Theo replacement?

Late yesterday afternoon, the news broke that Theo Walcott would be out for the remainder of the season. t w 2 0 From my point of view there is a terrible irony.

I was about to write a post in which I looked at the current top six sides contesting the League, and decide which team was most vulnerable to an injury to a single player. I was thinking of Toure at City, Brave at Utd and so on.

Guess who I had penned in at The Arsenal?

At some point of last season, I described Theo as our most valuable player. This never meant I considered him our best player, simply most irreplaceable, given what he offered the team in terms of goals, assists, and pace in attack. Against Tottenham, we saw what Theo may offer through the middle. Now, I don’t believe he would be the right choice in that role in every situation, but his performance certainly made me think we could get through this season without recruiting a striker.

Now what? Gnabry has the pace, but I doubt he will have as many goals in him as Theo this season. Ox? Again, pace but, he will not have Theo’s goals yet, I doubt. I have read through yesterday’s comments on here following the news. As would be expected, there are sensible thoughts from both camps ie the need to replace Theo in this window, as well as the “we’ll be ok” camp. My view? No more squad players, therefore serious quality or not at all. The player must offer an alternative attacking and threat to the Ollie/Nick option. In other words pace, power, and goals.

This season we have reached the half way point and are serious contenders for a Trophy. We face a massive opportunity, and the Theo news cannot be viewed as anything but a very serious blow. There is one other point worth remembering. Arsene made a bid for Suarez. This tells you that he is after a world class goalscorer, and I am convinced he would move for one again this summer. Given the position we are in, why would Arsene not move heaven and earth to bring that move forwards to January.

There are three weeks left. I will make one assumption. Arsene knows who his summer targets are, therefore paying over the odds for one of those may prove money well spent.

Written by MickyDidIt89

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202 Responses to Theo replacement?

  1. Big Raddy says:

    Didit. Exactly how I see it.

    We have done well without Theo this season but losing him is a massive blow.

    It must be serious …. there are no jokes in your post.

  2. clockendjim says:

    A name that doesn’t come readily to mind, but I think would be a good choice is Wilfried Bony. He has been scoring regularly in a struggling Swansea team, the latest being a magnificent header to put Man Utd out of the FA Cup (thanks Wilfried) . He is just the kind of powerhouse Arsenal need to finish off all their great approach work and I feel that a player who has proved he can do it in the PL is far less of a risk that someone from a foreign league.
    And he should not be that expensive too.

  3. Big Raddy says:

    Clockend. I agree that Bony looks a fine player but in my opinion he is too similar to Giroud and Bendtner. I think we need someone with more pace and guile – a finisher as opposed to a target man which is what Bony is.

    Strange how last season most of our injuries came at fullback and this season in the forward line ….. Theo, Pod, Ox, NB & Sanogo

    Wonder if who will return first, Theo or Diaby?

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy

    The Didit is far from being his usual jocular self :-(

    Although he is more upbeat now able to get into the “comments” section :-)

  5. Rasp says:

    Thanks Micky, its the question on every gooner’s lips. I mentioned a few days ago that Theo’s goals and assists per game were the best in the squad – he averages more assists per game than Ozil and more goals per game than Giroud. He will be sorely missed.

    Yes we got to top without him, but with him we looked even more potent. I can’t see any of our rivals selling us a player in January. There may be a possibility of Loic Remy. He’s a good player for the medium/long term or as I have previously said, I think Berbatov could surprise a few – it all comes down to how AW manages him and also whether his personality would gel with the squad.

  6. Manthan says:

    Micky,

    i agree!! his pace and assits might be replaced.. But his goals cannot be replace. He has become one of best finisher in current team after Poldi… I am hoping that history don’t repeat.. remember 2007-08 season eduardo got injured and which ruin our season.. Fingers crossed :(

  7. Rasp says:

    I do sometimes wonder about our research before we sign young strikers. Joel Campbell and Wellington Silva are both still Arsenal players, yet we are unlikely to ever see them play in the EPL? – why did we sign them?

    I have not been impressed with what I have seen of Yaya Sanogo so far (2 live games), he is a long way off first team squad quality – surely Chuba Akpom is a better prospect.

  8. Tom says:

    It’s a massive blow. I couldn’t believe it when I read he was out for 6 months.

    He makes runs in behind that no-one else does in our team and was nailed on for 15-20 goals. He’s effectively a right-sided striker (rather than a winger) that plays on the shoulder. In that respect, he’s similar to Pedro at Barcelona.

    The thing that excited me most, was that he was starting to string together consistent performances week in, week out. Against Spurs, his work rate, closing down and movement were fantastic. In the past he could be peripheral if he wasn’t scoring goals, but against Spurs he didn’t give their defence a moments rest when they were in possession.

  9. Rasp says:

    Welcome Tom, excellent comment.

    I agree, he was becoming the player we hoped he could and certainly there were no doubts about the decision to offer him the new contract. I think ex players and pundits want to drop the ‘you never come back from a ACL injury the same player’ line. Bobby Pires didn’t look too shabby on his return.

  10. Shard says:

    My thoughts pretty much coincide with yours Micky. With the caveat that if there is a decent loan signing available, that might be an option worth taking. Especially if, as I suspect, the big name signings won’t happen till the summer.

    When I first heard the news of Walcott’s injury, I felt we must buy. But on reflection, we still have Podolski who can play left, while Cazorla can play right. Ox, Gnabry, Rosicky, and even Wilshere can play on the wings too. (hopefully the Ox recovers and gains form quickly) Ryo, Akpom, or even Monreal might be other options.

    As for strikers, Giroud is still there. Bendtner isn’t long term. And perhaps Sanogo will be given a chance. While I agree with Rasp that Berbatov can be a positive, I don’t think it’ll happen because we still have Giroud and Bendtner. A different sort of striker is probably required.

    I also agree with whoever said that Draxler might be looked at to play as a striker. Someone we get instead of Suarez I suppose. But I think it unlikely to happen in January.

    Rasp,
    ACL injuries used to be devastating when a lot of these ex-players were playing. Things have improved since then. However, they can still be pretty bad. Especially if it’s reconstructive surgery. I speak from personal experience :(

  11. mickydidit89 says:

    Sorry lads
    Cannot get into.comments from laptop, so only brief from my Mobile
    Happy to read no mentions of the Lamberts or Michu Picchu’s of this world
    Top class speedy goal scorer only for me

  12. 26may1989 says:

    Good, sombre stuff, Mr DidIt.

    Re what we should do, “No more squad players, therefore serious quality or not at all” covers it for me. With us top of the tree but with the Oilers both very close behind, I am sure the club will bust a gut to make a high quality signing, but there can be no guarantees of being able to do it.

    If we don’t get that top quality attacking player in, we may still be able to keep the consistency we’ve maintained to date – after all, Theo’s already missed a big chunk of the season, and we’ve had various other injuries along the way. But to my mind, Theo’s loss is very significant: we are a passing side with plenty of very good players, but if we’re honest, we don’t have as many A Grade attacking players as either of the Oilers: in addition to Theo (yes, I do put him in that bracket), I would say it is really just Ozil and perhaps Cazorla. Players like the Ox and Gnabry can do a great job on the right, but they aren’t yet players with Theo’s range of abilities (and in addition to his speed and finishing, I would mention his crossing, which has become top-notch).

    Giroud is very good, and there’s a great supporting cast (Rosicky, the Ox, Ramsey, Wilshere, Gnabry etc), but without Theo, I think there is a good chance we’ll be found a bit lacking in the run-in. The margins between the top three are tight and I see no reason to suppose that’s going to change between now and mid-May. So, I’m hoping Wenger can get a top quality attacking player in this month.

