Arsenal Arsenal’s Friday News Roundup

January 31, 2014

Due to the Coventry cup tie I was riding the pine last week so here’s the headlines.

Friday 17th:

Wenger on new deals for Mertesascker and Sagna…

“We are making good progress and hopefully we can announce something soon”. Morata deal back on!

Saturday:

Fulham at home, two goals by Santi Cazorla, clean sheet, three points, top of the table.

Sunday:

New name on the striker target list; Mirko Vucinic,

Monday:

Silent Stan in London, rumoured to have £24 million, four year contract in his pocket for Wenger. No Morata deal, he’s decided to stay at Real.

Tuesday:

Wenger on Vucinic

… “I’m not particularly interested”

Wednesday:

Nothing to report.

Thursday:

Wenger seen in departure lounge at Heathrow. Draxler deal in the offing?

Last Friday:

Wenger called the Mata to Man U deal “unfair” as he would be able to play against all the main rivals, but not Chelsea. Hmm! has Arsene forgotten the sale of Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth back in 2008? They still had to play all the main rivals for the league title too, with the exception of just one, Arsenal. What goes around, comes around Arsene!

Arsene put out a strong side for the FA Cup tie against Coventry City, or the Exiles as they are coming to be known, since they play their “home” games thirty-five miles away in Northampton. The 4 – 0 scoreline was a bit flattering maybe as Coventry were the better team for the first thirty minutes of the second half, already two down to two goals by Lukas Podolski, they released the handbrake and went for it creating some good chances and rattling both Arsenal and the woodwork. Ultimately, one more each for Giroud and Cazorla saw us safely through to Sunday’s draw.

Saturday:

Draxler close to £36 million move to Arsenal

a source in Germany claimed the fee has been agreed with Schalke and negotiations with the player, who is reported to be “desperate” to join Arsenal, are under way. Phew! That’s a deal that will knock “Mata to Man U” off the back pages….if it goes through!

Sunday:

Arsene Wenger has described reports that Arsenal are closing in on a £37million move for Schalke attacking midfielder Julian Draxler as an “illusion”. “That is an illusion. There is nothing happening, honestly no,” Wenger said.

Rumours abound that the Chavs have a deal in place to sign Arsenal striker target Diego Costa in the summer or even this week.

Monday:

Sunday evening’s FA Cup draw saw Arsenal given a home tie with Liverpool, a tasty morsel, the game to be played Sunday Feb. 16th at 4pm.

Wenger speaking ahead of the Southampton game said Ramsey, Arteta and Vermaelen are all fit and available but Wilshire is doubtful.

It is expected that Arsenal will shortly announce a new kit manufacturer deal with German company Puma, The deal will run for five years and is worth £150 million over that period.

Tuesday:

Speaking at the launch of the Puma kit deal, Ivan Gazidis said “

Arsène will be extending with us and, at the right time, we will make that announcement, we have always supported Arsène, the board and Stan Kroenke have always been completely behind him. Arsène has always been committed to the club. He’s the right person to see us forward.” See my news item from Monday last week. I don’t wish to say “I told you so”, but I told you so. :D

Henry Winter on

Wenger the architect of glory….Arsenal employ one of the best creative footballers in the world in Mesut Özil, one of the most inspiring centre-halves in Per Mertesacker, some of the leading young English talent in Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, a strong centre-forward in Olivier Giroud and one of the most improved goalkeepers in Europe in Wojciech Szczesny.

They nurture some of the best kids around, from Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem to Dan Crowley.

They boast a great stadium, a well-equipped training ground and a colossal new kit deal.

After eight trophy-less years, things are increasingly in place for a realistic push for silverware, this season or next. The man who has guided Arsenal into this good place, Arsene Wenger will not need too much reflection ahead of that new contract.

Wednesday:

Ten man Arsenal derailed by Southampton

Well I guess that says it all, there has been more than enough dissection of the performance, so no more needed.

Other bad news, Ramsey suffered a “set back” not likely to be available in the near future.

Draxler deal back on? Maybe!

Thursday:

Manchester City duly thrashed the Spuds 1 – 5 to move above Arsenal to the top of the table, it’s going to take a superhuman effort to dislodge them now…can we do it? Yes we can!

