Thank You For Everything You’ve Done For Us, Aaron Ramsey

 

Arsenal played against Brighton yesterday in their last home game of the season but the match and result for me were irrelevant. Our recently form meant that we had already called behind too much and therefore blown the Top 4 before we even kicked a ball, so the main focus is the departure of a man who has given so much to Arsenal.

There will be the obvious talk about how we’ve managed to pay a player like Özil £350,000 a week, who has contributed with 2 assists all season, and with that managed to let a player of Ramsey’s stature leave on a free.

He will be going to Juventus, to play along world class players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala, and I for one will be following his Italian adventure and the Old Lady will be the team I will be supporting in the Champions League next season – I would love it if Aaron Ramsey won the biggest prize in Europe.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, what about Aaron Ramsey’s Arsenal career?

He said it himself yesterday, he arrived a boy and leaves a man. In an emotional post-match interview yesterday with Sky Sports, he was clearly moved by the whole day and it is a big wrench for him to leave – making it blindly obvious if Arsenal offered enough money he’d still be in an Arsenal shirt next year.

He was a player who didn’t want or seek the limelight, but scored important goals big games, and always put in big performances. He scored the winner in our first post-Emirates move FA Cup Final, and did the same a couple of years later by scoring the winner against Chelsea. He scored some memorable goals against Liverpool, Norwich (twice), Chelsea, Hull City, Tottenham… in fact you can some some of his best goals here:

He was a player who was underrated and at times, under appreciated by the fans. He suffered the horrific leg break against that c*nt in a game at Stoke City and he had the mental and physical strength to come back from that a stronger, better player. I remember the whole thing like it was yesterday – and along with the Eduardo leg break against Birmingham City – was the most devastated I’ve been as an Arsenal fan. The club will always have ups and downs in terms of results and trophies, but when a player who has given so much to the club and is one of your own suffers a shocking awful injury like that, they are the moments that really hit you.

Unlike some other players who have left the club in the not so recent past, Aaron Ramsey will be one departure where every Arsenal fan will wish him all the best. He is a special player, a special man and someone who gave blood, sweat and tears for the club.

Thank you for all the memories Aaron, and I hope you go to Juventus and win everything there is to win there.

5 Players Arsenal Need To Sign This Summer (Including These Two Ex-Arsenal Men!)

 

Arsenal need to rebuild this summer and Unai Emery needs financial backing from the board to do that job. Whether that actually happens or not is a different question but after identifying 5 players which need to leave the club this summer, that should leave us with some money to go out and buy some new players and help improve the squad.

So below are the 5 players Arsenal need to sign to help us progress from the work done from this season:

Alexis Sanchez

For the 3 and a half seasons he was at the club, he was by far (and I mean by far) our best player, and if any Arsenal fan disputes that then they are simply deluded and blinded by his move to Manchester United because he was absolutely sensational.

His level of consistency was unreal and his level of performance was excellent in every single game. He is one of the few players we’ve had at the club who you could truly consider to be world class. He was the closest you could get to a player of Messi or Ronaldo’s level, he was that good.

He was instrumental in the two FA Cup wins he had with us and always gave 110% when he put on the Arsenal jersey. He knows the club inside out, and might respond well to Unai Emery’s emphasis on 100% effort from every single player, which was an issue under Arsene Wenger where certain players in the squad were going through the motions in matches.

If he can back to Arsenal, I have no doubt he would be a success once again and would push us up another level.

Olivier Giroud

His contact is up with Chelsea this summer so he would be available on a free (although there is an option for another year). He was a fans favourite and it was a strange situation when he moved to the blue part of London.

There have been games where we’ve struggled and Giroud has been an effective Plan B (and at times, a very effective Plan A) and he is a top top striker. He’s under appreciated at Chelsea and I’m sure he’d love to move back to The Emirates.

For me, bringing that sexy bastard back to Arsenal is a no brainer.

Harry Maguire

The England defender has gone on leaps and bounds and would relish a chance at a Top 6 club. At Leicester City his chances of challenging for trophies is limited and I’m sure he would succeed going up a level to a bigger club like Arsenal.