    As I said yesterday, Draxler would be the one I would most like to see (though that is based on the assumption that we stand no chance of being able to get Mata – I can’t see why any of our direct rivals is going to sell to us right now). Remy is a player I think could do very well for us, but the complications of having to negotiate a deal with both QPR and Newcastle (who’ve presumably paid a loan fee to cover the whole season) must make a January move unlikely.

    Rasp, I wouldn’t criticise the club too much about the recruitment of the likes of Camlbell and Wellington – signing up youngsters is a percentage game, no-one can tell which brilliant 15 and 16 year olds are going to make the grade. Plus there is enough discretion in the work permit system for non-EU players, that you can’t predict whether foreign youngsters will be given a work permit or not.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Ditto shard, I had a knee reconstruction op in September, having destroyed the ACL in my left knee and damaged the cartilege. I’m not fully recovered yet (should be back on the a side pitch in April), but it is amazing how effective the surgery is these days: the op means that the knee is more stable than it was before. Am just paranoid about doing my right knee now…..

  14. 26may1989 says:

    Apols, that should have been “back on the 5 a side pitch in April”.

  15. fatgingergooner says:

    It will be interesting to see how Theo’s injury affects the balance of our side. We predominantly attack down our right flank during games, mainly due to Theo’s threat, Sagna’s forward runs and the fact Cazorla likes to come in from the left.

    I now expect to see a complete shift in this, with Cazorla coming in from the right and Podolski being the one making the attacking runs in behind with overlapping support from Gibbs/Monreal.

    If this happens we will lose Sagna’s much improved crossing ability and Theo’s pace, but we will gain Podolski’s power and finishing ability as well as Gibbs’ overlapping runs.

    I just hope any shift doesn’t destabilise our midfield.

  16. fatgingergooner says:

    Just to add to my last comment, if anything, Walcotts injury could be a good thing for our midfielders (hear me out!).

    Özil and Wilshere are both left footers and Cazorla is a freak with a gem of a left foot, so they tend to like to drift to their left with the ball (obviously!). So I would expect the shift in the play to our left to suit these attack minded players.

    You only have to look at Cazorla’s goal against Spurs to see how this could work. Just swap Cazorla for Pod and Gnabry for Cazorla, Özil or Wilshere.

    In other words, get Podolski in your fantasy teams because he’s going to be stealing all of Theo’s goals and assists!

  17. Rasp says:

    Hi 26m, I wasn’t criticising the club because of the quality of the players mentioned but because of their inability to get a work permit.

  18. RC78 says:

    Wenger is now forced to plunge in the transfer market to find cover at the striker and/or winger position. The problem is that the best players will most likely be ineligible for the UEFA Champions League…So the conundrum for Wenger is the following:

    – Do I buy one of the best players around now and just use him for domestic competitions? This would be the case for players like Jackson Martinez, Diego Costa, Hulk, Balotelli, Draxler…

    or
    – Do I buy good players that will add depth to my squad for both domestic and european competitions? This would be the case for players like Rémy, Berbatov, Kalou, Morata, Cabella…

    I believe that, unfortunately, Wenger will go for the second option and give Gnabry and Ox a chance to shine at right wing…As a result, I could see Wenger making a move for a player like Rémy (he can play right wing and striker) join us. However and most likely, we will get either Berbatov or Kalou :-(

    Unless Wenger decides to go crazy and splash the cash and rip Monaco of its two best assets: Falcao (60 Mln EUR) and James Rodriguez (45 Mln EUR)

  19. RC78 says:

    Podolski can play left winger but he is much better playing behind a striker or as the main striker so I do not see him fill in the void left by Walcott.

    Gnabry has showed that he is very capable but does he have the capacity to perform day in, day out at the same level produved vs Tottenham? The potential is there but I believe that he is better suited in the “super-sub” role at the moment.

    Ox is coming back and again, he is a player who excels in the middle of the park and not as much on the wing. However, he is hungry and is ready to roar and shall he come back to match fitness soo, he could be the one player in our ranks who could lead the right wing. His work rate is first class and if he adds some assists and goals, Walcott’s abscence will not be so hard felt…The question is: When will OX be match-fit?

    Miyachi, Akpom – not ready to fill Walcott’s shoes yet. This is a fact.

    Ramsey, Rosicky and Wilshere are all central players and if the play on the wing, we will lose some creativity and penetration impact in the middle of the park so let us keep them in the midfield rather than on the wing.

    Cazorla and Ozil are also better in the middle of the park but their speed, quick feet and wizardry allow them to play on the wing although Cazorla has lost some impact since playing on the wing. He was his best all season against the Spurs when he played in a more central role and both Ozil and him feel more confident coming from the left wing…

    Last but not least, Monreal, Gibbs and Jenkinson can also play Winger and Gibbs is very well suited for this role so Wenger might mix things up and give Gibbs or Monreal a try at the right wing position.

    If we do not get any recruits, here is the potential starting XI once OX is match-fit:

    Most likely:
    Scezesny – Sagna, Per, Kos, Gibbs – Ramsey, Flamini, Wilshere or Arteta – OX, Giroud, Ozil

    Probable:
    Scezesny – Sagna, Per, Kos, Gibbs – Arteta, Flamini, Wilshere – Ramsey, Giroud, Ozil

  20. RC78 says:

    Ideal signing: James Rodriguez, Falcao, Jackson Martinez

    Most suited signing: Rémy (no CL commiment and knows the EPL, and affordable although he is on loan with Newcastle…)

    Most probable signing: Kalou or Berbatov

  21. Manthan says:

    Though Theo injury is sad news but it is very good chance for OX to shine.. He is behind pecking order and he is very good player, He should grab this opportunity and show whole world that he is the best..

  22. Rasp says:

    Great comments RC78 – is this your first time posting on AA?

  23. Big Raddy says:

    RC78. Welcome.

    You make some good points, though I believe most of our players are adept at playing out of their natural positions e.g. Santi has been very good coming in rom the left, perhaps not as effective as when he plays centrally.

    AW tried to sign Kalou a few years back. He would be a decent loan signing but no more.

    Manthan. I agree. It’s Ox-Time and he has the chance to book his ticket to Brazil.

  24. GunnerN5 says:

    Among all of the names being mentioned Thomas Eisfeld seems to have been forgotten, I’ve been very impressed with his play.

  25. Rasp says:

    Hi GN5, I too have liked what I have seen from Eisfeld but fear he may go the same way as Coquelin who also showed great promise.

  26. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp The fact AW has chosen to keep Eisfeld at THOF and not loan him out bodes well for his future – now he is sure to be championship bound :-D

  27. Rasp says:

    :lol: Raddy. Considering Eisfeld was way down the pecking order at BD, I think we have unearthed a real gem. Its a shame our CC campaign didn’t last a bit longer so the likes of Eisfeld and Akpom could have got a bit more experience on the big stage. We may see a few ‘under 21′ players against Coventry I suppose?

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Eisfeld is still a young lad, he’s 21 on Jan 18th, so time is on his side.

  29. Rasp says:

    I know GN5, but Gnabry is 3 years younger at 18. I think by 21, most players want to have some first team involvement, or at least be knocking on the door.

  30. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    Apparently Eisfeld was considered their best prospect even though they had Götze but then he had a bad injury which knocked him down the order. If he can develop into what Dortmund thought he was going to be then he could be a real find.

  31. Rasp says:

    In the vast majority of cases, when we let a young player go it is proven to be the right decision (Anthony Stokes, Luke Freeman) although I am glad to see Henry Lansbury doing so well at Nottingham Forest – he could be playing back in the PL next season.

  32. Rasp says:

    Thanks fgg, I didn’t know that, but I do remember reading that he was a 4th (or come to think of it , it may have been 6th) choice player at BD and was unlikely to get many opportunities.

