Should ‘the Future’ become ‘the Now’?
Sorry Guys, but my pessimism is increasing after the NLD for a number of reasons, and after all the improvements Mikel has started to make that game was a massive, stinky set-back.
Where to begin? Well first and foremost Emile Martinez was magnificent and deserves to be the #1 GK in any team at the moment. I have always wondered why he has not been given a chance to show us what he can do, and as a result of our Brighton bashing, where Leno was injured, Martinez has been given his chance and he has taken it superbly. Terrific display — again.
That is pretty much where the the good bit started — and ended.
The defence was a disgrace, and we will get to that, but sloppy passing by all our players did not help, and several mistimed tackles in midfield, or crazy passes from pretty much everywhere, allowed the Spuds to counter-attack our slow moving and gumption-less back line.
I would not be sorry to see the back of all of them, from Kola thru Mustafi and Luiz to the inept fast fading Bellerin.
There is a lesson to be learned by Mikel, and that is to “GIVE YOUTH A CHANCE” — do not stop at giving Saka, Eddie and the Archangel Gabriel their first team chances, where they have already shown they are the NOW and the FUTURE of the team, and are ably supported by Willock, Emile Smith Rowe, Reiss Nelson, and Tierney who have shown they are also able to take permanent and effective midfield roles.
BUT — what has happened with refreshing the defence??
There are also other young cubs itching to be given a chance in defence. Tolaji Bola cannot help but improve the left back role, leaving the impressive Tierney to continue as an attacking midfielder, whose crosses are wonderful by comparison to the ‘hit-the-first-derfender’ rubbish crosses doled out by Bellerin. Harry Clarke or Zak Swanson would also make fine back ups to Soares (though I have reservations about him).
But let’s cut to the chase. The major failings in defence are the insipid, disorganised CBs, Mustafi and Luiz You know it, I know it, but sadly Mikel does not seem to know it.
Let them go!! That would be the start.
Who to promote to the first team if Mikel wanted more of the same youthful skill, grit and hunger for success?
The answer seems to be so obvious I just cannot understand why we have not already started this change, in what is now a dead season for us.
Holding has impressed many of us following his long-term injury. — START HIM.
There is a youngster, Medley, in the youth ranks who is tall, skilful and pacey. Yes, that’s right — tall – skilful and pacey — START HIM.
To back them up we have Ballard and Omole and waiting in the wings Joel Lopez, who will be special in a couple of seasons
So the team back line would look like:
Bola – Holding – Medley – Soares
Willock – Ceballos – Saka – Tierney
Auba – Laca
[With a whole host of youngsters ready to fill the gaps.]
An adventurous choice? Undoubtedly. But what was it some genius said about Manure, years ago, “you won’t win anything with kids”? Well, they then went on and won many trophies — and that makes me flinch at the memories. But those kids did it — why not ours?
And to see the backs of Luiz, Mustafi, Bellerin, Kola, Xhaka, and Ôzil would make it worth it – whatever happened.
I would love to see something like the above — and after 15 dreadful years of bollocks just waiting for money to buy a new Thierry, or Vieira or Bergkamp – which we know is not coming — just let’s change the mood and GIVE THE KIDS A CHANCE.
The Post was originally uploaded as a comment by RA, but is simply too good to ‘waste’ in comments, so here it is…
Good morning Redders
First, thank you for an intelligent and impassioned read.
I sympathise with the overall sentiment and would certainly not have the slightest objection to Arteta going “all in” on youth for the remaining games (even including the FA Cup Semi and the Final if we get there).
It’s unlikely to happen, of course.
We are suffering the effects of some very bad buying decisions on the part of the club.
Kolasinac should never have been picked up, even on a free. He’s strong and committed and you can’t help but like him, but his basic footballing skills are just not up to the standard required at the higher end of the Premier League.
Luiz was error-prone even in his best years and now he’s error-prone and slow. In the interests of full disclosure, I did not hate us signing him, but that was because I imagined him playing as a sweeper, a role which renders his defensive blunders less fatal.
Mustafi – he can actually play football quite well and in some games recently has looked like a really good and powerful CB. Except that we know he will have one or two howlers in every game.
The real issue is: who is responsible for these people being at our club? And for others like Mkhitaryan, Lichtsteiner, Denis Suarez etc? Is it Raoul Sanllehi? Sven Mislintat? Emery?
