The Sagna Conundrum

The Sagna Conundrum

The first thing to know about the Sagna Conundrum is that it does not involve Bacary Sagna.

The Sagna Conundrum is a problem created not by his presence, but by his absence, and it comes down to this: when our super-consistent French right back is not available, who should take his place?

It’s a pressing question, given that Sagna will not be ready for the start of the new season.

The principal contenders to take his place are Carl Jenkinson, Johan Djourou, Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny.

Last season, due to Bacary’s injuries, they all got a number of games at right back.

The conventional wisdom is that Djourou was a disaster and Jenkinson, despite showing some promise, was out of his depth; but that both Coquelin and Koscielny proved to be adequate stand-ins.

My own view – based primarily on memory of past performances – is that central defenders do not make good full backs because the FB role requires so much more mobility than they are used to. I prefer midfielders to step in if we are out of orthodox (or experienced) full backs.

From my recollection, Coquelin and Jenkinson filled in well, but the two centre backs – Koscielny and Djourou – struggled.

Memory, however, can be an unreliable guide, so I decided to take a more detailed look at how the four contenders fared when they stood in for Sagna last season.






11 (10 plus 2 halves)



















Goals Against





According to this table the average points per game during each of the four’s tenure at right back was as follows*:

Djourou: 1.16 Pts Per Game (with an average 1.45 Goals Conceded Per Game).

Jenkinson: 1.86 PPG (1.86 GCPG).

Coquelin:  2.6 PPG (1.0 GCPG).

Koscielny: 2.57 PPG (0.86 GCPG).

Like all such studies, there are inherent problems with drawing conclusions from these figures.  For example, if you look at Jenkinson’s “Goals Against” you would think him a liability. But eight of those goals were up at Old Trafford, when the lad had hardly ever worn an Arsenal shirt in anger and in a catastrophically weakened and confused team.

Similarly, although Djourou’s stats look the worst, they include two games against the eventual league champions, one against Chelsea and one against Manchester United, as well as a dead rubber ECL game at Olympiakos where a partly second string Arsenal team lost 3-1.

Nevertheless, I feel there is enough evidence to show that our big Swiss fellow is not cut out to be a right back. Indeed, when he was hauled off at half time in the home game against Manchester United (and replaced by the embryonic Yennaris) it may well have been a sign that Arsene Wenger had finally come to that same conclusion himself. I doubt we will ever see Djourou in that position again.

Jenkinson’s stats look a lot better if you remove the Man Utd away game from the mix (and he can hardly be blamed for that collective fiasco). He then has a Points Per Game average of 2.16 and a Goals Against of 0.83.

Surprisingly – and contrary to my recollection – Koscielny’s record as a right back is very good. I recalled him seeming to struggle, but the figures prove otherwise. His three-and-a-half games included two “easier” fixtures (Norwich away, Wigan at home) but also one-and-a-half tough ones (Dortmund at home and Manchester City away).

Conclusions: For me, the table above is generally encouraging because it shows we can expect a solid performance from any of Jenkinson, Coquelin and Koscielny when they are compelled to play right back.

I am happy with Djourou in the mix as one of our centre backs, but he does not function well at full back and, hopefully, we have seen the last of him in that position.

I mentioned Yennaris earlier. Last season he took the right back spot in a Carling Cup game (2-1 home win over Bolton) and in the second half against Man Utd at the Emirates. According to those who have been watching our pre-season friendlies he seems to be showing promise.

With Jenkinson and Yennaris maturing, we may well soon find ourselves in a position where playing other players out of position at full back is a thing of the past.

Anyway, enough of my waffle. Do you think the table has merit? Does it tally with the evidence of your eyes? Are we sufficiently covered within the squad for the right back position or do you feel we should be looking to sign someone?


*Before the eggheads among you start quibbling with my maths, I made certain adjustments to allow for the half games (for example, if we conceded a goal during a half in which Djourou did not play, even though he played in the other half, I have not marked down that goal in his “Goals Against” column.


90 Responses to The Sagna Conundrum

  1. well played Rocky
    our main problem last season was having no full backs fit and playing CB’s out of position.
    No way should we use JD, truly awful and playing CB’s out of position doesn’t work for me either side, like TV at LB.
    I think Yennaris has done well whenever i’ve seen him and wouldn’t be dissapointed if he was 3rd choice this season.
    Say we did have a calamity of injuries like last season then the order should be :
    Le Coq
    also worth of note was eastmonds attempt at RB in our last friendly, he didn’t do too bad there, maybe wenger hasn’t quite given up on him yet.