  33. 26may1989 says:

    Right, I’m off to lunch with a Spud…..

  34. RC78 says:

    Rasp/Big Raddy – Indeed, a first timer here :-) Good to hear that we have some common views on our squad…

    As for Eisfeld, I hope he develops into a great player. Apparently, he is more offensive-minded than Gotze in the sense that he likes to have a go at shots a lot more than Gotze but he is a bit less creative so let us see how he turns out.

    I really believe that we need at least one winger (more than a striker) who can create chances and go past defenders. There are some good players around but they are not eligible for the CL. I like Jackson Martinez but I have to admit that I am a fan or Lorenzo Insigne and I believe that he will be a good addition to our squad as he is a creative player with a good sense of goals…

    I am really worried that Man City and Chelsea and even Liverpool have a deeper squad now that Walcott is out so let us hope that Mr. Wenger brings in at least one good signing in January.

  35. RC78 says:

    At Barcelona, there are also some great players like Sanchez or Pedro and at PSG, Menez would be a good addition to the squad. Unfortunately, our friend Mourinho will not sell us Mata as he would have been great…Those guyz r world class but highly doubt that they will join us now or ever…

  36. Rasp says:

    Thanks RC78, a player like Willian on the right would plug the gap. I hate chelski but have been impressed by what I’ve seen of Willian.

  37. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    I agree with you on Insigne, he looks real quality. He is a little lightweight but that doesn’t tend to be much of an issue in the modern PL as it used to.

    I also liked the look of Thauvin when Marseille played us. He’s been linked with all the big clubs and looks like a Hazard type player.

  38. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    There had been rumours we wanted Sanchez but his recent form and the Messi injury probablyeans that’s a no-go.

    Have you seen much of Jese at Real Madrid? Maybe he could be a decent loan to plug a gap?

  39. RC78 says:

    http://www.football-observatory.com/IMG/pdf/wp57_eng.pdf

    check this link out for the best performing players in the 5 main European leagues

  40. RC78 says:

    Thauvin has some Hazard in him for sure but he will not leave Marseille just yet. Cabella is linked with Newcastle but I think he could bring something to the team although he is not at the level of our current players (Ozil, Cazorla) and he is much better palying as a “9 1/2″ than at the wing.

    I like Jese and Morata from Real Madrid as well.

    All and all, I really think that Wenger should break the bank for James Rodriguez or Jackson Martinez as they can play wing and fake 9. James Rodriguez has been outstanding for Monaco and is not tied to the CL so maybe we could convince him to join us…

  41. kelsey says:

    Roonry to Chelsea and a cut price Torres to us.

    All this bollocks about not selling to rivals.We did it.

    One could argue that the dog fight against relegation is the same scenario.
    Remy looks good on occasions but Newcastle wouldn’t want to break the loan deal and QPR are more than likely to come up and wouldn’t want to sell him.

    Villa have the same cenario with Benteke, but not sure if AW would want him, so that leaves Park to hold the fort :)

  42. kelsey says:

    Rooney not Roonry

  43. fatgingergooner says:

    I still want to see Carlos Vela back at the club. He has been known to play from the right for Sociedad and has been scoring and creating goals in La Liga and CL. He’s also got PL experience and would give us an alternative to Giroud if we needed more movement or trickery. Apparently we also have first dibs on him.

    He ticks a lot of boxes.

  44. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    The new tax rate in France could see some big players leaving. Maybe Rodriguez is an option.

  45. kelsey says:

    fgg

    same applies in Spain now.

  46. Rasp says:

    fgg, Vela was one of several ex Arsenal players featured in RC78’s link to the best performing players in Europe. I agree he’s a talent but had heard that he much prefers to play in a mediterranean climate.

  47. fatgingergooner says:

    Kelsey,

    In France the 75% is paid by the employers apparently. Is it the same in Spain or do the players foot the bill?

    I don’t know much about it but just had a quick look online and saw the French clubs weren’t too happy!

  48. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    I’d not heard that about the climate, but it’s interesting if we have a contract clause. Surely he must have agreed the clause as well in the knowledge that we might want him back at some point?

    I know he could always turn us down but why bother having it if he didn’t like the weather?

    That’s assuming we do have first dibs on him!

  49. Rasp says:

    I think it was also to do with the style of play and general lifestyle fgg – he is ‘latin’ in temperament.

  50. fatgingergooner says:

    Rasp,

    Just found this interview with Geoff Shreeves before a United CL tie in October

    “Yes they (Arsenal) have the option (to buy back). Every summer they can take the buy option. But for the moment it is difficult.”

    “They are good now… I am good now.. I don’t think it is the best moment to go back to Arsenal. Maybe (one day).”

    Interesting.

  51. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great comments, Mr Radio Controller 1978.

    I beg you though, please stop mentioning Kalou. I’m quite depressed enough as it is :-)

  52. kelsey says:

    fgg

    Its very cmplex now since Beckham Laws was revoked.World wide assests and earnings are now taxed on an escalating scale and that applies to Spanish nationals as well.

    Every single La liga club are massively in debt, RM more so than anyone and the ever ending supply of money to them has ended and as you have read the european commision are now fully investigation RM’s and Barcelonas finances.

  53. fatgingergooner says:

    Apparently just £3.5m would need to be paid out!

    Sod Berbatov! Wait until the summer and snap him up.

    88 games, 36 goals, 21 assists

    Not bad!

  54. fatgingergooner says:

    Kelsey,

    Does that mean Messi or Ronaldo will be available for a cut price £5m in the summer, like when Liverpool stole Kewell from Leeds!? :)

  55. Manthan says:

    Among the young players in PL, I most impressed with Saido Berahino.. I agree with you Rasp about Willian I was quite impress with christian eriksen also…

  56. Shard says:

    26m

    Hope you have a perfect recovery. I actually injured my knee again after making my comeback from a stapling of the ligament, and had to have reconstructive surgery. That was a good 7 years ago now. I’ve not been the same since then. Partly that is psychological of course, but the lack of nerve endings in the knee make it a slightly disorienting experience to put any load on it. It’s stable, but still feels ‘wrong’ sometimes.

  57. Rasp says:

    Hi Manthan, its amazing how many Brazilian footballers are playing really well at the moment (Costa, Willian etc) and all in a year when the WC is being held in their own country :roll:

  58. Shard says:

    Hi kelsey

    How are you doing these days?

    Regarding clubs not selling to rivals. The fact that we did it, might actually be a contributing factor to other clubs not doing it. The reaction that followed among Arsenal supporters, and the impact RVP had at ManU, probably makes it tougher for the clubs to accept the consequences.

    I still maintain we made the right call in the circumstances. I’d wager that Rooney will be sold in similar circumstances too. Suarez had 3 years left and it was a World Cup season so Liverpool held on to him. But only both the Oilers who have no need for money will keep their players rather than sell to their rivals. Unfortunately, Mata falls in that category. Chelsea would never sell him to us.

    Also, has the 75% tax rate been applied in France? I think I’d read that that proposal had been defeated.

  59. Rasp says:

    Hi Shard, sorry for not responding to your earlier comment. Ouch!!! poor you :( am I to take it that your ACL injury means you will never play for the Arsenal now?

  60. Shard says:

    Vela is an interesting shout. We got him from the Mexican youth team while Man got Hernandez. Vela’s time with us was almost a disaster. Rumours abounded of a party-happy, unmotivated, careless player. But he certainly had talent and has been performing well in La Liga and might just prove a great buy like Flamini.

    Still, I’d prefer he not be at the top of our list. There’s something dangerous about going back. There must be others out there. even though we did insert the buy back clause for a reason I suppose.

