First team return for pre-season training – pictures

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The St Totteringham’s Day hangover may still be fresh in the memory but for some first team members the summer holiday is over and pre-season has begun.

The manicured lawns of London Colney are covered in cones, the lads are slipping into GPS sports bras like there’s no tomorrow and Shad Forsyth is frothing with excitement at the prospect of making grown men sweat their balls off.

Obviously, with the European Championships still in full swing and the dust only recently settling on the latest Copa America there are a fair few absentees, however, the likes of Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, Mohamed Elneny and the BFG are all in attendance at the training ground. As is Mathieu Debuchy and a host of youngsters including The Jeff.

Arsenal London Colney 2016
London Colney looking crisp after a new lick of paint
Wenger Jonker 2016
Arsene stares into the distance as Andries bigs up Sanogo
Yaya Sanogo 2016
Yaya Sanogo is released into the wild
Chambers Elneny Adelaide 2016
The Jeff plays it cool for the cameras
Akpom Iwobi Adelaide 2016
Akpom, Iwobi and The Jeff share a laugh (possibly at Yaya’s expense)
Steve Bould 2016
Steve wants to break something…anything.
Per Mertesacker 2016 pre-season
Mertesacker takes a break from cheering on Germany

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Axel
Axel

Yaya the Sanogo unleashed

Ben
Ben

Can’t wait to see the injection of talent Charlton has given him *fingers crossed*

IamaGoober

Ah.. a snap of Walcott jogging there.. he must of just lost the ball in a training match, and the other team are streaking down the pitch in a counter attack.

Ken
Ken

I just have a few questions like where is Wellington Silva??? Doesn’t he already have a work permit so now he could play for arsenal? So where is he why is he not in pre season or did we sell him already and we don’t know? I don’t care about sanago…. We need to see what Wellington is made of!

Ken
Ken

Please arseblog ask arsenal about Wellington Silva? What is up with him? And what about Samuel Galindo? Where are our players anybody remember Galindo quality left foot tall where is he?

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

Galindo is long gone.

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

What’s your beef with Wellington?

AmericanGooner11
AmericanGooner11

Bould wants to break something? Let’s send him to the Spurs training ground for a… consultation.

aaron
aaron

Give it a few weeks first so Harry’s back in training

A Different George
A Different George

I actually thought Bould was spending the summer helping Didier Deschamps:

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heihaci
heihaci

Not sure what Arsene sees in Sanogo?
Did he tear it up at Ajax and for Charlton?

Lula da Gilberto
Lula da Gilberto

Its all going to come together under the sano-asano partnership which will tear up the league.

YoungGooner
YoungGooner

Shhhhh. “Project Asa-no-goals” is still top secret and waiting to be unleashed on or opponents. Do not speak of it, it’s like fight club.

Morbius
Morbius

Theo looks well toned

David Hillier's luggage
David Hillier's luggage

Tanned?

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

Nah that’s Gibbs
Or is that Ox? Can’t tell.

Just give one of them a yellow

Ox in the Box
Ox in the Box

Train hard, lads!

I for one wouldn’t be too sad if we didn’t buy a striker. I must be the only one in the world that has trust in Walcott and remembers his 2011-12 season when he was a world beater (and he didn’t leave Arsenal unlike others). He looked good when he had creative talent behind him, you can’t survive on Flamini’s passes if you are a runner…

More importantly, I would like for Sanogo and Akpom to be given a chance. One of the reasons i like Arsenal was how Arsene gives youth an opportunity, not because we buy like crazy bitches on amphetamines in discount season (read Man U)

Chinaman
Chinaman

We’d all love nothing better than to win the title with a Sanogo Asano combo… But the reality is that if we’ve to be the best then we need some of the best. Also need a mix of youth & experience. Splurge when the talent guarantees success (Read: Ozil, Sanchez, Cech)…

Ox in the Box
Ox in the Box

Agree, I just wanted to say we’re not short on numbers, best of the best strikers are staying put at their clubs, and buying Morata for 50 mio just doesn’t have sense when the guy isn’t producing the numbers… We need winger-playmaker more than a striker, Iwobi is the only one we have.