Whoever was most involved in those signings should leave the club.
Whoever spotted and nurtured the talent of Saka, Martinelli, Willock, Nketieh, Nelson, Smith-Rowe etc should be promoted and given a say in new arrivals.
My note of optimism is this: Saliba seems a really promising CB. If we are prepared to splash the cash on adding one other good, big CB and a powerful central midfielder in the mould of Partey, we may be not too far off looking like a decent team again.
We can finance these arrivals with sales. We would get decent money for: Bellerin and Guendouzi and we’d get reasonable cash for Mustafi, Kolasinac and Ozil. I would even (somewhat reluctantly) accept us selling Aubameyang if the right offer was made.
Good Morning, Rocky,
Thank you for taking a raw comment and adding relevant thoughts to it.
Although rushed, I did not commit my thoughts to the comment with insouciance, or the fatalistic acceptance of someone who was expecting a glass of champagne after whopping the Spuds on Sunday, and instead being showered with wine vinegar when we threw a commanding position away – again.
No, my pessimistic id kicked in as I have a lot of faith in Mikel, and he has started to get to grips with the leaky vessel we have become so used to, but although the Spuds were no better than us, probably worse, but unfortunately, the improved tactical strategy we have shown in defence, for the last few matches, call it the “horse shoe” or call it basic common sense, was thrown out of the stables and the back row on Sunday played like a bunch of amateur strangers brought in from non-league football.
I, and others, have been calling, for many years, for more youth players to be given first team promotion, rather than signing ageing defenders trying to bolster their pensions, and failing us catastrophically.
The penny has dropped, as far as the midfield and attack is concerned with youth giving us a taste of what it can be like in the future, but the defence is still made up of footballing bad apples, and as money is short (so we are told) we will always be let down by the nonsense defence recruitments, by the men you named above, and others, and that will remain so until the new wave of youngsters are given their chance.
[Clearly the Post and my comments are an expression of firmly held opinions, but I would be interested in the opinions of other bloggers, who might well have other views, so please feel free.] 😜
Completely agree RA, blood the youth. Stop wasting time on the players that have failed us consistently.
@Rocky who was to blame? Of the 3 you mentioned Sven & Emery have gone so it only leaves Raul in place to take the flak. I expect he will be gone inside the next year. He should be given the boot for that contract handed to Luiz alone. Not to mention not pulling the trigger on Emery way before he did.
I give credits to Per Mertesacker, our academy manager (with recommendations from Freddie Ljungberg) and especially Francis Cagigao, our new “chief” scout, for nurturing and spotting the talents of Saka, Willock, Nketieh, Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Martinelli and Saliba.
Mertesacker is an Arsenal supporter himself and after retiring from his playing days at Arsenal, is appointed our academy manager in July 2018.
Cagigao was an Arsenal youth player and was Arsenal scout for more than 20 years (since 1997) and supposedly promoted to chief scout in July 2019. He has presumably close ties with the Spanish FA.
There is an article from “The Athletic” which credits Cagigao on scouting and advising on recruiting the likes of Fabregas, Lauren, Cazarla, Bellerin, Reyes, Monreal, Arteta(himself), Emiliano, Alexis and the new guys Martinelli and Saliba.
I put the responsibility on the bad recruitment on both our former CEO (and his statDNA program) who is now at AC Milan and a certain extent our former manager who is now at FIFA.
This is an extract on reddit from the original “The Athletic” article.
You are right about Raul, Pete, and good morning to you.
We all had high hopes of an ex-Barca guy “with contacts” who would bring in better players, etc, but that became a nonsense when Mislintat was brought in to a role that included scouting and working on contracts — and then left when he realised it was all bollix.
Now we have Edu — so ….. good luck with that.
I read that Emery, and now Mikel, had/have very little input to the recruitment of players, other than advising Raul and the rest of the board who they would like.
That does not bode well. 🥺
A quick story on Jack Charlton:
I bumped into him at Cork airport years ago. He was sitting right opposite me with a newspaper virtually covering his head. He was rumbled by a little boy in an Ireland football short who asked for his autograph. He agreed begrudgingly as the lad was maybe 7 years old. After that he gave me a dirty look and put the paper back over his head to disguise himself again. His side-kick Maurice grimaced at everybody who came within 5 yards. Interaction was not welcome.
