Would you swap a little bit of Arsene for a bit more George?

I’m going out on a limb here ….. I know I’m only a girl so what do I know but …… we actually need to stop conceding goals rather than worrying about who is going to score them. Although I have to say that Aubameyang does really excite me, I love watching him play and he has scored some great goals for us but Arsenal conceding 51 goals in a Premiership season is just ridiculous.

Aubameyang won the Golden Boot with 22 goals, which I love, even more so because that Kane bloke from down the road didn’t. But there’s a good chance that someone else …. or a few others could have stepped up to score his goals and maybe even scored more overall. And I would give up so many of our high scoring games to have conceded fewer …….. actually there weren’t that many high scoring games last season but you get my point.

This rant was as a result of the following comment from Mike M discussing the prospect of selling Aubameyang to buy better quality defenders and midfielders …

When we sold Van Persie to Manure he won them the title because that’s all they needed. Even if they bought PEA, they (like us) are a million miles away from winning anything.

I still believe we need a mentality shift, so I think we need a slightly different type of player for the next couple of years than we have always wanted. If we score 20 fewer goals next season but concede 20 fewer also, I think we’ll finish in the top 4 no problem.

“George Graham said, he wanted us to keep it tight and win 1-0 not 4-3. But still as it happened we scored a hell of a lot of goals that season” a quote from Alan Smith about the 1991 title winning side.

Probably not many people remember the Graham years with too much fondness but that was nearer the end when Ian Wright was our only goal scoring threat. But ’89 and ’91 were great teams with lots of flare, an inbuilt strength and mentality that we’re in desperate need of right now. PEA is probably not essential to that. On the flip side, I love his attitude and how he seems to enjoy the game and that’s something we also need. Its’ a tough call.

I’m not writing a book any time soon (although many of my comments are book length !!). I am just a huge Gooner that likes discussing by far the greatest team, the world has ever seen.

Those who have blogged with me for years know that I’m of the opinion that defending is a science that can be taught whereas goal scoring has a bit more luck and artistic flare attached to it. Footballers who think their only job is to score goals might find this upsetting, but if you’re up against a good defense you’ve got less chance of scoring than if you’ve got a rubbish defense to breach.

So, would you settle for a few more 1-0’s to The Arsenal, no possibility of the Golden Boot and no high scoring games next season? How do you think we can achieve this?



45 Responses to Would you swap a little bit of Arsene for a bit more George?

  1. Morning all

    Might ruffle a few feathers with this one but hey ho it’s Friday.

    Thank you Rasp for putting the post together for me.

  2. LBG says:

    Self deprecation does not suit one of the Queens of Arsenal blogging, Peaches!!!
    I enjoyed the Graham years for the success he brought us and in particular May 26th! I only went against him when he stole £240000 of our money.
    No team in my lifetime has won the League/Premier League without a solid defensive base to start with, so sure, if we haven’t got “top” quality defenders to fill the chasm currently at the Club, buy ( expensive) top quality. ( Two qualifications, one I think we have potential top quality already and two if we haven’t, where is the top quality?)

    PS Still want £100m+ for Aubang.

  3. Els – love your idea for a Poll choosing your 10 best players of a certain era, just didn’t have time to do the research for today.

  4. LB says:

    You know if you meet GG now before introductions have been completed he will tell you that he didn’t take that money.

  5. Els says:

    Morning all. Firstly I’m still getting used to names and mixing real names with user names is difficult for my fragile brain. So I’m really sorry if I get confused.

    Yesterday I called Rasp, Rash, that’s not good. Sorry.

    I love this post. I voted no, but I would say yes to a swap. A lot of my reasons for not wanting to sell Auba would be that I wouldn’t trust we could get the right players in.

    If we could sell a big player on the pitch to be assured a couple of excellent defenders I’d say yes every time.

    I’m of the exact same thinking. While I love creative, fluid, attacking football, it’s always better played with a rock solid defence. How are you going to worry about swapping positions with strikers and wingers to pull apart the opposition defence if your own defence can’t clear the ball?

    I’m not sure who the candidates would be but if it was simple 15 less conceded in place of 15 scored, I’d go for that. Maybe only temporarily, so that we could have a foundation to build on. But defo next season there needs to be more emphasis on the defensive unit.

    Peaches, we could each vote on:…
    Ten best players
    Ten favourite players
    Ten most missed players

    Then keep a running log of the results. Could it be a permanently running poll?

