What can Arsenal Supporters Reasonably Expect Next Season?

Reasonable is a difficult word so I’ve decided to try to look at current elements from an Arsenal perspective related to how we think we can compete next season in the top 4, which is actually the short and easy part of this for me. If you don’t want a really long read, go to the end for that. I’ve also added a historical perspective because we are the Arsenal and hence have historically based expectations. So here it is:

15 Years ago (Boy were we spoiled !!)

Goalkeeper and Defence : Solid, commanding keeper with physical, fast defenders that were well organized, tactically savvy, good in the air and hard as nails. Also a consistent scoring threat at set pieces.

Midfield : Box to box midfielders, strong, physical skillful and hard working, good defensively complimented by fast skillful wide players who could beat a man. All of them were creative and could score for fun.

Forwards : Fast, devastating finishers, confident, creative and hungry.

The last 10 years (steady decline with odd flashes of brilliance)

Goalkeeper and Defence : No real commanding presence or leadership of the back line. Football playing defenders, physically unimposing and generally poor in the air, didn’t tackle very well and unable to hold a cohesive defensive line. Tendency to give away stupid free kicks which we were ill equipped to defend. Let crosses come in far too easily. (Sagna is exempt from all of this except the crossing thing).

Midfield : Defensive Midfielders were generally a bust (including Alex Song) and went missing at the vital moments. The rest were generally small tricky and very creative, held possession extremely effectively due to being technically sound, very good at short passing triangles and give and goes. Some good free kick technicians and ball strikers and generally a threat to score. Lightweight and unable to defend. (Santi – you’re exempt from criticism – what a tragedy. A complete genius).

Forwards : Apart from a very injury prone RVP who left after his only outstanding season, only Alexis managed more than 20 goals in 2017 until Auba got 22 last year (Ade got 24 in 2008). Other than that, a string of inconsistent finishers often with pace but (other than Giroud) unable to score in the air. Most of these players looked a lot better than they were because of outstanding creativity in the midfield and a team built to attack. (Alexis was the real deal).

Today (Oh dear!!)

Goalkeeper : I think Leno can be the new Jens. Not because he’s German but he will command his defence if he has some support. Just what we need.

Defence : Bellerin, Sokratis and Holding are good enough to do what we need to compete in the top 4 race. We need 2 more to step up and a combination of Monreal and Koscielny to play bit part roles. AMN and Mavro look like good prospects.

Defensive Midfield : Torreira is good enough and will get better. He has all the tools but needs to stop falling over to try and win free kicks. Refs are wising up. Guendouzi is a good prospect. I don’t think Xhaka can do it unless he undergoes a major transformation (mostly in mentality but also agility). If anyone can do this, Dick can !! Need a couple of step ups. Unlikely to be Elneny so maybe Bielik or Chambers. The latter is also too slow at the top 4 level I think. Could maybe play a bit part in defence.

Attacking Midfield : I know this will be unpopular but Ozil is a liability, as is Mkhitaryan. But as sick as it is, without these two we have ZERO creativity. As a group,(including these two and Iwobi) we have ZERO midfield goal scoring threat at the top 4 level.  “ZERO” encompasses scoring the odd goal here and there but really means compared to the rest of the top 4 and how our opposition sees us.

Forwards : We have two of the better forwards in European football right now. Such a shame we have such little ability to create chances for them especially against good teams. They will need a little help throughout the season. Hopefully Eddie or Reiss might help a little but they’ll find it hard to compete against almost all of the Premier League.

What we need

Assuming not too many injuries – unlikely but you can’t plan for what you don’t know about – here’s hoping for some divine intervention !!

1) Some Balls !!!  Let Leno, Sok and Holding scream at the slackers. We need a strong captain. I think Sokratis fits the bill, Holding as a back up.

A solid centre back that can head the ball would be great as long as he can defend. Ditto for a left back.

2) Learn to defend properly without the ball !!! Team effort, tactics and desire along with improved fitness levels. Torreira will be good and hopefully inspire everyone else and lead by example.

A solid DM would be great.

3) Meaningful possession when level or behind !!! City had a difficult time last season breaking down a stubborn Leicester defence until Kompany scored “that goal”. For us it’s the norm and we seldom score that goal. It’s hard to see where the creativity will come from but we do have the goal scorers. We need to improve technically with the ball to avoid being beaten by the high press.

