Fenerbahce: The Wilshere Conundrum

Some time ago LB  (who at that time was London) made a case whereby he stated that Arsenal play better without Jack. Now, I am simplifying his argument, but in essence, LB said that Jack slowed us down, was neither an attacking nor defensive MF and that despite his prodigious talent Wilshere made the Arsenal team worse.


I and many others rushed to Wilshere’s defence. How could it be that England’s Arsenal’s best young talent was detrimental to the team? Well, now I understand. Ask yourself this  ….who gets dropped when Arteta is fit? Ramsey? Not in the form he is in. Rosicky? Our passing between the defence and the forward line is more dynamic when TR plays, he is an excellent player. Or Santi? You must be joking. And where will Ox play upon his return?

Last season we played Santi out left but this is clearly not his best position and we play better with Podolski giving us an attacking option on the left. So where does Jack fit in?

Thankfully this is not my problem and he is sure to start tonight.

Be honest with yourself, do you see anyway we can go out the CL tonight? OK, we may lose the game but I doubt it. No, the work has been done.

Fenerbahce:  It should be recalled how well Szczesny played last Weds, which indicates that perhaps the Turks have a chance. Had they scored it could be a worry but they didn’t and there is no way that defence can keep a clean sheet at the Emirates. If we score early Fenerbahce are doomed.

Arsenal weren’t wonderful in Istanbul, it was more that Fenerbahce froze. Some of their passing was awful, their tactics non-existent, Walcott terrified his FB, their midfield coudn’t cope with our movement and speed of passing. Why should tonight be any different?


Arsenal: It is more who gets rested. Theo has played 4 games in two weeks (inc. England), so I would allow a kid to start. Sagna can relax as can Rosicky and Gibbs – all need to be treated with care. That said, Mr Wenger has stated that he will play 95% of the team who won in Turkey, which I read to mean Monreal will start. I think he is wrong and resting the players would be the best option.

My team would be but AW’s is sure to be different:


Jenks    BFG    Kos    Monreal

Ramsey    JW     Santi

Gnabry    Giroud    Podolski

If fit I would start Myachi on the left and give Giroud a rest, but perhaps our little Japanese wonderkid is not quite ready.

Another big win would be great and in a way I understand why Mr Wenger chooses to play a powerful team, but what if an angry and frustrated Turk (or Frenchman – this is not  a racist site) kicks two colours out of Theo and he misses the NLD? Is it worth the risk?

Moving on …… Did you know that Martin O’Neill is a massive music fan and his favourite band is The Kinks. Suddenly, I like the bespectacled jumping loon 😀

As to this season’s theme, I haven’t decided but am erring towards the World Cup stories. It is football associated and will not require too much research, my sole doubt is whether I can find 40+ chaps to entertain both you and I.

What say you?


Written by Big Raddy

186 Responses to Fenerbahce: The Wilshere Conundrum

  1. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    Cracking write up Randy, and morning all

    I have no answer to the Jack Wilshere question. For me its just about rotation of our MF 3 in terms of who starts, who plays where, and how they interchange in open play.

    I struggle to pick a ‘best’ Arsenal side even before our new signings arrive.

    I’ll struggle even more once Benzema and Di Maria arrive tomorrow 😉

  2. SharkeySuresGhost says:

    The interchanging of our MF3 on Sat was first class, more of the same tonight please.

    They seem to interchange a lot less when Arteta plays…

  3. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Lovely PM BR, thank you.

    Team selection? Mmmm, thinks. I would go for a strong team until half time in the hope of the final nail goal. As for resting anyone for the first 45, no, but I would then get our most valuable and brittle players off, so Santi and Theo.

    Don’t really want to enter the Jack debate, because I still have not made up my mind as to his best role, although I have a feeling that it will change over the next year or so.

    Particularly liked the rather obtuse reference to O’Neill, which I guess makes me like him just a tiny weeny bit 🙂

  4. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Thanks for the “it’s on TV” comment.

  5. chaberry says:

    Benzema nd Di Maria comin 2moro?. keep dreamin

  6. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Sharkey

    Very interesting comment about Arteta’s influence.

    Is it Jack who slows things down or Arteta?

  7. isaac oduro says:

    two things will work for jack he should pass quickly and stand on his feet to defend like arteta, sliding tackles will not help his case because ramsey is on fire.

  8. Gooner In Exile says:

    Morning all, top pre match Raddy.

    As I see it we have 5 players (6 if we include Ox) vying for 3 midfield spots, Santi, Jack, Rambo, Arteta, Rosicky all have various attributes.

    The key is being able to play together and not over committing to attack, the midfield on Saturday often left gaps in behind them, as they did against Villa, as they seem to do when Arteta is not on the park, Villa punished the gaps, Fulham didn’t.

    We need to figure out the best three for the balance of the side depending on the opponents, Rosicky, Santi and Rambo looks too offensive when we are about to play ManUtd but great when facing Fulham. Arteta, Rambo and Jack would be too defensive to take on Fulham but maybe right for ManUtd.

    Rotation is definitely the key. And in those 5 we have players who can be rotated without concern.

    The areas where our rotations are more limiting is left and right wing, and because of the way we play I often find these games where Arsene chooses to rotate the flanks can be where we look most ragged and the pass pass pass pass criticisms come to the fore.

    For me a strong line up with a couple of rotations, Monreal in for Gibbs, Kos in for Sagna or BFG (may be useful to play Sagna and Koz as a pair to see whether we do need a centre back reinforcement). Jack in for Rosicky. If we have out the game out of sight by half time then we can replace Theo, Giroud and Santi.

  9. Rasp says:

    Super PM as ever Raddy. From what we’ve seen this season, Ramsey, Rosicky and Rambo would appear to be our most effective midfield 3 in the absence of Arteta. Who out of those 3 should Jack be considered as a replacement for? Its a toughie, maybe he could play in place of any of them since the midfield is so fluid.

