Welcome to my Arsenal blog for the 2015/16 season; here you can check out my thoughts on the current goings on at the club.
Latest News: Arsenal draw 3-3 with Liverpool, goals came from Ramsey and Giroud (x2) - match thoughts to come!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Wilshere scores two as Arsenal beat Marseille

Arsenal maintained their lead at the top of their Champions League group with a convincing 2-0 win over Marseille. Jack Wilshere grabbed both on a night he showed his confidence was ever improving. The Gunners made the French side look like a distinctly average side and they hardly caused any sort of threat all night. Dortmund also beat Napoli meaning we now only require a point to be guaranteed a place in the last sixteen. As for the starting line-up there were a few changes made. Kieran Gibbs missed the game through illness so Nacho Monreal made only his second start of the campaign. Meanwhile Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini replaced Cazorla and Arteta respectively.
Jack Wilshere scored the first brace of his career as Arsenal beat Marseille
Despite winning pretty comfortably, it was one of those games in which the players and Wenger himself came away from the game with one regret, and that was that we didn't score as many goals as we would've liked. Marseille's defence was pretty poor and it could've been 4 or 5. Mesut Ozil missed the chance to regain some form as he missed a penalty. It was a stuttered run-up and a surprisingly poor penalty from a German. Meanwhile, before that, Aaron Ramsey missed a chance from close range. If the challenge on Mertesacker on Saturday was anything to go by then Giroud could've had a penalty too after being dragged to the floor in the first half.

I picked up on Jack Wilshere's fine performance against Southampton at the weekend by saying that we're finally getting to see him at his best this season. He scored two very fine goals on Tuesday night which is bound to give him new found confidence. The first came just 27 seconds into the game. A ball was put down the right channel for Wilshere to run onto, he then cut inside before clipping the ball into the far corner in what was a brilliant finish. His second was the product of a brilliant piece of build-up play which resulted in Ozil sliding the ball across goal for the English midfielder to tap home. Wilshere now has 4 goals this season, the most he's scored in a single campaign, definitely something to get excited about.

Another positive from a pretty productive night for the Gunners was Wojciech Szczesny. He didn't have much to do but when called upon put in a convincing display. In the second half when Marseille looked a little livelier, he pulled off two brilliant stops to deny Thauvin from scoring and putting the visitors back into the game. The Polish keeper has put in some brilliant displays this season, Crystal Palace up there as one of the best, to further assert himself as our number one. He had a spell last season on the sidelines in which Fabianski took his place and it looked as though his position was under threat. However he's come back stronger than ever and only conceding one goal this month outlines that.

Wojciech Szczesny's form hasn't half been helped by the formidable pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny. Arsenal's back four have only conceded once this month, whilst Per Mertesacker, because he missed the United game, hasn't conceded in the whole month of November for Arsenal and Germany. A quite incredible record. Nacho Monreal came in as mentioned earlier and he did a stern job and looked fairly solid, albeit he wasn't exactly tested until Valbuena and Thauvin came on.

We now look fairly certain to qualify having amassed 12 points from 4 games so far in the so called 'Group of Death'. We're sitting pretty at the top of our group with Dortmund and Napoli both behind on 9 points each. However, if Napoli are to beat us in Naples next time out then they'll need to win by a margin of three points in order to knock us out of the competition. That's if Dortmund some how lose to Marseille on the final match day.

Before that though is a game in the Welsh capital against Cardiff City at the weekend. They've been fairly good at home this season and have beaten Manchester City and recently this weekend, managed to grind out a draw against Manchester United. It won't be an easy game but it's still one that I'm expecting us to win if we want to go on and really challenge for the Premier League title.

The teams lineups:
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere(74), Ramsey, Rosicky(74), Ozil(81), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Arteta(81), Cazorla(74), Gnabry, Walcott(74), Bendtner.

Marseille: Mandanda, Abdallah, N'Koulou, Mendes, Morel, Lemina(81), Romao, Imbula(57), Ayew(57), Khalifa, Gignac.
Subs: Samba, Diawara, Mendy, Fanni, Cheyrou(81), Thauvin(57), Valbeuna(57).

My man of the match: Jack Wilshere.

Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (ESP).
Attendance: 59,912.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Giroud at the double as Arsenal beat Southampton

Arsenal made a return to action following the international break and it couldn't have got much better for the Gunners. Olivier Giroud capitalised on a howler from Boruc before firing home from the penalty spot to seal a 2-0 win at the Emirates. With Liverpool dropping points earlier in the day, the win sent us 4 points clear at the top of the table as we bounced back in convincing fashion, following our defeat at the hands of Manchester United last time out. The line-up saw Per Mertesacker and Tomas Rosicky return to the squad following illness whilst Theo Walcott also featured following a two month lay-off with an abdominal injury.
Olivier Giroud scored twice as Arsenal beat Southampton
The match was one that was expected to be quite a tough one. Southampton had been rock solid at the back this season and had one of the best records in Europe. The way they conceded both their goals was very ironic though in the fact that it was two basic errors that cost them the game. Artur Boruc auditioned for Strictly Come Dancing with some very weird footwork. Instead of smashing the ball up field he tried a combination of flicks and drag-backs in an attempt to avoid Giroud. However the Polish keeper was made to look stupid as the Frenchman stole in to open the scoring. Southampton were lacking Dejan Lovren through illness and it was evident that he was a key loss. They didn't look as assured as they had this season at the back and a rush of blood from Fonte allowed us to score a second. Per Mertesacker, a man in form having scored against England for Germany in the week, had his shirt pulled back from a corner, resulting in a penalty. Arteta was off the field so it was up to Giroud who confidently found the net. It was refreshing to see Giroud back on the score-sheet in the league having been through a bit of dip in form over the past few months.

Mesut Ozil showed signs that his form was returning as he created one or two chances and managed to fire in the odd shot. Santi Cazorla didn't provide the sparkle we're so used to seeing from the Spaniard though. The effects of traveling out to Guinea and South Africa for friendlies with Spain was clearly evident. Mathieu Flamini was missing through suspension but with Arteta filling the hole there wasn't really much to worry about. Once again, I think we're better when Arteta accompanies Ramsey or Wilshere, instead of Flamini.

Onto Ramsey and Wilshere and they both heavily impressed. Wilshere more so than we've been used to this season. He featured heavily on international duty for England, starting against Chile and then coming on as a sub against Germany. He looked like a revived player on Saturday though. His passing was more crisper and his brilliant driving runs that we've been so used to seeing were as good as ever. When Jack's in the mood it helps the team so much. Wenger recently said that Wilshere's best position was in the deep lying role and that's where he was more or less playing against Southampton. He drifted a bit out wide with Ramsey also in the squad but his runs from deep allowed us to dictate the tempo of the game to our advantage.

Our defence though were extremely solid again. Koscielny was sent off and gave away a penalty on international duty but that didn't seem to affect his confidence when he returned to club action. His partnership with Mertesacker is really beginning to become a force to be reckoned with. We've only conceded one goal this month in 5 games which was in the defeat to United. Considering it's the position we're lacking the most depth in its probably just as well really that we're not having troubles in that department.

Next up is Marseille in the Champions League at the Emirates. We comfortably beat them 2-1 away from home last time out and we haven't really had many troubles when up against the French side in recent meetings. However, this is the Champions League, and despite Marseille not really having a chance of qualifying they'll still be a tough side to break down. Theo Walcott is still to make his proper comeback following a substitute appearance against his old club which is something to get excited about ahead of Tuesday's game.

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta(74), Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil(81), Cazorla(70), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Monreal(81), Rosicky(74), Gnabry, Walcott(70), Bendtner.

Southampton: Boruc, Clyne Hooiveld, Fonte, Shaw(45), Schneiderlin, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, Lallana(53), Rodriguez, Lambert.
Subs: Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Chambers, Reed, Davis(46), Gallagher, Osvaldo(53).

My man of the match: Olivier Giroud.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg.
Attendance: 60,007. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Arsenal's Youngsters: Gedion Zelalem

For the third article in my 'Arsenal's Youngster's' series, I just want to first follow up from my last post in this series where I focused a bit on Jon Toral. Since then he's earned rave reviews about his future and is showing how much of a special talent he is. Providing he stays clear of injury, he should develop well this season. Since he's returned from injury he has scored 4 goals and also assisted 4, backing up my points from the last post indicating how much of a threat he is going forward and in front of goal. I fully expect to see him fighting for a place in the Cup competitions come next season.