  6. gunnerpete says:

    LBG..George was the best of all with his determination not to lose and all the other clubs hated it because 1-0 to the Arsenal meant the end.Aw was a wonderful change but after Georges wonder defence left he failed. By the way to say GG stole AFC money is a bit Daily Sunnish for the truth. He, like many others at the time had money deposited into his account by a bent agent who was prosecuted, George handed the money back and was not! So less of the crap and more of the intellegent debate.I would have George back instantly.

  7. Els says:

    It’s a little unfair to say Wenger failed without GG’s defence.

    Lauren – Campbell – Toure – Cole

    Plus a good few others, that have won things.

  8. Els says:

    Barca, pre-season eh guys. August the 4th. A nice little challenge before the season starts.

  9. GoonerB says:

    Thanks Peaches. I think the balance between defensive solidity and attacking prowess is hard to get right, but the best teams do, and we have been the best team at times over the last 30-40 years so have got this right before.

    Probably 3 main things are critical in a solid defence :-
    1 quality of defenders individually.
    2 quality of the coaching input and understanding of the art of defending.
    3 the team set up and system to get the right balance between defence and attack.

    We have probably been deficient in all 3 but if anything I feel that 2 and 3 have been more of an issue to us than number 1. Sometimes how you attack, or set up to attack, can have a domino effect back to the defence.

    For instance, getting all our attacking width from full backs or wing backs has had that domino effect in leaving our defence exposed, so getting better attacking width from the attacking set up would likely immediately improve this before you even consider adding new players.

    The problem is that this leads me onto a controversial subject, that I probably shouldn’t broach, but AW and GG have been mentioned in this post, so why not. Before I say this I will say that AW, in my mind, is and will remain our greatest ever manager regardless of anything I mention.

    When AW arrived he brought more modern sports science principles to the club and had a great insight on certain top potential players that other clubs were unaware of like Vieira, Petit, Henry, Pires. He also released the shackles somewhat in allowing the team to be more free flowing and to express themselves. The result of this mix was intoxicating and provided our best period since the 1930’s

    However, there is an argument that if GG hadn’t preceded AW that the defensive solidity in the side wouldn’t have allowed for the other factors he brought along to have been so effective. Would we have always been let down by defensive matters if AW hadn’t inherited what he did from GG.

    It is on record a few times from Lee Dixon that Tony Adams coached Ashley Cole into being the best LFB in the world. It is also mentioned that in his first double winning year, when we were falling behind in the title race, that the senior famous Arsenal back line called a team meeting to sort things out and told (the then more rookie) Vieira and Petit where they were not providing enough cover in midfield.

    We went on a fantastic run after this but the rumour is that this was all to do with GG’s players rather than Arsene himself. That is not to belittle what he has done for our club but I just wonder if our glory years early in AW’s tenure were a mix of GG and AW, and that one would never had succeeded to the level it did without the other.

    Certainly since the old guard (and those they passed the leadership and defensive qualities on to) slowly filtered away we have seen a deterioration in our defensive shape, understanding and quality. It could be viewed that creating that solid defensiveness in a team was not really AW’s forte.

    For me we need to retain the attacking free flowing identity that AW brought to us, and mix in some of GG as well. So the answer to your question Peaches is…….yes 🙂

    I just wanted to make this comment longer because of what Mike said about his long comments. I am not having anyone steal my crown without putting up a fight.

  10. Sue says:

    It’s Friday 👍 the sun is shining 👍 Stranger Things trailer has just dropped 👍👍 and the Africa cup of nations starts tonight… Egypt kick off, as the hosts.. with a bit of luck they’ll keep Elneny in Egypt after the tournament finishes 🙏😄 one can hope!
    I will be keeping a very close eye on the Ivory Coast – just to see how our future signing gets on – come on Wilf!! – yeah, yeah I know in my dreams!!
    At least there’s plenty of football on today & over the weekend 👍… just no darts – damn it!!

  11. GonerB says:

    Sorry Els, just seen your bit above. It is not that AW failed really, but as the influence being passed down from the GG era diminished so did our defensive ability. Arsene arguably didn’t show over the last 10 years that he knew how to create a defence to challenge for the EPL.

    For Ashley Cole see what I said above. Sol Campbell was one of the best CD’s out there and was quick, powerful and English, so didn’t require any adaptation to the EPL. He slotted in immediately as a world class CD that we were fortunate to get under those circumstances.