    I like Cazorla in the middle and given the free role with the other 2 maybe being a bit more disciplined positionally – a 4:2:3:1 formation?

    I am encouraged by the rumours that we are interested in
    Toby Alderweireld. He is just the sort of strong utility defender we need. He can play CB or RB and would mean that he could be rotated with Jenks (as with Monreal and Gibbs) if Sagna was needed at CB.

  10. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Some great points on the midfield rotation, GiE.

    I really, really like the way you include Ollie in the essential-to-protect bracket 🙂

    Given an expensive wide man coming into the fold, Ollie is nailed on for at least 30 goals 🙂

  11. Rasp says:

    Sorry, I just saw that GiE made the same points only better in the previous comment.

  12. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Toby Alderweireld?.. never heard of him, so probably too cheap for me 🙂

    ps I did see your comment to me yesterday re Podolski. I have not changed my opinion in that I don’t see him as a Master of any specific role. However, I have grown to love his attitude and believe he has become an essential squad player.

    A tricky, dribbly, speed king who can operate down either flank remains No 1 target for me.

  13. Rasp says:

    Morning Micky, he sounds just like the sort of player we’d go for. I doubt he’d be that expensive but ticks many of the boxes in what we require to add to our defensive options.


  14. Rasp says:

    Micky, the tricky, dribbly type is Di Maria – no?

  15. LB says:

    Excellent pre-match BR

    That is more or less what I was saying.

    The buzz word of this morning is rotation, well that wouldn’t really have been considered when I made my original point about Wilshere slowing things down, everyone saw him as the savour of the club and as such seemed to think that he deserved to be the first name on the team sheet.

    Moving on to his position, look at where he played when he came on, on Saturday — just in front of the back four — and he was good, adding a lot of steel to the defence.

    He is, as I have always insisted, a defensive midfielder rather than an attacking one.

    But for the sake of clarity I am not saying he is a DM, there is, in my view, a subtle difference.

  16. Rasp says:

    Re: Podolski, I think you are winning the Pod debate, I love the guy and hope he is happy being rotated and coming on as a sub because it would be Ollie centrally for me every time in a 4:5:1 and I think we need a dribbly type on the left as you say.

  17. LB says:

    Yep, I agree, GIE puts it well.

  18. Rasp says:

    …. mind you, Gibbs can play LM and has the pace and tekkers to beat players and get behind fullbacks.

    Talking of LB’s, did you all see that pathetic dive by Cashley yesterday? he should have been carded for simulation.

    In Bale’s case, he should have been booked many times last season for simianulation 😛

  19. MickyDidIt89 says:


    I really hope so. Kind of why I’m hoping the Ape lands in Madrid thus making Di Maria surplus to requirements. I know others would be interested, but can’t see why we can’t match any other offers.

    So, a Fatso/Mata swap between Utd and Chavs would suit my plan as it takes the possibility of Mata out of the equation. Good though he is, Di Maria is faster.

  20. LB says:

    Morning Rasp

    That dive was as pathetic as the game was boring.

  21. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh, and for me, speed matters.

    An injury to Theo, and not only do we have zero options down the right, but we also have zero speed across the front three.

  22. Rasp says:

    Agreed LB, I didn’t see anything about either team that suggests we need to do anything other than play our game when we meet them.

  23. LB says:

    Mourinho is never going to let Mata go in a million years and certainly not to us.

    Wenger wouldn’t take him anyway now, he has since bought Cazorla.

  24. Rasp says:

    I agree Micky. Mata is a very good player, but we already have very good players in his position. Pace, wing play and the ability to cross the ball are areas where we need reinforcing.

  25. MickyDidIt89 says:


    Don’t know when you are off to the Pyrenees, but best of luck. Blimey, that looks tough.

    Stayed in the Italian Alps very, very near BR, and watched all the Monaco based riders powering along the coast then up, up and up.

    Maximum respect went out from me to the bloke I saw get to the top, had a drink, then a fag before slithering off back down again 🙂

  26. Rasp says:

    Seems like I’m always just behind someone else in every comment this morning 🙄

  27. LB says:

    Off on Saturday Micky

    Thanks for asking, sadly I am not at the standard of the Monaco based riders but I don’t do bad for an old-un.

  28. MickyDidIt89 says:

    LB says: “Mourinho is never going to let Mata go in a million years”

    That’s him off then ROLF

    Mata is not a Maureen type of player, methinks, but I am not having a bet with you. Thonged up…bearable. Commando..absolutely not.

  29. MickyDidIt89 says:

    You’re too modest LB.

    I’ve seen you in the flesh, and seen top cyclists, and to my mind your body is perfect.

    Crikey, carry on like this and I’ll be on another dinner/musical date, and if I’m honest, I didn’t enjoy the trauma of last night one bit.

  30. Blimey, give it a rest Didit. The site was so much more footbally sensible while you were away. Clear off.

  31. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok. Back for the game though.

  32. Big Raddy says:

    If last night is anything to go by Jose would be crazy to let Mata go. The Chavs completely lacked creative spark. They are also desperate for a finisher.

    I hope we don’t sign Torres, as I have said before, he is a poor man’s Giroud.

  33. Big Raddy says:

    Oi, come back.


    Thanks Big Raddy

    I will be quick, to busy

    I know LB’s view that Jack is not an attacking midfielder and here what your saying about his current contribution.

    My take. Jack is an attacking midfielder and given time will prove it. He is to good not to play, so even if it weakens the team in the short term it is worth it longer term because the kid is different class.

    Think about this. Jack Wilshere is the most talented player to come out of our youth system since Liam Brady

  35. fatgingergooner says:

    Jack Wilshere is the first name on the team sheet when 100% fit. What we’ve seen recently is a slightly rusty, slightly unfit version. DM, CM, AM will not matter when the kid is firing on all cylinders because he will be running games from start to finish. Having him and Ramsey playing next to each other, both at full throttle, with Arteta sat behind, will be a dream to watch.

