What have we learnt from the Emirates Cup?

By Avenell Dave
 
It's always hard to know what to make of pre-season friendlies.
 
Man Citeh have lost a load of their recent matches but does that make them relegation fodder after their second summer of big spending? Doubtful.
 
Likewise, Arsenal have lifted the Emirates Cup three times in four seasons but that's been the only trophy they've won.
 
There was plenty to lament, plenty to celebrate and plenty to ponder.
 
In my opinion, we're still a striker down after losing Adebay-whore and Eduardo in successive summers and signing just Maroune Chamakh.
 
Carlos Vela or even Theo Walcott have to step up and there were glimpses that slowly but surely, progress may be occurring.
 
Certainly Vela looked sharp when he came on against Milan and a goal the following day will have done his confidence no harm.
 
As for Chamakh, well I'd heard plenty of doubts from fellow Addicts but he looked the part on Saturday.
 
What us Addicts all love is someone who works their arse off and the Moroccan certainly did that, sprinkling in a general dose of flair and awareness that helped him link up well with his team mates and get in dangerous positions.
 
He may not get 20 goals a season but I'd be surprised if he doesn't hit 15 in his debut campaign.
 
At the other end, Laurent Koscielny may still need to bulk up - and facing the Drogbas, the Shrek Rooneys and Torres of this world will be a true test, but he too looked the part.
 
Calm on the ball, willing to get stuck in, his positional sense underlining his meteoric rise and he looks impressive.
 
The fact that Arsene Wenger refused to deny rumours about Per Mertesacker suggests a deal may still be done there and that too is exciting.
 
A world class central defender would be a great boost for the club, especially with our defensive vulnerability still clear to see.
 
In midfield, Samir Nasri looked like he has something to prove and he needs to maintain a level of consistency that we know he is capable of. He can be a real star if he pushes on.
 
Jack Wilshere lived up to the hype with some outstanding football, including a volley reminiscent of RvP against Charlton a few years ago.
 
We saw his naivety when he hauled a Celtic player down needlessly which provoked a Hoops revival. But he showed why signing Joe Cole would have been a mistake - he's younger, better and has Arsenal in his veins.
 
Emmanuel Frimpong also showed tenacity and a 'take no prisoners' attitude which will make him a fans' favourite. He needs to work on when to tackle and when to just shadow but he has plenty of time for that.
 
Add JET to the mix and that is three new signings into the squad for the new campaign, all of whom are capable of adding something.
 
With RvP, Cesc (?!), Bendtner, Diaby and Song still to come, things look pretty good.
 
Aaron Ramsey should be back by the new year and we'll have Brazilian superstar Wellington as well.
 
So the only question remains in goal and nothing I saw convinced me that either Manuel Almunia (who was very prickly when asked about his future) or Lukasz Flapianski will be any better next season.

The fact that Vito Mannone and Wojciech Szczesney didn't even get 20 minutes suggests they're not considered ready yet.
 
With a keeper proving our weakest link for a while, is Mark Schwarzer the answer? I don't think so, but there's still time to rectify that.