A fast, skillful winger and a #10 that’s willing to defend would be great.

4) To kill off games when we’re ahead and playing well !!! A major weakness of Arsenal since the mid 2000’s has been our inability to kill off vulnerable opposition. We haven’t been able to soak up pressure which is an essential element of counter attacking, which takes speed, desire and finishing. Laca and Auba need to be clinical especially against better sides. We need to transition quicker to defence in the event we don’t score.

A good finisher who can also score in the air would be great.

How can we achieve this?

A) Follow a plan designed by Unai.

I’ve read a lot about us not having a “style of play” or “certain way of playing”. Those observations are valid – to a point. I just don’t think we have a good enough squad of players to dictate games and be one thing, which might be the entire point of this extended article. Nor do I believe we have the resources or the reputation in Europe right now to bring in outstanding players. To compete in the top 4 this coming season, we need to deconstruct our opposition and make a fairly rigid plan for each game. That might be to increase possession or play on the counter. It might be different for every game, depending on who or where we play. Hopefully Unai is up to the task. And most of all, that the players, staff and fans respond to his methods.

orB) Change the structure of the club.

Buy everyone we need (see “would be great” above) and start winning immediately. 5 or 6 key 80m signings (and a new manager for some people reading this – but not me!!) would do the trick !! It’s that easy. It’s also never going to happen.

So my answer to the question of what we can reasonably expect next season is, at best we can expect a tough season with a somewhat rugged team playing efficient if not always attractive football. But if we can become hard to beat and score a few goals, it opens our opposition up and often, that’s how you can win games comfortably. I think tactics, game planning and strategy are our only hope of competing effectively this season. But it will be a building block for next season and beyond if we can do it. One thing’s for sure, it won’t be easy.

Mike M

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80 Responses to What can Arsenal Supporters Reasonably Expect Next Season?

  1. Great article Mike M thank you.

    When you look at the fantastic place we were 15 years ago compared to now it’s just so sad 😦 ……….. must be how Liverpool felt for nearly 30 years (and the totts for nearly 60 years 😉 ) and the manks are in a similar position to us now.

    I feel that with hard work we should be able to get back into the top four ……….. hell we nearly got there a few weeks ago.

    With Auba and Laca up front we should be able to outscore almost everyone so a top, top CB is on my wish list ……… someone with real skill and passion and a love for defending who is going to look into the eyes of players that let him down.

  2. I was excited when we got Mhiki in exchange for Alexis but he has been a disappointment, showing his skillset only in flashes.

    Ozil – I love what he brings when he brings it and he should want to be creating for Auba and Laca ………….

  3. fred1266 says:

    Another great one Mike

  4. LBG says:

    “Words, dont come easy”……except to you Mike M.
    We can expect drive, determination, a never give up attitude, and we can expect it from a new group of youthful Arsenal graduates. We can expect……and hopefully get!
    What we can also expect is everyone wont be happy. COYG.

  5. VP of Oz says:

    Great post Mike
    I agree
    I would add that Unai needs to follow 2 plans. 1 for home and 1 for away because his away form is just not working and holds the key to top 4 (like it did last season)

  6. Pete says:

    Thanks Mike, much to agree with there. Supporting the club goes as high as (and includes) the manager in my world, above the manager and we’re not really in a position to know what really goes on. We can be pretty confident that SK is here for the long haul and won’t be pumping money in so the manager and the team need to generate the revenue necessary to compete.

    My expectation is of top 6 as a minimum, top 4 as the goal. With improved away and defensive form and a spirit of excitement in the players and the supporters fueled by hard work, creativity and entertainment on the pitch.

  7. RC78 says:

    I think we can only expect the same season as the last one until we see some solid players join us. Same coach, same squad so let s s not expect things to be too different. The only difference is that the top 3 are going to strengthen, man utd and Everton are going to also add to their team so expect us to battle for the 5th or 6th spot and make a run for a cup.

    I think you are spot on with the team major needs.

