Arsenal 2007/2008 Season Preview (Part One)

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Eduardo da Silva is just one of several new faces at Arsenal this seasonOut with the old, in with the new

It is no secret that off the field, Arsenal’s build-up to the 2007/2008 season has been far from perfect. There was the loss of a certain Arsenal legend, the resignation/sacking of one of its most influential board members as well as the constant speculation that the club was in crisis thanks to a media barrage from just about every newspaper from an English-speaking country. But I am a realistic supporter and an optimist at heart, so instead of harping on the problems the club may have at this point in time, I would much rather focus on what the club does have at its disposal to achieve some success this season.

The club has lost two truly great players of the modern era in Thierry Henry and Fredrik Ljungberg, as well as Jose Antonio Reyes, Julio Baptista and Jeremie Aliadiere, but it has also signed the likes of Croatian striker Eduardo da Silva, French defender Bacary Sagna and Polish goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski to compliment a young and talented first team squad. There was a little bit of an outcry from a select group of Arsenal supporters about the supposed lack of big names being brought in, but the fact is that manager Arsene Wenger has never had much success with bringing in big name players and has proved to be far more adept at purchasing unknown gems and integrating them into his preferred style of play.

The new players have already shown signs in pre-season that they are more than up to the task. Fabianski looks set to challenge Jens Lehmann and Manuel Almunia as the team’s first-choice goalkeeper, and will no doubt be given chances in the Carling Cup if not the Premiership. Sagna has slotted neatly into the starting team on the right side of defence and looks set to maintain that position throughout the course of the season. Eduardo has also fit in well with various attacking partners and looks an exciting prospect up front. If his scoring record in Croatia is anything to go by then once settled, he is likely to be a reliable source of goals for the club – especially in games where Arsenal’s champagne football is not reaping the rewards.

There will be few more important players to Arsenal this season than William GallasThe Arsenal Squad (Goalkeepers & Defence)

As for the rest of the squad, they are a year older and wiser and should prosper with the more individualistic senior players like Henry and Ljungberg now plying their trade away from Emirates Stadium. William Gallas and Kolo Toure struggled at times last season – mainly due to persistent injuries to the Frenchman – but the signs are there that the two are beginning to form the defensive partnership that will be crucial to the club’s success in the new season. Both players are athletic and composed on the ball and natural leaders on the pitch. If the pair can click then the Arsenal defence will be a much tougher nut to crack than it has been for the past three seasons. In the case of any injury Swiss duo Phillipe Senderos and Johan Djourou will be first-choice cover. Senderos has looked sharper than I have ever seen him in pre-season and Djourou remains an outstanding prospect (Update: Djourou has signed to Birmingham on loan until January 2008). Both players will need guidance on the pitch from their more experienced teammates but can be relied upon to do the job when called upon.

The aforementioned Sagna will slot in on the right side of defence with Justin Hoyte and Emmanuel Eboue providing cover whilst the exciting Gael Clichy is a certain starter on the left. I have previously mentioned the importance of Clichy’s role to this side, but it is worth reemphasising. With a lack of width on the left wing the onus will be on the Frenchman to use his remarkable engine to motor up and down the left flank in a manner similar to ex-Real Madrid wing-back Roberto Carlos. Clichy has looked outstanding in pre-season and all the signs are there that this could be a very special year for a vastly underrated player. If the unthinkable does occur and Clichy takes a knock then fellow Frenchman Armand Traore will slot into his place. The 17-year-old is a raw prospect; strong, lighting quick and bursting with enthusiasm, and like Senderos and Djourou I have no doubt that he is a reliable enough defender to cover for Clichy when required.

What do you think?

Have your say on Part One of the Arsenal Season Preview by leaving a comment.

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47 thoughts on “Arsenal 2007/2008 Season Preview (Part One)

  1. Have been subscribing this blog for a while using a reader….

    I think Eduardo will score some goals against teams in lower half of the table. Last season, we almost goofed while playing that half in the table.
    I am not expecting Fabianski to play a league game this season.
    Sagna seems to be solid in that position. If Eboue moves up, he seriously needs to take some classes on shooting.