    Now we could say that it was the success we were having under AW that persuaded him to us, so we have to recognise that, but would we have been that successful without the GG defensive solidity already in the team when Arsene arrived? Campbell probably had a choice of teams but we were at our peak and the best option.

    All ifs and buts really, but I believe a Sol Campbell in his prime would not have opted for us in more recent years. Lauren and Toure were great players for us but as overseas players how would they have been if they hadn’t had the likes of Vieira, Cole, Campbell and other players that had that GG influence, or had it passed down, in the side?

  12. GoonerB says:

    Anyway, off till later but will read back later

  13. LBG says:

    Glad you are so confident of your “facts”, and regard my beliefs as crap. Shame, if innocent, Graham didn’t stay and fight the accusation, and to suggest a bent agent put money in his account and he didn’t realise what was happening!!! Wont be so rude however, just suggest you are the one being naive!

  14. Els says:

    My Wenger defence detector is blaring here. Lol

    I’d say that the last ten years of Wenger had so many issues that you can’t simply point to the fact he can’t organise a defence. Admittedly it wasn’t his strong point. That said regardless of how he did it, he put a defence together that was excellent.

    GG is praised for having Bould, Adams, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn but Wenger put his next back line together on the merit of current players and performance levels and the fact that GG had his influence on the likes of Vieira, Cole and Campbell? That’s not an equal criticism. Were Graham’s defenders all terrible before he coached them? No.

    I’d say Wenger was a better attacking minded coach than GG was a defensive coach. Stick to what you know. The fact he put an excellent defence together should be celebrated.

    The last ten years fell apart for financial reasons mainly. Having to dismantle the invincibles to pay the bank must have killed Wenger, but he did it. Continuing to bring champions league football. He fell when the game changed and every player on the pitch at elite teams had strict, precise roles. Wenger’s artistic style could only compete with that if he could attract the best of the best. We could no longer do that.

    Anyway that’s my take.

  15. I absolutely loved those Arsenal squads that won two 1st Div. titles…packed full of lads from London & the home counties…a team you actually relate to.
    Yes I’d sell Auba in a heartbeat, he’s reached his peak and will only go into decline from this season on.

  16. LB says:

    Top comment Els @ 11.14

  17. RA says:

    It’s not enough that I am gripped by comments as good as these, because every blogger has a fascinating personal analysis of events I only read in the sports pages of the papers.

    Good one guys. 😁

  18. Els says:

    Thanks LB.

  19. I thought some might be interested in this article published in The Times today ……………… as with all stories in the press you never know how much is true …………….I’ve chosen to copy and paste as you need to be a member to read some of their stuff.

    Premier League to defy Fifa over penalties
    Martyn Ziegler, Chief Sports Reporter
    June 21 2019, 12:01am,
    The Times

    The Premier League is on a collision course with football’s lawmakers over its plan that video assistant referees will not rule on the goalkeeper’s position at penalties when the system is brought in next season.

    Referees’ chiefs have told clubs, managers and players in presentations that decisions about encroachment by goalkeepers at spot kicks will be left to the on-field officials.

    After The Times revealed the plans online yesterday, officials from the International FA Board (Ifab) contacted the Premier League to warn that its rules on VAR do not allow for the system to be implemented in that way.

    An Ifab spokesman told The Times: “The VAR must make a decision if there is a clear and obvious error of encroachment by the goalkeeper.”

    The Premier League, however, will stick to its guns and insist to Ifab, the game’s lawmaking body, that it must be allowed some flexibility in how the competition uses VAR.

    All three saved or missed penalties in the Women’s World Cup so far have been retaken due to the VAR ruling that the goalkeeper had encroached. It comes after a new law requiring goalkeepers to have at least one foot on the goalline was agreed in March and came into force before the tournament.

    Scotland were knocked out of the World Cup on Wednesday after drawing 3-3 against Argentina, with the South American team’s third goal coming after the Scotland goalkeeper Lee Alexander saved a penalty, only for VAR to order the kick to be retaken as she did not have one foot on the line. There have also been crucial retaken penalties in the France v Nigeria and Italy v Jamaica matches.

    The Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), the organisation that manages referees in the Premier League, has decided that VAR will get involved at a penalty only if the player taking it kicks the ball twice, if the kicker feigns at the point of the kick or if there is an encroachment that has a direct impact on the outcome of the penalty.