Ox in the Box
Ox in the Box

I think if Arsenal needs another player, it’s a playmaker on the wing. Mkhitarian (were we ever in for him?) was a bigger loss tnah Vardy. Can Akpom do the job? Don’t know, he is young and bound to be inconsistent, and Ox, as much as I love him, isn’t that kind of player and is more like Alexis in his direct approach. Draxler? Perišič? Maybe Kevin Kampl?

Arsepedant
Arsepedant

I would love to have Draxler on the team. Young, fast, tall, good finisher – ticks all the boxes. Plus he’s on record as wanting out of Wolfsburg.

Trez
Trez

Gotze or Fekir would be good alternative. Think Wenger will play one of Jack or Ramsey on the right.
The Mhikitaryan deal probably didn’t come off due to money.

Dan

What I remember about Theo is a lot more recent, last year even when he gave so many inept performances for the club. One particular example is him jumping out of the way to avoid a challenge at Sunderland. For me he exemplifies an average one dimensional player who is incredible lucky to play for a top side like Arsenal. Granted he’s given us a year and half of decent performances but that certainly isn’t enough or justifies him being paid his ludicrously lucrative wages. I’d be happy to see him leave, but I expect he will be given one more opportunity by Wenger this year. As for not buying a striker, who do we exactly have except Giroud? Welbeck is not an option this year, Theo isn’t an option upfront any year, while Akpom is too raw. Sanogo seriously, we’re Arsenal not Bournemouth, our aspiration is still to win the league, at least it should be. With all the other sides reinforcing It’s fundamental for us to sign a top striker and central defender.

Ox in the Box
Ox in the Box

Theo only works as a striker when he has people that can keep the ball and make chances for him, even Wenger said that much. When he has that he is briliant (think this year before injury), when he doesn’t, he is starved of chances. People forget he was injured for a while and came back in an insipid team that didn’t suit him at all.

Now that we have Cazorla, Ozil, Xhaka, Ramsey, Wilshere in midfield it makes absolutely no sense not to use him, or sell him for that matter.

Bould's Eyeliner
Bould's Eyeliner

It makes sense to sell him for a better option out wide if we can secure one. Your arguments are definitely valid, but I would suggest that we need someone better, regardless.

A world-class winger/playmaker would be able to not only fashion chances, but create space, and actually look like an offensive player, rather than a mannequin, regardless of who else is alongside him in the team. At the very least, be able to dictate the space around him on the pitch. Walcott possesses none of these qualities, hence needing chances fashioned for him to poach. Like indicated above, Walcott is a mid-table player, not one of world-class quality.

So, yeah, he should go if we find a better option, or better yet, just be kept on the bench, until he can prove that he’s no longer a kid and actually has the desire to win, not just pad his paycheck. Theo should not be afforded more ‘chances’, when his goalscoring directly reflects his happiness with his paycheck. We’ve had enough.

yankee wanker
yankee wanker

I think you’re both right. Despite the loss of Welbz, the arrival of Xhaka, a healthy Santi and the emergence of Iwobi (plus Rambo, Alexis, etc.) mean we have plenty of ammo to play on the break against world class opponents like Bayern or Barca. Giroud is crucial for playing against most Prem teams, when we dominate possession.

It would be ideal to have a player like Theo but who was more comfortable on the ball and could play either style. But unless someone offers 40m plus (his value in today’s market) for Theo, I think we’ll keep him for the time being.

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia
Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Why buy a central defender ? Chambers was very good in that position before Wenger started having other plans for him. Chambers should be given the opprtunity to play as a central defender in Capitol One cup. If he proves better than Gabriel then he should become third central defender and Gabriel fourth.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

I’d like an upgrade on Mertersacker though, for obvious reasons. Surprised he gets such a free pass when he’s clearly the weakest link in our back four. Having said that, I think Chambers deserved a chance last season considering Gabriel’s poor performances but he might end up going on loan for first team football. I expect Jenkinson to take his place as second choice right back too

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

You’re not the only one that remembers! Football fans in general tend to be fickle and have short memories though. The view on Theo isn’t balanced and he certainly doesn’t deserve the invective sent his way (most appalling of all by Arseblog themselves! I find it interesting that on this site Arteta and Mertesacker are adored and Giroud fiercely defended, while Walcott is essential the antichrist. But I digress ;)).