  36. chas says:

    Cheers, BR.

    Maybe Arteta won’t go straight back into the team.

    I’m not sure I know what the world cup stories theme is?

  37. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. So, in your dream team who gets dropped?

    In fact, if you are around, what is your first11?

  38. johnnyenglish says:

    Wilshere and Ramsey playing together is an issue because they tend to play the same way. Wenger must choose betwen these two to play with Cazorla (creator) and Rosicky (detonator). Ramsey is harworking but his passing is not so great. Wilshere is a super talented kid but he is still too much of a kid and nosy too sometimes. If Arteta, Santi and TR were all 100% fit, I make Arteta the regulator, Ramsey and Wilshere on the bench..

  39. Big Raddy says:

    chas.That each game I take a story about a player or game in a WC – this being WC year.

  40. fatgingergooner says:


    I’m assuming you mean based on what we have now? Not future transfers?


    I’m a big believer though that modern football is a squad game. It’s about 16-20 players, not just 11. I would have no problem swapping Rosicky,Podolski, Vermaelen, Monreal, Ox and Jenks into that side based on opponent/system etc. I think people worry too much about who starters. I would rather 4 players get 10+ goals than 1 player get 40+ goals, but then again I also think a team our size needs a world class individual or 2! It’s a tricky one.

  41. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Rosicky “Detonator” 🙂

  42. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    Thanks once again Raddy for the pre match.

    I wouldn’t make more than a couple of changes to the team from Saturday, bang in a couple and then bring on whoever AW wants.

    Wilshere is still not 100% fit and will be a great player and if anything if there is a comparison to Arteta I would agree with a comment above that Arteta however good he is actually slows the game down, and I expect him to play deeper when he returns and Wilshere more attacking.

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    The problem with Rosickys detonator is we don’t know whether it is in his knee, back, ankle, or Arse.

    Talking of Arses where is Redders?

  44. LB says:


    I obviously loved Liam Brady given the two initials I have chosen as my blog name, but lets be honest our hero didn’t do defending, you could argue that he was so good that we wanted him creating goals or scoring them rather than getting his hands dirty doing the more pedestrian work of defending.

    Wilshere, naturally tackles and by doing so defends; he is very good at it and this is the reason why I say he is a defensive midfielder rather than a more attacking one such as the great man.

    What Wilshere turns into in the future I am not sure but I am no where near convinced that he is likely to develop into a number 10 as some seem to think.

  45. Gooner In Exile says:

    The strange thing is for England I definitely see Wilshere’s future as No 10, for Arsenal I’m not so sure. That probably says more about English players than it does us or the player himself.

    England midfielders like Gerard, Carrick etc are about 60yd passes long range shooting and getting into the box to win headers.

    None of these are Jack’s forte, he is probably close to Beardsley in style. For Arsenal he can be either because we don’t have the need for a midfielder launching 60 yard passes…and we definitely don’t expect them to crash the box.

    What makes him more spiky than the rest of our midfielders is as LB says he likes a tackle. But that doesn’t mean he is a defensive midfielder he is just more able to win the ball back for us with that dimension of his game.


    I totally respect your opinion LB

    However, I have a different view. Whilst Chippy was not the greatest defender, he could put his foot in. Maybe not as ferociously as Jack, but modern players are faster and stronger.

    In my opinion Jack will never be the greatest defensively. He is to small and gets by passed to easily.

    As an attacking force though i see great potential. A turn of pace, great skill, and potentially a great shot. In addition, the most intriguing aspect to his game is his ability to unlock defences with reverse or perfectly timed balls.

    its all potential at the moment though LB, so only time will tell.

    By the way, since you and i are probably the most rabid anti Totnumb people going, i suggest limbering up for Sundays game by watching a re run of Liams goal in the 5-0 drubbing. Works for me.

  47. GunnerN5 says:


    Thank you for your pre game.

    The theme is, of course your choice, but personally I really enjoyed the surprise element of your previous themes and I will
    miss that aspect. I invariably dug a little deeper into your themes to learn more. The World Cup, although relevant will be less enthralling for me.

    There are many different line ups that we could have tonight (this afternoon in my case) but having at least 8 or 9 of our strongest players is very important. A strong defense is the most important as we need to keep a clean sheet.

    They will go all out to score which should give us opportunities to score a decisive goal. Even one goal for us will break their spirit and then we could cruise home and give some key players a rest.

  48. fatgingergooner says:

    For me, JW is most effective in the area from the edge our own centre circle to the edge of the opponents box. Not exactly a revelation, given that he’s a midfielder! But my point is that he isn’t someone who will be driving into the box to get on the end of crosses (like Paul Scholes) and he doesn’t need to be getting himself mixed up in the defensive side of the game (like Scott Parker). He’s at his best when picking up the ball, turning his man and driving into space. Maybe when he gets older the goals may come more often as he picks the best times to enter the box, but at the moment he should just concentrate on being the link between Arteta and our strikers.

  49. johnnyenglish says:

    GIE, I agree Rosicky is kinda old and he could break his bones on a big effort but when he is 100% fit, he is the one who can pass the other defense dribbling the players. Not a “one trick and I go straight” but someone who can pass several players. The others dont do this. Cazorla doesnt play like that. He is playmaker. Ramsey is a DM who doesnt want to be DM. Wilshere is a DM who wants to become AM or Wenger wants to make him AM even if Wilshere is better as a DM. He is physically better adapted to the job, he can be strong on the adversary, tackles (better than Arteta) and he doesnt like shoot from long range like an AM should. Wenger should try: Rosicky-Wilshere-Cazorla in the Midfield.

