Arsenal’s Week/End

May 28, 2016

It was a great week for Gunners.

We had the signing of an expensive midfielder. Strong, leader, more powerful left foot than Lukas, young, International. Here’s some perspective. He cost at least three times what we spent on Elneny, who I had never heard of and is brilliant. I am very excited by this, and it’s what we’ve all been calling for. Great stuff Arsene. Could be an awesome platform with the pair of them.

xhaka (1)

We had May 26. Oh sigh. Happiest of happy days that was.

Jack played for England. I didn’t see the game. Was he good, where did he play and does it bode well for Arsenal?

Erik raised the point yesterday about Marc Overmars and a possible link to Everton. Mmm. He’s currently Sporting Director of a very successful Ajax side, with De Boer as Manager, and DB10 as coach. Wow, some good blood there. Could some or all of them be groomed for Arsenal?

 

WEEKEND SPYING

Today Switzerland play, and I’d love to watch Granit in action. Of course, I’ll be using these pre-Euro games eyeing targets for The Arsenal, while hoping to see many goals.

Help me out here. Where are the goals most likely to come from, and for which teams do any potential Gunners play for.

Teams in action include:

Today:  The Madrids, Swiss and Belgians

Tomorrow: Germany, Spain, Italy and Portugal

 

Enjoy your weekends

Written by DidIt


Ramsey to join Mourinho?

May 25, 2016

We are at approaching the time of year when the Deadwood express drives at Arsenal station to pick up a few passengers. Early at the station were Flamini, Rosicky and Arteta but who else will be shipped out?

Today I will focus upon the midfield.

Given that we have signed Elneny and also (potentially) Granit Xhaka, some  midfield players must be going. Ramsey, Wilshere, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ox, Ozil, Iwobi, Gnabry, plus the returning  Toral is perhaps excessive and it is in midfield that we find the biggest puzzle……. What is going on with Coquelin?

Early in the season Coquelin would have been the first name on the team sheet, it was inconceivable that he wouldn’t start. It has to be said that I am not a big fan but reluctantly started to appreciate just how much he had improved, yet Francis is firmly on the naughty step as evidenced by the arrival (?) of Xhaka – you don’t spend €30m on a reserve.

The final unbeaten run of games saw Francis on the bench with AW not picking a sitting DM preferring to play Elneny alongside Ramsey as a double pivot (™️ TA).  I doubt anyone could have predicted Coquelin being dropped.

If we assume that Xhaka is signed and that Elneny has impressed Mr Wenger  tough to be considered a sin the starting X1, then a first team place is unlikely for Coquelin and he will become a squad player. Too good to sell? Probably and we will need him in case of injury/rotation.

That leaves 4 excellent players fighting for the single forward midfield role: Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla and Ox. All deserve to be starting PL players. All are committed to Arsenal but I expect one to be sold, the difficulty is who?

I really love watching them all. Ramsey is exceptional as his work for Wales displays. But … but. Other Gooners are not so impressed. It was not a great season for Aaron. Less goals, less assists, more mistakes; nonetheless he remains a seemingly integral part of Mr.Wenger’s plans.

Unknown.jpeg

Cazorla? Brilliant player. Upon his return at season’s end we improved and once again looked like potential title winners. Had he stayed fit we would have won the title – maybe – but he is over 30, somewhat injury-prone and slowing down. Arsenal need his experience – I doubt he willl be sold.

Ox. Horrible season for him. Injuries destroyed what should have been his breakthrough season. Nonetheless, he has huge potential and most of his on-pitch problems are due to his determination to be better. He needs to relax. But can he do so at Arsenal?

Jack. Another who had his season ruined by injury and who separates fans. IMO he  cannot be allowed to leave. His energy, vision and eye for goal is exceptional but his injury history is such that we cannot rely upon JW to play 40+ games.

Can Arsenal afford to keep 11 midfield players? Can Mr Wenger keep them happy? More to the point – does he want to?

I would not be surprised to see Mr Wenger selling a big name player to finance his summer purchases. Man Utd were in the hunt to sign Aaron Ramsey prior to his making the obvious decision to join AFC; they are desperate for a Carrick replacement and Aaron is a similar player (but better). A goal-scoring midfielder with International experience and a mate of Monkeyboy (who must be a MU target) – he fits MU’s and Mourinho’s requirements exactly. Could/would AW sell him to MU?

written by BR

 


A Better Arsenal? A plan for the future

May 24, 2016

My personal opinion on a future Arsenal FC management structure:

(A) Board & senior management:

