An experimental side designed to give some of the old boys a rest – could the reshuffled selection stand up to Sean Wagner’s boot boys?
Chances at both ends – Auba hit the post with a crafty effort off his shoulder – the loathsome Barnes fluffed one straight at the keeper before Wood hit the post from a shot that Leno had covered. 🙂
Willock nearly produced a wonderful finish from a spin and shot which just drifted wide.
The unlucky Mavro’s body failed him again and Kos didn’t get the rest he had been promised. Mav needs the 6 million Dollar Man treatment.
The good guys went into the lead when Ben Mee ( a distant relation of our Bertie) tried a stepover allowing Auba to race through and slot past the keeper.
Less than ten minutes later and it was two. Wobbly floated a delightful chip to the far post and Auba explosively lashed it into the net.
Some Keystone Cops defending led to Burnley pinching one back – still celebrating going two up, maybe.
The excrescent Ashley Barnes attempted to maim Koscielny by shoving him into the advertising hoardings. Sadly the days of meathead thuggery on the pitch are not yet over.
Auba could have won the Golden Boot outright when Mkhitaryan set him up beautifully in front of goal but he got too much on it, diverting it wide of the post. Another spin and shot from Pierre sailed over the bar.
Eddie scored the third and final goal in injury time, sneaking the ball through Heaton’s legs. Eddie, Eddie, Eddie!
An away win which was a bit like closing the stable door after the top four place had bolted.
Still, at least we didn’t buckle to Sean Wagner’s side as might have been expected. Burnley had one toe in the Mediterranean and Arsenal were planning how to get to Baku in the shortest time possible. Just imagine if DB10 was still playing and the final was in Azerbaijan, he’d have to leave now to get there by car.
Leno – made some good stops, did some sweeping too – a fine end to a fine League season – Prime Bratwurst … 8
Lichtsteiner – nothing too great, nothing too bad – ready for his cardigan – Swiss cheese … 6
Mustafi – a creditable performance from the bulldog-jawed German – slack for the goal but it wasn’t only down to him – Schlachtplatte … 7
Mavropanos – looked a little uncomfortable even before his injury – needs some new body parts if he’s to fulfil his potential – Taramasalata … 6
Monreal – brightened up the left flank with Iwobi – defended with his customary resolution – Carne de Cabra … 7
Elneny – there should be a verb ‘to elneny’ which means you did what everyone expected of you, no more no less – Falafel … 6
Guendouzi – starting to recapture the joy he played with at the start of the season – Mille-Feuille … 7
Mkhitaryan – seemed to have his Baku travel plans on his mind – shame Auba didn’t convert his one really telling contribution to the match – Ghapama … 6
Willock – he’s definitely on the verge of moving up to first team level – just needs a little bit extra to turn him into the Full English Breakfast … 7
Iwobi – a perfect game for Alex and he showed what a fine player he can be – homemade scones with clotted cream and jam … 8
Aubameyang – the man is red hot at the moment and firing on all cylinders for the 29th … Spicy Carp Soup … 9
Koscielny – another fine performance when unexpectedly called upon early – so pleased Barnes didn’t hurt him – Steak au Poivre … 7
Nketiah – you could see his excitement at being given a half hour in a Prem game – Apple Sauce … 7
Emery – a win and some players rested – job done – Patatas Bravas … 8
Sean Wagner – thuggery, brutality and the new Stoke (even signed Crouch) – Spotted Dick … 3
Dean – gets a 5 for not ruining the game completely for a change.
7.43… quite simply brilliant 😂😂👌
7.43… quite simply brilliant 😂😂👌
Aubameyang had a sitter in the end and could have had 23 goals but I am rejoicing at the fact that we have our striker that can score 20+ goal over a season – he kindda silenced doubters.
Now on to the final against Chelsea. The final means a lot to a lot of players:
– Cech last chance ever to win a trophy and to put one over Chelsea
– Ramsey last chance to win a trophy with Arsenal
– Hazard last chance to win a trophy with Chelsea
– Giroud to put one over Arsenal after being let go
Predicted line ups:
Cech – Sokratis, Kos, Monreal – AMN, Torreira, Xhaka, Kola – Laca, ? – Auba
If by miracle, Ramsey is fit then we can expect him to start ahead of Ozil or Iwobi. If not, then the last spot on the team is for Ozil or Iwobi depending on the coach’s direction for this game.
We will play against the usual Chelsea team and the danger is of course Hazard…
Can there be another pair of more obnoxious strikers than Barnes and Wood. Dyke and Burnley are, as you say, the new Stoke. Cant wait for an Arsenal backline that gives as good as it gets and other teams think twice about intimidation.
Aubang could have had five. A hat trick and boot on his own would have been good.
Only disappointing player for me was Micky.
Mav needs, a new body, AND to play between Sokratis and Kos.
Thanks Chas. Despite not being around so much this season your posts have been magnificent, and I have admired them from afar even if not about to comment. Also thanks to GN5, Raddy, and LB (I think LB did a couple). Apologies if I have missed anyone. Love the international culinary theme on this one. Wonder how that Gabonese delicacy is?
