Elneny was brought in to replace Ramsey

Iwobi and new signing Elneny both impressed against Burnley with many crediting Iwobi with the Man of the Match performance. His composure, control and understanding of the game are way beyond his years. We should be careful not to burden him with too much expectation, but we can be excited about what is undoubtedly another midfield talent Arsene has produced.

The player I want to focus on today is Elneny. There has been much discussion of his intended role in the midfield, and the role he played in Saturday’s game.

It was assumed he was back-up/competition for Coquelin, but lo and behold, Arsene played them both. Surely Arsene would never put out a team with two holding midfielders … and he didn’t.

No, Elneny didn’t play HM, he covered every blade of grass and was the epitome of a box-to-box midfielder. If you look at M.E.s performances for Basel and read what Arsene has said of the player, it is clear that he has a lot more to his game than just breaking play up and keeping it simple.

So if Elneny wasn’t brought in as another ‘Coquelin’ then where does he fit into our midfield. Sadly Cazorla’s latest injury together with his advancing years means that he may never be a first choice midfielder for Arsenal again. Who knows whether Wilshere will ever be able to remain injury free long enough to establish himself as first choice in our midfield?

This got me thinking. Every well managed team has a production line of players coming through and strives for a quality back-up for every position.

Arsene likes Ramsey – a lot! I’m pretty sure that along with Ozil, Sanchez and Koscielny, Ramsey is always one of the first names on the team sheet. The best players need to be protected and rested on occasion, and are the ones that the big spending clubs try to pluck from our midst. There are rumours that Barcelona have shown an interest in Ramsey. From what I can see, Ramsey and Elneny have a lot in common. A superb engine, a good range of passing and an eye for goal.

So there you have it – my conclusion is that Elneny was brought in to bolster our midfield options in the short term, and to offer an alternative to Ramsey in the long term. What do you think?




125 Responses to Elneny was brought in to replace Ramsey

  1. GoonerB says:

    Hahaha Raddy, your 2 9.20’s. The first sparked the Rasping wheels into motion. The second should have ended “in your own time, just chill and take it easy”.

    Right off to read post

  2. chas says:

    Cheers, Rasp, though I’m not liking the blog title at all.

    How can El Nino be replacing Rambo when Rambo is our best right winger? 🙂

  3. Rasp says:

    😆 chas. The post is very much a T.I.C. cage rattler 🙂

  4. RomfordPele says:

    we’ll only know over time…my sense is AW doesn’t trust him physically to play as the primary DM just yet

  5. Rasp says:

    Hi RP, yes AW said as much in his post match assessment. He thinks he needs to get to grips with the physical nature of the EPL. But that was his first game and you could see him growing in confidence through the 90 minutes.

    Arsene has already said he’s not essentially a strong battler. Very few B-to-Bs are, but that too can be said of Ramsey. These players can knick the ball off the opposition in the deep, bring it forward, make a pass and be in the box to finish the move.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Thank you. You have done a Martin Samuel on me 🙂

    We are not producing the young players from the Youth team to cover the chaps coming to the end of the AFC career and that is sad. They appear to be good enough to play elsewhere but not at worldy levels.

    Therefore Mr W is buying young players as cover and at €7m El Nino appears to be a bargain

  7. Rasp says:

    Hi Raddy, we certainly don’t seem to have many top prospect defenders coming up through the academy. I suppose we only recently bought Jeff so he’s not really home grown, but Iwobi joined us whilst still at primary school so he can be seen as a success story.

  8. Big Raddy says:

    True, and we have Dan Crowley coming through

  9. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well played Rasp, I’m going to have to reserve judgement until I see him play, but heavens to be a physically well built lad, so perhaps Arsene is over his obsession with small and technical, or perhaps the world is only starting to produce a number of strong but well skilled players.

  10. GoonerB says:

    Excellent post Rasp, where do you come up with these ideas? 🙂

    ON DM additions I always said I felt we would be better with a midfielder that could play both with as well as instead of Le Coq. There are a few around that can play the disciplined holding role but also have the skill set for the box to box role. Schneiderlin is not one of them and is more a pure HM in my mind, which is why I wasn’t too keen on him coming. I think he would have left us in an either / or situation, in who plays between him and Le Coq. Elneny may give us both options.

    To replace Ramsey though? I hope not but then I don’t believe that we have seen Ramsey in his best position to date, or at least not regularly. I don’t think his best position is that box to box role and I am aware I may be in the minority here. He has the work-rate and engine, but I think there is too much emphasis on this part of his make-up and it leads to the (IMO incorrect) conclusion that this is his best role.

    For me the box to box role has to have a player with a good engine and work-rate. Tick, tick for Rambo here. It also requires the willingness to mix defensive work equally with moving forwards into more attacking roles. Semi tick for Rambo here as I sometimes think he overlooks his defensive cover for a surge forwards slightly too often.

    The final aspect for me is about game control. That is dictating the play, directing which way we develop our movement up the pitch and protecting possession. This often requires an excellent passing range including mid to longer range passing. These final skills I would say are slightly more important than the engine and work-rate side of things. This is why I believe Santi plays the role better than Rambo. Where Rambo arguably has the slightly better engine and will cover more miles in a game, Santi has the better control in a game, directs the way we move forwards better, protects possession better and has a better mid to long range passing game.

    Ramsey’s greatest strength is his ability to ghost into goal-scoring positions. If he could have the opportunity to do it more often I think he would increase his goal tally by some margin. I also feel his short to mid range passing game is far superior to his mid to long range. Not currently at Ozil’s standard but who is? I have however seen Ramsey play little defence splitting passes, reverse balls, little lobs over defenders, all to good effect.