  61. Shard says:

    Haha Rasp. Yes, that’s the only reason I’m not playing for the Arsenal already :)

  62. RC78 says:

    FGG – Monaco is not concerned by the 75% tax in France as they are part of the French League but their HQ is based in Monaco. It is a big issue in Ligue 1 and the Parliament was about to force Monaco to pay their dues but in the end, they backed down :-(

    Mickey – I am not a fan of Kalou either but Wenger likes him and he is priced at 3.5 Mln EUR and has experience of the EPL and CL so it could fit Wenger’s bill. Although, at that price, I d much rather Berbatov :-)

    I see the name of Benteke mentionned and I think that we could add Mirallas to the list? Mirallas has been a steady performer for Everton since he arrived and is comfortable playing on the wings…Another name mentionned but I am not a fan is…Agbonlahor

  63. RC78 says:

    Griezmann from Real Sociedad is also often mentioned but he has apparently entered discussions with PSG to replace Menez or Lavezzi at the end of the season…

  64. T-SHIRT says:

    we have eisfeld,the young man is quite clinical,akpom is there too,but truth be told we need a free scoring striker maybe not a big name but one that sure knows the size of the post. where is park?

  65. GunnerN5 says:

    He’s been Park-ed.

  66. T-SHIRT says:

    what is it i’m hearing of julian draxler having a tour of arsenal’s london colney training facility?

  67. RC78 says:

    Park has been released oder…If we want a striker allowed to played the CL for us, then Falcao or Benteke could be great fits for us. If we want a versatile forward that could also play the CL for us, then Rémy, Mirrallas and James Rodriguez would be great fits as well.

    Let us see what happens…

  68. RC78 says:

    Draxler is a great talent but I think he is CL-bound as well

  69. T-SHIRT says:

    GN5
    park has a lethal left foot but i understand the man is low on confidence,is it not time for wenger to pull park out of the hat

  70. Big Raddy says:

    I have mentioned this chap before but no-one was interested.

    Here in Denmark the talk isn’t of Eriksen or Nik, it is of Victor Fischer of Ajax. He is going to be a top top player.

    19 y.o almost 6″ and a left winger.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    Let’s be realistic (very unlike me).

    In light of who we play in the CL should we dismiss a player who is CL-bound?

  72. GunnerN5 says:

    T Shirt,

    I’d sooner AW surprised us and pulled a Rabbit out of the hat!

  73. T-SHIRT says:

    rc
    remy looks good but he’s on loan @ newcattle he’s transfer this january would be a complicated one, i’m not a transfer type but its obvious we need goals since our defence is quite strong and our midfield classy,but goals win games,against manyoo we lost because we had no goals,same too against the chavs (0-0), a quality striker would have the özil-effect on the players and the league title would be our’s but i just can’t figure out the striker who’s not cl cup tied or less complicated maybe i just have to rest and see who wenger comes up with.

  74. GoonerB says:

    Well done for stepping up Micky to get the Theo replacement debate started.

    My thoughts on this matter are based around my feelings that we can win the title this year and have put ourselves in a great position to do so. The 2 questions that need to be answered for me are :

    1 If Walcott hadn’t got the injury would we have been able to win the league without further additions in January?

    2 Now Walcott is injured can we win the league without further additions in January?

    I feel the answer to the first is possibly but we would have improved our chances of doing so with a smart addition up front.

    I feel the answer to the second is now unlikely and we will need to add if we want to win the EPL this year. It may now be that to maximise our chances we actually need 2 additions.

    I am all for the continued development of the young players but feel this is a year when we shouldn’t prioritise that with a view to being a great side with a greater chance next year or the year after that, because things don’t always work out that way and rivals also become stronger and sometimes players you have placed your hopes upon don’t step up enough or get a seasons injury e.t.c, e.t.c.

    I think we need to seize the moment and give ourselves the best opportunity this year and feel it can be done with smart purchases without compromising the opportunity to players like Gnabry and Chamberlain or compromising a big summer purchase.

    I agree with you Micky that primarily any addition should be from AW’s first choice list rather than accepting second best in a panic. I do however feel that this should only be a relevant policy if it is a player of a certain age that you are bringing in on a longer contract i.e I only want a first choice 25 year old on a 5 year deal and don’t want a second best 25 year old on a 5 year deal.

    My view on this changes however if there is a top quality loan option for the remainder of the season, or a high quality over 30’s option that could give us 1 to 1 1/2 seasons. In both of these cases it doesn’t have to affect or block AW’s longer term first choice options in the summer or stand in the way of players like Gnabry coming through.

    I have watched Utd in the past bring in that older over 30’s player and win a league by some 4 points or so and thought that, even if that player didn’t set the world alight, they were likely responsible for 6 points in the second half of the season therefore making them a critical addition to the squad. If AW can’t get a first choice like Costa now, and needs to go for him in the summer instead, then why not a Berbatov or Klose or Eduardo. They will not cost much or block our longer term targets or developing players, but that extra 6 points between now and the end of the season……..

    With one of those types of players AW could even bring forward the purchase of someone like Draxler as well…. Oh sod it lets just go German mental. Add Draxler and Klose to Gnabry, Podolski, Ozil, Giroud, the Ox and Bendy and we can all look forward to an open top bus tour in May.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    GB. Top comment. Sums up my opinion.

  76. GoonerB says:

    Glad to have spent the last hour saving you the trouble Raddy.

  77. T-SHIRT says:

    you could well be regarded as a genius if you can understand this wenger’s quote on transfer plans…
    “I am waiting to see now who walks out there
    and knocks at the door, waiting to come in.
    Honestly, do we find better than the players
    that we have got?”

    who knocks on the door? i’m confused now

  78. RA says:

    A very apt Post Micky, and you raise a number of salient points in the ‘what the fcuk do we do now’ category.

    I think this terrible injury to Theo is a cause of great distress for him but it is an opportunity, in adversity for the club to seize the moment and do something that might win us the League.

    What, can we, or should we do? I can hear you ask.

    Well let’s look at our options:

    — Recruit a top quality player:
    This is always likely to be many fans default position, and is frankly very appealing, and, as we speak, I am sure Mr Wenger is casting the net wide, but he will inevitably run into the usual January problem of ‘selling clubs’, understandably, not wanting to sell their best players at the moment — maybe in the summer, Mr Wenger.

    — Recruit a loan signing:
    This seems to be a popular suggestion, but it runs into the problem that ‘selling clubs’ who do not want to sell their best players may be content to loan out players who are not their best. The obvious question is why would we want to do that?

    — Make do with the current squad players:
    Making the best fist we can by mobilising our squad and entrust the current midfielders to cover for Theo’s absence, either as a stop gap CF cover or as a winger, has its merits, but the problem with that is none of our other players have his pace, or perhaps his goal assists and scoring potential which comes with that speed.
    Pace is what we will miss most in Walnut’s absence.

    — Promote one or more of our young players:
    I like the idea of promoting one or two of our young future stars and it would be wonderful to see one of them grasp the chance to shine and in any other circumstances I would plump for that option, but this is our first chance to win the title in many years and I feel the risk, would be too great and failure to win the PL could have a detrimental effect on their careers if the usual claque of fickle fans deem any such failure was caused by their inclusion in the team.

    It is not an easy choice for Arsene to make, and much of it is outside his control, but he is a fantastic manager, and if anyone can resolve the problem of cover for Giro and a replacement for Theo – he can.

  79. Shard says:

    T-Shirt

    You made me think of Walter White/Heisenberg saying “I am the one who knocks” :)

    Seriously though, Wenger obviously means players’ agents. That’s apparently how the Berbatov rumour started. Arsenal have put the word out that they are interested in strikers and are hoping the right opportunity turns up with the player (through his agents) showing some interest in making the transfer happen.

