Ramsey and Wilshere. Together?

August 22, 2014

Chalk and Cheese. Lampard and Gerrard.

Bacon and Eggs. Sausages and Marmalade.

Some things do. Some things don’t.

If I am being completely honest with myself, then I must admit that had I been The Manager against Palace and Besiktas, we would have won both games. The reason is simple.

Right now, I cannot see any situation, or team set up, in which Ramsey and Wilshere can fit together.

It’s a kind of process of elimination. Back five. Minimum of one defensive midfielder. Three front boys and a play making No 10’ish . That leaves one slot.

Ok, you could argue, as Arsene appears to, that from the front three, at least one does not need to be some kind of goalscorer, or even speed merchant, and I can imagine him playing Mesut as a part of that threesome. You could also argue the case for two deeper defensive types of midfielder in the mould of Arteta and Flamini, but that in itself leaves the problem of where to play the undroppable Aaron.

I watched those two games and saw how an Arsenal midfield containing both Aaron and Jack nullified the creative talents of Santi, who found himself shunted out of position.

I believe Aaron and Jack only work in tandem in a 4-4-2. Kind of Vieira Petit style. This is not going to happen, so it’s an either or.

To be clear, I still have faith in Jack and believe it would not take much for him to rocket on up a few levels in the same way Aaron did, but for now, he’s fighting with Aaron for the same spot. Quality in depth is one way of looking at it.

What’s the answer?

Written by MickyDidIt89

Champions League: Why bother?

August 19, 2014

How important is a positive result tonight? Is it more important than a win at Everton? Is it more important than the 3 points last saturday?

I ask the question because how many of you believe we have any chance of winning the Big Cup? Oh, come on ….. you are just saying that to be contrary! You know that the bookies odds of  20/1 are reasonable and just tempting enough to ensure some people will have a punt and thus line the pockets of already mega-rich bookmakers.

So, given the debilitating effect of the CL on our Premiership aspirations, why do we care whether we advance tonight? Perhaps we should send out the B team and keep the lads fresh for Saturday.

Just kidding :-) I love the Champions League even though I doubt we will win it in my lifetime.

And what of tonight? Another visit to Turkey where we did so well last season. I have to admit I was delighted when we drew Besiktas, thinking any team which comes third in the Turkish league must be totally pants, well it seems I had done no research as Besiktas have form. Unbeaten at home in 15 games, beating Feyenoord and signing a man whom we were linked with just a year ago is evidence of quality, however the Turkish season has yet to start and Besiktas lost to Wigan in one of the pre-season friendlies. Furthermore, Besiktas are only in the CL thanks to Fenerbahce being banned for match fixing, that said Arsenal will have to play well to get a result.

Given our track record in the CL qualifiers I have faith. I can just imagine the scenes at Besiktas when they drew us – all their fans and club members must have been praying “anyone but Arsenal” and then put on a smiley face for the cameras whilst thinking “we are doomed to the effing Europa again!”

Team news is a mixed bag, Koscielny is fit enough to travel, Gibbs and Sanogo are not. The Gibbs injury is a concern as he has had a full pre-season and should be at 100% fitness, given Gibbs injury history this could easily result in Mr Wenger looking for a new left back next summer (or even earlier).

Chambers will almost certainly play alongside Kos tonight. What a 10 days for the 19 y.o. An appearance at Wembley, a home debut and now a CL appearance all (so far) completed with aplomb. The hopes for him are ratcheted higher with each game. Tonight he faces Demba Ba, a quality striker who somewhat surprisingly finds himself in the Turkish league. Serves him right as he took the pieces of gold from Chelsea without giving any consideration to his future, though €6m seems cheap for a striker with PL experience.

I would like to see Rosicky start tonight, he is a better tackler than Cazorla and better suited to an away leg. Jack needs to play regularly and get past a poor performance vs Palace. Giroud will surely start given the lack of both Sanogo and Walcott.

I hope Mr Wenger doesn’t get too defensive and play Flamini ahead of Wilshere, he has done so in the past and returning to the Emirates with a clean sheet is important but I would prefer we focus upon our attack rather and bring on the Flamster at 70 mins.

My team:


Debuchy    Chambers   Koscielny    Monreal

Ramsey   Wilshere   Arteta

Sanchez    Giroud    Rosicky

Please note that when picking the team in the format above it does not mean I expect us to play 4-3-3  –  our team is so flexible I do not believe there is any one method of play and as any regular AA reader knows Raddy is hopeless with tactics.

