Things we learnt from the gameweek 26

So, Gameweek 26 comes to a close (apart from for those poor s*ds who are looking forward to Wolves versus the barcodes tonight) and what conclusions can we draw?

Getty Images

  • Yesterday’s game proved that Abu Dhabi oil money trumps Russian oil money – or does it? It was only the start of December when some were pleased that the chavs had inflicted Citeh’s first defeat of the season. After yesterday it’s difficult to imagine how – home advantage, I suppose. How good is it to go up a place in the table without playing? Haha.
  • Liverpool cruised at home against the Cherries, but they tend not to travel well anyway. The two horse title race could be very interesting as it moves towards the turn for home. As long as the outsider in the lilywhite silks doesn’t become involved in the final furlongs, that is.
  • Man U had fun at the cottage – sounds a bit like a Sun headline! The red mancs are like a runaway train at the moment with Pogba free from Maureen’s shackles. Their next three fixtures are PSG at home, the chavs away in the FA Cup, followed by the dippers at home on 24th February ( a game eclipsed by Arsenal v Soton kicking off at the same time, it has to be said). Will these matches slow them down? – we shall see.
  • It’s scary that the spuds are only 5 points off the top. Some on here were saying what great football they’re playing, even comparing them to us in our prime. This is so preposterous. Whenever I’ve seen them ( which is not often as I get an involuntary gag reflex if I see Son dive), they have seemed both lucky and dour. Compared to the attacking prowess of City and Liverpool – nah!
  • What did we learn about Arsenal? Well, not a lot, it has to be said. I guess it’s more of a case of we’re all wondering what will come next more than anything else. Getting some of our top earners out of the sick bay might help. Then again, if they’re not picked to play, what difference will it make?

chas

59 Responses to Things we learnt from the gameweek 26

  1. RA says:

    Morning Chas,

    A good summary of how things stand after the weekend.

    I agree with you overall, but I am uneasy about the way the swamp dwellers are lurking just behind the top 2, and as you say they somehow seem to sneak a winning last gasp goal with a penalty here and a fluke there.

    It is just possible that Pool and Citeh might scare the sugars out of each other and let the Spuds through on the last day. Yeuk.

  2. VP of Oz says:

    Another fine post Chas.
    I totally agree with you ->
    How good is it to go up a place in the table without playing?
    and
    I’ve seen them ( which is not often as I get an involuntary gag reflex if I see Son dive), they have seemed both lucky and dour.

    your summations of week 26 is spot on

    As for the players in the sick bay not being chosen to play, I quote echo & the bunnymen

    First I’m gonna make it
    Then I’m gonna break it
    Till it falls apart
    Hating all the faking
    And shaking while I’m breaking
    Your brittle heart
    OZIL stands
    All alone
    Sinking sand
    Skin and bone
    Bring on the dancing horses
    Wherever they may roam

  3. RA says:

    I love my rugby, and am a through and through Englishman when the 6 Nations is on, and seeing the boys blast first the 2nd best team in the world, Ireland, and then taking the French apart was wonderful.

    Just saying. 😎

  4. Big Raddy says:

    Fine starter to the week Chas.

    Malaysian expressed his fears about the PL becoming boring due to the vast gap in spending power between the top 6 and the rest. I tend to agree.

    There is now 12 points between 6th &7th.

    16 points between 5th and 2nd.

  5. Big Raddy says:

    It was an action packed sporting weekend. The highlight of which was, as RA says, the rugger. England were superb.

    Then the cricket with England finally performing as they can.

    Man City reminded everyone that football can be a game of artistry, pace, vision and excitement. The best performance of the season

  6. RC78 says:

    great post
    1. Man City and Aguero can be unplayable at times. Their squad also has depth and thay may prove the difference when the EPL ends…Let us see

    2.Liverpool played well and Mané is just amazing. Let us see if they can keep on winning their games as City will apply pressure week in week out.

    3. Man Utd is in top form while my belowed PSG is struggling with Neymar, Cavani and Meunier out. We are very thin and we are likely to lose. Our aim will be to lose by 1 goal only at OT so we have a chance at home. Babyface really playing players in ther best position and capitalizing on the team’s best talents. What a start for him…

    4.Spurs had no investment in the last year and a half and they are so close to Liverpool and Man City and that is to their credit. Pochetinno has created a very soild and reliable squad. He deserves all the plaudits he gets. From their GK to their striker, their starting XI and also their cover (1 per position) are quality.

