Is Wenger Right ?

July 22, 2014

After our win at Borehamwood Wenger stated that he would not be adding to the forward line. He said “Up front we don’t need any more. It’s not especially for numbers. We need a goalkeeper for sure and after that it depends on how our midfielders get through without injuries until the start of the season. Maybe at centre-back we’ll still bring one in.”

David Ospina appears to be our third signing and I would hope he is competition to our Number one not just a back up to be used in Carling Cup games.

Szczesny has a good fifteen years left as a top keeper but IMO he still has a lot to learn and it would be nice for him to fight for his place rather than be an automatic choice though I know many will disagree with me.

Wenger was obviously talking about Vermaelen and I would be sad to see him go but if he does leave I really think it’s a mistake. He is a good player who lost form and has struggled to get his place back with the formidable duo of Mertesacker and Koscienly practically always being first choice but as we know Per reads the game well but by far is not the quickest defender around.

Miracles do happen so maybe Diaby can fill that hole for rotation in certain games. Wishful thinking on my part and I suspect there are at least two or three options on the cards if Vermaelen leaves.

Our ‘goals for’ has to improve and a fully fit Ramsey will provide those together with the new signing Sanchez and eventually Walcott, though he will miss at least 15 + games from the start of the season. Ozil and Cazorla should be able to up their goals apart from providing many assists.

Will the ever smiling Podolski be a starter,based on last season, the answer is no.

I have said it many times that a basis for a good team is a solid defence and I don’t want to see us ripped apart as last season by four teams who also finished in the top seven. That amounted to half the goals we let in in the whole season.

This is the key to having a good season by improving our points tally against the main contenders. Sagna was a big loss as he could play in three different positions, nearly always tried his best but it’s difficult to bomb along the wing and cross the ball only for no one to being in the box.

Our game needs to be played far more on the ground and at a quicker pace especially when counter attacking.

So in conclusion we need to score more and concede less and then we have a fighting chance for the Title


Stadiums – can we improve ours?

July 21, 2014

We’re good. City and Utd are sorted. So what’s going on with Chavs, Spuds and Pool. Surely they’re overdue upgrades. Anyone know what’s going on, and while we’re on the subject, any thoughts on improving our gaff?

Oh, and are The ‘ammers seriously moving into the Olympic Stadium, and exactly how far from the pitch will they be squatting in their cages?

Just a thought on Chelsea. What a dump that bit of it is. Many years ago I lived at The World’s End (border Chelsea/Fulham), and heard a great explanation why there are no Tube’s within the Sloane Sq, Fulham Broadway, Parsons Green triangle. Apparently that’s where the Plague bodies are buried. I concluded the resultant drinking water table pollution might explain the local inhabitants “difficulties”. Just a thought.

Back to our gaff. Ok, I’m in the minority in hating those giant blu-tacked on posters around the outside, and the hideously vulgar listing of dates when we won stuff around the top tier (err, modesty?), but what should be done to really lift match day experience.

Personally, I couldn’t care less. Go. Watch game. Leave. However, I do understand some like to get there early, soak up the atmosphere and eat and drink. Strikes me that it’s all good if you’re in Club or Box level, but for most it’s absolute crap. Seriously overprice shite food and drinks, with nowhere to sit. What about outside around the ground? Nothing. Of course they’re trying to get people inside to splash their cash, but really, is it working?

When I went to the game at Bayern last season, they have a system where you cannot spend cash inside the stadium, you buy a card/voucher and put however much you like on it. The food was better than ours and the drinks way more reasonable. Loads of seating everywhere and many fans there early.

Over to you. Stadium thoughts?

Written by MickyDidIt89

Arsenal’s pre-season starts today

July 19, 2014

Morning all

Pre-season kicks off today with a game at Borehamwood’s Meadow Park where they have just had a new stand built and Gooners get to watch a match featuring some of their idols.

fa cup pic

I started to think about who would be playing and as the boss mentioned that he would change the team for both halves I wondered if we could have a stab at a couple of teams.

I’ve had a good look at the pictures from the training ground, there’ll be some fresh faces on show this afternoon – always an exciting prospect.

Coquelin is back with the squad, Zelalem too. Gnabry should feature and I hope we’ll see Eisfeld.

The FA Cups – Mens and Ladies – will be on show and I’m sure all the Gooners that are going will give Aaron Ramsey and all the players a massive welcome.