    But this team have so many players that can be slotted in to different positions, and that is the catch of this Arsenal team. I think this season we will witness an orgy of formations.. and if that works, we are destined to bring some silver ware.

    clash (India)

  2. This season will be a big one for us. We’re going to shock the pundits. Gallas has been named officially as the captain and I know a lot of fans are not happy. Gallas is ouspoken fine, but he’s the guy we need in this time of Arsenal’s history. He’s strong and a fighter and can push the boys to perform. Toure and Gilberto are good guys but they’re too nice for the role at this time. We’re not in Tony Adams era; we need someone with grit and Gallas will offer that in plentiful.

  3. I think this will be the season for arsenal,nobody seems to be talking bout 2 guys who will be pivotal to our challenge this season i.e Fabregas and Denilson.However,Wenger should school the midfielders on the hat of shooting

  4. I feel Arsenal will do fine this season,because everyone is not expecting much from us.I hope these young team would stand up to the responsility placed in their hands.Up arsenal

  5. Now that Gallas has been appointed as the new captain,Who will be the new penalty taker.I would be very surprised if it was Gallas so who do you think will be the new penalty taker.I would not be overly surprised if it was Robin Van Persie actually.
    Secondly ”What do you think is your Arsenal best X1?”
    Eduardo-Van Persie

  6. Gallas is the best player for the captainship at this time of Arsenal’s history. We don’t need nice guys; we need guys who are strong with grit, ala Viera and Roy Keane not the type of Adams era.

    Joshua-Correct me if I’m wrong. Is penalty taking part of a captain’s job? I don’t see John Terry carrying that responsibility or Gary Nerville either.

    TITLE WINNER:Arsenal-Look to have improved the depth and quality of the midfield,and Eduardo adds an extra touch of guile.
    THREE CLUBS TO BE RELEGATED:Derby,Sunland and Fulham-Derby and Sunland could well be in for a tough season,while Fulham may be the unfortunate ones to join them back in the championship.
    BEST BUY:Eduardo Da Silva-The Croatian is a class act and although it sometimes takes time for foreigners to settle into the premier League,expect the E8million man to be lethal in the league as well as Europe.
    BIGGEST FLOP:Fernando Torres-Torres at E20million it will be hard for him to live up to his lofty price tag this time around.
    PLAYER OF THE YEAR:Robin Van Persie-The Dutchman has only shown glimpses of genius during his time at Arsenal,but with Henry gone,will more than adequately fill the Frenchman’s boots.
    GOALSCORER:Robin Van Persie:Persie looks sure to score even more goals,with Arsenal seemingly adopting an even more attacking approach.
    DARK HORSE:Blackburn with Roque Santa Cruz paired with Benni McCarthy up front,expect Rovers to challenge strongly for a Uefa Cup place.

  8. Gallas will make a good captain, he is strong and has high standards which is great for the youngsters. Also i would love to see Royston Drenthe running down our left. He has a fighting spirit that we are gonna need to win back our title, he also has class as do most of these few young dutch players coming up. I think Quaresma has too many tricks, i see no end product. Not an Arsenal player.
    Also Diarra i would like at the club also. No offence to Flamini but if Gilberto gets injured or banned i’d prefer Diarra in that role. Even if we get Diarra i believe Flamini has an important role

    The GUNNERS will shock many doubters the people who cant admit that Arsenal play the best football. Arsene is a genius. There is just a few things he needs to do to this team to make them perfect. This season Cesc has to be tougher because Denilson is kicking at his heels.

  9. lol i dont know why people are dreaming of having ricardo quaresma, we wont get him, i be shocked if we even bidded for him

    porto want £27m for him, straight cash….

    renato augusto the flamengo sensation is available for £17m, quite a lot of teams are interested

  10. top gun – Drenthe looks set to join/has joined Real Madrid. A lot of people were keen on him but at the end of the day, he’s very similar to Clichy.
    gunnershabz – I know. Quaresma, like I’ve said, would be a brilliant addition, but it’s just not going to happen.