Dick Laws is reported to be in Germany tying up the loose ends of the Draxler deal, the medical will be carried out by Doctor Muller-Wohlfahrt the same doctor who did Ozil’s. Fabianski could move the other way as part of the deal.

Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic of whom Arsene said, on 21st January, “I’m not particularly interested” is to have a medical today prior to a loan deal until the end of the season.

An unhappy Lukas Podolski is to “seek talks” about his Arsenal future.

And finally, Barcelona’s 22 year old flying winger Christian Tello could be signed, as a Theo replacement, on loan until the season’s end.

Much of the transfer “news” is of course speculative but I have tried to pick out only the items that are more likely to be true.

Victoria Concordia Crescit

That’s it for another week

Norfolk Gooner


The Gap In Class Between Arsenal And Liverpool Has Become A Chasm

August 5, 2013

Liverpool Football Club has a history and pedigree that deserves respect.

For a long time in the 1970s and ‘80s it was the dominant force in English and European football; its fans were (and remain) among the most passionate in the land and the club conducted itself with class confidence.

But I fear that the likes of Bill Shankley and Bob Paisley will be revolving in their sepulchres at what has happened to their Liverpool.

The Merseysiders have become something of a joke club in recent years – dodgy owners, dodgier managers and consistently proving themselves to be also-rans in the hunt for Champions League places.

After the debacle of the Hicks and Gillett ownership period Liverpool seemed to have settled down under John Henry only to find that now he seems to want to get shot of the club too.

True, Arsenal have not exactly been setting the world alight either in that period. But, unlike Liverpool, we have a darn good excuse: the enforced austerity period resulting from building the best new football stadium in Britain.

Even so, despite having literally nothing to spend on new players and despite the arrival into the Premier League of multi-billionaire sugar daddy owners, we have managed to keep our place at the top table by dint of good management and good housekeeping. Unlike Liverpool.

While we were buying a player like Laurent Koscielny for £8.45m, ‘Pool were forking out £35m for Andy Carroll.

In the five years up to last season Liverpool had a net spend on transfers of £72m. Arsenal made a net profit of nearly £39m. Yet Arsenal made the Champions League spots every year, while Liverpool haven’t graced Europe’s biggest stage since 2007/8.

Fast forward to today and the whole kerfuffle around Arsenal’s attempt to sign Luis Suarez: it illustrates the difference in class between the two clubs.

Suarez is a talented but deeply troubled individual. His cheating is enough on its own to make him disliked by most other supporters, but his racist outburst against Patrice Evra also rankled. I’m sure most right-thinking fans were saying: “Don’t racially abuse the odious little Manc – just chin him!”

Then there was the biting incident, when Luis took a nibble from the shoulder of Chelsea’s defensive rock, Branislav Ivanovic. Now Ivanovic may be a tasty player, but he’s no-one’s idea of a satisfying snack and Suarez’s actions were bizarre to say the least.

But since the season ended the Uruguayan has made it clear he wants to move to a bigger club to get Champions League football.

Liverpool can force him to stay because he has three years left on his contract, but they clearly have an unhappy player on their hands.

To make matters worse, Suarez clearly feels he was given assurances that he would be allowed to leave if (a) Liverpool failed to make the top four and (b) a club who were good enough to be in the Champions League offered over £40m for him.

He probably was given those assurances, but today’s Liverpool don’t seem too interested in keeping promises.

Instead they have reacted to Arsenal’s perfectly legitimate pursuit of the player like spoilt children – and the attitude comes from the very top.

After our first bid (reported as being £35m) John W Henry went public by saying: “What are they smoking at the Emirates?”

Henry is supposed to be an astute businessman. Does he really expect us to start the bidding with our highest offer? But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is one of classlessness.

At the time of the £35m bid, Arsenal had made no public statement about Suarez. We, as always, were conducting our transfer business with class and dignity, keeping matters confidential. This is both good business practice and a mark of respect for the people with whom we’re doing business.

And since Henry (I think we all know what the ‘W’ stands for) opened his trap, David Brent, the Liverpool manager, has barely been able to keep his closed.