  2. oz gunner says:

    Good idea for a post Rocky, it’s one of those situations where Sagna is that bloody good and consistent that you can’t buy another mature RB. Simply because Sagna will not be usurped, and besides a couple of leg breaks he is always relatively injury free.

    The stats are great (very well put together), but personally i’d base it on opposition wingers. Kozza would be great against the ‘lump it forward’ teams like the orcs because it allows us to play with another bigger body, and they are not likely to beat us on the break. Yennaris was great against Nani, as was Coquelin against N’Zogbia (who is very tricky when he can be bothered). Yes Jenks is raw and inexperienced, but it is a bit of a slap to the face if you play another player out of position when you are supposed to be the backup RB.

    I saw chuck jenks in there, he is Arsenal through and through and is made of pretty stern stuff. He rebounded well after the united game, he performed well in the champion league, and he deserves his chance to make a name for himself. If it doesn’t work out stick Yennaris there and try him out.

    Coquelin is our next great defensive midfielder, let him ply his trade there.

  3. oz gunner says:

    that’d be my order too tommy, well said

  4. thanks Oz, are you on twitter?

  5. Bart says:

    Yes we are fine at right back the real problem is left back !!!

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Nice Rocky,
    I’m very much for the “soft boiled egghead” approach to Maths, which tallies perfectly with your “adjusted” approach.
    Naturally I’m in the switch to 3-5-2 camp if Bac is unavailable, but to answer your question, I’d go for Coquelin, as for me he offers the most defensive security amongst the candidates, which has to be the first priority.

  7. Timmy says:

    Really nice observations Rocky.

    As far as this coming season is concerned, I’m only worried about the Left back position. Before I detail my worries there let’s check the Right back. On certain occasion last season, even Bacary was caught napping. However, considering the fact that the natural players in that position looks to be positionally and tactically discipline whenever they play gives some measure of hope.

    The left back situation is not the same though, their positional and tactical awareness seems to be forgotten on certain occasion which leaves much to be worried about.

    But the real problem with the defence has been the fact that Arsene has built a Midfield that is more attack minded than defence minded, a situation that tilts the mid-field duty in favour of the mentality of ‘always ahead in number of goals’. This exposes the defence a lot because there is no longer a defensive mid-field but a rotational mid-field that boasts of Three capable mid-fielders able to switch position between defensive, central and attacking mid-field, working synergistically, however with a bias for attack.

    Looking at the Goals For and Goals Against for the team this past season one may be tempted to believe the tactics work, helping the team to a third place finish, but if we must contend vigorously, we must find a solution to curtailing the goals against threat.

    The defence may have to be moved high up and also create a mentality of a defensive mid-field quartet, breaking up play from the centre field and neutralising through passes with timely interceptions (Barcelona uses this very well). Perfect Offside walls should be adopted to snuff out straying strikers that tends to play clever. Also, opponent adopting wing play must be pressured to the by-line and forced out of play. All these with the assist of the mid-filed trio whenever they don’t have the ball. This tactics seems to me to recognise and assist the attack minded mid-field play without being forced to revert to classical defensive mid-field set-up who does nothing other than to break up play, but contributes nothing attack-wise.

  8. oz gunner says:

    @ Tommy

    no don’t have one, I’ll get around to it one day. For now i just rely on GiE, chas, and GM for the twitter jokes

  9. richie says:

    You mentioned “Nico” Yennaris and for me he looked the most assured, I wondered why you hadn’t put him up as a possible choice? I’ve never held with the too young idea for any player after all I’ve seen a 16-17 year old play for us that was certainly old enough. Cesc. I though Jenkinson looked out of his depth more than once, but again its subjective because it might’ve been that he was up against some of the better sides. I totally agree that CB’s don’t make good FB’s and midfielders generally cope better. I thought maybe “Le Boss” wasn’t too worried about not having a ready replacement for Bacary and was going to give young NIco his head. Then somewhat deflatedly I found out we’ve already loaned him out to Notts County for the season.