  11. On, it says Gilberto may be out until September. To bring in Diarra will be a great move to replace Gilberto while he’s out.

  12. I disagree. If Wenger doesn’t think Abou Diaby is up to replacing Gilberto now, I would be very disappointed. I think signing Diarra as a long-term player would be fine, but a quick-fix is not a smart idea.

  13. True, but then we are assuming that Abou Diaby wont pick up and injury. We need one more player like Diaby and Gilberto just to be safe.

  14. I think it’s good that Gallas is captain. Patrick and Henry were always kinda’ charismatic, nice guys (at least off the pitch). I’ve actually been hoping for Gallas to be named as captain. We need a massive prick leading the team. He fits the bill.

    Also of note. The Greatest Gunner Moment? The unbeaten run? That’s not even a moment. It’s a period of almost a year and a half. Idiots.

  15. Also, I’m really glad Flamini is in the team. I think he’s a very valuable asset to the squad and people have really underestimated his importance. He can fill in most places and his footballing ability is underrated by most. Ok, now I’m done

  16. Andrew – “We need a massive prick leading the team” – Hahaha, that’s awesome. But I really don’t think he’s that much of a prick, just a man who is really strong in his beliefs about football. As for the Greatest Gunner Moment being the unbeaten run, it’s an absolute joke. Thomas’ goal against Liverpool in 1989 is by far the best “moment”. And I agree with you wholeheartedly about Flamini. I’m a massive fan of Flamini and if someone can point out a time he’s ever let the side down I’d like to hear it.

  17. As you know im a big fan of Flamini, but i dont think he can fill in for Gilberto, i’d rather see him play more offensive, i think Gilberto is just better holdin the ball up further back, and starting the attack. I’d rather see Flamini play along side Gilberto or Diaby. Which is why i would like to see Diarra come, just for insurence so if Diaby picks up an injury, or say Gilberto or Diaby isnt playin well at any point, or if they need rest, we have 3 options that can play solid and rough defensive in the midfield

  18. Fair call. I don’t mind if Diarra comes, he would be a good addition to the squad. It would just be shame to see the likes of Diaby or Flamini pushed out because of him. Diarra’s desire to leave is very much down to the fact that he wants first-team football and I’m just not sure how he’s going to get it at Arsenal.

  19. Very true, i wouldnt want him gettin playin time over Diaby and esp Flamini, i think he deserves playin time and he could be a very good player and key player, if he would just have his chance.

  20. There is no point in buying Diarra. I think this is one of Wenger’s mind games with Mourinho knowing that Diarra will be let free come next summer. I think Diaby / Flamini should step up their game and fill in for Gilberto. We dont need Diarra for now. As for Gallas its good for him to be Captain for now hoping that he won’t make those ugly remarks. Remember Arsenal team is now focused to prove critics wrong. Even Chelsea Goalkeeper Peter Cech admits that arsenal play entertaining football but its high time we started winning most of our games especially away matches.

    Predictions for Fulham game Arsenal 4 Fulham 0. Van Persie to score 2 goals and Eduardo/Hleb 1 goal each.


    By the way can someone ship me the third Arsenal Kit to Kenya ( I have seen none in Nairobi, Kenya). I will be ready to contact him on his/her e-mail address.

    Arsenal Fan for Life, Nairobi Kenya.

  21. Wenger should coach more on how to escape injuries.I imagin forexample if Persie again and farbrigus get an injury what will happen to the club.Otherwise I call upon all Arsenal supporters to be firm we will perform.

  22. SF – I remembered how to access my team, how do I join your league?

    Is Gallas captain even when Gilbs gets back?

    We aren’t signing anyone. Aww, shucks.

    Predictions for Sunday? Hleb on the left and Eduardo partnering Van Persie. 2-0? Van Persie and… Diaby?

    I’m gonna be at work, so if I do, people will think I’m a mental.

