Arsenal’s exciting season ahead

So, what does that fixture list for 2014-15 look like from an Arsenal point of view?

The priority in August (as we know from previous years) is the Champions’ League play-offs, we need to navigate those safely and without fuss, so we want a pretty tame start domestically.  And with Palace at home, Everton away and Leicester away, we have more or less what we would want.  Not that I’m saying they’re easy games; the visit to Goodison will be challenging, Palace under Pulis will continue to be tough and the Foxes will be excited to be back in the top division.  But it could have been a lot worse.

Things get tougher in September, with games against Man City at home, Villa away, Spurs at home and Chelsea away (on 1 October), as well as (hopefully) the opening pair of Champions’ League group games.

The remainder of October and into November is fine, with matches against Hull (home), Sunderland (away), Burnley (home) and Swansea (away), plus some Champions’ League games and the beginning of the League Cup.  There is then an international break, after which we face Man United at our place and go to West Brom.

The run-in to Christmas is ok, with matches against Stoke (away) and Newcastle (home), but we then have our trip to Liverpool.  There is also the League Cup and the last group stage match in the Champions’ League.  Over the holiday period, we don’t have long trips, with the Boxing Day match against QPR (home) and then to West Ham, but those two matches are in the space of three days.  We then have a midweek, New Year’s Day trip to Southampton. And in January, after the traditional slot for the 3rd round of the FA Cup, we have matches against Stoke (home), Man City (away) and Villa (home), plus the League Cup semi finals and the 4th round of the FA Cup.

February will be a little more testing, with matches against Spurs (away), Leicester (home), Palace (away) and Everton (home), and the 5th round of the FA Cup and the beginning of the knock-out phase in the Champions’ League.  But March won’t be too bad (certainly a lot better than it was last season), with meetings with QPR (away), West Ham (home) and Newcastle (away), as well as the FA Cup quarter final and the continuation of the Champions’ League.

There will be a couple of tasty home matches in April, against Liverpool and Chelsea, but in between those we will face Burnley (away) and Sunderland (home), and there will be the quarter finals of the Champions’ League.

The season will run a bit later than usual, presumably on account of the World Cup.  The FA Cup Final will be at the end of May, and the Champions’ League Final (in Berlin) will be on 6 June.  Our league campaign will culminate with some very winnable matches against Hull (away), Swansea (home), and (for our last league game) West Brom at home, but our penultimate match will be away to Man United.  That could be a very big match.  If we’re still in it, there would also be the small matter of the Champions’ League semi finals

So, no death clusters this time around, but equally shorter runs of easier games than we had last season.  The run-in is pretty good for us, as is the opening.  Depending on how the Champions’ League group fixtures play out (if we get there….) and then how the knock-out phase falls into play, there will be times when we have tough combinations of domestic and European fixtures.  An obvious one will be the Spurs-CL-Chelsea combo at the end of September.  But all in all, things don’t look too bad on that front.

I reckon the draw is pretty good for us, better than last season.  Now just the small matter of the summer’s transfer business……….

Written by 26May

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112 Responses to Arsenal’s exciting season ahead

  1. mickydidit89 says:

    Nice work 26,

    Damn it’s good to be talking about next seasons’ fixtures.

    All looks very tame and easy, and should be a fairly smooth run to the title. Very difficult to detect many hurdles along the way.

    First date in the diary then is June 6 🙂

  2. Big Raddy says:

    26. Thanks. Would you like to repeat your wager this season …. top at end of Oct?

    A good start is essential. CP at home is a must win after the furore following the AV loss last season. It is also an opportunity for the fans to enjoy our new signings 😀

    Looking forward to a Berlin trip with Micky

  3. 26may1989 says:

    Cheers micky.

    Someone on another blog pointed out that a lot of our CL fixtures would be followed by away trips. That is a fair point in the qualifiers and group stages: in those phases, we would only have one home league match after a CL fixture, with away trips to Everton, Leicester, Villa, Chelsea, Sunderland, Swansea and West Brom following CL fixtures. That will make life a bit tougher in the first half of the season.

    But the reverse happens in the second half of the season – so, if we survive till the latter rounds, we will probably have mostly home games after CL games. And it looks like we would have only one trip out of London after a CL game. That is to Old Trafford though, which would follow one of the CL semi final games.

    So life is in balance…….

  4. arnie says:

    Great stuff, 26. 🙂 🙂 🙂 So, no death clusters yet. Some may emerge in time. Let us see.