For this article though, I'll be focusing on another one of our talented players from our crop of midfielders in the form of Gedion Zelalem. He is only sixteen years of age which is quite incredible. He's a man that recently just passed his GCSE's. I'm also 16 and have also just done my GCSE's a few months back. That just puts things into context at how good Zelalem is. Scout Danny Karbassiyoon, a former player before having to retire through injury, is the man to thank for this wonderful player's discovery. Karbassiyoon spotted him playing for Olney Rovers over in America and a deal was agreed in principle for him to join the Gunners when he turned 16 in January of 2013. The gifted midfielder is eligible to play for 3 nations. Germany, the country he was born in, Ethiopia, the country of his father, and finally the United states due to him being raised there when he was growing up.

Gedion Zelalem is one of Arsenal's brightest young talents

Gedion is, according to many people at Arsenal, the biggest thing at the club since a certain Cesc Fabregas. That is clear to see, his passing is absolutely brilliant and his vision and the weight of passes in which he plays through are comparative as to that of Cesc himself. He is incredibly assured on the ball for someone that is so young, his play would suggest he's been playing at a high level all his life though. Zelalem played a few times last season and although initially struggling on a physical level, his passing shone out. In the process he earned the praise of team mate Chuba Akpom who said he was the best player he'd played with up to that point in his career.

This season though has been quite a painful one for the German. He's only played a solitary one game in an U18 fixture before missing the rest of season with injury. He's starting to come back now though which is encouraging news. He played quite a big role on the club's pre-season tour of Asia. He played in every single game and had an impact on most occasions. He provided an assist for a Theo Walcott goal against Nagoya before playing a part in Akpom's second goal against Vietnam. Zelalem was to then play his first senior game at the Emirates during the Emirates Cup where he was an unused sub against Napoli and then a used one against Galatasaray. Finally he was also a sub when we thoroughly beat Man City in our final game before the new season.

How good he'll be when he matures only time will tell. If his performances so far and the high regards that are held throughout the club are anything to go by then this young man will become a star of the future. The fact that he was named on the bench against Tottenham outlines the fact that Wenger holds him in such high regard. He is a hugely gifted player and it will be very exciting to see how far and well his career goes. Providing anything traumatic doesn't happen, Gedion Zelalem will be a first team player at the club for years to come.

                        Video of Zelalem's performance against Nagoya in pre-season:

Monday, 11 November 2013

Arsenal suffer league slip up with defeat to United

Arsenal traveled to Manchester United as slight favourites, however after tough games against Liverpool and Dortmund it was a tough order to expect us to go there and put in a brilliant performance. Although we dominated possession it was United who found the net and it ended the Gunners remarkable run of 15 games unbeaten away from home. It was yet another pain staking defeat to our bitter rivals Man United which was made worse by van Persie scoring and then celebrating as though he'd won the Premier League itself. So much for being respectful to the team that had made him what he is today. Arsenal were forced into making 2 late changes which didn't help their cause. Rosicky and key man Per Mertesacker missed the game through illness so Flamini and club captain Thomas Vermaelen replaced them.
Bacary Sagna was Arsenal's best player on a frustrating evening
Had you offered me 2 wins from 3 games against Liverpool, Dortmund and Manchester United before we'd played them then I would quite happily have taken that. I'm still taking it now but only because we've played so well for the majority of the season. It was a hugely frustrating performance and we still haven't won at Old Trafford since 2008. That needs to change soon and even with out Sir Alex, United still managed to conquer us.

Looking at the squads the key battle was to be van Persie and Rooney against Koscielny and Vermaelen. Vermaelen hasn't played much football of late and he's been questioned over whether he can still perform to an adequate standard in an Arsenal shirt. He more than showed that in this fixture though. Zonal marking was the reason we conceded our goal from a corner. Why we can't do man marking is absolutely beyond me, the idea of marking a zone sounds ridiculous in my opinion. Vermaelen could have got more tighter to van Persie but he wasn't really to blame for the defeat. Overall he put in a decent shift and showed solidarity at the heart of the defence with Koscielny. Mertesacker was a huge loss and may have been patrolling the area in which United scored from. However, Koscielny and Vermaelen have showed us twice this season that they can both play together effectively. To have only conceded one goal in 3 games against Liverpool, Dortmund and Man United is pretty good going by any teams standards.