    I say let s get Bailly or Diallo, Gueye or Ndid, Vidal or Naingollan or Doucoure, Pepe (price coming down due to poor ACN) or Neres or Bergwin and Haller or Mitrovic or Pavoletti. Add Alves for free and Tierney and we are set for a top 4 challenge. Otherwise we ll be light

  8. Sue says:

    Koscielny has refused to travel to America… doesn’t look good

  9. Pete says:

    Not that I think he should be top of our shopping list, but a player like Zaha who is creative, unpredictable and potentially a game changer could be the spark we need to get a real buzz running through the team.

  10. RC78 says:

    https://www.scisports.com/food-for-thought-the-next-chapter-for-steven-bergwijn/

    Just unearthed this very interesting article about Bergwin and Neres. Cheaper than Zaha and Pepe – worth a try?

  11. Sue says:

    That’s music to my ears, Pete 👍

  12. Rasp says:

    Great work thanks Mike.

    I want a season ahead of enjoying the football and without Arsenal supporters constantly bickering. Obviously results on the pitch will be the biggest factor in that.

    I’d love top 4 and depending on what minor miracles we can perform in the transfer market, that has to be possible.

    I may start a campaign of RC78 for head of recruitment … he keeps throwing in players I’ve never heard of 🙂

  13. Pat7 says:

    Great write up Mike and thanks – you seem to have covered it all. We just need to get on with our business now of defensive improvement and connection/creativity midfield especially for the early season. With so many coming back late or from injuries those early games could leave us in a hole and mid table teams are strengthening better than us!

  14. Rasp says:

    I have no idea what’s gone on behind the scenes, but the club are now expressing their disappointment that Kozzer has refused to travel.

    This tells me two things: 1. we obviously haven’t got a replacement lined up if we want to keep Kozzer.. and 2. there has to be a serious row because he’s club captain and not that kind of man.

  15. RC78 says:

    Told you guys that Kos wanted out.
    Bordeaux, Rennes, Monaco interested.
    Kos wants the club to free him from his last year of contract, not gonna happen. He wants basically to leave for free so that clubs can pay him a signature fee and then he could accept a lower salary.
    Shame to see him leave in this fashion

  16. RC78 says:

    – I think the club pbbly upset him a bit as well by extending Monreal…

    So with captain Kos out, it opens the door for Leno, Sokratis, Monreal and Xhaka to be captains and am hoping that Xhaka will leave so we re left with 3 options 😉

    We also need a quality proven CB even more

  17. fatgingergooner says:

    I wonder if this Kozzer business will end up being a blessing in that it will force the clubs hand and they will have to get a new CB in 12 months earlier than planned. I certainly hope so.

  18. RC78 says:

    Zidane accepting to only loan out Ceballos in the end, opening the door for Arsenal to make an offer. What do you make of him?

  19. jjgsol says:

    Kosielny is the first to try to jump ship.

    Is it only about money, or is it about how he sees the immediate future with UE?

    Can it really be about money when he must be earning millions a year?

    Not a good sign of the relationship between the management and the players.

  20. Rasp says:

    I’m not sure we can jump to that conclusion jjgsol …. there are many more people than UE making the decisions these days…

  21. fred1266 says:

    Felt sorry he didn’t win a WC for his injury, well now am glad u dick

  22. fred1266 says:

    Mike u mentioned sokratis for captain but I think it should be lacazette

    What you guess think

  23. Sue says:

    Who knows what is going on behind closed doors? Because of his age/injuries, has he been told he won’t play as much? Or that there is someone being lined up to take his spot?
    Or maybe Bordeaux – or another team – have come in & offered him something we haven’t/can’t… he’s no longer a spring chicken, his last chance (probably) to go and play back in his native France… can you blame him?
    I just find it really strange how there’s a complete u turn & he might even buy out his contract… 🤔
    Why couldn’t it have been Mustafi? 😂😂😂
    Oh well, things happen & life goes on..
    Good luck to the boys.. hoping for some decent games, in the States. If only I was travelling today – love America – and it’s been too long since I last visited!! COYG

  24. Sue says:

    More negative vibes surrounding our club though… isn’t it about time we had something positive??!

