Season Preview

With one week to go until the Premiership kicks off, it’s time to take a look at the squad, the summer and the season ahead…

As every Gooner (well, every footballing fan) knows, this Summer was meant to be a big statement. We were expecting signings, world class signings and in every department. We were expecting a goalkeeper, a central defender, a warhorse midfielder, a winger and a striker… The summer started well with interest in the likes of Bernard, Higuain, Juilo Cesar and Ashley Williams looking real. But as every day passed, those transfers passed and now we’re a week away from the start of the season, and sampling a thread-bare squad.

The “Deep Cull of 2013” has been amazing to witness and we’ve shredded the squad of some dead-weight, but at the same time, we’ve also lost some first teamers in Gervinho, Coquelin and Mannone without replacement. Mannone was third choice, but we’re getting lighter in that department, and no matter what you think about the qualities of some of those players, you cannot deny that we do need a squad. Let’s take a look at who’s gone:

  1. Gervinho
  2. Arshavin
  3. Denilson
  4. Aneke
  5. Joel Campbell
  6. Santos
  7. Coquelin
  8. Meade
  9. Mannone
  10. Djourou
  11. Chamakh
  12. Park
  13. Squillaci
  14. Miquel

That’s 14 players who were in and around the first team, not to mention Bendtner and not to mention about 10 younger players who’ve also left the team. The worrying area for me is centre back, with Vermaelen injured, we only have 2 centre backs. That’s it… nothing else. No Djourou, no Squillaci and now no Miquel!

Let’s take a look at the players we have left…

Goalkeepers: Szcznesy, Fabianski

Left Backs: Gibbs, Monreal

Central Defenders: Mertersacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen (injured)

Right Backs: Sagna, Jenkinson

Central Midfielders: Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky, Cazorla, Arteta, Diaby (injured)

Wingers: Oxlade, Walcott, Podolski

Strikers: Giroud, Sanogo

That’s if you think Sanogo will be a first teamer… which he may well be…! Is that the smallest premiership team in the league? In fact it’s so small, you can fit the whole squad on one tweet!!

 

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Now, I’ve got no inside knowledge of anything at the club, but doesn’t this strike you as a little bit strange and almost alarmingly. What would happen if Sagna and Mertersacker pick up knocks… we literally do not have the players to fill in. Scary times. Whatever is going on at the club, I wish we knew the truth, because all this guess work and hoping and wanting is killing us. If we have cash, and the people in power insist we do (and lots of it), then why haven’t we planned for this summer. You may think there is a plan. Last summer we brought in Giroud and Podolski (meh) before we sold Van Persie… now that’s a plan. But 6 transfers in on deadline day? Now that’s not a plan… Judge for yourself, but we all know where this summer is going.

I worry that the management have lost sight of the actual way to win things and really don’t know. I feel like they are very amateurish in the transfer market, literally refusing to spend a penny over what they think a player worth. If you think Higuain is a £25m player and you’re happy at that level, then why not shelve out the extra £5m and get the player. Was Torres worth £50m… no, but they paid that because they wanted the player. Is Real Madrid reject Soldado worth £26m… hell no, but they paid that because they wanted the player… the story continues.

Suarez – great player but massive baggage. Is he an Arsenal type player – no! He is above board, good image, a team player? No. Has he had a dispute with every single club he’s played for? Yes. And for some reason, Arsene only target this summer has been the Uruguayan. Utter madness in my opinion. Unbelievable. And what about the other positions? Is the boss simply not looking for a centre-back?

We play Man City today and in reality, this will be a huge test for us… let’s hope all the existing players have an extra 50% in their locker, and let’s hope we have absolutely no injuries, let’s hope Giroud finishes top scorer and Bendtner signs for Galatasaray for £10m. Hope is all we have!