  10. TotAl says:

    Excellent post Rocky. 🙂

    Love the stats. We have to keep our faith in Jenkinson, but he did look very rusty at times during the friendlies.

    You might have seen the TV-captaincy conundrum I commented about over the last few days. If he is chosen to be our captain, he’ll play automatically if fit: what will happen with Koz and Mertesacker if fit? Rotation? Maybe. But I reckon, at least against the tougher opponents, our back-four will be Koz-Mert-TV-Gibbs, with Jenkinson getting games against lesser challenging opponents.

    Gibbs is ready to rock on the left – he has become a man over the summer. I am not worried about him at all, but he’ll need to stay fit…

  11. TotAl says:

    Hey Richie, the aim is indeed to visit the lavender-field landscapes of Aix-en-Provence. We like touring-days with short stops in small towns and villages, and beautiful natural areas.

  12. JM says:

    Sagna & Jenkinson could also play LB if required, likewise the coaching team could train Santos & Gibbs to cover RB when there is a need.

    Our fullbacks should be able to play either on the right or left adequately.

    Now if Sagna is missing:

    Santos-Koscielny-Vermaelen-Gibbs (Back 4)

    Likewise when we are missing both Gibbs & Santos next time:

    Worst case scenario all 4 fullbacks out of action, we must give the 3-4-1-2/3-4-3 or 3-5-2 formation as a real alternative Plan B:

    Koscielny-Mertesacker-Vermaelen (Back 3 with 4 in midfield)

    Koscielny-Mertesacker-Vermaelen (Back 3 with 5 in midfield)

  13. JM says:

    Previous post (edit)
    Koscielny-Mertesacker-Vermaelen (Back 3 with 4 in midfield)

  14. TotAl says:

    Is there a more mobile player at Arsenal than Koz? He is fast, great tackler, great spacial awareness/ positioning, excellent in the air and phenomenal stamina. He can play anywhere in defence and would make a great DM as well.

  15. GunnerPete says:

    Sometimes I think Gunners are a bit shortsighted and believe our own propaganda. In the case of Sagna..I do not believe he is as good as most sites state. You did not show his record to compare. He is a shocking crosser of the ball. He is very average in the air and last season he was responsible for several important goals by being way out of position. I like the look and crossing ability of Jenkinson, he never shirks away and has staying power. His height helps too. I really believe that with Boudlie as coach Jenks will blossom. I also like Coquelin in most positions. My major move would be to get in a world class CB and allow Kossy to move into DFM..he would be great there. The freedom he would have would be perfect for his style. It will not happen because with Arsene, once bought for a position ,you stay there.

  16. Hi all

    Just checking in, haven’t got time to stop, hope everyone is well and enjoying the Olympics. We do need posts for the next few days please ……….. 😉

  17. TotAl says:

    Rasp said this morning: “I don’t know where all this fantasizing about Chamakh has come from. He doesn’t have a great touch, super control or a single trick to beat a player. All he is can do is be a brick wall to bounce the ball back off. I would reckon that he plays the ball straight back to whoever passes to him at least 50% of the time. As for playing with his back to goal – has anyone ever seem him try to turn a defender? Diaby has more skill in his big toe than Chamakh.”

    The word fantasizing is a tat patronizing Rasper. He has been playing for us for a while now, and let’s just say that you and I have a different understanding, and appreciation, of how he is being used. He has a decent first touch and shields the ball well.

    His job is not to turn a defender, and yes Diaby is a lot more skilful, but also someone who will benefit from having somebody to bounce the ball off against. Another big difference is that Chamakh has the ankles to take the battering from behind, whilst Diaby, or even the traitor, would probably not last 90 minutes in that position.

    Whether you like it or not, Chamakh is very likely to go nowhere and play a role again at Arsenal next season. Arsene has apparently said he wants him to stay, so we better get used to it and focus on what he has to offer to us. You and I will never agree on that though, but c’est la vie. 🙂

  18. Gee Jay says:

    Interesting comparison, but not sufficient to make a conclusion. I may not be the best to compare the four, as i have not watched all their games. But it is also true that the performance depended on the whole team, not just one individual, and also who else was not playing at that particular time. For example, if one of them stood in for Sagna at a time when four other key players were out on injury, then the team was just weak in general, hence making fair comparison difficult. I however am not disagreeing with your preference and conclusion, though its weakly supported.