    5.Arsenal lessons learned: Mikhy is a quality player when fit. He is so instrumental in build-up plays, he probably has a lot of “pass before assist”. He manages to create space and destabilize opposition with some of his cutting passes. Lacazette has been playing fine and with heart this season. Iwobi is very young and he can develop into a fine player for us but he needs to really improve his finishing, his decision-making while keeping his drive to create, dribble and move forward. Koscielny is keeping us aflot at the back in Holding’s absence. AMN is not comfortable playing at the back. Torreira and Kola having a dip in form while Guendouzi continues to be full of running. The rest of the team has been anonymous or not worth mentioning in a positive way.So for me who can stay next year:

    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Koscielny, Kola – AMN, Torreira, Guendouzi – Iwobi, Miky – Laca, Auba

    Squad needs: GK, RB, CB, LB, DM, CM, FW/Winger, ST

    Lafont – Hakimi, (Akankji/Koulibali/Aldewereid), Gaya, Gueye, (Allan/Doucoure/Ndombele), (Douglas Costa, Perisic, Zaha, Willian, Brahimi, Pepe), (Mitrovic/Milik/Haller)

    Imagine:
    Leno – Bellerin, Akanji, Holding, Kola – Torreira, Gueye, Allan or Ndombele – D.Costa, Auba – Laca

    Lafont – Hakimi, Sok, Kos, Gaya – AMN, Xhaka, Guendouzi – Iwobi, R.Neilsson – Mitrovic

    We still keep Miky because he can be an X-factor

    Anyways – time to wake up from my fantasy team

  7. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas …. all true.

    It is clear now that city are a class above everyone else again including pool, so the fate of the title may well come down to the results of their respective games against united and the spuds …. and those games may also dictate our league position at the end of the season.

    Our 1:3 loss against city doesn’t look so bad after Chelsea’s capitulation. At least we managed to score a goal and only conceded a third when over committing in search of an equaliser.

    How long can totnum’s pact with the devil keep delivering undeserved victories? … surely it has to come to an end. Our away game at Wembley is going to be fiery that’s for sure.

  8. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Chas, 2 great posts in a row and I particularly liked your ref’s description and rating on the last post.

    I haven’t seen the game or highlights yet so am going by feedback and stats. It’s difficult to assess where we are right now under UE. On the one hand the stats from Saturday didn’t look great at all, considering it was the bottom side. The stats from one media source showed the following:

    possession – Huddersfield 55% – Arsenal 45%
    passes – Huddersfield 484 – Arsenal 411
    completed passes – Huddersfield 381 – Arsenal 295
    shots on/off target – Huddersfield 6/6 – Arsenal 4/4
    Blocked shots – Huddersfield 3 – Arsenal 1

    That looks really poor and statistically they outplayed us in every sense except the goals scored department, which is of course the most relevant, but you do feel if we are posting up stats like that against the bottom side then it will only be a matter of time before we get more frequently found out.

    Having said that last season we achieved 63 points. This year we are on 50 with 36 points left to play for. While I don’t expect we will get 36 we are still on course to show reasonable improvement on last season. All very contradictory and confusing.

  9. GoonerB says:

    As long as Spurs don’t win da thing I am not as concerned about them. They have hit a peak with an excellent manager but till now have no silverware to show for it. I am fairly certain they will lose Eriksson this summer, who makes the whole team tick, and will not be able to replace him even if they get decent funds. Pochetino will also be in demand in the next 12-24 months and he is the main catalyst after Eriksson.

  10. JM says:

    Sergio Agüero (An Elite Sniper)

    – 3x hat-tricks in the league this season (vs Huddersfield, Arsenal & Chelsea)
    – scored against 4 of the other Top 5 sides this season (1x ManUtd, 1x Liverpool, 3x each against Arsenal & Chelsea)
    – equaled Shearer’s EPL record of 11 hat-tricks.
    – 160 league goals and 44 assists in 8 seasons (229 matches).

  11. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all.T

    Chas the main thing that I like about Tottenham is their illustrious history as “has beens” – long may it last!

    Last trophy wins.

    League Champions: 1960/1961
    FA Cup Winners: 1990/1991
    League Cup Winners: 2007/2008
    European Cup-Winners Cup Winners: 1962/1963
    UEFA Cup Winners: 1983/1984
    Charity Shield Winners: 1991/1992 (joint)

  12. GoonerB says:

    I am not sure about what we learned this weekend Chas, but I do feel we have learned a lot from this season but also the previous couple of seasons.