He’s a good player but not consistent enough to be a great/WC player, but that could still come. Regardless, we shouldn’t be selling him if it makes the squad weaker. Happy to bring in an upgrade though. Greizmann would have been ideal and Draxler would be an excellent signing too.

N.B. Anyone else notice how effective Giroud was alongside another striker? Imagine if that was Theo alongside him. Hmmm…

Mpls
Mpls

Imagine if defenses ever played a high line against us. Hmmm.

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Imagine if we attacked quickly and didn’t let defences settle into a neat and tidy two banks of four while we dilly-dally around passing between full back and centre back! Imagine if we pressed them high up the pitch! We might actually win the league. But first we need to dispel this insidious myth that teams only defend deep against us and us alone. It’s just nonsense and Arseblog shouldn’t encourage it!

Dan

And you may not be able to survive on Flamini passes but there’s no excuse when you’ve got Mesut Ozil the most creative player we’ve had since Bergkamp putting passes through for you to run on to.

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

Every season this happens. Hope springs eternal, and the disappointment in yesteryear flows along river time and over a cliff.

Objectivity goes out of the window, and suddenly we begin to hope that things that objectively have little chance of happening will suddenly happen. We then start to look at players we once derided as “there’s no reason why x player isn’t the solution again”

All of a sudden a player like Sanogo; completely out of his depths in every single loan spell he’s had (Ajax to a comical fashion) or either injured, we look at with a sense of hope and believe somehow he will be the answer and be our 30-goal striker.

Then Theo, a man who in his 10 years at arsenal, even at his very best, has never displayed the technical proficiency to be a world class player let alone a lone forward, will suddenly gain these elusive requirements and become the answer we need.

And then there’s Akpom. Now I like the kid, but honestly, even as an academy prospect as highly regarded as he was, wasn’t as highly regarded as Afobe, who still couldn’t make it for us. A kid who started off as first choice for Hull and quickly fell off the pecking order after returning little goals, will suddenly transform in 6-weeks of preseason training into the prolific goal scorer we’ve needed.

Every summer this happens. It’s quite magical.

SDB
SDB

thank god someone on here has some common sense. 100% agree.

Mpls
Mpls

Oh come now. There’s one comment about Sanogo and ‘giving him a chance’ and about hopes for Theo. A bit early and a bit of a leap to start making blanket statements about how ‘deluded’ everyone is.

Thing is, there IS fresh hope every season because we’ve always got half a chance. we’re fortunate to support a club that that is the case.

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

I suggest you read his comments again.
It wasn’t even for Sanogo to be given a chance, but for both Sanogo AND Akpom to be given a chance.

These are two players who had largely unsuccessful loan spells (I simply can’t stress just how bad Sanogo’s loan at Ajax was. It was so bad talented Ajax youth players threatened to leave at the injustice of him getting chances over them, it caused division in the coaching staff and the media made comical videos about his bambi-esque performances). Meanwhile Jon Toral, Birmingham Player of the Year, player’s player of the year and winner of goal of the season yet isn’t being given a chance.

I won’t even point out the mental gymnastics happening to make a case for why Theo indeed is great as a striker, to the point where Flamini’s passing is a reason why he wasn’t scoring).

Mpls
Mpls

Yes, but the operative word here is “His” – referring to one.

However, I did continue to read on below after making that comment and note more of them. Exuberance of youth perhaps?

I’ve fully admitted in the past (a bit in the past) to harboring faint hope Theo would find some kind of vein, but wages over time and wasted playing time someone else (Joel, anyone) might have done more with and I’m far past it. If he shocks me with sudden form, great. Maybe it’ll help his valuation. But I’d take the first reasonable offer over waiting for anything to happen. My money’s on him waiting out a Bosman though. It just seems fitting.