Central defence is somewhere we’ve struggled with this season and Maguire has Premier League experience. Rob Holding is the future of Arsenal’s defence and the only other top defenders we have at the club are Laurent Koscielny and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, players who are 33 and 30 respectively. Shkodran Mustafi and Stephan Lichtsteiner are awful defenders who aren’t even good enough to be backup players (as we have seen this season) and Nacho Monreal is better suited to left-back. So Maguire would be a good fit and Holding would benefit from his International experience and it could only help him in his crusade to break into the England squad. Maguire is only 26 years old so would be an excellent addition moving forward and can only improve.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The 21 year old has impressed at Crystal Palace this season and what catches the eye is his excellent attacking runs as well as his defensive intelligence at such a young age.

He would fit in well at Arsenal and with Hector Bellerin struggle for most go the season with injury it would provide good competition in that position (with hopefully the departure of Lichtsteiner this summer).

He is quick, direct and versatile, and could play alongside Bellerin on the right wing if required. At only 21, he would be an excellent addition to the squad looking to the future.

Neil Etheridge

With Cardiff looking like they’re going to get relegated this season, Neil Etheridge will probably not want to play in the Championship after experiencing a season in the Premier League. This summer, Arsenal will be bare in terms of goalkeepers as David Ospina looks like he’s out the door and understandably won’t want to be Bernd Leno’s understudy, and Petr Cech will be retiring come May. So a backup for Leno is a must.

Emiliano Martinez has impressed for Reading this season but with two goalkeepers leaving then it would be naive to just have Leno and Martinez as our goalkeeping options for the season.

Etheridge has impressed in a Cardiff side struggling at the wrong end of the table and would be an excellent addition to Arsenal, and he’s only 29.

Who Is The Worst Arsenal Defender Of All Time? Cast Your Vote Here!

 
These guys would struggle to get into anyones Dream Team, that’s for sure…

At Arsenal, it has been a running joke that our defending can be horrendous at times and that we regularly concede ridiculous goals. Part of that is down to being an attacking team, so our defenders are obviously more exposed, Arsene Wenger’s philosophy (or lack thereof) on defending, and the fact that we actually had one of the best defences the country has ever seen, when Tony Adams, Steve Bould, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn and Lee Dixon played week in week out.

However, on top of that we have had some just awful defenders at the club.

There’s that old wives tale that Dennis Bergkamp faced Igor Stepanovs in a pre-season friendly and was so impressed he told Wenger that he was one hell of a defender, which was enough for Arsene to splash out on the Latvian, who was then seen as the long term successor to Tony Adams (Yes, I know!). The highlight of his Arsenal career was the 6-1 defeat at Old Trafford in 2000, and things didn’t really get any better for him.

Amongst other defenders who have struggled at the club include Sebastien Squillaci and Pascal Cygan, both French defenders who were prone to mistakes at the back. And somehow amazingly, Squillaci was actually a French international…

To more recent times, and who could forget about the irrepressible Andre Santos? The Brazilian lived up to his billing, being a defender who didn’t actually defend. His positive outlook and style of play was welcomed at times but at others (when you know, he was supposed to defend?) it wasn’t so great. But with Santos you knew what you got with him, he was a free spirit and you knew he was an awful defender and he didn’t even try and make out he was a good one. And also, he scored a great goal against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge when we smashed them 5-3, so decent memories.

Then we come to the man we all love to hate. How has this man won the World Cup? The conundrum is up there with how Wes Brown has more trophies than Alan Shearer. I guess you just need to be in the right place at the right time, and it’s not what you know but who you know. The best way I can describe Mustafi is that he was probably the kit man for the German national side but then they had a few injuries and he was asked for fill in for a couple of training sessions. Then, people kind of forgot what happened and he was just “there”, and then he managed to stick around long enough to “win” a World Cup medal. That’s really the only explanation.

Anyway, after all that it’s time to cast your vote. Who do you think is the worst Arsenal defender of all time? It’s a hard choice as the quality of candidates is so high (or should that be so low) but you can only vote for one!

Cast your vote below and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

These Are The 5 Players That Need To Leave Arsenal In The Summer

 

There’s no doubt that Unai Emery is undertaking a massive rebuilding job at the moment and there’s no doubt that he is doing a great job, and on realistic expectations is having a successful season. However, there’s also no doubt that to have the best chance to succeed he needs to mould the team, squad and club in his image and that means removing some of the deadwood from the long lasting Arsene Wenger era.

So below are the players in the current squad that need to leave the club this summer:

Shkodran Mustafi

There’s only one place we can start isn’t there?

