Tuesday : 3rd April 2018

April 3, 2018

This might be a moment to look back at the recent past, with an eye on what might happen in next summer’s transfer window, bearing in mind that Arsene sometimes speaks with forked tongue.

Anyway — Looking back over last summer’s ‘events’ when we were all agog wondering which players were going and which were staying, I thought of comments that I and many others were making at the time.

In June 2017, AW explained quite clearly to the world at large, that he did not like other clubs continually asking him about the transfer status of Sanchez, Chamberlain and Özil, and then ignoring his ‘decisive’ message that they were not for sale. No way, he said, no-how, they were key to Arsenal’s future structure, but still they came back and got the same answer. No meant No, apparently.

He then went on to justify those comments by declaring that Arsenal’s policy was when we wanted a player we would quietly inquire if that player was available for sale, but if told they were not, then the Arsenal would respect that and walk away — unlike the other bad eggs.
Naïve? Possibly. Decisive? Ummmm. Truthful? Well er, um, sort of – maybe.

But hold you hard, because that goody-two-shoes statement did not square up with the rumoured bids for Lemar, for example, when it seems Arsenal were told he was not for sale, and yet we appear to have gone back to his club with incrementally increasing offers in trying to acquire the player.
So, Arsenal were not taking ‘No’ for an answer there then.

Refusing to talk turkey with other clubs beggars belief when the players concerned had refused to sign contract extensions and Arsenal had rejected the prospect of possibly making £150m in transfer sales for the turbulent trio this summer with the risk of losing all that dosh the following summer 2018, when they could walk away on frees’.

In the event, the Ox got his way and seems pretty happy at the Puddle after a £30m transfer was agreed, Sanchez blew hot and cold over a bid from Citeh, and eventually the deal fell through after complications over the Lemar non-transfer mentioned above, and he finally ended up with Moaniho at Manure in January 2018, on a swap deal for Mhki.

Mesut signed a contract extension for about £1 billion a week!! 😩

So, Arsene’s dogged refusal to accept a ‘No’ for Lemar up until the last transfer day, potentially cost Arsenal many millions of pounds sterling — and probably inadvertently proved conclusively that “No” can sometimes mean “Yes” or even “Maybe’ but “Conclusive” it certainly wasn’t and isn’t — not in football anyway.

More to come in the next transfer window? You bet!

Written by RA


Arsenal window Time Bomb

August 21, 2017

No idea how many days in August, so let’s pretend the window remains open for ten’ish days. That is not long at all, although I suspect a great deal more business will be done across Europe. I imagine Barca will be very active, and this will have the inevitable knock-on effect as to who goes where.

As we entered the summer, my only comment regarding The Arsenal summer activity concerned the importance of resigning Sanchez. One, he is our best player, and two, it would send out the right signals to both current players as well as transfer targets.

Here is/was my hit list:

  1. Sign up players entering final year of contracts. Essentials being Sanchez, Mesut and Ox.
  2. Sign Ian Wright….or similar
  3. Sign Patrick Vieira….or similar
  4. Sign Tony Adams….or similar

Additional to those players’ footballing abilities was that two of them were Leaders.

Ok, now the bad news. We’ve done just one of the above, in Lacazette. Yes, I’m very pleased with The Bosnian Beast, but that signing was cake icing.

So, here we are, ten’ish days remaining. I do not believe all the above will be done, so damage limitation could be the order of the day. I was staggered to learn about the sale of Gabriel, not because I believe he was an especially good defender, but because we’re thin, to put it mildly, in experienced CB’s.

Based on that sale, my money would be on a defender arriving as the most likely.

Sanchez leaving would be a complete disaster, and even having him stay on with a thicker weekly envelope fills me with awful memories of how Henry performed with 200k a week in his tight trousers.

What would you like from the last ten’ish days, because damn sure, not all your dreams will come true? I predict a disaster.

Written by mickydidit89


Is Vardy the Right Man?

