It is Your Fault Players Are So Expensive

January 21, 2015

Following on from yesterday’s  topic, it seems an unwritten rule in football that the higher up the pitch you play, the greater the price tag. This is a generalisation of course, but it is an undeniable fact. Strikers command the highest prices and goalkeepers seem ludicrously cheap when you consider they have it every bit as much within their power to win or lose a game for the team.

Why is this?

Well the answer has to be that it is 90% down to commercial considerations. Strikers are the glamour boys of football. They score goals, they put bums on seats, they sell shirts, they recruit new supporters who will spend money with the clubs, they appear in advertising campaigns …. everyone loves a striker. In short, strikers create revenue for the clubs, it’s market forces.

Furthermore, it is easier to gauge a strikers abilities by the simple goals/game ratio, whereas a centreback for instance has no such definitive data on which to judge them. There is even a subtle difference between the relative values of an attacking midfielder in relation to a holding midfielder.

Admittedly there is now a plethora of statistical information available for the geeks and statos among us to analyse the performance of players in all positions (no offence intended GN5 🙂 ), but as we have agreed many times on here, stats can be used to prove anything you want – or sometimes the opposite of what you want! In any case, which is the sexier, a player who smashes the ball into the back of the net or a defender who wins a header?

Some supporters are exceptions, like those who have played the game (even if over the park) who will have an appreciation of the skills of a player who occupies the same position on the pitch as they once did, but most people these days watch football from the comfort of their sofa. We are a generation of fake football managers, experts on everything and nothing …. and yet as a collective, we wield more power than we imagine when it comes to the price tag attached to players.

Obviously specific criteria are important in different positions on the pitch. The most obvious being height in defence, speed on the wings, vision and work rate in the midfield, trickery up front etc etc. Beyond that, there are fundamental considerations for all player purchases that combine to reach a price tag – and then add 20% on top for the agent!

I thought it might be timely in this January window period to examine what these criteria are, and why they affect the player’s value.

This would be my list in order of the effect they have on player value in the current transfer market …..

  1. Position
  2. Ability
  3. Marketability = persona
  4. Age
  5. The wealth and need of the buying club
  6. History of injuries
  7. Nationality

I would argue that points 1,3,5 and 7 are influenced by fan power.

It is you who makes the strikers so expensive … just because you aren’t sophisticated enough in your appreciation of football to value a defensive midfielder. You’re so shallow you have to have pretty boys wearing your shirts. You feel deprived if your club doesn’t spend every penny of its transfer budget on shiny new players every window and what’s more, you want a German in defence, a Spaniard in midfield, a flying Dutchman on the wings and a South American magician up front.

Hopefully I have managed to insult everyone so far 😀

Footballers are overpriced and overpaid because we, the supporters, idolise them. We give them their value and the money men take their lead from us.

So is there anything we can do about it? Yes, we can just stop loving them for their flair, brilliance, athleticism, fabulous goals and crunching tackles, the way they love only our club (not!) ……. OK, maybe we can’t do those things.

You may wish to disagree with my list of criteria, or to rearrange the order of precedence, or just insult me for being ‘an armchair expert’. Feel free to steer the debate in whichever direction you desire – just remember, it’s not the fault of the new young generation – it’s all your fault.


The Window is Open …. Do You Predict a Draft or a Draught?

January 20, 2015

Though the victory against City has quietened a lot of the speculation, with the transfer window still open, Arsenal continue to be linked with players in virtually every position.

For GK, the media insists Szczesny’s time is over at Arsenal and we’re looking at Italian ‘next Buffon’ (I forgot his name) as his replacement.

At CB there are rumours of Paulista (confirmed by the player), Moreno, Otamendi, or Winston Reid. The Loic Perrin rumour seems to have died a natural death.

In midfield there’s Gundogan, Schneiderlin, Carvalho, Sissoko (he’s not a DM), Brozovic (an AM) and Atletico Madrid’s Suarez.

Oddly enough, we are also being linked with strikers like Dybala, Destro (COOOOBbbbraaaaaa!!) and Micky’s man crush, Cavani. I shall ignore the Falcao rumour.

That’s all good fun, but what will that mean for some of our current squad? Who we buy now also affects our plans for the next season and beyond. Are we ready to make a final decision on the likes of Campbell, Sanogo and Akpom and get in someone else? Is there room for all of them? What about Gnabry?

In midfield there is now Coquelin who, if nothing else, has reduced the need to buy ‘someone, just anyone’. With Flamini and Diaby likely on their way out, and Arteta and Rosicky on their last legs there is potentially space to buy here. Hopefully players like Maitland-Niles, Zelalem, Crowley etc will still get their chance to impress, along with Bielik of course, if he signs.

