Is Gabriel Paulista A Good Signing For Arsenal?

Arsenal needed a central defender and unbelievably, it seems that they have signed one!

With Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker our only real center backs, we’ve had to rely on Callum Chambers who is relatively inexperienced to fill the void when we’ve had injuries, as well as Nacho Monreal and Mathieu Debuchy who are full backs. So an extra number in central defence is a massive boost for Arsenal.

And the chosen one (well, the one Arsene has decided to buy) is 24 year old Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista. The fee is rumoured to be around £11.3 million and he has been granted a work permit by the Home Office.

But who is he? And is he any good?

Villarreal have been doing okay this season and he’s already notched up 19 games in La Liga, as the Yellow Submarine sit in a very respectable 6th place.

So he can’t be that bad.

But if you listen (and to be fair, I haven’t listened too much to the “expert” opinions) to the pundits, several are apparently saying he’s raw and not that much of a player. But from seeing a couple of clips he seems quick and aggressive, and I’m sure he’ll develop at Arsenal.

I’ll wait until he puts on an Arsenal shirt and shows us what he can do before making a sound judgement, but the question remains:

Will be be a Pascal Cygan, or a Laurent Koscielny?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!

Arsenal Need To Respect Brighton And Focus On Winning The FA Cup

At 4pm today, we face Brighton in the FA Cup. They currently sit in 19th place in the Championship, only 6 points above the relegation zone. Arsenal however are in 5th place in the Premier League after beating the reigning champions last Sunday.

But the Seagulls are high in confidence after beating 3rd place Ipswich on Wednesday.

Yesterday we saw Chelsea lose 4-2 at home to Bradford, and Manchester City lost 2-0 to Middlesborough.

And that’s the beauty of the FA Cup – it has no respect for team reputation and league position – the team that simply wants it more on the day will end up being victorious.

So that’s why Arsenal have to be very careful this afternoon.

As I’ve already mentioned, Chelsea and Manchester City are now out, Liverpool and Manchester United we forced into an unwanted replay and even Tottenham and Southampton are out after losing to Leicester City and Crystal Palace respectively.

If Arsenal were every going to retain the FA Cup, then they won’t have a better chance than doing it this season.

So what are we going to do this afternoon? Well we don’t have another game until next Sunday when we face Aston Villa at home to their is absolutely no excuse for dropping too many big players and risking the chance to go out. The Falmer Stadium will be buzzing and they will be praying for a big cup upset, so we need to make sure we don’t give them what they want.

It will be a tough game today, but if we’re focused and disciplined as we were at Manchester City, we should come away with the win.

But after what happened yesterday, I’ll be very wary of the threat Brighton can pose today!

Can Arsenal Execute This Blueprint For Success Again?

I always look forward to watching the big games – those against Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur – because these are the games we live for. But the fact is when we visit these teams we’ve struggled, badly.

We don’t need to go through the disasters we’ve faced recently (especially last season) but even this year it seemed like we hadn’t learnt our lesson – against Chelsea we we never really in it and got beaten 2-0. At Liverpool last month, it looked like we learnt some lessons but it was the same old story as we found ourselves 2-1 up with about 40 seconds to go – but then predictably blew it.

So onto today. Before the game, the line-up didn’t fill me with confidence. We had Monreal at left back, who I always feel can make a mistake, and the inexperienced Bellerin. Alongside Ramsey we had Francis Coquelin, who also lacks match experience. I was surprised that Rosicky was on the bench after his performance against Stoke last week, and I thought Theo may have started (to come off later, but I suppose he’s not match fit yet).

The Manchester City side (Yaya Toure apart) was a full strength, with the deadly Kun Aguero upfront for his first start in 6 weeks.

But once the game started, it was clear to see how Arsenal were setup.

We were disciplined, focused and executed the game plan perfectly. Every single player knew their role in the team, and we defended from the front. Olivier Giroud was hassling the Manchester City defence, and Alexis Sanchez and Santi Cazorla (the two more attacking midfielders) were chasing and tackling like mad men. Francis Coquelin was outstanding, marshalling the midfield and making many important tackles and interceptions.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey ran tirelessly for the team, but their performance levels were just a bit short. They gave it everything but their passing and timing was off – Aaron Ramsey had a great chance to score a second when put through by Giroud but he fluffed his lines and fired high and wide. The Ox was full of running but couldn’t pass to a team mate – but both couldn’t have tried any harder.

The makeshift back four (and that’s what it is) was really fantastic. And it makes you wonder how a defensive line with two second-choice full backs can perform so well and look extremely solid – perhaps it’s been Arsene’s naive tactics and not the players who have let us down against the big teams over the last few years.