June 4, 2016

I will admit it, I was horrified when Young Tom, phoned me last night from Blighty with the news of AFC triggering Vardy’s release. Why when we are looking for a striker of the ilk of the chap at Dortmund whose name I cannot possibly spell would we look at a PL striker who has done nothing special until this season?

Is Vardy as good as, say, Welbeck?  I get that with Welbz out for the season we need another CF but we needed one anyway as our goals for clearly states, and I guess Vardy at €20m appr. is a decent short term solution.


The current FWA Player of the Year and PL Player of the Season he should be good enough. 24 goals last season but and this is a HUGE but …. he scored just 5 the season before (from 34 games), and prior to that was not in the PL.

His performance for England last week was at best average, at worst anonymous, though to be fair to him, the whole team was awful (apart from Jack, of course).

Vardy’s signing is still at an early stage and perhaps he will decide to stay at Leicester but we can speculate can’t we?

Do I think he can improve Arsenal? Yes. Verdy’s pace frightens defenders and he is definitely a Plan A for Giroud.

Do I think he is someone for the future? Not at 29 y.o. We will be lucky to get 3 seasons out of him.

My main concern is that by signing Vardy we are not signing the striker who Arsenal can base their attacks in the long-term. I want us to sign a 23/24 y.o. who Mr Wenger can improve – Vardy is not that chap.

But …. if he repeats his 24 goal haul in the red and white I will be thrilled.

What do you think?

History tells us the Transfer Window wasn’t the end of the world for Gooners

September 2, 2015

Firstly let’s start at the beginning

We are The Arsenal, we have always done things a bit differently. In Arsene Wenger we have a manager also cut from a different cloth.

Season after season we have been told we haven’t done enough to progress in terms of transfers and that others around us have strengthened and will overtake us, yet year on year we have proved the doubters wrong.

Last season after a horrific start to the campaign we went on a run where we were the best team in the league in the second half of the season, and despite that not being enough to make up for the poor start and challenge for the League we still managed to hoist ourselves into 3rd place when at one point we were looking likely to drop way out of the top 4.

Injuries were unkind to us last season. In the summer it has now been much published that we only added Cech and apparently no outfield players, that’s a great headline but ignores Adelaide and his mate who joined. I know they are not going to be starters but if the tabloids are going to run these headlines at least let it be fact.

So after the Window closed various questions have been asked…was this the worst summer ever for Arsenal fans, well for me the summer we brought in Silvestre and Bischoff may have been worse.

The perceived wisdom is we had to buy players to kick on again this season. I wanted to see whether history told us anything different. To be honest I was surprised at what I found.

Arsene’s league successes came in 97/98, 01/02 and 03/04. Our signings in those seasons were as follows:


Wreh, Grondin


Toure, Tavliaridis, Wright (R), Campbell, Van Bronkhirst


Van Persie, Reyes, Djourou, Lehman, Senderos, Fabregas

Safe to say only Campbell and Lehman really affected the side in the seasons they arrived, the other major players in those successes had arrived earlier and won nothing for a couple of seasons, Bergkamp and Platt in 95/96, Petit, Overmars, Vieira and Anelka in 96/97, Ljungberg in 98/99, Henry and Lauren in 99/00 and Pires and Wiltord in 00/01.

See how those players that were key arrived in earlier seasons? Well think Alexis, Ozil, Welbeck etc, and then look at Cech as the missing piece.

There’s your positive, now go on and support them and try to hold on to a smidge of belief at least until Christmas.

Written by Gooner in Exile

Questions for the summer ….

May 7, 2014

Through all of the gossip, it is an established fact that Wenger tried to sign Suarez and Cabaye last summer, which demonstrates two areas of the pitch where he thought we should strengthen, but only with the best quality players. His comments about having a busy summer but not needing many new players reads to me like he wants to complete those tasks. It is always pointless to think about whether Wenger will spend big on particular players – when the money is there, he is willing to spend it, but he also doesn’t see the point of spending it on whichever players are the fashion of the moment. He could spend Ozil-like money on a player or two this summer or he might not.