  50. fatgingergooner says:


    IMO a DM is not good or bad because of how strong he can tackle, his quality is based on how well he can read the game in order to make interceptions and track the right runs, and also how disciplined he is so that he doesn’t get caught out of position. Arteta has shown he is far better at reading the game than any of our midfielders and he has far more disciplined than the others. That is why I believe he is our best DM, and why Wilshere is not a DM.

  51. evonne says:

    Very good prematch Mr Raddy, thank you very much.
    I sort of understand the reasoning behind JW’s supposed problem. Wenger loves flooding the midfield with top quality and so he is sure to find the best position for Jack. Unless, unless he is planning to ‘promote’ someone to the forward position? Ox? Not my problem either 🙂

    Raddy – when will the first signing be announced?

  52. Rob Lucci says:

    Cracking pre-match BR.


    What we need on the left wing is definitely a Pires. Pacy, can dribble, can cuts inside, great crosser of the ball, phenomenal shooting boot and protect his LB well. Though I dont see anwyhere in the footballing world right now a player that I can describe as a Pires.

  53. LB says:

    Works for me as well Terry.

  54. Rob Lucci says:

    From Dailymail:

    ‘Pablo Zabaleta has revealed Manchester City are struggling to adapt to Manuel Pellegrini’s demands for man-marking at set pieces, having become accustomed to defending zonally under predecessor Roberto Mancini.

    City were caught out from two corners in the 3-2 defeat by Cardiff on Sunday, with the Argentina right back particularly culpable for losing Fraizer Campbell as he scored a brace of headed goals.’

    -If Arsene can find his ‘super quality addition’ we have a great chance to finish above them this season.

  55. Ian Ure Face says:

    No way Stretch !, I`m the most rabid anti-Spud person going !. I would actually piss on one of them if they were on fire !. I have the most potent flammable piss known to man !. hahaha

  56. LB says:


    Interesting debate and one obviously not designed to change each others minds but to possibly make us think.

    The one theme that runs through all the comments above is that no one has a comparison, many names have been mentioned and many reasons have been given as to why Jack is more suited to one part of the midfield rather than another but what about this: you may be old enough but forgive me if you are not.

    Bobby Moore.

    Now I am not really old enough to be an authority on the ex England Captain, and most of my knowledge comes from the telly, but he is the only player I can think who is close.

    Close in height, close in speed, close in tackling, close as in a great passer and close as in he will be England captain.

    I think in a nut shell that is where I am coming from.

    Defensive midfield.

  57. Rob Lucci says:

    fgg, johnnyenglish,

    fgg, I agree with you. I think the most important quality that Wenger want in his DM is his ability to keep possession, or as Tim said a ‘cultured passer’ of the ball. I think hats why we bid for Cabaye instead of Gustavo or Capoue.

  58. fatgingergooner says:


    Would you take Di Maria?

    He has a decent record for goals and assists, though to be fair I could probably score goals playing for Madrid against some of the dross in La Liga.

    There were rumblings that he wasn’t at his best for Real last season, so it may be time for a change.

  59. fatgingergooner says:

    Agreed Rob,

    Gundogan is the perfect replacement for Arteta. The way they play is very similar and he has all the attributes to be world class. Shame he’s going to be difficult to buy.

  60. LB says:

    Can Cabaye play DM?

    Genuine question, I haven’t seen enough of him to know.

  61. fatgingergooner says:


    Not sure, but he’s not much different to what Arteta was when he played for Everton, and I think that’s what Wenger sees in him.

  62. GoonerB says:

    Great write up Raddy. I am a JW fan and see him as an AM in the long run. I would also subscribe to GIE’s recent post “Aaron Ramsey : A lesson in Patience” which basically looked at Jack’s current position in relation to Rambo’s current form and how long it took him to start playing at the level he currently is.

    Both are young and were forced into extensive periods away during their developing years. Ramsey gets the nod on current form and it is in many ways nice that we can ease Jack back up to his best level. I trust AW in this and believe he knows better than any of us what needs to be done, not just now, but in the next 2-3 years. He probably has a more accurate vision than any of us of how our midfield should develop over the next 3 years.

    My thoughts will be that he will continue to harness the quality and experience of arteta and rosicky until their legs start to go and that we may end up with a different DM brought in and Jack, Rambo and Santi will rotate amongst 2 AM roles. Jack could be trying too hard at present to make things happen but will come good (not that he has been bad, just not at his best level) just as Rambo has. They will both bring different qualities to our AM as well as industry and defensive attributes.

    Jack needs to add goals to his game and then that coupled with his ability to surge forwards with the ball and burst past defenders in tight spaces will make him more like a Gazza in my mind. Both Rambo and Jack I feel will form a great partnership in the future and maybe with both of them utilised in the AM’s roles.

  63. fatgingergooner says:


    You didn’t mention Ox in your plans for our future midfield 3. Do you think he will be used as a wide player?

    From what we’ve seen pre season AW was starting to use Ox in more central roles, and the player himself has said he reckons he’s an AM. Personally, I think we could end up with a future midfield 3 of Ramsey, Wlshere, Ox, but obviously a lot can change in a couple of years.

  64. Gooner In Exile says:

    Not sure about Wilshere comparison with Moore….Moore was 18cm taller according to the web (thats over half a foot in old money).

    I think Alan Ball would be closer.

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Alan Ball wore white boots when even a stripe was deemed vulgar.


    Bit to young to remember Moore LB.

    He looked brilliant in that escape to victory film, though so did Ossie Ardilas, so we know its fiction.

    Its an interesting point though about comparison. To be honest i just cant think of one player to truly compare him with.


    hahaha, forgot about your rabidness Cornwall. Please accept my apologies.

  68. Chas says:

    I’m pretty rabid too

  69. Chas says:

    Wasn’t Bobby Moore a centre half?