    I must be a genius :)

  80. RC78 says:

    Just a wrap-up for top quality players available also for CL:
    – Strikers:
    —- Top drawer: Falcao and Benteke
    —- Middle drawer: Berbatov
    —- Lower drawer: Kalou

    – Forward:
    —- Top drawer: James Rodriguez
    —- Middle drawer: Rémy, Mirrallas
    —- Lower drawer: Cabella, Grenier

    Let us be honest, if we get Berbatov and Mirrallas, we would have done good business for the January window although it would also be wise to buy a good centre-back to add cover in our defense…

    Scezesny, Fabianski, Viviano
    Sagna, Jenkinson, Per, Kos, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Monreal
    Flamini, Arteta, Diaby (?)
    Ramsey, Wilshere, Rosicky, Eisfeld
    Ozil, Cazorla, Ox, Gnabry + Mirallas
    Giroud, Podolski, Bendtner + Berbatov

    What do you think?

  81. Bayonne Jean says:

    GB, BR, et al.: for everyone proposing Draxler — including me — he’s currently carrying an injury. Reported timeline is return at end of January at the earliest, which really means mid/late February for full fitness. Add time to adapt to premiership, ergo may not be the best time to add him. But, AW is a bit of a contrarian, so might want to pull the trigger anyway, given he’s presumably been a target for Arsenal for awhile. Like Nacho, who AW was rumored to want to bring in during the summer, he could advance the purchase to fill in the Theo gap.

    The one out there that does intrigue me is Vela — pacy, fox in the box type, can play off a wing, knows the premiership, is in form…..

  82. RC78 says:

    Vela or Griezzman are really in shape at the moment but I doubt that R. Sociedad will let them leave in January…

  83. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t think a player being CL tied should come into Arsene’s thinking unless it’s a loan deal.

    He isn’t buying a player for 6 months, he’s buying them for 5 years +, so why limit yourself in an already small market?

    You only have to compare the kind of players that are not cup-tied to the ones that are to realise that if you want a top quality signing then you should ignore the CL issue.

    Getting players like Remy, Berbatov, Mirallas, Agbonlahor, Kalou, Cabella etc as stop gaps or squad fillers will feel like a step back after the Özil capture.

    I hope the days of Gervinho and Santos are long gone and we are now in the business of buying players who can actually challenge our first team for places.

  84. RC78 says:

    I agree with you FGG but let us be honest here, would you be happier to get
    – Falcao and James Rodriguez from Monaco who can play the EPL and the CL or
    – Diego Costa/Mandzukic/Reuss and Jackson Martinez/Draxler…who can play the EPL only?

    I suppose the truth is in between and I do agree that we need to buy top quality players but in January it is just too difficult and usually too expensive

  85. T-SHIRT says:

    shard
    alright you are a genius then,i never thought of an agent knocking on the door.

  86. fatgingergooner says:

    Your last statement says it all RC78, which is why I believe we will only get a loan signing ie Morata or a short term deal ie Berbatov.

    The chances of us getting top drawer in January are very slim, Espescially with the way AW spends his money. The only way it will happen is if a summer transfer is brought forward (Monreal) or an amazing deal comes up (doubt that).

    I think we will see signings in the summer.

  87. RC78 says:

    FGG – Let us see…

    What do you make of Hulk who is desperate to leave Russia?

  88. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    Over priced and over rated. He could be a good player but haven’t seen anything that would make me want us to blow £25m+ and crazy wages on him.

    I’m hoping the Neymar deal will see Pedro or Sanchez look to move. I’d take either in a heartbeat.

  89. RC78 says:

    Both of them would be quality addition. At Bayern, Shaqiri is a great winger and may get fed up of playing subs all the time…

  90. RC78 says:

    Let us see what AW has in the bag but again, if we get Berbatov and Mirallas, I would not be too upset given the fact that it is the January window…Ideally, we can lure Benteke and Jackson Martinez but this is quite unlikely

  91. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    Yeah he’s looked good when I’ve seen him and should be playing more. Same goes for Thiago.

    The lad Salah at Basel is rumoured to be moving. Still a bit raw though.

    Do you think anyone else will leave Dortmund end of season? I’d love Gundogan or Bender as I think Arteta has started to look a bit old this year and we need a replacement.

  92. RC78 says:

    Gundogan is rumored to be on the go as he has yet pledged to a new contract…However, he is very much of a “Ramsey/Wilshere” player and I would rather see Wenger make a move for a pure defensive midfielder like Bender but there are other players around at this position that may be even better and available in the summer. I still do not understand why AW did not go for Veloso

  93. chas says:

    I’m rubbish at this transfer speculation chat, but thanks for the post, Micky.

    Apparently Gnabry used to be a sprinter, though I’d imagine he would take a little longer than Theo to hit full speed given his chunky frame. The ball over the top may still be an option though.

    This made me laugh so I thought I’d share it………

    The following is an actual question given on a University of Oregon chemistry mid-term.

    The answer by one student was so “profound” that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

    Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant.

    One student, however, wrote the following:

    First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and the rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

    As for how many souls are entering Hell, let’s look at the different
    Religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

    With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls are added.

    This gives two possibilities:

    1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

    2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

    So which is it?

    If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, “it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number 2 must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct…leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting ” Oh my God.”

  94. fatgingergooner says:

    RC78,

    Luis Gustavo would be ideal after the World Cup? He could be a great DM option and only went to Wolfsburg to guarantee 1st team football and therefore WC selection. Apparently he even has a release clause so he can move in the summer, one year after signing! Ridiculous.

  95. GoonerB says:

    RC78, I am not sure I would put Benteke in the top drawer bracket. He would need to show top form over a longer period of time, like Falcao has, for me to consider him world class and a top target. If we are to spend big I feel he would be too risky, whereas Falcao has proven himself at a good level over a longer period of time. I would take the less expensive stop gap Berbatov for a season or 2 and save the money for a player really setting the world alight.

    Must admit I don’t know much about Rodriguez but you seem to rate him highly. Can you tell us more about him RC78.

  96. GoonerB says:

    Brilliant Chas

  97. arnie says:

    Great stuff, Micky. For me, yours is a perfect assessment of the situation. I was savouring the comments over a cup of coffee when the bomb alert in Edinburgh Airport came to my notice. So, just to let you guys know, back safe and sound, despite delays and missed connections, and just in time before Edinburgh Airport was shut down.

    Back to teh comments now. :D :D :D

  98. chas says:

  99. RC78 says:

    James Rodriguez is a classy Columbian play-maker that can play as a winger as well. He is very creative and has an astute eye for assists. He is quite pacy as well and after a spell in Portugal, he is really coming through at Monaco. He is quite a gem…

  100. GoonerB says:

    Thanks RC78

  101. RA says:

    Chas @ 4;15 :-) :-)

  102. arnie says:

    Chas @4:15. Brilliant stuff. :D :D

  103. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thanks Micky

    Dont think we can replace Theo. I dare anyone to name a player as shit as Walcott but as simultaneously brilliant.

    To come into this Arsenal set up you have to tick all the right boxes. Forgetting about availability and price for a moment, consider the mechanics of our current squad and the balance within it.

    This is what makes it so difficult, especially since the January window is extra difficult.

    I put my trust in Arsene to get it right.

  104. arnie says:

    Two quick thoughts.

    Under the circumstances, Arsene will probably try to use the January window. And he is brilliant in spotting fit to the team. Remember bringing Arteta and Santi at short notice? He will probably try and do something similar again, perhaps a loan deal.

    But this is only a stop gap arrangement. We are aiming big and have to show intent. Ozil was a good start. Another big signing will be good. But probably have to wait for the summer for this.