But it is certainly true that we have the resources available, so if there is a chance to sign important players, the funds ought to be there. And it is also true that we have reached a stage in development where we should be above all else ambitious. We are a big club, with big revenues, some excellent players and a great manager – we can and should be getting closer to the oilers and their ilk.

As for what we need, that’s where it gets tough. Not so much because of finances, but because we could end up needing to bring in so many players that the squad dynamics become upset by too much change. Which I guess is one reason why Wenger might refuse to allow a player like Vermaelen to go, despite the obvious justification for a player like him to feel he should move. Another factor might be Mertesacker: he was excellent in the first half of the season but looked more lacking after the new year.

To improve the squad, we need to keep the forwards we have and recruit at least one top quality attacking player, and I would like to think we might go for two (doubt it will happen). Draxler would be great, as would Balotelli. From what I’ve seen (not a lot), Griezmann looks good. Vela is intriguing, and looks a different player to when we had him before – I can’t believe he would really return but he always had talent, so perhaps.

The DM one is the other area we can see might need to be improved (Arteta slowing, Flamini not good enough). Scheiderlin would be the one I would want.

A priority should be trying to convince Sagna to stay – I’m sure every effort is being made, but it is a critical one for a number of reasons: having had a poor season last year, he has been very good this year (with some duff performances in the mega defeats though); he is our fourth choice CB; and Corporal Jenks, love him, but he isn’t close to being good enough to a first pick. Plus having to sign a top quality RB (Coleman, Alves) would cost a lot of money.

We will definitely need to make at least one signing at GK. I haven’t seen enough of Viviano, but perhaps we should sign him permanently to be second pick. Even if we do, will Martinez (on loan at Sheff Weds) be good enough to be third? If we did go into the market, David Marshall at now relegated Cardiff would be good, but who knows if he’d be available. And at CB, will we need a new fourth choice player? Hayden (as suggested), Miquel? Go back for Ashley Williams?

There’s a lot of good in our squad but it’s not good enough yet. The idea of Cesc coming back is a really interesting idea – the trouble is it would require re-engineering the side. We are now built around Ozil (at least to my eye) – could we really accommodate a double engine of Mesut and Cesc? Would it leave us too soft defensively? I would also think it would mean the end of Jack Wilshere being a Gunner – some might think that would be a good thing. Where is LB, by the way? 🙂

All in all, a lot of questions for this summer. More than I’d like, to be honest.

Written by 26may89

Arsenal Arsenal’s Friday News Roundup

January 31, 2014

Due to the Coventry cup tie I was riding the pine last week so here’s the headlines.

Friday 17th:

Wenger on new deals for Mertesascker and Sagna…

“We are making good progress and hopefully we can announce something soon”. Morata deal back on!


Fulham at home, two goals by Santi Cazorla, clean sheet, three points, top of the table.


New name on the striker target list; Mirko Vucinic,


Silent Stan in London, rumoured to have £24 million, four year contract in his pocket for Wenger. No Morata deal, he’s decided to stay at Real.


Wenger on Vucinic

… “I’m not particularly interested”


Nothing to report.


Wenger seen in departure lounge at Heathrow. Draxler deal in the offing?

Last Friday:

Wenger called the Mata to Man U deal “unfair” as he would be able to play against all the main rivals, but not Chelsea. Hmm! has Arsene forgotten the sale of Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth back in 2008? They still had to play all the main rivals for the league title too, with the exception of just one, Arsenal. What goes around, comes around Arsene!

Arsene put out a strong side for the FA Cup tie against Coventry City, or the Exiles as they are coming to be known, since they play their “home” games thirty-five miles away in Northampton. The 4 – 0 scoreline was a bit flattering maybe as Coventry were the better team for the first thirty minutes of the second half, already two down to two goals by Lukas Podolski, they released the handbrake and went for it creating some good chances and rattling both Arsenal and the woodwork. Ultimately, one more each for Giroud and Cazorla saw us safely through to Sunday’s draw.