  70. GunnerN5 says:

    Booby Moore is renowned as one of the greatest defensive midfielders of all time, Pele is quoted as saying he was the greatest defender he ever played against.

    Not the least bit like Wilshere, Moore was a stand up type of player who was not targeted like Jack and he seldom went down.

    Back in the day we did not get to see him a play very frequently but when we did the thing that always stood out for me was that he was both classy and stylish, I could never think of jack as being a stylish player. Herd to draw any comparisons in my mind.


    Of course Chas, it would be plain wrong not to acknowledge your excellent rabidity. hahaha

  72. Big Raddy says:

    The closest player I can think of to JW is Gazza – though this is hardly a new comparison. Alan Ball is a decent shout as well – all action leader and Arsenal Captain.

    I think in years to come JW will move forward, not back and develop into a top quality attacking MF. Just needs to improve his shooting.

  73. fatgingergooner says:

    This is going to be difficult to comprehend, but Wilshere reminds a bit of Edgar David’s at his best. Small, powerful, skillful and slightly nasty!

  74. Big Raddy says:

    If you look at the England 1966 team the CB pairing was Moore and Jack Charlton.

    What made Moore special was his ability to carry the ball out of defence at a time when the CB’s just hoofed it.

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Anyone going tonight?

  76. johnnyenglish says:


    I agree with you regarding discipline and Wilshere is not enough disciplined this is why maybe Wenger also tries to make an AM out of him but for me, an AM must have an even better vision of the game to sense where are the players and where to go or to pass or when to shoot. Wilshere is (still) lacking this (I remember last game his clear opportunity to shoot) and he is rarely between the lignes of the other defense or makes too few assists and even more less long range shots. I dont say he can not become a great AM and he is gifted and hardworking enough to make Wenger believe in him but for now, I like when he is turning and holding the ball and accelerating but thats not enough for a good AM. I agree Arteta is our best man in the DM role anyway.

    Good game all tonight

  77. fatgingergooner says:


    I agree he is not the finished article, and after his injury layoff he still has a way to go, but he has improved immeasurably since he was on loan at Wigan which bodes well for the future. It’s going to be fun watching him develop into a superstar and a captain. Just hope his body allows him to fulfill his potential.

  78. fatgingergooner says:

    Just realised we are on ITV tonight. Disappointing!

  79. Gooner In Exile says:

    Turns out Bale has already turned into Ronaldo

  80. kelsey says:

    Arsenal XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker (C), Podolski, Giroud, Walcott, Ramsey, Monreal, Santi Cazorla, Wilshere, Jenkinson.

    Arsenal subs: Koscielny, Rosicky, Fabianski, Sanogo, Gibbs, Miyaichi, Frimpong.

  81. kelsey says:

    2 changes as I predicted 🙂

  82. Gooner in Exile says:

    Miyaichi on the bench 😀 like the team looks strong enough, bench still a bit light……but:

    Sz, Sag, BFG, Pod, Oli, Theo, Rambo, Monreal, Cazorla, Wilshere, Jenks

    Subs: Fab1, Kos, Rosicky, Arteta, Gibbs, Ox, Sanogo

    Starts to look stronger and there is no room for Diaby, Vermaelen or the youngsters. not easy this managerial lark!

  83. TT says:

    Thanks, Kelsey. Nice, strong XI. Am a little afraid of Koscielny being rusty for the NLD—assuming he will start in that one. On the other hand, it’s a good game to give Sagna more CB playing time.

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Like the team but would have preferred to see Theo on the bench

  85. evonne says:

    GiE – l love the picture 🙂 ANY man who thinks he looks good in pink is deluded. Bale is no exception

    Raddy – any signings yet? You promised!

  86. fatgingergooner says:

    Capital One Cup games tonight as well. Hope to see some big guns go out!

  87. GoonerB says:

    FGG, sorry been away for a bit but re your 5.01 yes I agree about throwing the Ox into that equation and I still don’t think that overloads us numbers wise in the AM areas. I prefer Ox in the ACM but we know he is also a decent attacking wide player. I prefer him from the left rather than the right though.

  88. GunnerN5 says:


    I want them to stay in and play many, many games…………….

  89. Hi all hope u r all ok nice post .
    I’m surprised Wenger has picked so many 1st players I thought he may rest a few .

  90. I rest santi and Geroud and Rambo and the pod the game should be over at 3-0

  91. Hi all

    I’m grounded for tonight’s game 😦

    Can someone who is watching put their name up to write a post for tomorrow please ……….. should be a piece of cake 😉

    And talking of posts we’re going to need posts for Thursday, Friday and Saturday aswell.

  92. dandan says:

    What a pratt Adrian Childs is, he speaks with all the authority of a true WBA superstar and as for Wrighty who would listen to him, his brains have always been in his feet

  93. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening all

    Love the team. Nail the tie in the first 45, then save Theo and Santi.

    No post writing from me Peaches, but I’ll do one for this week.

  94. fatgingergooner says:

    Good point GN5! If we want the quadruple though then big guns going out will make it easier. 😉

    Charlie Nicholas saying we need 2 defenders and a keeper! Absolute b****cks! Good to hear Ian Wright and Lee Dixon talking a little bit of sense re transfers. For once ITV is doing ok!

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh Lordy Lord

    Just noticed no football for two weeks after Spuds. Internationals I take it.

    Oh, and Peaches, how did I know that? Because I left this lovely site to go and find a Fixture List 🙂

  96. fatgingergooner says:


    Just to point out I only heard the end bit when Dixon and Wrighty agreed that Wenger had built a legacy and other teams would realise what he’s done when they try and build new stadiums. If they were talking rubbish before that then I missed it!

  97. Ian wright wright wright wright

  98. fatgingergooner says:

    Just a thought, but if we got to January top of the league, through in the CL and still in the cups, but Wenger hadn’t signed a new contract, what do you think the fans would be saying regarding his future?

