BOREHAM WOOD 0 ARSENAL 2
We kicked off our pre-season fixtures this weekend with a 2-0 victory away to Boreham Wood. The home of Arsenal Ladies had its new stand opened by Arsene Wenger, before we saw a game of two halves, with Arsene fielding two entirely different sets of eleven players in each half. At this stage it’s all about continuing to build core fitness, avoiding injuries, and giving some of our younger players an opportunity to shine, so it was good to see all three boxes ticked with a good work out for all involved, goals for Olsson and Afobe, and an eye catching performance from Akpom. Next up, a certain Thierry Henry as we head across the Atlantic Ocean to face New York Red Bulls.
WELCOME TO THE ARSENAL, DEBUCHY
For the second Friday running those of us based in the land down under woke to news of a shiny new Arsenal player, with the signing of Mathieu Debuchy officially announced. A top class international player with Premier League experience, Debuchy has been tasked with the same assignment for Arsenal as he has by the French national team – replace Bacary Sagna. It’s not going to be an easy feat, but I have every confidence he can and will succeed.
Sagna has been one of our most consistent performers since the day he arrived, and that he achieved such consistency whilst effectively undertaking a one man mission to defend our right hand side (given his source of protection was Theo Walcott) speaks for itself. And he was also a very reliable deputy across our back line, providing defensive cover at both centre-half and left-back on various occasions.
But Sagna has chosen pastures new, and I think Debuchy will prove a solid and reliable replacement. He may not be an exciting marquee signing like Özil or Sanchez, but he brings a wealth of experience and, as demonstrated by Arseblog, is a very apt replacement statistically. And, at the age of 28 (soon to be 29), he shouldn’t create too much of a road block to the careers of Jenkinson, Bellerin, or any other up and coming full backs Arsene may be looking at for the long term.
Debuchy will wear the number 2 shirt, with Gibbs taking over Sagna’s number 3, and I must say I’m rather pleased about this. It may seem trivial to many, but I for one am pleased to see a more old school approach being taken to our defensive shirt numbering.
KEEP THEM COMING
More important than shirt numbers though is of course the fact that the signing of Debuchy plugs one of our defensive gaps. The full back areas are now at full quota again and hopefully the goalkeeper situation won’t be too far behind with Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere speaking about a deal for Colombian David Ospina being not too far away.
Ospina had a fantastic World Cup for Colombia, but signings based on a World Cup alone make me somewhat nervous. So I was pleased to hear, from sources who have seen him play far more often than I have, that his form with Nice over the last six seasons has been good, with @1DavidWall providing the rather impressive stat that Ospina was one of only four goalkeepers in Europe’s top leagues last season to save at least 80% of shots faced, with the other three being Buffon, Navas, and Neuer. Not too shabby.
Of course at this stage of the process there are still lots of t’s to be crossed and i’s to be dotted, but at £4m and the [goalkeeping] tender age of 25 he’d provide not only strong back-up to Szczesny, but some bloody fierce competition. So fingers crossed us Aussie based folk awake to more good news this Friday…or earlier, who am I to be picky!
Another reason I’d like to see the goalkeeping situation resolved is so Arsene can give the central area of our defensive platform his full focus. With Sagna gone our centre-half resources are down to just three, one of whom (The BFG) will not return until early August due to his World Cup exploits and one of whom (Vermaelen) seems to be itching for an exit.
Historically Arsene has been known to let a player go for reasons that better suit the needs of the player than those of the club. This cannot be one of those occasions. Looking to sign a centre half with Vermaelen still on our books is not only the safer option, but surely the smarter option too, providing us with a stronger negotiating platform. But sell the Belgian, and I fear Dick Law will find himself sitting at the negotiation table with one arm tied behind his back and asking prices that keep on rising. I trust Arsene will recruit the new centre half (or two) that we require before he considers letting our club captain go.
Finally for today, I’d like to point you all in the direction of the new Arsenal Sydney website and Facebook page. The level of support in Australia, and in particular Sydney, is exceptional. It’s great to see so many passionate, loyal, and knowledgeable Arsenal fans following our great club and that those of us here in Sydney have the opportunity to be a part of such an excellent supporters club. For those of you based in NSW and ACT I fully recommend becoming a member of Arsenal Sydney, which will provide you with lots of great benefits including a top community of fellow Gooners to watch the games with, special Arsenal themed events, and a rather swish membership pack – I can’t wait to receive mine, the t-shirt in particular looks fantastic. And furthermore, you can also receive a discount on your new Arsenal home and away shirts! So what are you waiting for? Get yourself over to Arsenal Sydney now and become a member of the biggest Arsenal supporters group in Australia!