So we have a Sunday morning in which there’s an Emirates Cup on the horizon later on this afternoon and probably a little more Pepe chatter until something breaks like a ‘spotted at Arsenal’ or ‘medical set for x date’ or something similar. After my later post yesterday there was some noises about PSG possibly being interested but enough journey appear to have been talking up the deal to Arsenal that it surely seems inevitable that it is Pepe’s most likely destination. Unless of course somebody comes in and offers his agent a shed-ton more money. So I suspect Arsenal will be trying to get this done asap and with the Emirates Cup today I’m sure there are right people with the right mobile numbers to have the right con versions throughout the day. Hopefully we hear some noises about tomorrow.
Until then it’ll be The Emirates Cup against Lyon and it’ll most likely be an opportunity to give a few minutes to Martinelli and Ceballos at some stage I suspect. I doubt both will play the whole match but having them in the flesh for the home fans at least means we’ll see something new about the line up today, not just the spectacular Adidas kits they’ll be modelling, so those going will no doubt enjoy their afternoon.
It will be interesting to see who lines up for us today thought because in all likelihood it will be players who will be starting that first game against Newcastle in exactly two weeks time. I saw a lot of excited Arsenal fans putting out variations on team line ups for the season and it all looks mouthwatering with Pepe alongside Aubameyang and Lacazette, but that first game will look very different to the strongest XI next season I reckon. Particularly in defence.
We have no Hector, no Holding, Koscielny won’t get near the team (and nor should he), so in all likelihood if we line up with a back four it will be Maitland-Niles, Chambers/Mustafi, Sokratis, a well as one of Kolasinac/Monreal. And that’s a scary prospect I have to say. Maitland-Niles looked ropey in some games and good in others and in a position which is not his usual position and so to start the season there with him is a little frustrating. Frustrating too because right back is a position that I think nobody is paying attention o for us. We literally have Hector as the only natural right back in the entire first team. In a team in which we have attacking/creative players queuing up – also youth players in those positions – I do find it weird that nobody seems to be asking the question of what the plan is at right back. Is Maitland-Niles now the defacto understudy to Bellerin, despite the fact that he is a little out of position there? Surely we should be looking at a signing in that part of the pitch given that Hector has had his injury problems?
We’re going to go out and try to get Tierney which will mean three players who play left back, yet on the other side we have one natural and one ‘filler’. It’s just weird is all i’m, saying. We know we need a centre half but unless there is some amazing young kid i haven’t heard of in the youth team, don’t we need a right back to be bought in?
I guess the other explanation is that we’ll see three at the back a little more this season than many people are expecting. If that happens it affords more questions with regards to right and left wing backs and with Ceballos in midfield I could see us covering more ground and transitioning from back to front quicker and vice-versa if we had two players sitting deeper in Torreira and Ceballos. It would still leave questions about width as the wing backs would be expected to provide it but at least it would answer the reason as to why we don’t have another natural right back waiting in the wings.
Of course the downside to that is that we’d probably need minimum one additional centre half in the team – probably two – whereas at the moment it looks like we’re hard on Pepe and hoping Chambers turns in to a better centre half that we’ve seen at any time. We’re also hoping that Holding can make it back in to the team and pick up where he left off and with the type of injury he had I think we shouldn’t be expecting too much too soon because he hasn’t played a lot of football in the last year. It’s going to take him time to hit the form we saw just before he was injured I think.
So there are still many questions that are left unanswered when it comes to our defensive issues and I suspect this afternoon’s game at The Emirates will just highlight that with us a little more. We just have to hope the club aren’t taking their eye off the ball because we’ve got the exciting possibility of one of the big stars of Europe coming to us in another attacking position.
Anyway, let’s just see what Unai does this afternoon and let’s see what the club do in the next week re: our back line, because we might just get a nice surprise.
Catch you all tomorrow.