Two players I have noticed that can't play quite as well together though are Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. In our previous 2 games in which Flamini was out injured Arteta has done a fantastic job of covering the defence and distributing the ball. More of an attacking player in his Everton days, he's more than showed that he can do the defensive aspect of the game well too. However when he's played with Flamini we don't seem to have played as well. It restricts us a little bit going forward because Arteta isn't quite as used to going further forward whilst Flamini stays back. Another man this affects is Aaron Ramsey. He's been average at best when played out on the right and in future if we are to play Arteta and Flamini as our holding players then Ramsey should unfortunately stay on the bench. Because of our recent performances I think that Arteta and Ramsey should be the ones playing just in front of the defence.

Yesterday we also saw Ozil pretty much non existent. Many will be afraid to say it because of his price tag but he didn't seem to show up yesterday. Players weren't making the runs in behind and he had little space to work his magic, credit to United for that but Giroud was also very isolated and we hardly created any chances. It was the first time we've failed to score in a League game this season which just outlines that factor. With the amount of creativity and talent we have in midfield it was rather worrying to see us hardly create anything. To focus on Ozil once more though, I think he has missed Walcott deeply. I picked up on it last week in which I said that he isn't going to be at his best until people start running in behind. The man to do that is Theo Walcott. That's why Ozil was able to provide so many opportunities for Ronaldo at Real Madrid and why they had such a potent relationship. He showed his worth when he first arrived but he's been a bit quiet recently. You can't expect him to be playing amazingly well all the time though, he is human after all!

Anyway, despite all those negatives, there are things to be positive about. We're still top of the league by 2 points which I would never have imagined after our opening day defeat. Other positives included the continued improvement of Bacary Sagna, he dealt well with any attacks down the left hand side and also put in some fantastic crosses. Two were teased in which on another day would've come off a player and found the back of the net. Serge Gnabry came on a little later than many Arsenal fans had wanted but he looked lively as always and gave us a different dimension of pace, something that we'd been crying out for during the game. It was a frustrating game but there's still lots to look forward to when the players return after the international break. Theo Walcott will be back and we have a nice run of games to get some more points on the board.

The teams lineups:

Manchester United: De Gea, Smalling, Vidic(45), Evans, Evra, Valencia, Jones, Carrick, Kagawa(77), Rooney, van Persie(85).
Subs: Lindegaard, Cleverley(45), Fellaini(85), Giggs(77), Januzaj, Nani, Hernandez. 

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Arteta(83), Flamini(62), Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla(78), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Monreal, Hayden, Wilshere(62), Gnabry(83), Bendtner(78).

My man of the match: Bacary Sagna. 

Referee: Michael Oliver.
Attendance: 75,138.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Ramsey goal seals famous win in Dortmund

Aaron Ramsey continued his somewhat ridiculous run of form as Arsenal sent a message out to the rest of Europe as they beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in their own back yard. In what was a nervy but controlled game Ramsey popped up just after the hour mark to ensure Arsenal remained top of their Champions League group. Following on from the Gunners win over Liverpool at the weekend, this week was only getting for Arsenal, as an unchanged line-up from the weekend boosted by a fit Kieran Gibbs having limped off injured at the weekend, managed to make Dortmund look pretty average for most parts of the game. Wilshere and Flamini remained injured but that didn't seem to matter as we comfortably ran out victors in the end.
Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker played a vital role in Arsenal's win
Arsenal have done what no other English club has done before, beaten Germany's top two teams, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund at their own grounds. Both done in the same year and only having lost 3 games between them. This was a massive statement and after the victory at the weekend reminded the doubters that Arsenal are in fact the real deal and not a team to be taken lightly.

The biggest reason for Arsenal's win yesterday, was because of two men, Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal's defence has come under a lot of scrutiny in recent seasons but two clean sheets in 2 games against Suarez, Sturridge, Lewandowski and Reus just highlighted how far our centre back pairing of Mertesacker and Koscielny have come recently. It's no wonder they're keeping club captain Thomas Vermaelen out of the starting line-up.

They have been extremely solid of late and the combination of height (Mertesacker) and pace (Koscielny) complements the two of them perfectly. Both of them were very calm and composed last night which wore off on the rest of the team and allowed them to get the job done in what was a massive night in the Champions League. Mertesacker is usually one of the most calmest defenders out there but Koscielny is known for being a little rash and throwing himself into the tackles but in the past few weeks he's added a calmness to his game which has only improved him.