    The fact is that any game at the beginning of the season is a challenge. It is top priority to negotiate the initial games well and get the new signings to settle in. I am saying this just in case we sign someone. 😛

    A long time to wait still. At least there is the World Cup, so that we can play the transfer season game. 😛

  5. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy

    No way – I know my bet looked reckless after the Villa defeat but, as you already know, it was built on the weird way our fixture list panned out last season, with many very winnable fixtures concentrated in the period up to the end of October. We paid for that with the death clusters. Next season, our tough fixtures are more evenly spread out.

    So nope, I won’t be repeating that bet this year! 🙂

    I’ll see if there’s something else in the fixture list I’d have the guts to put a wager on…..

  6. 26may1989 says:

    On England business, I’m not feeling overly supportive of the response from the FA, pundits, etc that we should plough on with the same approach.

    We all know this generation of players is weak, but the players that were picked managed to play below their own fairly average standard (and lose to two less-than-impressive sides). And although Hodgson is the best English manager around at the moment, do we really think some of the decisions were the right ones? Hodgson said in an interview that there isn’t much he would have changed. Really? There were so many failures across the pitch, that can’t be right. I was all for concentrating on the Liverpool core, but they failed in the first game, and Henderson, Gerrard, Johnson and Sterling were all very poor in the crucial second game, as were Baines and Jagielka.

    As for the future, the core I’d like to see us focus on is: Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Barkley, Walcott, Shaw, Hart, Gibbs, Lallana and Sturridge. A 4-4-1-1 formation with an all Arsenal midfield of Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Gibbs, behind Barkley and Sturridge. Yes, I know having Gibbs in midfield isn’t ideal, but England isn’t exactly overflowing with left-sided midfielders and looking around, he does look the best of what’s available to me. If a more defensive set-up is required, Henderson or Rodwell could come in for one of the Ox and Gibbs.

    Not that there is any sign that Hodgson is going to see things in this way.

  7. arnie says:

    If Roy were a person to think outside the box, he would not be selected in the first place. That is the tragedy. The space for fresh new thinking and styles of play is seriously restricted.

    However, as you rightly say, 26m, there is potentially bright future for English football. 🙂

    The sad thing is that performance this year has been truly shocking. The English should think many times before waving the “football culture” wand at the rest of the world. It is time to play catch up, the question of leadership will come much much later in time, perhaps in several decades. 🙂 🙂

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh here we go

    “CP at home is a must win”

    No it is not yer bleed’in hippy. Lost at home to minnows Villa last term, and it did not effect our chances of anything. In fact, I think it might be a good idea to lose that one, and have an early cull of Le Moaners 🙂

  9. etfaust says:

    I don’t mind the fixtures – I wrote about them here http://wildamericangooner.com/2014/06/18/analysis-of-arsenals-fixture-list/. The only troubling thing for me is all the away matches after Champions League weeks. That will get old really fast.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Hippy, perhaps. Bleed’in – is this an english word? I assume it is an insult in which case may your testes wither.

    I maintain a good start is essential – we want to win it, not be 7 points adrift

  11. GoonerB says:

    Thanks 26May. I have been quite busy recently so hadn’t even bothered to examine the fixture list so your post outlining how we are set up is most welcome.

    I also agree with you 26May that i am not totally behind the general response of the F.A e.t.c regarding Hodgson and England’s performances at the world cup. I have to go with continuing with Hodgson at this stage as I can’t see many better alternatives, or at least not English ones. I do however feel that we underperformed and sold ourselves short.

    There seems to be a get out of jail free card in place at the moment by putting this world cup down to it being the start of a new English chapter, so it was realistically only ever the start of a new development by blooding some of the raw youngsters but I actually feel we had better players than to purely look at it like this. I felt that Hodgson went into the world cup struggling to find the right tactical set-up to get the best out of the players.

    I was hoping to god that the pre-tournament friendlies were just about getting everyone fitter and were not an indication of Hodgson trying different tactical combinations because they looked flawed in those games. Now I am suspicious that Roy didn’t know the best set-up for the players he had.

    Sterling got into the squad based on great performances from the left all season for Liverpool but was played centrally against Italy and then to the right in the second game. Welbeck is a developing striker struggling for game time at Utd but was given a 1st 11 starting berth as an attacking wide player. Roy also preferred the functional and hardworking Henderson alongside Gerrard, who sat almost alongside him the majority of the time, than the more forwardly dynamic Wilshere who could carry the ball out from deep and provide a better link between Gerrard and the central player sitting behind Sturridge. Players like Barclay and Lallana were also largely overlooked and I would suggest either one of them would have more tricks up their sleeves to be a more effective attacking wide man than Welbeck who for me should have been back up striker to Sturridge..