    In teh meantime, a loan cover plus development of the young guns is probably the most realistic option!!!! :D :D

  105. evonne says:

    Cheers Micky, a sensible post for a change :)

    I am in agreement with you iro Theo’s injury -serious blow, most valuable player, Arsene knows his summer targets.

    What I disagree about is the January buying. Theo cannot be replaced, he is unique and nobody could simply step into his shoes and save our season. That’s not going to happen.

    If Wenger will buy a player, regardless of Theo’s injury is a different matter, but with a similar outcome – no, AW will wait till the season is over and buy at the end of the summer.

    We still have a strong squad and bench, and we can still do it. It is going to be harder, but not impossible.

    Two positives are – 20 years ago similar injury could be career ending. These days TW will be as good as new for September.
    And secondly, it would have been far worse if Koscielny or Per were out for the season. We have very good midfielders on the bench, but our defences are thin, very thin.

  106. chas says:

    We play Southampton on Tuesday 28th Jan, so the cup tie moved to Friday 24th is good in that respect.

  107. chas says:

    Last time we played on a Friday……. :)

  108. GunnerN5 says:

    As most of you know I’m not into participating in player transfer speculation, but one thing I do feel is that if AW does make a move the player will be a surprise to everybody but him.

    He knows the player market so well that he has most likely already made his wishes known and AFC will be negotiating behind closed doors.

  109. arnie says:

    Terry and Evonne: :D :D Nice level headed assessments.

  110. arnie says:

    GN5: Agreed, and I would be surprised if ex post this move turned out to be a bad decision. Arsene has a fantastic judgment of the team and knowledge of potential fits. He is our greatest asset. :D :D

  111. chas says:

    …..well apart from when Xmas games have fallen on a Friday.

  112. chas says:

  113. chas says:

    Whoops, wrong order…..

  114. chas says:

  115. chas says:

  116. chas says:

  117. arnie says:

    I wish we place very public and sizable bids for Draxler and Costa now. Not likely to work, at least not in January, but emphasizes our ambition of being a top side. On the side, away from the limelight, a nice loan deal of two will be nice. Keeps us going. ….. :D :D :D

  118. arnie says:

    remember Benayoun, guys? :D

  119. jnyc says:

    Good post on a difficult day. Theo was really coming into his own of late. Terrible timing. After a couple very productive seasons, he was looking so strong in affecting matches. Super aggressive in trying to score and assist, taking lots of shots, some just missing, curling a bit wide, , and scoring allot just returning from injury. His goals and assists to minutes played was great. I really thought he was looking like our most influential attacker and truly scaring defenses. Is really a big blow to us.
    I’m the only one thinking this way, but one rumoured name can fill in well as a scoring winger, and a different kind of striker to giroud and bendtner. Basically filling two needs.Pato. i would look to get him on a loan, with an option to buy at a fair price for the selling Club if he turns out to be a hit.
    He could work for us as pedro does for barca.
    Sure, I do want Arsene and ivan to go big and surprise us all. But I think I would be happy with a solid move to help us continue our good run, address some needs, show intent and inspire our players.

  120. RA says:

    As a sidebar to the speculation and dreaming about the sometimes unrealistic acquisition of this player or that in the current transfer window, can I make a comment that some might not find to their liking.

    Until we signed Ozil as the clock was chiming down the close of last summer’s transfer window and before the news erupted that we had paid megabucks for a true star, the TW had taken a fairly standard meander through familiar territory with AW apparently having links with this player or that, only for it all to simply fizzle out with rumours that we had walked away because the fee was too high or the selling club had moved the goalposts.

    There then ensued a period that fascinated many of us with wild press reports and counter reports that not only did we want Suarez but, it appeared he wanted us, too. This kept all of us on tenterhooks with rumours of buyout clauses and very angry ‘Pool owners and manager.

    All of it was idle media waffle it seemed, much like previous ‘windows’ and had ‘same, same’ written all over it.

    The increasing feeling of yet more disappointment in store as the window dragged to its conclusion, with the Suarez fiasco played out to the death, until our growing misgivings were blasted to smithereens and fantastic exultation swept Gooner fandom with the official Arsenal sanctioned news declared the capture of Ozil.

    Now what was odd about the Ozil purchase was the huge sums of money involved and all of us were told that this was the result of frugal housekeeping by the club – and this was undoubtedly true and had been for some time.

    The fans expectation ever since is that more purchases for similar sums would become the norm, and I also was swept away with the thrill of entering the world of shopping in Harrods with the Oilers, only this time with hard earned football based money.

    So what is nagging at the back of my mind when I read all this excited talk of £40m for this guy or a buyout clauses of £32m for that guy (+ salaries of £10m per annum – minimum – over 5 years, adding another £50m to any such deal)?

    Well the old adage that a leopard does not change his spots simply will not go away. And I am not sure that anyone should take big money signings as being de rigeur in the current window or perhaps even the summer transfer window.

    It does not seem far fetched to think that perhaps the clever, or shrewd lower value signings that we have come to know and expect over the past few seasons will continue to really be the ‘norm’.

    Who knows — only Mr Wenger. :-)

  121. RA says:

    Chas,

    Thanks for the Beijing Red tweets.

    That guy is seriously funny, (however contradictory that sounds) but for his sake I hope he does not live in Manchester or Surrey. :-)

  122. arnie says:

    Redders: Brilliant. :D :D So be it. I am enjoying the ride, and I am not complaining!!!!! :D :D :D

  123. arnie says:

    Redders, Chas: This guy is too clever to be a ManUre supporter. Probably an Arsenal fan in disguise!!!!! :D

  124. RA says:

    arnie, I am delighted that you have for arrived back home safely. :-)

    I think you should enjoy all the fun of the transfer speculation, why not? :-)

  125. arnie says:

    Redders: I really do enjoy this, great fun. The more the merrier. The more the press participates, even better. Allows Arsene and co to do their business away from the spotlight as well. This is fantastic. :D :D

    The bad thing is the news that started all this speculation. Oh dear!!!! :sad:

  126. arnie says:

    For all we know, Beijing Red could be a Shitty supporter from Manchester!!!!! :D

  127. RA says:

    arnie, I have noticed that when Beijing Red appears my friend Rocky is never around. Very suspicious.

    Alternatively, it has not escaped my attention that the abbreviation BR is so like one of our august colleagues — who is not around either,

    Sadly I too must go — I am going to have lunch with a friend.

    Nite, nite. :-)

  128. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well done Micky especially for unearthing a couple of new worthy bloggers.

    I think options have been well and truly covered, especially like thoughts of not worrying about CL exclusion, Insigne had me hmmm’ing.

    No one mentioned Ryo as far as I could see?

  129. arnie says:

    GiE: Quoting RC78 @ 11:48. “Miyachi, Akpom – not ready to fill Walcott’s shoes yet.” Somewhat hesitantly, but I have to agree. :sad:

  130. arnie says:

    RC78: Great stuff mate. Fantastic to have an Arsenal blogger like you in this space!!!!! :D :D :D

  131. arnie says:

    Redders, Raddy: :D

  132. evonne says:

    GiE – never mind Ryo, nobody mentioned Bendtner :) and what about Park?

  133. arnie says:

    I mentioned Bendy, yesterday, when this conversation started!!!! :sad:

  134. evonne says:

    I should have known :)
    Why did you mention him arnie? he is not a winger and he is not likely to score 20 a season, ever

  135. Shard says:

    I’m watching the Sunderland-ManU game. Does anyone know how Rafael is eligible to play? I thought he was sent off for a dangerous tackle in the FA Cup loss to Swansea, and I thought suspensions carried across all domestic competitions.

