Young Guns Get Good Marks From Emirates Weekend
Hard as it is to resist the temptation to start today with a quick burst of “We are the Champions“, I shall do so for The Emirates Cup doesn’t quite warrant such celebrations. The question for the competition organisers is whether or not to award Arsenal the trophy permanently as is the norm in football when a club wins the cup three times. Perhaps as it is an annual event, three-in-a-row or five in total will see that happen. Who knows and it is equally hard not to say, who cares?
The win over Celtic was more comfortable than the scoreline suggests but as with the Milan goal on Saturday, neither of those conceded yesterday were down to goalkeeping errors which will boost the confidence of the respective custodians. I would suggest that as well as Fabianski did on against the Italians, Almunia was more confident on Sunday in his general play. The answer of whom will start at Anfield will no doubt become clearer against Legia next weekend when I would expect Wenger to start with his preferred XI. A case of playing yourself out of the side rather than into it.
The Spaniard was defiant in his post-match interview which suggests that he has been hurt by the summer of speculation. If wounded pride is what it takes for him to eradicate the lapses in concentration which have proved costly in the past, then so be it. Almunia can consider himself unlucky not to have been voted Man of the Match, the award going to Jack Wilshere instead.
He and Frimpong were singled out by Wenger as being reasons why there will be no further additions to the midfield this transfer window. Both proved over the weekend that whilst we should not be fearful of their inclusion in the matchday squad, their claims for a regular starting place are not going to be immediately fulfilled. Both could be full England internationals although Frimpong looks to be treading the Ghanain path, Wenger urged Capello to look strongly at this.
He tried – and failed – to add a caveat to his praise:
They have normally a good future, but let’s be cautious and not make of them stars before they are stars
Generally that can be done by not talking about players who have yet to complete two decades on this earth, as potential squad members for the next European Championships. The effect of Walcott’s inclusion in the 2006 World Cup Finals squad for England is a salutory lesson. Whilst he did not play, just being there raised expectations, the backlash of which was seen four years later when his performances were not up to the world-beating standards expected of him by the media.
Walcott had one of those games yesterday. Overall he will be pleased with his performance as the wide player – I hesitate to use the word ‘winger’ for he is not one in its purest meaning. In that position, two assists and on target efforts is a good return, creating goals is that which should be expected from there. Inconsistency of delivery still haunts him but there has yet to be a wide player with 100% crossing accuracy. Indeed, were all of the wayward deliveries poor or was it case of some good delivery without a colleague making the right run to receive the ball. A mix of both I would suggest.
It is this inconsistency that will haunt Frimpong and Wilshere in their development and may yet see them subjected to the same criticism as Walcott. It seems unlikely that the duo would be starting in the Premier League without experience alongside them. Wenger has an embarrassment of riches in midfield, the only casualties now seem to be those who are unfit as opposed to any departures.
Nasri had a good tournament, effective in his prompting and more diligent in his defensive duties. Rosicky had an impressive first half – by preseason standards – and should he remain fit, indications are positive for the coming season. The central defensive situation is still being addressed, Wenger coy about naming his targets but admitting that he is looking for at least one new arrival to strengthen the squad. Whether that is genuine or him pandering to the well-document desires of the supporters remains to be seen.
Cesc was absent this weekend as his pueblo honoured his part in Spain’s South African triumph with the organisers and Spanish media mindful of the Barcelona links, careful to include only historical pictures for consumption. The latter have been stung by Wenger’s comments over the past few days, all but accusing him of being overly sensitive to their blatant campaign to bring Cesc home. One wonders if the manager of Arsenal accusing Barcelona of tapping up has made the Camp Nou officials have a quiet word in their puppets ears to calm things down.
Posted on August 2, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 303 Comments.