Dan
Dan

Let’s hope Walcott can do a vardy and fulfil his potential. He has shown in bits how good he can be. Sanogo did score lots of goals at youth level maybe it’s just the injuries he has sustained that have contributed to his loss of form but he is still young enough to succeed. Don’t know what’s going on with our striker search but I can bet it won’t be one of the ones being linked with us I suspect a xhaka like signing someone none of us has heard about but will get the job done

Aaron
Aaron

There’s been rumours today about Morata. Anyone wanna comment on that?

Chinaman
Chinaman

Thought I heard that one yesterday & the day before & the day before that & the day….

Hamzik robe
Hamzik robe

Yeah, sky sports reporting that Arsenal are willing to matched his wages but won’t pay £57m for his asking price.

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

Maybe it’s injuries or maybe he scored loads at youth level because he was/is such a physical specimen of strength, speed, and size so was able to impose himself on kids. But against adults, he’s been found out (common to happen to most prolific goal scorers at academy level).

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Walcott didn’t seem found out against United or Bayern at home this season. Or for the majority of his time at Arsenal if we’re being honest and objective. Or were you referring to Sanogo? Because you might have a point there…

Özorlexisey
Özorlexisey

New training kit looks great by the way!

sauce
sauce

Dammit! U beat me to it..

Also, with our shortage of options upfront we just cannot afford to sell theo just yet as he’s still capable of 2 or 3 good games a season..

ruelando

Nice seeing the players back at training, hope that we will be seeing 3 new faces in the squad soon, still have high hopes for Sanogo and Akpom dont think they will be in the final squad, probably need one year more on loan

James
James

Dan for you to say we will buy a striker of the calibre of granit xhaka e.g someone no one has ever heard off is pathetic anyone who knows anything about football outside of the epl will have heard of him he is a very good signing and will own the dm position once he is settled

Ron
Ron

Agreed. And he’ll be waiting until Walcot retires from the game to see him realise his ‘potential’.

gooner1981
gooner1981

Erm, Blogs? Shad is with the DFB for the Euros. Pretty sure I saw him cheering on Ozil and his teammates from the German bench

Eva
Eva

Yes, I think he’s here earlier this morning:
https://twitter.com/DFB_Team/status/750621503314624512

Ash
Ash

Will we see the Jeff tearing up and down the wings next season? I hope we get a good look at him in pre-season and he gets a few sub appearances or a loan so we can see him week in week out

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

I really like Jeff and feel he’s a huge talent, but I feel this is where players can feel aggrieved and some level of favouritism going on.

Jeff was very inconsistent last season and certainly wasn’t out stand out performer. So the fact on day 1 of preseason he’s added to the first team is kinda an indication that he was already earmarked to do so, regardless.

So if you were part of that under-21 last season and performed really hard, possibly better than Jeff, but yet not participating with the first team, you’re gonna ask yourself what you need to do to be given a chance.

It’s kinda what Afobe alluded to in his article for The Guardian earlier in the year.

Cornelius P. Snuffington III
Cornelius P. Snuffington III

It’s almost as if maybe – just maybe – Wenger spends more time with these players than you do, sees more of their strengths and weaknesses than you do, and understands better how they fit into his desired tactics than you do. Another variable is the positions that are available in the first team.

Stewart Robson's therapist
Stewart Robson's therapist

Don’t loan Chambers! Sell Gabriel and Mertesacker, and buy a new young centre-back to partner Koscielny for now, and Chambers in the future. I really believe in the guy as a centre-back.

Kiran
Kiran

Gabriel is exactly what koscielny was back then. Give him a couple of seasons and Bayern will come looking for him 😀

I somehow think this is Theo’s and Jack’s season. They are going to make it through the rough.

santori
santori

Metersecker is a far better player than many imagine him to be.

He pretty much held us together much of last season.

Koscielny when he returned from injury made some poor mistakes too so its a question of the simple minded analysis that amplifies faults in certain players and overlooks others. All this pace nonsense and I’d rather have Per in position than Gabriel with pace chasing air.