Here’s my stab a team

Szczesny – who else is there?

Jenks  Miquel ? Gibbs


Gnabry Rosicky Arteta Coquelin

Yaya Sanogo

Can anyone help out with another centre-back?

If you’re going to the game have a great time. If you’re watching it on then come and chat about it afterwards and let us know what you think.


BT Sports ad to help push Arsenal to success

July 17, 2014

The new BT Sport ads appear to have been deliberately chosen to wind us up by highlighting some of our darkest days from 2013-14.  First out of the traps was an ad featuring our 5-1 thrashing by then-flying-high Liverpool, with alternating visions of exuberant Scousers and depressed Gooners, supposedly taking in the events in real time.  And BT Sport followed that up with a number based on the worst of all, our 6-0 humiliation at the Bridge.

Some (including our very own Evonne/Eddie) took umbrage and have complained about the bias at BT Sport their choices appear to betray.  (Chas even posted something suggesting that the senior marketing bod at BT Sport was a paid-up Spud.)

I understand the feeling, every one of us was horrified to watch those games, plus the 6-3 capitulation to a referee-assisted Man City and the 3-0 slump to Everton.  Even the defeat at Old Trafford, although only a single goal, was embarrassing in its own way, given how many lesser teams went there and got one or three points last season. It is painful to see moments such as those again.

But I’m pleased that BT Sport chose to highlight some of our heavy defeats.  It is a fact that we were hammered in those games, and it is also a fact that we fell short in the race for the title in large part due to our abject failure to take many points from our top-seven rivals, especially away from home, where our record was a pathetic P6 W1 D0 L5 F5 A21.  If we are serious about challenging for the title in the coming season, and right to the end, not just up until March or April, our record against the other top sides simply has to be improved.

Of course, our remarkable consistency last season against sides from the remainder of the league is something to respect, but each one of the five away defeats to rivals that we suffered last season is a reason for revenge.  We should be pleased that those defeats are being rammed down our throats now; next season I want to see the players and the fans take those defeats and avenge them with better performances and better results, against those rivals, home and away.  To use a footballing cliché, I hope that someone like Steve Bould pins a list of those results to the dressing room wall and challenges the players to find motivation in them.

So I won’t be doing any complaining to BT Sport, in fact I may send them a thank you note.

Written by 26may1989

At last, you don’t have to leave Arsenal to find silver.‏

July 16, 2014

Morning Gooner’s

The title says it all, Arsenal players taste victory without leaving. Arsenal players were heavily involved in this last World cup even if they haven’t even donned our shirt, as Young Campbell proved, Ok he never went on to win the world cup but he played his part and opened our eyes into the possibility that he may just wear the red and white of Arsenal.

Mesut, Poldi, and Merts, 3 of Arsenals finest were in the German team that picked up the World Cup, the biggest trophy in world football and Arsenal football club is recognised once again. We also had many of our stars feature for their respective countries, maybe not getting to the final but good enough to be part of their squads.

Every player who takes up the sport, wishes that one day, they will be able to pull on their Countries shirt, that is the pinnacle of most footballers career’s. This year has been the first for some, and others got to taste it again. Arsenal footballers have in fact had a good season. winning the FA cup and featuring in other competitions as well, even looking to win some of them. Only a few of our players never got to kick a ball in Brazil but surely their time will come.

Theo Walcott stands out for me, a young lad who was introduced to World Cup football by Sven Goran Eriksson, a strange choice in my opinion when the lad had hardly done anything for Arsenal or his country, and had I been an English forward at that particular time I would have had the right hump with Mr Eriksson’s choice. Theo as it turned out, was only taken to a world cup for experience, he didn’t even play one game, and that was at a time when English strikers were thin on the ground. Maybe Eriksson was thinking of the future but as we know, Eriksson was moved on, and Theo has had another World Cup watching only. Theo will probably have one last chance but for a young man with so much promise maybe he’ll never get to play in a World Cup.

I also feel for Oxlade Chamberlain, injured for this world cup, but was in the squad, a little reminiscent of Theo really, there but not there. Both these players are very talented, but also injury prone, now if that does not change, they may never be included in World cup finals.

Arsenal has been in the doldrums for quite a few years, and although Arsène Wenger has pushed our teams as hard as he has, its only since player buying has improved that we are seeing a difference. The Premier league has attracted many fine players. Rumoured to be the best league in the world, and also paying wonderful wages. Arsenal’s debts have decreased and the money has started to become available, although we have a Manager that can find players and get the most out of them, we have also needed that Marquee player who make the cogs turn.