    The position will be reviewed during next season but it is understood that the view of PGMOL is that it wants to avoid a situation where almost every saved penalty is retaken. It is understood that the PGMOL would not instruct referees to operate outside the VAR protocol, but it believes that there is room for flexibility. The Premier League’s approach is to set a high bar for VAR intervention, to minimise its involvement where possible, as it believes that best suits the game in England.

    The view among some leading referees is that the law change by Ifab has created an issue where there was not a problem in the first place — the rule was just not being enforced by officials.

    One insider said: “The new law looks like it is putting goalkeepers at such a massive disadvantage that you may as well award a penalty goal. How can a keeper keep an eye on the goalline and an eye on the ball?”

    The new Ifab law was intended to make it easier for goalkeepers by allowing them to take one step forward but so far it has not had the desired effect.

    The law states: “The goalkeeper must have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goalline when the kick is taken; cannot stand behind the line.”

    Karen Bardsley, the England goalkeeper, said it had been hard to adapt to the strict new law.

    “It just seems cruel, and so pedantic,” she said. “We were briefed by the referees and they did mention that if we do move off the line . . . but if it’s a toenail?

    “For something so new to be introduced on such a big stage, it’s kind of hard to get your head around it in terms of changing habits.”

  20. Mike M says:

    Great Job on the post Peaches! It’s an even more interesting question when you look at the stats over the last 15 years. Scoring the most goals will probably win you the title. Ditto for conceding the least. Basically if you only score 54, you probably wont make top 4 even if you concede 31. If you concede 51, you have little or no chance of top 4 (Liverpool conceded 50 a few years back and finished 2nd but they scored 102). The answer lies somewhere in between. I think my main point would be the overall mentality of the team and the mental fragility we very often display. Anyone remember going 0-1 up at Anfield?? That lasted 8 mins or so and another 10 more, we were done. How does that happen? How do we miss a PK to pass up winning at Spuds? Or capitulate 3-1 at Wolves, 3-0 at Leicester etc etc.
    I’m not sure it’s a question of attacker over defender. I think it’s the type of mentality we should be looking for. I’m undecided on the PEA question but I do think we desperately need a TA6 or Sol23. One of my favorite players of all time is Lauren. Gifted? Fast? Skilful? Great passing range? Probably none of those. But he’d score the penalty in a NLD in a crunch, run through a wall for his team mates and no one ever messed with him. Xhaka, not so much.

  21. jjgsol says:

    So PGML believes that a penalty should be retaken if “if there is an encroachment that has a direct impact on the outcome of the penalty”.

    That being the case, why was not our penalty in the scum away match not retaken, as the encroachment allowed the defender to be in place to stop the subsequent incoming shot on the line?

    If PEA had scored that we would have been in the CL.

  22. LBG says:

    VAR is not the problem! it should accurately identify clear and obvious errors in the four areas. ( Even if the shoelaces are offside, Chas,) and provided the camera is in line AND the replay is stopped on the right frame.
    The stupid changes to the laws regarding offside, handball and now penalties are the problem, plus the idiots at FIFA, UEFA and the men in black.

  23. RC78 says:

    Emery interested in Lucas Vazquez, let s pray he doesn’t join us. He is really useless.

  24. RC78 says:

    LBG, I agree with you about the rules and the international and European football governing bodies

  25. Don McMahon says:

    Peaches …being a ¨girl¨ doesn’t prevent you from sharing your opinion and questioning the views of others…..good on you! I think it is too much of a crap shoot to sell Auba in the hopes of buying better defenders. We have the youth and academy players and imho simply need to get Bellerin back, find a good centreback and work on our away form defensive skills…..for now!

  26. RC78 says:

    I think that by the time Emery leaves (I don’t think he ll be renewed), we ll have more fighters I n the team. We have a few like Sok, Kola, LT, Xhaka even, Laca, Auba already but we re missing defensive cohesion, strength and grit still. Hence the need for CB, DM, CM still.

  27. Aaron says:

    Thank you for the post and poll.

    Els, I agree with you. If not for the stadium move, I believe Arsene could have got the job done. (Most likely if the Arsenal kept rvP for that season the Arsenal would have won league, obviously we would never know for sure, but 6 points movement either and yes.)

    LBG, I agree too, and VAR is opening a can of worms because of those interpretations. Would really rather have 3 or 4 referee’s on the field.

