Get off Mertesacker’s back

I am fed up with people looking at Mertesacker as the man responsible for all Arsenal’s defensive woes. I am also bored by the continual moaning about BFG’s lack of leadership on the pitch.

Let’s start with his defensive ability. Someone recently wrote on the blog that BFG may have over 100 caps for Germany and is a World Cup winner but that does not make him a quality centre back. What complete and utter tosh. He has pedigree, a pedigree that few players in the world have.

Perhaps it is his age which has turned some fans against him,  BFG is just 30, Tony Adams was 35 when he captained us to the 2002 double. This season Koscielny has been a shadow of the player we know he can be, he has made many mistakes both is judgement and in ball-play. No-one suggests that he is over the hill yet he is only 12 months younger than BFG.

Some talk about his lack of pace and let’s be honest he is hardly a speedster but neither was TA nor Steve Bould or David O’Leary or for that matter the man who is considered the best CB in the PL, John Terry. What all these men had/have in common was an ability to see and assess danger then act accordingly, BFG has that skill, though it must be said he does make the occasional error as witnessed last Weds.

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To have a secure defence requires a settled and regular back line – we haven’t had that for some time. All our defenders have succumbed to long-term injury since BFG signed so there has not been the chance to establish an automatic understanding. This season BFG has had to settle Bellerin and Debuchy into the team as well as Chambers and Gabriel. Plus he has been forced to “enjoy” a CB partnership with Monreal.  Is it any wonder the man is tired?

Leadership: What is that? Is it screaming at players to keep in position? Is it inspiring by one’s own performance? I think it is a natural quality – either you have it or you don’t. BFG doesn’t – very few do. Why blame him for lacking something no-one in the squad seems to have AND he is only captain because Arteta is out.

Should Gabriel take his place this season? Of course not. Gabriel has had less than 2 games for us against poor opposition and has been fortunate not to concede goals to stupid mistakes. I am sure he will become a fine CB at Arsenal but right now he is a fine back up, nothing more.

I see Mertesacker’s difficulties in recent weeks as exhaustion. Unlike Ozil and the other WC players BFG has had no rest, he has carried the defence without pause. He deserves plaudits not criticism.

Leave our Big Friendly German alone. (Peaches Mother Rule!)

written by Big Raddy

 

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123 Responses to Get off Mertesacker’s back

  1. Big Raddy says:

    I am on holiday this weekend and Monday

    Can someone write the MU pre-match

  2. chas says:

    Cheers, BR.

    The BFG is a whole-hearted player who deserves our unstinting support.
    Aside from those couple of WTF moments against Monaco, I can’t really put my finger on a huge amount he’s done wrong.

    Maybe part of it is that he sticks out so much. Even on a ropey stream, there’s no mistaking Per when he has his head in the lower branches of a tree nibbling at some fresh growth.

    As you say, he’s had to cope with a series of different partners (a bit like John Terry) and borne it all with Teutonic good grace.
    Despite this, we have the joint 5th best defence but 3rd best attack in the Prem goals-wise, so at least we’re erring on the Micky-side. 🙂

  3. fatgingergooner says:

    Whoscored.com detailed analysis shows the following ratings for this season:-

    Debuchy 7.33
    Koscielny 7.28
    Monreal 7.26
    Paulista 7.15
    Gibbs 7.13
    Mertersacker 7.03
    Chambers 7.02

  4. chas says:

    More from Whoscored…………….

    Arsenal Characteristics
    + Strengths
    Finishing scoring chances – Very Strong
    Creating chances using through balls – Very Strong
    Creating chances through individual skill – Strong
    Creating scoring chances – Strong
    Attacking set pieces – Strong
    Attacking down the wings – Strong
    Counter attacks – Strong
    Stealing the ball from the opposition – Strong
    Aerial duels – Strong

    – Weaknesses
    Avoiding individual errors – Weak
    Stopping opponents from creating chances – Weak
    Defending counter attacks – Very Weak

    Arsenal Style
    Attempt through balls often
    Short passes
    Control the game in the opposition’s half
    Attack through the middle
    Possession football
    Rotate their first eleven
    Opponents play aggressively against them

  5. mickydidit89 says:

    I’ve a rant alright, and its concerns you Big Bloody Raddy. Sick is what you make me. Effing furious to be more exact. Off on holiday are you. FFS Raddy, you robe wearing any more laid back and you’d be effing horizontal dope riddled hippy.

    God I’m angry.

  6. mickydidit89 says:

    Whoscored sound like a bunch of utter knobs ‘an all.

  7. Big Raddy says:

    Dear Angry of Devon. Ommmmmmm

    I agree with you about Whoscored. Complete and utter

  8. mickydidit89 says:

    Whoscored? Seriously, 7.what’uckingever. Out of what? 100? An ‘effing million. Cretins, and anyway, who gives a shit. Defending is for people not good enough to attack

  9. chas says:

    I thought it was funny that part of Arsenal’s style was that “opponents play aggressively against them”.

