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Same Old Arsenal?


With only the notable signing of Granit Xhaka from Borussia Mönchengladbach it it hasn’t been quite the summer Arsenal fans had been expecting.

The £34-million-pound man does finally fill a position left by Patrick Vieira that Arsenal fans have been crying for for a number of years. Nevertheless, in a summer where Arsenal’s rivals have moved quickly and decisively in securing the best talents around the world, best shown by Manchester United’s all costs pursuit of Paul Pogba, it does leave the danger of Arsenal being left behind and putting Arsene Wenger’s record of finishing in the top four for the past twenty years in danger.

However, it hasn’t quite been like the summer of 2015 where Arsenal were the only team in top 5 European leagues not to sign an outfield player. This summer Arsenal fans have seen serious intent from the Arsenal management in securing a much needed striker; which was evidenced early in the transfer window with the failed £20-million-pound pursuit of Jamie Vardy. Youngsters Rob Holding and Takuma Asano have also come in as players for the future, although with the long term injury to Per Mertesacker Holding may be called upon earlier than Arsene Wenger may have liked.

There has also been a failed £30-million-pound bid for Alexandre Lacazette and it is expected that Arsenal will go in with an improved bid. Lacazette has averaged 25 goals a season for three years which represents a return that Arsenal have not had since the Thierry Henry days, and in today’s market it would be difficult to find a striker with that type of return for under £50-million. So Arsenal fans would hope that this deal is secured quickly before another team comes in for him.

Although the signings have been slightly underwhelming it appears something is going on at the Emirates and it may be that Arsenal fans have to be patient for a little while longer before a superstar arrives…then again more patience with no results at the end of it so far, will this be the same old Arsenal?

Written by Milan Farhan.

What next for Santi Cazorla?


In the space of only eight days last November Arsenal lost both Francis Coquelin and Santi Cazorla to long term injury. Arsenal fans had been fretting all summer about the potential loss of one midfielder and his name was Francis Coquelin. Little did Gooners know that it would be the man alongside him that would be the far bigger loss and greater damage to the rest of our campaign.

Santi Cazorla damaged his knee at Carrow road and probably made it worse by completing the entire 90 minutes. There is a well known saying ‘you only know what you’re missing, when it’s gone’

From that point onwards the Arsenal machine did not perform anywhere near as smoothy as it should have. While Coquelin may be described as the engine, I think it would be apt to call Cazorla the petrol. Without the petrol the Arsenal vehicle was pretty much useless.

Cazorla’s task was clear, he was the man responsible for getting the party started. Dropping deep to receive the ball from goalkeeper or defenders, turn and play forward passes in between the lines to the danger men in the Arsenal team, mainly Mesut Ozil. Cazorla’s ability to keep the ball under great pressure is breathtaking and so is his unrivalled two footedness.

Arsene turned to a combination of Ramsey and Flamini in the heart of the midfield and it is fair to say that combination just did not work. In fact a number of Arsenal fans were quick to call the return of Flamini, one of Arsenals worst ever transfers

The Arsenal midfield did not function after November and it was only when new January signing Mohammed Elneny came into the team did Arsenal begin to look more fluid once again.

So this summer, Arsene obviously wanted to avoid a similar problem so he went out and forked out a reported £30m plus on Granit Xhaka. He is not a skilful two footed artist like Cazorla but he is a player who can start attacks at the base of midfield and he will be able to provide that link from back to front but with an added physical presence that little Santi is just not able to provide.

At 23 years of age, you would imagine that Xhaka has been bought as a long term solution to a serious problem for us last season.

So where does that leave Santi Cazorla? Has a player who was missed so badly last season find himself pushed out of the starting 11?

I cannot imagine a long term plan to have two players doing the same job and even if you ask Cazorla to push a little higher, I just do not see those two players complimenting each other.

With Granit Xhaka’s passing range and defensive qualities I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Arsene Wenger called on the services of Aaron Ramsey to play the role of his new shirt number. The player running back and forth to support both Xhaka and Ozil. Running power and a goal threat may be the preferred option. For all of Cazorla’s qualities, I don’t think he has enough of those elements in his game right now.

It is going to be interesting to see how it all plays out in this coming season.

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Exclusive Invitation to Scotts Menswear, Mundial Magazine and Laces Out Euro 2016 Event



Scotts Menswear has collaborated with Mundial magazine and Laces Out to invite Goonerlad.com readers to a VIP showing of all the Euros matches on the 11th June, at Liverpool’s Camp and Furnace. Expect football, music, a book launch, art and a trainer festival all in one. This venue is a sell out for major sporting events such as this one, so this is not one to be missed.

There will also be a private viewing of artwork from a number of popular artists including A Guy Called Minty, Marcus Reed and Peter O’Toole. At the end of the evening there will be some goodie bags that we will be handed out to guests.