  19. Cupid says:

    I am concerned about Jenkinson in that position based on the little evidence on display during the pre-season match against Man Citeh, although you cannot take too much from that but it still is a shadow of the actual. Both goals came from the freedom to drive in through the right and cross in goals across the face of goal. Jenkinson drives upfield very well but forgets about his primary responsibility at times. I really want Jenkinson to grow into that position and be a formidable back up to sagna but based on current evidence it Coquelin and Yennaris for me

  20. Podge says:

    Sagna is in a defensive sense the best right back in world football Alves is superior attacking but they have different roles Alves is basically a second winger. 2 freak leg breaks in a season the luck of an Arsenal player eh? Jenkinson looks to have a lot of potential but his positioning is poor a run of games would improve this a lot. Yennaris looks to be a good player now and maybe the best thing for him is a loan move so he can play regularly and we can find out just how good he actually is.

    Jenkinson was bought to be back up/eventual successor to Sagna so he should be the first replacement. I think the most important thing is positional familiarity more so than premiership experience compare the performances of Djourou and Yennaris for an example Djourou while a good centre back and fairly experienced premiership player is not suitable to right back he can play midfield but that doesn’t translate to full back as well as some are saying here.

  21. Bryan says:

    Coquelin first for me, Jenks looks a good prospect but gets caught out of position to much, more games in the reserves will help him.
    I was very impressed with Yennaris but 1 half against UTD is impossible to judge him on, would need to see alot more of him.
    Never want to see us play any CB’s in LB or RB positions again, none of them look comfortable there.
    As some one else said, I think we need a LB

  22. RockyLives says:

    Good day and thanks for the comments.

    I would use Jenks as the understudy. He’s bound to make a few mistakes but he’ll only learn if he’s exposed to the intensity of EPL games regularly.

    He’s the best crosser at the club, so if he can balance his defensive and attacking duties (with Bouldy’s help) he could be a fine player.

    I’m slightly surprised at the concerns about the LB spot. I had reservations about Gibbs but in the second half of last season he put in a run of good games and looked much more assured. Santos is also a good back up an I would like to see what he can do with a proper run of games.

  23. Highbury Moon says:

    Good thought provoking post Rocky.

    What has so far not been mentioned is the support, or lack of, from the wide midfielders. Against City pre-season they played 3 at the back and five across midfield. When Jenkinson was dragged inside, giving their wing back space to run, our right sided midfielder was nowhere to be seen.

  24. richie says:

    @TA You couldn’t have chosen a better place in the garden to plonk yourselves, your right in orange. For reds you go for the famous blends of Chateauneuf du pape visit the place its beautiful. Mentioning the “the papes” visit their palais in Avignon. They have a lot to answer for in my book as they produced the Bible as we now know it condensed from the 20+ conflicting gospels to the standardised 4 🙂 I prefer the conflicting storeys of the none tax paying anachist than the re-written sainctified later version. My wife reminded me we stayed in a Hotel in Carpentras that was famed for having the Marquise de Sade as a long time resident, strange the things Women recall, I wonder if it was just my sudden urge to beat her profoundly that she remembers or the actual hotel 🙂
    Eat their fish stews “Bourride” is with garlic, and eat “Brandade de Morue” in nearby Nimes. Small towns? Fontvielle, east of Arles has a nice little restaurant Le Patio and further west south of Avignon there’s a little village called Eygalieres that has another nice restaurant “Sous les Micocouliers” As you’ll no doubt realise my sight seeing in Provence is gastronomic. Don’t forget to drop in at the old port in Marseille for the bouillabisse. A 45 minute drive heading south west from Orange along the coast towards Spain just past Monpellier is the coastal town of Sete, which is well worth a visit, the port restaurants are good. 🙂 Right enough of this back to serious matters of Football.

  25. richie says:

    @Gunner Pete “Once Arsene buys a player for a position they stay there”? I don’t know of another top manager in world football that is more willing to let player change from one position to another than AW! Do you?