Chairman: Sir Chips Keswick
Chief Executive Officer (Executive & Supervisory Board): Ivan Gazidis
Director (Supervisory Board): Arsene Wenger (replacing Ken Friar)
Director (Supervisory Board): Lord Harris of Peckham
Director (Supervisory Board): Stan Kroenke
Director (Supervisory Board): Josh Kroenke
Chief Financial Officer (Executive Board): Stuart Wisely
Chief Commercial Officer (Executive Board): Vinai Venkatesham
Technical/Sports director (Executive Board): (Thierry Henry)
Secretary: David Miles

(B) Coaching staff:

Manager: (New guy)
Assistant manager (Defence): Steve Bould
Assistant manager (Attack): Dennis Bergkamp (replacing Boro Primorac)
First-team coach: Neil Canfield (Mikel Arteta understudies him at some point!)
Goalkeeping coach: Gerry Peyton
Head of athletic performance enhancement: Shad Forsythe
Fitness coach: Tony Colbert
Head of medical services: Colin Lewin
Club doctor: Gary O’Driscoll
Kit manager: Vic Akers
Head of player recruitment (youth to senior level): Steve Rowley
1st-team chief scout: (Neil Banfield – change of roles)
Academy manager: Andries Jonker
U-21s coach: Steve Gatting
U-21s assistant coach: Carl Laraman
U-18s coach: Frans de Kat
U-18s assistant coach: Kwame Ampadu
U-16s coach: Jan van Loon

(C) Arsenal Foundation (Ambassadors)

Arsene Wenger
Bob Wilson
Liam Brady
Martin Keown
Robert Pires
(Tomas Rosicky)

============

Key points:

(1) Arsene Wenger to eventually moves up to the club’s supervisory board, replacing Ken Friar. He can still contribute with his knowledge on improving Arsenal FC further and advice to the board on footballing matters.

(2) Thierry Henry to take up a new post as technical/sporting director in the club’s executive board. He would work alongside Gazidis(CEO), Wisely(CFO) and Venkatesham(CCO) on the business side of things; with the new manager and Rowley (head of player recruitment – youth & seniors) in negotiating of players recruitment and sales, contracts and bonuses etc. Henry to help bridge the needs and wants for both the club’s senior management and coaching staff. He has some business acumen with his numerous endorsements off-field, being the public face of PUMA and has a string of business and stock market investments. He has made contacts in US (when playing in MLS), Spain (when with Barcelona), France and England. He should have some influences on Gazidis and Kroenke when making decisions.
Thus, Thierry Henry is the best candidate: one of our ex-player sitting in an important role at executive board and administrative level (as spoken by Bergkamp in his interview with Keown).

(3) Dennis Bergkamp to come in as a new assistant manager/1st team coach, taking over from Primorac. Bould would be defending coach; Bergkamp would be attacking coach.

(4) Mikel Arteta to understudy Banfield and eventually take over (Banfield to move up to chief scout role – he has already been doing scouting for the club). Arteta has the football intelligence and temperament to be a good coach. Wenger hoped that Arteta becomes a coach; both Guardiola and Pochettino wanted Arteta to be part of their coaching staff.
Arteta is multilingual, speaking fluent Spanish, Basque, Catalan and English, and speaks some French, Italian and Portuguese. (which is ideal, given our multi-national mix of players). Helps to compensate the departure of Primorac – as chief interpreter in 1st team.

(this was written before MA left the club but there remains hope he will return)

(5) Neil Banfield to move to 1st-team chief scout role.

(6) Club legend Tomas Rosicky to become the latest and new ambassador with the Arsenal Foundation.

Lucky No. (7) The new manager –
(a) Rudi Garcia (Age: 52)
Currently free agent. French/Spanish speaking. Advocate attacking football as the best means to achieve results (plays 4-3-3 offence). Favourable achievements in Ligue 1 (Lille) and Serie A (Roma).

(b) Frank de Boer (Age: 45)
Currently Ajax’s manager (plays 4-3-3 offence). Would be available when contract ends in mid-2017 (similar time frame as Wenger – currently). Arsenal’s approach with Andries Jonker, Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon managing the club academy’s development system to a one familiar to Ajax’s.

written by JM 


Kiss My Arsenal

May 20, 2016

KISS is an acronym. It stands for Keep It Simple Stupid.

There is an awful lot of sense in this, and I often employ it to navigate me through what can appear, at first glance, to be tempestuous waters. We’ve all heard the “it’s not rocket science” term bounded about, but you know what, that’s not difficult either. Think about it. I just did.

Business plan for rocket mission. Raise loot. Employ scientist for the wiring and stuff. Find someone good at bending metal into cylinders and tall pointy cone shapes. Secure take off location free from great crested newts and butterflies. Box of matches.

So. Managing a football team.