And David Ospina, who wasn’t called upon much because of the solid defence, did well when needed. He had a couple of crossed he had to deal with and dealt with them well, and he put his case forward for getting a run in this Arsenal team.

Overall, a brilliant match to watch and a game where we could have won by three or four and it wouldn’t have flattered us. Manchester City, the reigning champions, looked tame but that was mainly because of our solid performance and excellent tactics.

Today we showed that we are capable of travelling to one of the biggest teams in the Premier League, customising our tactics and getting a well deserved point. At Liverpool, Arsene tried a different approach and it almost worked (although the performance itself was disjointed) but today we executed the perfect game plan.

The six million dollar question though is can Arsenal replicate this again against another top side, or is this result and performance a flash in the pan?

I Bet Manchester United Fans Feel Pretty Stupid Now!

After the transfer deadline in September I boldly posted on this blog that Falcao will flop at Manchester United, and Welbeck will be a success at Arsenal. What followed was a lot of abusive comments – those in the United camp taking the piss, telling me that I was having a laugh, and those in the Arsenal camp who lambasted Arsene Wenger for signing a Manchester United reject and missing out on the Columbian striker.

Well in the end the United fans were right, I am having a laugh, a laugh at them!

As it stands, Danny Welbeck has proved to be a major asset to Arsenal, scoring some important goals and despite having competition from Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez, he’s managed to score 7 goals, including 3 in Europe in 4 games.

Radamel Falcao on the other hand has scored 3 goals.

A “world class” striker, who was coveted by the biggest teams in world football, has scored 3 goals this season.

Please wait a moment while I go into the corner and piss my pants.

I made the point that Falcao will struggle with injuries and that has proven to be the case. The guy had 3 major surgeries in his career and Arsene Wenger knows all this. Yes, on his day he is a very special player but Arsene knows more about him that we ever will and that’s why he went for Welbeck, who is a far better investment and someone who can give us something in the long term. Falcao is a mercenary, plain and simple.

And now Falcao’s agent has said he may leave at the end of the season.

Well there’s a surprise…

Anyway, let me leave you with a joke tweet I posted and which was retweeted over two thousand times by gullible United fans:

Why Alexis Sanchez Is The 2nd Best Player In The World Right Now!

We all know Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are on another level when it comes to consistently performing at the very top level, but the third best player in the world is a title which is always up for grabs.

Since 2007 (and not including 2010), the Top 3 has always been taken by Ronaldo and Messi – and usually in first and second, but third place has gone to a range of players such as Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Fernando Torres.

Taking the Ronaldo-Messi-axis out of the equation, there are a lot of players who you could say are worthy of being third best player. You have talents such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Frank Ribery, Arjen Robben, Edinson Cavani, Radamel Falcao, Luis Suarez, Neymar, Angel Di Maria, Gareth Bale – a whole host of quality players who are capable of doing something magical on a football pitch.

But what about now?

If you take that list I’ve just mentioned, who from them are performing at the very highest level?

Falcao and Di Maria are doing okay, but aren’t setting the world alight at Old Trafford. Luis Suarez has struggled since his big money move from Liverpool, and Bale, Robben, Ribery and Ibra are performing well but not on the same level as Ronaldo or Messi.

If you see how these top top players are doing this season, then there’s only one real top class performer at this moment in time.

And that man is Alexis Sanchez.

He has come from a new country, had to get used to a new league and on top of that, he was supposed to be suffering from a World Cup hangover. But yet he is by far the best player in the Premier League this season, and has 12 goals and 7 assists in 20 games. In the Champions League, he’s played 7 games, scored 4 goals and picked up an assist. Overall, he has 18 goals and 9 assists in this campaign, which still has 5 months left to go!

And he’s not an out and out striker.

Seriously, if you look at this objectively, is there anyone else who can compare to Alexis Sanchez? Surely he is currently the 3rd best player in the world right now?

The statistics are impressive and at the moment he is averaging a goal or assist in every game. But even more impressive is his phenomenal performances on the pitch – he runs and runs and runs for the team, tracks back and wins the ball, gives 110% every time and is just a player who makes things happen. The level and consistency of his performances for Arsenal this season lead me to suggest that he might even be better than Lionel Messi in this moment in time.

He might not get the recognition he deserves for his performances, possibly because he plays for Arsenal (we all know Thierry Henry was robbed of the FIFA World Player of the Year award on at least 3 occasions) but you cannot deny that currently Alexis Sanchez is performing at world class levels.