Would Jurgen Klopp be the perfect fit for Arsenal?

April 17, 2015

I know! I know! Arsene can walk on water….at the moment. One fine run of Premiership wins, allied to a new defensive awareness and an almost fully fit squad has propelled the club to the heady heights of second place in the League and an FA Cup semi-final against Reading.

What’s more Le Professeur has two years left on his current deal and has never reneged on a contract. Meanwhile, the board are no more likely to sack him than voluntarily enter into a ground-share scheme with Totnumb.

Could the current purple patch prove to be Arsene’s Indian summer?

With an outstanding candidate about to become available would it not make sense to at least consider the option provided by the resignation from Borussia Dortmund of Jurgen Klopp?

Described in yesterday’s Daily Telegraph as “one of the World’s most wanted managers” the somewhat eccentric Herr Klopp is open to offers and has previously expressed his desire to manage in the English Premiership.

No doubt various other clubs both inside the EPL and abroad will be salivating at the thought of signing up a manager of his class, chief among them must be Manchester City and perhaps Real Madrid. Would Arsenal be an attractive destination for him? I think yes!

Klopp once set of an alarm clock in the dressing room immediately before a game, the message being “it’s time to wake up” Perhaps it’s time to set of an alarm clock in the Arsenal boardroom.

Written by Norfolk Gooner


It’s a RIGHT old conundrum

April 16, 2015

There was one part of LB’s excellent post match report from the weekend that struck a chord with me when he made the following observation :

Ramsey on the right, really? This smacks of trying to maintain a political harmony rather than being ruthless in the team selection. Yes, he scored the winning goal and that should not be scoffed at but on the wing when we have Welbeck and Walcott on the bench and we were crying out for pace down that flank.

I felt that was a very interesting observation from LB and echoed thoughts that I have had for some time, and have also expressed on A.A before. I have previously taken a view that we potentially get a problem when trying to accommodate Ramsey, Santi and Ozil all in the same set up as one of them has to be a more designated wide player. Despite each of their varying great technical attributes they are all predominantly central midfielders and lack a crucial ingredient for a wide player, that being pace. I noticed that some of the comments on LB’s post indicated that many felt Ramsey on the right was the right call, and potentially also the right formation choice moving forwards.

Now it could of course be that for reasons unknown to us that Arsene identified some tactical area specific to a Burnley away game that was more suited to Ramsey playing this position, a type of horses for courses if you like. If not, however, then I am also slightly confused as to where this leaves both Welbeck and Walcott, if it is that Ramsey is considered a superior option to them in this role. I further seem to recall that on more than one occasion, earlier in the season, an available Ox was also overlooked for the Ramsey, Santi, Ozil trio with one of them taking up the wide right position rather than the more naturally pacy AOC.

Now I am not saying that this formation and combination can never work. There are many games in a season and it will likely be suited to some of them. The problem for me is that many of my recollections of games we were poor in had this trio in the starting line up, combined with Giroud up top, and with limited pace options from the wide areas.

Giroud actually becomes an important part of the consideration on this subject. I have always rated Ollie and have stated so, but have also stated that I felt we needed something even more world class if we were to compete in the final stages of the EPL and ECL. I still harbour some feelings in this direction but I will actually hold my hands up and state that my stance on this may have softened somewhat, such has been his recent performances, and I am potentially willing to change my mind on this with one particular proviso.

There is one point regarding Giroud that I still adhere to which is, that due to his lack of pace, he needs to have that natural pace either side of him that can run beyond him. Preferably these will be players that also have a decent eye for goal. This both enhances Giroud’s hold up and lay off skills and minimises exposing his one key weakness of a lack of pace.

We are all in a bit of Ollie heaven right now but I still cast my mind back to some earlier season performances where he was nullified and ineffective in certain games, and I strongly feel it was when we played slower but technical players behind and to the side of him rather than opting for wide pacy goal-scorers. My feeling is that we can get away with it when the opposition is not of the highest calibre but a better team uses that imbalance to take control of the game and nullify us.

In my view we have already seen this happen, even if not so recently so the question is, will it happen again to our cost, or have we now developed further as a team and it is no longer a relevant tactical consideration? Your great collective thoughts on this would be much appreciated.

Written by GoonerB


Arsenal win – Coq the enforcer

April 12, 2015

If this match report was written on a need to know basis then all you need to know is that Arsenal won which takes our win tally to eight in a row. Right that’s that, shall we get onto the more interesting part and talk more about Coquelin?

gun__1428785478_coq

Yay, don’t you find now when you watch him you can savour his timely interceptions more and more; he just gets better and better the more you watch and the more I watch, and I certainly was yesterday, the more I realise how much more he is starting to add to his game. Obviously not content with the accolade of becoming the best ball winner in Europe he is now beginning to improve his passing game both short and long range. In brief he is starting to spray the ball around with confidence and accuracy and that bodes well for his future because the lack of that skill was the only reason for Wenger to consider an upgrade in the summer.

