Arsenal – The Week That Was

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Transfer Window helps ease the pain of embarrassing night in Wales

By Dominic Athwal

It happened, it actually happened! Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is an Arsenal player. Earlier this week, Arsenal confirmed they had closed a deal to sign Aubameyang for £56,000,000. In a bizarre 24 hours we saw the transfer confirmed as Giroud went to Chelsea, Batshuyai went to Dortmund and Aubameyang arrived at Arsenal – crazy! The signings off MKH and Aubmeyang are exciting but it’s really sad to see great servants of the club, in Giroud and Sanchez, depart.

Wenger now needs to quickly work out his best system, because it appears difficult, to me at least, how you accommodate Ozil, Laczette, MKH, Pea, Wilshere and Ramsey into one team. My guess is one of Wilshere and Ramsey will be sacrificed but even then will he be brave enough to play with two up top? I think we may see a 4-2-3-1, personally, with one of Lacazette or Aubmeyang playing as a makeshift winger, with Lacazette looking more likely to make the move as he has had some experience playing there in the past. Regardless of the combinations, I think our business has been extremely tidy. Yes, of course we need defensive players too but in years gone by losing Giroud, Walcott and Sanchez would have been a huge loss as we have typically failed to replace big players with equally big names – so in that sense, the acquisitions of MKH and Auba should be seen as exciting and bold. I hope it’s a sign of a new era where Arsenal finally deliver on their financial promise and stature.

This leads nicely to the second major point I’d like to cover off in this segment. I think these signings highlight Wenger’s diminishing role at the club. In my opinion, there is no way Wenger would spend over £100m on two strikers especially when that involved breaking the club’s transfer record twice in a single season for two players who cover the exact same role. It leads me to think that others are now starting to take an active role in what used to be Wenger’s sole domain and that is exactly what excites me. I think these transfers were carried out for two reasons (1) to replace big name leavers; and (2) to attract and highlight to other world class managers that Arsenal are still a big player in the market.  I personally predict that Wenger will be gone or replaced by the end of the season if we fail to make the top 4, unless we win the Europa League. He keeps stating that he will see out his deal, currently expiring in 2019 – but I no longer think that is a guarantee, especially the way the team has performed this season. The shake-up in the hierarchy has finally wrestled some power away from him and I think his general discontent with that makes his departure imminent, in my humble opinion. It is definitely the beginning of the end.

The loss to Swansea was incredible and only served to further highlight the inadequacies of our defensive strategy and options. It seemingly no longer matters whether it’s a 3, 4 or 5 at the back anymore. The personnel are no longer good enough. In Cech, you have a once great keeper reduced to a shell of his former self and the frequency with which he makes mistakes is alarming. Koscienly is another who looks like his best days are well past him too. Mustafi and Xhaka have never looked quite good enough and they always seem to have at least 1 or 2 “big” mistakes in them in every single game. Monreal and Bellerin continue to excite attacking wise, but once again, neither seem solid enough to be considered top class defenders, which is what we need.

This weekend needs to be the start of the Auba era and as unfairly as this sounds he has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to deliver. We don’t have weeks or months to let him come to terms with the rigours of the Premier League, we need instant success. At home, against Everton, is usually a tough night’s ask but we need to capitalise on their own defensive frailties and put in an inspired performance to put everyone on notice that we are back! My heart is telling me we could give them a pasting, but my head is just thinking banana skin……I just hope the £56m man has got some good grip on those flashy boots.

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