Arsenal set for REUNION with old hero, while Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo emerge as SHOCK starters for Manchester City clash

Bac’s back and the real importance of Arsenal vs Manchester City


Hello and welcome, from me to you, once again here on Gunners Town. I trust this post finds you well. Should it not, fear not my friend, for what light on yonder window breaks? It is the Community Shield, and Arsenal is the sun.

That’s right ladies and gents. We finally get to see our beloved Arsenal play this weekend against some top-level opposition in what is our final “friendly” of the pre-season, and this particular match-up will be quite interesting for a number of reasons.

Bac’s back.

This weekend we see our dearly departed, adequately replaced and only recently-absent Bacary Sagna.

It was but two months ago that he had officially left the club on a free. Time flies eh? I had to do a double-take as well upon seeing that number. Not surprising tho, given all that’s happened with the world cup and the minions of mayhem taking over our transfer policy. We’ve been quite spoilt this summer as supporters, and Sunday promises to be a vivid reminder of how horrible Bac looks in blue. It just isn’t his colour.

His reception will be an interesting one. I don’t see him getting any of the kind of stick reserved for the previously Manc’d (Emmanuel Adebayor, Samir Nasri and, to a lesser extent, Gael Clichy). I have a feeling it’ll be a warm one for him, perhaps including a healthy round of applause, for one of two reasons.

Numero Uno – We had him for his best of times, during our worst of times.

For a right back of his quality to have been in our squad on such a consistent basis, during some of the leaner years of our Arsenal history, should not be forgotten. Our former Frenchman is now well over 30 and has decided to go to a team that will be paying him more than we ever would, that will be making him play far less for them than we would have had him play for us throughout the season (thereby prolonging his career to some extent), and that will be viewed to the unbiased-eye as more likely to win something this year.

That last one is a hard one for me to swallow, but it’s the truth. We’re new to the whole “building a squad with superstars, not making all the superstars ourselves” thing. City have been doing it for a number of seasons (it’s the only way they can get the superstars) and I don’t in any way blame Bac for wanting to take an opportunity like that in what is certainly to be his final big contract of his career.

#2 – Mr Professionalism Incarnate.sagna

This here is the main reason I see Bac’s return going down like a fine wine, as opposed to the barrel of rancid piss it might have been. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that during any game that he put on the Arsenal Shirt, he gave us everything he had as a player.

Bacary Sagna embodied the kind of passion on the field we as fans are always guilty of baying for. How many times have we heard the words “he doesn’t look interested” about one or two players on either side when that side isn’t doing well? How many times has that been levelled in his direction?

Not a single solitary time, that’s how many.

Sagna bled Arsenal red-and-white in his time here, and I’d like to believe his blood still runs red a little red, and for that he has my respect and will receive a clap from my quiet little corner of the world.

Stiff Competition

Let us not forget that this particular team that we’ll be playing won the Premier League last season. Sure, they too have some players only recently back from the World Cup, but part of our squad is only getting back the day after our game (and a fairly important part at that).

We’ll be taking this squad, with its additions, and pitting them against last year’s champions. That’s nothing to be sniffed at.

Now, I don’t expect it to be an amazingly riveting game, and I don’t expect everything to flow for the team quite as well as we’d like it to, but I do expect our players to be up for it and I do expect us to be attempting to address our failures in games like this last season. It’s a short wait from this Sunday to next week Saturday, so we shouldn’t be too far off of where we need to be next week.

Finally, the Arsenal. What will we do?


Finally, and most importantly, this weekend offers us the opportunity to see Arsene Wenger’s thinking of what our best team will be for the start of the new season.

The problem with having so many great players (they are great, aren’t they?) is that those great players also play well for their respective countries. The lateness of the World Cup will have a serious effect on who will get to start not only this game, but the next one as well.


