When Arsenal finally got round to telling us all that Folarin Balogun had put pen to paper on a new Arsenal contract I was elated. We’d heard the rumours he’d committed to the club but until yesterday afternoon, nothing was official. I know ‘he ain’t done nothin yet’ but I’m convinced it won’t be long before he does. I can’t see him going on loan next season, I think he’s strong enough to take on the Premier League in the same way Bukayo Saka has. ESR too although he did go on loan but then again, he was younger.
Edu is thrilled, Arteta is too and Balogun – Flo to his mates, is ‘buzzing’. As am I.
With Lacazette and Aubameyang ruled out for Thursday’s fixture, Balogun is bound to be plane heading to Spain in a couple of days time.
I think it’s great that Arsenal are finally bringing players through the academy and into the first team. Obviously ESR and Saka have been the headline stealers but I don’t think it’ll be long before a few of their previous academy teammates will be be back alongside them again but this time, in the first team. That excites me, a lot more than Arsenal going out and spending £40 million plus on an overseas player. Of course there’s a need for experienced players too who more often than not come from a different country but I just love seeing Arsenal boys becoming Arsenal men. Sadly though, not all do but at least most of them have been setup to succeed in the game at a very good level.
This Arsenal squad is certainly looking very different to the one Unai Emery took to Baku for a Europa Cup Final.
The team/squad on that awful night was:
Cech, Sokratis, Koscielny, Monreal, AMN, Torreira, Xhaka, Kolasinac. Ozil, Lacazette and Aubameyang.
Subs: Elneny, Lichsteiner, Iwobi, Leno, Mustafi, Welbeck, Jenkinson, Guendouzi, Iliev, Nketiah, Willock, Saka.
23 players of which 10 have since gone. A further 5 are out on loan. Lliev’s contract end this summer so he’ll be gone, Mustafi too so I’ve included him in the ‘gone’ list. Luiz is likely to leave as well.
Arsenal have seen a lot of change since Edu and Arteta joined forces and I don’t think we’ve seen the end of it by a long way. Question marks hang over the future of AMN, Willock, Nelson, Nketiah, Guendouzi, Torreira and Kolasinac. Torreira is rumoured to want a return to South America, Newcastle are reportedly interested in keeping hold of Willock but I’m not convinced AMN will want to stay at WBA, not with them soon to be a Championship club and I can see Nketiah, Nelson and Guendouzi being sold to raise funds for summer signings.
On one hand, I think the changes being made at Arsenal and the lack of fans inside the stadium has been a blessing in disguise for Mikel Arteta but on the other, I wonder whether a full Emirates would have given the players a lift when they needed it. Look at Liverpool, their home results are so different to any season before and I truly believe that’s because the Anfield crowd aren’t behind them. So yes, I think there’s a lot of mitigating circumstances for Arsenal’s poor home form. The officiating has hardly done Arsenal any favours either but then I don’t want favours, just honesty.
See you in the comments.