He was a miserable git.
He was a fantastic footballer and is a virtual saint in Ireland, but a lot of the guff written in the press about his warm, friendly character is miles off the mark imo.
In contrast spoke to Fabio Capello a few years back. He was a genuinely nice guy, happy to have a chat. Completely at odds with the stuff written in the media about him.
Thanks for the Cagigao link – very interesting read.
You may be right about Jack, but your sample size is small (one interaction).
I know a couple of people who met him in Ireland and found him charming.
So I shall posit an alternative theory for your encounter: perhaps he was just having a bad day?
@JM thanks for posting that. Cagigao’s reputation is growing. Mertesaker seems to know what he is doing. It’s a far cry from the days where Liam Brady ran the academy and basically did sweet FA, but paid homage to Wenger and was rewarded duly.
Not sure how long the Athletic is going to last. There are so many football blogs/journos. They have a very good one in Amy Lawrence, but there’s only so much in depth analysis you can write about one club. Good luck to them though…
@Rocky you know the saying…first impressions last.
He had a no nonsense reputation as a player and that was how he came across to me.
That was a fascinating article, and I had not seen it before.
It certainly throws another light on how some of the Arsenal network operates.
Thank you for that.
One thing I noticed from your ‘fantasy/youth’ line-up was that you have Saka in a central midfield role alongside Ceballos.
Interesting call, and the lad seems to have the ability to play wherever he’s asked.
But given his attacking nature, would you see Ceballos then as the holding MF in that line-up? Or perhaps Willock?
You spiked my interest and I googled Cagigao, and this is what I found;’
Who is Francis Cagigao?
His association with the Gunners started in the 1980s when he was a youth player at the club before then moving to Barcelona B.
Cagigao had a spell with Racing Santander before returning to England where he joined Southend United.
He then re-joined the Gunners once he had stopped playing and has been with the north London club for more than 15 years.
What does he do at Arsenal?
Cagigao was employed as a scout by the club but then rose to be a prominent member of Arsene Wenger’s backroom team.
A source said: “Francis is massively influential, massively connected. He’s an excellent judge of a player — he brought in Fabregas, Bellerin, then [Santi] Cazorla after that.
“He’s very well thought of there, well respected by the other people. He knows Arsenal better than anyone, knows the system. He’s just a good guy.
The thing is, Arsenal let more than 10 scouts go recently — hope he was not one of them.
Good post RA. I agree. Blood the youth.
Mikel has been a bit hamstrung by injuries to our defensive line. Holding has taken longer to recover than anticipated but that can happen with serious knee injuries. Chambers was showing promising signs before his long term injury. I haven’t lost faith in him. I liked the look of Mari before the injury. Then we have Salina.
Unfortunately we are in a poor spot because we need to win games just to get Europa games or bleed more money as potentially lose players. In saying that it’s our experienced players making the mistakes so Arteta must be loving life at the moment…
Luiz isn’t a left sided CB nor is Socrates or Mustafi so we are forced to play kola…monreal would be good right about now.
What a shit show. Roll on next season. Cash in on bellerin, ozil, and hope au a re-signs.
Give ERS the first crack at attacking midfield next season. Defensive positions are fine…if we can get them healthy.
Hope you are keeping well? 😁
I pretty much agree with your analysis, and there are inevitably reasons for the constant change around at CB, not least the injury roster.
Truth be told as devoted fans, we have always rationalised why this or that was affected by something or other, (how’s that for vague rationalising?) 🤪 but if we cut through the reasons/excuses much of it comes down to the fact many of the players – fit or not – are just not good enough for a team with aspirations to win trophies, and fans who have waited far too long for our team to be in with genuine hope to be champions.
I am not a natural born complainer, but I have allowed my love of Arsenal to cloud my judgement, and continually search for reasons why we keep coming up short.
That is going to stop.
Rocky @ 11:19
With all suggestions made on the hoof, regarding players and their positions, it is inevitable that the ‘square peg in a round hole’ syndrome can pop its head up.
To suggest playing Saka and Ceballos in the same midfield might seem to be one of those, but I did give it a bit more thought (still might be wrong) and realised that Saka has shown he can defend (more experience/minutes played will improve that); and has a very good eye for assists, and also is fleet of foot.
