Concentration, Organisation And Improving Players
A week of training for the players ahead of the trip to Poland at the weekend. Travelling is something that some of the squad will have to get used to with the internationals taking place the following week, a truly crass piece of calendar planning by Fifa. For Arsene, it represents the last chance for the whole of the squad to work together before the Premier League season begins.
And work there is to be done, according to Bacary Sagna. One of those to be omitted from the French squad as punishment for the debacle in South Africa, the defender observed:
Everyone is ready [for the season]. Personally I cannot wait to play because I know we have a very good team with quality young players who play good football.
The job is done but now we just need to work because we had some bad points as well. We need to look forward, work on what we have to and just stay focused.
In previous season’s, there has been a temptation to gloss over the mistakes, accentuating the virtues of a talented group of players. Now there is a public admission of private thoughts; there is work to do to make the jump from third to Champions. Motivationally, the failure of last season to capitalise on a good position, is key. Despite claims to the contrary, no-one is happy without silverware nor is the expectation that this situation will continue.
Concentration and organisational discipline are the two key areas to work on. Not succumbing to defensive lapses will be crucial to making the transformation into champions. Sagna highlighted the Wigan defeat as an example of the indiscipline which must be eradicated yet there were more individual mistakes – mainly through concentrational lapses – which were as costly. That is an area which the personnel must identify in themselves and strive to correct.
For Sagna, it is a case of the players realising their potential as well as repaying the manager’s faith:
He has done great work at Arsenal and we want to win things for him. Everything he has given us we need to give him back. That is what we will try to do and it would be great to win something.
The contract situation is as per normal. I cannot recall Wenger signing a new deal with more than twelve months to go on his current contract. The full back was phlegmatic about it and seemingly unconcerned, perhaps because he had already established himself in the first team at another club and does not ‘owe’ his career to Wenger.
However, with the shenanigans over Cesc this summer, Wenger may like to consider resolving his situation quickly. For him to agree a new deal is not a key factor anymore in whether his captain stays or goes, although I do believe that a failure of the manager to commit to Arsenal might make it easier for Fabregas to cut his ties with the club, the heartstrings no longer tugged if the Frenchman has relinquished his throne.
Equally for Arsenal, being able to search for a replacement quietly in the background if Wenger decided the time was right to leave, is important as it quells speculation. Announcing the departure of Wenger at the same time as his successor is the ideal scenario, one that Arsene will be acutely aware of.
Personally, I think the aspiration to win the Champions League will be a key factor. It is the one noticeable absentee on his CV, one that he will want to put right before his retirement.
Sagna believes, along with Vermaelen, that the additions of Chamakh and Koscielny have improved the squad:
The new signings are amazing. I knew them both from France and I am not surprised to see them playing as they are. They are very confident and are very settled already which is good for them and the team.
Chamakh can make the difference because he is a good player, can keep the ball and score great goals. It will be very important to have a player like that in front of goal. I will trust him with the ball because he can keep it quite easily and it will give us a chance to come and support him.
Equally, Koscielny has impressed Vermaelen, his seeming weaknesses turned into strengths:
Laurent is tough, he’s not so tall but goes for the close marking style. He’s a clever player, quick over the ground, quick with his feet and looks to be the complete defender.
He has made a promising start but pre-season friendlies are considerably different to Premier League matches. As of yet, neither he or Djourou has made a strong enough case for them to be an automatic choice and with Wenger’s admission that he would like to get one more defender in, there is still a target for them to play for. As with the goalkeeping situation, the team against Legia will provide a lot of the answers.
Posted on August 3, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 326 Comments.