Thursday, July 21, 2005

Life after Vieira...

So it has been a few days now since Patrick has taken his talents, leadership and fire to northern Italy to play for one of the most storied clubs in the world. What does this mean for Arsenal?

  • Midfield - I think that the midfield still contains a world of talent - Cesc, Ljunberg, Pires, Flamini, etc are all solid players. However, they lose a lot of intangibles with the loss of Vieira. Beyond being the captain he was the catalyst for the midfield, bridging defense with offense, and throwing in a crucial goal here and there.
  • The strikers remain solid, but getting Baptista, if possible, would make it down right scarey. With the "beast" teamed up with Henry, having Reyes, Van Persie (assuming he does not end up in prison) and Berkhamp would make this a lethal stike force. Arsenal have always needed a stiker that is a penalty box presence to compliment Henry (which is what the French national team has with Trezeguet, unfortunately that duo has struggled in international play, but I digress)
  • Defense, the emergence of Senderoos will allow the arsenal back 4 to stabilize. I have also read that Arsenal is giving former French international Christanval a trial. Christanval was a highly touted central defender, a few years ago it was thought he would be the natural replacement for Desailly anchoring the central defense of the French National team. But injuries have hampered his developement. This move only has upside for Arsenal, if he can regain his form Arsenal will have found themselves a solid if not international quality central defender who is still young - 26
  • Intangibles, getting Bentley back from his season long loan at Norwich is an overlooked "acquisition" Whenever I watched Norwich matches last season it was clear that Bentley was the best player for the team. Being able to play a full season wearing the number "10" and running the team will give bentley the experience and confidence to do some great things with Arsenal. I think he will play a major role for Arsenal this season.
  • Future transfers - the latest rumor is that Arsene is looking at Olivier Dacourt from AS Roma. Dacourt is a poor mans version of Vieira. He would be a solid replacement. He too is a French international usually lining up along side Vieira for les bleus. He has experience playing in england, having played at Leeds and Everton. He would be a good replacement, but more in the mold of Gilberto and Makelele. A defensive/holding midfielder. But unlike Vieira has limited offensive abilities.
The season officially kicks off in a 3 weeks...still lots of movements to come I am sure. If arsene can get Baptista and Dacourt, Arsenal might be able to give their London rivals and the red devils a real run for the Premiership title

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Good luck Pat

Good luck in Italy Vieira, we will miss you in the Red and White of Arsenal...I hope that Wenger can find the proper replacements for Vieira.

Vieira to Juventus

Arsenal and French captain Patrick Vieira is rumored to be headed off to Italy...and doing so very soon. If this is the case it will be crucial for Wenger to turn around and sign 1-2 high profile players immediately. Could Arsenal get into the Essien running or will they target Essien's Lyon teammate Diarra? While I think that getting Essien will be a long shot, due to Chelsea's interest and deep pockets and Diarra just re-upped his contract, it is crucial that Wenger finds a top notch defensive/holding midfielder.

I would personally be sad to see Pat leave, especially after getting a brand new Arsenal jersey, emblazened with #4 on the back. I think that this will be a big blow in short term for Arsenal, but Wenger has added a lot of young talent in his midfield the past few years Cesc, Flamini etc. But Patrick is the glue that has kept Arsenal's midfield and team going and I am not sure that the young gunners can assume the entire load of running the midfield. If Patrick does leave it will be a hard day for Arsenal Fans, especially those with new Vieira Arsenal kits, but it may lesson the expectations for Arsenal and that may give the young gunners a chance to play with less pressure. Something that could actually make them more dangerous.

But my heart tells me...Patrick don't go!

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Rumors Rumors Rumors

If you believe some of the press, Vieira and Pires will be playing for "la vieille dame" of Juventus. Essien and SWrightPhillips will be making the move to Chelsea. This will be a major midfield moves.

First, I think that Lyon will end up selling Essien. He has made it clear he wants to move to the Premiership. Lyon has already developed a back up plan by bringing in French international Pedretti into the fold. He would take over the role of defensive midfielder. Diarra has resigned at Lyon until 2009, so the midfield should remain solid. With Essien, I believe that Lyon can make a strong run in Europe. Having added young defender Monsoreau from Sochaux to settle the back line and adding Norwegian international Carew up front, I think that Lyon has added without losing anything from the 4 time Ligue 1 champions. However, all this changes if Essien leaves. He resembles a younger Vieira, a midfield player that can defend and score, a player that can dictate the pace of the game. I have watched him play a few times but from all the press he is the next Keane, Vieira combined...no wonder Chelesea are after him. Partnering him and Makelele at Chelsea would be a formidable defending - holding midfield combo. Lyon will still be odds on favorite to win another Ligue 1 title, and might make a deeper run in Europe.

Second, I think that Arsenal might want to seriously consider the attention Juventus is giving their two french international midfielders. While I think Arsenal should not part ways with Vieira...even though his value might never be greater...I think Pires should be sold. I think that Pires, while always a top goal scorer, has run his course at Arsenal. The big teams know how to play him and how to contain his game. I do not see who on the horizon Arsenal can purchase to replace either midfielder, it might make the right business sense to maximize their returns on these two players. Maybe if they did so they could turn around and look to get into the Essien bidding....now that would be interesting.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London - terror rears its ugly head

I wanted to state my prayers and thoughts to all those in London and across the world that have suffered due to the cowardly acts that transpired this morning. Being Parisian I was a little let down when London defeated Paris for the 2012 Olympics, however after seeing what occured this morning is sobering to all of us. The cowards that struck innocent commuters this morning will only unify the resolve of those nations that allow freedoms to their populations. The irony is that the Olympics are a great venue where nation states send atheletes to represent them in a sporting venue allowing countries ranging in all sizes and history to compete on the same field. Too bad these cowards rather act barbarically rather than allow their people to compete and strive on the sporting field. Rather than looking for victory on the track, the pool, the veledrome, etc these people rather spread their ideas with cowardly bombs in subways....London and the rest of the world will survive this last act of barbarism. 2012 will allow London to showcase itself and demonstrate to those that struck today that they cannot win.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Transfer market moves

So PSG gets their man from AC Milan - French international Dhorasso: http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/20050705_094006Dev.html, I think this is a great move for the Parisian club. Teaming Dhorasso with Rothen in the midfield will give PSG one of the stronger midfields in Ligue 1. With the world cup approaching, this will also motivate both international players to focus on carving out greater roles for the French national team (granted this assumes they qualify....far from assured)

Speaking of AC Milan they added Vieri to their strike force, interesting move for both parties. Vieri will have trouble getting regular playing time, and this will hinder his ability to secure a spot on the Italian team for the WC. I think a move to the Premiership and Arsenal, Chelsea or Tottenham would have done Vieri more good than changing stripes in Milan...
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