Benfica vs Arsenal Preview & Transfer Update

Today see Arsenal take on Benifica at their ground, a tough away game against decent opposition, and I think today we will be a good game to see how prepared we are – how are fitness levels are and to understand the shape that the squad is in. The squad for today’s game was announced yesterday and the 19 players who travelled are:

  • Szczesny, Fabianski
  • Djourou, Squillaci, Vermaelen, Traore, Miquel, Jenkinson, Sagna
  • Frimpong, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Lansbury
  • Miyachi, Van Persie, Gervinho, Arshavin, Chamakh

As normal with pre-season friendlies, we will probably see a lot of changes at half time, but for the first half, I think Arsene will experiment with the following line-up:


Jenkinson, Djourou, Vermaelen, Traore

Frimpong, Lansbury, Ramsey

Gervinho, Chamakh, Miyachi

There were several players who didn’t travel for various reasons, the likes of Cesc, Nasri, Eboue & Bendtner have not travelled and there is a lot of speculation regarding all four of them leaving the club. The manager was in the news today and had this to say:

“Walcott is back in training but he is not ready just yet. Wilshere is injured on his ankle and it is very difficult to set a concrete deadline on his comeback. Nasri has a muscular problem. Cesc is just coming back from injury and he is not ready to play in the game. Diaby is out and Koscielny has a small muscular problem. Bendtner and Eboue are not in the squad because they might be going out of the Club. Koscielny and Nasri might be back for the start of the season. I don’t think Fabregas will be ready to start the season because he has been out for a long time and has had no games. Walcott might be back and, as for Wilshere, it is very difficult to say.”

There has been a lot of speculation on Bendtner & Eboue and proposed moves – at the same time, we’ve heard that a lot of clubs can’t afford them – the clubs that come in for them are the 2nd tier clubs, and with Bendtner on £60,000 / week and Eboue on £50,000 / week, it’s proving difficult for them to find new clubs. Galatasary and Athletico are favourites for Eboue, whilst Sporting have just signed a striker, so Stoke look favourites to land our promising and cocky Danish striker!

Looking at the news from Arsene above, I think the Fabregas saga is starting to unfold itself – it’s clear that Arsene is preparing himself for life without Cesc – there is no reason why Cesc shouldn’t be fit by the start of the season compared to the likes of Van Persie etc – but it’s clear that if Arsenal do sell Cesc for the £40m odd which is being demanded, an injury leading to a failed medical or a cup-tied Champions League player would lower the price or scupper the deal. Arsene most likely understands that he will not be able to prevent Cesc leaving so has to do the right thing by the club and play without him.

Interesting news on Jack Wilshere and it looks like he has suffered a bad injury which will keep him sidelined for a while – when Arsene says stuff like “it’s difficult to say”, that normally means, “it’s serious, but I can’t tell you otherwise I will shock you”… we need to keep our eyes peeled out for news on Jack. Lansbury was potentially leaving the club a few weeks ago and now we’re hearing that he may stay – perhaps related to the Wilshere injury – personally, I think Lansbury has done fantastically well on loan – and he’s a gooner, I hate see the passionate players leave!

On incoming transfers, we’re still linked with the usual crop of defenders, and a lot of our supposed targets are disappering before our eyes, but Arsene has reassured us that he is working hard:

“Ideally I would have finished all [our business] but it doesn’t work like that. We work very hard, we are non-stop working throughout the summer. I am positive because we have good quality and a style of play that is known by the players. So we want to add not quality but super quality.”

And the boss did offer a timeframe when he said:

“We hope to give you some good news soon. Next week, something might happen.”

