Friday, 1 August 2014

Arsenal Update Ahead of The Emirates Cup

It's been a while since I wrote anything about Arsenal which means I have a bit of catching up to do. Since my last piece Arsenal have signed three more players and got their pre season schedule underway with a friendly in New York. This weekend they return home from training in Austria to play in the Emirates Cup along with Benfica, Monaco and Valencia.

With the marquee signing of Alexis Sanchez already wrapped up Arsenal then purchased Mathieu Debuchey from Newcastle to replace the departed Bacary Sagna. His signature was followed earlier this week by two new arrivals in two days with Colombian World Cup goalkeeper David Ospina arriving on Sunday from Nice and then Calum Chambers arriving from Southampton the next day.

With Lukas Fabianski departing the club another keeper was needed and Ospina certainly fits the mould. Wojciech Szczesny will remain the first choice, but Ospina is good enough to put him under real pressure and keep him on his toes. It leaves Arsene Wenger with two very good keepers to choose from and can only be a good thing for the team.

Chambers is still very young and has only played a few Premier League games for Southampton, but Arsenal have spent quite a lot of money on him. I know it costs more to buy English players and that will certainly have added to his price, but it is a bit of a gamble signing Chambers. He's seen as a right back at the moment but it's thought he can play as a central defender or even a holding midfielder.

With the German trio not returning to training for another couple of weeks and Thomas Vermaelen seemingly not involved in pre season training Chambers might get a chance to show what he can do as a central defender this weekend. His arrival has seen Carl Jenkinson loaned out to West Ham and that loan will hopefully be a good thing for him. The arrivals of Debuchey and Chambers would limit his chances this season, but he might get the chance to progress if he can cement a place in the West Ham team.

The first friendly game of the pre season was away to the New York Red Bulls last Saturday and it ended with a 1-0 defeat for Arsenal. It might have been an away game, but the stadium was full of Arsenal fans as they made their way from near and far in America to see the team we all love. Arsenal hadn't played in the States in 25 years, but hopefully their next trip over there will be a lot sooner with their support growing so quickly on the far side of the pond.

The game itself was nothing much to write home about and the most interesting thing for me was to be able to watch it on a free app on my ipad. I was able to watch it on TV through Apple TV and hopefully I can see any games which aren't available live through this app from here on. Pre season games are all about building fitness and there's still a lot of work to be done on that front with the season just over two weeks away.

Things should be a little more competitive this weekend in the Emirates Cup with Arsenal playing Benfica on Saturday and Monaco on Sunday. There's still a few players to return but the chances are the fans will get their first sight of all four new signings at some stage over the two games. I can't wait to see Sanchez in particular and I think he's going to be a very important player for the team this season.

It's still possible there will be more arrivals before the transfer window closes in a month's time, but it's good to have so much of the transfer business done already. If the rumours are to be believed Arsenal are still in the market for a big signing and it's a pleasant change to see so much investment in the team/squad. As it stands only Chelsea and Liverpool have spent more money than Arsenal and they have both taken in a lot more than Arsenal from the sale of players.

Finally for today I'm running my league in Fantasy Premier League yet again this season and there will be a prize of €50 for the winner once the league reaches 1,000 teams. It's already over half way there and I'm very confident it will surpass the magical 1,000 mark. To join just go to the site and use the code 13125-4843 to join my league once your team is set up.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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