Mesut Ozil has been our first Marquee signing for quite a few years, and although his first season with us has shown his talent, he hasn’t exactly excelled. having said that he has helped Arsenal win their first trophy for years.I also feel he is pivotal for new marquee players to join. Arsenal are showing intent, in the space of a season we have 2 marquee signings, high wages and bonuses makes this an expensive intent, but I don’t believe we are finished yet.

Many asked for players during the last transfer window, and as I remember 3 or 4 was the preferred number. Wenger left it late in the window and caught a cold. He had hoped for Suarez but that fell through, what a buy that would have been, we offered £40m and a pound, a season later he is sold for £75m.

It has to be said that, in the past, we have sold very good players who have gone on to win trophies, but its also true that we also have a lot of youngsters who are also very good.  Gibbs, Gnabry, Theo, Ox, Rambo, Jack, Ya Ya and also not forgetting Joel, with the inclusion of Mesut and Alexis we are beginning to look like a young Germany. They have years of fruitful futures, and, not forgetting my own countrymen, so do we.  England didn’t have a good World cup but the potential is there for all to see.

Arsenal have become a side that can compete, with a manager who strives for success, a club with impeccable credentials and finance, we are going to turn heads without a shadow of a doubt. Arsenal are back and we intend to stay there for the foreseeable future.

Written by Steve Palmer


Arsenal’s next Captain

July 15, 2014

The other day LB wrote an interesting post entitled “Is Thomas Vermaelen still needed? This led me to think about the player as a captain and conversely the captain as a player.

Before looking at individuals in those roles I got to thinking just what should we look for in a Club Captain, note the capital letters, in my opinion the Club Captain is equally as important as The Manager, The Chief Executive or The Owner.

So the candidate should be of sufficient stature, not just in a physical sense, but in the status he holds in the game as a whole. To attain the necessary status he must have been around a while, he must be a good enough player to command a starting place in the club’s first team and preferably in his National side as well. He should also have earned the respect of not only his own team but also opposing players and particularly the on pitch officials. Needless to say he must also be media savvy, articulate and able to offer rational answers to irrational questions at times of both elation and disappointment in post match interviews for example.

tony adams

Looking back, I can recall Frank McLintock, sleeves rolled up barking out orders to players, organising his defence at corners and free kicks and generally running things on the pitch. Similarly with Tony Adams and of course Patrick Vieira. Arguably the best Captain I ever saw was the incomparable Bobby Moore, calm authoritative and respected throughout football.

Latterly the armband has been a bit of a poisoned chalice, not only at Arsenal but also at international level with England. Fabregas and van Persie were appointed only to depart shortly after, Vermaelen suffered both a shocking loss of form and a series of injuries and could soon follow the other two out of the club and there are rumours that Arteta could also go if someone of the stature of Khedira or Bender are signed. In the England team the captaincy has, disgracefully, been swapped around more times than at a kid’s game of pass the parcel.

At the moment it appears to me that should Vermaelen leave, the only rational candidate would be Per Mertesacker, but for how much longer can he command that starting place in the team? Longer term we can all hope and expect the appointment of Jack Wilshire, but will it happen?

What are your views on both the Captain’s role as, should it be largely ceremonial, tossing the coin, handing over a little pennant and posing for a snap with the officials or, as the Manager’s voice on the pitch and the players representative off it. Surely there must come a time when a stop is put to the absurd situation of referees being mobbed by a group of angry players, then only the Captain should be allowed to approach the officials, and that will require a calm sensible approach, one more attribute needed for the job.

Who should our next Captain be?

Written by Norfolk Gooner


Who has got to go? Its all about the quotas

July 14, 2014

On the back of the signing of a player, we Arsenal fans have become used to players leaving to balance the books, with quite a few released at the end of the 2014 campaign, there may not be the normal rush from the club to make this happen. Arsene has reiterated over and over again that its just as important to keep the squad together as it is to bring in new talent.

But there are parameters within which we need to work, those set down by both UEFA and the FA in terms of homegrown players. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that our recent acquisitions have not fulfilled these quotas, in addition to the new arrivals we have players who have now matured into a “need to be named” age, only three or four years ago I would have been unfussed about our squad quota’s Jack, Aaron and Carl are now of an age where they have to be named, this reduces the available squad places on offer, although they do fulfil the homegrown quota.

