Saturday, August 8, 2009

Arsenal Draw Celtic, Arsenal Ratings By Position

Morning all. Let's get right to it then. Yesterday was the Champions League 3rd Round Qualifier draw. The general consensus was we wanted to avoid Atletico, Fiorentina, and Celtics. Well, two out of three's not bad, we drew Celtic. Seems to me that a lot of people are worrying when I don't really think they need to. Yeah Celtic are a decent team but with fresh legs, another year of experience under our belts and a good preseason, we should be able to beat any Scottish team. Atletico and Fiorentina would have been much worse draws than Celtic in my opinion, and I do think that we'll get through Celtic fairly easily. If we don't, then you can blame it on me for being so confident, but I just don't see us struggling that much.

The first leg is supposed to take place in Glasgow on Tuesday, August 18th, but due to a U2 concert there on the same night, they may have to move the match to Wednesday the 19th. Isn't that just wonderful, we have a match later in the week because of f'ing Bono.

So we've got seven days, just one week, until the Premier League season kicks off away to Everton. How we got that as our first match I haven't the slightest idea, because that's a pretty tough one. So while a lot of the transfer talk has died down, yeah we still may sign Chamakh or maybe someone else out of the blue, we pretty much know the squad we're going to have for the new season. So I wanted to try and break it down a little bit and see where we think our strongest/weakest areas are heading into the new year.

Goalkeepers: Manuel Almunia, Lukasz Fabianski - I'd give us an 7 out of 10 here. I think Almunia is pretty solid. He's shown over the past two seasons that he is an above average Premier League goalkeeper who generally makes the saves he's supposed to make. If you were ranking him among Premiership goalkeepers, where would Almunia rank for you? I think I'd have him behind Reina, Van der Sar, and possibly Robert Green and Petr Cech, but nobody else. That's not that bad considering for a long time he was a career backup for us. Fabianski is a good backup, who with some playing time can be good for us down the road.

Right Backs: Bakary Sagna, Emmanuel Eboue - 9/10 for me. Sagna is clearly one of the best if not THE best right back in the league. Solid defensively and good going forward, even if his crosses are sometimes a bit lacking. Eboue is also a much more effective right back than anywhere else on the pitch.

Center Backs: William Gallas, Thomas Vermaelen, Mikael Silvestre, Johann Djourou - I'm going to go with a 7/10 here, although I'll say it's still an incomplete judgement on this group. We haven't gotten to see enough of Vermaelen to know how he'll do when he's up against players like Drogba and Torres. Without Toure on the team, Djourou needs to make this be his breakout year, and Gallas needs to really step up and be a leader on the back line. I just hope they glue together and we find a good partnership in there.

Left Backs: Gael Clichy, Armand Traore, Kieran Gibbs - Before last year I would have said this was a 9, but this year I'll say it's an 8. Clichy had some sketchy moments last year, but I still think he's a great player for Arsenal. He's great getting forward (even if he hasn't ever scored for Arsenal yet) and he's pretty good defensively, not to mention he's still definitely young enough to improve. Gibbs and Traore are both super pacey players who are in the same mold as Clichy and Cole before him. I think they can both be great, although Traore may be moved up to the left wing.

I'll get to the midfield tomorrow, so we can make this process last through this week that will undoubtedly be full of anticipation for next weekend, and it'll culminate with my season preview, which will probably come on Thursday.

Just one more thing today. I went to see Green Day in Orlando this past Wednesday, and we had tickets in the pit. Amazingly, I ended up right next to a fellow Gooner, Dan from London. So it was great to be able to talk Arsenal in such a random place so far away from London. He even wore an Arsenal wrist band, so I have to give him a shout out. Cheers Dan, and up the Gunners!


Julio Ricardo Varela said...

Great post, caught Green Day in Boston right up close as well. Amazing show.

Fab 4 said...

Great post, but one fact you got wrong...Clichy HAS scored for us. He scored our only goal in the 2-1 defeat to Stoke last year. So if he's got one, who's to say he can't get more? Cheers

ArseNole said...

Fab 4 you are correct, I was indeed mistaken. Forgot about that one. Cheers.

ArseNole said...


I saw Green Day in 2005 and I thought the show then was much better than this past one was. I'm not much of a fan of their new album.

Mike said...

I think we can shred Celtic at the Emirates, but I'm a little worried about the away leg. Celtic Park is one of the truly tough environments in Europe and you never know how we'll react early in the season.

I can definitely forgive you for overlooking Clichy's goal. That loss to Stoke was an absolute mess, I think RVP had just been sent off when Clichy scored.

Andre said...

Nice rankings.

I think today's match probably helped AW make up his mind about Eboue and speciall Silvest. He was horible when he came on.

Cesc, Arshavin, RVP and even Bendtner looked really sharp though and Theo will be there soon too.

Dan Green Day Gooner said...

It's Dan - The Green Day Gooner!!! just got back to England and amazing to see my picture up on the website.

Was great to meet some Americans who actually could talk properly about football.

And... 1-6 at the weekend come on the lads. I'm off to the Pompy game on saturday, hope your looking forward to coming to the Emirates later in the season.

Joaquin said...

ready for Celtic!
Lets see a new post already.