    Ramsey’s skill set screams out as a number 10, not the slightly deeper box to box player. I have felt for some time now that Ramsey should be earmarked as Ozil’s eventual successor and we should pay more attention to giving him that role at times.

    I don’t expect him to currently replace Ozil but then I also don’t feel Ozil will stay with us indefinitely. My gut says he is enjoying it here, but that it is a shorter term experience before looking to experience somewhere else (likely Turkey for Mesut). We are far more likely to keep a British lad at the club for 10 years+ taking them into their 30’s. Ozil will leave a big gap and it would be good to have a replacement groomed from within. I believe that can be Rambo.

    Elneny looks like he has that skill set of long range passing, protection of possession, and focusing on his defensive work as much as going forwards. He strikes a good long range shot, possibly more so than Rambo, but doesn’t seem to have Rambo’s ability to ghost into dangerous goal-scoring areas. Different skill sets and different players for me. I personally feel AW has been making the wrong call on Rambo, but if he views Rambo as a box to box player as well then, yes, it is conceivable that Rambo could move on.

  11. Rasp says:

    Hi GB, as usual you make excellent points.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to see Ramsey go, but equally we must not be too reliant on any one player. As LB often says, the challenge is going to be in keeping all the talented midfielders we have happy as 6 into 3 doesn’t go!

    I don’t see Ramsey as a potential replacement for Ozil (is there anyone who could be?) but I do agree that both Ramsey and Wilshere are yet to make any particular position their own.

    What seems evident is that we are accruing players with a high work rate ethic and that pleases me greatly. I cannot understand why/how we lose intensity in some games.

    With players like Alexis, Ozil (he works so much harder than most give credit) Ramsey, Coquelin, Elneny and Welbeck, we will play at a much higher intensity and maybe be better at dealing with the high press when subjected to it …. Southampton tomorrow for instance?

  12. RA says:

    You little agent provocateur, Rasper. 🙂

    I think your Post tickler, and later comments, could be taken as a piece and that would be a mistake for someone like me to attempt.

    Given that I did not see the game, I have the impression that your comments on El Nenny are pretty much what everyone is saying about him. Industrious, has a good shot, and prepared to tackle too.

    He is still young and who knows how he will develop, but we all need patience, especially me. However, seeing him as a replacement for Rambo is a bit of a stretch, and dare I say it, if we had not had such a multitude of midfield injuries we may well not have bought him.

    The snooker term ‘a shot to nothing’ springs to mind, in that Arsene may have wanted to mollify the perpetually restive fans, by showing he sees the need to bolster the midfield by buying someone for not much money, who may well turn out to be very good, but who, if he turns out to be a donkey, could be written off as petty cash.

    We will have to wait and see, I suppose, which it turns out to be.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Rasp your comment :

    “but I do agree that both Ramsey and Wilshere are yet to make any particular position their own”.

    I could add 3 words and change it to :

    but I do agree that both Ramsey and Wilshere are yet to “BE ALLOWED TO” make any particular position their own.

    Perhaps more correctly it would be about giving them the right platform to nail down their best position and then develop into a world class player in that role. I will not say too much as some of it strays into parts of a potential post.

    One food for thought though would be the question of how many people that now laud Ozil at some point declared him a waste of space, too lazy e.t.c. Not specifically on here but in Arsenal blogosphere in its entirety. The laziness was disproved by his stats on miles / Km’s covered but there were times when he didn’t look quite right, and quite often it was when played in the wider position.

    Now you are not going to convince me that this was all part of some really clever Arsene Wenger developmental plan for Ozil. The guy didn’t need developing, just needed a run of games in his best position. It was a big error from Arsene IMO, and unfortunately one I currently see replicated in other players.

  14. Rasp says:

    😀 cheers Redders.

    Its interesting how the absence (injury) of a one player who is then replaced by another can change the dynamic of the team. Santi wasn’t having his best season, but he is an excellent player but somehow we managed well without him.

    I’m a big fan of fluency in midfield – getting the ball forward quickly with incisive one or two touch passing – Iwobi was particularly good at this on Saturday. We all know that Alexis holds onto the ball a bit too long on occasion, but he’s a worldy and he has the right, but I feel deep lying MFs should be the accelerator to the attack, not handbrake.

  15. Rasp says:

    GB, those who failed to see what Ozil brings to the team in the early days were just displaying their lack of appreciation of the technical side of the game … we’re doing our best to educate them 😆

    As regards your ‘not allowed to’ play in their best position. You’re worse than Arsene 😕 You may not be trying to put square pegs in round holes, just put 3 pegs in the same hole 🙂

  16. RA says:


    Part Deux:-

    Your contention that we do not have many top defenders coming through from the youth teams, was carefully worded to avoid giving a timescale – this season – next season – sometime never? – and I have to agree with you. 🙂

    El Nenny is up against quite a goodly number of experienced, skilful players when all the sick and wounded return, but in addition we also have some really good youth players coming through, in various positions, including Jeff, Queen of Adelaide, as you say, plus Zellalem, Malen, Willock, Mavidid, Toral*, Akpom, Crowley, Bielik*, Terry’s nephew, Chatzitheodoridis*, Carrol, Dragomir*, Pleguzuelo*, Fortune and others too.

    All at various ages, and stages of development, and some of whom are defenders, and any of them will be quite capable of breaking through to the main squad, given time.

    Those marked * are either midfielders or defenders.