    I always felt that Roy was a bit too similar in his management style to his 2 predecessors who I feel have a very cautious and Italian outlook to football management. I was hoping for something a bit braver and more dynamic this time around but I am not sure it is in Roy’s nature to promote this and I feel he will always fall back to a cautious hard to beat approach over a slightly more (defensively) risky flair player.

  12. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Well done 26, I can already see us competing seriously for the title….providing we sign one or two good players, of course.

    On the World Cup front, it has been a disapointing tournament from an English point of view, I had hoped that we would make it through the group round but the lack of goal scoring potential was always going to be the major problem.

    I think I read somewhere that Henderson was required to play alongside Gerrard as a “minder”, and how Gerrard needed one!! He surely has come to the end of his International career and is certainly kidding himself if he thinks he can play any part in the 2016 Euros.

    As it seems more than likely that Hodgson will stay on as manager, it is vital that he settles on a playing formation that the available players can work to rather than changing the formation to suit the players.

    It’s sad that the Ox has not had a chance to actually play at the tournament, having gone there carrying an injury he has apparently aggravated it in training and will not play any part against Costa Rica. Hopefully a couple of weeks holiday and a good pre-season will see him raring to go come August.

  13. 26may1989 says:

    Agreed Norfolk.

    England really couldn’t afford to go into the World Cup without Walcott, his injury was a disaster for Hodgson. And then to lose the Ox as well, how unlucky was that? Those two could have made an enormous difference. But I struggle to understand how he can have failed to turn to Wilshere and Shaw, and perhaps had Barkley in the starting XI as well. Numerous pundits seemed to think England played well against Italy – well, they had plenty of long range shots, but they were never in control of that game, and completely disappeared from view in the last 20 minutes. There was a need for change after that game.

    For the sake of the coming years, I really hope Hodgson doesn’t try to adopt a defensive approach, we just don’t have the players for it.

  14. Norfolk Gooner says:

    26, I agree the defensive option is a non-starter, when you look at the ages of our current starting back four it’s obvious that they are on their last legs as far as International football is concerned. By the time the 2016 Euros comes round Johnson will be 31, Jagielka will be 33, Cahill will be 30 and Baines approaching 31, while they could all still be available, would it be wise to rely on them when two years later they most certainly wouldn’t be in contention for the next world cup.

    It must be time for Hodgson to start looking for the next defensive generation in order for them to be in place when the Euro qualifiers come around.

  15. Vintage Gooner says:

    Just a word of disappointment that a good post with intelligent analysis of Arsenal’s next season deteriorates into a premature post-mortem of the England WC.

    I think it much more interesting whether the more even spread of fixtures will enable Arsene to master rotation and thus keep a fitter, fresher squad.Some feel this was the.difference between a season of progress and a ‘coming of age’ really good season last year.

  16. Big Raddy says:

    Vintage. It is a fine post however during a quiet summer the forum is open to any subject (including the best vessel for mead)

    England’s future is of interest don’t you think?

    I happen to think we had a very good season with some excellent football, a Cup and the development of players. It is inevitable fatigue and injury hit the squad – would rotation have made a difference? Apart from OG and Per everyone was rotated (thanks to injury) and even OG missed some important games to sit on the bench

  17. Big Raddy says:

    Watching the England cricket team is a painful experience. We have the players, we have the conditions, we are at home – we should win but despite a 100+ run first innings lead we are in deep trouble.

    Not been a good summer for English sports fans 😦

  18. mickydidit89 says:

    Sooooooo, where are we.

    Well, first up, I have withered bits. Next up, really looking forward to Italy Uruguay. Don’t know who I want to in.

    Back to 26’s point about away games after a CL fixture. Is it really such a bad thing? Less pressure if anything, and we’re good away from home.

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    From Sky Football News:

    “Helena Costa has resigned from her position as manager of French Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot before even taking part in a game.”

    Pah, chicks, honestly 🙂

    ps how do you do the rolly eyeballs smiley?

  20. mickydidit89 says:

    Right now I am wondering who I’d pick if I had to chose a Lady to manage my club, and I’ve assumed to myself that no footballing experience is necessary.

    Mmm….

  21. 26may1989 says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Vintage. I do think it will be better that our coming season has a more even spread about it than last season, but the crucial things are going to be to score more goals and do better against the big teams. There was a lot to like about last season: amazing consistency against the lesser sides, topping the table for half the season, the true arrival of Ramsey, the initiation of Ozil, winning the FA Cup and a much more positive atmosphere amongst the fans. But we all want it to push on.

