The last international break this year may be over, but Arsenal’s problems don’t seem to be. The situation with Mesut Ozil, completely frozen out of the team while under a £350,000-per-week contract, and the relatively recent disciplinary issues with Matteo Guendouzi which eventually saw the French midfielder sent out on loan are problems hard enough in themselves. On top of that, Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac have both tested positive for Covid-19 while with their respective national teams. And now this.
It has been a significant summer this year in terms of incoming transfers at Arsenal. The Gunners obtained the services of defender Gabriel Magalhaes, defensive midfielder Thomas Partey, winger Willian and replaced the departed Emiliano Martinez with Runar Alex Runarsson as the number two goalkeeper. They also extended the loan of midfielder Dani Ceballos from Real Madrid by another year, as well as the contract of defender David Luiz, and turned the previous loan spells of defenders Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares into permanent ones. But perhaps the most impotant piece of business of all was captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signing a new contract. Arsenal reportedly made a late effort to bring in Houssem Aouar from Olympique Lyon, but that did not come through.
According to The Athletic, David Luiz could spend quite some time on the sidelines due to a neck problem, and the situation has affected the proposed loan move of Rob Holding to Newcastle United.
Luiz initially injured his neck in the Community Shield triumph over Premier League champions Liverpool and aggravated it further in training. He is now unable to take full part in the sessions and very likely to be left out of the squad for the opening league game of the season away to Fulham on Saturday. The injury is said to require special caution and at the moment it’s not possible to be precise in determining the length of his absence, but it could last six weeks.
Mikel Arteta has indeed instilled a new sense of team play since he stepped into the Emirates dugout, there can be no doubt about that. However, the defeat in the North-London Derby on Sunday has highlighted the same problems the Gunners have been struggling with for a very long time.
Arteta has indeed increased Arsenal’s ability to control games. The high possession percentage from the Derby (62%) backs that up, albeit with a slight reservation given that Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho rarely ever cared about his teams seeing more of the ball. But once again it mostly comes down to individual mistakes.
David Luiz, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Dani Ceballos have all agreed deals to remain at Arsenal, the club have officially confirmed.
There has been much debate over the future of David Luiz in recent months. Long after it was reported that his commitment to Arsenal on arrival from Chelsea last summer was set to keep him at Emirates for two years, it transpired that the deal was actually for one year with the club having the option to extend it for one more. The option expired, but head coach Mikel Arteta was apparently keen to keep hold of the experienced Brazilian past this summer.
Arsenal were never really favourites to beat Manchester City at the Etihad on the first day of the Premier League being back in action, but the manner of the 3-0 defeat does leave somewhat of a sour taste.
Coach Mikel Arteta organized his team initially in a 4-4-2 shape, with Shkodran Mustafi joined by Pablo Mari in the heart of defence, flanked by Kieran Tierney on the left and Hector Bellerin on the right. Granit Xhaka partnered Matteo Guendouzi in central midfield, with Bukayo Saka and Joe Willock in wide roles. Captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Eddie Nketiah were given the task of causing danger in front of the defending champions’ goal.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has explicitly asked the club to extend the contract of David Luiz, according to Sky Sports.
The defender arrived to the Emirates from Chelsea last summer for a reported fee of around £8 million, and has so far played a total of 32 games in all competitions in an Arsenal shirt, scoring twice and assisting once. His performances on the pitch haven’t always been exactly glittering, with a mistake of his proving costly now and again. However, those moments have been rare and he has certainly raised his game since Arteta took the reins from Unai Emery in the final weeks of last year.
David Luiz is keen on staying at Arsenal past the expiration of his current contract this month, according to agent Kia Joorabchian (via Sky Sports).
When the Gunners signed the Brazilian defender from Chelsea last year, it was widely reported that the contract he signed was a two-year one, but it has recently emerged that it was not so. It was only for 12 months. Arsenal had the option to extend the deal for another year, but they’ve let that option expire.
One thing you certainly can’t criticize Luiz for here is not being a team player, because regardless of whether or not he legitimately believes that Arteta is the right man for the job, he isn’t going to flinch or give away what’s really happening behind the scenes. Maybe that’s just us being a little bit too pessimistic, but given the trajectory of Arsenal Football Club in recent years, you can’t really blame us.
While there are reasons to believe that Mikel Arteta is going to do some big things as Arsenal manager, it’s also fair to think that things haven’t exactly gone to plan yet. The primary issue has been the abundance of draws that we’ve seen and the lack of, well, quality in the first team.
That sounds bizarre given some of the names that regularly feature for the Gunners but pretending like they’re anywhere close to where they need to be is just wrong.