    Just saying! 🙂

  17. GoonerB says:

    RA, I did see the game, albeit with friends complete with much chat, so my entire focus was not on every moment of the game. I agreed about Elneny having a good debut and looking very promising. I also agreed on how well Iwobi played. I also thought the Ox had a decent game from the bits I saw, which is where I seem to be in disagreement with many.

  18. Rasp says:

    Redders, why don’t you write a post examining the hot prospects we have coming through the academy?

  19. GoonerB says:

    Yes Rasp, the 3 into 1 hole does bring us nicely back to an argument that both you and I put forward probably as early as 2 years ago, that Arsene was accruing too many players with a similar skill set. We said how could he play them all and there was a concern that players would end up in the wrong role too often. I felt that then and I feel it now. Personally I feel it is the biggest obstacle to us progressing, having too many options and not knowing how to accommodate it.

    I do think that both Fergie and Maureen had a ruthless streak that is a little absent in Arsene, one that would remove this as an issue to them. His extra niceness to all his players means,for me, that he is running around trying to keep all happy at the expense of team fluidity and development. I also think he has certain preferences in some players over others which aren’t always justified on a footballing level.

  20. RA says:

    Hello BG, 🙂 zzzz

    I think your continual assumption that you can read zzzz Arsene’s mind or are somehow able to interpret what he is or is not zzzz responsible for a little disingenuous.

    For example; you say, “you are not going to convince me that this was all part of some really clever Arsene Wenger developmental plan for Ozil” – not that I ever saw anyone saying any such thing – but you follow that up by; “It was a big error from Arsene IMO, and unfortunately one I currently see replicated in other players” — so there we go, I think we have it – if it works out OK, in your opinion, it is no credit to Arsene – but if it is wrong, again in your opinion, it is all Arsene’s fault.

    Umm — not sure who I would trust more to develop the team or individual players, or with the deployment of our team tactics, when we are lying in a measly joint second place in the Premiership – Arsene — GoonerB; —– Arsene — GoonerB

    It’s a tough call ——-not! 😀 zzzz

  21. LB says:

    Excellent cage rattling headline Rasp.

    Good read as well. I think that there is a lot to be said for the idea that Ramsey would like to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid, why wouldn’t he?

    But the thing is I am not sure he is good enough to play for either. I watched Barça vs Athletico and the interplay between the Catalan’s is still off the scale and when you think that Ozil was not viewed as being good enough for Real and he, as we all know, is better than Ramsey then it is fairly easy to see that that door might never open for him as well.

    Personally, I see this as all being very good for us; Ramsey is an excellent player who is getting better and better and the longer he stays at THOF the happier I am.

    As for Elneny, it’s still too early to say, we will get a better idea when he plays against stiffer opposition; still, so far so good.

  22. LB says:

    I don’t see the number of midfielders as being a problem, we lose Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini at the end of the season so I think it is almost more accurate to say that he was brought to replace one of those rather than a replacement for Ramsey’s eventual departure.

  23. RC78 says:

    Coquelin is sttaying
    Ramsey is staying
    Wilshere is staying
    El Neny is staying

    Rosicky will leave
    Arteta or Flamini will leave

    The only question mark is Cazorla…
    He is a quality football player but will he accept to play on the wings or as a sub? I think he has done well for us but I also think that he is one of the valuable assets that we can replace because El Neny has been bought, Ramsey can play on the right and Wilshere and Ramsey can deputize Ozil as 10 together with Sanchez and Campbell…For me, we should have sold him last summer but in any case, we could certainly welcome a good transfer fee for a fine player that we can replace with our existing crop of players…

    Now – we should ideally get Xabi Alonso or Vidal from Bayern Munich as they can both play DM and CM.

    As for Iwobi, he is showing some good promise. Would benefit from a loan next year

  24. RC78 says:

    Cech – Bellerin, ?, Kos, Monreal – Ramsey, ? – Ozil – Walcott, Giroud, Sanchez

    Ospina – ?, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs – El Neny, Coquelin, Wilshere – Ox, Wellbeck, Campbell

  25. Gööner In Exile says:

    LB I think you hot upon the problem of the modern day football manager with an average lifespan of one and a half years in the job why would any of them plan for the future. I guess that’s why Directors of Football and transfer committees are becoming as prevalent in England as they have been elsewhere, it is up to them to establish the football direction of the club and the manager who might have some input in transfers of immediate importance is as much part of the selection process as the players and is tasked with getting the most out of those players and delivering the style of play the Directors want.

  26. RA says:


    You think that when the ageing Arteta goes in the summer, we should replace him with someone older?

    Can’t see that happening.

  27. GoonerB says:

    Ahhh Redders…….we are back onto the old “no-one knows more than Arsene so there is no point in stating a critical opinion of him”. Further if you do make an opinion it has to be wrong, always, because as you said no-one knows more than him.

    Funny how that one is often trotted out by some then conveniently sidelined when they have an opinion that may be critical of the club, or even,god forbid, the way the manager is doing something.

    I do wonder at the blogging worlds “opinion policemen” that want to still make their own opinions known as often as they are putting the dampeners on others.

    A couple of points. Firstly yes I will be critical where I feel I see issues, purely as a non football understanding moron you know, so nothing that in any way has any bearing on our great infallible manager that can do, and never has done, any wrong.

    Secondly I have always given Arsene praise, more so than being critical of him, so the insinuation that my only agenda is to never give him praise when things are good and only to be focused on criticising him when things are bad……errr…I don’t quite get.