We know Besiktas have fanatical fans, we know the pitch will be rubbish, we know the ref will be a homer but we should have enough to come back home with a positive result

written by Big Raddy

Arsenal’s Top Gunner 2014-15

August 15, 2014

Only three ways to go upon arrival at my Uncle Earnests’ house.

Upstairs. Perfectly clear what his intentions are here. Might hurt, but pretty straight forward stuff. Downstairs into the basement, or what he refers to as his “private dressing room”. Yeah right. Good luck down there. Finally, sideways, down a long corridor and into his Incident Room.

The Incident Room overlooks a large expanse of Scottish sea loch, where Earnest keeps the odd lobster pot. Poachers frequent these wild and isolated open spaces. Earnest does not believe they have any “rights” whatsoever, and are themselves fair game. He had a plan, and it involved me.

My brother and I were lead to the Incident Room. We entered. Holy Crap. The enormous room had its vast French doors flung open. The aperture was filled with a large cannon retrieved from a Spanish Galleon. Ropes securing it some shrubs outside to prevent damaging recoil. Next to the beast was a brass monkey and a pyramid of 2” iron cannonballs.

Into my hands went a box of matches, and into my brothers a hideously dangerous looking mop with its head dripping in paraffin. Earnest stood safely outside with his telescope. “Ready. Light. Fire”.

I’ve been almost deaf in my left ear ever since. Anyhow, the thought of cannons makes me think of The Arsenal and Gunners.

Last season, the surprise package and Top Gunner was Aaron Ramsey. Who could emerge from the shadows during this campaign? Given injury free runs, I think the contenders are Jack, Abou, The Ox, Mesut, Ollie, Yaya, Joel and of course Sanchez.

The reason I’ve selected these boys is that I believe they could all progress to new heights. You will also notice how I have not included any defensive players. This is because they are boring, and are simply there to do a job, not entertain.

Earnest is an entertainer, but has peaked. Who at Arsenal is an entertainer that could fire us to new heights? My money is on The Ox.

Written by MickyDidIt89

Oi, Wenger, spend some money.

August 4, 2014

One day chicken, next day feathers; I trot this line out at times like this as it always seems to strike the right note.

On Saturday we were already dreaming of where in Islington we would be standing as the bus drove by with our players holding the EPL up high and just one day later we were wondering, more seriously than we had done for a while, just how likely the chances really are of signing Khedira.

Well, I was anyway, shallow moi? You just can’t have enough new toys; that’s what I say.

I actually think that that signing is far more likely than we are allowing ourselves to dream but anyway back to the game.

This is where I should say that is was only a friendly and we shouldn’t read too much into it but grrrrrr, I hate losing. I am sure Wenger learnt a lot from the two games and should be able to pick a formidable side to face City next week.

If Wenger wants to win that game rather than simply give players pitch time then Rosicky is surely a must start; he linked the defence with the attack and moved the play forward with a greater intensity than any other player was capable of yesterday. Rosicky also freed Ramsey up to burst forward with a far more effect against Benfica than he was able against Monaco.

I know it is wrong to start pointing fingers this early on; it was only a friendly as I made clear above – but we are Arsenal supporters and that is what we do. lol

Giroud – really?

I know things didn’t go exactly as planned against Monaco but we all know that amongst our squad we have a very good first team and the one thing we lacked last season: a fast, creative, goal scorer with great control has now been procured. Sanchez is going to give us everything we lacked up front last year and the EPL should be scared, very scared.

Ollie obviously still has a place, there will be teams that suit him more and he can be deployed when needed.


I can’t, I shouldn’t; it really is too early for that one. All I would say is that I did notice a little boy in the middle of the park pointing at Jack while mouthing something about an emperor and not having any clothes on. OK I lied about it being too early.

Chambers seems more assured that Miguel which was a bit of a surprise to me, maybe, as GIE suggests, he should have gone out on loan earlier.

I was also surprised to read people disagreed with my comment that I expected Chambers to spend the same amount of time on the bench as Jenkinson did last season.

What? Is he going to play ahead of the BFG? No. Is he going to play ahead of Koscielny? No. Debuchy? No, so how is he going to play more than Jenkinson? Come on people, keep up.

