Arsène Wenger arrives in Vietnam
Arsenal began their preseason campaign with a resounding win over Indonesia’s Dream Team and the curtains closed on their adventure in Jakarta as they headed to Hanoi, Vietnam, ahead of their clash with Vietnam’s XI tomorrow.
At the end of the game, the Gunners waved their goodbyes with a large banner expressing their gratitude to the Arsenal faithful in Indonesia. Arsene Wenger also aired his views about the short stint in Jakarta, stating that it was a hugely positive experience for him and his players – both on and off the pitch.
The manager wasn’t done with talking as he backed his star striker, Olivier Giroud, after his two-minute salvo shortly when he came on for Chuba Akpom. Irrespective of the fact that Arsenal played against a much weaker opposition, Giroud took his goals well was lively as the game progressed. The French forward was pleased with his performance and took out time to speak the ruthless streak he had against Indonesia’s Dream Team.
I can only hope that he would maintain this kinda streak against stronger opposition in the Premier League this season as statistics showed that Giroud was more or less a peripheral figure when Arsenal played against the juggernauts of the Premier League last season.
He was piss poor when the Gunners visited Old Trafford and a suspension ensured that he missed the second leg at home to Manchester United. When the Gunners played Chelsea, Giroud was culpable for missing glaring chances both home and away against the Blues. Gervinho played as the make-shift center forward against Manchester City away while Giroud struggled against the Citizens at home.
However, he found his mojo against West Ham (scored thrice), Reading, Fulham (scored twice), Tottenham, Newcastle (scored twice), Liverpool and Norwich which amounted for the 11 goals he amassed in the Premier League.
I really like Giroud and the qualities he brings to Arsenal’s attack but in my honest opinion, he could do with some stiff competition and I don’t believe that Yaya Sanogo would be the man to provide that. Kudos to the young lad and his compatriots for clinching the Under-20s World Cup.
With the squad already touching down in Hanoi, they’ve wasted no time in doing some sightseeing but football will do the talking tomorrow.
Moving over to some action off the pitch, the keyboard warriors are at it again, as they continue to publish articles linking players in and out of Arsenal.
The Guardian reports that Arsenal is set to miss out on Queens Park Rangers’ want-away goalie, Julio Cesar, as he’s set to join his former manager, Rafa Benitez, at Napoli, albeit a temporary loan move. Julio Cesar has been heavily linked with a move to North London and many believe that he would offer some competition to the incumbent Wojciech Szczesny in goal but nothing has come to fruition in this regard.
Julio Cesar diving low to save Diego Forlan’s penalty
Following a string of outstanding performances in the Confederations Cup, Arsenal fans harbored hopes that the club was going to swoop for the aging Brazilian but as usual, things remained quiet in the Arsenal camp.
The Guardian also reported that Real Madrid had secured a deal for another Arsenal target, Asier Illaramendi in a transfer worth £33.6m, which was the player’s buyout clause. I’d shared my thoughts on the player a few weeks ago and judging from his stellar performances in the Under-21 Championships as well as Real Sociedad’s excellent Liga BBVA campaign last season, I hoped for the Gunners to make a move for the lad.
With Real Madrid burning wads of cash for Illaramendi, as well as Isco and Dani Carvajal, one can only hope that they would want to recoup some funds through the potential sale of Gonzalo Higuain but unfortunately, both parties haven’t reached an agreement for the Argentine’s sale.
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