    As we are in a strong position perhaps it is the best time to express what one feels is wrong. At bad times it is accused of being a knee-jerk reaction, so one can’t win in reality.

    Anyway, potential post(s) binned now and for the foreseeable future (big sigh of relief from all). One last thing I think you may need to pop down to pc world Redders as I think there may be something wrong with the “z”character on your keyboard. I have noticed it for a number of days now.

    Till later everyone 🙂

  28. RC78 says:

    RA – Xabi Alonso may be older but he is a much better footballer and we can give him a one year contract…Otherwise, there is always Vidal 🙂

  29. Rasp says:

    GB … conflicting opinions are our lifeblood … don’t you dare bin any of your posts … we will publish with pleasure 😀

  30. GoonerB says:

    Rasp, no problem with conflicting opinions. I like to debate a point with opposing viewpoints. I have often changed my mind in such circumstances based on others opinions.

    It is when there is no attempt to debate a point one raises, and it is just put down or ridiculed with what you were saying being twisted to indicate you said something you actually didn’t. I know that really annoys Redders when it happens to him so I just want a good for the goose and gander approach.

    I love blogging with Ra and don’t want to scare him off, if I came across a bit sharp. In all likelihood it was all in jest and I have just interpreted it wrongly today and over the last while. I don’t always have much time to blog so in truth I have to assess whether the time involved is relevant. If others find it tedious to blog with me, don’t wishto debate a point and feel I am overly negative, or feel I bang the same drum all the time then I will take the hint.

    I always point out anyway that I am pretty thick skinned so I am not psychologically damaged. Nothing that my new therapist, Mr Mancinimindfcuk, can’t help with. By chance I found him outside my window 3 weeks back just as I was thinking I needed a new therapist. He has a very unusual and revolutionary way of dealing with issues. Watching ones wife in the throes of passion with ones therapist to toughen ones mental state up….not sure why it isn’t more mainstream therapy really.

  31. Rasp says:

    😆 GB …. and now the bad news …. Pep to City in the summer confirmed 😦 😦

  32. Rasp says:

    GB …. no-one finds it tedious to blog with you. As I observed today, your comments are always well written, good natured and interesting.

    Please don’t think you are not appreciated on AA, or that you are wasting your time, nothing could be further from the truth. It takes all sorts to make a world …. and a multitude of other sorts to inhabit blog sites 🙂

  33. GB, my dear boy, I am at your service.

    I find your posts on tactical bolloxation most rewarding. That’s because I don’t read them

    For me to assist you I must know wether this bothers you and if so why?

    Does it stem from a need to prove exsistense? Nobody likes to find out there not real.

    I myself have questioned my physical reality many times. Usually on dating sites. Thank God for Geoff. He may at first have pretended to be a women, but his enquiries on what colour socks I wear and wether I enjoyed shooting innocent passers by with an air rifle were much appreciated.

    Next game lets meet up for a beer. You can tell me all about it, and of course, I won’t be listening.

    Thanks Rasp. Not sure if Elneny is a replacement for Ramsey, but I can see how having two players running around like hyper active toddlers may be a bit much.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    Looking forward to seeing Pep in the PL.

    Klopp has been great entertainment as have LVG, Ranieri and Bilic. I expect the same from Pep.

  35. RC78 says:

    Man City – Pep Guardiola
    Man Utd – Jose Mourinho
    Chelsea – Antonio Conte or Pelligrini
    Arsenal – Arsene Wenger
    Liverpool – Jurgen Klopp

    Top league with top coaches

    You may want to add Pochetinno

  36. RC78 says:

    Neymar has said that he would like to work with Pep so watch out for a 100 Mln bid for him from Man City OR a bid with players to be swapped…

    Anyways – it is sad that Pellegrini will be sacked from City as he has done a good job there. I am sure he will find a good club (Inter Milan?) or a good team (Italy?) to manage as he is a top manager

    Now backed to the real question: Shall we sell Cazorla?

  37. RA says:

    Oh, GB, I only take a gentle dig at people I like. 🙂 zzzz

    (No, I will stop teasing you about your lengthy comments, and stop going to sleep – if you ask the sagacious Rasper, or the venerable Erik, you will find that I was infamous in the past for my verbose comments – which made pulling your leg all the more fun.) 🙂

    Actually, I am prepared to admit I am wrong when that happens – which of course is never, as like Terry Titmouse I do not exist! 🙂

    In fact, I am more than happy that you take the time and have the inclination to express opinions. Please continue to do so – in fact it would be silly not to do so as who would I have to argue with?

    This morning you advanced your argument about Wenger’s inappropriate use of players by making them play out of position etc, and, by doing so publicly, you invite comments, dissenting or otherwise, from other evil bloggers – like me.

    I have been around AA from not so long after they hived themselves off from LG, where I had seen some of the elders perform, and that is the best part of 5 years (i am guessing) and also I make no pretence of the fact I have blogged elsewhere, and sometimes bump into other ex-AAers who seem to recognise me despite my disguises – I wonder why. So nothing you have ever said – except being rude to my friend Corky the Camel – has been a problem to me, and I do not really have any hard and fast opinions of my own – and am known to throw away any that causes controversy, and bring forward some more that people might like better.

    Relaxez-vous, mon cher, talking bollix makes the blogging world go around – so please feel free – if nothing else it makes both of us one in a million, and me, won in a raffle – anyway it amuses me! 😀

    [And I heard you and your worms snoring back there.] zzzz

  38. GoonerB says:

    Cheers Terry. I don’t mind people not listening to me when I am actually with them. That is a completely different set of circumstances.