Draxler close to £36 million move to Arsenal

a source in Germany claimed the fee has been agreed with Schalke and negotiations with the player, who is reported to be “desperate” to join Arsenal, are under way. Phew! That’s a deal that will knock “Mata to Man U” off the back pages….if it goes through!


Arsene Wenger has described reports that Arsenal are closing in on a £37million move for Schalke attacking midfielder Julian Draxler as an “illusion”. “That is an illusion. There is nothing happening, honestly no,” Wenger said.

Rumours abound that the Chavs have a deal in place to sign Arsenal striker target Diego Costa in the summer or even this week.


Sunday evening’s FA Cup draw saw Arsenal given a home tie with Liverpool, a tasty morsel, the game to be played Sunday Feb. 16th at 4pm.

Wenger speaking ahead of the Southampton game said Ramsey, Arteta and Vermaelen are all fit and available but Wilshire is doubtful.

It is expected that Arsenal will shortly announce a new kit manufacturer deal with German company Puma, The deal will run for five years and is worth £150 million over that period.


Speaking at the launch of the Puma kit deal, Ivan Gazidis said “

Arsène will be extending with us and, at the right time, we will make that announcement, we have always supported Arsène, the board and Stan Kroenke have always been completely behind him. Arsène has always been committed to the club. He’s the right person to see us forward.” See my news item from Monday last week. I don’t wish to say “I told you so”, but I told you so. 😀

Henry Winter on

Wenger the architect of glory….Arsenal employ one of the best creative footballers in the world in Mesut Özil, one of the most inspiring centre-halves in Per Mertesacker, some of the leading young English talent in Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, a strong centre-forward in Olivier Giroud and one of the most improved goalkeepers in Europe in Wojciech Szczesny.

They nurture some of the best kids around, from Serge Gnabry and Gedion Zelalem to Dan Crowley.

They boast a great stadium, a well-equipped training ground and a colossal new kit deal.

After eight trophy-less years, things are increasingly in place for a realistic push for silverware, this season or next. The man who has guided Arsenal into this good place, Arsene Wenger will not need too much reflection ahead of that new contract.


Ten man Arsenal derailed by Southampton

Well I guess that says it all, there has been more than enough dissection of the performance, so no more needed.

Other bad news, Ramsey suffered a “set back” not likely to be available in the near future.

Draxler deal back on? Maybe!


Manchester City duly thrashed the Spuds 1 – 5 to move above Arsenal to the top of the table, it’s going to take a superhuman effort to dislodge them now…can we do it? Yes we can!

Dick Laws is reported to be in Germany tying up the loose ends of the Draxler deal, the medical will be carried out by Doctor Muller-Wohlfahrt the same doctor who did Ozil’s. Fabianski could move the other way as part of the deal.

Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic of whom Arsene said, on 21st January, “I’m not particularly interested” is to have a medical today prior to a loan deal until the end of the season.

An unhappy Lukas Podolski is to “seek talks” about his Arsenal future.

And finally, Barcelona’s 22 year old flying winger Christian Tello could be signed, as a Theo replacement, on loan until the season’s end.

Much of the transfer “news” is of course speculative but I have tried to pick out only the items that are more likely to be true.

Victoria Concordia Crescit

That’s it for another week

Norfolk Gooner

The Gap In Class Between Arsenal And Liverpool Has Become A Chasm

August 5, 2013

Liverpool Football Club has a history and pedigree that deserves respect.

For a long time in the 1970s and ‘80s it was the dominant force in English and European football; its fans were (and remain) among the most passionate in the land and the club conducted itself with class confidence.

But I fear that the likes of Bill Shankley and Bob Paisley will be revolving in their sepulchres at what has happened to their Liverpool.

The Merseysiders have become something of a joke club in recent years – dodgy owners, dodgier managers and consistently proving themselves to be also-rans in the hunt for Champions League places.

