With the Premier League Season right around the corner, here are 10 thoughts on the upcoming campaign.
1. Arsenal is improved.
I’m excited about the signings we’ve made so far. Sead Kolašinac (a FREE signing!) appears to be a BEAST, and Alexandre Lacazette is the perfect addition upfront—fast, young, and clinical in front of goal.
2. I like our look with a Back 3.
Far too many soft goals for far too long—a change was needed to sure things up defensively. I love the way Rob Holding fit in alongside Koscielny and Mustafi, and after the way Per Mertesacker played in the F.A. Cup Final, I would love to see him slot in as often as possible. While I also feel good about how Nacho Monreal played at Centerback, I would prefer to see him stay at Leftback and see Kolašinac in the middle in a pinch, given his bigger frame.
3. Xhaka and Ramsey need to be a thing.
Can I just say, I am a gigantic fan of both of these players, and especially as a pairing in the midfield.
About Granit Xhaka, firstly… the guy has gotten a very bad wrap in regard to his discipline record. He’s an aggressive player, no doubt, but some of the calls against him were just terrible (I’m thinking in particular, the straight red against Burnley). He did show, however, towards the end of the season, that he understands the kind of reputation he’s garnered, and that he has the ability to temper his aggression in order to stay on the pitch. I am also amazed at his passing ability—left and right footed. He’s a great distributor from the back and can really pick out a lob pass.
And then there’s Aaron Ramsey. Him in the center of the pitch with the freedom to go forward is where he belongs. Again, having 3 at the back with Xhaka behind him allows him to get up the pitch and join the attack. He may not have scored that many goals last season, but he was absolutely electric when he was in that position.
As much as I hate to say this… I would rather see Alexis Sanchez be sold this summer than be a distraction all year and then lose him for nothing. The only way out of this horrible situation is for us to win a major title, and convince him that we can win more with his continued help.
I’m a bit biased here, but Ozil is my favorite player. Period. The guy is a wizard and is a much smarter player than people give him credit. He plays a dazzlingly beautiful game and makes everyone around him better. The good news, as far as I can tell, is that he seems to want to stay. Please... Just pay him already.
I’ve had my share of frustration with the boss, particularly his stubbornness in adapting to change at times, but let me just say it was absolutely disgraceful the way he was treated by some "supporters" last season. He is still world-class, a living legend, and there’s not a single person on the planet who I’d rather see managing Arsenal.
He has recently, and to my great delight, shown a willingness to listen and make appropriate changes. I’m thinking the Back 3 systems, I’m thinking going after some big players this off season...
7. The Europa League.
I can’t say I’m thrilled about watching us play in the Europa League, but it’s still European Football and is at least a winable tournament. I mean… if Man United won last year…
8. I hate Spurs.
God, I hate them. And as much as it pains me to say, they are an up and coming squad with loads of talent, energy, and creativity.
That being said, I think playing in Wembley will be a major challenge for them. After all, it is OUR house.
9. Making room for Ox and Giroud.
These are two players I would HATE to lose. They both bring unique and important elements to the squad.
As far as Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain, his speed, creativity, and drive are tremendous assets we should cherish for years to come. I see Hector Bellerin as our Rightback going forward, but the Ox deserves a regular spot in the team on the wing.
I am also loathe to think of losing Olivier Giroud. I know he’s getting up in age and is something of a one-trick pony, but gosh is his trick a good one. He scores timely goals and he towers over opponents to get them. Being able to lob crosses into the box and have someone with the wherewithal to go get them is a must-have for any team in this league. It will be a challenge for Wenger to keep Olivier happy, but I sure hope he figures out how to do it.
(and who could EVER forget...)
10. Seeing a game at the Emirates.
I’m going to be in London in September and am hoping hoping hoping to be able to get tickets for a home game. It’s a bucket list item and one I know will keep me on a football high for years to come… especially if it’s a win!
Thanks for reading! Come On You Gunners! Cheers. -Brandon