    In truth it is a tactical ploy to get you not listening to me so that I can participate in my real love of eyeing up the barmaids without you feeling I am ignoring you.

    Anyway, hugs and kisses to Redders. Come back and we can make amends sitting naked together around a fire knocking back a couple of glasses of moonshine.

  39. GoonerB says:

    Damn, beat me too it. Right start the bonfire and get your strides off Redders.

  40. RA says:


    — “(GB) I find your posts on tactical bolloxation most rewarding. That’s because I don’t read them”. 😀

    Had me choking with laughter, and if that does not win a laugh from our friend the eponymous GB, [GoonerB bollix] then nothing will! You are a comedy genius! (And it’s too late for those bloody tax returns so get on here more frequently!)

    How is that nephew of yours getting on? Chatzitheodoridis – I am sure these names are made up just so that our tongues take ages to unwind after trying to say them.

    Not your tongue and mine – I just mean generally, altho you and Cockie-Doodle can carry on. 😀

  41. RA says:

    You keep your hands off my strides, GB, you sexy beast – anyway these are the only ones I have – and I pinched them off Terry! 🙂

    Back anon.

  42. GoonerB says:

    On Pep Rasp. I liked and wanted him, as did you, but there was something that gave me pause for thought. On an independent coaching basis I would love him but his recent assertion that 3 years at a club is enough I am not sure aligns with the Arsenal.

    I was hoping he was ready for a longer term club and project but obviously not, and I have my reservations that the 3 year cycle only really works for clubs that can spend their way around the natural peaks and troughs of good sides peaking, then declining, then being rebuilt.

    maybe this 3 year cycle is the modern way but I would still like to think that there is a top manager with a longer term view on things. My wish for Pep did go down to a degree with that revelation of his management style.

  43. Rasp says:

    Good points once again GB. So where will Pep go after his 3 years at city I wonder?

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    So if you were Abamovich you’d offer Pelligrini a deal today wouldn’t you?

    Here’s my thinking…replaced Mancini when his relationship became fractious with players, is a calm water off a ducks back kind of manager, doesn’t get easily embroiled in tabloid tittle tattle and has managed to keep a happy camp at City despite the amount of players there demanding big money and pitch time. Has them playing a good brand of football.

    As for Pep at City I say good luck to him, it’s the worst side he has taken over and needs the most alteration to adopt Peps normal style of play. That’s not to say City are a bad side, it’s just an acceptance that Munich, Barca and Madrid are miles ahead of anyone else, and when he took them over he only really had to add his tactics to an already good team.

    The blank cheque book he will receive will be useful and his name as manager will be a draw, but as mentioned in today’s post regardless of the manager if you get a call from your agent saying City or Barca there’s still only one choice that most players will make.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    We are due to play Crystal Palace at home in April. I wonder if Adebayor will be fit and what type of reception he will get

  46. RA says:

    GB, disagrees with part of that, Exile, oops, I meant I do not totally agree with all of that. 🙂

    Of course there is a great draw for all players if one of the three mentioned wanted them, but in my honest opinion, money is the biggest draw of all, both for the club and the player.

    If Citeh offered £300m for Messi, now 28 going on 29, Barca would probably think seriously about agreeing to it. The extra drawing power as you said, is the appointment of Pep, who Messi knows well.

    There will be a whole succession of major players who will go there.

    The About Dhabi owners have already bought a MLS franchise in New York, and in South America they are going to set up another club – suck up all the local talent, and I believe I heard that they are thinking of investing in China.

    Finally, we all have to give credit, however reluctantly, to Barca, and Real Madrid, but what gave them a huge boost in the acquiring of key players, altho they both have fantastic academies, was their respective government tax ‘help’. Bayern are heavily sponsored by top german Industrialists as well as being owned by their fans.

    So now into the melting pot goes Citeh. None of it is good for football generally, to have such clubs streets ahead of everyone else.

  47. RA says:

    What I am surprised at is how little we are all interested in any of the transfer activity.

    Was I hearing voices, or did others here, hear Arsene say at the beginning of the transfer window that ‘we will be very busy’?

    Anyone care to offer a definition of ‘very busy’? 😀

  48. chas says:

    Very busy = buy El Nino and make sure others will be returning from injury (LANS) to cushion the blow of no new £70 million pound striker for Micky.

  49. GoonerB says:

    Maybe he meant very busy getting injured players back during the TW.

    I still think squad wise we are in a much stronger position than many realise, but don’t feel we are utilising it as well as it could be. Further I think the players we need to improve it further are attainable without going into the silly areas of bidding for Bale / Messi e.t.c.

    I would feel that Arsenal with 1-2 smart signings and a slightly different outlook and approach to those players we have, can compete with a Guardiola lead Citeh.

  50. Big Raddy says:

    Very busy = Finding loan deals for Debuchy/Gnabry etc

  51. Big Raddy says:

    GB. We WILL be competitive if we can keep our squad together and most importantly fit.

  52. LB says:

    Phew, Guardiola to City, GN5 will understand.

  53. LB says:

    Unlimited budget at City, Pep does like having the deck stacked in his favour before he starts to play.

