World Cup Arsenal Preview, Part 1

Afternoon Fellow Gooners, and it’s a miserable and rainy Saturday in London today. The roads have been quite busy with Millwall and Swindon going head to head at Wembley (Millwall scraped through by one goal to nil)… but the main thing on my mind is the World Cup and the key Arsenal men who are going to the competition, what we’ll expect to see and of course, the ones to watch…

Goalkeepers

We won’t have any keepers at the World Cup and to be honest, that’s not a great thing. We’ve seen the likes of Fabianski and Almunia have poor form this season and it would have been advantageous for those two to have some International experience. For Fabianski, a few games for Poland would have seen his shake off the Arsenal nerves.

Ones to watch: Hugo Lloris – he cost Lyon £8m from Nice last summer, he’s excelled for the French team this season and may be the number one for the tournament.

Defenders

We have four of our team going to the World Cup, our two full backs and our central defender (is he still ours?) – that’s Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna and William Gallas. Sagna is now officially the number one right back, so we will see a lot of him during the World Cup, whereas Gael Clichy was third choice behind Abidal and Evra – but with Abidal being moved into a more central role, he’s now second choice. Apparently Evra is a favourite of the manager, but apparently Clichy has been very impressive. William Gallas is first choice for France and I’d expect him to recover from his injury to be paired with Abidal. Unfortunately for Thomas Vermaelen, he wont be going to the World Cup – but in one way that’s a good thing, as he will be able to rest after a busy season down at the Grove.

Senderos and Djourou will be lining up for Switzerland, and it will be good to see Djourou in action as first choice as we’ll be looking for big things from him next season.

Ones to watch: Nicolas Otamendi, a 21 year old defender who is supposed to be one of the hottest properties in world football. He plays for Argentina, and can play central or left.

Midfielders

Abou Diaby – quite an inconsistent player for us – looks likely to be a starter for France in midfield – especially with the absence of Diarra and Vieira. Toulalon as DM, Gourcuff  as RM and Ribery as LM will make up the rest of the midfield. For me, the absence of Samir Nasri is a massive shock. His goal against Porto was worth the call up alone. Just imagine if Nasri was English, he’d be one of the first players on the team sheet. Nasri is a player of immense quality and for Arsenal, his rest could help him bulk out and rest up.

Alex Song and Cesc Fabregas will be two instrumental midfielders for their respective countries, Cameroon and Spain respectively. Song will most likely play in defence, a quality of his game that is very impressive. He’s played for us in that position before and it’ll a good role for him to play more of. Cesc will be playing alone Xavi for Spain with Xabi Alonso behind them and Iniesta on the right. It’s a reason why Cesc head sometimes turns when he’s away with the national side as he is surrounded with Barcelona based players.

Theo Walcott will play for England and it looks like he will be first choice, and that will be an awesome experience for him – very much needed to help his club career. Rosicky and Denilson are not going and they both very much needed the experience. Maybe a rest will do them well.

Ones to watch: Mesut Ozil, a German left winger, a very tricky and pacey left sided player, and down in Deutschland, they have a lot of hope for this budding player…

[Update - Indeed I forgot to mention our star player, Emmanuel Eboue, who will be playing for the Ivory Coast in the group of death with Brazil, Portugal and of course Korea Republic - he is a special player and could of course set the tournament alight.]

The next piece will be all about the strikers and the World Cup… until then…

  • Nick

    Seriously, RVP needs to rethink his boot choice or something. How does he keep getting ankle inuries?

  • Josiah

    How long is he out for, will he be back for the arsenal season?

  • Sam

    Can’t believe I’m saying it again: GET WELL SOON, RVP!!

  • Sam

    Dev – You missed Eboue who is playing for Ivory Coast in WC.

  • parsi

    Time to reflect. The dust has settled on another disappointing season, which without a trophy for the fifth consecutive season is ultimately a failure. Where do we go from here? The two extreme schools of thought are: 1) Wenger’s project has failed. He has dismantled his team of Invincibles, replacing them with a bunch of overpaid, inexperienced, physically and mentally weak kids of which he is oblivious to their many frailties which we can all see. We will not win another trophy with him at the helm. 2) Arsene Knows. My feelings lie closer to the latter.

    As the wheels came off our title challenge, it left me with an empty feeling. The summer ahead will be an important one. With Cesc’s departure seemingly imminent and the arrival of Marouane Chamakh, any other business conducted will have to be of the requisite quality. Top of the agenda is a world class goalkeeper. I have always thought that Almunia lacks the presence to ever be a world class goalkeeper, Fabianski has age on his side and sending him out on loan may be the best option for him to gain experience and confidence. Wojciech Szczesny looks to be our future number one, having received rave reviews following his loan spell at Brentford and Arsène Wenger even issued the bold statement that he will ‘certainly’ be an Arsenal number one. A world class defender to partner Vermaelen is required if Gallas leaves and a world class midfielder if Cesc leaves. That’s up to three world class players to strengthen the spine of our team and with the rest of our young squad one year older and wiser, a few young guns ready to make their mark on the first team and better luck with injuries, I feel we stand in good stead for next season.

    I watched the recent question and answer session with our CEO Ivan Gazidis staged by the Arsenal Supporters Trust. Since his arrival, I have admired his intelligence and honesty. He is more in touch with the fans than other Arsenal board members and his involvement in the ‘Arsenalisation’ of the stadium shows that he appreciates that the fans are the heart of the club, something which has been lacking since the departure of David Dein. I thought he answered the questions with sincerity and assured us that the managerial staff will thoroughly analyse the team’s performance. One of the points he mentioned is that we may think that Wenger has an obsession with this team and can’t see things. However, he prefers not to publicly criticise his own players and I think this is the way a club that wants to be regarded with virtue should act.