  99. dandan says:

    Ginger Childs forgets that these two extra games generate cash for the club and we are still seeded and they get the fans back into happy mode. Wrighty was not to bad but tends to say different things on different stations

  100. Fixture list ……… Fixture list, I knew there was something important I should be doing 😉

    Hi Micky, welcome back from your hols 🙂

  101. DD,

    I must say I was surprised when Wrighty agreed with Dixon because he’s usually pretty negative about Arsenal. Like you say, his opinion differs depending on where he is.

  102. We obviously want them to score ………..you know, make a game of it.

    Loads of empty seats, I did give my seat to a worthy Gooner tonight so mine isn’t empty.

  103. fatgingergooner says:

    Lovely from Cazorla. Joy to watch.

  104. Big Raddy says:

    Goodness. Andy Townshend is a complete twat. Just regurgitates the same old narrative,

  105. fatgingergooner says:

    What’s the thoughts on Diaby this year?

    My patience had run out last season but I think that was because I felt we needed him and he wasn’t available. Now that we have options and are not relying on him, my stance has softened. Aslong as he’s not stopping others from joining the squad, then I’m willing to have him as somewhat of a luxury player. There’s no doubt that when he does play he’s a quality player, just a shame he can’t string games together.

  106. Much better if we score 😉

  107. Big Raddy says:

    More Welsh magic

  108. fatgingergooner says:


    Get Cazorla, Ramsey and Theo off! 😉

    Funny that they are the 3 players I see as bring key at the moment! How times change.

  109. In u go our Gareth bale.

  110. They got bale we go Ramsey bale can’t speak welsh Rambo can

  111. Wales is only a small place but we got a few good players .
    Mr bale
    Mr Ramsey
    Mr Williams
    And shaking Stevens

  112. fatgingergooner says:

    Jesus Christ!

    Good job our posts aren’t made by IKEA! There’d be nothing left.

    Have no problem with Szczesny being our GK. He doesn’t lose us points during the season like Almunia did, but on the other hand he doesn’t win us many either. He probably finishes seasons about even at the moment, but aged 23, that’s pretty good. Another few years and he could be winning us 5-10 points a season.

  113. fatgingergooner says:

    Townsend talking rubbish!

    There not the ones Giroud needs to put in. There the ones he was putting in last season, when we were 4-0 up and cruising. What we need this year is for him to be scoring in the big games.

  114. Gooner In Exile says:

    Some good saves by Szczesny, bit off key really first half….seem to be playing within ourselves, never a good thing, thankfully we got the goal do don’t urgently need to find another gear.

  115. dandan says:

    Ginger are you watching this on ITV HD you had the goal up on the screen before we scored here, same with the Townsend comment

  116. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Get Gerv on 🙂

  117. Big Raddy says:

    1st injury.

    FFS get Theo and Santi off

  118. Rasp says:

    That’s the Pod out for a month 😦

  119. fatgingergooner says:


    Benzema’s just scored a hat trick against Spurs! 🙂

    Where are you!? HD is usually a few seconds behind! Maybe you need to put some more 20p’s in the telly! 🙂

  120. fatgingergooner says:


    He was moving pretty freely. Maybe just a tweak and a couple of weeks. Hopefully…….

  121. Big Raddy says:

    So that is both our left sided attackers out for a month. Need reinforcements

  122. That’s why I said earlier we need to rest a few play a few young guns we were 3 up any way

  123. fatgingergooner says:

    4 full backs on again! 🙂

    Wenger loves those full backs!

    Apparently Emmineke is what you get for £11.5m these days. Crazy!

  124. fatgingergooner says:

    Cazorla LW and Rosicky AM, so no big worry for the weekend, but we definitely need some reinforcement. Would’ve liked to see Gnabry tonight though. The lads going to be something special

  125. Hers ya ya

  126. I’m off to work one catch u all soon.
    Sheep ,night in jail bye .

  127. fatgingergooner says:

    What a goal!

  128. Big Raddy says:

    lovely goal, both the approach play and the finish.

  129. Gooner In Exile says:

    Townsend showing lack of understanding of laws….ex pros amaze me….booked for re entering field of play without permission (ref made him go off to replace boot)

    And whilst typing Rambo adds another…lovely move.

  130. Great play from the team and another goal for Rambo 🙂

  131. Big Raddy says:

    Really pleased to see Ryo as will be the marketing boys

  132. fatgingergooner says:

    Loved Mertersacker being annoyed at Sanogo for having his hands up in the wall! Looked pretty annoyed. That’s what I like to see from a CB.

    Monreal has impressed me tonight. His work rate has been excellent.

    Why does Jack Wilshere have to go down like that! Every single time he goes down it looks like real pain, but then he gets up and carrys on. I would rather he roll around 15 times like players do when they are faking, but he always stays still and looks injured.

    Oh dear, he’s now sat on the floor!!!! 😦

  133. fatgingergooner says:

    Do we reckon Wenger told him to look injured so he doesn’t play for England!?

  134. fatgingergooner says:

    Wilshere again getting bashed around. Disgusting.

    All I can say is that he’s too good for these muppets.

  135. Big Raddy says:

    Cazorla magnificent again.

    Defence solid at CB and down the wings. Monreal and Jenks worked very hard.

    Our forwards below par tonight

  136. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Qualified. Good news. Ramsey and Santi superb.

    Ooo, just listening to Rambo interview. “Short on numbers!” Wow.

    Must dash. Night all.

  137. Gooner In Exile says:

    Ginge I think I remember Brady saying one of his biggest challenges was getting him to count to 10….I think that’s why he takes a few when knocked to the floor, eventually when the ref gives him no protection it gets too much.

    Everyone did their jobs tonight. Miyaichi and Sanogo not ready yet. Liked Gibbs in central midfield when Cazorla went out wide towards the end… It’s yet another option in the squad.

