Arsenal round-up: Record broken against Sunderland: Wenger rules out goalkeeper move; Ross Barkley price tag reported
Arsenal continue to put the pressure on the two sides above them after a comfortable 2-0 win over Sunderland. They were the dominant force on Tuesday and attempted 36 shots during the match, which is the most that they have managed in a Premier League game since Opta started collecting stats. It will be a surprise to Arsene Wenger and the club’s supporters that they didn’t score more against the bottom-placed side. They were on top for the entire game and some of their football was great to watch. There are signs that this 3-4-3 formation could prove to be really effective for the Gunners.It was important that Arsenal won on Tuesday as they have kept their slim hopes of a Champions League place alive until the final day. They need Liverpool to drop points and to beat Everton themselves, which seems unlikely, but anything can happen on the final day. Their recent performances have been better and there will be renewed optimism that they can win the FA Cup final at the end of the month. After what has been a turbulent campaign, the Gunners are finishing with momentum and that can only bode well for the summer.
The star of Tuesday’s match wasn’t an Arsenal player, but Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. He made an impressive eleven saves, including a couple of excellent ones to keep the home side at bay until the 70th minutes. The keeper has been linked with a move to Arsenal during recent weeks, but Arsene Wenger confirmed after the game that he won’t be in the market for a goalkeeper. The following quotes are reported by the Mirror:
READ Manchester United round-up: Michael Carrick contract update; Paul Pogba out for Southampton; former defender linked
“We have plenty of goalkeepers. We have Petr Cech, we have Ospina, we have Wojciech, who is on loan at Roma and has had an exceptional season.
“We also have Emi Martinez. If there is one thing we don’t have to buy it’s a goalkeeper.”
There will be lots of clubs making a move for Pickford this summer, but Arsenal won’t be one of them. Wenger is right in his assessments of his goalkeeping situation, as Cech is good enough to be number one for another year and the cover he has is adequate Although if David Ospina and Wojciech Szczesny both leave in the summer, it is a position that he may need to take another look at.
Finally, the Telegraph report that Everton have placed a £50 million price tag on Ross Barkley as they continue their wait on the midfielder’s future. In the past few weeks, Ronald Koeman has given the player an ultimatum with a new contract offer on the table and admitted he will sell him if he does not sign. Arsenal are believed to be frontrunners in the race to sign him, according to the Daily Mail and it will be interesting to see if they are open to paying the fee demanded.
The 23-year-old has a lot of potential and his status as a homegrown player will be appealing to the top six clubs. However, he wouldn’t be value for money at a price of £50 million. His contribution of five goals and eight assists shows improvement, but his consistency is an issue. Arsenal need to get their recruitment right this summer and increase the talent within the squad. Although Barkley would be a good fit for their new system and add tenacity to the midfield, he hasn’t proven that he is at the level required to play for a top club. If the price tag reported is correct, Arsenal should avoid.