There is a lot of Arsenal news for me to catch up on since last Thursday so bear with me while I get through it all.
First up is the 10-2 demolition of Burgenland XI – the side with the strangest and funniest name since Grasshopper-Club from Zürich. Nicklas Bendtner scored four (yes, four), Carlos Vela got three and Jack Wilshire scored two including a well-taken penalty in the second half. Don’t ask me why Arsene Wenger is letting a 16-year-old take penalties with guys like Theo Walcott and Vela on the pitch but regardless, he finished it with great confidence.
The two goals that were conceded really shouldn’t have been but when you’re 10-0 up in a pre-season friendly it’s not really a big deal. It was a clinical performance against a shabby team and it was great to see guys like Bendtner and Vela finishing with such confidence. It might be too early to say just yet, but I expect both to have a decent impact on the Premiership this season.
The positive vibes from the result against Burgenland was made all the more vibey by comments made by Cesc Fabregas following the match. The young Spaniard had previously been quoted as saying that he hadn’t said ‘no’ to a move to Real Madrid, but he poured cold water on those claims with the following comments:
“I have not spoken to any media so it’s frustrating to read quotes that I have supposedly said about my future. I have spent the summer relaxing with my family, friends and girlfriend and I return to training with Arsenal tomorrow. I think that some people are just trying to make mischief but my intentions are very clear. I am happy here at Arsenal, my future is with Arsenal and the priority is to achieve success and win trophies at Arsenal.”
Pretty emphatic and hardly surprising, isn’t it? I think it’s great that Fabregas has again come out and made his intentions so clear. It just illustrates what a great little guy this great little guy is. I know there’s ultimately no use berating the Spanish clubs for their continual disruptions of players – they’re never going to stop after all – but it is good to see them get shown up for what they do every once in a while.
Moving on now and there’s been a number of bits and pieces floating around with regards to just who will start the season in the middle of the park alongside the irreplaceable Fabregas. Both Denilson and Abou Diaby have staked their claim, with Tomas Rosicky suggesting that it will be the latter who will be given the chance to play by the manager.
“I think that Diaby will be given a big chance to play often in Flamini’s position. He was playing on the left when I was injured, but he is more a centre midfielder, the same type like Patrick Vieira. I expect a lot from him as I know from training that it is difficult to play against him. He has long legs and really is very similar to Vieira. In my opinion, he is able to do very well.”
They are interesting statements, for sure. For a player as talented and experienced as Rosicky to make these sort of comments it suggests that Diaby commands a certain deal of respect in the Arsenal ranks. In contrast, it is difficult to say whether a player like Denilson commands that sort of respect.
It’s fairly clear to that Wenger has an important decision to make. At this stage if I had to pick between Diaby and Denilson for that second central spot I would pick the Frenchman hands down. He has more experience, looks more comfortable on the ball and perhaps most importantly, is more physically intimidating than the still slightly lightweight Denilson.
While neither player has displayed the dogged determination and grit that Mathieu Flamini showed last season, Diaby is a stronger candidate for the role in my eyes. The decision that Wenger has to make is whether he wants to bring in another Flamini or work towards developing Diaby into the player that he is most often compared to; Patrick Vieira.
Regardless, I still think a signing needs to be made in there. We are light on numbers and as the manager has already said, another body is required. Whether it’s Amaury Bischoff or Gareth Barry I don’t really care, as long as Wenger has faith that whoever starts the season alongside Fabregas can be as effective as Flamini was last season.
It’s a tough ask and while I might put that beyond Denilson at this stage, I don’t think it’s beyond Diaby.
Finally today is the relatively big issue of the Arsenal captaincy, and the apparent revelation that last season’s captain – William Gallas – will be holding onto the armband. The Frenchman, the oldest member of the current squad, has admitted that while he made mistakes in his first season as Arsenal captain he is hoping to learn from them going into the new campaign:
“You want to be the best captain and give good advice to your players, but sometimes you can make mistakes as well. This season I know what I’m going to do and I know I am ready to change my way of speaking to the players.”
I actually don’t think that Gallas as captain has been the disaster that the media and a lot of other Arsenal bloggers have labelled it as and am more than happy for him to hold onto the leadership role this season. He made mistakes, for sure, but the important thing is that he learns from them and ensures they do not happen again. If he can then I think Gallas’ vocal nature and desperate will to win will come to the forefront and he will have a good impact this season.
That is it in an epic post today. Once again I apologise for the lack of an update last Friday and yesterday. If you read the note I left in the ‘Quick & to the Point’ section of the blog you’ll know that I broke my foot on Thursday night and have been attending various doctors, X-ray and physio appointments that have got in the way of my blogging. There’s only so much time in a day after all!
Things are back to normal as of today and if I should remind you that if I ever fail to leave a daily post I’ll try and let you know why via the ‘Quick & to the Point’ section. After all, that’s what it’s for.
Cheers and enjoy the positive vibes coming out of the club at the moment.
Have your say on the Burgenland win, Fabregas comments, Diaby v Denilson or Gallas’ captaincy by leaving a comment.