    A Rambo double he started to look like he was enjoying it tonight, the kind of look players get when they’re confident, it struck me when he had just tracked back won the ball and played it off one of theirs for a throw, good applause he picked himself up and had a half smile like “this is too easy”.

    5 days rest now and we need to fire out of the blocks against Spuds.

  138. GunnerN5 says:

    England seam bowler Stuart Broad: Arsenal have won 3 out of 4 this season and are in the Champions League, yet all they do is get nailed by people. I just don’t get it. Weird.

  139. fatgingergooner says:

    All the noises from the players suggest they want new signings. Arteta said it an interview, as did Giroud, Wilshere said its all they talk about at training, and now Ramsey says we are short!

    To be honest it’s quite refreshing to hear the players say they want new players. They are obviously not scared of a bit of competition and realise that if they want to win things they need additions.

  140. fatgingergooner says:

    3 weeks for Podolski according to sky.

  141. LB says:

    All hamstring pulls are a minimum of three weeks.

  142. Gooner In Exile says:

    Agree 3 weeks for a youngster, longer as you get older and of course depends whether twinged, tweaked, pulled, torn or evaporated…….I’m sure there are more medical terms (Grade 1-5 or something)

    LB ground didn’t look that full on TV, but we only see Lower Tier, was it more than 50% full?

  143. fatgingergooner says:

    That Yeovil v Birmingham game sounded like a treat!

  144. fatgingergooner says:

    6 days left now to sign at least 2 players. Glad I’ve got 2nd Sept off work as it could be an interesting day!

  145. LB says:

    GIE It was more than 50% but as you say there were a lot of empty seats.

  146. LB says:


    I could have something by 9.30 should you need, I am a bit tired right now.

  147. Gooner In Exile says:

  148. RockyLives says:

    Top blogging with the pre-match. All I can do is seek shelter in the time-honoured cliche of “it’s a nice problem to have” (ie Jack’s best position).

    You gave me a good chuckle earlier. You have been consistent in saying that Jack is predomantly a DM. Now you’re comparing him with England’s most celebrated centre half 😀

    You’re still not having any of this “Jack the attacking midfielder” malarkey, are you?

    Actually, now I come to think of it, Jack’s style of play reminds me a little of Gordon Banks… 🙂

  149. Rob Lucci says:

    When Ramsey was pulled off by Arsene, gibbo had to do a bit of covering in midfield. Gibbo goes unnoticed but today he has showed he’s our 1st choice leftback cum left winger cum midfielder.


  150. kelsey says:

    Morning all

    Well 5-0 on aggregate is emphatic enough but at what cost.

    I know many on here think I am an eternal pessimist,well that’s their privilage and others will say AW is no fool and he will strengthen the squad before deadline day,so don’t worry. Well I sincerely hope he does.
    I don’t attend games but it is blatantly clear that with yet another injury to Podolski this squad is now literally paper thin.

    The revenue obtained for now qualifying for the CL group stages could easily be wiped out in the excess we may have to pay for quality players if hopefully we obtain at least two players and my guess they will be utility players.
    We really seem to get one injury after another and three weeks could be longer.
    I worry about Jack as he is being battered in every game and not being 100% fit it is a concern that we can’t rest him,even AW said he nearly pulled him off when we were 2-0 up with 10 minutes to go, but he didn’t.

    We knew months ago that Vermaelen who is a very good player and just had a dip in form last season, would miss the first 6 weeks of the season and he has just started light training.

    Gervinho,Arshavin,and Santos were shipped out, Chamakh didn’t feature last season so is no great loss and neither is Squillacci and together with the reserves it is a huge saving in wages.
    The argument that transfer negotiations are difficult,most probably moreso than ever is a valid point, and there maybe a lot of truth that certain players would only be interested if a) we can at least mount a real challenge to the top 3 and b) can guarantee CL football.
    Flamini if he joined is not what the majority of fans want to see, they want as AW would say real quality and that comes at a price,and that is why I maintain that either Wenger has to much clout in the amount we are prepared to bid for a player or laws,gazidis and Wenger don’t always see eye to eye.
    A leopard doesn’t change his spots and hopefully all we have read are red herrings and the real targets have been earmarked and now we will bounce.As i said before the bid for Suarez surprised me and was not handled well by all concerned,but that is now water under the bridge.

    I and you don’t know if there is any credence on bids for Benzema,DeMario (sp),Cabaye Suarez or even Rooney as the press always enjoy when things go wrong for us and the opening day gave them much joy saying a thousand things including,we are a team in crisis .

    We really have a nucleus of a solid team that desperately needs some more steel and that forward who can literally change a game on his own, and that doesn’t necessarilly mean an out and out striker.

    Spurs will be a test but don’t over estimate them,they have a good team with a number of new players who will take time to gell,and it might be a good time to play them now.

  151. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning Kelsey,

    The transfer action starts now, although as with Utd and Chelsea, I do believe the Bale move will be the catalyst as it will trigger a small exodus from Real.

  152. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I know last night’s game was a dead rubber, damp squib, limp dick or whatever, but surely another entertainer on the pitch might put bums on seats.

    We are desperate for another Santi type of taker-on with speed. Desperate, I tell ya.

  153. Rob Lucci says:

    Hi kelsey,

    Do you agree with me that the only ‘star/super quality’ signing that we need is only for the striker position?

  154. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi Rob,

    I don’t 🙂

    The core of the team is very strong, but we now have no Ox or Podolski down the left, but more importantly, we have no Twelfth Man ie the home crowd.

    Listen to them chant “Santi Cazorla” after a dribble. That is the entertainment factor. Part of the reason the new wide man must be “super” quality is that the crowd don’t tolerate a player like Gervinho who got groaned at for attempting the audacious.

    I am positive the lions share of the transfer kitty will go on such a player.