Some may say coming second in the League is good news. Not me. I say there is much improvement needed on the back of a treble, let alone coming second. So what’s needed? Well, as always, best to look upwards, and there we find Leicester City. Ok, now what the hell did they do that was ten points better than us, and what can be done?

  1. Manager.
  2. Wow, what a job. Now this really is a cushy number. There must be 100 odd paid football managers in England, and I doubt fewer than a handful could string more than a couple words together. If my wife came to me and said “we’re going out to a dinner party and you’re sitting next to a football manager”, I’d be sick, stay at home, and watch Jeremy Kylie. What I’m getting at is Ranieri was pretty rubbish, arrives at Leicester, then wins the League with a bunch of farmers. No tactical genius at work here, that’s for sure.
  3. Footballers.
  4. Arsenal has better footballers than Leicester City, and more of them. Fact. So what happened? Leicester tried harder more often.
  5. Injuries.
  6. They kept their key players fit. We didn’t.

KISS : The Solution

  1. Motivation. Get a Leader and only players who have demonstrated fight
  2. Rotate. Unlikely we will win all four comps.
  3. Be ruthless. Cruel to be kind. You cannot keep everyone happy all the time. They need to deal with it and not sulk.
  4. Same as last summer. We need three First XI’ers. Make the money if you have to. Maureen did at Chelsea. Flogged Mata, bought Hazard. Won League.

Finally, remember the rocket analogy. Get one, and remind players where it will go if they don’t pull their weight for the full 90. Don’t forget the matches.

written by MickyDitIt89


Full Back Review

May 18, 2016
Bellerin – I think it is fair to say that we have by now all fallen in love with Hector’s pace and much improved defensive abilities. He has grown into a reliable and very promising full back so much so that he is the only AFC player in the EPL team of the year…He is definitely a keeper for a long time – glad he proved me wrong.
 hectornacho

Monreal – an ok season. Relatively solid he also had some horrible games and his lack of pace gets exposed regularly….and his attacking contribution to  our game has been lame oh so lame…

Gibbs – another season goes by and he still is not AFC’s starting left back. He is an ok player but he can be awkward defensively and his attacking inputs are also limited although much better than Monreal.
Jenkinson – was doing ok until his injury. Is he keeper?
Debuchy – not good enough since his injury. He s doing ok in Bordeaux.
Given the above and given the fact that FB have become key to attacks and defence, do we need upgrades?
Written by RC78

THAT Sums it All Up – It’s Happened Again.

May 16, 2016

 

Arsenal 4  Aston Villa 0

Giroud 5’

Giroud 78’

Giroud 80’

Arteta 90 +2’ (yes, I know it was strictly an OG)

villa stats

Mikel Arteta interview

on his emotions of the day…
It’s a day I will never forget, I can only thank everyone for how you have all behaved with me and my family in those magnificent five years. When you leave the club is when you see what you mean to people and how you feel about the club. My emotions and the way I feel about the people cannot be any better. I was very scared about this day because 99 per cent, that was my last game as a professional footballer. I can’t even talk. I feel very honoured to play for this club and captain this place. This club is class and once you are here you never forget it. It’s going to be hard for me to move on, but I really enjoyed today.

on whether he will claim the last goal…
I don’t know. I couldn’t write a better script probably. The boys have been absolutely magnificent with me in the last two days. The things I’ve experienced will stay with me for the rest of my life. I always tried to look after them, to do my best. Even if we had some difficult moments, but at least we got this club back to winning ways again. We won some trophies. Also a big to thank you to the manager and the staff, for giving me this opportunity to say goodbye to the football world as a player. The way the supporters and the fans behaved with me, it’s just how I feel. It’s a dream come true.

on the final whistle…
I love competing and I love this game. I wanted to decide when the time was to leave. I preferred to make that decision myself, and not the other away around. In my opinion, I’m leaving the best club in England for sure. I’m very happy because the people and the manager have been unbelievable for me these last few weeks. They have left the doors open for me at this club. That means a lot.

on his next step…
I have to take some time. I’m 99 per cent sure I will stop playing football. I have different options now to continue in relation to this magnificent sport. I need to sit down with my family and decide what is best for me and for football in general in the next chapter.

on clinching second…
I think as the last day it is very special, and very good as I know how important it was for the fans to finish above Spurs. We are disappointed, because this group of players have the ability to win the Premier League. We have not managed to do it and I have to say sorry as captain, not to be able to lead this club to what we wanted. But at the same time, I know the guts of this club and people can be very honoured and grateful for what people do inside, because it can’t get much better than that.

(courtesy AFC.com)

What a Cracking Day Out

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this son of York;
And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.