    I still feel that Arsene had altered his football philosophy in his latter years, but it all became a bit confused. He seemed to have a preference to a 4-3-3 system but then didn’t get the players in to make this effective.

    I always feel it is based on 1 striker and 2 attacking midfield types (who are more wing forwards in their skill set) either side of the striker, who give you both goals and pace and width. Between and behind these areas are your other CM’s where you want a blend of defensive solidity, good control and creativity.

    We have lacked consistent goals from attacking players outside of our strikers (Ramsey’s goal return has never been that consistent) and without attacking players that can give pace and width (as well as the goals) we were overly reliant on all the pace and width coming from our FB’s. This can leave us exposed too often with them pushed up playing almost permanently like wingers.

    All our main rivals have these attacking goal scoring wide players in place and, to varying degrees, play the system that we are trying to but can’t do as effectively. The defence aside, this area of poor balance probably constitutes our main problem.

    Arsene seemed to keep buying players that were more central midfielders which for me left the squad totally unbalanced, and we now have a plethora of them which UE has inherited. He also seems to prefer a 4-3-3 but, as with Arsene, doesn’t have the players for it.

    The key is the 2 wide players. This for me means that moving forwards we need to get or promote players capable of this, that can give us both the pace and width and produce a creative threat from wide areas (and not only rely on our FB’s for this), but can also cut into the box from the wide areas and provide regular goals.

    This probably puts an end to Auba and Laca playing together as our strongest line up (much as I would have liked it to work) and it probably should be the 2 of them rotating the number 9 role going forwards.

    We haven’t got much money apparently, but should add to the basic figure as we do need a significant clear out. We almost need to reset the team. Ideally I would like 2 big players, one being a top goal scoring winger / wing forward, and the other being a Virgil Van Dyke player but I very much doubt will afford both of them.

    I still think we will be a club in transition next season so I would plump for the winger type player as first priority to improve our offensive balance and threat and try and be smart about the defence. For me though it should be a left footer to operate that right side and then give Nelson his chance on the left side.

    I like the idea of Douglas Costa but could we go in with a cheeky bid for Mahrez. Quality player but not getting much game time with all City’s options. Also I would ask RC78 what he thinks of the lad Fekir (at Lyon I think).

    Although injury prone I would push hard for Kompany whose contract is up at the end of the season. Our long term CD answers may still come from within with Holding and Mavro, so have some shorter term older but still quality support around them with Kompany, Kos and Socratis. In 18 months we can see how the defence is panning out then prioritise the big signing for that position if it hasn’t sorted itself

  13. RA says:

    Three super comments, GB, and you have swayed me to your point of view.

    Well done sir — anyone of them could be a chatty Post! ✌️[not a deformed rabbit — just victory fingers]

  14. fred1266 says:

    Mahrez would cost a lot I feel, shame we never bought him the amount of times we were link with him

  15. fred1266 says:

  16. RC78 says:

    GoonerB – Fekir is a quality attacking player, a bit like Sanchez but not as good. He is better playing behind a striker but can also be effective on the wings. A great partnership with Lacazette BUT we need real width and I think that Fekir is one that likes to cut back to the center so for this reason, I would prefer Douglas Costa, Perisic, Zaha or Pepe (from Lille). As you mention, we need to stretch our game. We can’t have Auba and Laca playing wide…They are so lethal up front but we need balance too so it is really playing in a 4321 with one of them playing slightly behind the other and having one real winger as part of the front 3 and to also add width with one of our midfield 3 so let us say you could potentally have

    Leno – Bello, Holding, AKANJI, Kola – DOUGLAS COSTA, GUEYE, Torreira – Laca, PERISIC – Auba

    So
    – Douglas Costa can play as a CM-Right and he has Bello behind and Laca in front so he can make his runs and passes and Holding and Gueye cover for him;
    – PERISIC as a Left-Forward, Torreira covers him in the back and Kola provides the wing option and he can also combine with Auba…

    If Aubra drifts to the left, Perisic can cut in at the edge of the box and Laca can move towards the penalty box while Douglas Costa offers an optin either at second post or edge of the box on the right…
    And invert the play if Auba drifts to the right…

    Emery needs to decide how he wants to play ASAP so we can now what type of players we need