After the debacle of the Hicks and Gillett ownership period Liverpool seemed to have settled down under John Henry only to find that now he seems to want to get shot of the club too.

True, Arsenal have not exactly been setting the world alight either in that period. But, unlike Liverpool, we have a darn good excuse: the enforced austerity period resulting from building the best new football stadium in Britain.

Even so, despite having literally nothing to spend on new players and despite the arrival into the Premier League of multi-billionaire sugar daddy owners, we have managed to keep our place at the top table by dint of good management and good housekeeping. Unlike Liverpool.

While we were buying a player like Laurent Koscielny for £8.45m, ‘Pool were forking out £35m for Andy Carroll.

In the five years up to last season Liverpool had a net spend on transfers of £72m. Arsenal made a net profit of nearly £39m. Yet Arsenal made the Champions League spots every year, while Liverpool haven’t graced Europe’s biggest stage since 2007/8.

Fast forward to today and the whole kerfuffle around Arsenal’s attempt to sign Luis Suarez: it illustrates the difference in class between the two clubs.

Suarez is a talented but deeply troubled individual. His cheating is enough on its own to make him disliked by most other supporters, but his racist outburst against Patrice Evra also rankled. I’m sure most right-thinking fans were saying: “Don’t racially abuse the odious little Manc – just chin him!”

Then there was the biting incident, when Luis took a nibble from the shoulder of Chelsea’s defensive rock, Branislav Ivanovic. Now Ivanovic may be a tasty player, but he’s no-one’s idea of a satisfying snack and Suarez’s actions were bizarre to say the least.

But since the season ended the Uruguayan has made it clear he wants to move to a bigger club to get Champions League football.

Liverpool can force him to stay because he has three years left on his contract, but they clearly have an unhappy player on their hands.

To make matters worse, Suarez clearly feels he was given assurances that he would be allowed to leave if (a) Liverpool failed to make the top four and (b) a club who were good enough to be in the Champions League offered over £40m for him.

He probably was given those assurances, but today’s Liverpool don’t seem too interested in keeping promises.

Instead they have reacted to Arsenal’s perfectly legitimate pursuit of the player like spoilt children – and the attitude comes from the very top.

After our first bid (reported as being £35m) John W Henry went public by saying: “What are they smoking at the Emirates?”

Henry is supposed to be an astute businessman. Does he really expect us to start the bidding with our highest offer? But that’s not the real issue. The real issue is one of classlessness.

At the time of the £35m bid, Arsenal had made no public statement about Suarez. We, as always, were conducting our transfer business with class and dignity, keeping matters confidential. This is both good business practice and a mark of respect for the people with whom we’re doing business.

And since Henry (I think we all know what the ‘W’ stands for) opened his trap, David Brent, the Liverpool manager, has barely been able to keep his closed.

From hilariously trying to argue that Suarez is worth £100m just because someone in a newspaper said someone at Tottenham said Gareth Bale was worth that much, to equally hilariously accusing Arsenal of lacking class by bidding £40m+£1, the man has been embarrassing himself on an almost daily basis

(Incidentally, if a bid of more than £40m was required to trigger a release clause for Suarez, what on earth was wrong with bidding the minimum amount above the £40m figure? Clearly £40m is what we think Suarez is worth. The single pound was just a technical mechanism to trigger the release. As we now know, the release clause was based on verbal assurances given to Suarez – and they have since been reneged on by the ‘classy’ Merseysiders, so the whole thing is academic).

Meanwhile, despite repeated questioning from journalists, Arsene Wenger refuses to discuss any details of this transfer attempt or any other.

Personally I hope Henry and Brent get their way and Suarez is forced to stay for a year at a club where he will be desperately unhappy because (as usual) they won’t be serious contenders for the Champions League slots.