Or do they? One of the issues now confronting clubs is that there is a different set of rules for Europe compared to the Domestic League.

I’m sure I have written enough posts on the subject by now that I don’t need to go over the rules again…….oh……ok well pay attention this time!

Premier League Homegrown Rules:

Maximum squad size 25
Maximum Non Homegrown Players 17
Complemented by Under 21 on 1 January of the year the season commences. So under 21 on 1 January 2014 (born on or after 1 January 1993)

Definition of Homegrown : those players who irrespective of nationality or age, have been affiliated to the FA or Welsh FA for a period of three seasons or 36 months prior to 21st birthday.


Now what about European Competition?

Well UEFA have got clever with the rules, in principle they are the same except the 36 months rule applies between the ages of 15 and 21, 4 of the 8 home grown quota must be club homegrown.

I actually thought this was why Liverpool buying Lambert was a masterstroke, but having checked wiki he was not there past the age of 15…….so answers on a postcard please.

Anyway back to the main point, where is our squad now in relation to the rules above?

Key below : HG – Association Homegrown, CG – Club Homegrown, U21 – work it out

Disclaimer I am only adding U21’s that have featured in the first team.

Name Status Contract To
Wojciech Szczesny CG 2018
Kieran Gibbs CG 2018
Jack Wilshere CG 2018
Aaron Ramsey CG 2018
Francis Coquelin CG 2015
Theo Walcott CG 2016
Carl Jenkinson HG 2018
Per Mertesacker 2017
Thomas Vermaelen 2015
Laurent Koscielny 2017
Nacho Monreal 2017
Tomas Rosicky 2016
Mikel Arteta 2015
Mesut Ozil 2018
Santi Cazorla 2016
Mathieu Flamini 2015
Abou Diaby 2015
Lukas Podolski 2016
Olivier Giroud 2017
Alexis Sanchez 2019
Ryo Miyaichi 2015
Joel Campbell 2016
Gedion Zelalem U21 ?
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain U21 2018
Yaya Sanogo U21 2017
Serge Gnabry U21 2018

Anyone care to explain what is going on with Djourou? He is still on the club website as an Arsenal player, but there were reports last year that he had sealed a permanent move to Hamburg….if he is still ours he would count as Club Homegrown.

So thats the list and what can we do with it.

Well lets assume we want a full 25 man (over 21) squad, we need at least 4 club homegrown for UEFA purposes, well as you can see we are actually well covered in this area, that Mr Wenger isn’t stupid is he?

Out of those listed 5 could be considered to be first team quality:

Szczesny, Wilshere, Ramsey, Theo and Gibbs.

All good for that UEFA minimum requirement, and because we have one more than required we only need a minimum of three other homegrowns, well this is perhaps from last years squad where we struggle, Jenkinson is in there but are we really going to include Coquelin as well? If Djourou remains then he would make the full 8 player quota. But the chances of both players being in red and white this season are slim. Although I personally have always liked Coquelin, an unfussy midfielder able to tackle and move the ball.

I know that we don’t have to fill the entire 25 spaces available, but wouldn’t it be good from a rotation point of view to have a bit more experience and nous around that adds to the squad.

So where does that leave us, well we now have 17 berths to fill, go on add up the non home growns above….15….so 2 spaces, the under 21’s have a free pass to play so can avoid the knife.

Most of us think we need at the very least one experienced keeper, one defensive midfielder and an experienced right back, thats one more than we can acquire if the rest of the squad is retained, unless we can find some homegrown (by definition) talent to fill some of those gaps.

In the past it would be easy to identify the chaff to be separated but now it is not so easy probably Miyaichi who hasn’t progressed due to injury and Diaby who hasn’t played because of injury are prime lambs for the slaughter, that gives us four available spots for non home grown talent.

I always finish these kind of posts with one thought……screw being a manger with these rules and limits in place, you need to plan three, four or five years ahead to stay ahead of the game, you have to look at your youth and decide who will be able to fulfil roles going forward that others will vacate. Thank goodness its not my job, and thankfully we have Arsene, someone who isn’t just planning for todays successes but also for future one’s too.

Anyone else think they have a decent plan to get in the players we need without destabilising the squad with simultaneous departures?

Written by Gooner in Exile


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