  17. RC78 says:

    If Emery wants a 4321, we need:

    – one DM like Gueye
    – one central midfielder that can cover a wing like Costa or Doucoure
    – one winger that can create and score goals like Perisic or Willian or Zaha or Pepe

    It is that simple and that is just to get our attacking and midfield balance right…

    Then defensively, we still would need a better CB and probably competition for Bellerin and Kola

    So it is 7 players minimum, plus a back up ST that is good in the air and a back up GK SO 9 total…BUT 4 starters and 5 back-up

    If Emery wants to play 4-2-3-1 then it is another type of player needed in mid and up front…

    Anyways…

  18. chas says:

    Not about the money at all.
    Yeah right.

  19. GoonerB says:

    All makes sense RC but I think we can only really afford 1 significant player, even with a clear out added to the supposed £45m. We really don’t have a choice to bring in all these players, it just will not happen, so we will have to prioritise what is the most important and then be smart.

    Top goal-scoring wide players will probably get us into the £45m to £60m bracket anyway and I feel is a more important straight out purchase because I can’t see anything from within that covers this position on our right side.

    Most top teams play their right footers from the left and left footers from the right in these roles (just for you Chas 🙂 ). I think we have a lot of right footers that can operate from the left. Young Nelson looks the most natural and should be given a chance. After that we know Auba can play there, but is not ideal, and that is likely ditto with Micki, Willock and possibly Smith-Rowe. So we have potentially 1 top option to promote through and some back up options even if not ideal ones.

    We don’t really have that option with a right sided left footed player. The young lad (is it Sacko or Sacka) who featured recently is way too young so a top right sided left footer should be our priority. If we rule out Fekir for the reasons you mention, and if Mahrez will be too hard and too pricey to get, it leaves Pepe or Costa, both of whom I would happily see in the red and white.

    After that we have to look at promoting from within and getting some smart deals done, i.e players coming up on a free contract, or do swap deals with players we are deeming surplus to requirements with clubs who have a type of player we need.

    I don’t have faith in Mustaffi at the highest level and right now he should be the prime age for a top defender, so will probably always fall short. With Socratis and Kos as the elder statesmen to the raw but talented Holding and Mavro we probably need 1 more body, even if only short term. Kompany on a free would be spot on for the next 2 seasons. I think even Gary Cahill would represent a better defensive option than Mustaffi and I think is also at the end of contract.

    AMN I like, despite some off games, but he shows enough raw quality at times to stick with and develop as one of our two RFB options. We can re-assess through the next (likely) transitional season.

    I would also bring back in Chambers and look at him a bit more. He is playing in a struggling side but has had some decent ratings at DM. He could be an option as that pure unfussy holding midfield player, which could allow the likes of other more ball playing DM’s like Torreira, Gouzi and Xhaka to operate slightly ahead of him and get on the ball more. He might become that HM screen that allows other CM’s to play with more freedom, a bit similar to Dier’s role with Spurs.

    The fact that he can also be cover in an emergency at CD and RFB makes him a useful go to squad player and we can’t afford to chuck away good options without funds to replace them.

    GK I think we should also promote from within for Leno’s back up, and I feel we are good in the striker department and CM area, even if Ozil and Ramsey both go. Combinations of Chambers, Torreira, Gouzi, Xhaka, Micki, Iwobi, Smith Rowe and Willock should be enough to get us that mix of midfield defensive stability, ball control and creativity.

  20. fred1266 says:

    Let me go get a cup of coffees for this one

  21. RA says:

    Get me one while you are there, Fred, no sugar!! 😜

  22. GoonerB says:

    And me, 1 sugar. Cheers Fred

  23. fred1266 says:

  24. fred1266 says:

    Am I the only one tearing up after that message

  25. fred1266 says:

  26. RC78 says:

    And so Rambo goes…what a management fiasco…the guy wants to stay, we make an offer that he agrees to it and we withdraw it…and let him go for free when teams were ready to give us 40 Mln…just like Sanchez…100 Mln lost just like that…Anyways…

    If we have 50 Mln + sales to buy players. We need to buy 3 priority starters:

    1 CB – Akanji will do. 30 Mln
    1 DM – Gueye, Allan or Ndombele would do. 35 to 50 Mln
    1 FW/W – Willian or Perisic would be the cheapest option. 30 Mln

    Leno – Bello, Holding, Akanji, Kola – LT, Gueye, Guendouzi – Laca, Perisic – Auba

    ? – Lichten, Sok, Kos, Monreal – AMN, Xhaka – RN, Miky, Iwobi – Nketiah

    I liked my other team better 😦

  27. chas says:

    Why would anyone think the worst of the Club when all the power lies with the players these days?