In defense we could definitely do with a signing, and since Mertesacker and Koscielny are now both around 29, the likes of Hayden and Ajayi should eventually get their chance if they keep improving. But what of Jenkinson? Bellerin showed great promise against ManCity, but Jenkinson has been doing well at West Ham, and is a genuine gooner. Can we make space for him in the squad next season?

Here’s how I see our squad next year:

GK: Szczesny*, Ospina, Martinez*

LB: Gibbs*, Monreal

CB: Mertesacker, Koscielny, new signing, (Chambers)

RB: Debuchy, (Bellerin)

CM: Arteta, new signing, Coquelin*, Ramsey*, Wilshere*, Ozil, Cazorla, Rosicky (Zelalem), (Bielek)

Att: Ox*, Sanchez, Campbell*, Walcott*, Giroud, Welbeck* (Gnabry) ,(Akpom)


That would mean 23 players registered. Sanogo and Jenkinson, if included, would have to be registered too. Which would make 25. Do we need them? Considering that I’ve already accounted for a new signing in defense and midfield each, do we need anyone else, maybe in attack?

Who, if anyone should we buy? Who else should we retain? Maybe Diaby? 😀

Pretend you are a manager and that you know what you are talking about and discuss.

Written by Shard

The Champions taken down at the Etihad

January 19, 2015

Here are a few AAers’ comments………………….

Rocky said

Santi was simply amazing. As AW said in his post-match comments, he is so effective in getting us out of trouble when we’re under pressure. If any of our defenders can get the ball to him, he just starts tap dancing and defence is turned into offence…

Big performance from Le Coq as well. Wasn’t it Gary Neville who said after the Stoke win that if we went up against City relying on the likes of Bellerin and Coquelin we’d be in big trouble? Well, sorry Gary, you may be flavour of the month when it comes to football punditry, but you got that one wrong.

And big hat-tip to LB, who posted this before the game:

“Remember at the beginning of the season when we looked at the squad with its shiny new signings and thought — wow!

That excitement has dimmed by the fact that it has taken and still is taking a lot longer for that squad to gel to the potential that we all expected.

Well, it changes today.

We are capable of fielding a team every bit as good if not better than City and they are under far more pressure than we are.

Big day, big game, big result.”

Shard said

We witnessed a veritable miracle today. Mike Dean actually awarding Arsenal a penalty. Who would have thunk it? Except Raddy under the influence of some psychotropics obviously.

That obviously helped us, and we were very very good almost throughout. Cazorla definitely Motm, and I loved the vine of him dancing after Groud scored.

All 4 defenders did well too, ably protected by Coquelin, who now that he is playing well, will inevitably run off at the end of the season by running down his contract. He still has some way to go in improving his passing and vision, but he can still learn. I hope he’s given an extension.

Sanchez and Ox’s dribbles didn’t really come off as usual, but there was no lack of effort from them, and Giroud as well. As you can see, I think everyone did well, and it feels good to be able to say that.

FGG said

We were absolutely fantastic for the whole 90 minutes. Reminded me of the Dortmund game at the Ems where we defended as a unit and broke at pace. That first goal is so important to how we play and once again it showed.

Cazorla was quality again and Sanchez never stops. The 4 at the back were excellent as well.

Player Ratings

Ospina – Didn’t have a lot to do except appreciate the away fans Ossssssssspiiiiiina-ing his name every time he kicked the ball………8

Mertesacker – Even had time for a little feint and drag back. Sometimes row Z is where it belongs……8

Koscielny – The Boss. He oozes class……9

Monreal – Another excellent performance from the much-maligned Spaniard……8

Bellerin –  Hector seems to be growing in confidence with each game. Nineteen years old – what a prospect ….9

Coquelin – Aggressive, disciplined and effective….9

Oxlade-Chamberlain – Worked his cashews off. ….8

Cazorla – Santi was said to be surplus to requirements both in the summer and at the start of the season. How little we know….9

Ramsey  – Aaron took his responsibilities very seriously yesterday. Only in that period just after half time did he lose focus and get caught too far ahead of the ball …..8

Giroud – Defended from the front and scored the crucial second…..

Sanchez – No goal or assist from the Chilean wizard, he must have been pants!……8


Rosicky – Unlucky to lose his place to Ramsey, but very effective in possession when he came on for a tiring Ox ….8

Flamini and Gibbs – Neither on for long enough for a rating, though the Flamster should have lifted the ball over Kompany’s big toe for Giroud to score a simple 3rd goal

Cobbled together by chas

Roadhouse Blues?

January 18, 2015

Feeling confident? No? Neither am I.

I am always interested in the media narrative for the Arsenal and today’s will undoubtedly be our record against the Big Boys. No need to tell you … it is pants, make that worse than pants, it is double pants.