Let’s see what happens…

Welcome back to the Football season, Benifica tonight, the charity shield tomorrow and then a the real stuff starts… Exciting times…

  • harry

    I saw the game last night, and the only conclution we can make is that the squad is’nt strong enough. Our best 11 are great, we could see that in the first half, but it start to go down as you put in Squliaci, and the midfield is sort of let down when you start picking it appart like Wenger does in these friendlys. Also Rosicky is a bit weird in a game like that. He gets in to a good position, he does some good movement, brings the ball up the field, and then fails to deliver a pass… He can never seem to get everything right,.. Guess his status as benchwarmer will be continued with Fabregas, Nasri, Wilshere and Ramsey availible. Though, we wont find a better sub I suppose, so no point in releasing him. Still a good player, just not as good as any of the current alternatives. Last nights game was a reminder that things are no different then the week before. We still need to get a CB, and preferably a midfielder (Mata\Hazard maybe?) – should we lose Nasri or Fabregas. One that has impressed me is Gervinho, with the right people around him i think Gervinho-vanPersie on top will be very efficiant and hard to cope with for any defenders. I thought we ought to pair van Persie with a stronger airial striker, but it seems like Gervinho and him are great at creating spaces and getting in behind. Chamakh instead of Bendtner in the air, van Persie is good in the air. Then we have Vermaelen and Djourou on set pieces… Might be a good mix. But we’d need someone stronger defencively, we can’t count on Vermaelen+Djourou\Kos staying fit all season long, and we can’t really use Squilaci for anything other then Carling cup and early FA cup games. So… status quo, still need to sign Jag\Cahill.

  • Bonathan

    Rumours are we are close to signing chaimberlain. I personally believe we will lose nasri and fabregas over the next 2 week. I think chimberlain and mata will be the replacements. on paper, they don’t look like adequate replacements (certainly not short term), but thinking about it, i still think we may have plenty of good attacking options to be successful, providing we can get the best out of arsharvin.

    I think we sometimes forget what a player we have in arsharvin as he has never consistantly looked liked the player that we were expecting. Maybe though, if fab and nasri leave, maybe it will be time to give arsarvin the central role he has alwas wanted. Imagine if he took the chance and we had the real arsharvin playing for us week in week out from that central position. maybe i’m being a bit optomistic here but it’s got to be worth a try. U’d certainly expect him to get a bagfull of goals from there. we’d still have plenty of options in the wide positions with walcott, gervinho, mata, chamberlain, vela and miyichi.

    Also it would enable us to use ramsey as cover for both ‘the wilshire position’ and for the more advanced position. That would still enable him to get plenty of games under his belt without having quite so much pressure lumbered on him in one go. He can fill both roles after all.

    i just hope wenger gives arsharvin the chance in that position. because we all no we haven’t seen the best from him and when better to give him his chance than when nasri and fab have buggered off. Of course we’d still have the option of swapping him with mata if required.

    yeah, i’m happy to bin these guys off now and bring in oxalde and mata. A centre back as well of course.

  • salom

    Season hasn’t started and we already have a lot going wrong, people need to realise that all we need is a
    CB, DM, and maybe a LB, ST and if Fabregas leaves a WINGER,

    This Fabregas matter is just over-hyped, If Fabregas leaves we don’t need to run around crying for a direct replacement, when Ronaldo left Nani was in the same exact position that Ramsey and Nasri are in now both wanting that position but unable to get in because of the star man, Ronaldo left Nani shined, same would happen when Fabregas leaves.

    Barca needs to put up or shut up, if you cant pay the 40mill, just say you cant pay the 40mill, Instead just give us:
    30-35mill plus
    Affelay – Winger Sorted
    Keita – DM back up and depth sorted
    Abidal – LB sorted, with Gibbs and Traore back up well sorted

    Wenger can get:
    Samba or Mertseaker – CB Sorted

  • salom

    @ Bonathan – Oxlade & mata for cesc & nasri are you on fucking drugs? Even in my drunken state that is fucked up. We are 1 week away from the start of the new season do you really think that’s an option?

  • salom

    I have now watched and read the threads, post and quotes with a lot of heart fealt pashion. I had a Deb and Season Ticket and lost the plot as soon as DD went. Wenger is a bloody goody guy but is now anitiquatated. The purchase of Vieira, Petite etc… etc… was good at at the time but he can’t and won’t do it again – dooooomed we are chaps.

    RVP is the main man, we can’t even cash in on him if need be – becasue his medical print out would reveal a black hole that even Nick Leason could not justify.