From hilariously trying to argue that Suarez is worth £100m just because someone in a newspaper said someone at Tottenham said Gareth Bale was worth that much, to equally hilariously accusing Arsenal of lacking class by bidding £40m+£1, the man has been embarrassing himself on an almost daily basis

(Incidentally, if a bid of more than £40m was required to trigger a release clause for Suarez, what on earth was wrong with bidding the minimum amount above the £40m figure? Clearly £40m is what we think Suarez is worth. The single pound was just a technical mechanism to trigger the release. As we now know, the release clause was based on verbal assurances given to Suarez – and they have since been reneged on by the ‘classy’ Merseysiders, so the whole thing is academic).

Meanwhile, despite repeated questioning from journalists, Arsene Wenger refuses to discuss any details of this transfer attempt or any other.

Personally I hope Henry and Brent get their way and Suarez is forced to stay for a year at a club where he will be desperately unhappy because (as usual) they won’t be serious contenders for the Champions League slots.

Knowing how volatile Suarez is when things are going well, just imagine how bad it’s going to get for ‘Pool as they bumble through the season somewhere just above mid table, with a resentful striker thinking about what might have been. The next person to feel the wrath of his fangs might well turn out to be Brent himself.

No doubt Liverpool fans reading this will want to dish out a load of retaliatory stick. That’s fine. If you avoid expletives and gratuitous abuse Arsenal Arsenal will publish your comments.

But to be honest, I am not anti Liverpool. I actually think you deserve better and I would much rather see Liverpool in the top four than the money-doped oiligarch clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.

You’ll probably want to tell me that Arsenal have never won the European Cup and Liverpool have won it five times. All true and I doff my cap to you for those achievements.

But you supporters know better than anyone that, year by year, you have been falling further behind on the field of play.

The sad thing is that you are also falling behind OFF the field of play and your club’s management and owners could do a lot worse than take a long look at Arsenal and see how a classy club is really run.

RockyLives


What happened to the “real” Arsenal supporters?

August 3, 2013

Over the past few years I’ve scratched my head trying to rationalize the changing moods of fans around the world. In my youth your football team and its players were god like figures who were held in the highest esteem.

Us kids were in total awe of the players, our imaginations were our TV sets, as most of the families in our area were too poor to ”waste” their hard earned money on an unnecessary luxury, and the mental pictures we had were from our scrap books which were full of black and white pictures cut from the Sunday newspapers. Each week we would cut out the latest standings and pin them up in the kitchen, and we’d spend hours figuring out where we were most likely to finish, usually around mid table.

When my Grandfather took me to my first game at 10 years old, I was already a seasoned supporter but getting inside Highbury changed my life and meant that I simply had to see every game, but with no money I had to be very resourceful, and I was, rarely missing a game despite getting severely scuffed knees in the process. I was totally awe struck – there I was sitting in the corner of the field, after manipulating the stewards into believing I’d fainted, getting patted on the head by my idols, a kid’s fantasy come true.

highbury clock

The managers were talked about with reverence and we always wondered how they could be so smart and wondered where they gained the knowledge to run a football team. Names like Herbert Chapman, George Allison and Tom Whittaker were spoken about in our family discussions and their accomplishments were compared and the comparisons created much banter, most good natured, but not always.

From Tom Whittaker’s last League trophy in 1952/53 we went through an awful period of only winning trophies in 3 of the next 36 seasons – until George Graham won the League title in 1988/89. It was during that period that our managers and teams came under a lot closer scrutiny and strong “anti” opinions started to form.

Team finances were never discussed, after all, we were not clever enough to understand them and it was none of our business anyway. About the only time money spent came to light was when a transfer figure was revealed. Nobody knew or even cared about team finances – that was always considered to be only the club’s business and were usually kept under wraps. I cannot ever remember one single discussion with my family, friends or other supporters that revolved around finances.

Home of football

Talking about transfers, the only time we knew about them was when they were announced. There was seldom paper talk about potential transfers during the season and transfer windows never existed, players came and went at any time during the season. We would, of course be envious of some of the wonderful teams that came to Highbury and of their great players. Frequently wishing that we had been fortunate enough to have those players at Arsenal, but that was the clubs business and not ours, you see our business was to support – and that is what we were good at so we stuck to it.