    His next move has got to be Celtic, just to make sure………..lol

  54. Eddie says:

    When I first heard on the radio about Pep to City I was sad thinking ‘Oh shit, another good manager going elsewhere :(‘ But then I had to wait at the doctors’ for 2 hours and had time to digest the news and is all rosy again 🙂

    1 Wenger has 2+ years in his tank, no need to rock the boat and fix something that is not broken

    2 Players at City won’t be as motivated this season knowing their lovely boss is going. Which means we can still win the league by capitalizing on other teams’ misfortunes

    3 It is good for EPL to have top professionals, like Klopp and Pep rather than Pullis and Allardyce.

    4 Good chance that Pochettino will come to N5, eventually.

    All this is good and dandy IF we win the league. If we flop it, I and many others will consider this Wenger’s biggest failure yet and i am afraid he will have to go. I will buy him one way ticket to Calais

  55. MickyDidIt89 says:

    And up stepped Rasp. Again 🙂

    Great stuff, thank you. Elneny and Ramsey. Maybe, and I think GB will approve of this, Arsene reckons our best football this season was played with Ramsey on the right, so Elneny means we can relive those moments, and very soon Danny will once more take up his rightful position 🙂

    Pep to City? Don’t care, he’s a pipsqueak, although if there is a silver lining, it will upset both Utd and Chav fans, I’d imagine.

  56. akinzo says:

    First, I must say there’s nothing to suggest Elneny was bought to replace Ramsey. We cherish how far the lad had improved over the years but he will need to reach a new level to play for Barca. Song was deemed to be one of the best in the EPL when he left for Spain, how well did he fare in Barca and where is he today? The Egyptian like many, might have to be pushed around a lot to find his best position for us. Even the revered Ozil had spells on the wings before finally making the playmaker role his. Why would anyone suggest Elneny can’t flourish as the HM? If he was deployed there on Saturday he would have come out unscathed like he did yet some of us are already worried that he wasn’t the player we thought would give Coquelin a run for his money. The guy is still 23 and isn’t the finished product.
    Then, I am also puzzled how some came to the conclusion that Carzola’s time is up at Arsenal. He was the preferred choice and except something drastic happens he is more likely to return to his position in the midfield for the next few seasons. One thing cannot be changed though, fans’ lust for new shiny players. Arsenal whether we want to accept the fact or not cannot compete financially with Chelsea, Man City and Man U so the club must find a way round that big issue. I believe the best way to go is giving young players the opportunity to develop. At a not too distant past, Campbell was seen as a waste of space, but he has shown that he can cut it so has Koscielny and Ozil to mention a few. A lot of fans keep waxing lyrical about Pep but can he cut at a club where he won’t have an open cheque? I doubt that. We may be disgruntled at Wenger but he has certainly been marvelous with us. I remember how he was severely criticised in the past when we take a lead and rather than close the game we continue to go gong ho. Now he is changing, yet, he is still seen as tactically poor. It’s a funny world.

  57. MickyDidIt89 says:

    What time does the window close, and have there been any interesting signings by others?

    I could go look myself, I suppose

  58. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, here goes. According to what I imagine is a highly reliable source, Arsenal “could launch a late swoop for the 26-year-old” and they’re referring to 23M quid for Yarmalenko. How about that!

    I’m not sure you can beat a late swoop 🙂

    Although I don’t think he’s very good at football, but hey

    Bloody love a transfer window me

  59. kelsey says:

    Very good reading today, well done chaps.

    When does Campbell’s contract end,I thought it was at the end of this season.

    Anyone want to talk about mertesacker and replacing him 😉

  60. Rasp says:

    Debuchy has gone out on loan – I wonder if Elneny can play right back?

  61. Big Raddy says:

    Akinzo. Another fine comment. I am one of those who loves a shiny new toy but think we can win something without one.

  62. kelsey says:

    Ok,what about Szsney,Ospina,Welbeck,Wilshere,Walcott,The Ox, Arteta,Flamini,Rosicky,Gibbs,Gnabry,Chambers……

  63. chas says:

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    When we were doing the litmus test the other day, nobody vaguely suggested Rambo was a shoe-in for Barca.

    Also, the haste to ditch Santi is a common theme amongst Arsenal supporters. He was deemed surplus to requirements last summer by many but has proved how valuable he is this season with his excellent adaptation to the deeper role alongside Le Coq.

  64. Rasp says:

    I think you guys are reading what you want from the post. I first suggested that Elneny could be used as a stand in for Ramsey to let him have a rest. The mention of Barca was simply a means of saying that if he should go (not that I wanted or thought he’d go) then Elneny may be able t fill the void if only in the short term.

  65. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Get out of the ring Rasp, we’re trying to start a fight with Crystals 🙂

    Now Crystals, I note with interest, that on your list of doom there’s no mention of Ollie 🙂

  66. chas says:

    Haha, rattled your cage back.

  67. chas says:

    Funniest news of the day so far?

  68. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Blimey, sacked by Stevenage. That’s not going to look at all good on the CV

  69. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Unassisted xG per 90 on the x axis
    And just for fun on the y axis we have assisted versus unassisted

    Ha ha ha, bloody superb

  70. Eddie says:

    micky – better than ‘through and through Scum’

  71. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ooops, read it wrong, it’s even better
    y is more g xg per 90 bollocks 🙂

  72. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evening Eddie 🙂

  73. chas says:

    I thought you’d like it because it ‘proves’ Giroud is as sh*t as Benteke. 🙂
    Antonio makes his own chances. I didn’t even know there was a player in the Prem with the surname Antonio!
    Without looking it up, who does he play for?

  74. Eddie says:

    ox to Southampton? Can’t be true. Ok, I’ve criticised him lately, but it’s too early to give up on him, surely?