I hope we see more of some of these youngsters in the first team next season mixed with some astute signings. Even with the EL final looming it is time for the club to actively look into the transfer market now and also decide who is leaving us.
Mavro’s injury worries make me think we should definitely move on a CB as one of our signings, especially as it may take sometime for Holding to get back to where he was. I would say that CB + a holding midfielder + a left footed and a right footed wing forward (unless we seriously push Nelson through).
We already know Ramsey, Cech and Welbz are leaving us but I could think of 3 possibly 4 more to consider letting go as well.
RC, not so sure that Giroud would feel like that about us to the extent he would get extra motivation beyond the motivation every player should have in a final with silverware to add to the C.V.
After all he left to be a regular starter rather than back up with us but has spent most of the time as aback up with Chelsea. If anything they have probably been the ones that haven’t followed through on promises to him.
If I am being honest my heart would say Ozil with his potential to provide game winning moments, but my head says the more industrious Ramsey or Iwobi.
LBG, I think I would move for Dunk from Brighton. Proper old school centre half in the style you have mentioned wanting. He will be near enough 28 at the start of the season so is a good age but will not stand in the way of our emerging players for too long.
In terms of loans for next year, I think we need to loan out:
– Mavropanos, Willock, Smithe-Rowe and Nketiah
ideally in a team that plays in the Elite league of their country. I think Mavropanos would do well to go to Italy or France, Willock can stay in the EPL, Smithe-Rowe can stay in Germany while Nketiah would benefit from a trip to Portugal or France.
These players would benefit from playing week-in and week-out and for us, we can assess their level in a years time. They are promising talents and should be given the chance to develop.
Mavro needs to play…
Thanks for the read from somewhere on the French west coast.
Yes, I did do a couple but no more than one hand.
What on earth is that dish from Armenia?
Don’t agree with that RC. I think if we lived in an ideal (Man City) world then yes we would try and get a productive loan for all of them and bring in top quality ready made players until they are ready.
The 2 problems I see with that is firstly that these loans are very hit and miss. The productive loan periods seem to be in the minority with most of them ending up a year wasted with us none the wiser.
Secondly we don’t have the current senior quality or funds to cover all these positions. We would be better off with 3-4 astute signings and look at keeping these young players and develop them with us and look a it as a transitional season accepting that there will be some blips due to inexperience, but that by the end of the season we may it may leave us in a far better position moving into the following season.
Some of our young players are more ready than others, and a few of our them could cover the positions we are missing or be promoted to 1st choice back up. Maybe 1-2 max could go on loan.
We firstly need to decide who else from the 1st team environment leaves us, and who should become more a squad player rather than strongest 1st 11 player (Xhaka for instance IMO).
Someone like Smith-Rowe could be Ozil’s heir apparent as a top level ACM / number 10, and where are we really going with Ozil anyway? Make him one of our 1st team options for that position, possibly behind Micki, Iwobi or Ozil (not sure all 3 will remain anyway). I would also look to introduce all of Willock, Nketieh and Nelson into the regular 1st team environment.
It is, to a degree, easier to accommodate younger attacking players than say defenders. That is why an experienced CB would be advisable. Mavro could go on loan potentially and we then try and nurse Holding back steadily. Lichtensteiner should probably leave and if you you got someone like Dunk we could operate with him, Kos, Soc, and Holding and I would bring Chambers back purely because he is an option in 3 positions. Mustaffi probably moves on in this situation.
We probably need, in addition to the CB a senior improvement in our holding midfield area and a left footed winger who prefers the right side (these don’t seem to grow on trees though, so who?). Those 2 positions we either have no option in or the younger option is just that bit too young and raw (Saka for instance). That is the minimum recruitment I feel we can get away with. If the board decide to be more ambitious we could also try for someone like Zaha.
Did not Giroud leave only in order to get into the France World Cup squad, which he thought he could do if he was playing more regularly?
AS it was he only played occasionally and still went to the World Cup, so he could really have stayed.
Hi Chas, great post – yet again.
Solid win and well done to Auba – he’s really putting a glow on his star of late.
You’ve left us all guessing on Mike Dean’s delicacy – it’s definitely not humble pie – I’d guess that it’s scouse but should it be served with pickled cabbage or beetroot?
Beans on toast GN5, and not Heinz beans, the Aldi basic brand.
I fully agree that Xhaka should be a squad player rather than a starter. We have a few young players that have come through our youth system and are ready to be in our first team squad or directly in the starting XI team such as: AMN, Bellerin and Iwobi. It seems that Reiss-Neilsson would also add some width, pace to our game so it d be nice to have him back.
– Mavropanos needs game time and he is not to our level so it would be OK for me to send him out on loan maybe to a team like Torino or Rennes;
– Willock, I could accommodate him but he won’t get much game time except if we do well in the Carabao Cup so…given his talent, he d be better off developing elsewhere.