So what has happened to the “real” Arsenal supporters?

Today it would appear that every Arsenal supporter is an “expert” on everything and they have earned imaginary degrees in every subject pertaining to football.

How did they develop this level of “expertise”?

The answer is simple, they’re known in the trade as “Red Top” degrees, and you earn them firstly by being able to read and secondly by having the necessary lack of grey matter to believe everything you read.

Those more accomplished “fans” have found that the internet is also a route to instant education and they have found others of a similar persuasion who are attempting to upgrade their “Red Top” degrees to become a “Phd in Red Top’s”.

These experts then band together and go in search of legitimate sites, run by passionate supporters, and infest them with their “deep understanding” of everything pertaining to football. These sites then become contaminated by the virus and as yet no anti virus has been developed to eradicate them. However this is not all bad as they prefer to be with their own kind so that they can spread their “wisdom”

A little knowledge is always a dangerous thing and today’s media coverage allows some people to become these instant experts that are just like some of the old vinyl record players, once the needle gets stuck in a groove – it “needles” you.

I say we are very fortunate bloggers to have found an internet oasis called Arsenal Arsenal.

Please take into consideration, that these are the ramblings of an old fart.

GunnerN5


Could This Arsenal XI Beat The Top Three Premier League Teams?

July 29, 2013

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Arsenal supporters will chuck their toys out of the pram.

Indeed reports from the Islington Gazette suggest unprecedented numbers of passers-by suffering teddy bear related injuries in recent days – and a spate of car windshields shattered by flying rattles.

The reason? Arsène Wenger telling journalists that we’re not close to signing anyone yet.

Despite the fact that the squad has been touring the Far East for the last few weeks; and despite the fact that the Premier League does not begin for over three weeks; and that the transfer window does not close for almost five weeks… it seems that Arsène’s comments have tipped some fans into near despair.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand it. The perception that we have handled the last two summer transfer windows with all the finesse of Ryan Shawcross doing flower arranging (“bad dahlia – me punch you”) is pretty widespread.

It happens to be wrong. We did partly screw up the summer before last, but still managed to acquire Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (two great players and one great player-to-be). Last year we landed Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud (one smash hit and two qualified successes).

And now supporters think this is going to be another summer without a “big name” signing.

I happen to think there are still some surprises to come this summer and that we will be among the teams making a big move in the market: not necessarily for the players with whom the press are linking us, but top players nonetheless.

In the meantime I would suggest that fans be more aware of how the media are playing them like a prize fiddle.

But let’s play what many would consider to be the “worst case scenario” game and consider how we would shape up against our major rivals if we DON’T buy any top players before the window closes.

In those circumstances I suggest our first choice first eleven might look like this:

Szczesny

Sagna-Mertesacker-Koscielny-Gibbs

Arteta-Wilshere

Cazorla

Walcott-Giroud-Podolski

Is this team good enough to beat a full strength Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea?

My feeling is that it’s a team that could beat any of those three on its day – but I have a couple of reservations.

Starting from the back, I think there are still question marks about both Szczesny and Fabianski. However, it’s possible that the younger Pole’s spell on the bench last season has cut out any complacency issues and this may be the season where he starts to fulfill his potential.

I’m not worried about the rest of the defence, which showed in the latter part of last season how focused and stingy it can be. In the BFG and Kozzer I believe we have the best centre back pairing in the EPL.

But reservation number one comes in when we move forward to the holding midfield position(s). It was clear last year that we had not quite worked out how to use Jack Wilshere. But use him we must – he is going to be one of the greatest English players for decades.

I can see him starting alongside the ever-reliable Arteta as part of a double-pivot, both of them tasked with snuffing out opposition attacks, but also with allowing each other to get forward when opportunity arises.

Ahead of them, Cazorla has already shown what he can do in the attacking midfield position, so there are no worries there.

Then we come to the front three: if Theo Walcott has as good a season as he did last year we will have no room for complaint. If he does even better, then we can truly celebrate his coming of age.

