It’s been a busy summer for Arsenal. Having added to their ranks through acquisitions of winger Willian and centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes as well as the arrival of centre-back William Saliba from Saint-Etienne, and secured another loan season-long spell for midfielder Dani Ceballos, there are reportedly still some moves potentially to be made before the window is out.
Paris Saint-Germain have been in talks with Arsenal over a proposed transfer of Hector Bellerin, and according to The Telegraph, they’re growing increasingly confident that the deal will be done.
Having lost the services of Thomas Meunier, who left Paris to join Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer earlier this summer, the Ligue 1 champions have had a bit of a problem when it comes to natural options on the right defensive flank. Head coach Thomas Tuchel has mostly been utilizing Thilo Kehrer in the role, though the Germany international is a centre-back by default. And with Thiago Silva now gone to Chelsea, Kehrer will likely have to return to his preferred position.
While we may be in the midst of the Premier League’s winter break, a whole lot of teams all across the top flight are still out training and putting in the work – just without a game either last weekend or this weekend.
Arsenal, for example, are currently over in Dubai for a training camp. Some people believe it to be a pretty useful way to keep them occupied between their last match and their next one, whereas others are just kind of happy to be away from the stress of watching the Gunners on a week to week basis.
Mesut Ozil and Alexandre Lacazette have both spoken out in praise of Mikel Arteta and the changes his arrival brought into the Arsenal team.
First of all, it should be pointed out that the results still aren’t great. After the sacking of Unai Emery in November, the team spent a month in the hands of Freddie Ljungberg as an interim solution, until Arteta arrived and took the reins on December 22. Since then, Arsenal have played nine games in all competitions, winning three, drawing five and losing one.
On being surprised by Vitoria’s quality:
HB – No, I wasn’t surprised at all because even though they lost the first two games in the group stage, we knew they were very tight games, and that [the opposition] had to score goals at the end or that they scored through set pieces. We knew they were a team with a lot of quality and very physical players, with quick and creative players at the top. We analysed the last few games they played, and knew it wouldn’t be easy. It was harder than some people expected, but we knew it and not every game will be easy. It was a hard game, and Pepe won it at the end with the free kick. Obviously we play away from home, they will have the home crowd, so we expect it to be harder but we are ready.
There are a lot of things to talk about right now within Arsenal Football Club – from the fact that the Vitoria game today is kicking off at 3.50pm to Granit Xhaka being stripped as captain of the first team. As we look ahead to this afternoon’s game, Hector Bellerin and Unai Emery have both taken the time to address the media ahead of the encounter.
Arsenal’s win last night was notable and positive for a variety of reasons, with one of the most intriguing factors behind it being Hector Bellerin’s appointment as captain for the game. It’s the first time that he has been given that honour, and judging on the result, it seems as if all went well.
We aren’t completely sold on the idea of him as a permanent captain, but we know that probably isn’t going to be the case moving forward anyway. As seen on Arsenal.com, Bellerin was very humble when discussing the accomplishment.
On Arsenal’s performance:
Arsenal manager Unai Emery has confirmed the Granit Xhaka has been named club captain. The queue behind the Swiss international goes like this: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Hector Bellerin, Alexandre Lacazette, and Mesut Ozil – these players are in line for the armband in case Xhaka is unavailable to play.
The boss praised the midfielder’s commitment, behaviour, experience and determination, but most of all his ability to deal with pressure and criticism and lead the way.
The summer transfer window is upon us as we all know, which means to a series of entertaining rumours as speculation runs rampant over the future of players up and down the country. Arsenal are not immune to such speculation, and in fact, they probably experience it more than most – as everyone knows just how key it’s going to be for them to bounce back after a poor end to the 2018/19 campaign.
Arsenal should, and we should stress the word should, be one of the busiest teams in Europe during the upcoming summer transfer window. Their season fell apart during the last few months, and as such, they need to re-group and really think about who they want to come in and who they want to go out at the club. It’s not going to be easy to pick and choose what’s going to happen, but these are the kind of tasks that managers like Unai Emery need to make.