Pay Da Money …

July 27, 2016

From the last 10 year’s experience of Arsenal’s transfer activity, we know that this is how it works ….

Most of the stories linking us to players or claiming we are interested in a particular player are either from web sites/journalists trying to garner hits, or from agents trying to manipulate the market = lies.

Often, when we are actually interested in a player, it becomes quite obvious from an early stage =  Nasri, Holding, Xhaka.

Sometimes we do a last minute deal = Park, Ozil

I believe we made an offer for La Cazette about a month ago. West Ham subsequently offered more but reportedly (that word means probably a lie), La Caz wants CL football. He’s good, he’s an alternative to Giroud, he knows where the goal is, he’s French :)  …. what’s not to like?

‘Reportedly’ Lyon want £40m. So if that is the case, just pay the *&^%ing money and get on with finding us a top CB to fill the vacuum in our defence please Ivan/Arsene.

Don’t tell me it’s not that easy – I know it isn’t but other clubs are securing targets, we need to pull our fingers out and do the business.

Rasp ….. T In C


Arsenal’s “What if Scenario’s”

July 19, 2016

I am AA’s 2nd oldest contributor (behind JC who is our non writing elder statesman). I’m also an eternal optimist and I see more good than bad in our team, management and club.

Arsene and Arsenal come under a lot of criticism; the Red Tops compete for readership with their fictitious and often outrageous headlines about our club, management and our players. These headlines are fodder for the more gullible supporters who in turn repeat the “stories” they have read and they get repeated so often that they become “Red Top” folk lore.

It’s a seemingly endless cycle and now we are into reading and hearing all of the pre-season doom that is being spouted about our lack of transfers etc – even though we are only 18 days into a 63 day transfer period.

So I thought about a few what if scenario’s.

  1. What if we sign no more players in this window?
  2. What if we sign players late in the window?
  3. What if we go a season with no injuries?
  4. What if Arsene extends his contract?
  5. What if Arsene does not extend his contract?
  6. What if we only finish in the top four?
  7. What if we finish outside the top four?
  8. What if we only win the FA Cup?
  9. What if we win nothing?
  10. What if we change ownership?

I will offer my opinions during the day.

GunnerN5

 


A second string Arsenal 11 – could it work?

July 14, 2016

ARSENAL II. Discuss.

Comments made during Tuesday’s post made me think.

What was apparent is that many of our Senior Squad players get very little serious game time. Perhaps the odd twenty minutes here and there, or even the odd game, but certainly never a consistent run of games in competitive matches.

I looked up The German League, and discovered a team called Dortmund II fiddling about in their third division.

Not sure, but believe the Spanish do the same.

Anyway, how about an Arsenal II? Yes we’d have to enter at the bottom as did Wimbledon AFC, but in a few years there would be eleven finely turned out Gunners playing the Arsenal Way in perhaps the third division here. So long as we could ensure free movement of labour between Arsenal I and II, then players like Callum and The Ox would surely benefit.

Any thoughts? Not a totally original idea, I know, but hey.

Written by mickydidit89


Does Arsène need to make changes to the First team Squad?

July 13, 2016

Here is the 2016/17 squad as listed on Arsenal.com

 

Attack                                                             Age

1          Chuba  –           Akpom           –            20

2          Joel      –           Campbell       –            24

3          Olivier –           Giroud            –            29

4          Serge   –           Gnabry          –            21

5          Alex    –           Iwobi              –            20

6          Alexis –           Sanchez           –            27

7          Yaya    –           Sanogo            –           23

8          Theo    –           Walcott           –           27

9          Danny –           Welbeck         –             25

Average age of Attackers                             = 24.0

 

Defence

1          Gabriel –           Armando de Abreu-      25

2          Hector –           Bellerin            –           21

3          Calum  –           Chambers        –           21

4          Mathieu –         Debuchy          –           30

5          Kieran –           Gibbs              –            26

6          Carl     –           Jenkinson        –           24

7          Laurent-          Koscielny        –             30

8          Per       –           Mertesacker     –           31

9          Nacho  –           Monreal           –           30

Average age of Defenders                            = 26.4

 

Goalkeepers

1          Petr      –           Cech               –          34

2          Emiliano –        Martinez         –            23

3          David  –           Ospina            –            27

4          Wojciech-        Szczesny        –             26

Average age of Goalkeepers                          =27.5

 

Mid-Fielders

1          Santiago-         Cazorla Gonzalez –       31

2          Francis –           Coquelin          –          25

3          Mohamad-       Elneny          –              24

4          Alex    –           Oxlade-Chamberlain-    22

5          Mesut  –           Ozil                –            27

6          Aaron  –           Ramsey           –           25

7          Jack     –           Wilshere          –           24

8          Granit  –           Xhaka             –            23

 

Average age of Midfielders                             = 25.1

Here are my thoughts…………..