On the left hand side, Lukas Podolski had a bit of an in-out season and did not convince everyone that he’s a wide player. However, he is a fantastic finisher and was carrying a long-term injury which (he says) is now fixed. Again, we expect him to step up in his second season in England.

Finally we come to the spearhead of our attack (and the subject of yesterday’s impassioned Post from Mickydidit), Olivier Giroud.

The hunky Frenchman has been on fire in our pre-season tour and should also be ready to move up a notch in the new campaign. However, is he going to turn out to be the prolific goal grabber that most title-winning teams have in their ranks?  Can he do for us what Brave Sir Robin did for ManUre? Or what Aguero did for Man City? Or Drogba for the Chavs? I would love to believe it, but this may be the one area where we a little bit short in the 2013/14 season.

And before you shout, I have not forgotten about squad depth. Even if you think this first eleven can be a match for anyone, we all know that injuries and suspensions will take a toll and that we will have to rely on other players frequently.

We have some very strong players in our wider squad: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Monreal to name but six. But we could certainly do with some back-up on the striking front and, possibly in defence too.

My conclusion is that we are not strong enough to seriously compete for the title without at least one key addition in attack and a couple of other squad players. I don’t care whether the new striker is the most famous player in the world or is someone of whom we have never heard (remember the young Nicolas Anelka?) provided he does the business in front of goal.

What do you think?

Can we compete without top class additions?

If our current squad stays mostly fit, can we do it?

Over to you.

RockyLives


Arsenal Transfers Great Expectations

July 25, 2013

This is a covert operation to unearth your deepest desires, and no shame can be attributed as it’s secret. Well, you know how it is in practice, Obama and Peaches may be spying, but hey!

Now this is only going to work if you are sensible, and it is the “minimum” requirement to make you happy.

So, I need to make an assumption, and that is that unless you are smoking some seriously strong stuff, or you are Mr Henry at Liverpool and think Andy Carrolline is worth £35m (long hair and pony tail), then we’ll assume you get what you pay for.

TOTAL SPEND

1.      £0. We will be fine and everything is going to be Hunky Dory.

2.      £10M. This will buy you one reasonable squad level player.

3.      £20M. Two of the above, or one Ist XI’er.

4.      £40M. One Superstar, or two 1st XI’ers.

5.      £70M. The full amount that apparently is available.

6.      £200M at least, although it makes no difference as not only am I a Black Scarfer, but I also wear a black bin liner over my head which is possible as I live at the bottom of a pond, and being a simple life form, have no need of oxygen.

Written by MickyDidIt


Sanogo Concludes Arsenal’s Summer Business?

July 8, 2013

Well not for me it doesn’t, I remain optimistic that the best is still to come and my rationale is this: put simply, we have at last moved up a drawer; we are still unable to shop in the top drawer, that remains the domain of Man City, Man U, Chelsea, Barça, Real and PSG and they are all hovering around Cavani but with the winks and nudges suggesting that Arsenal have 60 mil to spend we are able to shop in the next draw down, and that is where the likes of Higuaín can be found.

Some might suggest that with 60 million available we should have more financial clout than Barça or Real and I would agree but we all know or at least we should know that those two clubs offer a greater prestigious attraction than we do which will trump us if the money is equal.

But, just in case you think I am singing the praises of other clubs a little too loudly than is healthy, you might note I have not included any of the Italian teams. We have, quite simply moved ahead of that lot.

Other more observant readers are sure to notice that for all the teams I have mentioned above I have only suggested one top drawer player: Cavani, and those same people will also realise that one player is not going to satisfy five clubs so the fear is that they start looking in the second drawer down – which they may well do and that is what Real are surely waiting for because they know that if Chelsea show an interest the price will rise beyond our reach – But I remain optimistic as I am not sure that Mourinho’s ego will allow him shop in such a squalid place.

How many drawers are there for goodness sake?

Well, to me there are four draws, a bit like the four divisions of the old English football league. We have moved from drawer 3 to drawer 2.

Our knuckle dragging neighbours still shop in the bottom drawer.

Podolski, Mertasacker and Giroud came from the third draw down and as such we were able to pick them up quicker but there is a price to pay for moving up a drawer – we have to be more patient.