    I find it impossible to believe that a offer was made which he was happy to sign, then all of a sudden it was snatched away just as his pen was poised above it.

    Leave it out.

    The negotiations were going on for 18 months and he hadn’t signed.

    Why the fuck would he sign for 180k a week when he can get 400k on a Bosman?

    At 28, he’d be mad not to wait and get a last big contract on a free.

    That story about him willing to stay and sign what was on the table is the best bit of agent spin anyone’s come up with for years. He can get the best deal for himself and still look like the slighted party. Job done.

  28. chas says:

    Also…last season when negotiations are ongoing, Ramsey’s team are going to be making the right noises about staying if a compromise wage can be negotiated.

    They’re not going to come out and say he has no intention of signing because he wants to leave on a free at the end of his contract and, in effect, pocket the transfer fee Arsenal would have received. If they had hinted that that was their plan, the Club would have had to sell last summer and he would have ended up with wages more akin to what he was already being offered.

    Haha, as if I’ve got any idea about how it’s all gone down.

  29. mickydidit89 says:

    Hi Chas

    I’m guessing the numbers been chucked around conveniently avoid tax to suit personal agendas

    ie 180k per week is probably net
    400k per week probably gross (don’t know Italian tax brackets, but maybe in the 220k ‘ish area)

  30. chas says:

    Ah, sorry, I tend to glaze over when money, tax rates etc are spoken about.
    Are you saying Mesut is on 200k a week?

  31. mickydidit89 says:

    no, no, no, Mesut is on five million per week 🙂

  32. chas says:

    Haha, and still can’t play on an icy pitch in Stoke midweek when it’s pissing down.

  33. mickydidit89 says:

    exactly 🙂

    I actually couldn’t care less about these things, and when people talk about 45 million transfer funds, I don’t think they know what they’re talking about

  34. chas says:

    Do you think Rambo intended to go all along?
    Gut feeling

  35. chas says:

    Ramsey’s agent dealing with Arsenal while, at the same time, shopping around for the best deal possible for his client 🙂

  36. mickydidit89 says:

    Gut feeling? In short, yes, 100%

    The little wanker had one epic season, then immediately stated he would consider offers from Barca or Madrid. I’ve never said a nice word about him since 🙂

  37. chas says:

    Arsenal’s negotiating team (sparrowhawk) versus Ramsey’s agent (jackdaw)

  38. chas says:

  39. Big Raddy says:

    Morning ALl,

    Bolleaux. I was going to write about AR but the subject has already been discussed.

    Not what …? Any ideas?

  40. mickydidit89 says:

    You can still do an AR conversation starter, as it should split opinions nicely

  41. AR says:

    Go for it, Raddy. ✌️

  42. chas says:

    BR
    No-one looks at the morning’s comments as theyre expecting sliders and buses.
    I’l trash the comments on here and re-add to your post.

  43. LB says:

    Absolutely right Chas.

    He may not have been determined to go but his agent was determined to get the best deal.

    I wrote a post saying how wise it was for the club to withdraw the offer.

    No one seemed to get it.

  44. chas says:

    We’re not talking about it anymore, LB, as BR is writing a post.

    Comments have been removed.

  45. RA says:

    Now you have removed the ancillary comments, Chas, that reminds me Fred never got me a coffee.

    I will have to have a strong word with him

    No coffee, no cry

    Good friends we have had, oh good friends we’ve lost along the way, Fred,
    In this bright future you can’t forget your past
    So dry your tears I say

    No coffee, no cry.

  46. chas says:

  47. Big Raddy says:

    RA. Nice. Is Fred a Jamaican?

  48. chas says:

  49. chas says:

    Trinidadian

  50. RA says:

    Raddy,

    Fred is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma.

  51. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post.

    Sting and Hoddle on the Ship of Twats 8.30 😀

  52. fred1266 says:

    RC78 your team has Lichtensteiner in it bur

  53. fred1266 says:

    I posted the coffee to u mate should have when arsenal win a trophy

  54. whoah this weblog is excellent i love studying
    your articles. Keep up the good work! You know, a lot of persons are hunting around for this info, you can help them greatly.

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