    Back to the point, if Arsene could get the Arsenal to the CL final in 2006 with the defense he had, he knew something about defense. But, the Arsenal were about to embark on the new stadium and basically allow all other competitive teams to catch up. There was no gems to be unearthed without a little seed money to move forward.

    So, if we the Arsenal are to move forward, think Leicester’s winning season, I know an anomaly, yet they won with solid defense, blistering counter attacks, and a team focus with grit.

    Sell him……

  28. Mike M says:

    Aaron. Your comment about the 2006 CL final is not only spot on, but even more so when you look at the players who played most of the games in that run. Senderos, Flamini at LB, Eboue are 3 that spring to mind. If memory serves, Campbell and Cashley were only brought back for the final. It makes the point that defending is organisation, concentration and desire to carry out the plan. That includes all of our players on the field when without the ball.

  29. Rasp says:

    There have been great comments on here over the last few days. Welcome to some excellent new bloggers. Thank you all for falling in line with the spirit of the site.

    Posts are the lifeblood of the blog. Everyone is welcome to submit a post on any football related topic and unless the content is unsuitable, we will publish in their name.

    In addition, we will continue to build posts from the theme of the previous day’s blogging throughout the summer (in the UK).

    Two reasons:

    1. It reflects the topics that are currently exercising the minds of the fanbase.

    2. It is a way of involving bloggers more directly in the discussion.

    There is a third reason … see if you can guess 🙄

    … so beware, if you put up a particularly interesting or contentious comment, you could find yourself being the focus of the following day’s discussion 🙂

    Blogs evolve, but the ethos of AA does not change. It is built upon friendly chat with other Arsenal supporters on a wide range of topics where the only thing we ask is respect for the club and for one another.

    Hopefully some of our other old friends will have returned by the time the season starts.

  30. Well said Rasp ………….. don’t be shy people, if you start to write a comment and it turns into a small book then copy and paste it into an email and send it to arsenalnuts@live.co.uk

    Thank you everyone for your kind comments.

  31. fred1266 says:

    Doesn’t African Cup usually be in January

  32. Sue says:

    You’re right Fred… this is the first time it’s been moved!

  33. Els says:

    Rasp and Peaches I’ll try to chip in as and when I can. I love discussions that carry on from the message board. So often an excellent convo is lost. It would be good for a daily update on long running convos.

  34. fred1266 says:

    Nice goal from gray, still find Nelson should be starting

  35. fred1266 says:

    Unlucky damn

  36. Sue says:

    What a howler by the GK, Fred!!

  37. fred1266 says:

    This is going to be a long 4 minutes

  38. RC78 says:

    Best players England have are Foden and Gray by far. They did well in both games. For all the hype, England does not qualify although there is some real quality in the team. France through with Romania…

  39. fred1266 says:

    England were very unlucky

  40. JM says:

    Freddie Ljungberg’s new role with the 1st team, leading “The Transition Team, accessing 18-to-21 age group/U-23s players and promoting potential talents to the 1st team.


    Head of Football, Sanllehi’s quotes:

    “The transition from Under-23 to first team is massive.”
    “It’s a pretty specifically English issue as we don’t have B teams playing at a high level which our European competitors have. So we need to make careful choices around who stays with the Under-23s, who trains [and plays] with the first team and who goes on loan. The transition team will be responsible for managing development plans for each and every player to best optimise their potential.”

    “Promoting young players from within has always been a key part of Arsenal and what we represent.”
    “We want to continue that tradition for a number of reasons but you could boil it down to two main ones. Firstly, these players grow up with the club and we think having players with this natural bond around what it means to play for Arsenal is good in the dressing room and for the connection with our fans.”
    “Secondly, despite the huge investment we make into our academy, with rapid inflation in transfer fees it is financially efficient. It’s not about cutting costs or being ‘cheap’, it just means we can then focus funds to make the biggest impact, to get better players when we need to go to the external market.”

  41. LBG says:

    Good comment Sanllehi!
    Do it! And dont offer Smith-Rowe or Eddie to Celtic as make weight for Tierney. Get your (Kroenke’s) chequebook out and buy him.
    We need evidence of actions not just words!!

  42. RC78 says:

    Ndombele available for 67 mln EUR… My goodness, this is very cheap for this kind of player and he s gonna go to Spurs? Come on Arsenal, just get the check out. He d be an amazing signing

  43. Rasp says:

    Morning all …..

    ….. New post ….

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