But for all my swan like calmness above the water, regarding Higuaín, my feet are panicking like crazy below the water about Fellaini, a striker would be good but if we could sign just one more player this summer my vote would be for the Belgian. That man would change everything. It would be impossible for Wenger to play the same style as we have for the last umpteen seasons. For me Fellaini would undoubtedly bring not only aggression but violence; he would bring fear, the kind of fear we exuded when Vieira and Petite were in their pomp.

And what drawer can Fellaini be found in? I don’t give a monkeys — just sign him.

If we could sign just one player out of Higuaín or Fellaini who would you chose?

Written by LB


Definitely NOT Arsenal Transfer News.

July 5, 2013

My Uncle Earnest DidIt always says that “if you have nothing to say, then say nothing”.

Now this is easy for him to say, as he never has had anything worth saying. In fairness to the old trout, he is a Man of Action, not words. I have often wondered that if Earnest had actually managed to unearth an in interest in anything other than sex and the pursuit of other peoples’ money to support his foul habits, how he would have tackled something as tricky as being an Arsenalic during a Summer Lull.

Let’s face it, like most, he would be sitting somewhere in one of three camps entering the silly season.

In the Camp Doom, there was history on their side, which said that we will only spend what we earn from player sales. For these Doomsters, a bleak summer looked inevitable, as there was no obvious high value assets that wanted to “win things” and require fresh pastures.

Then, in Camp Chaos, there was the possibility of a Boardroom Power Struggle, with Usmanov grabbing an extra share or two with the ensuing fur and toupes flying.

Finally, Camp Whatever, or the “Que Sera, Seras”. A boringly mature troupe here, who prefer to deal in reality, and fuss not about matters beyond their control.

Where do I reckon Earnest would slot in? My gut feeling would be “None of the above”, rather “I actually don’t give a shit about anything apart from turning up on match day, getting ripped to the tits with my mates, watching a cracking game, then going home with a Goonerette on each arm”. Yip, two, as even in his eighties, he is a ferociously fertile man.

Him, not me, speaking. We are very loosely related you understand.

Written by MickyDidIt for a very quiet Friday :(


Thank Boo for the lack of World Class Signings

February 26, 2013

Yesterday saw the release of the clubs six monthly figures, I was asked to provide an analysis of them, but to be honest I think thats a pretty boring blog for the non accountants and would lead us into a circular debate that we have been down many times before. Instead I wanted to focus on a certain element of them, and look at them from a different angle.

The numbers I wanted to look at was transfer money in and transfer money out.

I am using purely the value and am not worried about whether it has been paid or not at the time of the financial reports:

6m to Nov 2012 12m to May 2012
Players Out £44.2m £71.4m
Players In £40.8m £78.2m

As you can see from the above we have spent as much as we have had coming in from transfers over the last couple of seasons. So whats the problem?

I think one of the problems is that Arsene has been forced to buy more players in than we have sold, again the question why? Well thats where you the boo boys and naysayers come in.

This was our squad at the end of the 2010-11 season.

Keepers Defenders Midfielders Attackers
Szczesny Sagna Song v. Persie
Fabianski Djourou Wilshere Chamakh
Almunia Koscielny Nasri Bendtner
Lehmann Clichy Fàbregas Vela
Mannone Squillaci Arshavin
Gibbs Walcott
Vermaelen Rosicky
Traoré Denílson
Eboué
Diaby
Ramsey
Frimpong

Whilst the 2010-11 season is seen as a failure by many it was the last time we came close to achieving something, 1 point behind ManUre in February, a bent ref away from knocking Barca out of the Champions League and well the Carling Cup we all know what happened there, and the season fell away, we were probably one centre back short of a trophy, we already had him in the squad he was unfortunately injured for most of the season.

Before the 2010-11 season we had a bit of a clear out, Gallas, Eduardo, Senderos, Silvestre, Campbell from the first team squad. And in came Squillaci, Koscielny and Chamakh. We were settled going in to the season, and we did ok, the football was a lot better than what we are seeing now, if you look at the squad above it is not hard to see why it was that way, apart from the new arrivals everyone had played for the club for over two years, knew Arsene’s style and methodology.