OK, if I must, I will talk about the game, Arsenal beat Burnley away, is that big news? Nope, the only way this report was going to get read by more than three people and Chas’ cat was if we lost and we didn’t so here we are.

gun__1428771744_Ramseygoal

It was a comfortable victory in the kind of way that for  most of the game I wished we had scored a second goal. At one nil there was always that nagging doubt running through my mind that all this lot need is a bit of luck and we would be in the brown stuff. But fortunately, as we know, that didn’t happen and we got more proof that the gods are all Arsenal supporters, as if we really needed that confirming.

Ramsey on the right, really? This smacks of trying to maintain a political harmony rather than being ruthless in the team selection. Yes, he scored the winning goal and that should not be scoffed at but on the wing when we have Welbeck and Walcott on the bench and we were crying out for pace down that flank.

Back to Coquelin, OK, enough already. The good guys did us proud again and I am very happy with the points and the performance. Is it just me or are there others who are starting to spend slightly longer and longer looking at the league table, I mean how many times did you look before Christmas? Once, twice – per month, tops, now I sneak a peak twice a day.

QPR won last week could they just do it again, come on you “R”s

Written by LB


Surprise of the season so far

April 8, 2015

We have heard a lot over recent seasons of transitional year not just for us but several clubs around the top 4, Liverpool, ManUre and even Chelsea have gone through changes that the managers and existing players have to cope with, it seems we have been in transition for eternity, but in reality we were in a status quo, Arsene getting the most out of a competent if not great squad. Finally it feels like we are in real transition from PL consistency to challengers, hopefully with a good start to next season we have a real chance of adding the big prize to the trophy cabinet.

The thing that makes me confident in this are the players that have come to the fore and surprised us and upset the apple cart that was my perceived wisdom.

“Theo must have a place”

“Arteta allows us to play our way he is first name on the team sheet”

“Szczesny will be fine”

In Welbeck, Coquelin and Ospina three players (not star names) have come along and made us all reconsider. I’ll even add Bellerin in that group with Nacho. For seasons we have been told it is lack of spending that has held us back, but this season two players created by us, a bargain squad player from an overstocked competitor and two other minor signings have all become first team regulars. They have all taken their opportunities and the real success is that they made us forget the players they have replaced.

Even Santi in his deeper position could be seen as a surprise, who’d have thought he could join in the tackling back?

Last season when Arteta was out injured we missed him and badly, whilst he was out this season and Flamini replaced him we continued to miss him, but now Coquelin has brought a new dimension to the role (namely pace and aggression) it’s hard to see where Arteta fits in.

At right back a lot of fans were worried that we were taking a step backwards by allowing Bacary to leave and only bringing in Debuchy, if Debuchy’s early performances didn’t calm those worries, Bellerin’s outstanding performances have consigned memories of Sagna to the dustbin, we are better now in this position.

But neither of these are my biggest surprise that title goes to Welbeck, let’s be honest none of us rated him that highly in a United shirt, but he has come in and staked a claim for a regular place, early on he was asked to play up top with Ollie missing, and I guess most of us saw him as a stop gap in that position and out wide until Ollie and then Theo returned. But he is keeping Theo out of the side, when they are both on the bench it is Theo who remains getting splinters whilst Danny is called upon. I think mainly because he gets himself involved, he presses, he is strong and leaves it all on the park. He has better feet than I gave him credit for and is much stronger than I thought. The only criticism at the moment is he seems too eager to score himself when others are in a better position. He has made me think it’s time for Theo to move on, and the best thing about that if it happened we would be the ones deciding it was time for him to move on, £16m for Welly was a steal, anything over £20m for Theo will be good business.

So who has been your biggest surprise?

Gooner in Exile


Easter Time – which top 5 team will pull a rabbit out of its hat?

April 6, 2015
A little teaser on this Bank Holiday Monday.

While Arsenal was a bit precocious in its rabbit pulling by having Coquelin blossom into quite a decent HM from nowhere, which team will benefit from the decisive contribution of a usual substitute or under performing player?

Your mission: look at the Top 5 teams and pick 1 sub or underperforming player that will be his team’s rabbit in the hat and which will secure points for the team’s title or top 4 spot?

Here is my pick:

Chelsea – Rémy
Man City – Dzeko
Arsenal – Walcott
Man Utd – Herrera
Liverpool – ? (Can we say Sturridge since he has been injured?)

Anyways – pick your Rabbit in the hat :-)

Happy Easter and enjoy your Bank Holiday.

Written by RC78


Arsenal put Liverpool in their place.

April 5, 2015

Scintillating, absolutely scintillating football: it finally happened, the kind of Wengerball we expected when Sanchez and Welbeck were added to the world class Özil and the gifted Cazorla at the beginning of the season.