  26. oz gunner says:

    @ Rocky

    I’m really surprised by the stick Santos gets to be honest. He seems to be one of those players that supporters love to hate, and have done from the get go.
    Look at his game against Chelsea for instance. Yes both Sturridge got the better of him a couple of times early but after that he tightened up really well, and got us back in the game with a very calm finish. He likes to get forward a fair bit (he is good at it, but like the Song situation you can say that Arsene doesn’t encourage him to attack). Yet people beat him up for it and say he can’t defend. Personally I do not think that there is a better 1 v 1 tackler in the team. Yes kozza is brilliant but Santos constantly stripped his opponent of the ball with a quick lunging tackle. It’s as though he has a homing function on his shoe because he very rarely misses. The boy will get better coming in to his second season as well.

    Gibbs is the same, the boy can play. Like TA said, if he stays injury free (big IF) then we have a player on our hands! You don’t get a mention as replacing Cole in the England team for no reason. The LB spot is safe and sound.

  27. oz gunner says:

    @ Richie 3.31

    I was going to question that also.
    Arsene is renowned for making players change positions! Just look at Henry as a prime example. His who reign is littered with players like that

  28. RockyLives says:

    Excellent point about the MF support (or lack of it) for the FBs.
    A supportive wide midfielder can make a FB look a much better player.

  29. RockyLives says:

    My sentiments exactly (regarding Santos). He has that great ability to win the tackle after the winger thinks he’s beaten him.

  30. evonne says:

    Hi Rocky, thank you for the post, very interesting read. I am a little bit out of my depth here, cannot understand why a good FB does not always make for a left/right back? I wouldn’t think it’s a different skill set, so what is it?

  31. RockyLives says:

    Very few players are equally adept with both feet (the very best are, like Cesc). So generally a right back will be someone whose strongest foot is his right foot (and the opposite for a left back).

    If you think of your natural body shape as you are running down the right wing, you will generally want to pass or cross inside (towards your left), which means you will use your right foot most of the time.

    Frankly it’s quite shocking that not all professional players are 100% two-footed, but that’s the case.

    I was never much of a player really (certainly never had a sniff of ‘the big time’), but one of my pluses was being able to play off either foot.

  32. RockyLives says:

    Evonne 🙂

    He’s better than Peter Crouch!

  33. evonne says:

    Rocky – cheers, that bit I understand, but a FB can surely play with both feet and therefore should have no problem on either side, no? I think that in modern football the traditional defender is expected to go to midfield and score too. Which is fine, provides more entertainment and surprises, but call me old fashioned, I like my defenders to stay put outside the goal, defending.

  34. evonne says:

    Rocky – not sure 🙂 both looked ridiculous

  35. RockyLives says:

    I guarantee that 90% of FBs in the EPL are not comfortable on their “weaker” foot.

  36. GunnerN5 says:


    Naturally ambidextrous people are quite rare – around 1 in 100.
    People who are born naturally left handed and to some degree those born left footed are more likely to become ambidextrous as it’s a right handed world. It’s considerably more difficult for right handed people as they have far less need to learn..

    As an example my son is a natural lefty but is equally adept with either hand or foot, he served with either hand at tennis and threw darts with both hands – he was an Ontario youth darts champion and threw a perfect 501 and 301 when he was 13 years old.

    However he stank at football – much to his coach’s (me) dismay.

  37. RockyLives says:

    Hello GN5
    I was travelling the other day so I didn’t get the chance to say how much I enjoyed your Post leaving Highbury – but I did.

    My youngest son is right handed, but left footed. I am naturally right sided, but I just practiced obsessively with my left foot until I was comfortable on the ball with either peg.

    I can’t imagine being able to throw darts with my left hand! There would have been a lot of dead scorers if I had done that in my darts league days.

  38. chas says:

    Nice one, Rocky.
    I think Corporal Jenks, Le Coq and Nico are enough backup for Bacary. They’ve all been caught out of position, which is understandable as we use the full backs going forward so much in a 4-3-3.

    Nutty was definitely two-footed. 🙂

  39. chas says:

    Here’s proof he had a left foot, too.

  40. chas says:

  41. RockyLives says:

    Nice one chas
    I don’t think anyone was more surprised than Nutty on that first one 🙂

    Incidentally, the second clip shows Nutty’s goal celebration – a “shush” gesture with his finger over his mouth. That’s obviously where Arshavin got it from – it’s a tribute to Nutty 🙂

  42. Rasp says:

    Apologies for my late arrival ….. work got in the way.