And yet there are reasons to be positive – nearly all of them wrapped up in a 5’6″ Chilean. He scored a cracker against City at the Emirates in a game which we dominated for 75 minutes. We were the better team that day which augurs well for today. And we have many of the injured returning for selection. Mesut, Theo, Aaron, and Matthieu are all available for selection.


Worryingly Gibbs may be missing and with Chambers likely to play RB Pellegrini is sure to attack down the flanks. Monreal had a nightmare against Navas in the 6-3 at The Etihad and Chambers for all his quality is no speedster, expect much of the same today. Perhaps Mr Wenger will surprise us and play Bellerin who is improving game by game.

We have seen Arsenal go away to big clubs and allow them to dominate possession, perhaps this is as a result of going to MC and Chelsea with very attacking tactics and getting hammered. Does pragmatism work? I prefer us to play to our strengths and not the opposition but AW may well play with two defensive shields in from to the back five i.e. both Flamini and Coquelin …. I hope I am wrong.

We have signed a new Pole! Happy Days! A white Vieira? Let’s hope so. As to the other Pole – it appears he is still on the naughty step. Ospina has done enough to keep his place and expect him to get a good run of games should he maintain his performance level.

Given Coquelin’s recent work he deserves to keep his place ahead of the more experienced Flamini.


To Theo or not? To Ozil or not? To Ramsey or not? What do you think? I would like to see us play exactly the same team that did so well against Stoke. The midfield of Santi playing deeper with Ox and Alexis in front worked very well. With MC sans Yaya (but with the very strong Fernand**  chaps) we can play through them.

At last we have formidable attacking options on the bench; men who can turn a game in 15 minutes. When was the last time we could say that?

I don’t want to spotlight the attacking power of City. To win today our defence will have to concentrate from kick-off to the final whistle with no lapses and as always we have to defend as a team.

The media are setting this game up as Aguero vs Alexis. In my opinion it is a question of which team defends best. And of course, how well Mike Dean performs, we all know the man is an anti-Arsenal imbecile but perhaps  – just for once – he will have a good game. How exciting.


written by Big Raddy


Are the Arsenal injury problems beyond conventional remedies?

January 17, 2015

Much, indeed too much, has been written about Arsenal’s persistent injury situation. Despite the millions spent by the club in building a state of the art medical facility we still seem to be unable to keep enough players sufficiently fit to make a sustained challenge for major honours.

As a consequence of the injury list each transfer window becomes almost a crisis, a scramble to sign players to fill the gaps in the ranks left by the sick, the lame and the lazy,well perhaps not the latter.

The current window is no exception, Arteta and Debuchy are both out for three months, so that probably means they are unlikely to be match fit before the end of the season. Wilshere is not yet back in training, Ramsey, Walcott and Gibbs are not match fit nor is Welbeck, While Gnabry and Diaby have just about fallen off the radar and Koscielny remains at risk of a breakdown.

Arsène Wenger is working day and night to bring in the replacements needed, he has a list of positions to fill and a list of targets to fill them and, for once, the dosh to make it happen.

His priorities are acknowledged to be a holding-midfielder and a centre-back, ideally one who can cover at left-back if necessary.

Given the state of health of the squad and the almost rotational nature of the injuries perhaps he should alter his priorities and give up on signing players in favour of the recruitment of an exorcist.

Written by Norfolk Gooner

Should we remove penalties from the game?

January 16, 2015

“What they should do is to get rid of penalties altogether?”

A friend made this suggestion to me the other day and once I started thinking about it, it seemed to make a fair bit of sense. So here goes.

Recent discussions on AA have focused on referees and how difficult it is for them to sort the wheat from the chaff when player behaviour is designed to deceive. Diving to win penalties by conning the officials seemed to be the start of it, so I wondered if removing unjustified penalties from the game may have a beneficial effect.

Discussing it with my brother, we tried to estimate how many penalties were proper reward for the rule infraction. In other words, how many had stopped genuine goal attempts. We set the bar at about 3 out of every ten, though thought it may be even lower.

Think of game situations where a penalty is awarded but doesn’t justify a free shot from 12 yards……….

Defenders having to stand with their hands behind their backs on the edge of their area, worried that the ball might be blasted against their arms. Wingers getting a toe to a ball which is heading off the pitch and waiting for “contact” from a full back making a genuine attempt at a tackle. Forwards making no attempt to stay on their feet when a much bigger reward ensues from going to ground easily.

There must be plenty if the 3 in ten assessment is anywhere near correct.

Conversely, referees rarely give penalties when there is shirt tugging and holding at free-kicks and corners. This is because the reward far outweighs the crime.

What could be done to resolve this perceived imbalance between infringement and reward?

