Arsenal’s Best XI + Cologne vs Arsenal – The Preview!

Today marks the start of the football season and for every football fan out there, we can all rejoice… later on today we’ll see Chelsea vs Man City in the Community Shield Charity Shield Shieldy thing. And even though we’re not involved, it will be a great game to get our mouth watering ahead of next week. As an outsider, despite what the Spanish say, the Premiership has to be best league to watch – there are so many competitive teams. United, City, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool will definitely be at the top of the tree come the end of the season and with so many “big teams” and the likes of Newcastle and Sp*rs means that we have a whole host of great games to watch. Every weekend is Super Sunday…

But the biggest game of the day is Cologne vs Arsenal.

There haven’t that many friendlies this Summer. Of course we had the Malaysian tour, but none of the signings have had an outing yet. Today is the day that they all go on show. All of the three new signings, Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla should have a half each and with them, ex-captain, top goalscorer, Robin Van Persie should also get a run out. Ahead of next week’s friendlies, Louis Van Gaal spoke about Robin:

“Robin will play his first game this Sunday. He has told me he is at least going to play 45 minutes this weekend. It is a good job, because I almost had not selected him. This is the only time I’ll pick Van Persie and Tottenham’s Rafael van der Vaart while they are not fit. They have not played a single game yet for their clubs and normally I don’t pick players then. In future I will only pick fit players. But van Persie is so important for the Dutch team.”

There is some debate about whether or not he’ll be at Arsenal next season and it would be difficult to see how he could be after “that statement”. But from a pure footballing view, our team will be better with him than without him. Despite the signings, there has been no u-turn from the Dutchman, so the liklihood is that he will not be here come September the first.

Even though we have a large number of strikers at the moment but I don’t think we’ll change formation. I’d expect us to play 4-3-3 today and I’d expect us to play two different teams:

Giroud / Van Persie

Gervinho / Podolski – Cazorla / Diaby – Walcott / Oxlade

I’d expect to see both main strikers play today, although not at the same time. It’d expect Podolski and Gervinho to look after the left wing for 45 minutes each with Walcott and Oxlade on the opposite flank. The newly energized Diaby splitting the time with our new signing Cazorla who has really impressed his new team mates.

Today’s captain, Thomas Vermaelen said:

“Cazorla has trained two or three times and he fits in really well with the Arsenal philosophy and how we want to play. He is a great signing.

And he also commented on the whole squad.

“The squad looks strong. There are not a lot of injuries at the moment, apart from Bacary [Sagna] and Jack [Wilshere] – for the rest it looks good. Everyone looks fit and sharp and it is good that we have so many new players as well. At the beginning of last season I was injured with the same problem I had before. For the rest of the season I played quite a lot of games so I was quite pleased with that, but of course I want to do better this year. I want to perform better as well.”

With the existing players, and the new signings, the question is… who is our best eleven? Gervinho, Podolski, Walcott, Oxlade, Giroud, Cazorla… it’s interesting isn’t it? It’s not often we have this dilemma, but this season we have signed 3 players all destined for the first team. Food for thought… and I suppose after today’s game we’ll have a little more insight into our better players and who we’ll like to seeing starting for us.

All that is left to say (for the first time this season)… is…

Come on you Gooners!




  • SpeedDemon

    Looks like Man City are starting off where they left off.

  • himmat

    1 week to the season starts and theres still rumours regarding van persie, song and walcott. it would be a disater if anyone left. theres no point making great signings if they are offset by losing your better players. for starters i dont even know how song could be allowed to leave. his contract runs until 2015. so if were playing hard ball over van persie, then a 15m deal for song is absurd. i hope its all smoke but you cant not worry when your an arsenal fans and rumours surround our best players. i dont worry about liverpool potentially getting walcott, but walcotts contact situation is running similr to nasri and van persie (do we learn?). as for van persie, just keep him the remainder of the year. if we sell him, we get 20m, but we also hand an advantage to man united – who are within our sights. you know what would be a welcome surprise. if we keep song, walcott, and van persie and add m’vila.

  • Patrick

    David Dein said last year, and I paraphrase, “that Mr Wenger would have to accept that things haven’t turned out as would have wished and had to rethink”. However, I do believe it is true that the youth project was agreed to ensure that money could be diverted to the stadium project. Another thing that doesn’t sound right is the board deciding to spend now and that is how they planned it. Personally I think that the board would have liked to wait a couple more seasons before they started spending, if that was the intention, but the threat that people are not going to renew their season tickets is too much and they have realised that they need to spend to accumulate. We have three good signings, all at the right age, all internationals, albeit not currently in their respective countries first choice starting line up, but it is enough material for Mr Wenger to work on. If Song goes to Barcelona. although he did pretty well for us last season and we bring in Yann the man and Sahin comes to cover for Wilshere and then VP and Theo sign up for the duration and if Steve Bould does works wonders with the defence, then perhaps we could be in with a shout for the title, but even without the wishing coming true and if VP does go, we should still see some good football and be in touch for fourth. I hope once we see the debt eliminated then we should see real spending, if necessary. I am still in doubt whether the board have done enough to ensure that I will renew my season ticket next season, but we still have some transfer window left and then we have a whole season before us – I want us to win, so lets see if they have got it right. Come on you Reds. –