    Great post as ever Rocky, I can only judge by the way I feel when watching any of the understudies play live. Djourouy makes me nervous, corporal jenks just looks a bit inexperienced (which he is) kozzer and Coquelin seem to be the more proficient. Yennaris was good in the CC but I think he could get bullied in the prem.

    totAl @ 12:49,

    The fantasizing comment wasn’t aimed at just you specifically, Chamakh was being discussed as though he’s the answer to our striker problems at the start of the season. He’s not, he’s not good enough IMO.

    When did the club announce that its not Chamakh’s job to try to turn a defender = be a striker. You keep talking about Chamakh as though he’s a midfielder. The job of a striker is to make or create a goalscoring opportunity which involves maneuvery yourself and the ball into a position where someone can put it in the back of the net …. Chamakh is very poor at this basic requirement of a striker.

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rocky a fine piece, defensively I don’t think there is much to choose between them at right back (and I include Yennaris in that). The difference between all of them is what they can contribute to the team in possession

    Neither JD or Kozzer have the necessary engines to do doggies up and down the length of the pitch.

    Yennaris and Coquelin are best on the ball and passing (they ought to be they are central midfielders coached the Wenger way).

    And then there is Jenkinson, someone who has been criticised but who is young and surely Bacarys true successor, in my view what he offers above the other four is good crossing ability, and as a trained full back greater understanding of what is required going forward and back.

    For all those who have criticised I would ask them to cast their minds back to Lee Dixons in auspicious start at Arsenal, many considered him to be a poor crosser, too slow, and will remember he scored one of the greatest lobs at Highbury, unfortunately for him, Arsenal and David Seaman it was meant to be a backpass.

    Right off to read comments.

  44. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne 😀

    To be fair didn’t think the BFG did too bad, all footballing like moves were ok, both him and Pod were awful on the grapevines but them you see very few blokes who can do them dirt time.

  45. evonne says:

    GiE – ha ha ha, very funny 🙂 not just blokes, I couldn’t dance to save my life, silly activity if you ask me

    GiE – what would you say is the main difference in the skill set of a FB and right/left backs? You mentioned running the length of the pitch, that’s true, they venture forward more than FB. Anything else?

  46. Gooner In Exile says:

    Er FB is a left/right back, guess you mean CB?

    I think it’s the energy levels, plus in the modern game a bit more attacking intent, think of the best full/wing backs and they all are good going forward.

  47. evonne says:

    yes, I do 🙂 CBs !! yeah, Santos does it to excess. something I don’t like seeing much

  48. Rob Lucci says:

    Yennaris signs new contract extension

    Arsenal Football Club is delighted to confirm that Nico Yennaris has signed a new contract extension with the Club.

    The 19 year-old England youth international enjoyed a breakthrough season in 2011/12, making three appearances for Arsène Wenger’s senior side before gaining further first-team experience with League One outfit Notts County in a brief loan spell.

    Although predominantly a central midfielder, Yennaris’ versatility saw him make an assured Premier League debut at right back against Manchester United. Nico also played in defence for victories over Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United in the League Cup and FA Cup respectively.

    The Leytonstone-born lifelong Gunners fan first joined Arsenal aged seven. He was a regular in the Reserves last season, for whom he made 17 outings.

    Nico has been heavily involved with the first team this pre-season. He played in the Markus Liebherr Memorial Cup at Southampton and was also a member of the Asia Tour 2012 squad, featuring in two of the three matches in the Far East.

    Everyone at Arsenal wishes Nico continued success with the Club.

  49. evonne says:

    LB – Wiggins is a Pool fan. Oh well, only goes to show that nobody’s perfect

  50. Jenkinson has seemed more than capable, in his debut against Udinese last season he was thrown in at the deep end and he coped well, plus he’s an Arsenal fan, doesn’t hurt does it. Yennaris has just signed a contract so Wenger obviously has faith, he’s looked decent everytime I’ve seen him, should be a great fight for that right back spot in a few years time when Bacary bows out.

  51. TotAl says:

    Richie 🙂

    Many thanks for the tips – very much appreciated. It is exactly what I was looking for, and once I am back I will email you, through Rasp/Peaches, with a short report.

    Rasp 🙂

    I am sure you are getting as tired of this as I am. Once the season has started we will, no doubt, continue our discussion with the same passion and intensity, but let’s leave it for now.

  52. RockyLives says:

    Regarding Chamakh, I think he’s a decent player who could still do a job for us. Given a chance I reckon he could be a one goal in three type of striker.