    One of the problems is how much change there is going to be in the squad this summer; more than we’d like.

    Raddy, completely agree about the cricket, absolutely galling. It was especially frustrating to see Cook refuse to bowl Ali for so long, and then when Sri Lanka came in, they immediately went for spin and were knocking over our batsmen. But fair play to Sri Lanka, superb second innings from them, completely turned the game around.

  22. chas says:

    Wow, 26, thanks for a comprehensive look at the season ahead.

    After last season’s death clusters 1, 2 and 3, it’s a blessed relief that the bastard fixtures are more spread out this time around.
    If our performances improve over all, I see no reason why we can’t get more points than last season.

  23. chas says:

    I think I’d go for Helen Mirren.
    Intelligent, required level of gravitas and a smashing set of bristols.

  24. chas says:

    peaches
    I posted the photo of the salvia so that you’d tell me what it is.
    Hot lips it is.
    I’ve been calling it my gooner bush as I had no idea what it was.
    I’m not sure if you’d get away with doing the same. 🙂

  25. RA says:

    That was for you, Micky. : roll : (with no spaces).

  26. RA says:

    Enjoyed the Post, 26, thank you sir.

  27. chas says:

    😎

  28. chas says:

    (_o^o_)
    ) (
    ( V )
    \ | /
    \ | /

  29. Big Raddy says:

    I’ve never liked Steven Gerrard.

  30. Big Raddy says:

    chas. One chalice too many?

  31. chas says:

    Yep, 25 years ago.

  32. arnie says:

    Raddy. Yes, bad summer for England fans. At least you can enjoy Holland, less the Dunt. 😛

  33. mickydidit89 says:

    Shove up

    Was going to watch the Croatia game, but only just realized Brazil need something from the game, so Brazil it is

  34. mickydidit89 says:

    Blimey, who’s their No 7. He’s a whoppa.

    Hulk?

  35. mickydidit89 says:

    : roll :

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh, thanks for nothing RA : ROLL :

  37. mickydidit89 says:

    It is Hulk.

    Salad Dodger.

  38. 26may1989 says:

    Yup, Hulk, he of Zenit St Petes. One or two rumours connecting him with a move our way.

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    St Petes 🙂

    Hoping to go there in the CL next season.

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas

    Began reading the comment about Helen Mirren, and thought “Oh yeah right, he’s just trying to sound all mature and clever and shit”

    Then you showed your true colours : roll :

  41. 26may1989 says:

    Funny isn’t it, Cameroon are out but now playing with much more hunger than they had before.

  42. 26may1989 says:

    Nice.

  43. Big Raddy says:

    Neymar is quite good

  44. mickydidit89 says:

    who’s neymar

  45. chas says:

    He’s that bloke who went to Barcelona and won fuck all.

  46. LBG says:

    Quality post 26. You have made the whole season sound so easy. Top of the shop by end of October! Berlin here we come!
    Cricket, rugby and today’s tennis anyway, so depressing/boring. Almost prepared to go back to work! Only kidding! Roll on the footie season.

  47. chas says:
  48. RA says:

    MickywhoDidntDoit,

    : roll :

    1) Now do not leave spaces — :roll : (I had to leave the second space or you could not see it.

    2 Do not leave spaces:- colon[no space]roll[lower case]colon

    3) Colonrollcolon — see — no spaces.

    4) Place your cursor on the funny, yellow face and it will show you how it is typed — with no spaces!

    Well I guess that covers it? 😀

    🙄

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    colonrollcolon

  50. mickydidit89 says:

    colonnospacerollnospacecolon

  51. mickydidit89 says:

    colonnospacerollspacecolon

  52. mickydidit89 says:

    :roll :

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    ‘kingcolonspaceroll’ukingcolon

  54. RA says:

    I think you have got it, Micky! 🙂 🙄

  55. arnie says:

    roll:roll:roll 😛

    Good entertaining games. Tough life, flipping between matches. 🙂

  56. kelsey says:

    Morning

    26may1989 says:
    June 23, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Thanks for the kind words, Vintage. I do think it will be better that our coming season has a more even spread about it than last season, but the crucial things are going to be to score more goals and do better against the big teams. There was a lot to like about last season: amazing consistency against the lesser sides, topping the table for half the season, the true arrival of Ramsey, the initiation of Ozil, winning the FA Cup and a much more positive atmosphere amongst the fans. But we all want it to push on.

    One of the problems is how much change there is going to be in the squad this summer; more than we’d like.

    ———————————————————————————————-

    Well that’s t in a nutshell though you have omitted our dreadful injury record which no doubt had a major impact ,especially the loss of Theo which reduced our attacking options.