  25. Mike M says:

    Morning all. Thanks for the support, I’d imagine there might be a little dissent to come from some others but that’s what this forum is for – as long as it’s respectful. On the Kosielny situation, I have to be honest and say (and my son will back me on this !!) that I’ve long said that he has typified what’s been wrong at Arsenal for his entire tenure. I’m certain he’s a really “nice guy” but he’s also a good loser. And as the old saying goes “show me a good loser ……. ” This doesn’t really surprise me because possibly (hopefully) Unai and his staff are ruffling a few feathers on the training ground and maybe – just maybe, he’s not being treated like porcelain god any more. The Ramsey contract decision set a tone that UE won’t coddle these guys and hopefully they’re getting the message. This is speculative for sure, but if true, maybe – just maybe, we might see a different Ozil or Xhaka ???!!! if I’m honest, I’m not sure I believe it but I will say if anyone was to push back against it, I’d expect “comfortable Laurent” to be one. Hopefully I’m not giving him a raw deal but I guess we’ll see !!

  26. Mike M says:

    Fred i believe a captain should be a deeper lying player. Centre Back is a great position to see the field and what’s going on. Adams, PV and Sol we’re central players who could see the field and give input to the manager about what was happening out on the field, even make the odd change or two during the game. Maybe technology has changed that. Lacazette is a great leader by example but i’d like to see someone who’s vocal and willing to call his own players out when the need arises.

  27. Rasp says:

    Sokratis for captain for me.

  28. Els says:

    Nice rational post Mike M. Nice to see some support for the manager. I think he’s as qualified for his position as any first team player.

    There are a few more exceptions in the criticism of the last ten years for me. Not a good day to raise the point but Koscielny has been a gem.

    After pinpointing what we need we look closer to the hard to beat style of play than we have for a long time. Lets hope that can be realised and built upon.

    Getting closer to some football now.

    I’m a little devastated by the way koscielny is leaving.

  29. Mike M says:

    @Els. Your take on Kosielny is interesting. Just goes to show how opinions can differ !!! I’ve been a very consistent critic of him (as you can see above). Anyway I think it illustrates how we all look at the same stuff, yet can see it so differently.

  30. Aaron says:

    Well, the Kos thing has come back and exploded in Arsenal’s faces.
    Mgmt has know for quite some time he was wanting to go back to France, and the Arsenal played hardball.

    The irony is Bielik was not named to the travelling squad.

    Looking at the post, a good one at that, the Arsenal have been in a long slow decline with the move to the new stadium, FFP adherence, and stan the maN’s austerity program in full bloom.

    The Arsenal have only improved up top, everywhere else is a failure.

    The Arsenal should be buying and promoting players to improve not replace players as stated on another site.

    For me, play all the youth on the trip, I do not know what the the substitution situation is, but if it is unlimited, go with the youngsters and see what they can do, not piecemeal, but who they play with regularly if possible.

    The 1st team players played enough games last year and will play too many again. We all know that the Arsenal can’t play defense so see who can.

  31. Sue says:

    Bielik has a longer break, for taking part in the U21 tournament

  32. fred1266 says:

    Lord looks like mustafi will be staying seeing as kos will be going

  33. fred1266 says:

    I think Nelson can be the same for us Pete

  34. Aaron says:

    Sue,
    But, he could have been named, as he has agitated for 1st team experience, and could have sat in place for any of the back four because we all know what they can’t do!

  35. fred1266 says:

    Yea RC78 for head recriter

  36. fred1266 says:

    So true Sue, since the season ending and can’t think of something positive happening for us

  37. fred1266 says:

    Mike like u still holding a grudge for the Birmingham lose

  38. fred1266 says:

    The only reason am not sold on sokratis as captain is because hw has only been at the club for one season vice maybe

    We can give it to monreal then

  39. fred1266 says:

    Remember when our captain never use to play smh

  40. LBG says:

    “Words dont come easy”, except for Mike M.
    We can expect a new generation of motivated young, talented players to take us into a new era for the mighty Arsenal. COYG.

  41. LBG says:

    Thanks for everything Kos. Always be a legend. Go home with our blessing ( as long as you take Mustafi and Xhaka with you!

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    I agree with Mike in that I think Koscielny typifies our players of the last 10 years. He’s a good player and probably the best defender we’ve had recently, but he wouldn’t have got anywhere near our double winning teams and he’s not the commanding, authoritative type we’ve been so desperate for since Campbell left the first time around.