As far as Ceb is concerned he has the skill to support the attack, is mobile, and helps out in defence and I am hoping, if we do eventually sign him, that the two of them might jell rather like Santi and Ôzil/Fabregas did.
Of course, if we bought Partey boy, my thoughts would be that he would replace Ceb as the better fit.
Speaking of Partey, I was interested to read this — (where is our man RCA to throw some light on this??) 🤪
“Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is ‘dreaming’ of signing Marc Roca, and his side are the most likely club to get hold of him, according to La Razon.
Arsenal have been linked with Roca for months now, but and the latest claims from Spain give the Gunners fans hope that a deal for the midfielder could be struck.
Arsenal are apparently the club who have shown the most interest in Roca so far, and Arteta really wants him at the Emirates Stadium.
Arteta is said to be believe that the Espanyol star is the perfect partner for Thomas Partey, who he also wants to bring to the Gunners this season.
Arsenal are even believed to be willing to pay £36 million to get hold of Roca, with Arteta determined to improve his side’s midfield.
Roca’s arrival at Arsenal would certainly help them look sturdier in the centre of the pitch, especially if he was partnered with Partey.
Arsenal have been too easy to play against at times this term, but Roca’s arrival would help them be much tougher to beat next year. ”
I do not know much about Roca, but the mood music makes my ears stick up.
If that rumour ends up happening, it would also result in many poorly performing midfield players moving on too.
I know of Amy Lawrence, James McNicholas and our supposedly “oracle/insider” David Ornstein writes Arsenal articles on “The Athletic”.
Another example: Arteta’s Arsenal
Cagigao is still at Arsenal, now the head of international scouting/ or our “chief scout”. Possibly directing operations in South America, Spain as well as other parts of the world.
A brief summary of the similar article in reddit:
I agree. It’s time for real changes. And Saliba is coming.
Thanks for the read RA, still in pain, can’t talk.
“…if we cut through the reasons/excuses much of it comes down to the fact many of the players – fit or not – are just not good enough for a team with aspirations to win trophies…”
That seems pretty indisputable, sadly.
When we ended our long trophy drought by beating Hull in the FA Cup Final in 2014, our starting line up was:
Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs
Ramsey – Arteta
Podolski – Ozil – Cazorla
We can only dream of that quality at the back these days (and in midfield). And that’s even with Gibbs and Fabianski in the side!
And there was some bloke called Ozil who was a good player once upon a time.
Nice post Red, referring back to the thrust of your post, the yoot, you have to be careful, if you throw them all in and they get hammered I’m not too sure what that’ll teach them and Arteta will be rinsed by fans online and the media.
Willock for example has looked really good in some games whilst in others he’s been totally ineffective, that’s what you get with the kids as a rule with their form fluctuating wildly, give them a few games them take them out for a spell then bring back.
As for the defence, I think that Arteta has worked a minor miracle getting as much out of them as he has, it’s small margins, Vardy red card, we win, Kolasinac doing the sensible thing, a bit of a stretch with him I know, and we don’t concede straight away and maybe win?
It’ll be alright Red, just chill out mate with a Cydrax
@Rocky another game I was lucky enough to be present at.
We got very lucky that day. Hull should have beaten us. 2 up inside 15 minutes. Ripping Gibbs to pieces on his flank. Although he was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line. 3 down and we wouldn’t have come back.
Wenger’s tactics were questionable at best that day. Remember he threw Sanogo on to hump the ball up to. Wimbledon would have been proud.
I recall having a near heart attack when Fabianski came flying out of his box and missed the ball. The Hull player mucked up the shot.
Had to watch that one on the telly Pete (I was in Canada and had just started a business, so was skint).
Managed to make it to the Vllla and Chav finals thought. They were both fun.
In the Hull game, didn’t Hull have a really good chance to make it 3-0 at one point?
Good piece.. let give the younger defender’s a chance.
Hiya, Kev, @ 2:59
Good to see you.
That is a sensible comment re throwing too many of the youngsters into the pot at the same time, and being buggered if they all have a skimpty 90 minutes.
I do not think for one minute that Mikel would countenance my argument, to be candid, for the reasons you gave, but left to me, I would have no concerns about the risk of playing the kids.
