Friday, 10 July 2015

Arsenal Name A Strong Squad For Singapore Trip

Pre season training has only just begun and Arsenal are already off on a trip almost halfway around the world to Singapore. The days of a trip to the Austrian mountains for conditioning and to build up the players strength and fitness are long gone with the need to build up the club's international profile considered to be so important. The Premier League has become such a global product that Arsenal need to make these trips to build their profile and increase their fan base.

There are very few absences from the full Arsenal squad for the trip with 27 players in total boarding the plane. The notable absences are Alexis Sanchez, David Ospina, Danny Welbeck and Tomas Risicky who all miss out for various reasons. Both Welbeck and Rosicky are carrying injuries and won't travel while Alexis and Ospina are still on their holidays after only recently finishing playing in the Copa America. 

Alexis won't be back at the club until August 3rd and will surely miss the start of the season, but Ospina will be back a week earlier. Of course the rumours of Ospina's departure persist and there's every chance he could be on his way out of the club before then. There's no doubt Alexis will be missed in the first couple of games after his fantastic performances last season, but there will be plenty of other players looking to make an impression in those games..

Besides the majority of the first team squad making the trip to Singapore there are still a few youngsters getting the chance to ply their trade. There are great hopes for players like Dan Crowley and Gedion Zelalem and we will hopefully get a chance to see what they can do in the next week. The team start off with a game against a Singapore Select team next Wednesday and will follow that with a game on Saturday the 18th. 

When they return from Singapore they will work hard for another week before playing in the Emirates Cup. A week later it's the Community Shield game against Chelsea and then the league season kicks off the following week. It still feels like the football season just ended, but the new season is only four weeks away.

In other news Lukas Podolski finally made his exit from the club when he signed for Galatasaray. His chances at Arsenal would have been severely limited next season and the only way he was going to get a game was if the team suffered a huge injury crisis. Hopefully that injury crisis won't rear it's ugly head and Podolski won't be missed. 

I hope he does well at his new club, but I never really felt he fitted in perfectly on the pitch with Arsenal though. He was quite the expert on social media and made himself popular among many Arsenal fans with some clever posts on occasions. At this point in his career he needs to be playing and it was obvious he needed a move for that to happen.

It was also announced that Mikel Arteta has extended his contract at the club and will be an Arsenal player for another year at least. Last season was a frustrating one for him as it was ruined by persistent and recurring injuries, but hopefully things will be a lot better for him this season. I can't see him commanding a regular place in the team, but he still has a lot to offer.

He's still the club captain and you would imagine his influence in the dressing room and with the younger players is quite important. I know he's not the same type of player as Francis Coquelin, but he will probably fill in for him on occasions as Coquelin won't be able to play every game this season. There's still talk of another player coming in to challenge Coquelin in that role or even to play alongside him on occasions and any purchase would really hamper Arteta's chances.

He has had his detractors at times, but I always thought he was a very good player being asked to play a role which didn't come naturally to him. When he joined Arsenal he definitely wasn't seen as some sort of defensive midfielder, but he has had to adjust his game to suit the team's needs and he did it quite well. I hope we get to see a fair deal of him this season in what could quite easily be his last season as an Arsenal player.

That's it for today.

See you tomorrow.

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