  10. chas says:

    Loving the ranting.
    Hippies don’t rant, they gently ponder.

  11. Gööner In Exile says:

    Attacking set pieces – Strong
    Counter attacks – Strong
    Stealing the ball from the opposition – Strong
    Aerial duels – Strong

    I particularly enjoy those 4. 😀

    Any one who watches Arsenal will tell you we haven’t been very good at those things for a while, but we only really compare ourselves to our own history and the highlight reel on MOTD.

    In truth we probably are stronger than most in all these attributes, but not as strong as the league leaders.

    Raddy tip top rant for a Friday, without doubt BFG was led a merry dance against Monaco, but you do have to ask who else was around to lend a hand. The first no one pressurised Kinghugebloke, the second he had an option to track the runner, stand still or pressure the ball, why was that guy breaking so easily, why was BFG on right flank, whereas our halfway cover? You know the pacy ones left back to deal with counter attacks?

    He can’t do it all on his own, I get the impression he is a good bloke, and normally a brilliant reader of the game, but left exposed in a foot race…..well problems.

  12. David O’Leary was one of the quickest central defenders of his generation. Only Des Walker was quicker.

    Very fair blog in defence of BFG.

  13. chas says:

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    Good rant topic Raddy.

    The only time’s I get concerned are-
    1) when Per goes too far forward as it’s then that his lack of speed get’s fully exposed.
    2) his fullback gets stranded in the opposition’s half and he gets a two on one attack to deal with.

    Unfortunately the second issue happens all to frequently.

    Other than those issues I am delighted that he is on our team, although I must say that I’m a tad iffy about him being our Captain.

  15. fatgingergooner says:

    No doubt Merts is a quality defender, but I personally would prefer someone quicker in his position.

    If we were a more defensive minded team who kept our full backs narrow and had defensively sound midfield players then I imagine Merts would look like the best defender in the league, but as a very attacking side who often leave our CB’s exposed I think it makes more sense to have pace at the back.

    Having said that, I’m sure there will be games where Merts makes more sense than Kozzer, just as there are games where Giroud is a better option than Welbeck.

  16. Oh dear.. what a BF dilemma Raddy. I’ve never been a big fucking fan of the BFG. Unlike micky man who loves attackers, I’m a defender man. I watch defenders and what they do all the time. With the big Fahrlässigkeit Kraut I’ve never had confidence in him. I know he makes the occasional good interception, I know he can put in a clean decisive tackle…. but there is just something about him that doesn’t engender confidence. I definately don’t think he is a leader of men… despite his German caps. This is something we will have to disagree on………. I’ll have a Camberwell carrot and think about it some more 🙂

  17. Big Raddy says:

    NB. You agree with me – I said BFG is no leader.

  18. oh yea….. so I did ha ha 🙂

  19. Just my luck… I seem to have a good internet connection today and nobody is commenting… I’ll have a glass of wine then 🙂

  20. arnie says:

    ha ha ha, Raddy, brilliant stuff. 🙂

    Look, what matters to me is:

    BFG loves the club, loves the fans, understands and respects the traditions and ethos of the club. He is a worthy captain. May I add, unlike the DUNT and the DEAD. He is a Gooner.

    That is all that matters to me.

    In addition, he is a World Cup winner as well. We are proud of BFG, as we should be. 🙂

  21. PV4 says:

    Interesting. An Arsenal defender being maligned by the press? Surely not! Let’s face facts, Per is a good defender of some pedigree who may have lost some of his edge. He can make outstanding tackles and is vital in the height dept. He is however, an Arsenal defender. Therefore, he is inept in every way! Slow, poor judgement, afraid, naive, soulless and desperate to leave the club! Strange then that we are still third, and (for now) in two other competitions.

    Sometimes in football we need to be careful of what is wished for or is deemed ‘surplus’. Take Mo Salah – freed from his Chelski defensive shackles and now enjoying his football at Fiorentina.

    For me, it has always been to read between the lines – look at why the media et al hate Arsenal and hound certain players. Sure, everyone is entitled to opinion and judgement. Think I will keep my powder dry until May.

  22. G’day all, I’m keeping quiet on Merts, OK, I’ll whisper it, shhh, his lack of pace is a big drawback when the full-backs both bomb forward, as the Captain he should be yelling at them to get back. I’m sure he is a wonderful husband and father to his children, but I just wish he was a bit quicker. Sorry BR. 😀

    Arsène Wenger has revealed the latest team news ahead of Monday night’s FA Cup quarter-final against Manchester United:

    on Gabriel…
    Gabriel has a little hamstring injury and he will be out for two to three weeks. He has a scan today. That means he’s not available for the weekend and certainly not for West Ham United or Monaco, but after that he should be available again.

    on team news…
    We will of course lose Gabriel in the squad and Nacho Monreal might come back. He will have a test today. Everybody else should be available – the same squad that played against Queens Park Rangers.

    on having most players fit…
    We have a lot of competition going on in the team, especially up front – we have plenty of offensive potential. It makes every decision more difficult.

    on Szczesny…
    He has a test today. If he gets through that test, he will play on Monday night.

  23. GoonerB says:

    Excellent thought provoking post Raddy.

    My stance on the BFG hasn’t changed since last summer where i stated that the BFG is an important cog in our squad with his experience e.t.c, but that we needed a superior defender with more pace if we wanted to challenge seriously. The BFG goes into the same category as Giroud for me, keep them both as they will be important contributors across the season but they should be the back up players, in BFG’s case 3rd choice CD.

    I don’t see any shame or any problem with that. All the big teams that go through successful periods have quality back up players who are maybe just a notch below being 1st 11.

    I do think the lack of pace is an issue, particularly for us and our current playing style. The comparisons with Terry could halt this argument but I feel that Maureen sets up Chelsea in a playing style that limits exposing Terry’s lack of pace. We are different and have a different playing style which I feel requires 2 high quality quick CB’s who compliment each other. I am aware that those players don’t grow on trees though.

    I fully agree with you Raddy that no-one should be getting on his back though. I may only see him as a 3rd choice CD and feel his lack of pace does cause us some subtle playing style issues, but I don’t blame him for that. If we aren’t playing the right type of CD’s to compliment the style of football we want to play then I will more look at the manager and those in charge of transfers.

  24. GoonerB says:

    BTW Redders put up a good comment after the new post notice had gone up and is obviously far too modest to bring it forwards. Worth a quick read though.

    The link between being a hippy and playing with unclothed members of the opposite sex is an interesting one as it has left me questioning whether I was once a hippy without ever knowing it. Not now obviously as having been (happily)…(happilyish)…married for the last 15 years those sorts of shenanigans don’t go on anymore. I must be an unknowing ex hippy.

  25. GoonerB says:

    Oh and while I am here on hippy subjects I have to say Raddy that I am with Micky in my dismay about your disappearance on a tree hugging holiday with such an important pre-match report coming up.

    If you had thought it through more and had gone tree hugging in a Silver Birch forest the average diameter of the Silver Birch trunk allows one to reach fully around it and still have room the other side to be able to operate a lap top.

    Going tree hugging in a Giant Redwood forest doesn’t allow for this duel function as the diameter of the trunk requires the entire use of the upper limb to hug it. A little bit selfish wouldn’t you say Raddy, especially when you had options and alternatives. All I am saying is just think a little more next time when you are booking these things up instead of sending all on A.A into meltdown. I literally haven’t been able to concentrate since your revelation.

  26. GB

    I had to go back to read it and yes… it deserves a re-post. This is from RA… Mr Redders, from earlier this morning:

    Personally I have always found Hippies a fascinating mixture of ant-organisational individuals that live outside the morals and standards of accepted societal norms, and yet show an abundance of love and empathy for naked people, plants, trees and hideous looking insects, while stolidly rejecting peaceful, war repellent weapons like the H-Bomb.

    Where did they come from all these bandana wearing, sun-glass totin’, jean beclad, individuals reeking of psychedelic drugs?

    Well I guess the Hippie culture probably started in the college campuses of the US, and spread swiftly to other like minded critters in the UK and Europe where it was deemed to be fun to smoke pot, listen to soft tunes about going to San Francisco, and playing with the unclothed sections of the opposite sex.
    No, that’s not right – playing with the unclothed sex of opposite persons. Damn this spliff is good stuff.

    I guess that the beatniks who originated in NYC may have been the early fore-runners of the Hippie movement.

    For those of us who missed out on Woodstock and the Summer of Love you can still see sign posts along the Californian coast saying touristy things like ‘Hey – you missed out on the pot and the free- love – yeah that’s right Terry – free love – and you missed it. Tough titty.’ 🙂

    But maybe you made it to the Isle of Wight Festival – in the 70’s. like Raddy, and pranced about in the rain wearing leather boots and nothin’ else – just listen to the rain, good people.

    Don’t be square man – be cool, you know!

    I just bet Raddy loved Jefferson Airplane, The Merry Pranksters, and the Grateful Dead as well as the Family Dog.

    Enough about those easy living’ Hippies, how about a word on the Micky type Yippies – po-faced activists who tried to levitate the pentagon – yeah that’s right – levitate the bloody pentagon by chanting with their Micky like leader Jerry Rubin. Oh, boy – what a clutz.

    Woodstock? As a kid – wow that was something. I missed all of the 60s and 70s Hippy stuff — but there was Janis Joplin, Credence Clearwater rival, willing girls who thought I was cute – did I just dream that I was in paradise – or was it really real.

    Then life found me and I found football – and the need to earn a living – and I said goodbye – sort of – to the hippies and even that slow-burning Hippy, Rocky.

    Still………..

  27. stevepalmer1 says:

    Evening all, Nice rant Raddy,
    The Big German has many supporters, sadly i am not one of them, Now this is a good Day rant Friday for saying your piece and getting it off your chest so here goes.

    At six foot seven Merts is as tall as they come, add a 3 foot jump and Merts could climb to over ten foot and should be able to win every ball that should be in his territory, sadly we have the only German who jumps lower than his height, the question to ask is what is holding him down. Merts reminds me of the tail of the Tortoise and the Hare, Merts is even slower than the Tortoise although he looks a bit like one.

    Many say Merts is a master of of the fine arts of positioning, is it that or is he just so slow that the ball has to pass him at one time or another. Merts also is not so much a tackler, more like an obstacle that you move round. Merts Backs off, very rarely will he be decisive he hopes to hold them up until help arrives, and if that doesn’t happen he is left for dead, once passed Merts does not come back.

    Merts believes he can add fire up front for corners and free kicks at six feet seven how can he not get his head on nearly every cross but the snail has no idea what so ever leaving a vast gap at the back that team mates have to cover, how Wenger allows this man to go up has me bemused.

    From the throw out Merts picks up the ball, first thing he does is look for a man square if he does not see one he checks back that the goalkeeper is aware, the ball stays in our half for what seems an age while the ball is passed square then a short pass forward and then straight back passing the two opposite players it passed on the way up.

    Merts is often credited with being a good captain i can only assume he has won the toss on a few occasions as i have not seen leadership qualities while on the field of play, when was the last time you saw him converse with the ref probably when he is booked .

    Raddy in my eyes you see the best in most Arsenal players, you seem to back the underdog, I feel Gabriel has a way to go before he cements his place as CB but given the choice i would rather have a hamstrung Pulleaster than the snail. Am i Rambling i believe i am.

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp/Peaches,

    I’m writing a Man U pre-match.

    Unfortunately it won’t be up to Raddy’s standard and will be full of statistical stuff………

  29. arnie says:

    I like the new name AoD from the holiday-maker hippy @ 1:13. 🙂

  30. arnie says:

    GN5 🙂

  31. arnie says:

    GB 1-0 USA 🙂

  32. Gööner In Exile says:

    Steve there’s a lot of value in what you say except for the bit about receiving the ball from the back. I think you’d be surprised at the number of times he passed forward compared to Kozzer, why does he always receive the ball? This is an Arsene Wenger side if Arsene felt he was going to move it sideways I don’t think it would be a problem.

    The bigger issue is that he is the most regular receiver of the ball and he has one preferred/planned pass into the deep lying midfielder (Arteta when fit), Guardiola told in his auto biography that Bayern preyed on this and made sure routes to Arteta were blocked, United came once under Fergie and Rooneys only job was to stop ball getting to Arteta, if Kozzer could receive the ball too and was as comfortable passing the ball forward then maybe there wouldn’t be an issue?

  33. stevepalmer1 says:

    GIE fair point mate, i may just cut him a little slack 🙂

  34. Gööner In Exile says:

  35. Gööner In Exile says:

    A piece on another maligned German in our squad

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/11451314/Mesut-Ozil-has-ran-further-than-any-Arsenal-player-since-returning-to-the-side-so-why-is-he-called-lazy.html

    Now not to be Johnny Pernickety…….but I’d guess Ozil has had more minutes of the pitch in the same time.

  36. arnie says:

    wow. James Ward, take a bow. GB 2-0 USA

  37. chas says:

    FA Cup
    Bradford v Reading 12:45
    Aston Villa v West Brom 17:30

    Prem
    QPR v spuds 15:00

    Dull, dull, dull weekend.

    Have to wait for next week for some action.

    https://twitter.com/GoonerFrog/status/506743549099270144

  38. chas says:

    I like George acting like his Dad when he let a goal in.
    Oh Nooooo
    Oh Noooooo
    Oh Nooooooo

  39. mickydidit89 says:

    Best news from yesterday was GN5 doing the MU PM

    Raddy OUT OUT OUT

  40. Gööner In Exile says:

    Haha Chas, it took me until I was about 13 to stop crying every time I conceded 🙂

    I think it started when I saved a penalty and then in the act of getting up managed to knee the ball out of my hands and into the goal. Think I was about 8/9 then, talk about hero to zero 😀

  41. mickydidit89 says:

    Exile

    How great would that be to have a grown up prem level goalie who blubbed every time he had a stinker. Superb

  42. mickydidit89 says:

    I’ll pen a an entrée if the site is desperate. Really desperate

  43. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    We often ask one another, if certain teams players would fit in to the Arsenal team, Many have also asked how many of ours would fit into other teams, of course we have to take into account how many of our players have left us to go on and win many trophies in other clubs. and many of them are still in line to win more this season.

    Of course many of us only have the Arsenal players to really gauge the quality we have, but we also have to realise that every transfer window that comes round we actually ask for more players.

    With this in mind and the next window on the horizon who would you discard and in what positions would you want to strengthen. Maybe i should ask who would you keep rather than who we should buy, afterall who in our side could be part of a team that could win the league and Champions league.

    How many of you feel we have enough in our team to beat Manchester United on Monday, here we have a side who have been a bit like us Jekyll and Hyde, but who really feels confident of beating them..

    Our last game against QPR was a good 3 points, but did we show them a clean pair of heels or was they better than we had expected. Being on the bottom of the table suggest that us at the top should win this game quite easily, but i never felt it was as easy as i felt it should have been.

    Tottenham pressed us into defending all game and we never looked like beating them, what do we do to change games like this who is not good enough in our team in your opinion, who should we offload to make us a team that could beat every other team. Or is our Manager doing all he can to keep us competitive.

  44. Gutten Morgen

    Micky clearly has too much time on his hands 🙂

  45. mickydidit89 says:

    NB
    Oh I see, and you don’t. Monsieur Bar Fly 🙂

  46. mickydidit89 says:

    Mind you, I’d think Steve’s comment would set the day up nicely

  47. Gööner In Exile says:

    Steve think its a question of whether any of our departures were the key men in their teams successes, Clichy, Nasri? Not key players, BSR is probably the one who without United would probably not have won the league for SAF. Although looking at his form now and rather than in the season that followed his departure it does seem crazy that we could have been left with him on the books coining in £150k plus a week.

    For me Ox has it right we need to go and play without fear at the Toilet, go there with any of this handbrake on nonsense and i worry that they will have too many players who up themselves for big games especially in the final 3rd. So we need to take those players out of the game and put their back three/four to the sword.

  48. micky, time spent at the bar is work for an Artist… observation!

  49. I’ll vote for Steves post… give micky a break 🙂

  50. Mont Ventoux, just up the road from me.

  51. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning GIE, We do have a few exceptional players, Many youngsters who should on paper be Arsenal players for some time to come, I like to see these players in the team, but for reasons unbeknown to me, the manager uses them in moderation.

    I am no different than a lot of supporters who get excited when a window opens, i of course am now enjoying the thought that Marquee players are now part of our agenda, after all what Gooner doesn’t like a top player being slotted in.

    I look at some of the youngsters we have Le Coq who almost disappeared into oblivion, Young Campbell who may be lost, Jenkinson who could so easily be offloaded and wonder if letting young players go and buying in new players will be much different.

    Ozil has started showing signs of being the player we all hoped for but it has taken some time, Sanchez a player who hit the ground running is the one player in my mind that has catapulted the side forward, his enthusiasm and workrate has been an eye opener for many and i feel he has brought players like Santi and the ox to try so much more.

    Of course it is early days for players like Debuchey and Gabriel also our youngster’s Le Coq and Chambers not forgetting the new guy we still haven’t seen , and of course not forgetting young Hayden whom i thought could be very good. Exciting times for a lot of youngsters but who goes to make way.

    Manchester United have been a club whose name in itself has unsettled the Arsenal team, i wonder if we have the confidence to overcome them, its not that i dont believe we have the talent but do we have the heart.

  52. Mont Ventoux again…. lovely view of the mountain

  53. Sometimes I wish I’d been born a bike saddle 🙂

  54. oh dear… broken blog and no Saturday post. Poor show by management 🙂

  55. arnie says:

    motning all.

    GiE. George’s Oh Nooooooo video is very nice. 🙂

    I agree, boring weekend. at least in Edinburgh there are Holi celebrations.

  56. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Northbank, those views are breathtaking, i envy you, my mrs tries but not quite the same 🙂

  57. Where’s Eddie woman these days? Surely she’s not given up on the Arsenal? Come back Yvonne…. we love you 🙂

  58. arnie says:

    Northbank and Steve. 🙂

  59. arnie says:

    Sorry, posting the Holi song again, this time with subtitles

  60. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Arnie,
    I have to admit Arn Indian music is not my thing, but i have to say they all look a bit Like I imagined Raddy to be like in his youth, Is there any drugs used by these artists or is this the way they perform all the time.

    As i feel that if i was under a drug induced state i may just understand it, maybe i would enjoy it as well, being an old rocker i grew up with little class.

  61. ‘morning all, sorry BR but there’s more criticism of Merts in this morning’s Telegraph. Even doubts being cast on his Arsenal future, with Bundesliga clubs lining up to sign him apparently.

  62. Arnie and his bloody Indian music… sitars and sitters. 🙂

  63. arnie says:

    Life is a fantastic drug, Steve. 🙂 and if not, what is the point really? you do not really need to go to India, even Mediterranean countries enjoy anti-uptight life to the hilt! 🙂

    come on, NorthBank, visit us for a fortnight, you will return a convert! 🙂

  64. That all looks very like the wedding dance from The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

  65. What? Botland……… you must be joking! The only thing good about botland is that it’s so cold you don’t need to put ice in your whisky 🙂
    And Scottish Indian music fusion… ha ha

  66. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. Thanks for a great post Steve 🙂

    In the goal-keeping position I am actually quite happy for Ospina and Szc to battle it out and to have young Martinez as back up.

    I am happy with both our LFB and RFB options.

    In CD I want Merts to stay but to have a quicker CD combination as first choice. If it becomes obvious that we can’t get that from a combination of 2 of the 3 from Koscielny, Chambers and Paul Easter then we should dip into the market. I would like to think that with Easter’s addition we maybe do have the answer now.

    In CDM I am happy with Coquelin who is more a sitting midfielder for me. I think we need another CDM but maybe now, with the addition of Le Coq, not one who sits but more a box to box one. Could this be Schneiderlin, Khedira, Bender, Sissoko??? Which one gives us the quality defensive requirements with a box to box type game? To allow for this addition I would lose one or both of Arteta and Flamini.

    In ACM (and I am counting AOC as this now) I don’t think we need all of Rosicky, Santi, Ramsey, AOC, Wilshere, Ozil. I think we are too congested here and it complicates the squad and team selection so we can lose at least one of them, possibly even a high profile one. That is a very tough decision to make though as to which one. I feel if we enter next season with all of these players we will continue to see unbalanced set ups in an effort to accommodate them all.

    Attacking wide players, I am happy to let Theo, Alexis, Gnabry, Campbell battle it out with further options coming via AOC and Welbeck.

    Up front is where we also need a new shiny toy. This one may cost a bit if it was say a Cavani but may be offset if we receive a significant fee for one of our ACM’s. We need this player to hit the top level and properly compete with Chav’s, Real, Bayern e.t.c. Back up options come from Giroud, Welbeck and with young Akpom geting some chances.

  67. Don’t laugh NB, bagpipes are common to both countries. 😀

  68. arnie says:

    ha ha ha. 🙂 🙂 🙂 Norfolk.

    NorthBank. Pray, why would you put ice in your whisky? that is almost as bad as putting ketchup on your fish? 😛

  69. stevepalmer1 says:

    Hiya GB, you explained that well, when you look at it as simply as that i sense that we are not to bad a team. Do you think that the overloading in certain positions are the things that make us Jekyll and Hyde, Would losing a few make us more consistent.

    I feel that we have some good quality but have to wonder why we seem to never know what team will turn up.

  70. arnie says:

    We had a few good additions. Ospina, de Bushy, Bellerin, Chambo, Le Coq.

    Actually, the only position that I would really look to strengthen is striker. But as I said earlier, not a 15 or 20 goal-a-year numpty, but a 30-goal-a-year top bill. No matter how much it costs. 🙂

    30-goal-a-year also means being able to stay fit the whole year.

    Plus, worthy replacements for anyone who leaves.

  71. stevepalmer1 says:

    You make a good point about players we have Arn, Strikers who score 30 goals a season and who stays fit for the whole season may be asking a little to much.

    Every player Wenger has ever signed was signed hoping he would hit the ground running and to be injury free. Pulling on an Arsenal shirt is hazardess as soon as the shirt is on it leads said player straight to the sick bay.

    When buying strikers what do we look for past stats about his goals and how long he has been injury free’ I have even noticed that our manager has even tried to dodge the stats by bringing injured players in and letting them heal in our remarkable injury room only for them to get fit and leave.

    Experienced strikers normally have a few years in the game to build their tally of goals up they are usually glory hunters who demand vast amounts of money which only causes problems and squabbles down the line.

    Arsenal have a habit of buying crocks in that position, Giroud at present i feel is finding the odd goal remarkable when we very seldom cross the ball. As we know Giroud is not the quickest but some of the goals he has scored has been very special.

    Supply to a CF is always a massive plus the way we move the ball around outside their box gives little chance for a big man who is not known for pace to score many goals, and that is also true for any Marquee CF we may buy. our wingmen run the wing but check back to pass inside and the cross does not appear, our attacking play seems to lack a finishing ball as most players give it away as soon as we look dangerous. Usually Giroud will pick up a long ball which he shield well waiting for support which is often late, this has been changed around at times by fielding pace up front and hope that he can sprint by defenders but that hasn’t worked.

    Personally i feel that a marquee striker would be as useful as Giroud has been owing to the supply, again we have similar players who all seem to want to work central even Ozil has started to find the same position and it appears congested at times.

    Wingers who stay on the wing is the most important position up front get the crosses in and the CF IN A FORWARD POSITION AIDED BY OTHERS WILL BRING RESULTS BUT I FEAR A marquee SIGNING ON HIS OWN WILL STRUGGLE KEPT AS IT IS.

    Sorry hit the capital button cant be arsed to change it.

  72. arnie says:

    Fair enough, Steve. We are a club specilising in crocks. The only players in the recent past who have stayed fit one whole season or thereabouts are BFG, Kos and Giro. Yet, far from celebrating their resilience and demanding other players follow their example, we fans put our daggers behind their back.

    There was many a time during the 2013-14 season when Giro was hacked down and we were left praying that the injury was not serious. Yet every time he rose up and continued running. It takes a big heart to do that, and the stamina and strength of a stud. This is why he was able to score 20 that year. Where would we be now without those 20?

    We should not ridicule, but rather celebrate the hard grafters, the foot-soldiers. And yes, I agree, a marquee striker will be a good foil for Giro. Where this leaves Welbz I do not know, but Theo should be fine, should he stay.

  73. DB10 says:

    Pleeease!!! Someone kick Robbie Savage in the bollocks!

  74. arnie says:

    anyone watching the tennis? Davis Cup is a fantastic competition IMO.

  75. Arnie, I can only watch tennis, any tennis, in small doses, but yesterday’s epic between Ward and Eisner was terrific.

  76. arnie says:

    agreed, Norfolk, a great advertisement for the game. No 111 winning in 5 hours against no 20 in the world. that is what national pride can deliver. only in Davis Cup!

  77. stevepalmer1 says:

    I feel you mis understood me Arnie, i am not one asking for a Marquee CF i am asking for the supply to be more consistent, Giroud i have to say i have moaned about him, but as you say he does show effort which i appreciate.

    You mention Theo, and i know many love to see him playing, i myself am not so keen. Yes he scores and after all that is what wins games, but his teamwork and work rate has me condemning him I feel Theo would be best on the wing but because he doesn’t like contact he would rather be passed the defenders when he receives the ball. and he doesnt chase down where his pace could really be useful
    We need decent wingers who can whip balls in and players who can get themselves in to get on the end of them, A lot of teams do not have Marquee CF but can still get balls to their player

  78. arnie says:

    yes, fair enough, Steve. Sorry I read you wrong. Blame the Davis Cup. 🙂

  79. arnie says:

    5th set. this is really a big deal! against the Bryan brothers. wow!

  80. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Folks.

    I have some very sad news.

    Today I had a lengthy conversation with Kelsey and he told me that after a series of extensive tests he has been diagnosed with a very serious and life threatening illness. I cannot go into details.

    He has requested privacy during this time and I urge you all to express your thoughts here on AA and not to contact Kelsey directly.

    In his own time and in his own way he will respond to you.

    I will stay in contact with him and will keep you all up to speed on his progress.

    Kelsey – stay strong my friend our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  81. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5. I am sending all my positive thoughts to kelsey and wishing him a speedy recovery

    Sorry steve, i tend to do that, put up a comment and then disappear for a while when someone has commented back. Yes i do feel we have a squad that is not far away and i do feel that to progress one or two tough decisions will need to be made on one or two players to fine tune the squad for a serious epl and ecl challenge.

  82. Gööner In Exile says:

    Thanks GN5 for passing on the news.

    Kelsey has been missed these last few weeks a stalwart of these shores, and it would be good to see his name pop up here again soon. Bill Shankly was wrong, but if nothing else hopefully football can take his mind off things occasionally. Hope to see Keksey back again soon.

  83. The Cockie Monster says:

    Although I stand to make a fortune from one of the likes of ………69, TMHT, Rasp and Raddy in a blood battle in auctioning off Kelsey`s hair !……………..I`m prepared to be unselfish and hope that it is a long long time way off !.

    All my best wishes, Kelsey !.

  84. arnie says:

    very very sad. best wishes, Kelsey. get well soon.

  85. arnie says:

    thank you GN5

  86. arnie says:

    life is so cruel. 😦

  87. chas says:

    My cat is sad because kelsey is poorly.
    I hope some improvement is round the corner.

  88. stevepalmer1 says:

    No problems GB i have the same habit myself mate.
    I know i am relatively new to this site, but i have been blogging a while now and Kelsey was about all those years ago, sorry to hear your under the weather Kelsey, get well soon mate, don’t be a stranger mate, a good row now and again can really buck you up 🙂

  89. Rasp says:

    Very sad news about Kelsey, we are all willing him to get better.

  90. GunnerN5 says:

    Rasp,

    I emailed you a post for use either Sunday or Monday.

  91. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Sorry to hear about your illness Kelsey my friend.

    I am convinced you will overcome and return to grace us with your ‘telling it how you see it approach’.

    Several months ago I to had a scare. I woke one morning and proceeded to my normal routine, but to my shock I felt an abnormal lump on my penis.

    I thought Nooooo, not my cock, anything but that.

    The panic was overwhelming. I rang an ambulance but they told me to do one, and though I explained I couldnt because of the lump, they just hung up.

    I then called my GP and in my confusion told the receptionist that I needed an urgent appointment for delay could lead to a high pitched voice and a trip to marks and spencer for a comfortable but mildly sexy bra.

    In between I made myself physically sick by self diagnosing on the internet. Would society except a bald hairy women and would I develop a liking for Barbara Striesand?

    When I finally got to see my GP i had spent the last three days not talking or looking anyone in the eye. He quickly examined me and said.

    “Its not serious Terry. Sometimes excessive masturbation can cause a tear in the fibre and create a lump. It should go in a few weeks, as long as you keep your dirty paws off”

    I was so happy that I ran out in the street and celebrated like John Jensen scoring a goal.

    It was only after i had calmed down that it occurred to me that my Bastard GP had written his notes “Excessive Masturbator” before he had even examined me.

    Get well soon Kelsey

  92. Rasp says:

    Thanks GN5, I’ve been uber busy today, I’ll get on it tommorow

  93. GunnerN5 says:

    No problem Rasp let me know if you need me to send you the attachments individually,

  94. chas says:

    We need some pace like this on the wing.

  95. chas says:

  96. Good morning boys and girls

    I managed to get it up this morning despite a few bendy network problems. You can see it here: http://wp.me/p4FeF9-pQ

    Network connection very unstable so may lose it quickly 🙂

  97. arnie says:

    motning all

  98. A slow Sunday, no decent football till tomorrow. I’ll be going to the bar then… which is exactly what Micky expects me to do 🙂

  99. chas says:

  100. arnie says:

    Chas. very nice. 🙂

  101. chas says:

  102. GunnerN5 says:

    I had a problem with my computer and after my son checked it out he told me that I had an ID ten T problem, not wishing to appear like a complete fool I said I’d never heard of that error – he said write it down and you will understand.

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    Ahoy Match Dayers

    Have not read through comments, but of course had to scroll down, and what a journey it was as I slowed right down past NB’s bicycling pictures. We may well hate the French, but oh boy, they are gloriously bang on with implementing correct and strict rules governing women’s sporting competition clothing

  104. mickydidit89 says:

    Does Arsene have any team selection headaches due to players returning from being ill?

    Arteta, Ramsey, Jack, that sort of thing?

    Is this a suitable game for Theo?

    Is any game suitable for Theo? 🙂

  105. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all,
    I see we still have the same post, but i suppose there will be a new one today seeing as we have a game.

    I believe the outcome of this game will be much the same as the result last time we played them. Arsenal’s team whoever play’s are beaten before they play, Arsene Wenger is proud of his history since he has been here, but his results against United is about as poor as our league wins.

    Wenger it has to be said is a loser against united, Arsenal players will no doubt succumb to the normal back foot play, and come 90 minutes slink away from Manchester with our tails between our legs.

    Of course there will be the story how injury has weakened us no Debuchey Wishere Gabriel Arteta and there will probably be a few more by the time kick off starts as Arsenal players do not like this fixture at all.

    Van G will be planning for the semi’s and we will be out for another season. I expect nothing out of this game because Wenger is incapable of lifting players spirits for this one. Rooney and his mates will be relishing the chance to attack our defence who will be running about like headless Chickens, whoever we have in goal will start off well but will know its just a matter of time before he finds himself in the back of the net digging out the ball while the United crowd go mental.

    The Arsenal away support will be quiet at this time, many moaning about a bought ref, and the Arsenal players will trudge off for the restart. The supporters will try and lift them but in their hearts they will know its just the starting of the end.

    Many will say i am a bad supporter many will say i should get behind the team, but deep down they know that the chances of us leaving Old Toilet to venture to the semi’s is pie in the sky. Its been a while now since we had a win over United, i can almost hear Wenger saying after this clash of Unity and how the players fought well how with just one or two missed chances how the score could have been so different, How we will regroup for our return against Monaco and so on and so on.

    Arsenal are a beaten side before we even kick off, United have had a pretty poor season by their standards breathing down our necks in the league and struggling to get the results they need, but tonight they will be confident, they know that should this turn out a close game which i doubt they will still get the half a dozen free kicks on the edge of our box usually central, it happens every time we play them so i guess that could be where the first goal comes from.

    If Czezesney starts then he will have a couple of mad moments , it could be a rush out or it maybe a dodgy tackle whatever it is will probably result in a penalty where he will stretch his arms and try and put Rooney off but will still dive to the wrong corner, De jar vu this is where our cup run stops.

    Then again the team that played against City may turn up and we kick their arses on their own pig sty, oh i hope thats the case COYRRG’s

  106. mickydidit89 says:

    Steve

    I always think Sz will make a few outstanding saves, then do a Bruce Grobbelaar for my amusement 🙂

  107. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Micky, Boy i hope i’m wrong, but we have all been here before.

  108. mickydidit89 says:

    Dunno why, just makes me think of Raddy back in the day

  109. mickydidit89 says:

    I have a good feeling about the game, Steve.

    Put to bed that awful Giggs hairy chest Cup game, and put one over them ahead of our crucial league game.

    I think being away may help us in a funny kind of way

    Ok, the nine o’clock assembly bell has sounded. Work.

  110. GunnerN5 says:

    Good morning Micky & Steve,

    Boy oh boy it’s a quiet day here on AA.

  111. GunnerN5 says:

    Is the Chas and Ant show on the road today?

  112. Rasp says:

    Morning all ……..

    …. New post ……

  113. Victor says:

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