    Up to now the real game changers in ths WC wouldn’t be available to buy in any case so hopefully AW has gone a long way in securing at least two top players to boost the squad.

    The Charity Shield might show some indication if we have moved on up regardless of the result.

    My fear is that one can’t say hand on heart if Gibbs nor Wilshere will have an injury free season.The Ox has had a setback and Theo’s injury will have to be monitored very carefully and he mustn’t rush back
    .
    I feel for Vermaelen.Good players don’t suddenly become bad players but he has really had a season to forget and IMO though he naturally wants first team football the offers may not flood in if his intention is to leave .

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Nice and positive Kelsey 🙂

    and Good Morning Dear

  58. Gööner In Exile says:

    We’ll done 26…..it does appear that the season will be less peak and trough, which is surely a good thing.

    As for England I don’t think enough thought is given to age of players.

    Let’s assume players reach their peak between ages of 24-28. Surely any squad we build now should have players who are going to be around that age in 2018 plus reserves who will be that age in 2022.

    (In my view we should have done same after 2010.)

    We should have the balls to pick a team based around these ages let them qualify and play in the Euro’s in 2016, then hopefully qualify for WC, but after 2018 the older players should make way for the younger crop and a new young crop come through.

    This would have a continuity effect but also keep the squad fresh and finally give a group of players time to learn together.

    Some may believe that is too rigid but I believe it allows space for surprise new players to arrive.

    So who is in and who is out?

    Well Theo at 25 should in my view be out, he hasn’t got enough major tournament selections to play a senior role, and he will be 29 at next WC, will his pace still be as devastating?

    So what about the current squad.

    Too old:
    Joe Hart (27)
    Ben Foster (31)
    Fraser Foster (26)
    Glen Johnson (29)
    Gary Cahill (28)
    Phil Jagielka (31)
    Leighton Baines (29)
    Stevie Me (33)
    Frank Lampard (35)
    James Milner (28)
    Adam Lalana (26)
    Rickle Lambert (32)
    Wayne Rooney (28)

    Build a team with:
    John Stones (20)
    Luke Shaw (18)
    Chris Smalling (24)
    Phil Jones (22)
    Jack Wilshere (22)
    Jordan Henderson (23)
    Oxlade-Chamberlain (20)
    Raheem Strling (19)
    Ross Barkley (20)
    Danny Welbeck (23)
    Daniel Sturridge (24)

    Firstly this reveals how un youth like the squad Hodgson selected was, Baines, Cahill, Jagielka seem young because they are relatively new to the first eleven, but in reality this could be their first and last World Cup as first choice.

    So as I have scythed half the squad away and discounted any English player over 24 who is left to fill up the squad of youth.

    Jack Butland
    Kyle Walker
    James Ward-Prowse
    John Flanagan
    Tom Ince
    Carl Jenkinson
    Jonjo Shelvey
    Ravel Moreison
    Wilfrid Zaha
    Conor Wickham
    Nick Powell
    Danny Ings
    Harry Kane
    Andros Townsend

    Being England Manager isn’t my job, but given the time and resources I’m sure Roy could find another load of names to add to the above.

    My one stipulation is that they should all be able to control the ball with their first touch and have the ability to play with their head up.

  59. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas

    Shield is Aug 10, and my children’s birthday is the 9th and have promised them a beach party camping weekend with some of their mates.

    Thank you very much anyway.

  60. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all.
    Nice one 26, nice to start thinking about league football after a very disappointing world cup, that is of course if you are English.

    We are not strong enough to win the Premier league or Champions League with the squad we have, and if we want to put in a half decent challenge in we will have to recruit.

    Theo The Ox and a few others have been a dead loss this last season, Theo may still not be ready for the start of the new season, and the Ox is like a new signing. Diaby will i suppose be staying and we may get our customary half a dozen games from him..

    I feel that the seasons have gone past, and i feel that we never seem to be in a position to actually win anything, last season the exception, but ask any Arsenal supporter and not many gave us that much hope for a cup or league win, and even going to Wembley we held our breath.

    We need an injection of proper talent, we have lost a few this season , and we must replace with better players, apparently the shackles are off, and we are supposedly able to challenge the big money spenders.

    We all know that we are a top 4 club, but that is all we expect, as other clubs are able to offer wages that we haven’t been able to match.

    I feel we need about six top players to stand a chance of the league, get those players and i think the cups will look after themselves.

    Arsenal Have been in the doldrums for several years, not good enough and not spending enough, Yes Wenger has done well with what he has had, but we cannot go on as also rans.

