Good morning, boys and girls.
Reports today say – and I emphasise; REPORTS – Arsenal have moved to secure a deal with Montpellier for Olivier Giroud. The fee is alleged to be in the region of £13m, with Chamakh a likely part of any deal. Of course, as you’d expect; Arsenal signing another forward automatically has the papers going into stories about how he’s a replacement for Robin van Persie, but I don’t think that has to be the case.
Arsenal have lacked depth in attack for quite some time. Podolski’s versatility means he can be deployed on the left side of a front three, or as the focal point of the attack. Giroud is a strong front man, and one who is good in the air. If Robin stays, we’d be looking healthy upfront with a triumvirate like that, but they would all be left footed. I’d like to think we are adding to the team – assuming it’s true – instead of buying to replace. Giroud looks to be an excellent striker, and he’d be a welcome addition.
That’s the main transfer news. On to the England game last night.
I was impressed. Yes, England certainly lack the technical edge you’d say Germany or Spain have. However, the organisation of the team, and the shape, played to the strengths they do have. England are not going to beat teams by trying to out pass them, but as a solid unit with the occasional burst of pace in attack, they’ll certainly be difficult to break down. France were universally considered favourites for the match, but at no point did I feel they truly controlled the game. Up until Lescott scored, England looked the better team, and with a bit more cutting edge up front, they could have comfortably beaten them.
I’m remiss to refer to England as ‘we’, as that’s something I reserve for talking about the Arsenal. I’ll just call them ‘England’. The whole ‘we’ thing doesn’t sit right with me when talking about the national team. So ‘England’ could surprise a few people. I’m not going to get swept away with false euphoria, though. It was a good, solid team performance, and one that can certainly be built on. Having watched Sweden and Ukraine this evening, I’ve not seen much from either to suggest the group isn’t there for the taking.
It was a surprise, but a welcome one, to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain get the nod on the left side of midfield. Although it’s not real a position in which he can flourish, he stuck to his task gamely, and showed the odd burst of his talent – at one point he skinned two of the French midfielders and set off towards goal in the blink of an eye. The kid has bags of talent, and I love how modest and grounded he is. I don’t think he’ll be affected by any of the hype that surrounds him. He’ll continue to go about his play in a sensible way.
His addition to the starting line up made me all the more interested by the Euros. I can’t lie to you, delicious reader; where once lied an unabashed sense of disinterest, now resides a genuine happiness and intrigue for the tournament. I’m starting to enjoy it, and I hope England can go far and do well. Roy Hodgson should be commended for keeping things simple and playing to what his players can do well.
That’s all for today. Thanks for reading, you lovely people. Take a moment to comment below and share some of your thoughts on the game. You can follow my Twitter account @_ArmchairGooner