Cazorla Close, Szczesny Speaks, Nimble In Nigeria
Without further news on how Malaga intend to sort out their finances by today’s Spanish FA-imposed deadline, hope grows that Arsenal’s pursuit of Santi Cazorla could come to a successful conclusion within the week. The club are rumoured to have agreed personal terms with the Spaniard and are awaiting approval from Malaga whose current owners are apparently looking to sell the club.
Along with rumours of Nuri Sahin’s loan move, Arsene Wenger seems to have identified creativity in midfield as the main area for reinforcement. While all the talk prior and post-Euros was about a defensive midfielder, Yann M’Vila in particular, it’s clear now that the focus will be on improving our options going forward. It’s hard to argue with that analysis with Wilshere and Rosicky injured, Diaby’s fitness a doubt and Ramsey not on top form.
The danger though is in building up expectations too much. Juan Mata’s chase last summer hit the rocks as soon as Abramovich arrived on the scene with an open cheque book. As close as Cazorla’s deal looks at the moment, Malaga’s owners have the capacity to put together a financial package to bail the club out. Let’s not count chickens yet.
Arsenal returned home from the Far East yesterday with Arsene Wenger hailing the tour as a great experience. Although the travelling and weather made it tough for the players, tours like these present opportunities for the team to bond. Speaking to the club website, Wojciech Szczesny alluded to squad solidarity, believing Arsenal will be stronger this season especially with the arrival of Podolski and Giroud.
Arsenal’s number one also hailed the immediate influence of Steve Bould and confirmed what we all suspected – Arsenal are working on improving the defense.
We’ve done a lot of [defensive] shape work in training, work on when we lose the ball and a lot of defending on crosses. It’s all very sharp as well. Steve likes to shout at players and keep them on their toes – so it’s looking positive.
As noted on many sites in Goonersphere, our defensive problems are not related to individual players but more with shape and structure without the ball. A lot of work requires to be done in training and it is unrealistic to expect instant results. A complete overhauling of our defensive system or a change of mindset could be counter productive, so the best we can hope for is a gradual improvement as the season progresses. In the meantime, I am afraid a few more soft goals will be conceded before the tide turns favorably.