Why not make all non-goal threatening incidents in the penalty area a direct free kick from where the incident took place rather than a penalty? Personally I love it when indirect free-kicks are awarded close to the goal and mayhem follows with 8 man walls and the attacking side having to use ingenuity to breach the barrier.

The existing penalty could be reserved for handballs on the line, last defenders hacking down a player as they are about to shoot and any other instance where it looks like a goal would have been scored.

Surely the reward for many incidents in the box far outweighs the actual crime? What do you think?

Written by chas

Footnote ….

Apparently Arsenal are very good at conceding penalties 🙂 Chas’ question of the day has also been touched on in an  article in the Independent ….


Transfer window thoughts

January 15, 2015

How boring is this Transfer window? I’m really hoping for another defender (imperative now that Debuchy is out for three months) and a big strong fast nimble-footed clever midfielder with scary eyes and penchant for shoulder barging the opposition to protect our back four from attack and our front four from being bullied.

No-one seems to be getting what they want though. Spuds and Manks needed additions to their defence too so where are all the defenders? Maybe that’s why Arsene hardly bothers to look for those type of players as they are in very short supply.

My feeling has always been that Arsène’s ideology of ‘we’re gonna score more than you’ has made him a little blinkered when thinking about adding defenders to the squad. It’s much more exciting to be adding an Alexis or an Ozil, one can indulge in a certain amount of purring and know that supporters and media alike are going to be looking forward to watching them.

Can a centre-back ever instill the same kind of emotions? Koscielny has been a favourite of mine for sometime now and I’ve defended Mertesacker’s right to be our BFG in many an argument with other gooners. In truth I’ve always had a soft spot for defenders, it’s their strength and reliability that does it for me.

Maybe the injuries to several of our defenders will force Arsène’s hand and he’ll unearth a couple of gems under the radar. That would be good wouldn’t it, to sneak in a diamond or two. At least we’re not crying out for a striker now that would be really serious 😉

Written by peachesgooner 

All the Kings horses and all the Kings men….

January 14, 2015


Abou Diaby


Abou Diaby, the glass man who cannot be put back together again. Every time he seems to get fit to play, we hear that he is injured again. There are those who are romantics and think the club are doing the honourable thing by keeping him on the books, paying his wage and hoping that one day he will play again. Alternatively, there are those who believe he should be sold and a place will be made for a new player to come in.

It is a tragic case I know, none of us want to be seen as heartless, but the reality is that he is taking up valuable space in the team. It has come to the point where questions have to be asked about the feasibility of his tenure at the club and the financial consequences.

Should we keep him or should he be sold?

What, in the best interests of the player and the club, is the answer?

Written by northbank69

How poor is the officiating in the Premier League?

January 13, 2015

Hardly a week goes by without us reading complaints about the standard of refereeing in the Premier League. The complaints are not isolated to just our team, unfortunately they have become common place. Hardly a week goes by without a manager being fined, sent to the stands or suspended.

13th jan

My ten questions are simple –

  1. Are we being fair to the officials?
  2. Has the standard really dropped?
  3. Were there as many complaints back in the day?
  4. Do the referees favour particular teams?
  5. Has technology altered our opinion of officiating?
  6. Should instant replays be allowed on the ground’s big screens?
  7. Should the number of game officials be increased?
  8. Should the officials be given more tools/help?
  9. Are the rules too complex?
  10. Should managers be able to challenge decisions?


In your opinion what needs to be done to correct the impression/reality of poor officiating.


Thug Tactics

January 12, 2015

After yesterdays game, and also from our last game against Stoke, it’s got me thinking about the dynamics of certain types of tactics. Intimidation and violent play now seem to be a part of the English game. We all talk about the English game being a physical one, but there is physical and there is violent. There is a distinction. Arnautovics push on Debuchy yesterday was violent, Charlie Adams strangle hold on Sanchez in our last meeting with Stoke was violent. Crouch uses his elbow as an offensive weapon against players when jumping for a ball. This is not physical play, but acts of violence.

This is how the BBC described the push against Debushy:

“The Frenchman, 29, landed heavily after colliding with Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic and was replaced by Hector Bellerin in the 13th minute at Emirates Stadium.”

After colliding, ffs, are they blind? The referees have to take some blame as well, they clearly failed to act on a couple of violent fouls yesterday and in our previous game against Stoke. So who is to blame? Does the manager instil a Thug mentality into his players during training and the pre match team talk? Or is it already a part of the players mentality? There are players who have that type of DNA, Joey Barton springs to mind, Shawcross as well. I can imagine managers like Mark Hughes capitalising on the aggressive nature of some players, telling them to target certain players, but do they actually incite violent play in their team? This is my question?

written by Northbank 1969