  24. For the likes of Bolton , i believe that players like Diarra are needed. Gilberto is a holding player and Flamini is….sort of.
    Gilberto is no nonsense and we need another no nonsense type player. Diarby is an attacking player. Gilberto and Diarby in the middle for Boltons.
    We need excellent cover for Gilberto, there is none.
    Denilson is cover for Cesc.
    There will be injuries and suspensions.
    I think Diarra is like a young Makele.
    There is only 1 Gilberto Silva.
    Gunners win 2 nil

  25. Harlan, what Joshua meant was that apart from being our captain, Henry was also charged with the task of taking penalties. Now that he’s gone, I think like when he’s out injured last year, Gilberto could do it. And RvP and Cesc can maange free kicks well and maybe we could let them step up the plate and take some of the panelties. With such an eye for the goal, I’d assume Eduardo would do part of that work as well.

  26. to be honest, lissana diarra is good player, agressive, strong in tackle and is something we need.

    the formation we going to use is something he is good at.

    diaby can play a bit more forward.

    if we do sign diarra, it would give us more options in europe too

  27. there are some rumours, that we maybe signing Riccardo Montolivo, the italian playing for fiorentina, just heard it, nothing confirmed

  28. i got a feeling franck ribery transfer to bayern munchen, made theirry henry change his mind and leave arsenal.

    am sure franck ribery was “super, super class player” wenger wanted and well it slipped through our fingers.

    1. dd was booted out

    2. dd was the one who had the deal in place

    3. the price went up and ribery agent got ko’d

    so am sure, henry went up to wenger whats the plans for next season, ribery is gone to bayern who not even in CL.

    wenger says

    i got faith in the youngsters, am sticking with them again next year, i will add a few players thats all.

    then am sure henry made his mind up and decided its time to move on.

    then wenger had to buy a player to take place in the squad i.e. eduardo da silva, different option, different player, he is all about movement and finishing

    am confident this has happened…..

    am sure most of u lot agree about this.

    i think he was considering staying until the franck ribery thing happened and then after that he wanted to speak to barca

    the thing is i think wenger got a bit funny when the value of players went up.

    the team that did it was man utd, paying for nani and anderson….. these transfers were made in early june.

    most teams compare the value towards these two players considering the ages.

    look at barca and real madrid they bought defenders costing £13m+ in pepe and gabi milito….

    franck ribery went for £17m….
    renato augusto is valued at £17m by flamengo
    alexandro pato “the duck” went to milan for £13m
    ricardo quaresma is valued at £27m

    u see young players now have got a bigger value then other players now.
    most european teams know english teams have money…. just look at man city, portsmouth, west ham, spuds…

    wenger looks at investments not panic buys….. i think he is learning his lesson from the “reyes saga”

    if we do buy players it will be like luka modric, lissana diarra… these players i can see coming to arsenal

    like i said before wenger likes buying pre-established players.

  29. The last thing we need is another central midfielder. Diaby and Denilson are both more than capable of holding the midfield, as well as Flamini, who I personally rate very highly. I fully see the midfield trio of Fabby/Diaby/Denilson being the long term plan for AW. It would be a bit of slap if hey brought in Diarra. Diaby has been playing more advanced for two reasons. furstly, as I have said countelss times, AW belleds young talent on the wings to get them comfy taking players on. Secondly, he has been playing a more advanced role out of necessity. He has more of an ability to go forward than Vieira did, and I think he will replicate and advance the work Paddy did. Big things to come from Diaby.. big things,

  30. Also, Diarra wont want to come to Arsenal to be a 2nd string or backup for injuries. He wants to leave Chelski because of a lack of 1st team opportunites. Do we think he would get them at Arsenal?

  31. Djourou is off to Brum for a season long loan. Now we are very thin in CB. Song cant be the answer to the 4th CB spot..

  32. I didn’t think Djourou would leave on loan this season, especially with the ACN coming up. Gilberto did make a pretty good center-back though, I have to say. Djourou looked pretty dodgy in pre-season as well. Kind of a nice way to avoid second-season-syndrome (I know it’s his third, but 2006/07 was definitely his breakout year).