    Please Arsene buy 2 x Centre Backs, 1 x Huge Midfielder and a enough cotton wool for RVP.

  • Berth

    Arshavin’s publicist

  • agentsmurf

    The Premiership hasn’t started yet and injury prone Van Persie and Vermaelen are already on the sidelines. A.W. is now required to find suitable back-ups for these two players, in addition to acquiring other essential new members. The longstanding delay in acquiring essential players is not altogether the fault of A.W. Much of the blame surely lies at the feet of Arsenal’s talent scouts – whoever they might be. Yesterday the media reported that Arsenal(presumably the talent scouts) had studied Tim Cahill’s form in over 20 appearances. If it takes that long to assess a player’s abilities no wonder Arsenal are behind the eight ball in their search for new players. I guarantee that if SAF was in charge at Arsenal he would have the necessary players in place by the first week in July !!

  • rado

    @agentsmurf: This was the team on the field for Arsenal at the final whistle : Fabianski, Squillaci, Miquel, Jenkinson, Troare, Chamakh, Frimpong, Miyaichi, Ramsey, Gervinho, Lansbury.

    Now apart from a game in the Carling cup what would be the chance of Arsenal playing with this team in the league? In the event that we have some 15 first team players injured at the same time we could see this team. But even for Arsenal having 15 players out with injury is something that we haven’t seen.

    Even Manchester United proved this week that playing 4 or 5 players of the first team is not enough when you have to play another team. They lost 8-2 to Marseille in those conditions and we lost 2-1 against Benfica doing almost the same thing.

    Bringing in new players is something that can be done when you bring them in one at the time. If you play any of those players we had on the field in the second half they will do their job. But then they have to be surrounded by the better players to help them out. But when you have too many youngsters at the same time in the team they can fall short.

    So far we never played a game with our best players for 90 minutes. People might say that we needed to do this in order to bond the team. But in a way we don’t need that much of bonding because the majority of our best 14-15 players know each other from the previous season(s). Only Gervinho has to adapt and integrate as a real first team player. Maybe this was the reason why he stayed on the pitch in the second half in Benfica. But then you saw that without the rest of the best even a good player can become anonymous in the game. But even then he was one of the best players when he got on the ball in my opinion.

    For those who might say we need to play our best players in pre-season in order to win more games I can only ask them what we should do with the players from the second half? Throw them out? And only play the season with 16 players? No, those days are long gone. We need a team of 25 players and sometimes even more. So if we don’t play them now in pre-season when will we play them? In the league? In the Champions League? Okay, maybe in the Carling Cup we can play a lot of them but even them we must make sure that they have been playing together for a few times.

    So I am not bothered unlike other fans are about the results in pre-season, even though I admit that I like us winning every game, but this is about testing and seeing what will work and won’t work. What could work and what wouldn’t work.

  • yemi

    @ rado:
    The problem i have is this, arsenals second team should be able to beat teams like leyton orient, ipswich town, leeds etc but from what we saw last season, we have to bring in first team members to play them in the 2nd leg after drawing or losing the the first leg.
    As do always, we need upwards of 4 players to be world beaters. We never strengthen where necessary. we need a CB, LB, CF and a winger. All we got was a winger.
    We need to let go of some dead wood. They are still very much around.
    i am not of the opinion that we need a DM. KOS and frimpong should do. jenkinson as a backup to sagna is perfect. We all saw smalling playing in the RB position against city. But who plays in our LB ? Gibbs or traore (gibbs injury prone and traore not good enough IMO)
    In CF position, we need an out-and-out striker. We don’t have. RVP as our points man is injury prone and plays too deep.
    In central defense, only TV is first choice as far as i am concerned. Off with squilacci and get a decent CB to pair with TV, djourou and KOS should be 3rd and 4th choices.

    Its the same story over and over again every transfer window. if RVP an TV are out for long periods, then we are stuck with KOs, djorou and chamack.
    B52 is still around, Squillaci, ebuoue, diaby still very much around.

    I wonder how far we can go this season

  • yemi

    Something to ponder about… Take a look at the teams of our main rivals and compare