  155. Thank you LB, it’s all yours x

  156. Gooner In Exile says:

    Rob agree on Gibbs, I commented after the match it was good to see him in the middle as another option.

    I think versatility is a must on the new signings.

    I really like what Ollie gives us up front so am not sure I want a striker, we have Theo who can play the small quick in role if needed. I think Ollie holds the ball up as well as anyone we have had for a while, he does lack a bit of pace though.

    At the back I think we will struggle to find a suitable stand in who doesn’t turn in to another Squillacci, City are going to be in the market too given they have two injuries there and are looking weak without Kompany. They played a central midfielder at CB against Cardiff.

    We are undoubtedly light due to injuries but as I posted before the game yesterday a very light subs bench looks a lot stronger when everyone is fit.

    Yesterday’s bench would have looked more like:

    Fab1, Koscielny, Rosicky, Ox, Sanogo, Arteta, Gibbs if everyone was fit, and that still leaves Vermaelen out of the Matchday squad.

    Whilst it is guaranteed we will get injuries, do we really want to see squad bloat again having made so many changes this summer?


    Right Back:

    Centre Back:

    Left Back:


    Left Wing:

    Right Wing:

    Centre Forward:

    That’s 23 players, and whilst there is some interchangeability up top a few injuries leaves us short, so versatile front men are the order of the day in my book.

  157. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Agreed GiE,

    A Di Maria type. Crowd pleaser. Defence unlocker. Adds speed, and takes some of the creative pressure off Santi.

    No more squad players are required, just two who can elevate the side into a genuinely competitive, and entertaining, side.

    Your chart says it all: Left Wing: Both injured. Right Wing: Theo and the Marketing Quota (harsh, but fair).

  158. kelsey says:

    Well I think we more or less agree, Micky 🙂 (limp dick)

    Rob We need an enforcer at the back.

    I am not yet convinced we have sufficent muscle at the back.

    Morning GIE and peaches.

  159. Rob Lucci says:

    Gie, Kelsey, Micky,

    I know we need some more bodies to be a back up at DM, CB and maybe another winger, but maybe Wenger want to be sure this time that the back up player that he want will be quality as well or at the very least, he want to make sure Santos and Park did not happened again. Thats why it took so long.

    The problem with buying a CB is that we already have three excellent CBs at the club and buying a back up CB is not Wenger best forte. Either we buy another Squilacci (experienced, look good, dont get enough games and turn into deadwood) or a talented young CB.

  160. Rob Lucci says:


    I know you like Di Maria and I like him too. But I think Wenger like his left side winger to be more cultured passer and cut inside instead of a speedster. If you want him on the right side what happen to Walcott? Being in the World Cup year I dont think either of them will accept bench role.

  161. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    The CB position is strange. We have loaned out two CB’s – one a decent player with International experience, the other a promising youngster.

    Why did AW make such a decision?

  162. Big Raddy says:

    GIE highlights the difficulty – with a fully fit squad we are secure in all positions.

    The problem as I see it is that this squad cannot win the title. We need some improvements.

  163. kelsey says:

    Morning Raddy

    we maybe secure in all positions but need that no nonsense leader on the pitch and someone in attack with the X factor.

  164. LB says:


    There is method in that madness.

  165. LB says:


    Post in drafts.

  166. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Now we agree 100% 🙂
    “we maybe secure in all positions but need that no nonsense leader on the pitch and someone in attack with the X factor”

  167. Big Raddy says:

    I don’t agree about the leader.

    We have a few. Merts is a fine organiser and TV is club captain. Arteta has natural authority and JW is a future team Captain. Ramsey has already captained Wales.

    It is true we do not have TA/PV type captain, but apart from Chelsea, who has?

  168. Big Raddy says:

    Furthermore, I will be surprised if AW signs a proper DM.

  169. MickyDidIt89 says:


    All the exits are either balancing the books following the Sanogo signing, or we are in for a couple of major signings 🙂

  170. kelsey says:

    It’s how you define leader. Pers is a fine organiser indeed but has his weak points.Slow on a one to one and the turning circle of an oil tanker but reads the game well,but he is a gentle giant,not one to give others a bollocking.

  171. Rasp says:

    Morning all, Sanogo showed again last night how far he is from being ready for the first team, I cannot understand why he is being given priority over some of the young strikers that have been doing so well in the reserves.

    Some of the things AW has been saying about him have been worrying, I do hope he isn’t this year’s ‘obsessional’ player. We have only one fit striker now – most teams have four. We won’t pay the big bucks for any of the worldies but we do need to find a player who can play CF.

  172. Rasp says:

    I wonder if we might get Michu for around the £20m mark, he’d be a very decent addition to the strike force.

  173. Rasp says:

    Chelski must be looking to sign a striker. I’d rather have Michu than Torres, but it is unlikely the swans will want to let him go this late without a replacement in the offing.

  174. kelsey says:

    Michu, not proven as yet Rasp. Could be a one season wonder as have been many but might be the real deal. Didn’t Swansea pay 2 million for him ?

  175. Rasp says:

    😳 OK, talking to myself 😕

  176. Rasp says:

    He’s proven in my mind Kelsey and what they paid for him is irrelevant, its what he’s worth now. The totts are about to make a 1,000% profit on Bale

  177. Gooner In Exile says:

    Lots of traffic on M25 towards Colney…..that’ll be the queue of agents and players 😀

  178. chas says:

    Apparently Mata’s dead granny was in corporate yesterday to discuss her grandson’s future.

  179. chas says:

    “this year’s ‘obsessional’ player”
    I like it.
    These are always the ones who must have a set of photos of Wenger sh*gging a hamster, aren’t they?

  180. Rasp says:

    What’s a Mata you heh 😆

  181. Morning all

    Just sorting the post …….. back in a min

  182. New Post ……………..

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