  75. Eddie says:

    woof woof – male or bitch? name? Boy – Pat, girl – Vieira

  76. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Sorry, dragged away

    I tried zooming in but really can’t see anything. I do automatically assume Ollie’s dot is small and low down

    Bitch. No name yet. Coming Saturday

  77. Eddie says:

    micky – I cannot wait 🙂

  78. MickyDidIt89 says:

    I could see the enormous pink dot of Aguero, and would have assumed Sanchez has nearly as many gxg’s per 90 assisted or unassisted

  79. MickyDidIt89 says:

    The window is open until 11
    My stance is strong and firm. If we haven’t signed Cavani by 10, I’m off to bed, and I shall NOT be talked into a U-turn.

  80. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Ok, Balotelli by 10:15

    Final offer 🙂

  81. chas mobile says:

    Giroud’s dot is fairly big, light blue, top left because his expected assisted goals is quite high.
    Yep, Sanchez’ dot is bang on the line.
    Aguerro is out on his own – makes his own chances and can finish those made for him.
    Utter nonsense obviously!

  82. Big Raddy says:

    Come on AW, buy someone. Anyone.

  83. GoonerB says:

    Raddy / Micky, if no striker arrives then we had better bloody well see Welbeck given a good run up top or I am starting a mutiny which you are free to join me in.

    Despite recent iffy performances I would still like to chuck Theo back up there more often as well. Goal-scorers don’t get better when there is a perceived lack of faith in them and tend to snatch at their chances under those conditions.

    AW has always seemed to adhere to the showing of faith and giving a player a good chance in a position so that they can be more relaxed and instinctive, which makes his lack of faith in certain players an unusual departure from the norm for me. Sanogo got more bloody chances than Theo and Danny and Ollie has had more opportunities than most players get over 10 years

  84. Gööner In Exile says:

    GoonerB without reopening old wounds….we can’t have an unknown, Theo can score goals from the wing we all have seen this happen, bit when gifted with gilt edged chances he is as wasteful as the next man, who isn’t actually that wasteful when compared with most players, shot to goal ratio being similar. The argument could be that Ollie gets better chances than most other strikers but unless there are people who sit through every ninety minute game this too is hard to judge.

    But let’s talk Theo for a second, that breakaway on Saturday, he fluffed it, why would playing up top more make him any better st finishing it? He has hot streaks where finishing comes naturally and cold streaks where everything he touches runs to the opposition. Theo offers pace and finishing, he can’t play with his back to goal and he lacks vision to play passes and offers zero aerial threat. Ollie can finish with his head and feet, can bully defenders physically and can bring others into the game. I think Welly has the ability to do all that too, and offers some pace, it’s ashame we won’t see him in the shirt til end of March. The form of Campbell and the emergence of Iwobi also means that should Arsene want to try playing without the big man, Alexis is a more fitting option to replace him than Theo, and I’m still not sureTheo gets a start.

  85. chas says:

  86. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Cats can’t help it. They’re cooler than dogs.


  87. MickyDidIt89 says:

    “Giroud’s dot is fairly big, light blue, top left because his expected assisted goals is quite high”

    Ha ha ha, and what did we expect exactly. He makes goals for himself? 🙂

  88. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Possible mutiny noted 🙂

    However, we must understand that Arsene is French, and when he says busy…..well, going home early, turning up the central heating, climbing into yer thong and watching telly is not what we English mean by the word busy 🙄

  89. chas says:

    He’s shit.
    18 goals in 30 appearances (12 in 21 Prem) – all of them handed to him on a plate.

  90. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hey Chas
    Are you going tonight, and if so, train or car? Reason I ask is that the tone of the sight remains too high for my sort when your sort go by car.

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh Dear God, Chas 🙂

  92. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Think I will take up hunting 😀

  93. kelsey says:

    So Debuchy goes to Bordeaux and the mighty Sanogo goes to Charlton, both on loan.Wenger is taking a huge risk that a) we won’t have further injuries b) the less inexperienced players in the squad are mentally alert for the long run in c)Two or three key players will regain form d) Arteata and Flamini are used as little as possible, and I fear for Wilshere’s future and in all probability we have seen the last of Rosicky.
    We can still win the league but if we fall away yet again there is only one person to blame not using his vision nor the considerable amount of cash at his disposal.The upsetting thing is that I am not at all surprised.

  94. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Stop dooming 🙂

    AW obviously thinks Chambers is good enough to allow Debuchy to go on loan then I be

  95. kelsey says:

    You heard it hear first Raddy.Whichever way you look at it it’s a gamble.

    Micky, re your new dog.I am sure you have arranged pet insurance otherwise it will cost you a bomb.

  96. Shard says:

    Sorry to talk football so early, but I missed out the past few days.

    I think Elneny was brought in to replace Arteta.

    Debuchy seemed to be moaning too much and maybe hurting team spirit. Chambers and Flamini can both play there, though neither is ideal. Gabriel has played at RB before as well. Should be ok.

    Is Gnabry back, or is he still stuck at WBA?

    Our loanees are going to be in the reckoning to make the squad next season. Akpom, Toral, Maitland Niles, Hayden, Wellington, Zelalem, Gnabry and Sanogo. Along with Iwobi, Jeff, Bielik etc, I think we have potentially good depth in the squad for the forseeable future. The trick will be in getting the balance right between developing them and not risking them.

  97. RA says:

    Kelsey, Kelsey, Kelsey – you are obviously feeling much better – that’s dooming of the highest quality! 🙂

    Did you know that Wenger is joined by all the managers of the top 8 club managers of the Premier League? None of them before Dick Squat. 🙂

  98. RA says:

    Gnabry looks as if he is going to a Championship club – different rulers for them.