At the end of the season we lost Cesc, Nasri and Clichy, I do not want to go over old ground and lets just assume that they were unavoidable for now. That would have raised us £67m, not exactly small change. What could we have bought with that? Mata, and Hazard, no problem at all get them in. Look at the squad above take out Clichy, Cesc and Nasri add in Mata and Hazard, wouldn’t be so bad would it? Ok Maybe we could have done with another centre back as well, but we would have been almost a carbon copy.

But instead of that we had to lose all those players deemed by the fans not fit to wear the shirt, out went Eboue and Traore too. On top of that there were the players who had decided that being booed wasn’t exactly the nicest experience when they played football so they also looked for a move away, so out on loan went Denilson, and Bendtner, eventually joined by Arshavin out on loan to Zenit to get match fit for the World Cup and to escape the abuse ringing in his ears after we lost to ManUre at home. Squillacci sitting at home unplayable because who knows what the reaction would be if he was allowed to take to the turf at the Emirates again.

So as a result Wenger now had to replace 7/8 players in the squad with his £77m, at an average of £10m a player I am afraid it is not going to achieve the desired quality. If we had managed to show those players enough love to stay or that Wenger did not fear using them maybe we wouldn’t have had to look for Poundland value, we could have got in the big names, and added to what we had.

This problem has been compounded into the 2012-13 season, as we all know we sold Brave Sir Robin, and Alex Song, again a couple of players needed to replace with £38m, a holding midfielder, and a centre forward, could we have achieved it? Probably yes, but now we have more unplayables, Chamakh, Djourou, Gervinho. So again we have to sign more players around the £10-£15m mark rather than go out and spend on one or two players. We probably wouldn’t have needed to sell Song if we didn’t need to add a second striker.

This cycle will continue until we as fans start supporting every player at our club, we need a squad, we have to accept they are not as good as the first team, but we also need to realise that if we lose squad players we have to replace them, if they go out on loan or get sold cheap because we have ripped them of all confidence then it is our fault, and we are giving Arsene a headache that he doesn’t need.

There is a big risk we could go through the same again at the end of this season, there is growing criticism of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sagna, Vermaelen and Merteacker, and even Szczesny and Arteta are having question marks placed over them, it has already reached fever pitch for Gervinho, Diaby, Arshavin and Ramsey, and we have already managed to force out Santos.

When will we realise that not every player in the squad needs to be World Class, what we actually need is a settled squad and a light smattering of game changers, and we the fans can help that happen, we just need to stop writing off the squad players and instead give them our support….otherwise we will have more long seasons ahead.

Written by Gooner in Exile


Wenger to Chelsea?

December 14, 2012

Too many words have already been written on the subject of Arsene Wenger, nevertheless BR would like to give his tuppence worth.  I don’t usually write serious posts and this is a rarity (hence no pics or explorers)

Firstly, is Mr Wenger too old for his job? The crux here is that he is two generations older than some of the players and could easily be their grand-father-figure!  Does he understand “Dench”? Of course not.  The question is does he need to? Wenger has never been the arm around the shoulder buddy to the players – he has been and remains a much respected, somewhat distant manager. He has other people to be the emotional rock, though it should be pointed out that AW does create close relationships with his players – just look at TH14. But as an older man myself, I know that the mind is not as open and flexible as it once was, there are new ideas in football and it is the younger men who embrace them. Would a Lambert or a Laudrup be better? Can Wenger adjust to the digital age?

Is Mr Wenger, as has often been touted, tactically naive? Now BR is no tactitian and is not able to judge but a manager doesn’t suddenly go from being manager of the decade to dunce or does he? It certainly appears that AW does get  out-thought by the top European managers, SAF seems to have the hoodoo over him and has beaten us with teams which on paper should never have won. The strict adherence to 4-3-3 may be costing Arsenal – right now though it is the team rather than the system which is letting us down.