After all, everyone cocks up at some time, and we currently have defenders who prove that over and over again.
The kids may well emulate them, and lose spectacularly, if Mikel threw caution to the wind, but I would rather watch them being under the cosh, knowing Mikel would teach them how not to be pillocks in future, whereas with the current lot — well they will never learn.
Are you keeping well?
Rocky @ 2:22
You have to stop that!
You showed just how much we have deteriorated when you compare the team who won the FA Cup in 2014, with the current squad.
I was in agony …. I pushed my chair away from my desk in horror at the comparison, went over the back of it, hit my head, and as no one was looking I emitted the odd groan. 😳
Not sure what a Cydrax is. A cyber dragon, maybe? 😉
Welcome to Arsenal Arsenal. 😁
Would I be right in thinking that as we have not mentioned it today, that someone will bash out a Post as to why Man City have dodged the bullet again?
I have nothing against City, per se, but once the legal boys get busy, the fact they were given a €9m fine, it somehow is presented as a stunning victory, and not a legal judgement that found they were guilty of not complying with the FFP rules.
Given Man City’s reservoirs of filthy lucre, a £9m fine really is just a slap on the wrist so I can see why people are treating it as a victory for them.
From what I gather Xhaka has recently somewhat redeemed himself of late? Certainly would back the youth coming through, start as early as tomorrow against Liverpool, I’d take a point from that beforekick off! Season’s already a right off, if we finished above 8th would be something of a result. During preseason what ever happens, a defensive rebuild is an absolute must.
This author wants us relegated! A naive post. Arteta already works with youth players, plenty of them. But we need to mix them with experience to have any chance of making progress.
That is a pretty good comment Mikel A.
There was only 2 or 3 things you got wrong.
a) I do not want Arsenal to be relegated — where did you see that?
b) I am actually quite chuffed that you thought my work was artistically naïf — thank you — altho you misspelt it, never mind.
c) And you were also clever enough to work out what I and others had already said; that the youngsters will need the right calibre of experienced players to balance the side, altho at the moment we currently do not have that in the defence.
When will you show us how a Post should be written?Have you ever written one?
I really cannot wait. Bring it on, maestro.
I agree. You have expresed my ideas and spot on analysis! Young Guns now and future. I know that I too would love to see the backs of Luiz, Mustafi, Bellerin, Kola, Xhaka, and Ôzil…
There are plenty of us with those opinions too, Kasif. 😁
Your post has only one objective and that’s kicking out at several players you do not like. Its a big whinge with a naive solution. Just look at your lineup. Just has to be said. Sorry.
Thanks for the GN5 update.
So, to counter what Mikel A says, lets take a look at Marcelo Bielsa Leeds United clubs, before you go crazy Mikel A, this is the guy that Pep worships along with many other top top coaches. His Leeds side is coming up next season, so we shall be able to see his petri dish in real time.
A few facts about his sides:
Year 18/19 Average Age 22.4 Coach Marcelo Bielsa
18/19 23.1 Marcelo Bielsa
19/20 23.6 Marcelo Bielsa
This data is directly from the Leeds site and points out that his side are among the youngest Leeds sides of all time.
This from another post I made on another site.
Few changes required, sell everyone who is not part of Mikel’s plan, including giving away oziL for free, what a cancer, if you do not agree than look at his ability to press and his assist record the last two years if you need convincing.
Here is my list of who stays:
Marinelli, Saka, Eddie, Nelson, ESR, AMN (if he wants to play right back full time or off) Tierney, and Martinez. That is it, get rid of ALL the players who can’t find the fitness, or whom do not possess the technical ability and heart to get the job done.
All the other positions fill up from our youth academies.
Many will say what about Soares, Mari and Luiz, if they want to compete for their place and they can hold it down, then fine, as I believe they are all signed on low rent wages, except Luiz this year.
Many of the rest are injury prone, had major surgery or are just not good enough. (Bellerin, Holding, Chambers, Kola, and Torriera)
You say what about Laca, Auba, Pepe, Leno, Xhaka, Elneny, and Mustafi: sell them for what we can get for them, they are not part of Mikel’s long term plans. The club can offer to restructure their contracts to help the club, incentive based, if not sell them.