    Sponsorship money has come in, and more of our debts have been paid off, our first piece of silver wear in the cabinet. Arsenal should have come of age, shackles off and back to competing,

    Now for the transfer market, Get our six and get on the road to trophies, Lets spend the money, and in turn get the success and the money it brings. The infrastructure is in place, lets go and do it.

  61. Gööner In Exile says:

    Also we should stick to building squads through the age system rather than promoting early.

    So u18’s only play for under 18’s, then grow into under 21’s then they become the young set for the full squad as the group of elders over 28 leave the squad.

    This is obviously very structured and gives less scope to add a late developer, but accommodating one or two like that is far easier with a settled squad around them.

    If injuries occur the first team place should be filled by the young squad members and only then should players in under 21’s be promoted.

    But this would give us something like this in terms of age development.

    Aged 22-24 now: qualifiers and finals Euro 2016, qualifiers and finals in WC 2018

    Aged 20-12 now : Euro 2020 and WC 2022

    Aged 18-20 now: euro 2024 and WC 2026.

  62. mickydidit89 says:

    Serious thinking there Exile

    Without going into individuals, my initial reaction is that is a fairly depressing list.

    World Class players are evident from a young age, and we simply don’t have any, and more specifically, as game changing front boys.

    As a general thought “yeah, why not”

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Kelsey

    I do 100% agree with your concerns over injuries, and I wonder if anything training-wise as been addressed.

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Steve

    Wow. The morning crew usually operate with minimum words both in terms of quantity as well as quality.

    Arsene will not buy more than three first team starters, and I believe that if they were of a high enough quality, we’d win even more this season.

    It’s such a shame we’ve lost Sagna and Fab ( and Verm?), as they were all excellent quality Ist team players/squad.

    Massive mistake in terms of continuity in not signing Sagna.

  65. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Micky, Sagna was a great but in my opinion was slowing and i feel the time is right to let him go. Verm has not commanded a regular spot, and i feel his time is up as well.

    Arsenal should have kept Fabianski in my opinion, i felt we have let the wrong keeper go.

    Santi may go as well, i am not that disappointed as i feel the Ox will be a good replacement. Six players may not be enough.

  66. arnie says:

    Motning all.

    I do not like to spread doom, but there is no way one cannot be depressed by the England situation. As GiE writes, there is currently a serious lack of talent at the under 23 or under 21 level. This does not bode well for the future.

    Typically, countries prepare their juniour team at the Olympics, where all but 3 squad players have to be under 23, and then use this as a core for the following WC. Some of the best players then stay on for the following WC as well.

    To qualify for the Olympics from Europe, a country has to come within top 5 or 6 in the European under 21 competition. The home nations have not qualified for a long long time. GB participated in 2012 as host nation, but the last time either England or any of the other UK nations have come within top 6 in Europe is almost Before Christ.

    I may write a post on this later. But very very depressing indeed. 😦

  67. arnie says:

    Message?

    Well, part of the problem is of course with the FA and Roy. But, the major issue is in the youth establishment. Is it Stuart Pearce?

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. 7.08 I agree but not about Sagna. The man had decided to cash in and AFC tried to keep him. Hardly a mistake

  69. mickydidit89 says:

    “Before Christ”

    Dennis had a Son?

  70. arnie says:

    Yes, three or four players. But who? 😛

  71. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Raddy

    My problem is that if we lose those three, we have to replace them, and rightly (look at Tottenham) Arsene won’t bring in too many players.

  72. Big Raddy says:

    arnie. Good point about the youth system. One problem is that the best youth gets promoted so fast because of the paucity of quality players e.g. will Hodgson allow Shaw/Stones/Ox etc who are in the first X1 play for the U-21’s?

  73. arnie says:

    So, is this the likely situation? ST (new), RB (replacement), CB (replacement), GK (replacement).

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    DM and Left Wing

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. You make a good point and I am sure AW tried to keep all 3.

    I agree with SteveP – Sagna is not the player he was – we need better and younger

  76. arnie says:

    Raddy. Agreed and 😦

  77. arnie says:

    Micky. You mean ST (new), RB (replacement), CB (replacement), GK (replacement). Plus, DM and Left Wing (new). Not too many by Arsene standards? I wonder. 😛

  78. mickydidit89 says:

    Arnie,
    Effectively, your list improves the 1st XI by one, and that is not enough

  79. Big Raddy says:

    So … ST, RB, CB, GK, DM, LW.

    6 new players. How many do you think we will sign?