    But hey, Wenger knows… (I effing hate that phrase, by the way)

  33. The major problem Arsenal has at this time is also a blessing in disguise. We have many versatile players who can perform at a high level in various positions and this allows us to provide cover in all areas of the pitch except maybe for strikers.

    The duality of this however, is that we will have problems in giving adequate playing time to some and we may not be able to provide a fluid team consistently. It’s somewhat akin to the “Jack of all trades, master of none” syndrome.

    Seems like Diarra will be the only one brought in for this transfer window if any. Having said that, Diarra would be a welcome addition to the squad as he really is the only other true holding midfielder outside of Gilberto. Diarra is a strong tackler ala Essien, and is ferocious and tenacious in defense. No knocks on Diaby here but he is a more attacking player and will be a future superstar barring injuries.

    How do we integrate Walcott into the attack when we have Hlieb and Rosicky playing in the middle? That’s one of the major questions for Arsene to answer and it is possible that those two can not truly co-exist on the field simultaneously.

    Starting formation for Fulham could be:


    Sagna Toure Gallas Clichy

    Eboue Cesc Diaby Rosicky\Hlieb

    RVP Dudu

    Gallas for Captain, although I do not particularly like the chap, may just be what the Gunners need for their youngsters. A no nonsense person who doe’s not like to lose and who will surely get on the young guns when they mess up.

  34. I think Wenger will go with the lineup he fielded against Ajax, and I think he said something to that effect. Cesc and Diaby in the center, Eboue and Rosicky on the flanks, and Hleb in behind Van Persie. It looks pretty wicked to me. I expect Konchesky to get murdered down our right.

  35. “We have many versatile players who can perform at a high level in various positions and this allows us to provide cover in all areas of the pitch except maybe for strikers.” I would say our striker force is strong. Very strong. What we lack is natural width. We havent a player who can bomb up and down the wings and take players on, thus creating space for themselves. Eboue, though doing a fine job, relies on only his pace to go past players. i would like to see someone who can really challenge him for the spot. Walcott is still a striker for me. On the left, we are even more slim. Clichy is our LB, and not our answer to wing play on the left. We need someone who can play in front of him. Someone with a bit of experience. Someone who wont necessairly start, but will provide a diff answer to wing play. We have a enoirmous pitch, and we need players who like “chalk on their feet”. So I believ we are only in need of one versatile winger. Then i believ we are insured against all but the worst injury crisis.

  36. SF-Feeling good here in the US; reason? I’ve got hooked to Fox Soccer Channel and I’m watching Arsenal/Fulham match at 7:00 am ET. I’ve read about the confidence of the Fulham manager but it’s all crap. We need to win this match convincingly. This year the competition for the title will be tight and we’ll be deeply involved. I’m happy for Bill ‘cos he’s the inner strength to league the youngsters.

    SF-The loaning of Djourou is a bit strange to me. Is Arsene thinking of pushing someone from the reserves? Or is he bringing in someone? ‘cos we’ll be in deep trouble if Toure leave for ANC or we suffer two injuries (God forbid)

  37. Riccardo Montolivo.. There was rumors a few years ago in Italia linking him with an Arsenal move when he played for Atalanta. I havent heard anything about it yet. He is a very good attacking midfielder. He doesnt score much, but he’s always going forward and he’s a wonderful play maker, he would maybe solve the problem on the wing for Arsenal if they could bring him in. Fiorentina doesnt play the kinda football that i think he would benefit from at Arsenal. With better targets to pass to, RVP, Abebayor, Da Silva he would get alot of assists if anything. In Italia he’s called the “Next Totti” and put him on a team like Arsenal i think his talents would come out. He has GREAT vision, great passing, can play the wing or behind the forwards. So if its true that they are interested i think he would jump at the chance to come to Arsenal.

  38. Arsenal i hope you will buy some star player, like samuel eto’o, andrew johnson, rafael van der vaart and many other. But if you won’t you still great

  39. do u guy’s see arsenal wining any trophy? because they always seem to have difficulties playing phyiscal sides!

  40. to honest do you rate arsenal in the top technically gifted sides in europe and where do u place them in position?

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