The club would be in a positive cash position to rebuild as that is what this club needs. A few on this list will sell for a pretty penny.
If the top tarnished brass think that 10th place is acceptable, then continue doing what we have and AFC will continue to slide downwards towards the Championship. Yes, it could happen to our club.
I am well. PhD all finished. Dr. Oz now…which isn’t a reflection on me but more so the dumbing down of academia and society as a whole
I hope you are well too!
100% agree. While I do think there are reasons for why some have had to play more than they should it’s a continuing trend.
Which is why Arteta needs time (something that doesn’t happen in Soccer with the manager’s…sadly). They are expected to work miracles from day one with players they never picked.
One trend that lends itself to youth playing earlier is the evolution of soccer. The big lumping CB’s (Ryan Nelsen) and strikers (the fat types from lower leagues that are hard to push off the ball) have been phased out. Now we are seeing these tall athletic types. Because of this, I don’t think there is a need to wait for young players to “bulk up”. Not to mention training programs are very thorough especially for those in the system before they have hair on their testicles).
The rot/decay (whatever you want to call it) needs to be removed from Arsenal and we need to start again. Get a god damn witch doctor in and start throwing burning sage around…anything. It’s gone on for too long.
Athletes these days are focused more on the outside world instead of performing on the pitch. Bellerin…shut up about UK politics – get fit and play ball. Ozil…we know Flamini is a good mate and wants to save the planet. Great stuff but he’s retired. You’re getting 350k a week to do fuck all, tweet, and do podcasts.
That’s one great thing about the youth. They haven’t had a chance to rest on their laurels. They have a desire to win something after spending their entire youth training and hoping to play at a big club.
Arteta has my full backing. If you don’t want to perform, give it your everything, and win with Arsenal – there is the door. It should be simple as that. Culture is everything and a few bad eggs are all it takes to corrupt the whole locker room. Remember when Arteta first got to the club? He said the team was all individuals. He and meet organised team dinners etc. to unify the group. I hope we have that sort of stuff happening still.
I can’t agree with selling Leno. Yes, Martinez has performed well but Leno has probably been our most consistent performer over the past 18 months. We are routinely under siege and he has stopped games from looking far far worse. He’s top 3 in the league (keeper wise imo).
And he is worth a pretty penny too!
Sell him, bring up Macy or another outside keeper for number 2.
Leno is a shot stopper with NO box presence at all, Martinez has shown he can stop a missile, best save of the year bar none, and blasts out balls coming in from set pieces and corners like a proper keeper should. He is good with his throws and his feet, most importantly he is Calm.
Forgot to mention Guen too, if he can’t cut it, ship shis petulant a$$ out.
I stand by my assertion.
David Ornstein: AMN is likely to leave Arsenal and consider either a move elsewhere in England or abroad to Germany.
He would bring $$$ but we’ve made the mistake of falling for backups that show something in a few games. He doesn’t have the runs on the board that Leno has. The issue is Martinez may leave just like Fabianski did. The positive is we get $$$ that wouldn’t have existed had Leno been fit.
I think we make enough from getting guen, torreira, ozil, bellerin, AMN, maybe (although I hope not) auba off the books. Plus Socrates, kola, and potentially Mustafi
Then we can bring in Partey and Roca. Backup for tierney.
Build the squad Arteta wants. Just like he said recently about Liverpool and Kloop. That’s the method.
Fair point, but Leno is on very large wages, and Martinez is not.
We need $ to build from the back and center.
I concur with your thoughts on Klopp and the rebuild.
Good morning, Dr Oz — I am delighted for you that you put in the work and got the doctorate you deserve! 😁
You may remember some time ago, I never had any doubt you would be a success. 👍
I enjoyed your 1:04 a.m. comment that deserves to be a Post in its own right.
It’s a long time since you wrote for us — so, if you get a moment, maybe you could write another one for us? 😀
A “Post”, I meant. 😳
Well said, Aaron, @ 11:56.
That is the sort of radical thinking that we need!!
Cautious people in the club might worry that they need to be risk averse, but again we agree, the status quo would eventually be disastrous for us.
Some great stuff Arsenal discussion from you and Oz while I was slumbering!! 🥺
That Post produced an excellent discussion (and got viewed by a lot of people).