  136. Shard says:

    Oh ok.. My bad.. It was his twin that got sent off :)

  137. evonne says:

    shard – isn’t it a rubbish game? I am not sure which is the worse team

  138. arnie says:

    Evonne: To make the point that Arsenal is a team, not a collection of superstars, a team that plays a good game, and where each person has a backup in place. Hence no urgent need to desperately use the January window!!!!! Bendy to cover for Giroud, Gnabry and perhaps even Sagna or Wilshere for Theo, not perfect but no need to start ringing alarm bells, yet! Not a popular view, this!!!! :sad:

  139. Shard says:

    evonne

    It certainly is a rubbish game, but unlike you, I am sure which the worse team is :D

  140. arnie says:

    We want Arsenal to score 80 goals, even if there is no single brilliant idol scoring 20!!!!! It is a team game!!!! :D :D :D

  141. fatgingergooner says:

    Man U are the poorer team! :)

  142. Shard says:

    Right on cue :)

  143. arnie says:

    And on that cue, Evonne, Sunderland has scored!!!!!! :D :D

  144. evonne says:

    oh yeah, the scoreline proved you two right :) magic!!

  145. evonne says:

    listen arnie, you must tell me what is the secret of your sunny disposition. 80 goals, yeah right

  146. arnie says:

    Evonne: Just beyond halfway stage, we have scored 39 in the EPL so far, and Shitty have scored close to 60!!!! :sad:

  147. Shard says:

    Why not evonne? It’s right around the halfway mark in the league and we’ve scored 39 goals. Or was the ‘sunny disposition’ said in sarcasm for arnie setting the mark too low? :)

  148. arnie says:

    Shard: I suppose you are right, sarcasm!!!! :sad:

  149. Shard says:

    Ok arnie.. We’ve got to cut this out. It’s one thing saying ‘cue’ together when the occasion calls for it, but this is getting ridiculous now.
    Although they say great minds think alike.. As was established earlier today, I am a genius. Guess you must be too. :)

    Just as long as it’s not the internet meme kind of genius.

  150. arnie says:

    ha ha, Shard!!!!! :D :D When are you visiting Scotland. The days will start getting longer in Feb-March. :D :D :D

  151. evonne says:

    no sarcasm

    come on Sunderland!!

  152. arnie says:

    I think Chas sometimes posts from @Hamburgooner. May be someone within our wider circle? :D

  153. Shard says:

    the commentators on my stream have been quite clearly willing ManU to score all along, and going gaga over some of the rubbish that the red Mancs call football these days. They got their wish, and apparently Vidic ‘emasculated’ the defenders there.

  154. Shard says:

    arnie

    It appears that our AA regulars lead secret double lives. BR or Rocky is Beijing Red, and now chas is a baiter of chinless lesbians :D

    As for Scotland. If a UK trip happens, it’ll likely be in Feb. Maybe March. Once I’m in the UK, I’ll make my way to Scotland to get that pint you once offered me. I’m particular that way :)

    I have been to Scotland before. Glasgow, Edinburgh and Loch Lomond are the places I went to. The coach driver that took me there from London spoke a language that he would claim was English but none of the passengers would agree with him. Hopefully your accent is a little less perplexing :)

  155. arnie says:

    yo ho ho, Sunderland!!!!!!! :D :D :D

    Certainly, Shard. We will do the obligatory pints, but will also do The Highlands and perhaps the coastal areas as well!!!!!!

  156. fatgingergooner says:

    Go on Sunderland!

    As much as I would love us to get 80 goals, what is probably more important is that our defence stays fit. We will always create opportunities and score goals.

    I was looking at the table the other day and noticed the similarity of Spurs and Hull’s goal difference.

    Spurs scored 24 conceded 25 gd -1
    Hull scored 22 conceded 25 gd -3

    Yet Spurs have 14 more points than Hull!

    If 1-0 to the Arsenal makes a comeback on numerous occasions this season I will be happy.

  157. arnie says:

    FGG: Agreed. :D :D

  158. Shard says:

    arnie

    One of my favourite childhood movies was Highlander. So yes, I would like to go to the Highlands. :)

    Actually just travelling anywhere is fun, so if you say those areas are worth doing I would certainly like to go.

  159. Brilliant days blogging all, thanks Micky for the post.

    Before Theo’s injury I was in the ‘don’t really need anyone camp’ and I’m still not convinced that we do if most of the so far unused can step up.

    What a shame for Theo though, very upset for him :(

  160. arnie says:

    Shard: Lovely country. The Highlands are certainly worth it, and if time permits, the Islands as well. We will have a chat before you travel. :D :D

  161. arnie says:

    5 mins Moist time!!!!!

  162. arnie says:

    Moist in! Moist in!! Moist in!!!

  163. arnie says:

    Are the folk in Dorset/Norfolk OK? Stay safe. :D

  164. Shard says:

    The better team won :D

  165. Gööner In Exile says:

    Really need to step up the Moyes In campaign….actually screw that they gave him a 6 year contract ROLF incoming.

  166. Anyone written us any posts for this week?

  167. Gööner In Exile says:

    Arnie have to admit I skim read a lot to try and catch up. :D

    As for yours, FGG’s and Evonne’s chat about goal scored I am firmly in the “score more than the opposition is all that counts” camp.

    As I have said previously 1 Giroud goal vs Newcastle is worth the same as 4 Suarez goals against Norwich. It results in 3 points.

    And for all Shittys goal scoring might they have not been so proficient away where they also continue to be profligate in defence.

    That’s too many prof’s I’m out.

  168. Gööner In Exile says:

    Peaches I put GN5s in for you.

  169. arnie says:

    GiE: Yes the Moist In campaign needs to be stepped up. Beebs: “High up in the stands, Fergie puts his glasses in his case as Sir Bobby Charlton blows out his cheeks and shakes his head from side-to-side. Bryan Robson says nothing.” :D

  170. arnie says:

    No arguments, GiE. :D :D

  171. chas says:

  172. chas says:

  173. Gööner In Exile says:

    Going back to my earlier comment about 6 year contract for Moyes, I know they are a behemoth of a revenue making machine but they do have large interest repayments and there could be issues with FFP if they are not careful, in fact judging by the last few seasons squad improvements for United my guess is they were already sailing close.

    Anyway….6 years at £30m over the contract. If they sack him that’s one £30m player they can’t buy! :D and like Chelsea they have very few saleable assets. If Moyes goes Rooney is up for sale the next day.

  174. 26may1989 says:

    I think if Moyes stays, Rooney also soon leaves the club.

  175. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rooney to Arsenal then Exile and 26

    Mind you, perhaps not so silly, as maybe Utd no longer see us as competition

    ROLF ROLF ROLF

  176. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Chas
    Love the vid of Sir Booby Charlton :-)

  177. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Some good news

    Ox is ready for some U21’s stuff. Should be 1st team ready soon.

  178. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Motning crew broken down :-(

  179. Big Raddy says:

    Motning All,

    Still gutted about Theo, but the Moyes Saga is a relief.

    I predicted MU for 4th place – may have to revise

  180. dandan says:

    Morning all another superb article to share with you.