    I actually don’t have much of an issue with him wanting out. He’s 33 now so it’s not like he has time to wait around another 12 months as he will struggle to get a meaningful contract at 34. He probably wants a couple of years in France before retiring and in fairness he’s been a good servant for us and until now hasn’t whinged or moaned. He’s given a lot of years to Arsenal so I don’t think it’s totally unreasonable for him to ask the club to let him go a year early. It’s only because the club are so tight that they probably don’t want him to leave as it means going out and buying another player. It’s not as if he’s irreplaceable or so good that we can’t do without him. He should be nothing more than a fringe player really but at Arsenal he’s first choice! 😂

  43. Sue says:

    Aaron.. I agree with you & would rather he had flown stateside..

  44. Sue says:

    LBG… I nearly choked on my drink, laughing at your comment – take Mustafi & Xhaka with you 👍👍😂 love it!

  45. Mike M says:

    It’s hard to sum up why we like/dislike or rate/don’t rate players. Here’s something I use a lot when assessing players, ours or opponents. “Who likes playing against them?” I could be wrong but I don’t think there are too many players in out team that strike dread into our opponents. Koscielny? Anyone? Drogba, Rooney, Aguero, Costa loved playing against us/him. Whereas Sagna? Not many enjoyed playing against him, or Santi. Look at the 2004 team. No one enjoyed playing against any of those players, either individually or collectively.

  46. You’re in a dark place when the captain refuses to travel on a pre season tour, but that’s exactly what Koscielny has done and rightfully upset the club. I can only assume it’s because he’s expecting to make his move any time soon and wants to stay in touch, but isn’t that why they have their Mr 15%?

  47. Rasp says:

    There is a suggestion in the meeja that Kozzer (probably his agent) want the club to release him = go on a free. As far as I know, his contract hasn’t expired … so why would we let him go for nothing? Probably bollix though.

  48. Sue says:

    Fred… some positivity needed.. starting with Wilf signing, right?! 😜 (cue the onslaught!) Hahaha!!

  49. Sue says:

    Laurent has a year left, I believe… if he’s considering buying out his contract, that’d be quite a hefty sum?

  50. RC78 says:

    – Diego Costa being lined up By Everton and Watford
    – Haller has been the subject of an offer from West Ham (40 Mln EUR)

    I agree that Bielik could have been named
    I ll call Edu and tell him that I ll support him 😛

    I just find it strange that Edu, Leonardo and Juninho have all been named as Sporting Directors – all Brazilians.

  51. Els says:

    Mike M – yeah I just read your take on him. I can see exactly what you mean. Pardon my french but we’ve been completely lacking in “Nasty Bastards” for a few years. Perhaps he could have done more. Mind you I still think he’s an exceptional defender, using intelligence to set him apart. If he’d have been surrounded by better defenders I doubt the problem would be laid at his door though. Also when Lukaku was at his peak he was asked who the best defender in the league was and he said that the only player he couldn’t boss was Koscielny.

    Quite a sad day for me. I try my best nowadays to not really care too much about the players coming and going. He was an exception. Always popped up at the right time.

    He’s quite outspoken and I’m sure he’ll talk to french media at some point. He didn’t hold back on his international team mates when he missed the world cup. Poor bloke.

    Onto brighter things with the academy. I’ve said this a few times now but I’m hoping Bielik gets promoted too.

  52. RC78 says:

    Everyone enjoys playing against us because they fancy their chances, look at what happened in the last 5 games…or in the last 3 years.

    I think that defenders are not keen on playing against Auba and Laca. For the rest…

    I wanted to see Jenko, Mustafi, Kos, Monreal, El Neny, Xhaka and Ozil out this summer. So far, the guy I liked the most on the list is leaving and Monreal has been extended. Can someone call Edu now?

    Sue – I like Zaha but is he worth 80 Mln?

  53. RC78 says:

    I think that Kos could have handled the situation better but I also think that we shouldn/t block a move. We should even tell him to take Jenkinson and El Neny to Bordeaux or Rennes or Monaco.