 

OFFENCE.

From an attacking standpoint we obviously lack a cutting edge and if we are to have any chance at all of winning the PL that is a situation that cannot be ignored.

Both Walcott and Welbeck are injury prone and we cannot continue to wish and hope that they will suddenly be injury free and become our saviours. Theo Walcott has had ample opportunities to show his worth but constant injuries have delayed his growth or he simply does not have the overall skill set required. Danny Welbeck has shown tantalizing glimpses of his ability (especially for England) but can we afford to constantly hope that he will become injury free?

Giroud and Sanchez are both top class internationals and while neither had a stellar 2015/16 both should and will remain as an integral part of our squad.

We have five younger players in Akpom, Campbell, Gnabry, Iwobi and Sanogo; while they all show good potential only Campbell and Iwobi have made an impact in the first team.

Should we sell some of these players and then replace them with players who can convert the chances that our midfield presents them with? Or do we continue to wait and wish and hope that things improve?

We desperately need to solve this dilemma.

 

DEFENCE.

Looking at our defence I see two issues one is of age and the other being coverage. We have four players Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Monreal who are 30 plus while this is not very old for their positions they will undoubtedly need to be replaced in the not so distant future. With both Debuchy and Jenkinson on loan last season we were left with only seven players to cover four positions and that minimized the opportunities for rotation.

Our main pairings in 2015/16 were Koscielny and Gabriel at CB with Bellerin and Monreal as our FB’s – that left us with just Chambers, Mertesacker and Gibbs as our back ups for the four positions.

This leaves several questions:

  • Should Debuchy and Jenkinson remain on our squad?
  • Will Chambers fulfill his potential?
  • Is this Mertesacker’s final season?
  • Do we need to have eight defensemen on our squad?

 

GOAL.

This is one area where it appears we are in good “hands” with Cech as our number one and Ospina, Szczesny and Martinez as our current and future coverage.

 

MID-FIELD.

Injuries continue to plague the careers of Wilshere, Ramsey and Oxlade and last season

Sanchez, Cazorla and Coquelin were also out for extended periods. Elneny had an impressive first season in the PL and we have an unknown quantity in our new signing Granit Xhaka.

Take away the injuries and we look to be in a strong position especially with the additions of Elneny and Xhaka.

1) Should injury prone players be replaced?

2) Are we force fitting players into the wrong position?

3) We have 17 players to cover only 6 positions – are there too many?

……………………………………………………………………………………………….

Premier league squad rules prevail in the selection of a team and to the best of my knowledge these are the rules that apply.

Premier League squad rules

  1. A club cannot have more than 17 foreign players who don’t fall under the ‘Home Grown Player’ status.
  2. A club can name as many U-21s as they like, even over and above the limit of 25 players.
  3. To qualify as a home-grown player, a player must have been registered with any club tied to the Football Association or Football Association of Wales for at least three whole seasons or 36 months, all before they turn 21. However, it does not have to have been in one continuous stretch.

GunnerN5          


Time to open the cheque book Arsene.

July 11, 2016

So the Euros are over which should mean we can get on with the serious business of signing players. The two Manchester clubs have been spending money like drunken sailors; Chelsea have been a bit slower but all of them should have made their signings or at least made their respective approaches to the names they have on their wish lists.

The result of which should be that Arsenal can now start making their moves. Any target that we might have on our wish list will know that by now if they haven’t been approached by one of those three it is unlikely that they are going to do so which means that the clubs and their agents will have to negotiate with Arsenal in a more rational way. That’s to say, there is now no point in them using the negotiating tactic that they are expecting one of those three to come in and make a bid and thereby increasing the price to an unrealistic level because everyone knows that by now if they haven’t already done so it is highly unlikely that they will.

So, as they say, the ball is now in our court.

Do you expect us to make more signings? I do, I am nowhere near ready to start pointing the finger at Wenger and criticising him for apparently working in the Far East when he should, according to some, be here in London at the club trying to sign players in areas that many believe that we are lacking.

Why it matters where in the world he is is beyond me but hey ho.

As I said at the beginning, the Euros are over and now is the time for the club to start making their moves. But what should those moves be? A striker?