I have a funny feeling that we’ll line up more in lieu of the way we did against Benfica at the weekend than we did against Monaco. I would not be surprised at all to see a front three of Joel Campbell, Yaya Sanogo and Alexis Sanchez. I think, based on the fitness levels, that we’ll largely surrender possession in this game and be a lot more counter-attacking. Calum Chambers in the middle again alongside Laurent Koscienly with Mathieu Debuchy and Kieran Gibbs.

Where I do wonder a little about the team will be midfield. Aaron Ramsey’s a nailed-on starter, and I suspect Mikel Arteta will start too, but who will join them in midfield? Santi Cazorla? Jack Wilshere? Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?

On the flip side, Wenger might start with Olivier Giroud with the end goal in mind that “the best way to get him fit it to play him”, with a view to getting Sanogo used to his upcoming role for this season. The 60-minute substitution to play against tiring defenders. (Believe me, with wide options this season like Campbell, Chamberlain, Sanchez and Theo Walcott that they’ll need to cover and mark, they will be tired).

The game against City is interesting not just for the questions it asks of the Team, but also for the questions it answers of the manager’s thinking for the start of the season. If Sanogo starts, I’d be willing to put money on him starting against Crystal Palace.

All of this doesn’t mention a thing about the possibility of Sanchez starting up front for us!

Before I go, I’d just like to leave you with this lovely quote from the manager yesterday in his press conference during Members Day when asked about Frank Lampard’s loan move to City.

“If you look at a map, the shortest way from Chelsea to Manchester City is not to fly to New York first” – Arsene Wenger

There’s a fire in that man’s belly, and it’s burning its way to my heart.

As always, keep it classy Arsenal fans.


2 Responses to Arsenal set for REUNION with old hero, while Joel Campbell and Yaya Sanogo emerge as SHOCK starters for Manchester City clash

  1. COYG August 8, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    Nice article, but Sagna is not in the Man City squad for the Community Shield, so we’ll have to wait for City’s visit in the league to see what kind of reception he gets. I doubt he’ll get the full Adebayor, Nasri, RvP treatment, but I doubt he’ll get the Henry/Vieira treatment either. He gave us great service, and came back from breaking his leg twice, which is an achievement in itself. I don’t think he deserves to be booed, but as he left us to join a rival who offered him an obscene amount of money (£150k p/w for a back up full back in his 30s ffs) and a longer contract he doesn’t deserve a hero’s reception either, I’ll remain silent if he plays against us. I’m sad he left, but think we have got a good replacement in Debuchy and I thought Bellerin played well in the emirates cup.

  2. VE7 August 8, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

    Nice article. But like COYG said I don’t expect him to get a heroes welcome but also doesn’t totally deserve the boos either… a nice round of applause for a good servant and committed player should be just fine. And then we move on.

    It’s interesting that no one’s mentioned Cesc and what reception he’ll get. In my book Cesc is not arsenal hero either in fact I don’t think he deserves to be called an arsenal great like some call him. He screwed us in that game against Barca away h that suicide back heel pass assist to messi while in arsenal colors and ppretty much sulkearsenal e whole time before his move to barca and just to prove he’s not exactly the loyal type of player he left barca even when they wanted to keep him and decided to join Chelsea…helsea ou big rivals like a slap to wengers face and arsenal…iI think he’ll be getting the adebayor boos when he comes to the Emirates a big adebayor boos.

    Also going off topic is like to know what other gunners think about who should take on the mantle of being our captain once and if Vermaelen leaves. I personally think Rosicky should be made captain and Arteta and BFG continue their role as assistant captains. I think other than diaby and Walcott, Rosicky has been the longest at the club and looks set to end his playing career with us and all this year’s he’s never once said he wanted to leave and anytime he plays he gives 100p and he’s aleader on the ppitch. And he has a great relationship and trust with Wenger I think he should be the perfect replacement. I mean if we can let a player like vermealen come in from Ajax andbe captain for us for 4yrs ahead of players who have been here and serves longer eg sagna rosicky theo

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