  80. mickydidit89 says:

    Not that many

  81. arnie says:

    hmmmm. let us see. 😛

  82. Big Raddy says:

    I expect TV to stay and we will sign a new RB and possibly an ageing GK. That’s it.

    Draxler will come in 2015.

  83. mickydidit89 says:

    Ok, I reckon he’ll get:

    RB 1st teamer
    DM 1st teamer

    CB squad
    GK squad

    The glaring omissions being a fast striker to get the best out of Mesut and help us score more goals in big games and a LW

  84. mickydidit89 says:

    Doooom Raddy doooooooom

    Serious quality up front (central or left) is a must, and he WILL buy

  85. stevepalmer1 says:

    Talking about England, Personally of course i am disappointed, but only the effort, England in my mind played quite well, a little raw but we have to remember that The Ox and Theo were not available, we also have forgotten young Townsend another that wasn’t available, i feel that upfront we had plenty of talent, but i felt that defensively we have let ourselves down. Midfield could have been a bit better but what i said before the world cup started was that the English statement about FIFA being corrupt would not aid the team one bit.

    I felt that the refereeing has been farcical, in my opinion the winning team has already been picked, and the way certain teams can tackle and others pulled up, tells me that officials have their orders.

    I am not surprised by our exit, But i feel that the quality that England had if all been fit could have matched anything that i had seen

  86. mickydidit89 says:

    Can’t agree on that Steve

    Once we get into the knock out stages, everything changes, and the margins become considerably smaller, at which point England’s lack of high quality game changing scorers would have become glaringly obvious.

    Just like Arsenal really.

    I think : roll :

  87. kelsey says:

    6 new players Steve. I have more chance of going bald 🙂

  88. Big Raddy says:

    I agree with Micky.

    England looked very limited. Our FB’s were poor, our midfield had no creation – Henderson is a waste of space, our CB’s failed repeatedly to track their CF’s e.g. How was it that neither of them bothered to track Suarez when they were so good at it in the PL?

    I didn’t see any refereeing decisions go against England – others teams have been poorly served by the officials, especially Bosnia.

  89. kelsey says:

    Watching the world cup which generally is a great tournament and as we approach the last 16 I still think it’s a very open tournament and the wisdom of when to make subsitutes is crucial.
    This Dutch Manager is one to be feared if he gets a better team together at United.
    Robben amazes me. One knows practically every time he gets the ball exactly what he is going to do and regardless who he is playing against he always gets at least one or two oportunities to turn it on to his left peg and score.

  90. stevepalmer1 says:

    Micky, we all have our own opinions, and who’s to say who is right. The players i have seen for England in this competition have shown me that we certainly have the talent. This is a Roy Hodgeson build and i believe that he has done what i would have done, and used England’s youth.

    I can only see this team improve with Hodgeson, and i think the next comps will show that.

  91. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Did you go bald in 2011/12 when we signed 9? Must have grown back – it’s a miracle 😀

  92. kelsey says:

    It’s not a new scenario even though Redknapp said it (though he was never going to get the England job with the tax avoidence/evasion hanging over him.)
    The PL pays the highest wages in the world and many players just aren’t motivated to be proud and give all for England .How often do they pull out with injuries for friendly matches,though the timing of these should be addressed.
    They don’t even know the words to the National Anthem, they just mumble a few words.Look at the passion of the South Americans when they are singing,it means something to them.

  93. kelsey says:

    Signed 9 Raddy.What happened to them 🙂

  94. mickydidit89 says:

    Steve

    With the exception of Henderson and not playing Rooney central against Italy, then I agree.

    I still don’t see we have the quality in the final third to have progressed too far. Having said that, there’s no divine right to have that quality. There really are only a handful of world beaters at the very highest level.

  95. stevepalmer1 says:

    Raddy, England is evolving lots of different nationalities living here and starting families, Many now playing for England but although born and bred in England they have are influenced by their parents and their culture.

    Old English stiff upper lips are a thing of the past the English Bulldog spirit has changed. Now who’s to say that this new breed will not be better but change the race and you change the beliefs.

    Old England has gone, everything other than Royalty traditions are being phased out, even St Georges day goes past without a mention, we have to accept this as the new England, i find it hard to watch a guy bowl for England in a turban but that’s England today

  96. stevepalmer1 says:

    Micky, we will see a different England side tonight, faces we have not seen play yet, this may give us the chance to see what else we have.

    Granted we play for nothing, other than pride, but Costa Rico will be no pushovers. I cannot see us win a game, but the experience will be invaluable for the future.

  97. kelsey says:

    Steve

    Do you think it is right for brothers to play against each other such as the Germany/Ghana match ?

