy through and through. You only have to look at his response in the Juve press conference yesterday to see that it was hard for him. I suspect four years ago he thought he would be at Arsenal his whole career, but now he’ll most likely be a Juve man for the rest of it, and I for one am gutted.
I know the history and why Wenger binned him off. Nobody was really fooled by the rather odd story of the reasons on the official site (which didn’t really give any reasons as to why he left). He was shipped out because Wenger had given up on the boy. But Szczesny is no longer that boy. He’s a man now and we are not going to benefit from his experience.
Instead we’ll need to be in the hunt for a ‘keeper this time next season and given the way the club are talking about keeping some players who look to be running down their contracts, I can’t see that it’ll be a fun search come summer 2018. Hopefully I’m wrong,
Perhaps Martinez will fill the void though? Arsène certainly had a good go at talking him up after he saved a couple of pens, but from the little I’ve seen of him I can’t see him emulating Wojciech in terms of his breaking in to the first team, if I’m honest with you. He looks a tidy enough ‘keeper, but he’s 24 and had plenty of loan spells and whilst he seems to have done ok in them, I haven’t exactly heard the same glowing reports everyone had when Wojciech came back from loan either.
I suppose the counter point to the Martinez vs Szczesny debate is that we’re at a new level with our ‘keepers now. Wojciech was battling against the haunted expression of Manuel Almunia and the fact that he had such a low bar to get over perhaps aided the fast track nature of his development. Martinez is up against Cech and – whilst he’s still at the club – Ospina, who despite what some have said I think is still a very good number two ‘keeper. He’s had the odd rick in him, but in the main I’ve always thought he’s performed well for us.
We’ll just have to see if Ospina is still here come September though.
And that’s pretty much it from me today. Have at it yourselves for today, will ya?