Remember not long ago the same voices were calling for Gabriel to start over Per because he had more ‘pace’.

That said, agree that Gabriel is only in first full season and can improve still (shows some signs). Koscielny had a horrendous first season for us giving away penalties and amassing reds if you should do well to remember.

That said, Per isn’t getting younger and we do need to think about bringing another player into CBack IMO. The issue here is if Wenger persist with the project of turning Calum into a Cback.

He did well pre-season several years back and that tricked Wenger into believing he could do without a Cback from market to our detriment when Koscielny went injured and we were reliant on Calum or Monreal both in unfamiliar position. It affected Per tremendously as he was unsure of positioning with these two which cost us with most goals conceded from crosses. That’s when we brought Gabriel in Jan.

We will have to see if Wenger opts for the Cback. I think we need someone close to prime years in this position as this role is better suited for someone with experience if we want to ensure solidity in coming season.

Per will still (SHOULD still) be kept. He is an EXCELLENT defender and an experience voice both in dressing room and on the pitch.

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

It’s been Theo and Jacks (and Ox) season for how long now?

loose_cannon
loose_cannon

Theo has never been up against it like this before. Closest was when he was left out of Capello’s disastrous 2010 WC campaign and he bounced back. His future is on the line here, let’s see what he can do. Last season was meant to be Ox’s season, maybe it’ll be this one. And Jack just needs an injury free season, like RVP. Hopefully he doesn’t betray us immediately too…

santori
santori

So long as we are reliant on Sanogo and Jeff to step up in absence of Welbeck.

One of Sanogo, Jeff or both can push for a spot since Walcott is in such insipid form but we should bring in a striker from market to do the heavy lifting in concert with Giroud and not depend on the young blood.

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

Seriously what’s with the Sanogo planning I keep seeing?

Not that I’m against him. But objectively, what has he shown in has last 2 loans that would be indicative of him making such a huge step up to become this leading striker figure that everyone keeps hoping on?

Ernstein
Ernstein

Gabriel wondering what the green grass is made of..

Vincent Kompany's Forehead/Jamie Vardinho
Vincent Kompany's Forehead/Jamie Vardinho

Thought Wenger said we’re only gonna get max 3 in the transfer window? (2 left after Xhaka)

I think it will only be a CB and Striker, with Chambers going on loan.

I reckon Gibbs will stay and Campbell/Chamberlain will be our right wingers. I think these 2 are more than sufficient for the right.

I have a feeling Theo will stay, if we can’t get a striker. I’d rather it wasn’t the case, but hey.

What do you guys think?

Redside
Redside

Sanogo break through year I’m telling u …… Wait for the like a new signing phrase from Wenger

Asano Fan
Asano Fan

Liking this format Mr News Hound. It means I don’t have to go to the official site and plus the amusing captions are a bonus.

Vincent Kompany's Forehead/Jamie Vardinho
Vincent Kompany's Forehead/Jamie Vardinho

Mertesacker can play for us till he’s 35+, your football intelligence only increases as you get older.
He’s a slow bastard and probably was when he was 25, so I don’t see his pace diminishing.

I don’t see him with us for that long, but he’s the perfect signing for a team that plays deep instead of a high line

Gabriel deserves time, but boy does he need to learn English, he’s been with us 18 months now

Trez
Trez

Am I the only one who’s excited just by the sight of seeing these guys in kit?? Jeff, iwobi, elneny, heck even sanogo?
Good to see the BFG getting rested up for the season. With Arteta gone, his leadership qualities will be more important than ever.

Arsenalfanman
Arsenalfanman

The second photo looks as if Arsene is thinking
“Why Theo still here?”

Stillmatic
Stillmatic

Interesting that I can’t seem to see Wellington Silva in any of the pics.

Rambozil
Rambozil

Or Cazorla..

GunnerDareMACEDONIA
GunnerDareMACEDONIA

We are getting Lacazette in 10 days.

Craig Johnson
Craig Johnson

Could not give a flying fuck who wins the tournament. A fully fit squad in training come august 1st is the order of the day. Hahaha fully fit squad hahaha