Mertesacker is most often taken a dig at by neutrals because he's extremely slow. However his reading of the game and his interceptions are up there with the best defenders in the game. The tall German has had some of the best strikers in the world in his back pocket recently as has Koscielny. The Frenchman, again criticised for being too inconsistent has been brilliant in 2013. He had a great pre-season but then lost his form a little bit in my opinion in the first few games of the campaign. However he's come back brilliantly and his burst of pace has been useful when getting us out of tricky situations at the back. The cost a combined £16.5m which makes the fact they're doing so well even sweeter.

Another player that caught the eye against Dortmund was a former player of theirs in Tomas Rosicky. Plagued with injuries during his time at Arsenal when he has played he's been a very useful player. He was signed in 2006 and over the past few hours has rediscovered the form he was first in when he came to Arsenal. He's a hugely underrated player and against Dortmund he was running everywhere. His work rate was brilliant, he continuously tracked back and would step in to make vital challenges when Dortmund were away on the counter. The way the Czech went about his business gave you the impression that he was 21 years old, not 33. He was the unsung hero of the game in a sense as he did all the dirty stuff well and played an important role out on the right hand flank.

As for Aaron Ramsey, the Welshman just can't stop scoring, his headed goal was a lovely bit of build-up play which led to Ozil crossing for Giroud to knock the ball into Ramsey who found the net for his 11th of the season. A remarkable record and it's left pundits thinking he can go on to become as big a scorer as the likes of Frank Lampard.

This game will only give the team more confidence and for the first time in a while Arsenal will go into a game against Man United, which is at the weekend, looking like the favourites to win. If we can ask for one more massive performance than that would be great. A win over United would send statements out further and would surely leave the doubters with no other option but to finally take Arsenal seriously and see them as contenders domestically and abroad this season.

The teams lineups:

Dortmund: Weidenfeller, Grosskreutz, Subotic, Papastathopoulos, Schmelzer, Bender(75), Sahin, Blaszczykowski(75), Mkhitaryan, Reus(86), Lewandowski.
Subs: Langerak, Durm, Kirch, Kehl, Hofmann(75), Aubameyang(75), Schieber(86).

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky(90), Ozil, Cazorla(75), Giroud(90).
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen(90), Jenkinson, Monreal(75), Hayden, Gnabry, Bendtner(75). 

My man of the match: Per Mertesacker.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (NED)
Attendance: 65,829.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Arsenal go five points clear with win over Liverpool

Arsenal put in one of their best performances all season as they beat an inform Liverpool side 2-0 at the Emirates on Saturday. Two brilliant goals, one from Cazorla and one from Ramsey sealed what ended up as a comfortable win. With Chelsea having lost earlier it meant the Gunners went five points clear at the top of the Premier League. In terms of the Arsenal line-up there was one change as Rosicky replaced Flamini. Due to the extent of injuries we have, Chuba Akpom and Isaac Hayden were given places on the bench. Both have featured this season but didn't get a run out on this occasion as 3 defensive subs were made late on in order to preserve the lead.
Cazorla, Giroud and Gibbs celebrate Ramsey's goal and another Arsenal victory
Arsenal hadn't really played a supposed top team in the League up to now so this win proved their critics wrong and perhaps suggested that they were ready to challenge for the title. Every time Arsenal have lost this season we've bounced back with a win, a real test of the squad's character and shows how much of a tight knit group these bunch of players are. Having lost to Chelsea in the week, it was a real confidence boosting result with Dortmund in the week and Man United next weekend to come.

Arsenal dominated large periods of the game and the display was similar to that of the one against Napoli a few weeks back. Santi Cazorla's goal came at a timely moment. Arteta who had a brilliant game sent Sagna off down the right. His cross found Cazorla who headed the ball against the post and then finished the rebound off with a well controlled volley. Our second came from the man who has been a class apart from everyone else in the Premier League this season. Aaron Ramsey took one touch to set himself and then unleash an unstoppable effort into the back of the net for his tenth of the season. An incredible feat for someone who started last season in such poor form.

Despite the scorers putting in assured performances, Mikel Arteta put in a man of the match display. With Flamini missing again through injury the skipper took it upon himself to do what the Frenchman had done so well this season. His distribution of the ball and his ability to dictate the tempo of the game was excellent. He set up most of the attacks and lead a brilliant display of one or two touch passing which brought Arsenal so much time and space on the ball. Arteta's partnership with Aaron Ramsey was a formidable one and once again showed the array of midfield talent and the amount of options Wenger has in that department. 