He’s one of those players you look at and just wonder how he actually became a professional footballer. He’s the player who you think just somehow managed to slip through the gaps during the scouting process and just kept moving up without anyone noticing – that’s the only real explanation for how he could be at Arsenal right now.

Alongside the legendary Pascal Cygan and Igor Stepanovs, he will always be regarded as one of the worst Arsenal defenders of recent times – which is a real achievement considering Arsenal are a side who aren’t renowned for having the best defensive recruitment.

It’s really too much effort to go through all the mistakes, cock ups, blunders and slips he’s made over the last few years and quite honestly you know all about them already. What every single Arsenal fan can agree on (and it’s probably one of the only things Arsenal fans can unite on) is that Mustafi needs to leave. Give him away, pay him off, just do whatever it takes to get him out of the club as he’s costing us vital points.

Stephan Lichtsteiner

There’s only one other defender at the club who is almost as bad as Mustafi and unfortunately, it’s Stephan Lichtsteiner. He was obviously brought in to being some experience to the dressing room and to be fair, only supposed to be a backup player. Sadly, he may be vastly experienced but the Premier League is too much of a jump for him after spending the best part of a decade in the slower, less demanding Serie A.

Arsenal should release him in the summer and try and bring in some younger reinforcements.

David Ospina

With Bernd Leno doing a fantastic job in his first season at the club, Petr Cech has become deputy and Ospina has spent the last season on loan at Napoli. He’s decent enough keeper for us to cash in and get some much needed money for Unai Emery to strengthen the squad this summer.

Denis Suarez

Does anyone else know why he’s at the club? No, seriously?

Mesut Özil

No-one divides the Arsenal fan base as much as Mesut Özil and personally, I am a fan. Unfortunately, it’s obvious Unai Emery isn’t and there have been several issues between them this season, and at the end of the day the man we all have to get behind if we want Arsenal to succeed and progress is the manager.

Added to this, Özil is our highest paid player on £350k a week and if he was moved on it would give Emery a lot more options in terms of specific players he wants to bring in to the club. With Lacazette, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, Iwobi and possibly someone else who Emery brings in, we should be well catered for in an attacking sense.

And finally…

But who do you think Arsenal need to sell / move on this summer? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

5 Reasons Why Arsenal and Unai Emery Are A Success This Season

 

Currently, Arsenal are 5th in the Premier League and in the semi-finals of the Europa League, get Arsenal fans aren’t happy.

No matter what happens to Arsenal from here on out this season, here are 5 reasons why Arsenal and Unai Emery have been a success:

5. The Europa League

We are in the semi-finals of the Europa League, and beaten some quality teams in the process. There have been some ups and downs during that campaign, but we’re still in the competition and have a chance of winning it.

4. Players Have Improved

Look at players like Hector Bellerin, Sead Kolasinac, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Rob Holding – they have improved so much this season. And before they got injured, Bellerin and Holding were up there as our best players – and personally for me Holding was simply outstanding before he got cruelly taken off at Old Trafford and if it wasn’t for that injury, there’s no doubt in my mind we’d be 3rd in the Premier League right now.

3. Our Fixture List

People seem to forget how horrendous it is to play football on Thursday evenings. Not just because it’s not the Champions League, but mainly because it absolutely screws with our Premier League fixtures.

We end up playing on a Sunday or Monday but we hardly have time to prepare for the league when the team travel back on a Friday and whoever we’re playing (unless it’s Chelsea as they’re also in the Europa League) is guaranteed to have had more rest going into our game.

2. The Quality of Our Squad

Make no mistake, our current squad with the talent that it has, should be finishing 6th in the Premier League. So if we do finish 6th or above (which is pretty much guaranteed at this point) then we will be meeting / exceeding expectations.

Also, somehow Emery has got this team into the semi-finals of the Europa League to boot.

1. There Are Clear Signs of Progression

Which ever way you decide to look at it, changing the culture Arsene Wenger implemented at the club was always going to take time to do. People seem to conveniently forget that in his first season, Jurgen Klopp finished 8th in the Premier League, and it’s taken him 4 seasons to get Liverpool challenging for the league title.

Added to that, he also had an owner who wasn’t Stan Kroenke so actually had some big money to spend – £75 million for Virgil Van Dijk anyone?

But there a positive signs that Unai Emery is changing things for the better, and once he gets a chance to mould this Arsenal squad in his image, then I’m sure we’ll be improving on this season and beyond.