Arsenal 1 Galatasaray 2: Three lessons as Drogba ruins hosts’ party
Arsenal 1 Galatasaray 2: What lessons did we learn as the Gunners missed out on the Emirates Cup on Sunday?
Sanogo makes promising Emirates debut
With talk of Arsenal’s bid for Liverpool’s want-away Luis Suárez dominating Arsene Wenger’s media conferences at the Emirates Cup, Yaya Sanogo had a chance to prove to his worth to his new manager. The France Under-21 international was signed on a free transfer from Auxurre having played just 22 senior matches. The 20-year-old is an unknown quantity and his inclusion in Wenger’s starting line-up brought a buzz to The Emirates. Sanogo had an early opening as poor Galatasaray defending presented the young striker with a chance to test Fernando Muslera. He showed composure to round a defender before his shot was smothered by the Gala goalkeeper. Moments later, Sanogo had another opportunity to break into a sprint as he bundled his way into Galatasaray’s area before teeing up Theo Walcott. Despite standing at 6ft 3ins, Sanogo is remarkably mobile and possesses promising technical ability, proving more than capable of holding up the ball and bringing team-mates into the game. One lofted pass which released Walcott also showcased the youngster’s awareness. It was his English strike partner that stole the plaudits with his first-half finish, but under the guidance of Wenger, Arsenal could have yet another goal-scoring Frenchman on their hands.
Sagna capable at centre-half
On Saturday, Wenger confirmed Arsenal are in negotiations with Bacary Sagna over a new deal but an agreement is yet to be reached. So it was a chance for the Gunners defender to prove his worth at centre-half alongside Per Mertesacker as Carl Jenkinson filled the Frenchman’s customary right-back role. While Napoli would have provided a more rigorous test for the makeshift centre-half, when called upon, Sagna barely put a foot wrong and was not at fault for Galatasary’s leveller. He was caught out just once in the first half after misjudging a long ball which forced his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to produce an impromptu clearing header with Umut Bulut bearing down on goal. Sagna also looked in top shape after an injury-hit season last term as he outmuscled Nordin Amrabat on several occasions. He also looked strong in the air, bounding into aerial challenges, even with Didier Drogba’s introduction. In addition, Szczesny regularly entrusted Sagna with starting a new phase of possession as the goalkeeper opted to go short to Sagna – a nod to the Frenchman’s ability with the ball at his feet and Mertesacker’s cumbersome style. He could do little to prevent Drogba scoring his brace, with the former Chelsea man scoring a wonderful winner with three minutes remaining.
Can Arsenal win the Premier League title?
When asked if he seriously thought his current Arsenal squad could win the Premier League following a 2-2 draw with Napoli on Saturday, an indignant Wenger replied, “Of course”. While it would be foolish to expect Wenger to show anything less than utmost loyalty to his Gunners squad, the Frenchman needs to strengthen. Arsenal’s open pursuit of Suárez shows that Wenger recognises the need to sign a finisher capable of producing Robin van Persie-like goal stats. In midfield, the axis of Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere is a formidable proposition for any Premier League side. It’s Wenger’s defence that needs reinforcing as Napoli exposed its lack of pace on Saturday, while the Gunners failed to contain a rejuvenated Drogba. The full-back positions are a weak spot following the injury woes of Kieran Gibbs and Sagna in recent seasons. Can Jenkinson step up to the mark? Ignasi Miquel is not someone Wenger will want to rely on should injury ravage his back four this season. The Spaniard conceded two cheap fouls in a 20-minute cameo, including the penalty which led to Drogba’s equaliser. Meanwhile, Mertesacker struggled to shift his momentum to prevent Drogba’s winner. Swansea City’s Ashley Williams is one name that has been linked with the north London side, and while Sagna looked capable at centre-half, the Welsh defender could provide further competition – and cover – for the likes of Koscielny, Mertesacker and Thomas Vermaelen. Overall, Arsenal are still short of one or two quality signings to help bridge the gap between them and Chelsea and the two Manchester clubs.