    Matthew Syed Sports Commentator of the Year
    Last updated at 12:01AM, January 8 2014
    I spent an evening at the Arsenal Youth Training Ground just before Christmas. It is just off the North Circular Road in Hale End, a green expanse of AstroTurf with a small, functional building at the side. It was bitterly cold, a mist had descended into the air, and at one point I thought that my toes had become ice. I jogged around the perimeter of the pitch to keep warm.
    On the field, Ryan Garry, the under-13 coach, was barking instructions. He did so in a measured way, urging his young players to remember the patterns of attack and defence he had etched on the chalkboard a few minutes earlier, cautioning them about moving out of position (the perennial temptation of chasing the ball) and encouraging them to “learn from every minute”.
    The boys were cold, too. They were wearing shorts, socks, boots and long-sleeved shirts. As the whistle sounded and the first drill began, they sprinted into their pre-set positions. The drill was five attackers against four defenders. The ball was thrown to the winger and he looked up, hitting the ball with left-to-right swerve to the winger on the other side. In an instant, after a cross and a lunging header, the ball was in the net. “Fantastic,” Garry shouted. “Now, let’s go again.”
    As I drove home after watching the three-hour session, I wondered just how many aspiring footballers had been playing across our nation on that bitter night. Not just in structured sessions run by professional teams, but also amateur sides, school clubs, youngsters coached by the guy in the tracksuit from the local pub. I wondered about the kids playing on street corners, in back gardens and alleyways, on the playing fields that are slowly dwindling into non-existence.
    David Beckham built his skill playing football with his dad on a stretch of grass near their small house in East London. Joey Barton learnt to play by kicking the ball against a lamppost adjacent to the council house in which he grew up in Liverpool. Nicky Butt played in the ginnel at the back of his home in Gorton until his feet were so sore they nearly bled. With every player who has made it into a top club, there is a story of sacrifice, courage and devotion. And that is just the English players.
    Steven Pienaar, of Everton, grew up in the notorious Westbury township on the outskirts of Johannesburg while apartheid still reigned. He was beaten because of his colour; his best friend was shot dead. But he practised, made it to Ajax’s Cape Town academy, and from there to the Premier League via the Netherlands and Germany.
    Eusébio, who died last week, grew up in grinding poverty in Lourenço Marques in Mozambique (his father died when he was 8), but he lived for football, and at the age of 15 was spotted by a local club. He eventually signed for Benfica.
    One of the deepest mysteries to me after a decade in journalism is the jaundiced attitude we so often have towards football and footballers. With the vast majority of athletes, we approach them in a spirit of celebration. They are heroes, men and women who have made it to the top through commitment and spirit. With footballers, the presumption is often very different. They are invariably characterised as lazy and ignorant. When they earn good money, it is taken as nothing less than a moral outrage.
    I have a very different perspective. When I look at top footballers, I see a group of men who have come through the most exacting recruiting ground in the history of mankind. I see a beautiful meritocracy where children from the working classes can dare to dream, where expensive equipment doesn’t act as a barrier (you only need a ball and space), and where genuine ability has at least a fighting chance of winning out over privilege, nepotism, cronyism and the other covert factors that thwart ambition in our world.
    Most of all, when I look at the extraordinary athletes who play in the great leagues of Europe, I see countless others, like grains of sand on a beach, who have tried, who have practised like crazy, but who have not made the grade. And I think: isn’t this the way the world ought to be? A place where everyone gets a shot and where success is based on ability?
    This is why the skill level of top footballers is unrivalled. It is why they can control a ball falling from the heavens with a flourish of the boot. It is why a team such as Arsenal are able to create a sequence of passes so tightly coupled, so beautifully conceived, that — as in the match against Norwich City last October, when Jack Wilshere took the final touch into the net — it takes the breath away. It is why, in the Barclays Premier League already this season, we have seen half a dozen goals that have subverted our sense of the possible. This, of course, is what happens in a meritocracy: progress, evolution, excellence.
    The idea for this column was sparked by the story that David Cameron’s hairdresser has been given an MBE. It reminded me of just how silly and counter-productive our world remains. Success is so often about connections, covert networks and hidden alliances. It is about who you know, not how good you are. This is why so much energy is devoted not to getting better at what we do, but at greasing the wheels of subjective preferment. Is it any wonder that progress — in everything from banking to politics — is so painfully slow?
    Football offers a signpost to a different world. A world where everyone stands a chance. Sure, the game and its protagonists are not perfect. Some footballers sleep around and get up to no good, but so what? Lawyers, teachers and journalists sleep around, too. Isn’t it time we saw the bigger picture? Isn’t it time we celebrated that the highest echelons of the game are populated, at least in part, by kids from council estates in the UK, from the favelas of South America, from sub-Saharan Africa?
    The irony — and it is a deep one — is that the poor backgrounds of many footballers is often used as a stick to beat them with. We mock their answers in press conferences and ridicule their accents. I often wonder if this is the real reason for the outrage over their high incomes. How dare these chavs earn more than me?
    It is noteworthy that less outrage is levelled at the high incomes of actors. But, then, perhaps they are less threatening. Perhaps there is something particularly subversive about top-flight footballers: working-class people earning tons of dosh in a world in which they are so often excluded.
    I will go back to watch the under-13s of Arsenal this month. I will stand at the side of the pitch and marvel at the skill, determination and commitment of a wonderful group of lads. A few will make it into the Premier League, perhaps even to the first team at Arsenal. Most will not. But all of them will have a powerful consolation and a unique motivating force. Success will be driven by the ability they are able to attain, and will not be thwarted by the dubious connections of others.

  181. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Great article dandan, thanks.

    “The idea for this column was sparked by the story that David Cameron’s hairdresser has been given an MBE”

    Says a lot :-(

  182. Big Raddy says:

    DD. Excellent article. Thanks

  183. chas says:

    Apologies for shirking my duties.
    First motning not working for 6 weeks = lie-in.
    Better get back to greasing the wheels of subjective preferment.

    I wonder how many hours, weeks and months Bendy spent making his feet bleed to get where he is today?
    In some ways, we failed him as we had him from 16. Then again, most people are already set as a person before then, I suppose. I blame his dad.

  184. evonne says:

    3 positives from Sunderland’s win:

    1 BSR :)
    2 Arsenal fans who wanted Moist to replace Wenger
    3 Manyoo fans with motto ‘Football is all about winning’ are reopening their kebab shop this weekend :)

    GiE re 1 Giroud’s goal worth as much as 4 from Suarez – nope. Remember what happened to United 2 seasons ago?

  185. chas says:

  186. chas says:

    When Eduardo got snapped in two, you got the impression that the fans wanted to do it ‘for Eduardo’, but the players just felt sorry for themselves. (William Gallas began immediately)

    Perhaps it’s testament to the current squad unity that the players seem to be responding differently this time around.Definitely seems more like 2002.

  187. chas says:

    There’s a few I’d like to see this happen to.

  188. chas says:

  189. Big Raddy says:

    Spanish Ref: I like the guy in white calling for foul by the fellow in yellow!

    chas. NB. As you say – blame the parents.

  190. arnie says:

    Motning, erm very late motning, all. This motning crew stuff is fantastic. No sooner than Micky announces “Motning crew broken down” Dandan comes up with a fantastic piece. The best piece of sports journalism I have read in a long time. Thank you Dandan.

    “A few will make it into the Premier League, perhaps even to the first team at Arsenal. Most will not. But all of them will have a powerful consolation and a unique motivating force. Success will be driven by the ability they are able to attain, and will not be thwarted by the dubious connections of others.”

    “Subjective preferment”? Never mind. There are plenty of good things to celebrate in this world, rather than sit, sulk and whine about the injustices!!!!!

  191. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……

    ….. New post …….

  192. RC78 says:

    Here is the latest rumor:
    – Berbatov in for sure (offered an 18 months contract)
    – Porto approached for a loan deal for Jackson Martinez with a clause to buy him in the summer (40 Mln EUR + various bonuses and eventually the loan of one player)

    If this turns out to be true, we could really rejoice :-)

  193. RC78 says:

    Another name mentioned…El Sharaawy. Outstanding player when he is fit. Struggling with injuries in the past 9 months…But what a player…

  194. RC78 says:

    and now on top of Draxler, here is Kevin Volland (right winger/striker) seen as the “ideal” replacement for Walcott…

  195. evonne says:

    RC78 – there is a new post , people moved on to the next day, copy your comments there

  196. I have read so many content regarding the blogger lovers except this
    post is actually a pleasant paragraph, keep it up.

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