Miyaichi To Wigan, Ramsey Penalties, Capoue Linked Again
A day after confirmation of Benik Afobe’s loan spell to Bolton, there’s news this morning of Ryo Miyaichi being sought after by Wigan Athletic. With Victor Moses rumoured to be attracting interest from Chelsea, Miyaichi is expected to boost Roberto Martinez’s ranks for the new season.
I think it’s an excellent piece of news for Arsenal. While Owen Coyle has a nurturing style that benefits young players, Martinez is tactically very astute. After struggling in the early part of last season, Wigan started producing the goods after the Spaniard got the right players in the right positions in a bold 3-4-3 formation. Arsenal were at the wrong end of that renaissance too, losing 2-1 at the Emirates in April to a team that played with a plan and executed it brilliantly.
The Japanese teenager would benefit from a more focused role on the pitch. It would help him become more tactically aware and with Wigan’s strategy based on solid defending mixed with quick counter attacks, Ryo’s pace will certainly make him a threat to the opposition. And unlike Bolton, Wigan are in the Premier League so any damage Ryo can inflict on other top teams would indirectly help Arsenal’s cause.
Elsewhere, Team GB’s run at the Olympics came to an abrupt end following their penalty shoot-out loss to South Korea last night. Aaron Ramsey was in the thick of things, scoring one penalty and missing another in the first half and converting his spot-kick during the tense shoot-out. Daniel Sturridge’s penalty was saved by South Korea’s stand-in keeper to end the home side’s medal hopes.
None of the three penalties that Aaron took were very convincing in their execution. Still, what I admire about the Welshman is that he doesn’t shy away. After a lucky conversion the first time and with the second penalty saved, it was still Aaron Ramsey who stepped up to take Team GB’s first kick in the shoot-out. That confidence and belief is essential at the top level. While he may not always display the quality we know he possesses, it’s hard to criticize him for lack of effort. Hopefully this season, he will rediscover the form he showed prior to the leg-break by Ryan Shawcross.
Speaking of midfielders, we are again being linked with Toulouse’s Etienne Capoue. The player wants to leave the Ligue 1 outfit in pursuit of Champions League football. As Yann M’Vila seems to have gone completely off Arsenal’s radar, so the media are linking Arsene Wenger with a swoop for the 24-year defensive midfielder. He would not only strengthen the midfield but also provide cover at centre-back.
However the notion that adding a hyped-up defensive midfielder will miraculously solve Arsenal’s problems in defense is ludicrous in my opinion. Of course every player brings his strengths to the squad but unless we work out a way to defend as a team, we will continue to gift scoring opportunities regardless of who’s playing.
Unlike M’Vila though, Capoue comes with a more reasonable price tag and presumably a lower wage demand. If Alex Song is unwilling to sign a contract extension, Arsene Wenger may want to boost his options in that holding role. And with Frimpong’s return scheduled around October and Francis Coquelin impressing at right-back last season, it’s possible the Boss is looking to recruit someone like Capoue to provide cover.
Unlike previous summers, the early capture of Podolski and Giroud and the imminent arrival of Cazorla have led to heightened expectations among fans that more players will be bought sooner than later. However, we must bear in mind that apart from Manuel Almunia whose contract expired in the summer, the Gunners haven’t managed to offload any players themselves. I suspect after Cazorla’s signing, the club will need to indulge in some spring cleaning before going shopping for new furniture.