I think it is clear now that the club did make serious moves to sign Vardy but he chose to stay put. Strange choice to us, of course, but it does highlight what some of us are constantly saying and that is that the player has got to want to come to Arsenal or the amount of money Arsenal bid is irrelevant. This explains why the club simply offered the release clause for Suarez and now Vardy. That’s to say they made an offer of the amount that it would take to trigger the release of the player and then waited to find out if the player wanted to come to Arsenal if they showed the enthusiasm that the club hoped for then the exact amount of the transfer could be thrashed out. No club actually sells for the amount stated as a release clause. In the case of the two players Suarez and Vardy neither were interested in coming to the home of football – their loss.

So, moving on.

I can’t get excited about Lacazette; he just seems too much like Giroud and aren’t we all crying out for something a bit different or maybe I have got my comparison wrong what do you think?

Morata is a tricky one to know what is best. Looking for an equivalent I reach for Higuain as they both played for the same club. The Argentinean was average at best for most of his time at Real Madrid, a fact that is conveniently forgotten by all those who clamber for him now and blame Wenger for not signing him before he went to join Benitez at Napoli. I am not good a finding and comparing statistics but it would not surprise me if Morata’s and Higuain’s were the same at this stage of Morata’s career. Would I choose Morata over Higuain now? I am not sure what do you think?

A few thoughts by LB


Arsenal, you have to be able to kill your babies.

July 8, 2016

There is a really awful expression in the USA that even though I can’t stop myself agreeing with it I cringe whenever I hear it.

“You have to be able to kill your babies”

This is a round about way of answering GB.

“The big question now is do we need to offload a couple of our good players to allow for those to come in that have a different skill set and strengthen the key areas to re-balance us?”

I am guessing that this comment does not apply to Walcott or Oxlaide-Chamberlain as most wouldn’t shed a single tear if they left and were upgraded with someone who actually has some close control to get round the likes of Sunderlands buses, a Mahrez for example would do the trick.

No, I am guessing that this question is applies to someone we care about.

We have talked about Ramsey and how he is shoe horned into the team on the right wing because he is too important to leave on the bench. He is not as good as Ozil but he is an extremely important asset to the club hence the reason for shoehorning.

Shoehorn: to make space for a player in the team in a position that he would not usually play in. (from the dictionary according to LB)

Back to Ramsey: if we brought a naturally right sided attacker who was better than we have right now would we or the club care as much about Ramsey? Let me use an extreme example: if we brought Messi (who does predominately play on the right) would anyone care if part of the deal was to sell Ramsey, especially if we remember that ,although, the Welshman might be the second best number 10 we would still have the best in Ozil?

And we arrive at that awful expression: you have to be able to kill your babies.

Can you?

LB


Team Beats Talent …. are you getting the message Arsene?

July 5, 2016

Leicester City, Athletico Madrid, Iceland, Wales, Hungary, even Italy …. what do they all have in common?

Their collective determination has driven them to beat teams packed with world class talent – and not just on the odd occasion, but consistently.

What is it about this particular period in football history that has brought about a mini revolution that has seen honest endeavour triumph over cosseted complacence?

The current success of these teams is a breath of fresh air. They are what punk rock was to the over produced posturing music of the early seventies.

The fundamental difference is that teams with this ethos are greater than the sum of their parts and the teams they beat are less. They concentrate on the basics and perform them very well.

Moreover, in most cases the fact that they have a smaller pool of talent means that the team is settled and far fewer changes are made and that can only be good for the understanding between players. Hodgson’s 6 changes for the Slovakia game and Arsenal’s 6 changes in the Champion’s league last season were both failed experiments that should not have been risked.

So the conclusion at the moment from what we are seeing at club and international level is that the team is far more important than the individual talent it comprises.

Of course we want/need gifted players, but let’s look at Aaron Ramsey as a case in hand. He has been magnificent for Wales. He’s outshone the ‘world class Bale’. He’s been a more influential player for his country than his club.

Why?

Two reasons. He’s playing in a position that allows the best outlet for his talent, and he’s playing in a team where every other player shares his desire. A team with a manager who has engendered that team spirit and devised a clearly defined strategy and style of play that all the players buy into.

Can that ethos be engendered into the Arsenal team next season?

Arsene has often said that team spirit is good. I don’t think he’s lying, I just think he is referring to the fact that the players are great friends who are relaxed and happy in training. What I want to see is them being very unhappy when we don’t play to our potential. I want to see them perform acts of bravery and desire on the pitch that whip the Emirates crowd into a frenzy of  support.

I want to see 11 players press as a team and to instinctively know when to drop back and defend as a unit. Second nature; first nature; everything about the team has to revolve around a single ethos, this is what we are seeing succeed ….. are you getting the message Arsene?

Rasp

 


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