    I understand your reservations with him but I think you are a bit too hard on him. When he led the line for us his scoring record was ok.

  53. oz gunner says:

    @ G5

    You do not have to be naturally ambidextrous to be able to use both feet. Good coaches make you do drills right through juniors so that your comfortable with both feet. As Rocky said it is unforgivable to be at that level and not be a double footed player (you don’t have to be great, but at least comfortable enough to use your opposite foot when in a pickle). That extra second to straighten up or kick awkwardly across your body can make a big difference

  54. Forgot to add this to my comment earlier

  55. oz gunner says:

    GiE, all the best Right Backs can chip a keeper!

  56. GunnerN5 says:


    I coached for 25 years and it was a rarity to change a one footed player into two footed. My dad made me two footed by hanging a rag football on heavy elastic in the corner of my bedroom and I had to kick the ball with whatever foot the ball swung to – it helped but I would never have considered myself two footed.

    If it were that easy then one would expect that it would be a prerequisite for every EPL player to be two footed – but the majority of them are one footed – which tells the whole story – it’s not poor coaching – it’s just very difficult to fight your own genetics.

    Look at Wilshere, a more one footed player you may never find – does that mean that it’s AW’s fault? – I think not..

  57. richie says:

    @TA 10:28 My pleasure! I look forward to hearing what you think, BTW the restaurants I mentioned aren’t the “Michelin Star” types. In France they’d probably be classed as Bistro’s, but as you’ll probably know, a quaint French Bistro in a small country village transported lock stock and barrel to London fast becomes the top restuarant in the area. BTW As you like the country there are great national gardens in Avignon. I fact its such a rich natural garden area you should have a great time touring, I really hope you have good weather and a marvelous holiday.

  58. RockyLives says:

    Fair point GN5, but I’m not sure I agree about JW’s one footedness – I’ll have to re-look at some old games.

  59. oz gunner says:

    @ G5

    You don’t have to consider yourself two footed, just (like i said) comfortable enough to get yourself out of a tough situation. For instance Arsenal are breaking down the field, Walcott and Gerv are racing down the field but the ball is played to your opposite foot. You need to change feet and send it long down field. That split second difference could be the difference between a keeper being alert to the risk or a defender closing down the space.

    Players like Wilshere and RVP are an exception to the rule, they are that good that it doesn’t become a hindrance. If you have the skill set to make space and time then that is all well and good, but not every one is as good as them. Why would it be Arsene’s fault? He never coached players while they were developing their skill sets in juniors.

    I have coached Junior Aussie Rules and chucking in one drill a night, or a few kicks here and there do not hurt one bit. It’s just naive to not try it as it is a FACT that it makes you a better player and adds to your skill set. It can look like the most awkward move in the world but if you are capable of doing it then you have bettered your overall game.

    During draft camps you get points for kicking both distance and accuracy on your non-preferred foot. If you are woeful it is frowned upon and can mean you will not get drafted (unless you are exceptional at other parts of your game). Football is no different! Less video games, facebook, tv and more practice!

  60. I agree with you here Oz, every player will undoubtedly have a preference (set pieces, corners or when they have tie on the ball). But it shouldn’t be too much to ask that a player can control the ball with either foot equally well, and that they can pass the ball 5-15 yards with either foot. My right foot is my best, but i am better than most with my left, simply because as you say i worked at it, and I had shocking backpasses from my defenders to deal with.

  61. RockyLives says:

    I’ve noticed in recent years that GKs are getting better at clearing off either foot.

  62. richie says:

    @RL@12:11 I’m with you regarding Chamakh, I mean I’ve never said what a great player! I’ve never thought that Arsene shouldn’t sell him if we turn a profit, but I still say I feel sorry for him. Because I stick with what I said originally I don’t think he was given a chance to show what he’s good at because apart from when he first arrived and RvP was out injuried and he led the line and did o.k.,the team wasn’t set up for him. My reason for believing this is logical, but it needs a small caveat question? Why is the manager Brendan Rogers outing the new England International Andy Caroll despite Liverpool paying a record fee for an English player after only 6 months at the club?
    (He just scored a perfectly good International goal as well)