  54. Sue says:

    No, RC… but I’m just.going to watch him against Algeria 😜

  55. RC78 says:

    I agree about the nasty players

  56. fred1266 says:

  57. fred1266 says:

    Nice to see bellerin and holding in squad

  58. fred1266 says:

    No Sue anyone else but Will lol 🙂

  59. Els says:

    RC78 hat’s a long list. Even accepting this is a window of change, getting rid of that list is a bit much all at one time.

    I don’t know how anyone could be dissapointed in Monreal being extended. It’s all good having youth but they need examples around them to learn from. It’s one thing having excellent coaches (which I think we do by the way), but we’ll need some level heads on the pitch too. Monreal could compliment what else is happening in the squad.

    As for Zaha, if you watch him it’s easy to see that he’s what we need. But not for that money. Not when you could potentially get three good players in for the same money (ish).

  60. fred1266 says:

    It can have up to 11-12 substitute for the tournament

  61. fred1266 says:

    He forgot to add elneny to the list

  62. Mike M says:

    @ Els. Is he outspoken? Never really thought of him that way but I can tell you from watching him all these years, he’s not outspoken on the field. Quiet as a mouse I’d say at a time when his team needed just that from him. I’ll watch to see what he says because he’s been a good servant for sure and I think Arsenal has been more than fair to him too. Hope he doesn’t throw his toys out.

  63. Pat7 says:

    IMO Kos has been a great servant of the club, giving his all and more so often so will be sorry to lose his presence but this season showed us he’s no longer capable of doing what’s necessary esp if we want to cut our goals conceded. He needed the BFG type of player behind him as he would often dive in for balls unsuccessfully but was one of the best rated in the EPL. I can’t disagree with him if he thinks Arsenal have got it wrong judging his case to continue. I think he deserves to leave for ‘softer options’ closer to his natural home. Thank you Kos for your blood, sweat and tears! I never saw him as a loser, just someone that occasionally had to realise when they were up against a better team and his best was not making the difference!

  64. Rasp says:

    Beautifully expressed Pat

  65. Els says:

    Yeah well said pat. He has indeed spilt blood for the cause. I don’t care how he leaves. He’s done his bit and then some. If all players had been as good as him in the last ten years we’d have a lot more to boast about.

  66. Mike M says:

    @ Pat and Els. Can’t disagree with the sentiment and as I said, he’s been a great servant but the truth is he just wasn’t good enough to keep us at the level we were at when he came. Will never complain about the effort. But he would more often than not “almost” get to the header that Drogba, Carroll or Costa would nod home to beat us, undoing much of our forward play. I think Corp Jenko sweats blood for the cause too, but he isn’t good enough. Look back, Song, Arshavin, Vela, Giroud, Clichy. The list goes on and on. All worked hard for the cause, played lots of games but were just lacking in complete game end product. That’s put us in the 2nd tier.
    My point right now is are we going to continue to be a sentimental club who applaud a “great effort” or demand 100% concentration and execution. As I said, calling him out for his quality shouldn’t be mistaken for not appreciating his efforts. But as FGG said, he wouldn’t get near our double teams, nor in the United or Chelsea teams that regularly beat us, not Liverpool or City today (in his prime). I know it’s unpopular but if we’re getting back to where we want to be, our “Kosielny’s” have to be better.

  67. fatgingergooner says:

    A sobering thought is that if ‘our Koscielny’ leaves, then we could be looking at another 12 months of ‘our Mustafi’!!!!

    It’s fair to say that any of ‘our Mustafi’s’ need to be sold immediately.

  68. Mike M says:

    LOL !!!

  69. fatgingergooner says:

    It’s easy to give Mustafi grief but I actually do think he’s a capable player in the right situation. The problem we are going to have with him and Sokratis in the same team is that they both love to attack the ball, whereas Koscielny was intelligent enough to back off at times and use his pace to sweep up behind. If we are to sign another CB on the back of this situation it needs to be someone with pace who can read the game, and not necessarily a big, strong CB. I know that goes against what we normally want from a CB, but you have to have balance, and I feel that you need an attacking CB and a smart, quick CB to have the ideal combination.

    However, it Playing 3 at the back is something different all together and that’s where I think a ball-playing CB like Holding is needed. I just worry that in a 2, Holding may not be quite as effective until he’s had time to develop his understanding of what it takes to be a CB against the world class strikers in the PL.

