Let me start as I often do. Admitted Arsène lover here. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t do some things differently. Here’s a few, in no particular order.
I would give Podolski some rest. It seems he’s nursing a slight injury and can’t go all out. As he is, he’s certainly not helping the team. Even with Gervinho’s injury, we still have options. Arshavin, one of the kids, or Santi, with Arsh or Jack behind striker. If it’s not an injury, maybe we should consider trying Pod more centrally.
Ramsey would generally not start in midfield, except in an emergency- I would not start him on the wing ever. He would be an energetic, versatile, late substitute only. I like him, but i’m not sure it’s going to work out. I have been a defender of his previously.
I see no reason why we can’t go with Sagna at LB, Jenks on right against tougher opponents. I would consider Santos vs lesser teams. I’m not sure he can’t do the job, but I’d hold him to a high standard.
Honestly I’m fine with our 3 top CB’s. We just need to get the most out of them. I can forgive the occasional mistakes by any of them..they deserve that because they play hard. I’m ok with Vermaelen as Captain, but i’m not happy with his affection for van Persie, this might still be a problem in future matches. He needs to be more cold ( as does the rest of the team) – this comes from Arsène being classy, and basically too nice.
I would give Theo the raise he wants or close to it, to lock him down for a while – we could move him on in the future if needed. Some other team would still take him at that salary. Unfortunately, I think it’s too late though. Obviously, I would have done it sooner, or sold him and scooped up Moses, Mirallas, or someone else. But right now, I’d get him signed if possible. I think it’s worth another 1 or 1.5 million a year to avoid the possible disaster of him going elsewhere and turning out great, especially as a striker. If that were to happen, we would really be laughed at, and it will be impossible to keep any of our players. After the RVP debacle, it’s the safer choice. We must fix this salary structure that doesn’t let us retain our stars.
I would have the deal done today, for Huntelaar in January. So many people say he’s too similar too Giroud. I don’t buy that. He’s an extremely talented, proven scorer – right footed, inexpensive, and still in his prime. For the little he would cost, you don’t have to worry about sell on value. Of course I would be looking at other improvements in the market, mostly up front.
I wouldn’t mind a bit of competition between Sczezsney and Vito, though I still lean towards the Pole.
If we get healthy in midfield, I’d give some rest to Santi, and use him on the wings sometimes in a more agressive set up.
If we need to shake things up, I would consider some of the young kids. Yennaris, Eisfeld, Gnabry. Just not all at the same time. But they would certainly not lack effort.
I would make sure the team looks at matches like Old Trafford as a great opportunity. Not much to lose considering our recent record there. No reason to dread the match, or feel pressure. Much weaker teams get results there occasionally, and we should feel we can beat anyone, anywhere. It’s a shame we lost the high from the Capital One Cup so quickly.
I still prefer the unknown of Usmanov to Kroenke. I don’t know if it can ever happen because of the Board, but I don’t understand the fans who don’t want him. Why would he want to spend all that money to own a team, and not at least TRY to win trophies. I don’t blame him for trying to influence his way into control with public statements, or whatever. The board is using any little technicality to keep him out. Rich owners do sometimes make great player purchases, they don’t all have to be like Torres. They also can bring in top Managers. Even Man city, with all of their waste, are still spending to build an academy system. Money is not necessarily bad, if you use it wisely.