The defence was also hugely encouraging. Criticised for being somewhat shaky at times they put in a hugely disciplined performance. Mertesacker and Koscielny made light work of the supposed best strike force in the League in Sturridge and Suarez as they looked miles from their best. Bacary Sagna, on his 250th appearance for the club put in a good performance and once more showed why he warrants a new contract.

Arsenal's win over Liverpool was extra impressive if you look at the long list of players still out injured. Missing yesterday was Wilshere, Flamini, Gnabry, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby, Podolski and Sanogo. A quite extraordinary run of bad luck in terms of injuries which means that surely we'll only get stronger when we have some of those players back. When Walcott is back a man that should benefit hugely from it is Mesut Ozil. Against Sunderland in Ozil's first game he slipped in Walcott on a few occasions so that's something to look forward to in the future.

A very good start to a potentially tricky week for Arsenal which should bring them huge confidence going to Germany in the week to play Dortmund, and then the current holders of the Premier League in Manchester United next weekend. One things for certain though, going into the next international break, the Gunners will be on top of the league.

The teams lineups:

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs(78), Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky(72), Ozil, Cazorla(84), Giroud.
Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen(78), Jenkinson(84), Monreal(72), Hayden, Akpom, Bendtner.

Liverpool: Mignolet, Toure, Skrtel, Sakho, Flanagan(68), Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Cissokho(45), Sturridge, Suarez.
Subs: Jones, Agger, Kelly, Allen, Coutinho(45), Moses(68), Sterling.

My man of the match: Mikel Arteta.

Referee: Martin Atkinson.
Attendance: 60,042.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Arsenal's Youngsters: Hector Bellerin & Jon Toral

A few weeks back I started a new series on my blog, in which I'm taking a look into the players that could well become Arsenal's future stars. The first one saw me feature Kris Olsson and for the second in this series I will be taking a look into two players. Both of them are closely linked with each other. They are 18 year old Spaniards, Hector Bellerin and Jon Toral.

Both signed from Barcelona in the summer of 2011, Bellerin and Toral are tipped to become stars at Arsenal in the future. 16 year old's at the time of signing for the club, it had a bit of a Cesc Fabregas theme to it, whether they'll become as big a player as Cesc himself remains to be seen. Their moves came about as a bit of a surprise to them, especially to Hector. He was due to sign a new contract with Barcelona but instead Arsenal came calling and he decided to sign for the Gunners. His decision had been made easier by Toral who had already signed for us, wanting to prove himself in the country in which his mother is from. Jon is half Spanish and English so the switch from Spain to England was a fairly simple one.
Arsenal's Spanish duo; Bellerin and Toral
Hector Bellerin is more of a modern day right back, an attacking one which makes his style of football such an attractive one. He's had more of an impact so far at Arsenal than his compatriot Toral. He starred in the U21 side last season and had a successful campaign in the NextGen series. He played 21 times last season including 6 substitute appearances. He also managed to bag himself 4 goals proving that not just is he good in defence but he's also good in attack. He can also play at right wing which just proves his ability down that right hand side. He was named on the bench in the first team twice last season in the League Cup as he watched Arsenal beat Reading and Coventry. However his first team chance came this season as he came on against West Brom for Mikel Arteta in extra time. He came on in central midfield, a role not usually associated with him but he did well and almost scored a goal.

Onto Jon Toral who is as equally talented as Hector. Jon plays in midfield and his game can be compared to the likes of Frank Lampard. His game is very similar and he also scores goals when presented with the opportunities. He is a left footed player and has great vision with an eye for goal as mentioned. He had a good first half of the season last term but his opportunities to develop were hindered through injury. Something which has seemed to be a problem since arriving at the club. Still, last season he played 17 times + 1 sub appearance scoring 6 goals. Arsenal's first team midfield is jam packed with great talent and so is the reserve squad. Eisfeld, Zelalem, Olsson and Toral himself are all battling it out for regular starting places in Steve Gatting's side.

Both players clearly have the talent and look as though they should have successful careers. Bellerin I'm certain will become a regular in the Arsenal side when he grows older. He'll only get better and Wenger clearly sees his talent having put him on the bench a few times in the League Cup. His battle with Jenkinson for the right back spot in future campaigns could be an exciting one. As for Toral his future is less from certain. He is a gifted midfielder, something that Arsenal have a lot of. However if he stays clear of injuries and continues to impress I'm sure he'll be able to work his way up into the first team.

                                      Video of Hector Bellerin in action for Arsenal: