Surprise of the season so far

We have heard a lot over recent seasons of transitional year not just for us but several clubs around the top 4, Liverpool, ManUre and even Chelsea have gone through changes that the managers and existing players have to cope with, it seems we have been in transition for eternity, but in reality we were in a status quo, Arsene getting the most out of a competent if not great squad. Finally it feels like we are in real transition from PL consistency to challengers, hopefully with a good start to next season we have a real chance of adding the big prize to the trophy cabinet.

The thing that makes me confident in this are the players that have come to the fore and surprised us and upset the apple cart that was my perceived wisdom.

“Theo must have a place”

“Arteta allows us to play our way he is first name on the team sheet”

“Szczesny will be fine”

In Welbeck, Coquelin and Ospina three players (not star names) have come along and made us all reconsider. I’ll even add Bellerin in that group with Nacho. For seasons we have been told it is lack of spending that has held us back, but this season two players created by us, a bargain squad player from an overstocked competitor and two other minor signings have all become first team regulars. They have all taken their opportunities and the real success is that they made us forget the players they have replaced.

Even Santi in his deeper position could be seen as a surprise, who’d have thought he could join in the tackling back?

Last season when Arteta was out injured we missed him and badly, whilst he was out this season and Flamini replaced him we continued to miss him, but now Coquelin has brought a new dimension to the role (namely pace and aggression) it’s hard to see where Arteta fits in.

At right back a lot of fans were worried that we were taking a step backwards by allowing Bacary to leave and only bringing in Debuchy, if Debuchy’s early performances didn’t calm those worries, Bellerin’s outstanding performances have consigned memories of Sagna to the dustbin, we are better now in this position.

But neither of these are my biggest surprise that title goes to Welbeck, let’s be honest none of us rated him that highly in a United shirt, but he has come in and staked a claim for a regular place, early on he was asked to play up top with Ollie missing, and I guess most of us saw him as a stop gap in that position and out wide until Ollie and then Theo returned. But he is keeping Theo out of the side, when they are both on the bench it is Theo who remains getting splinters whilst Danny is called upon. I think mainly because he gets himself involved, he presses, he is strong and leaves it all on the park. He has better feet than I gave him credit for and is much stronger than I thought. The only criticism at the moment is he seems too eager to score himself when others are in a better position. He has made me think it’s time for Theo to move on, and the best thing about that if it happened we would be the ones deciding it was time for him to move on, £16m for Welly was a steal, anything over £20m for Theo will be good business.

So who has been your biggest surprise?

Gooner in Exile

95 Responses to Surprise of the season so far

  1. RC78 says:

    GiE – Another great post 🙂

    For me, there are two major surprises this season:

    1. Coquelin who has been doing a great job for us in the midfield;

    2. Bellerin – And I must admit that I never rated him highly but he has become better although there is still a lot of room for improvement especially on the defensive side of things.

    Your question regarding Walcott is topical. I think we should keep him as I believe he has an exceptional ability to time his runs and that he is close to being fully fit again and he is quite composed in front of goals. That said, if we get an offer in excess of 25 Mln pounds for him, we should consider it…

    Honorable mentions for surprises: Ospina, Monreal, Cazorla as a deep-lying playmaker.

    I believe that our squad is indeed not far from being true contenders..especially when fit…

  2. RC78 says:

    On the deceptions, who would you have or is that material for a new post?…

  3. Morning all

    Great post GiE. I voted for Monreal as I feel that Gibbs is a great left-back (and one of our own) and Monreal is keeping him out of the team.

    Of the others ………….. Coquelin just needed his chance and it came and he grabbed it. A couple of seasons ago he was usurped by Craig Eastmond!!!!!!! He just needed a bit of time to hone his MONSTER skills 🙂

    Welbeck was obviously wearing the wrong shirt before but I’m thrilled with how he’s fitted in.

  4. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all, I votedAn other, as I like the Keown look alike Paul Easter, I have my doubts about Merts, in a team of pace, I see that as the way forward. Merts does a job but I know I will always see him as the Carthorse and I think he will let us down in crucial games, but what do I know.

    I love pace and seeing fast passing quick feet and heaving engines gets me going The Arteta’s flamoni’s Rosiski’s are getting passed it we need youth and pace, I know many will say experience as well but the new guys that have come in suggests you just need hand picked grafters. very good post GIE stepped up to the plate when needed just like most of our player’s

  5. RC78 says:

    Hey Peach – I am still expecting a LOT MORE from DW…

    I think that TW and DW can each get to 15-20 goals and 10-15 assists per season even playing from the flanks and we are far from these stats yet…

    DW must especially address his FIRST TOUCH, which is often heavy…and also he needs to improve his finishing with his left foot but that is not as urgent as the first touch…

  6. RC78 says:

    SP – agree with you regarding the 3 older players and BFG…

  7. ‘morning all,

    Into the breach once more GiE, well done.

    I’ve voted for A.N.Other. Someone who has influenced the team greatly during the second half of the season. Someone who has been responsible for the more pragmatic style of play that got us a win against the Oilers, thus setting in train the fine run of results (Monaco at home excepted) since. Someone who must have struggled to come to terms with the changing face of football and the need to actually defend at times.

    I give you…..ARSENE WENGER!

  8. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning 78, bout time me and you started agreeing 🙂

  9. RC78, for Welbeck and Walcott to each get 15 – 20 goals they will both have to play at lot of games, does that mean leaving out Giroud?

  10. stevepalmer1 says:

    Nice one Norfolk

  11. RC78 says:

    NG – I meant throughout all competitions, not only in the EPL…

    We play the EPL, FA Cup, League Cup and CL and they should be able to score 15-20 goals across all these competitions in a season even if they are not starting…

    I have been an OG fan for long (since he played in Montpellier) and he has been doing well for us so for me, he is our main CF 🙂

  12. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. Fine idea for a post. I voted Bellerin but would like to have voted for all the others!

    And as NG so rightly says, Mr Wenger.

  13. Rasp says:

    Lovely post GiE. I cannot see past Le Coq as he was a player scheduled for transfer in the summer and he is now firmly one of the first names on the team sheet. His stats place him right at the top of the pile of EPL DM’s.

    Monreal has also been a very pleasant surprise. And Ospina is also right up there and has been great. Considering he is only 6ft, he is commanding in the air and possesses a calmness that the frenetic Szczesny needs to acquire if he wishes to get to the next level.

    Bellerin always showed great promise and still has plenty to learn as was shown by the pen he conceded to Sterling, so I am not as surprised by his performances.

  14. Rasp says:

    3 people have voted A.N.Other, I am intrigued to know who they were thinking of that is not in the list?

  15. RC78 says:

    Let us look at our main scoring threats and let us assume the following based on recent seasons:

    1. Full EPL season: 38 games but with injuries and all, let us say they each play in average 28 games
    2. CL: 8 games in group stage + 2 more games: 10 games and let us say they each miss 4 in average so that is 6
    3. FA Cup: 5 games and let us say they miss 3 each: 2 played
    4. League Cup: 2 games, 1 missed= 1 played

    Total average = 28 + 6 + 2 + 1 = 37 games played.

    This would not be unrealistic:

    – Sanchez -> 30
    – Giroud -> 25
    – Wellbeck -> 15
    – Walcott -> 15
    – Ozil -> 10
    – Cazorla -> 10
    – Ramsey – > 8
    – Ox -> 8
    – Kos -> 5

    What do you say?

  16. Great Post GIE, well done.
    Many surprises this season but I place DW slightly ahead of Le Coq for his great ability to compliment and improve arsenal’s options for strikers. DW adds that fear-factor for opponents that TW no longer has – His goal against Man Utd is all the convincing needed that he’s this season’s surprise Gunner. Who’d have thought Danny Welbeck?
    Le Coq comes a very close second.

  17. Big Raddy says:


    Seems perfectly reasonable. Though I think OG would score more than Alexis because Alexis would make more chances for OG than the other way round

  18. RC78 says:

    BR – I suppose you are right 🙂 I was just factoring set-pieces in as well…but you are correct indeed 🙂

    A sign that teams work well is when their lead striker is the Top Scorer so let us hope for OG with 30 goals 🙂

  19. Gööner In Exile says:

    Rasl I think that’s the best thing about Ospina’s game, calmness. It’s what we’ve missed in a keeper since safe hands, although Crazy Jens was a good keeper, Seaman was better.

    If there’s one thing I hate to see its keepers bellowing at defenders after they’ve made a save. It’s what they are paid to do, so get on and do it, secondly if you could command your defensive line properly you wouldn’t have to shout at them.

    I know it’s a whole different level, but I became a better keeper as I got older because I had less to do because I could tell my defence where to go and how to manage the threat to where it was easier for me to deal with. And I know it will come as a surprise to many but as a youngster I was quiet as a mouse in goal.

    I’m not sure if Ospina is loud but he certainly gives a calm aura, when he comes for crosses he does it late and fast he waits to make a good decision and it appears his defenders listen to his calls. Szczesny gets under the ball too much because he is in a rush to deal with it, which I’m afraid doesn’t work for goalies.


    Nice one GIE

    Got to be Coq aint it? Who would have thought a man with the look of a haunted Ferret could be so effective

    I admit I was wrong. Not about Ferrets, they are to be admired yet scrotumly feared. I mean about a ball winning midfielder. I never believed we needed one and was quite happy to go with a Wilshere or Arteta type. The truth is someone that wins it can turn defence into attack very quickly.

    I believe the term used in the modern game by geniuses of the likes of Brendan Rodgers is “transition”

    Ime often wrong GIE. A few years back I invested my life savings in laminate flooring for the wealthy. Unfortunately I soon found the rich preferred marble, wood, carpet, even dirt over laminate.

    Anyway, who cares. I lost it all in the divorce, so now ime skint and the ex Mrs has 1 million square yards of laminate in her shed. You can always tell her gaff. Its the one surrounded by salivating men in ozone polluting white vans with a fixation for flooring.

    Special mention has to go to Bellerin. What the kid has shown is phenomenal. No doubt Barca will soon be calling. Maybe Arsene could put the kid off by constantly showing him a photo of Alex Song in a West Ham shirt? Who knows?

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  21. PV4 says:

    I chose Le Coq. For me, football is all about attitude and when you watch him it is clear that he has that spark in his eyes. He wants to win and gives the lot in every game. I think it is commendable that he quietly arrived back from Charlton and without any fuss has stamped his mark on the team.

    Welbz was also a consideration, and I agree with many on here that if he can improve his decision making he will have a successful time at Arsenal. He too has a great attitude – works hard for the team and never moans, shirks or showboats.

  22. Rasp says:

    Hi GiE, great insight into your GK credentials, I’m sure you were a pussycat in goal 😀 I like the analogy of a team being like a building. The foundations have to be firm and solid to support everything else and that starts with the keeper. I think our defence overall has become more calm due to Ospina’s influence. When you add the defensive shield of Coquelin in front to Ospina’s command at the back, you can understand why our game suddenly seems to be clicking on all fronts.

    The Arsenal Wall – if you’d have asked me if I’d like to see Welby in an Arsenal shirt before we signed him, I’d have said no thanks. But I agree, his work rate energy and skills (which I had underestimated) have all been much greater than I’d recognised when playing for manu.

  23. Rasp, I’m one of the three who voted A.N.Other. Soley because I continue to be amazed that Le Professeur actually got our defenders to defend.

    If I had to pick a player rather than the manager it would be Le Coq, he’s made the transformation, from headless chicken all-out attack, to ordered defense possible.

    On Welbeck, I had my doubts, but he has largely expelled them. If he can raise his goals to chances ratio a bit he’ll be a fine striker.

    I wonder if Old Rednose would have sold him to us. The decision to do so is looking pretty stupid, with Falcao a complete flop and that Dutch git forever injured, how they could do with him now.

  24. Rasp – I struggled with my keyboards when typing bout the impact DW has had and how he fits our philosophy and pace (neatly) – Plus I wondered what was my most satisfying moment (of this season) and the answer was going to Old Trafford and slaying ’em at home; It’s always a daunting task and were it not for DW then a draw could easily have been on the cards.

    I believe he is only 23 – he’s got more prem and FA Cup games to impress us even further; As for Coquelin he is on the improve and also a delight;
    I remember seeing Anelka as an attacking option @18 or 19yrs and when I look at TW @26yrs, I struggle to find anywhere other than the bench because of the impact of younger attackers in AFC ranks;

    Its not easy performing at optimum level in front of 60,000 supporters I believe AW had known beforehand that Welbeck had performed in front of 74,000 and never lost his poise; He is indeed a wonderful asset – even above contract rebellious Theo who will now have to find another level if he is to distinguish himself in the current team. COYG

  25. Rasp says:

    You’re such a maverick Norfolk – the question was, which Arsenal player? …. so Arsene doesn’t qualify 😀

    Thanks again Arsenal Wall. I agree, another good thing about the high energy players like Welby and Alexis is that they raise the game of those around them – so it is a win/win situation when they play.

    As regards Theo, I’d have him in the squad all day if he was happy to fight for his place, but on current form (excluding injury) I see more of a future for The Ox than Theo simply because his talents cover more areas of the game.

  26. Rasp
    I’ve yet to mention Alexis largely because despite his size he has managed to be outstanding in an arsenal shirt and I suspect his best is still yet to come; He needs no tuition about desire he simply knows what is expected and Im hoping he surprises even Kane and Costa;

    AW seems to imply that during the recent England match Rooney may have told TW to step back to allow him to provide the attack which TW submitted to, im implying he allowed himself to be mugged off by another striker – which as an arsenal striker he should believe he’s is the proverbial dog’s bpllocks and stuck to his task until he come up with a goal; Until he finds some hairs for his chest then TW should be warming the bench with the Ox ahead of him as attacking option; So yes Rasp we’re agreed on TW who must step-up;

  27. Arsenal Wall, I’m being called a maverick for not answering the question asked. 😀 The operative word in the original question is “surprise”.

    Alexis’ super season so far comes as no surprise. He’s a class player with a terrific work ethic.

    He’s a player who buzzes around the pitch, he’s always in the action and his style of play casts a shadow over the wonderful efforts of our other genius Mesut Ozil. But again his contribution comes as no surprise either.

  28. RA says:

    A very good Post, Exile. 🙂

    I am not telling anyone who I voted for – nosey devils! 😉

  29. GunnerN5 says:

    ‘He is the best partner I have had’

    Now 38, Italy international and Udinese captain Antonio Di Natale played with Alexis Sanchez between 2008 and 2011.

    The seventh-highest scorer in Italian football history (behind the likes of Silvio Piola, Alessandro Del Piero, Giuseppe Meazza, Roberto Baggio, Filippo Inzaghi and Francesco Totti), Di Natale knows just what it takes to make for a good strike partner, and he rates his former Chilean foil as the best he has played with.

    In 2009, the duo teamed up with Simone Pepe to establish one of the most potent attacking threesomes in recent Serie A history, scoring 41 goals between them and forging an almost telepathic understanding.

    What had you heard about Alexis Sanchez before he came to Udinese?

    I’ve played with a lot of champions, but he is the best; and he’s proven it by performing for enormous clubs such as Barcelona and Arsenal

    I knew that Udinese had bought a good youngster from Chile who was supposed to be a real talent. I knew also he was called “Nino Maravilla”. Now in South America they are pretty generous with their nicknames, and, here in Udine we’re used to hearing these kind of things, talk of the next big thing breaking into our squad: after all, the strategy of the club is to pick out, follow, analyse and then eventually buy youngsters that are almost unknown and still outside the radars of bigger teams.

    Alexis was bought from Cobreloa and then loaned to Colo Colo and later to River Plate: he made the ‘jump’ to a bigger team (Colo Colo) and a different and more competitive league (Argentina) in his stride.

    So we knew he was a star in the making and that, even though he was very young (Sanchez was 18 years old when he eventually came to Udine), Alexis he had shown that he could live up to his potential.

    Can you tell us your first impression when you saw him training?

    I was amazed by his technical skills: he did things with the ball that were more typical of a juggler than a footballer. But what really impressed me was the approach he had to the everyday work.

    In my career, I’ve seen a lot of talented players squandering their abilities with the wrong attitude, with a sort of indolence. Alexis was the contrary: I’ve never seen him distracted, he was always attentive and focused, he was always ready to work harder in order to improve, to add some new trick to his natural talent.

    He was also interested in those aspects of the game that talented forwards often hate: the tactical aspects, the physical dimension, the way to help the midfielders and even the full-backs. This is probably his secret, and the thing that has allowed him to become one of the greatest players around today: he combines individual quality with a willingness for collective sacrifice.

    You’ve played with a lot of talented forwards in your career, both at Udinese and with the Azzurri…

    Stop: I know what you are going to ask. And the answer is: ‘Yes he’s the best partner I had in my life’. Like you say, I’ve played with a lot of champions, but he is the best; and he’s proven it by performing for enormous clubs such as Barcelona and Arsenal. It’s quite easy to be a star in a little or medium team, where there is no pressure and where competition is far to be ferocious. But to confirm your individual qualities within the biggest teams is something only few can achieve.

    Does he still have room to improve?

    I’ve never seen him distracted, he was always attentive and focused, he was always ready to work harder in order to improve

    Alexis is able to do everything, he’s one of the most complete attackers in the world: he could play as a winger, as a striker, as an inside forward. At Udinese, there were even emergencies where he filled in as a midfielder! But that’s not to say he can’t get better.

    When a player thinks he has no need to improve, he’s close to the end, he’s destined to be dethroned. Sanchez, on the contrary, has always shown a hunger to get better, and he’s always been willing to sacrifice the sweat and tears to do so. I never got the sense that he was satisfied with what he achieved.

    This lack of complacency has helped him to become the star he is, and it is what will help him remain on the top for many years. It’s hard to say exactly where he can improve. Like me, he’s not a giant: maybe there is scope for him to become a better header of the ball. Maybe…

    Have you been following his progress at Arsenal?

    I always try to watch Arsenal games, just as I used to watch the Barcelona matches when he was there. One thing you know with Alexis is that he’ll always put on a good show. We met up in Watford this summer, and I had the chance to catch up with him.

    Although he is now a truly international star he hasn’t changed; there’s not a drop of arrogance in his attitude. He’s the same old boy he was in Udine. For me, this is maybe more significant and admirable than his trajectory as a player.

    Have you got any anecdotes that reveal what he is like as a person?

    Although he is now a truly international star he hasn’t changed; there’s not a drop of arrogance in his attitude

    He’s a man who places a big importance on friendship. When I met him in Watford, I asked him for an Arsenal shirt because my son Filippo is a huge fan and I had promised him to come back from England with a present.

    You know what he did? He simply picked up the shirt he had been wearing a few hours earlier in his first match for Arsenal (Arsenal v Benfica in the Emirates Cup) and gave it to me. He could have saved it as a souvenir, but he preferred to give a present to my son.

    Recently Alexis came up against Neymar at the Emirates. How would you compare the two?

    They’re both wonderful players, who play talismanic roles for top club sides. When you’re talking about players at that level, it’s always difficult to say who’s better. If I was a coach, I’d love to have both of them in my team. But if I had to choose one, I’d choose Alexis: because he’s a little more ‘concrete’ than the Brazilian.

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
    Dan Brennan 8 Apr 2015

  30. RA says:

    Rasp, Randy,

    I have written a Post of little merit, inn response to Raddish’s appeal yesterday (?) but given my email situation, I am prepared to stick it in today’s comments, if you like, to be deleted and treated with contempt howsoever you wish.

    I will wait for the green light from one of the AA bigwigs before doing so.

  31. Hi RA, if you put it up as a comment now, I will take it off

  32. Bayonne Jean says:

    RC78, when you add up your goals totals, that’s 126 for the players named. That’s about 3.4 goals per game (for 37 matches). And doesn’t count the odd goal or two from your fullbacks, other defenders, substitutes….

    Seems a wee bit optimistic, in retrospect? Unless you get a rash of cricket score matches.

  33. Redders!!!!!!!!! I’m going out now, can you add the post/comment to yesterday’s post.

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    These are the only clubs to break the century mark in the PL –

    Chelsea 103 in 2009/10.
    Man City 102 in 2013/14.
    Liverpool 100 in 2013/14.

    Swindon 100 in 1993/4 – unfortunately they were goals against!!

  35. RC78 says:

    BJ – you have to take into account that they will not all play the same 37 matches…hence the average will drop down considerably…

    You have to take the 126 goals over 57 season-games based on my initial post and that brings you to 2.20…

  36. RC78 says:

    which is a lot more realistic…

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE, The season we have several players who have popped out of AW’s hat – most we have –

    Coquelin, Bellerin, Welbeck, Alexis and Ospina.

    My vote went to Ospina – but only 2 others agreed, however I’m quite used to being controversial. I feel that the most critical position in football is your last line of defense and Ospina has become our indispensable number one – cool, calm and collected.

    This in no way diminishes the incredible contributions of Alexis or the maturing of Bellerin or indeed our super charged clean up man – Coquelin.

    Ospina is, for me, yet another “St. David of the Arsenal”

  38. RC78 says:

    GN5 – I hope that Ospina will meet your expectations over the years…I still believe that we could do with Cech…

  39. Norfolk Gunner
    Rasp called you a maverick is a reference of encouragement at least its how it looks from here; I agree with the article and the Gooner in Exile’s findings of Welbeck carries much weight. Coquelin or Bellerin are yet to prove themselves reliable against Chelski and ManUtd at the business end of a season (i.e. run-in) and the latter may not even feature for the remaining FAC fixtures; the shock [surprise performer] is Danny Welbeck;

  40. GunnerN5 says:

    RC78, Ospina is a definite improvement on Szczesny and it’s entirely possible that Cech could be an improvement on Ospina – but I don’t think AW will make a move for him.

  41. RC78 says:

    GN5…In any case – if we were to get Cech, then I would think that we would have to get rid of both PiG and Ospina and make way for a English GK that can be considered home-grown in case that FA rules get to applied

  42. kelsey says:

    The surprise package for me is since Bould and Wenger actually started talking to each other during the game, we haven’t lost and that is the key my friends 🙂

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    RC78, I’m confused by your last comment. If the FA do change the rules to include more British players then that would apply to the team as a whole and not specific positions.

  44. chas says:

    Excellent post, GIE.
    I presume you’re hinting that everybody saying we are 2 or 3 signings away from having a championship-challenging side should reconsider to a certain extent.

    It’s difficult not to choose Le Coq as he wasn’t vaguely in anyone’s reckoning for the season (even AW’s, by the sound of it).
    On loan at Charlton and presumably on his way out of the club, he’s returned with fire in his belly and almost stopped Rasp talking about Carvalho. 🙂

    Wenger must have had Hector in his mind when he sent Jenks on loan, But even then, the use of Chambers at right back after The Boosh’s ankle knack might suggest otherwise.

    Nacho was much maligned before this season started but has proved to be an excellent full back and competent deputy centre back.
    Displacing Gibbo? Nobody would have predicted that.

    Welbz is fast becoming one of my favourites. Everything he does is whole-hearted.
    If we could say the same for Theo, there would be no doubt about his contract renewal.

    Ospina has proved a decent shot stopper and has grabbed Szcz’s smoking faux-pas with both hands.

    I’d have liked to have voted for all of them including Giroud, Sanchez and that A.N.Other chap. 🙂

  45. chas says:

    Great to have you back.

    Do peeps on the touchline gesturing, posturing and chatting have that much effect on what happens on the pitch?
    I very much doubt it.

    The only reason bloggers haven’t been slagging off the subs is because we’ve been winning. 🙂


    Kelsey, my dear fellow. How the devil are you?

    I was thinking about you the other day Kels. I got an email from some bird calling herself Natasha saying she had seen my boat on facebook and would very much like to have sex with. Apparently you had recommended me for intercourse?

    i was a bit suspicious. not about you recommending me, just that I have no dealings with facebook.

    Anyway, there was this link to click onto and it took me to a free sex website. So after paying a £200 fee i scoured the site for this Natasha bint but could not find her. To make it worse the only messages i got were from two blokes. One asking what colour socks i wore and the other wanting to know if I was a fan of hit seventies show The Professionals and asking whether we could meet up in a hotel room with me dressed up as Brodie so we could discuss it.

    So what ime saying Kels is, there seems to be a breakdown of communication, so can you ask that Natasha bird to email me again?

  47. chas says:

  48. chas says:

    Hahahaha, Brodie!

  49. chas says:

    Courtesy of Arseblog

  50. RC78 says:

    GN5 – I know 🙂 The point was that if we get new players that do not meet the FA rules, we have to offload others…hence…the suggestion…

    The good thing is that we can easily get rid of PiG, BFG, Arteta, Flamini, Diaby, Rosicky, Campbell and Podolski so that s the good news for us in case the rules get to be applied…

  51. VCC says:

    Kelsey. Great to see you back commenting. The site hasn’t been the same without you.

    Hope your well buddy.

  52. RA says:


    Sorry about the delay – have just got back – comment/Post on yesterday’s blog. 🙂

    Good luck with that. 😀

  53. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas I think the only thing I’d say was missing from Coqs game in that video is the ability to buy a foul, if that was Arteta he would have had at least ten free kicks from those situations 😀

  54. Gööner In Exile says:

    I’ve not really taken much notice of Dykes home grown rule changes proposal
    But have just read them.

    So club home grown minimum 2, and maximum
    Non home grown 13. And most importantly the home grown definition to be three years before 18.

    Well what a stupid man he is, surely clubs will cast net wider earlier, and there will be academies full of non UK players before the age of 14 which will mean less opportunity for our talent.

    At least the rules as they are the clubs can watch how domestic talent gets on up to the age of 18 before choosing to bring in from elsewhere.

  55. Gööner In Exile says:

    By the way ……under proposed rules:

    Club Homegrown

    Home grown:

    It would be really tough to maintain the standard of the EPL in that environment. But then that’s not necessarily a bad thing, could mean a reduction in ticket prices 😀

    The question should be what is wrong with English coaching that so few are good enough to make the grade, the reason so many Spanish and German players play in CL has nothing to do with quotas in their own countries, they just have better footballers, because they are coached better with more technical ability.

    So when a youngster comes into the PL he finds out its not all about pace power and fitness it’s about finding a pass in a split second having a great first touch. And while they have steamrollered opponents in youth football they suddenly find against men they are no longer the biggest and strongest.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    Brodie 😀

    Chas. You make a very good argument for Le Coq who is the clear winner of the poll.

    GIE. Thank you for working out the daft home-grown rules. As you say, it encourages clubs to sign babies and many of them. Either that or they establish youth centres all over Europe.

    Do other leagues have home-grown rules? Given the number of Spanish players in La Liga I guess so.

  57. LB says:

    Excellent football post.

    I don’t get this voting for Welbeck thing, it’s not as though he was an unknown playing for some lower league club and what’s more he is still some way off being a first team starter.

    By contrast you have Coquelin………the man is undroppable.

    Damned if I predicted it, I thought he was rubbish.

  58. stevepalmer1 says:

    Are Brodie and Boil home grown 🙂
    Why is it called home grown, if Home is Highbury or Islingtonor is it united kingdom. What happens with Belerin and Gnabry

  59. Gööner In Exile says:

    Raddy I don’t think the German, Spanish have home grown rules, nor Italy, UEFA have their own Homegrown rules which applies to squads for their competitions.

    Bundesliga rules limits non eu players in their match day squads to 5, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have 13 Spaniards if they chose, and 5 Brazilians.

    La Liga allows no more than 3 non EU players, again no restriction on EU citizens.

    And it took me a while to find the rules.

    So homegrown rules do not affect the number of domestic players in either League but somehow they manage to keep the amount of domestic players high, wonder why?

  60. wally says:

    LeCoq, for sure. He came into the side and it all changed didn’t it. He became the glue that made the defence better and allowed the offence to grow.

    I remember when he first arrived, he and ping pong were on and ping pong was throwing himself about which got people very excited but he was a bull in a china shop. I thought coq had a much more controlled presence. Not as flamboyant, but more effective. A few appearances as a fb, also effective and then he disappeared.

    That was a great video. Putting himself about, great tackles everywhere or simply getting stuck into the opponent. I hope he’s continues with his success. I think it’s important to have guys like that in the side. You need a mix to be a great team and hopefully his standard of play will continue to grow.

    Bellerin would be my second choice and Ospina 3rd.

    Good topic.

  61. chas says:

  62. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    GIE. Thank you for researching the home-grown. I can only think that signing foreign players is cheaper to UK clubs.

    Even League 2 is full of non-homegrowns

    Sad to see B’burn go out last night

  63. Big Raddy says:

    No away goals at all from outside the area this season. Surely not.

  64. Eddie says:

    wally got overexcited – Le Coq “getting stuck into the opponent”. On the pitch? is it legal 🙂

  65. Eddie says:

    chas – those frenchies are gorgeous, the fanniest by far 🙂 🙂 I am looking for a black one, but they are £2500! Too much for now

  66. chas says:

    Is that French bulldogs?
    They seem to have a lot of attitude.

  67. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning all.
    Now that’s a piece of work Chas. Not that i am a stats man of course but we do look a better outfit now.

    We talk about how certain players have improved, players who looked like they could have disappeared, only to have come in when needed, and are now first choice picks in a lot of supporters minds.

    Le Coq and Belerin seem to have the vote from what i see of players who have surprised.We of course have to take into consideration, players who have come in and settled quite well. Alexis Sanchez who definitely hit the ground running GN5 has commented with an in depth report of this player, and who would argue that.

    Mesut Ozil, Many have said his quality would come out, I have to say i was one that doubted that. I expected maybe to much from a player costing the amount he did, and from the start i felt we had wasted a lot of dough. Mr Wenger again knew what he was doing, he saw the quality of the player where i saw the expense. Where i expected fireworks from the off our manager knew there would be work needed doing on him before he would fit in.

    Wenger does seem to do things slowly. or should i say Methodically, He seems to work his magic without time limits, knowing the best will come out in the end. I have always had my doubts at this method but again i am being proved wrong.

    We seem to have grown as a team this season, we did take a few hefty defeats last season and confidence seemed low only for some players to dig in and get us in top four.

    I have to say i felt at first that Giroud was not the man to lead us up front he seemed slow and a bit clumsy in front of goal, Wenger again persevered with him and he got him firing, i feel the team are now playing to his strengths.

    Goalkeeping has also been a bit of a problem, i have to say TPIG has never been a favourite of mine but Wenger seemed to like him, he seemed to stick with him while i thought of change. I believe even Wenger had his doubts as he did enroll a loaned keeper last season who was injured, and although he did managed a few late games never impressed enough to stay. Fabianski who i feel had had a tough time with us , finally moved on and i have to say felt the wrong one went. the talk Of another goalkeeper in the summer only makes me feel Wenger is still unsure but no doubt he can work with what we have and turn them round, Ospina at present looks to be our number One but i am not holding my breath.

    Going right through our players who have helped this season and they have all looked like they are gelling well. Welbeck seems to have a few votes although some say he needs to improve more, i tend to think this young man will be leading the line as a very good striker. Mr Wenger has built a squad of players who seem to have come on all of a sudden perhaps its me but one minute Jackal and Hyde the next we have a run of winning games and low and behold second place.

    Team gelling is not always an easy thing to initiate but it does look as if the team are united, Monreal Gibbs BFG Koshielney Ramsey Santi Chamberlain the Ox seem to be on the same wavelength, i worry about Walcott Jenkinson Akpon and a few more. with Walcott not enough workrate, a passenger that doesn’t fit in Wenger has had a lot of years with Theo i don’t see him giving up on him but he must be tireing Theo i feel could well be on the way, with Danny and The Ox busting a gut Theo has a lot to do to get back in with the lads.

    For any other player i may have left out, you will have to work harder so i can’t forget you.

  68. Eddie says:

    frenchies and pugs are the best dogs, honestly. In my long life I owned just about every breed of a dog and are smitten by those two.
    chas darling – both Swansea and Sunderland games are Monday eves. Are you and slim going to both?

  69. Gööner In Exile says:

    Maybe cheaper Raddy or just better.

    The argument from those that back homegrown rules goes that the influx of foreigners stifles their arrival and development.

    I’ve always wondered why it didn’t have the opposite effect, why didn’t it improve the standard of English players, surely training around so many good players should improve our standards.

    Then you have the issue of wages/cost, the homegrown rule actually increases the wages of the best domestic talent, you can do two things, concentrate on getting youngsters from smaller clubs or buy in talent from overseas.

    For the smaller teams it’s probably cheaper to have a 17 man PL squad made up of non homegrowns than it would be to pay for the homegrown talent to complement the squad.

    Chatting to a client who knows a few youngsters that have been at Chelsea, even the lad now playing for expenses at Barnet has an agent, as does the lad who is now at a league 2 side, he actually thought he was going to be somewhere else but the clubs couldn’t agree fees, he then was wanted by another team but turned that down because money wasn’t enough, and has ended up where he is on less money than he had turned down.

  70. Big Raddy says:

    Eddie. You are deluded if you think those little beasts are the best dogs. Give me a chocolate flat coat retriever or a German Shepherd.

    Steve. That could have been a post! I still worry about our defence and the gaps between the CB’s. The dreadful miss by Sterling on Saturday was a result of a simple through ball from Coutinho(?) through the middle of our CB’s. There were two players entirely unmarked and through on goal – thankfully their incompetence saved the day

  71. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GIE, excellent post, I went with Le Coq. I did champion him for the role long term in a post possibly 18 months to 2 years back but like everyone else I thought his chance had passed so am delighted he has come through.

    My reason for championing him was because he blended physicality with mobility and pace and I feel the pace is as important, if not more so, than the sheer brute force at the highest level. This role is a role that is often reactionary to danger so a player who can react quicker is the best option.

    Interesting that many talk about Cazorla playing deeper almost like our Xavi. Personally I think it is LeCoq that has allowed this and he has become our Busquets. His extra mobility means we can play more of a smaller ball player in a way thatArteta couldn’t. Arteta is a fine technical footballer but against the better sides he needed more help defensively than Le Coq does due to his lack of pace. With Le Coq we now have options from Santi, Jack and Rosicky to play with him and it may now have removed the need for a bigger CM.

    What I feel we need to work out now is how we cover Le Coq if he is not available..

  72. Big Raddy says:

    GIE. The player story does not surprise me. Money came before football considerations.

    As to the home-grown. How do the young players break through when there is a defined number of players in a squad and that squad is made up of cheaper and more experienced foreigners? Why should the club bother bringing them through when their wage expectations are so high?

  73. Eddie says:

    raddy – I give you a German Sheppard! Shirley is all yours. I will give you £1k to take her

  74. Eddie says:

    GB – the thing I like the most about Coq is that he is feisty. If he can use his temper intelligently he will scare the opposition

  75. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning BR, as usual you have seen a weakness. I cannot disagree with you, and i would only say that to solve that, is closing down quicker, i do feel that we let attackers travel too far with the ball before closing them down.

    We seem to be doing it quicker in midfield but seem reluctant to commit closer to our own goal. Yes a few problems but solvable.

  76. Eddie says:

    No other dog like him

  77. Rasp says:

    Morning all, that’s enough of having fun on here 😆 what’s the chances of one of you who keep promising a post actually coming up with the goods today? 🙂

  78. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning Rasp, one in Nut’s if your desperate.

  79. Eddie says:

    sorry Rasp, I am very busy today, laters

  80. Rasp says:

    French Bulldogs and Jack Russels are the best of the small dog breeds as far as character goes. Boxers and Bulldogs are great (must be something to do with having a flat nose). Springer Spaniels are fine if you want a nutter and labs are the most reliable, loyal family friendly dogs IMO 😆 .

  81. Big Raddy says:

    RAsp. RA put up a post on yesterday’s comments to be transferred over to the loading bay.

    I will go and look for it.

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Since childhood I have had a Jack Russell, 3 Springers, a golden retriever, flat coat, standard poodle, a couple of mongrels, 2 King Charles cavaliers (wont’s dog), a whippet, two black labs and a norfolk terrier.

    Retrievers are the best companions and the Springer the biggest personalty.

  83. Eddie says:

    Raddy – get a pug or a Frenchie next, you will never look back!
    Rasp – Jack Russels are great, but they don’t come in black

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Needs a bit of cosmetic work but is in Posts.

    Eddie. No way. If Mrs Raddy brought home a pug I would leave immediately

  85. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy, I’ll have a look

  86. Rasp says:

    Raddy, did you mean to put the ‘1.’ at the start – because there is not 2 or 3 to follow?

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Yes. Plus there is no author “signature”

  88. Rasp says:

    OK, sorted, thanks Raddy

    ….. New post everyone ……..

  89. stevepalmer1 says:

    I have a daughter who is Vegan, she has two kids boy and a girls sweet as you like also Vegans. My youngest daughter has taken to protesting outside Harrods and other big stores about the fur trades she is in a group who love animals and no matter what an
    imals they are believe they should all live in peace.

    I find this all uplifting, here’s me who loves a steak, moans if i don’t have meat for dinner and have no pets, My daughter’s husband has left her she has 3 cats a nutcase dog two Rabits three chickens all that came from unloved homes, the sentiment is first class i agree but when i go round there, i come out smothered in hairs and smell of animals the \husband left and if i speak the truth i don’t blame him.

    I like animals i fish so am perhaps cruel in as much that i hook them with sharp hooks but i handle them with care feed them protein food and put them back in the water as quickly as i can, i carry anticeptic cream specially for fish that i rub onto any part that looks distressed and my daughter thinks i am cruel.

    I feel that the human race is one thing and animals another but when it comes to survival they would eat us no doubt about it . I like my home smelling of us not cats dogs rabbits or chickens so am i wrong am i a bad father do i have it all wrong , perhaps best just to keep quiet and just sit there nodding.

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