A little bit of Granit

Granit Xhaka Arsenal KitSo not only did we scrape into second place, we’ve signed a new player before the end of May! Defensive midfielder Granit Xhaka joins Arsenal from Borussia Monchengladbach.

Arsenal’s number one need from summer transfers is surely a source of more goals, but we need more depth virtually everywhere so this is a great start to the transfer window. A bit of defensive bite in front of the back four will be very useful, especially given the number of goals we conceded from outside the box this season.

Looking at his stats and the various YouTube videos, he looks a very useful player. Some journalists are making something of his high card count, both yellow and red, but unless he’s going to go completely bonkers I don’t think this is such a bad thing. Arsenal have had plenty of stick for not being strong and committed enough when defending, so a bit of Granit in the midfield will be no bad thing. Patrick Viera got planty of cards and we loved him.

Pictures of Xhaka in his kit got leaked ahead of the official announcement, reportedly by his girlfriend tweeting them. They also seem to confirm that the earlier leaked pics of he new kit were genuine too.

Hopefully this is going to be the first of several signings. We desperately need more goals, and that was true even before Danny Welbeck got crocked. I like Olivier Giroud, despite his current dodgy hipster look. He’s better than many give him credit for, but not as good as we need. He seems to have a prolonged goal drought at some point each season and that costs us. A lot of media sources are linking us to Alvaro Morata for very big money. Does he get enough goals though?

Arsene Wenger says that there is money to spend if the right player is available. Some see this as code for don’t expect anything, but to be fair he has chased Suarez and Higuaín in recent summers and was reportedly pissed off that Manchester United got Martial after being told the player wasn’t available.

As well as needing more goals, we need replacements for Arteta, Rosicky and maybe Flamini, so hopefully Xhaka won’t be the only midfielder coming in.

So, great start to the summer Arsene, but a striker, more midfielders and maybe an extra central defender please.

Man City 2:2 Arsenal

Away to Man City was the toughest game our run-in and the opening minutes showed how much the players knew it. We were lucky it took a whole eight minutes for City to score. Confusion in the Arsenal box and then Sergio Aguero bangs it in at the near post.

Fortunately Manchester City know a thing or two about confusion in the box and straight away they nearly scored an own goal from a Giroud cross. From the resulting corner they let Giroud have a go all by himself and he scored. Yes, I know, that Giroud. Well it’s been a while. All this after Spurs were kind enough to choke away three points losing at home to Southampton.

The rest of the game was about Man City pressure. They bossed the midfield but Arsenal hung in there, just. Kevin De Bruyne was very impressive and fed Aguero well. They should have scored more but somehow we survived. At this point it is worth asking – what is Jesus Navas for? He was as pointless today as he has been all season, blasting the ball all over the place with no purpose. Pellegrini’s answer was to bring on Bony.  Something that makes you ask – what is Jesus Navas for?

To be fair to Bony he did hit the crossbar, but you wonder what he and Navas are doing in a club that can afford the likes of Aguero and De Bruyne.

The second half started like the first half – lots of Man City pressure that got them a goal. A good goal too by Kevin De Bruyne from outside the box.  Everyone’s questioning Petr Cech for not saving it, but it was well placed and came through someone’s legs.  It took longer to get  the second equaliser. Walcott came on and tormented Otamendi and Mangala. But in the end it was a great one-two by Sanchez and Giroud that got the Chilean a good goal.  But it was made by Giroud, fantastic return ball with his heal that split open a big gap for Sanchez who finished well.

Not the prettiest game from Arsenal, but they got the job done and Olivier Giroud had a good game, a goal and a brilliant assist.  The only real downer was Danny Welbeck going off with an injury that could keep him out of the Euro’s. It meant that Jack Wilshere got a decent amount of time on the pitch and wasn’t bad. Usual Wilshere, positive forward running, passing players getting brought down. But some decent end product too until he tired.

I find Walcott and Wilshere very frustrating. Both a couple of good guys and they show you enough to let you believe. But somehow neither has delivered. I desperately want both to succeed, but how longer do they get?

Anyway, here we with one game to go, two points behind Spurs. We play Villa at home, they play Newcastle away. One point for Arsenal and we secure third place. Three points and, well who knows, we might just get the biggest laugh of the season. A mid-week win for Sunderland could mean Newcastle are already down and don’t care, but…