  99. Eddie says:

    I am with Kelsey, Wenger should strengthen the squad in January. I am not buying the excuse that no right players were available. They should have the deals sorted long before January.

    Personally I really like Charlie Austin, why did we not bring him in? That is just an example, I am sure there are other strikers out there

    If we finish 2nd or 3rd I am going to be disgusted, my patience has ran out now

  100. Eddie says:

    micky – you are either a cat person or you are not. I am not; I like all animals but cats will never be my 1st choice for pet. My granddaughter however has a dog, I have 3 dogs, but if you just mention my cat to her, she is by the door ready to go to mine to see Lilly La La 🙂

  101. RA says:

    I think more people should join GoonerB’s mutiny — at 11 a.m. today he wants everyone to only have one cup of tea, instead of two.

    That’ll show who ever he is mutineering against!! 🙂

    What a lad.

  102. GoonerB says:

    Morning all. Chas….no vids???? Even more important today Chas to put up some comedy vids to guess to lift the spirits of those committing hara kiri because Messi, Ronaldo and Pele,and Cliff Bastin didn’t arrive.

    GIE thanks for responding to me yesterday. Good points noted. Will wait for a Danish Postry before saying more which will likely cover the subject we discussed. Don’t worry at opening wounds as I have camel remedies for such things so lets just all open wounds to our hearts content

  103. GoonerB says:

    Morning RA. Off for a bit with pesky work like things. Catch you all later.

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent title and post, Rasp. 🙂

    I am with LB that Ramsey is good, very good at times, but unlikely to dislodge anyone in the Barca midfield anytime soon. He saw what happened to Hleb and Song so he would be daft to go there now. However, in three years time I reckon he might be at his peak and ready for such a move if he still wanted it.

    I am smiling at the continuous lack of understanding of Giroud’s role and qualities but I guess this will never go away. The hope that Welbeck will be a better option up top is interesting. Danny has so much to learn when it comes CF play and only a miracle will make him a proper one. A CF, more than anything else, needs to have an instinctive feeling of where to be next in the box to have a chance to score. Giroud has it, Sanogo has it (but is still fluffing his lines), Sanchez has it, Theo sometimes has it but Danny boy has not got it.

    Just watch again a game of Welbeck in action and look at his positioning and anticipation of what is to happen next when in and around the box and you know what I mean.

    Now Welbeck as a Mid-Winger is a different thing altogether.

    Have a nice day AAers and let’s hope we give the Saints a decent spanking. 💥💥💥

  105. Big Raddy says:

    Danish Postry 🙂 🙂

    TA. You too.

  106. Rasp says:

    Morning all …..

    Hi TA, good points as always, I agree Danny has a lot to learn but nature has given him the ingredients to be a top CF, he just needs to learn how to cook with them 🙂

    GB – are you going tonight/ Will you be at the FFB for a pre-match libation?

  107. Rasp says:

    Just to go back to yesterday’s post, my suspicions about Elneny’s performance were correct.

    He made the most passes of any player on either team with a 95.2% pass completion = 80/84. He also ran further than any other player.

    Maybe it was ‘only Burnley’, they tried to play a pressing game against us but that was thwarted to great extent by our workrate thanks to Sanchez, Elneny, Coquelin and Iwobi

  108. Rasp says:

    The key to a high pass completion is in the movement of other players to make themselves available for the pass, and the speed with which the ball is moved about = 1 or 2 touch. You can see why we relentlessly practice that routine with one defender in the middle trying to intercept the ball inside a ring of others who are only allowed one touch – it has to become almost automatic in the end.

  109. kelsey says:

    too many ifs and buts for me.Will the younsters improve,will any of the long term injured ever regain their former form.
    If we won the league or not and a huge offer came in for Ramsey the board would take it as they would for any other of our 2 top class players.

    We are not playing well I don’t care what any of you say and we face a big test today.We shouldn’t be reliant on the Ozil/Sanchez partnership to carry the team.

    Also Cech should start every game,I don’t believe in this keeper fo the cup business and Ospina is not top class.50% of the time he needs two attempts to grab a ball every time he plays.

    We could do so much better than we are doing at present.

    Re Welbeck,I ask you how many of our players who have long term injuries or are repeatedly getting injuries ever come back to the form they initially showed ? If Welbeck recovers and he is still relatively young I would be delighted but the doubt always remains as our recent history shows.

  110. RA says:

    Sorry, Rasp, I am afraid your theory of pass completion success is blown out of the water by my theory.

    Want to hear it? OK.

    You find a suitable wall, brick, wattle whatever, and smack the ball as hard or as gently at it as you like — the wall does not mind and always passes back — so you see, much better than your idea. 😀

  111. Eddie says:

    kels – amen. An injury prone player never recovers. Look at Diaby, Jack, Rosicky.
    We could do much better and sit comfortably at the top of the table, and take the title by storm. Instead we will be happy again to be in the top four

  112. Rasp says:

    Good plan Redders, so if we can play a team of walls every week we’ll be fine 🙂

  113. Rasp says:

    I like a transfer as much as the next guy/gal, but we have to be realistic here. If you are calling for another striker then probably only P.E.A. or Yarmolenko are within our grasp in as much as the other big clubs may not be interested. It has been reported that we are interested in these players.

    But if the holding club doesn’t want to sell or the player doesn’t want to come, then we cannot sign them.

    Who exactly is this player we should have bought?

  114. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

  115. RA says:

    I love a Danish Postry myself – as GB knows, all that lovely smooth icing topping, with just the right amount of fruity filling. Mmmm lovely.

    Just like one of Erik the Red’s posts! 😀

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