    Another issue that was raised was the significant number of injuries. Mr Gazidis attempted to answer this question by stating that we are a young team playing possession football and run more than any other team, so injuries were inevitable. He also pointed out that we have less rest days than the opponents we are playing in comparison to our rivals; 36 in total, compared to Chelsea 22 and United 24. The long term injuries have been impact injuries. Injury problems have plagued us for many seasons now and he did reassure us that this would be examined and also mentioned a new GPS system, which will be used next season to anticipate injuries.

    Let the lot from down The Lane bask in their so-called glory with their manager losing the little dignity he had in ‘The Sun’ advert, having previously been charged for tax evasion and will undoubtedly leave them in disarray as he previously has the Hammers, Saints and Pompey. Look at the big picture. Having settled into our new stadium, we have one of the world’s finest sporting arenas, generating enough income to ensure our future at the top is secure for years to come. Once the debt has been paid off and other clubs are hit by the irrational management of their finances during a global financial crisis, plus the possibility of a spending cap based on income generated, we will be in a financial position of most clubs’ envy.

    Wenger’s vision has made this future a reality. He knew we would be handicapped in the initial years and planned for this period of transition into a new stadium but couldn’t have foreseen factors out of our control i.e. Abramovich. We are fans for life. I’m not old enough to know what it was like during the barren spell post 71 but I’m sure that this doesn’t even compare and I’m also sure that one day the chickens will come home to roost for other clubs and we will be rewarded. Enjoy the summer

    Victoria Concordia Crescit

  • Josiah

    Great comment Parsi.

  • RVP

    anyone get any news about j.cole.i heard he was going to join us this summer.

  • vj

    been pretty quiet over the past few days on the transfer front. not much happening at all in the world of arsenal, thought joe cole or the Laurent defender dude were joining us. world cup starting soon with and wenger said he would complete them before it started, i hope for some big moves soon. GK, CB, CM (maybe)

  • vj

    news of the quietness could mean that barca are negotiating a fee with arsenal for cesc, according to laporta negotiations are underway, we should brace ourselves for his depature, (who will be captain if cesc leaves? van persie? gallas again? campbell?

  • goonerman

    VAN PERSIE WILL BE THE NEW CAPTAIN FANTASTIC!!

  • goonerman

    I know were trying to forget about the fabregas saga but seriously dont laporta’s crap he keeps coming out with just make you all angry! he constantly keeps talking about fabregas as if he isnt worth the money we want and he truely believes he will get him for the price they want him for not the price we want, he also thanked cesc PUBLICLY for announcing his desire to play for barcelona! he really better hope he doesnt need to come to north london anytime soon becuase he would get battered lol!

  • vj

    yeah lol we should put up mug pictures of him for every arsenal fan to see. maybe it is just saga, i just hope that cesc comes out of the world cup saying i will be at arsenal next season. though u feel that if spain do win it with all the barca teammates around him, he might want to go. on the bonus it looks like gourcoff will replace him. if we get lloris as well the french arsenal will return. ps van persie can only be captain fantastic if he lasts more than 25 games

  • RVP

    although i dont want fabregas to leave,1-because he is one of our best players 2-because i think he does love arsenal and 3-he is our captain,maybe the sale of him would benefit us more than him staying.

    at this moment in time i would guess we have 25-30mil available to spend.everyone is aware of tha fact that we need to sign a world-class goaly and centre-half. a goaly would cost at least 10mil(lloris-12mil? buffon-20mil? mandanna 12mil?) and a centre-half around the same(hangeland-10mil? chiellini-18mil? subotic-20mil).so the purchase of two world class players could cost around 25mil.that would be the majority of our budjet gone.if gallas and campbell decide to leave aswell add the imminent departures of silvestre and senderos(maybe for around 8mil)that would leave around 10mil for another centre-half.this would mean no more additions to the attack and no power house midfielder.

    however the sale of fabregas for i think 55mil our budjet would be 85mil.a world class goaly(buffon 20mil) 2 centre-halves(chiellini 18mil? taylor/cahill 8-10mil?) a defnsive mid partner for song(melo 16mil? m.diarra 10mil?) replacement for fabregas(gourcuff 22mil vandervaart 10mil)
    If we got buffon+chiellini+taylor+diarra+gourcuff that would cost around 78mil leaving money to maybe get van der vaart,hazard.koscienly etc.

    so we could see

    mandanna
    clichy vermaelen hangeland sagna
    song diaby
    fabregas
    van persie chamakh arshavin

    nasri walcott eduardo rosicky denilson djourou etc

    or

    buffon
    clichy vermaelen chiellini sagna
    song diarra
    gourcuff/nasri
    van persie chamakh arshavin

    walcott eduardo rosicky van der vaart taylor denilson djourou etc

    what line up do you thinks better? of course the amounts are just educated guesses.i WANT fabregas to STAY becuase i think he wants to and that we of course want to keep him.im just saying that if he wants to go maybe it would still work out.whatever happens though 2 things are for sure

    IN WENGER I TRUST
    ARSENAL TILL I DIE

  • vj

    i agree RVP but cesc is arsenal in my mind seeing him play in an arsenal shirt is awsome, ive been wodering whether going in with cesc next season is wise if he wants to leave but a current arsenal without cesc is just not that awsome

  • RVP

    yh dont get me wrong i 100% want cesc to stay.im just thinking that if he wants to go and there offer is nice then maybe we should do the deal. but im hoping he doesnt want to go yet and that wengers got 50+mil saved up