    Answer ; Rogers wants Liverpool to play football the way it should be played, on the ground. The same way he had Swansea playing.
    He doesn’t want a big target man to hoof the ball up to. He doesn’t want Liverpool to play the type of football that would suit Andy Carroll, i.e. balls played in early, plenty of crosses, again played in as early as possible so that AC could use his strength ‘one on one’ against a (Centre Half/Central) Defender. “A la Drogba” at his best. Anyone remember Didier manhandling Senderous? And then doing exactly the same to Gallas? Rogers doesn’t want to play with a typical old style English CF, I’ll use 2 of our old boys as examples. Our old CF Malcolm Macdonald who we had for only 3 years wouldn’t have been his cup of tea, despite the fact he scored every other game. The more mobile flexible Wrighty would probably have been more to Rogers tastes.

    What I’m trying to get at is Carroll ain’t a rubbish player! But he’d be about as effective a Shamakh if he was played in an Arsenal side set up to get the best out of RvP. Likewise stick RvP in the Newcastle side set up for Andy Carroll and watch him struggle. I know RvP would’ve faired better because he “was” a while ago a far superior player when his heart was in the trim. I just hope I’ve given all his many critic’s pause for thought.

  63. oz gunner says:

    @ Richie

    the bad news is kenny spent heaps on Downing and Adam to deliver crosses/set pieces to feed Carroll. So not only have they wasted money on Carroll but players designed to complement his game. Unfortunately for them (but funny for us) Downing couldn’t grab an assist to save his life, even with Carroll in the box.

    @ GiE

    I never thought of that, it would be very hard for a keeper to get the right technique/power to clean his lines with his non-preferred foot. You know your a skillful player when you can use both feet without anyone noticing which foot is your preferred. I think Rosicky is another footballer who is predominately one-sided. But he has developed a get out of jail free card by being unbelievable at the outside of the foot pass. The way he uses it to thread the needle and curve the ball is amazing to watch

  64. oz gunner says:

    I hope the loan deal of Sahin goes through (with an option to buy at the end of it). I was talking to a mate who is a big BD fan and he said he’s a gem of a player and would have him in a heart beat. In an Arsenal perspective he said he’s a lot like a young Arteta. That’s enough for me!

  65. chas says:

    How to make ‘builders bum’ look attractive.

  66. chas says:

    Poor Timmy.

  67. evonne says:

    Chas – did you sleep well or did you toss and turn all night?

  68. chas says:

    I slept like a log, Evonne.

  69. chas says:

    No tossing at all

  70. chas says:

    Did you sleep well?

  71. evonne says:

    Right, just an early start with a bit of excitement then 🙂 you are TERRIBLE

  72. evonne says:

    No Chas, I didn’t, I was thinking of you 🙂

  73. evonne says:

    so funny those badminton cheats got kicked out, they didn’t bargain for that, did they

  74. chas says:

    I’m reading a book called Freakonomics and it suggests that if you give human beings an incentive to cheat, it’s only a matter of time before some will take up the offer.

  75. evonne says:

    Most don’t even need an incentive 🙂

    Santi is coming to town today!!

  76. chas says:

    Lavender is meant to help ease those nightmares, Evonne.

  77. chas says:

    There’s still time for him to get in a taxi to another ground.

  78. evonne says:

    What, after seeing the Emirates? You think he’d settle for shite hart lane or the bridge? Nay, not possible

  79. Gooner In Exile says:

    “However, it was fellow Welshman Aaron Ramsey who was GB’s most influential player ”

    Are the Olympics going to be good for Rambo, can’t say I watched the match but that was in the BBCs match report.

  80. oz gunner says:

    morning all

    if santi and sahin do come in what do you think Arsene should do with Ramsey? Send him on loan to a premier league team? or keep him to create competition?

  81. As it stands, we don’t have a post for today. If anyone has a few thoughts or a half finished article, please let us have it in the next 30 mins – otherwise, the discussion will have to continue on from yesterday’s post.

  82. oz gunner says:

    Peaches i can send a quick one to your email in 5/10 mins. Sorry only something i just chucked together

  83. oz gunner says:

    It’s been sent, sorry in advance everyone!!!

  84. oz gunner says:

    along with a picture too Peaches/Rasp

  85. Thanks oz, you’re an absolute star 🙂

  86. oz gunner says:

    No worries Peaches.

    Study in the Library < Arsenal

    wins every time haha

  87. New Post ……………………..

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