It’s been a long time coming; we have had glimpses of it; we have been teased with short periods of it but yesterday Arsenal played what was probably the best football since Henry, Pires and Bergkamp donned the glorious red and white. 3-0 up after forty five minutes and the Emirates was rocking. Yes, there were a few scares early on but lets not forget Liverpool are a good side; they were just made to look ordinary by our very dominate display.

To focus solely on the silky interplay in the final third would obviously be wrong as that would miss the stand out performance of my MOTM: Francis Coquelin; the French enforcer was immense. I know nothing about statistics, give me first hand anecdotal evidence any time but I am sure they would show that his rate of successful interceptions were off the scale.

coq v liverpool

An early chance fell to Ramsey who looked slightly fatigued compared to the rest of his team mates who were running around and closing down with all the athleticism of butchers’ dogs. No matter, chances continued coming and it was the other new found first team regular who cut inside, weaved his way through the Liverpool defense before curling the ball into the corner. I think it hit the hapless Toure on the way. Oh how the mighty have fallen? Playing Kolo in central defence should be reported to the RSPCA nobody should be put through that kind of cruelty; he was so out of his depth it was embarrassing.

bellerin scores

Back to Bellerin, I expect this young man to have a long a fruitful career at Arsenal; he has earned his status as first team starter; but, that said, I want Debuchy in there, standing strong against Manu and Chelsea.

ozil

Hector got the party started but it was Özil and Sanchez who sent everyone on the dance floor into a state of ecstasy. Oooooohh that free kick, oooooohh that thunderous strike, you just know that Chas is going to have these two goals playing on a loop that’s if he hasn’t already done so already. Class, pure class the both of them. There was no way that Giroud was going to miss this bash and true to form he scored a powerful left footed pile driver to make it four.

I know that it is wrong to have let a negative thought stray into my mind but I confess I did, I couldn’t help thinking: if only, if only, if only we hadn’t played so badly in that first game against Monaco; when you consider how well we are playing now I am sure we would have gone so much further in that competition; still, I suppose, we shall just have to settle for beating Blackburn in the FA cup final, onwards and upwards.

Written by LB


Decisions, decisions, decisions

April 3, 2015

Morning all

Two weeks without Premier League football, and for the ones who don’t follow the Internationals, I expect you are raring to go for this weekend’s clash at home with Liverpool. Just to mention some of the Arsenal players who haven’t had much of a rest, we have Danny Welbeck who has picked up a leg injury, he is a doubt for the weekend Aaron Ramsey played for Wales and has also a slight hamstring problem he too may be a doubt Alexis Sanches played for Chile, as far as I know, he came through without injury. Theo Walcott started for England but was subbed in the second half so he should be available.

Wenger I feel is getting to the time where he has to make some important decisions. This week  a game took place that included some of our recovering players Debuchey, Gnabry, Wilshere, Arteta, Flamini and surprise surprise Diaby!! Having read about the game it seems they all came through unscathed. What will Wenger do now? Will he be tempted to try one or two, as we could be missing two or three first choice players, or will it be too early for them?

Liverpool is a big game. We are on a good run and being at home we really need to pull all the stops out for this one. I have to say that although we seem to have a larger squad now, is it worth upsetting the balance?  I also think M Wenger should be thinking about next season too. We have a few players on loan, will he sell or will he include them? Lots of decisions to be made and when I hear supporters saying we are only a couple of players short of being League winners,  I assume they want us to buy.

As we know, before we can buy we will have to offload some players, these are decisions not to be taken lightly. Diaby is a player Wenger has kept for a long long time, he has stayed loyal to him and now he has recovered, does he play him or offload him while he is still able to walk? Can we sell him? That would be a good question, anyway a question that only Arsene can answer.

There are question marks over Arteta, Flamini, BFG, Szczesny, Campbell, Silva, Jenkinson, Akpom, Walcott and maybe more besides, surely we cannot keep them all.  Supporters  seem to me to be relatively happy with what they have seen so far this season. We’re currently sitting in third place and still in the FA cup. We have many Arsenal players who are Internationals and yet still many supporters are saying we only need a couple of players to win the league.

Well I have to disagree with the many, as far as I can see there are still a lot of problems. We have players who I am afraid to say I feel are just not good enough and no matter how long we keep them will never be good enough. We have players out on loan who would not be missed if we let them go. We have players who could be good, some who have not got permits, others with permits who have been farmed out again. We have players who cannot stay fit, not just for spells of a season some miss whole seasons, some have been with us ten years and still never stay fit. Supporters say give them a chance to get fit and they will show you. Well I am fed up waiting,  in the time they have been with us they have delivered nothing, we took a chance with them and we were wrong, time to discard these time wasters, and purchase quality that play 90% of the season.

I am waiting with baited breath. Will Wenger be tempted to include some of these against Liverpool? We’re in third place with a good possibility of second, we have no chance of winning the League because we are short of at least two if not three players. We clearly don’t have these players available in our squad or we wouldn’t be looking to buy.

Steve Palmer

 

 


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