– Smithe-Rowe will stay in Germany for sure next year
– Nketiah – same as Willock. I think he needs to gain physically as well
In terms of recruitment, we need the following to be competitive
– One back-up GK,
– One back up RB and one back-up LB
– One starting CB
– One starting DM
– One solid CM
– One solid Winger/FW
– One ST
We need to offload/sell:
– Lichten, Jenks, Chambers, El Neny, Ozil or Mikhy + all our loanees except Neilsson
Leno – Bellerin, RECRUIT, Holding, Kola – RECRUIT, RECRUIT, Torreira – RECRUIT, Auba – Laca
RECRUIT – RECRUIT, Sok, Kos, RECRUIT – AMN, Xhaka, Guendouzi – RN, Iwobi – RECRUIT
We re never gonna get that many players so If we get a RB, CB, DM and FW, I d be happy
Anyone else feel like laughing at Man United, or is it just me?! 🤣
We are almost on the same page RC, and I am not averse to the players you are suggesting going on loan providing it is a decent loan.
Smith-Rowe has been injured anyway but it seems Leipzig are really keen on him and his qualities, so maybe he will get good game time next year on loan. I have high hopes for him and liken him to a younger KDB. We can wait on him and I feel we are covered in his position anyway for now.
I kind of feel the ship has sailed with Ozil and he is taking up a huge portion of our wage bill. If we are going to refresh this side then maybe we need to accept that the recent pathway hasn’t worked and change the dynamic in CM from what we have had with Ozil.
I would suggest a more energetic CM with players who can run / carry the ball, like Iwobi and Micki and try and get Ozil off somewhere else. Sad because I love players with his talent but it isn’t working and we need a new direction. I think in Iwobi, Micki and possibly Willock we can see if one of them can nail down the role. I would also like more goals from this position.
Despite having 2 great centre forwards I still think we could add more firepower and goal threat to our forward line but from the wide areas rather than down the middle, where with the 2 we have and Nketieh coming through we are well covered.
Reiss Nelson can certainly come in as a wide left pacey player, also carrying an extra goal-threat, but the left footer from the right is the problem one, and likely where we have to spend big. You have mentioned him before RC but what about going all out for Pepe?
Happy with Dunk or Tarkowski, but dont agree with you or RC on number of loanees
Mavro should learn with us and begin a partnership with Holding occasionally.
Smith Rowe and Nelson also need the rough and tumble of the Premier League.
Eddie and Saka might benefit from a “good” loan Club, but Saka could be a surprise return at Christmas candidate.
Still feel we have potential first team defender squad members in Academy now.
Would only buy right sided quick goal scorer/ assister, Fraser will do. Possibly CB as above ( or Maguire, if we can afford him) and big, dominant, box to box, attacking/defending, central midfield captain!! Easy!
LBG, I quite fancy another powerhouse holding midfielder to release Torreira into more of that box to box role. I really think I see more of the Kante’s or even Verrati in him and we could look very strong and dynamic in our CM with that powerful HM + Torreira + one of Iwobi, Micki or Willock in a 3 man midfield (likely in a 4-3-3 system).
Playing a bit of fantasy football with the squad. We already have Welbz, Ramsey and Cech leaving our 1st team squad. Now I am not saying it will happen (or needs to happen with some of them), but I am factoring in the potential departures of Lichtensteiner, Mustaffi, Elneny, Suarez and Ozil.
That is 8 from our current 1st team squad of 25. I like the look of Pepe as the left footed right winger and he will cost a lot of our budget.
I also think Wan Bissaka, despite playing RFB for Palace this year, has all the hallmarks of a potential top holding midfielder and would try and get him, also likely at a decent price.
Dunk should be reasonable in price but looks the kind of commanding centre half we need.
Add those 3 in and bring in Nelson, Nketieh to the forwards, Willock to the midfield, Thompson to the defence (LB / LWB) and one of our youth keepers as 2nd to Leno, and our 25 man squad (with approx 12 home grown’s) could look like this :-
Leno + Youth keeper (Iliev or Macey?)
Jenkinson (with Mavro on loan, or Jenks to leave and retain Mavro)
We have the capability to play any system we want with that squad from 4-3-3, 3-5-2, 3-4-3, and 4-4-2 because we now have pacey wingers with a goal threat. Also we have good choices for either FB’s or WB’s on each side and both Chambers and Wan Bissaka have that ability to switch from defence to defensive midfield if needed.
Not perfect as a lot of less experienced players, but still looks a much more balanced squad than what we have now, and likely could be done within our budget and with attainable players.
I would get rid of Jenkinson, Chambers and Micki and use the money for that “super” midfielder. Dont believe we can afford Pepe or Wan B.
Hope A M-N is not destined to be a defender, in any form!
Chilwell may be the man for us assuming MU or MC don’t buy him.
Pepe would be a great addition to the squad but he will be expensive. I think Emery can buy 3 players from the French league without any regrets:
1. Pepe from Lille – 70 Mln
2. Ndombele from Lyon – 60 Mln
3. Atal from Nice – 30 Mln
Hi there, You have done an excellent job.
I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my
friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.