Debuchy was almost anonymous yesterday which I liked; he did everything he was supposed to do and did it well, without fuss. And here’s the kicker, his crosses are so much better than Sagna’s, I know I am probably telling some the incredibly obviously equivalent of grass is green but it needs to be said.

So much for Wenger learning not to over use Ramsey, that man is going to work so hard that Welsh pit ponies will feel sorry for him.

And lastly, if you ever wondered why I don’t do match reports after we lose? Well now you know, I am a miserable git.

But this will all change next week after we beat City.


Written by LB


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


What is Jack Wilshere’s best position?

June 26, 2014

Yeah, I know, Stevie G is a right old pain; excellent quarter-back when playing against us, has-been no-mark when playing for England. But fair play to him, in the aftermath of “Group D-Gate”, he made a really excellent observation in an interview with the Beeb. He said that the number of young players with the hunger and desire to play for England is diminishing because of the money in the game.  When asked if teenage footballers were becoming millionaires too quickly, he replied that “It has an impact on certain individuals. For those who want money, fame and everything that comes with football, of course it will have an effect.”

In a World Cup where the national teams of the three richest leagues in the world (England, Spain and Italy) have failed to get through the group stages, it is certainly worth asking ourselves what is wrong. There are of course plenty of reasons for the failure of our team, and in a sense none – there will always be random, unpredictable factors at play.  But to my mind, Gerrard has a very good point, there is a real problem of desire and hunger in our younger players, something that has been building all through the cash-rich Premier League era.

One player that seems to show precisely that desire, that hunger, is Jack Wilshere.  He takes a kicking every time he plays, his game of close control and dribbles opens up defences and draws plenty of fouls, some of which are even spotted by the referees.  And Jack doesn’t go around biting opponents, he just gets up and starts again.  When he gets injured (ie, very often), he does his rehab and comes back again.  And he talks a great game – he is clearly desperate to win, in both his Arsenal and his England shirts.  There is a very strong argument, that the future of the England team is Jack Wilshere.

But is Arsenal the right place for him to push on?  He loves the club, that’s clear.  He’s been with us since he was even smaller than he is now.  And he hails from the club’s home counties hinterland – he can probably see his parents’ house from London Colney.  I’d love Wilshere to succeed with us, if only so I don’t have to concede anything to LB.  But if I’m honest, I don’t see it happening, not so much on account of his talents, more because we aren’t going to offer him the right opportunity.  I’ve said before that I think he’s better suited to a four-man midfield, which I assume we’re not about to adopt.  In the current formation, his natural position (even without much by way of a shot) is in the middle of the attacking-midfield three.  And with Ozil, that means Wilshere is effectively an understudy.

Wilshere is reaching a critical stage in his career.  He needs to be somewhere where the team is built around him, where he’s the metronome, measuring and setting the rhythm of the team.  He’d probably be suited to being at one of the big Dutch clubs, or teams like Valencia, Real Sociedad, Marseille, Southampton or Everton.  He’d never do it of course, but Spurs would actually suit him pretty well.

I hope I’m wrong, but I’d say Jack’s time with us is going to end sooner rather than later.  And that would be good for him and good for English football.

Written by 26may89


Arsenal to appoint a new captain

June 18, 2014

Arsène Wenger is reported to be ready to appoint a new club captain. With the departure of the present incumbent, Thomas Vermaelen, looking ever more certain the position needs to be filled. Thomas has apparently agreed terms with Man U, although so far no negotiations over a fee have taken place.

What should we be looking for in a captain? Well first off he must be an established and regular starter. He needs to command the respect of the players as well as the fans and he must have sufficient standing within the game to be able to communicate calmly with the on-pitch officials.

The two most influential captains that Arsenal have had in their long history have been Tony Adams and Patrick Vierra and so in my personal opinion any candidate would ideally be a centre-back or defensive mid-fielder and thus be in a position to see the whole game.

Our current vice captain, Mikel Arteta is an obvious candidate but as the appointment must be a long term one he perhaps is ruled out.

So I guess what I am saying is that it comes down to just two possibilities, Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker. Koscielny is a fine player and would make an equally fine captain but overall I’d go for Mertesacker for his general calmness and the stability that he has brought to the team.

I know that a good number of people will be calling for Jack Wilshire to be given the job but as yet he can’t command a regular starting position, although in time I expect him to become our captain and to hold the post for many seasons to come.

Written by Norfolk Gooner



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