    Ideally we’d want someone like Sol Campbell, who in his prime could do everything and had the pace to go with it, but those players cost £60-£70m these days so maybe we will have to compromise a little. I guess the ideal back 3 would’ve been the aggression of Sokratis, the intelligence and pace of Koscielny, and the height and ball playing ability of Holding, but injuries last season meant we didn’t really get to see it, and the Koz situation probably means we won’t ever see it.

  70. fatgingergooner says:

    The other thing to think about when it comes to balance of the side is what footed is the player. I think Xhaka gets more games than he necessarily should due to the fact he’s very left footed and gives that left to right balance in midfield, and I wonder if in a back 3 it would be far more beneficial to have your LCB be a left footed player. It’s not the only option of course, but it would certainly help, and again that might explain a little as to why Monreal has seen so much action even though it’s not his natural position.

    With that in mind, and what I said previously, maybe we can assume that the hunt for a new CB will involve looking for a left footed CB who reads the game well and has a bit of pace.

    Nathan Ake anyone!? 😂

  71. Mike M says:

    Reading FGG’s comments I had also been thinking that many on this site might not be happy with my assessment of Koscielny and that it’s a little harsh. With that in mind, maybe our next post should address what we’re going to need from the players individually and collectively?? For example, with Koscielny my biggest problem was him being out of position when balls were played into the box. There are fundamentals for defenders to understand as far as distances and angles from strikers and he never quite seemed to be in position. However a large part of that could also have been the lack of pressure on the crosser in the first place which has been a massive weakness of our teams since the mid 2000’s. What I found astounding is that in 9 years, i never saw him hold anyone accountable for this, it always seemed like he just accepted it. Sol or TA would have lost the plot at their full back in similar circumstances on many occasions. There’s no doubt there’s a collective responsibility these days with defending. Hopefully UE is addressing that. It would be good to hear other opinions on that.

  72. allezkev says:

    Some good and thoughtful work there Mike, really enjoyed reading it and agreed with a lot of it…

    As for Koscielny, I tend to agree with this tweet:

    Charles Watts
    @charles_watts
    ·
    Seen people saying Kos has given everything for Arsenal and deserves better. Maybe he has, but how much have Arsenal given him? They made him a household name, an international, a multi-millionaire, a captain. He doesn’t have the right to dictate his own exit. He has a contract.

  73. Pat7 says:

    Some athletes KNOW when to call it a day and obviously, to my eyes, Kos has called it. He may have signed a contract with full faith that his heart was there but after putting his body through hell and feeling it fall apart as no cover meant him stretched even further….
    It is not his fault that the ‘team’ weren’t capable. He was never the ‘best’ but was praised by many a team/pundit. Even the best have rivals that beat them, sometimes on occasion, sometimes repeatably……then it is the CB pairing or team mate responsible to provide that cover IF the team organisation is there (as per Invincibles), not Kos’ fault.
    He was not a great captain IMO but did his best to lead by example. Look to the managers that chose him or to the team weakness of leadership!
    Fabulous discussions of late girls and guys – you’ve even dragged me into it 🙂

  74. Els says:

    Mike M can I just say that while we bicker over koscielny, the rest of the article was, mighty fine. 😘👌

    I’m defo with Pat on this. Koscielny did often get caught out of position, it’s true. I can picture him legs mid lunge, hands on knees looking back at his defence as an attacker latches onto a simple lobbed pass. The point is, most of the time he was covering a poorer players positioning. Koscielny in a better team still would have been good.

    Good idea for a post on this fatgingergooner. Also I agree with your assessment of Mustafi. When we first got him he could head anything clear. Also had nice distribution. He looked very promising.

  75. Els says:

    Nicely put. He may even fancy France. The epl isn’t forgiving.

  76. LBG says:

    Pat7
    I’m with you!
    Fed up trying to fight against plain facts, players control football.
    Kos will always be a leg end for me because he always did his best against a tide of…….
    Cancel his last year, let him go home, and always welcome him back to The Home whenever he wants.
    Thanks Kos

  77. RC78 says:

    Diallo from Dortmund is left footed I think.
    He is not left-footed but I remember 2 years ago, everyone taked about Tarkowski. What do you make of him?

  78. Rasp says:

    Morning all …

    … New post ….

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