Is Mr. Wenger’s notorious reluctance to pay big money for star players the problem?  I recall AW stating that there are many highly expensive players who were simply not worth the money ( I believe he was referring to Kaka and Ronaldinho). His preference has always been to shop elsewhere and who can say whether signing Ibrahimovitch (for example)  instead of Giroud would have improved the team. In my opinion Ibra would have had a huge impact, not only because he is a brilliant player but he also takes a huge reputation (and ego) into the dressing room. A few years ago our young players could say they shared a dressing room with TH or PV or TA or DB …. now? ?  To be a big club we have to have big players and the biggest one we have at present is Theo, who isn’t even a first choice England player. We need to sign someone who can attract other quality players to the club.

Please Mr Wenger, I beg you – buy a World Class player – forget the wages, forget the fee because if we want to see kids wearing Arsenal shirts around the world then we need a name to hang the team on.

Is Mr Wenger responsible for the poor performances of late? Damn right he is. One may well say that it was the players who caused the embarrassment at Bradford but who bought/nurtured them? Who picks them? Who motivates them?

Mr Wenger is not above criticism nor should he be. Of late he has made costly and inexplicable mistakes in his transfer dealing; he continues to use players out of position causing uncertainty and frustration. Worse, this team seems devoid of inspiration and football intelligence. Who can one look to when a team which includes the imagination of Cazorla, Wilshere, Arteta, Rosicky and Diaby does not create goal scoring opportunities? Since when have Arsenal been a team who play with a target man, a tactic not used since the days of Wright? And if we are forced into this tactic because of a dreadful shortage of strikers – who is to blame?

I am not questioning AW’s continued reign as Arsenal manager – I remain convinced he is the right man for the job. He has the experience, the courage and the skill to take us back to the top but something has to change. The transition of Arsenal from being a football club to an American owned Corporation has been painful and for some fans unacceptable but in the words of Paul Weller “This is the Modern World”. Those asking for “our Arsenal back” are deluded – it has gone forever. If it has been hard for the fans imagine how difficult it has been for Mr. Wenger. My hope and expectation is that Arsene will see out his contract and leave on a cloud of love and appreciation to become a National manager .

My final point is this and it is a question to those with an “Arsene Out” agenda:-

Chelsea have been looking for a manager who will develop their youth system and get them playing attractive football – they have been looking for many years now. Do you imagine that Roman hasn’t had his men approach AW? It doesn’t take much vision to see how quickly AW would build a team with the brilliance of Hazard, Mata etc allied to an open cheque book. What would you think if the next manager of Chelsea was one who was pee’d off with the complaints from the minority of Arsenal fans and decided to take a  last, huge financial payday at Stamford Bridge?

Arsene Wenger – next Chelsea manager? It is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Would that make you happy?

Written by Big Raddy


The Rumour Mill

August 8, 2012

I have posted on here before of my amusement at the intensity of fans during the summer break, I know I am in the minority but I simply cannot be bothered to get wound up by the rumour mill and media circus. Thank god this superb Olympics has pulled so many of the scribes away from their dubious fabrications within the football silly season and directed them to a more worthwhile and fulfilling portrayal of fact rather than fiction.

I am aware that blogs need to feed upon themselves, but the reading of tealeaves based upon todays rumour is surely just about as relevant to Arsenal as Madam Clairvoyants input as she travels the country with the summer fairs, reading punters palms.

We debate and denigrate the activities and statements supposedly coming out of the club whilst agonising and moralising over the leaked utterances of players not noted for their non-football cerebral powers, whilst knowing instinctively that they are merely stocking fillers emanating from a bevy of devious and self-seeking agents, many of whom do not represent the player concerned but have smelt a honeypot and gleefully inserted their fingers in the hope of getting a share of the sweetness on offer.

Fact has no relevance for these charlatans, yet we the fans are moved to cogitate that there is no smoke without fire whilst knowing in all likelihood that it is purely smoke and mirrors which needs no fire as the smoke itself is artificial.

Thankfully only ten days stand between us and the new season and though all our transfer business may not be finalised at least we will be able to debate from a position of strength as to the relevance of the work carried out by the club and officials. They have apparently signed and continue to sign reinforcements whist juggling the movements of existing staff both within and away from the club.

My reading of the blog through this period has engendered a feeling of sadness that so many of our bloggers have lost their trust in the club and its personnel mainly through the constant non information in the form of rumours being constantly recycled.

Roll on the new season and a return for us all to the real world of football.

Written by dandan


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