  98. stevepalmer1 says:

    Don’t think i know about the facts Kelsey, But brothers or not, i suppose if its ok for their respective countries why not. Me and my sister fell out years ago, and if i had the chance i would love it.

  99. stevepalmer1 says:

    Growing up in England years ago, when every house was occupied by English, gave me a reason to believe that England was the greatest country in the world. Strange that as i had never ever been anywhere else.

    I went to primary school and followed on to the juniors and then seniors and all i saw in all that time was English kids.

    I left school and started work and started seeing foreign people, i played football from a young age and when i became older played for the older leagues where we had a couple of Italian teams,

    We loved playing them as it seemed as if it was an England eleven against the Italians. The strange thing was, both teams played with the honour of representing their countries.

    Of course over the years i have travelled and visited many countries, i have seen many different cultures and i have yet found anywhere better than where i was born.

    Today many years later i see an England team or should i say teams, Football Cricket you name it, and i don’t think i have seen a truely English team for years and years.

    Of course i am wrong in saying that as they have all been born here or have English somewhere in their genes but they have never been teams that are that close to my heart.

    I love people i like all races don’t care what colour they are but i don’t class them as English. I am a dinasour.

    I will never have that feeling again that i had in the days of the England Italy battles but i am still an Englishman and i still love my country, but not so much.

  100. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh no, England/Costa and Italy/Uruguay games kick off at the same time

    : roll :

    Mmmm, Italy/Uruguay I think for me

  101. LBG says:

    Kelsey, Steve P, even Raddy……………doooooooom
    AW will buy three or four topsters to improve the squad dramatically. We will score more and stop more, and who cares about England.

    GiE – my squad to begin Euros campaign would be – Hart, Ruddy, Cahill, Stones, Jones, Shaw, Gibbs, Flannagan, Kane, Henderson, Wilshere, Ox-Chamberlain, Stirling, Barkley, Lalana, Townsend, Sturridge, Rooney, Welbeck, Wickham.
    Like all on this site, despite “not caring”, I have an opinion.
    Off to do some gardening. Have a good day all.

  102. 26may1989 says:

    Well, Steve, I’ll introduce you to my brown skinned siblings, step dad, wife and kids some time, you wouldn’t find a more truly English bunch around!

  103. stevepalmer1 says:

    LBG for a guy who doesn’t care you have put a bit of thought into that son, Good on ya.

  104. stevepalmer1 says:

    My Mrs daughter also in a mixed race marriage and we too have brown skinned grandchildren, but my views are still the same

  105. 26may1989 says:

    Raddy, just wanted to comment on your point about World Cup refereeing. I think it’s been pretty good, certainly better than the average offering we get from PL refs.

    The American ref (can’t remember his name) was especially good, and overall the standard has been good.

    Of course there have been mistakes (the Japanese ref who fell for Fred’s dive in the opening game was especially weak), but the Kiwi who was in charge of the Bosnia v Nigeria game has been scapegoated – the offside decision against Dzeko was wrong but it was the linesman’s call and as we all know, some of those will be wrongly decided, that’s life. The ref did pretty well in that game, but the Bosnians were pissed off, hence the after match bitching – perhaps Dzeko was actually annoyed with himself for not taking one of the five or six good chances he had after the linesman’s offside mistake.

  106. 26may1989 says:

    Steve, the English (like all nations) are a creation, a mixture of all sorts of people that came before them. Less than 1,000 years ago (ie, quite recently), no-one here would have understood us talking about a nation called England, partly because we speak a mixture of old Norse, German and French that would have had no meaning to them, and partly because the very idea of an English nation (as opposed to the various groups that lived on this land) would have been utterly alien. We are the children of many people, from many different places, and what we see today is just a continuation. Things always have changed, they always will change. I think that’s something to enjoy.

  107. stevepalmer1 says:

    26, a very good way to look at it, I go back a bit to the creation of the human race, Why did we have black yellow red black brown olive skinned people dotted all over the planet. We now know that wherever these people travel to they will not change colour so why are they different.

    I put it down to Aliens, Found a planet that could sustain life, and spread the people all over it as an experiment. Maybe to see how long it would be before they all found transport and start mixing.

    I feel that the people were quite content living among themselves, but governments over the years have pushed for mixing.

    Every government in the world has a UFO office, and i believe they are in touch pushing for the nations to unite, trouble is religion has kept people to themselves and is a hard thing for some to dismiss

    But as i said, i’m a dinasaur what do i know. I liked my country as it was as a kid even though i’m not religious..

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