The train from Nottingham was early with it being a Sunday. All seats were reserved due to Leicester fans visiting Stamford Bridge. We were quite looking forward to joining in with their onboard party. Little did we know that it was to turn into a day with a glorious party of our own.

The Leicester couple sat opposite us were intelligent, knowledgeable and interesting to talk to. They were part-time Darlington supporters as well, so had interesting tales to tell about watching non-league football. They were also very polite about sharing the table with umpteen beer bottles.

Arriving at St Pancras, the weather was absolutely stunning, reminding us of brilliant days out at Wembley when the sun shines down on the righteous.

Beers at the pub were enlivened by Villa fans determined to have one last good day out in the Prem. Many were in fancy dress adding to the colour and spectacle of the day. Ginger Spice and her mates  carried around by Teddy bears were absolutely plastered but happy.

villa2

villa1

The match would turn out to be one of my favourite games of all time. An early goal from Ollie’s super header got us off to a flyer. The second goal was a long time coming but The Toon made up for that with a string of goals to keep us entertained. The excited buzz around the stadium when Newcastle went 2 up was palpable. Could it be one of those amazing days when everything goes right? Were we not even going to need the intervention of some dodgy Lasagne?

Lamela getting one back for the spuds and Mitrovic’s dismissal dampened expectations for a few minutes, but then the whole Arsenal world was sent into a wonderful spin of goals and joy.

News of a 3rd goal for The Mags from a dubious pen followed by Giroud’s quickfire brace to secure his hat trick brought the whole stadium to a state of ecstatic fervour.

Mesut and Olivier going over to celebrate the 2nd goal with Tomas Rosicky was yet another moment of beauty in a day of extreme wonderfulness.

http://arsenalist.com/f/2015-16/arsenal-vs-aston-villa/goaal-olivier-giroud-2-0.html

By the time Newcastle completed the spuds’ humiliation with goals 4 and 5, the Emirates was a crazy jumping mass of delirious Goonerdom.

Mikel’s shot rebounded off the crossbar and into the net via the Villa keeper’s back and somehow the day was complete.

during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2016 in London, England.

In a way I was dreading the lap of appreciation in case the banner boys had something to moan about. But as it turned out, it ended up being a perfect opportunity to thank the players for giving us such a great day out at the football.

I love football, I love Arsenal and in a peculiar way, I love Tottenham for bringing us such unexpected heights of unconfined joy. That might just carry me all the way through the summer.

Did you enjoy your day? Let us know in the comments.

Written by chas


A Last Hurrah.

May 15, 2016

Final PM of the season and Your Foreign Correspondent is away on manoeuvres, but being a man with a sense of duty this post is being written before WHU (hopefully) beat MU .

Unknown-1.jpeg

Villa come to the Emirates after what must be their worst season in living memory. 3 managers , 3 wins all season, the draw with N’castle gave them their first point in 10 games. An angry fanbase, an owner who lives 5 thousand miles away and doesn’t appear to give a damn, players who are equally dispassionate, It is a shambles.

Could Villa win today?

They better not!!

I have no doubt Villa will be looking for a battling performance after all these are professional men playing for their careers. Some who are at the end of their contracts will be desperate to show they have value, others, like Lescott and Abangymethingy are already multi-millionaires and perhaps not so committed but this afternoon will not be an easy victory – we will have to play well to win.

Pressure. Can this Arsenal team respond to pressure? Well, we are on a unbeaten 9 game PL run, have shown character to come back from losing positions against MC, WHU and Spurs, so the answer should be Yes.

images-2.jpeg

The Last time we played AV on our Final game of the Season

A huge fillip is the return of our midfield, any team would struggle without such vital players. That said, as soon as a few come back a couple of England Internationals get long-term injuries!

We all know the value of 3 points today especially if The Miscreants fail up at St. James Pk. How funny would that be?  😀

The team: I would start the same chaps who got the draw at City with Ozil replacing Welbz.

Cech

Bellerin     Gabriel      Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey      Elneny     Iwobi/Wilshere

Sanchez     Giroux     Ozil

Given how important Mr Wenger views the Euro’s I would not be surprised to see Wilshere start in place of Iwobi allowing Ramsey to play further forward.

Coquelin: Is he on the naughty step? He is fit so why isn’t he starting? He has gone from being one of the first names on the team sheet to riding the pine without any discernible reason.

I am sure Santi will get some pitch time in order for the fans to show their love. Rumours are that he is off in summer though my hope is that he continues to entertain us for a couple more seasons.

No excuses – we have to win this afternoon. The tough work was done up in Manchester now the lads have to finish their season in style.

Let it be so …

p.s. This being my final pre-match of an exciting campaign may I take this opportunity to thank all those who have read my views and contributed to the discussions.

COYRRG