Arsenal was earmarked as potential dark horses in the title race before the loss of Robin van Persie. Now without Van Persie, the hope for a title challenge has suddenly disappeared and has been replaced with doubts of Champions League qualification for next year.
Is this valid or a premature assessment of Arsenal? The weekend demonstrated a glimpse into Arsenal’s future, or just a new team still yet to gel. Newspaper headlines say that Van Persie would’ve put away the chances that were on offer on the opening day of the season. The Sun headline reads “No RVP, no goals, and no Song,” — an overzealous headline to say the very least. But Arsenal failed to take advantage for all their possession and failed to take control of the game. Typical Arsenal isn’t it — failing to make the most of their opportunities, not seeing out games and dropping points as a result.
But there’s hope. Don’t despair Arsenal fans. Just be patient. I don’t believe Rome was built in a day, so Arsenal’s newly assembled team can’t be expected to perform miracles either. Last season proved that. With time and patience Arsene Wenger’s side can improve.
The transfer market has seen three relatively experienced international footballers arrive at the Emirates; Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. What can they do for the team?
Santi Cazorla has been in the Spanish setup for a number of years, allowing him to have the winning mentality that Spain has adopted in recent times. He helped Malaga finish fourth in his first season with the club. Widely talked about as the best player outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid last season, and named the signing of the summer by Sid Lowe last season, Cazorla is an archetypical Arsenal player: diminutive, fast and technically sound with both feet.
Lukas Podolski, an experienced German international already with over 100 caps, and goals a plenty for both club and country, scored 18 goals for relegation bound Köln last term and his directness can aid Arsenal’s at times methodical playing style. Podolski’s versatility brings more options for Arsenal, as he’s able to play through the middle, on the wing and behind the strikers.
Olivier Giroud is a late bloomer, as some has called him in footballing terms, as not too long ago was he plying his trade in France’s second division for a team named Tours. However, his meteoric rise has been just that — meteoric, as call ups to the French team and an incredibly season with Montpellier has seen his stock rise. He is very versatile in his abilities as a centre-forward. He can hold up the ball and be a big target man and also create interplay with teammates.
Three big signings, but with mixed opening day performances. Fans shouldn’t be alarmed or concerned by them. It’s their first real competitive fixture of the season. Therefore with time and possibly more signings, Arsenal may have their stock increased from top four outsiders to potential title challengers once again.
Although Giroud’s miss against Sunderland has been a huge talking point on social media, can a newly signed striker who’s been said to be “tired” when Wenger commentated in France’s recent friendly against Uruguay, be expected to be the finished article in his first English Premier League game?
Positivity still is aplenty in north London. With an opportunity to sign Nuri Sahin on a season-long loan from Real Madrid an option, and with the transfer window still very much open plus an interest in Yann M’Vila, the next few weeks should Arsenal supporters some optimism.