Here is a little breakdown of the day:
– Doors open at 11am
– Art exhibitions will be open from 11am

Match Schedule:
Albania v Switzerland @ 2pm
Wales v Slovakia @ 5pm
England v Russia @ 8pm

For great deals on menswear visit Scottsmenswear.com

Arsenal All-Time Premier League XI


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STARTING XI

GK: David Seaman
Although it is tempting to stick the likes of Lehman or even Cech in here, no goalkeeper was more Arsenal than England international David Seaman. 325 caps in red to his name, Seaman and his infamous pony-tail is one of the Gooner’s most decorated legends and can’t be passed on a spot in our starting line-up.

LB: Ashley Cole
A pick that some Arsenal fans may not like, but Ashley Cole makes this one. Our first ‘Invincibles’ member on the list, after beating Sylvinho for the starting position, ‘Cashley’ had some very good seasons at Arsenal, establishing himself as one of the Premier Leagues (& England’s) best defenders. Despite him leaving the club with a sour taste in their mouths, during his time in North London Cole proved that he had enough of what it takes to make this team.

CB: Sol Campbell
You can be sure that there are more ‘Invincibles’ members to come on this list, almost as sure as Vieira was in his defence knowing that the likes of Sol Campbell were lined up behind him. Campbell was athletically dominating and proved that he deserves a spot on the team after making an immediate impact upon his arrival from our friends at White Hart Lane, winning both a Premier League medal and an FA Cup medal in his first season.

CB: Tony Adams (Captain)
To get a statue of yourself outside of the Emirates stadium, you have to have been a darn good football player. Tony Adams epitomises the English Centre Back. Tough, passionate, loyal, a leader of men, the list goes on, and Adams meets all of the criteria. Having capped over 500 appearances for Arsenal, Adams won titles and trophies as captain over three different decades which is why he is not only on the team, but he’s leading them out of the tunnel too.

RB: Lee Dixon
Dixon is another Arsenal veteran that wasn’t going to be overlooked for his spot in this team. Dixon was a smart player who could also provide assistance on the attack. Dixon also won titles in three different decades, quite literally Tony Adams’ right hand man; Dixon made a whopping 458 appearances for the club and would be a leader in this dressing room.

LM: Freddie Ljunberg
Ljunberg brought more to English Football than just a dodgy hairstyle, albeit who didn’t rock a red Mohawk whilst playing football on the playground. He was a key player in the Arsenal team during the period of the Invincibles, providing so many important goals, Ljunberg was a key contributor towards Arsenal’s success in the early 2000’s he simply can’t be missed off the squad sheet.

CM: Patrick Vieira (Vice-Captain)
Another Arsenal legend that led from the front, the French man was the complete central midfielder. Just ask Roy Keane. Tactically proven, physical on the ground and in the air, good on the ball and a defensive rock, you name it and Vieira could do it. Tony Adams’ successor to the armband, he was the general of the Invincibles and he led by example. Was tempted to give him the armband here, but as long as Adams is on the team, vice-captain will have to do.

RM: Robert Pires
Robert Pires…The ying to Thierry Henry’s yang, another member of the ‘Invincibles’ makes the squad sheet. After being brought in to replace Overmars, Pires needed a kick start after a slow start to his Arsenal career. However, he found form not long after and started to become a true right midfielder. He could not only deliver a good ball, assisting time after time, if not for Thierry Henry, Pires would have been the ‘Invincibles’ top scorer, scoring 14 goals that season and finding the net 62 times throughout his Arsenal career.

ST: Ian Wright
Wright was arguably Arsenal’s best player throughout the 90’s, signing for a club-record of £2.5 Million which at the time was a whopping fee. Wright went on to score 29 times in his first season, claiming the golden boot and also went on to be Arsenal’s top goal scorer for six consecutive seasons. A ridiculous work rate and deadly feet allowed Wright to find the net 128 times from 1991-1998, forcing his way on to this team.

ST: Dennis Bergkamp
Another Arsenal icon immortalised by his statue outside of the Emirates, the ‘Non-flying Dutchman’ does not need an explanation as to why he is on the list, he can let his stats do the talking for him. No other Arsenal player has provided more assists throughout their career, with 94 assists and 87 goals only Thierry Henry has got more goals/assists combined for the club than the tenacious and aggressive Dennis Bergkamp.

ST: Thierry Henry
Arsenal’s golden boy, the face of the ‘Invincibles’ you would be utterly mad to leave Henry off the list. As previously stated, no other player has got more goals/assists combined for the club, not even close. Henry netted 175 times during his time at Arsenal and was also able to play out on the wing when needed, contributing towards his 74 assists. Everybody’s favourite player which resonated during the scenes of his second debut for the club whilst scoring the only goal in an FA Cup tie against Leeds in 2012. If anybody had deserved a statue outside the club it is Thierry Henry.

SUBS BENCH
SUB – Jens Lehman
SUB – Martin Keown
SUB – Lauren
SUB – Gilberto Silva
SUB – Cesc Fabregas
SUB- Ray Parlour
SUB – Robin Van Persie

By Edward Butler.