Knowing how volatile Suarez is when things are going well, just imagine how bad it’s going to get for ‘Pool as they bumble through the season somewhere just above mid table, with a resentful striker thinking about what might have been. The next person to feel the wrath of his fangs might well turn out to be Brent himself.

No doubt Liverpool fans reading this will want to dish out a load of retaliatory stick. That’s fine. If you avoid expletives and gratuitous abuse Arsenal Arsenal will publish your comments.

But to be honest, I am not anti Liverpool. I actually think you deserve better and I would much rather see Liverpool in the top four than the money-doped oiligarch clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea.

You’ll probably want to tell me that Arsenal have never won the European Cup and Liverpool have won it five times. All true and I doff my cap to you for those achievements.

But you supporters know better than anyone that, year by year, you have been falling further behind on the field of play.

The sad thing is that you are also falling behind OFF the field of play and your club’s management and owners could do a lot worse than take a long look at Arsenal and see how a classy club is really run.


What happened to the “real” Arsenal supporters?

August 3, 2013

Over the past few years I’ve scratched my head trying to rationalize the changing moods of fans around the world. In my youth your football team and its players were god like figures who were held in the highest esteem.

Us kids were in total awe of the players, our imaginations were our TV sets, as most of the families in our area were too poor to ”waste” their hard earned money on an unnecessary luxury, and the mental pictures we had were from our scrap books which were full of black and white pictures cut from the Sunday newspapers. Each week we would cut out the latest standings and pin them up in the kitchen, and we’d spend hours figuring out where we were most likely to finish, usually around mid table.

When my Grandfather took me to my first game at 10 years old, I was already a seasoned supporter but getting inside Highbury changed my life and meant that I simply had to see every game, but with no money I had to be very resourceful, and I was, rarely missing a game despite getting severely scuffed knees in the process. I was totally awe struck – there I was sitting in the corner of the field, after manipulating the stewards into believing I’d fainted, getting patted on the head by my idols, a kid’s fantasy come true.

highbury clock

The managers were talked about with reverence and we always wondered how they could be so smart and wondered where they gained the knowledge to run a football team. Names like Herbert Chapman, George Allison and Tom Whittaker were spoken about in our family discussions and their accomplishments were compared and the comparisons created much banter, most good natured, but not always.

From Tom Whittaker’s last League trophy in 1952/53 we went through an awful period of only winning trophies in 3 of the next 36 seasons – until George Graham won the League title in 1988/89. It was during that period that our managers and teams came under a lot closer scrutiny and strong “anti” opinions started to form.

Team finances were never discussed, after all, we were not clever enough to understand them and it was none of our business anyway. About the only time money spent came to light was when a transfer figure was revealed. Nobody knew or even cared about team finances – that was always considered to be only the club’s business and were usually kept under wraps. I cannot ever remember one single discussion with my family, friends or other supporters that revolved around finances.

Home of football

Talking about transfers, the only time we knew about them was when they were announced. There was seldom paper talk about potential transfers during the season and transfer windows never existed, players came and went at any time during the season. We would, of course be envious of some of the wonderful teams that came to Highbury and of their great players. Frequently wishing that we had been fortunate enough to have those players at Arsenal, but that was the clubs business and not ours, you see our business was to support – and that is what we were good at so we stuck to it.

So what has happened to the “real” Arsenal supporters?

Today it would appear that every Arsenal supporter is an “expert” on everything and they have earned imaginary degrees in every subject pertaining to football.

How did they develop this level of “expertise”?

The answer is simple, they’re known in the trade as “Red Top” degrees, and you earn them firstly by being able to read and secondly by having the necessary lack of grey matter to believe everything you read.

Those more accomplished “fans” have found that the internet is also a route to instant education and they have found others of a similar persuasion who are attempting to upgrade their “Red Top” degrees to become a “Phd in Red Top’s”.

These experts then band together and go in search of legitimate sites, run by passionate supporters, and infest them with their “deep understanding” of everything pertaining to football. These sites then become contaminated by the virus and as yet no anti virus has been developed to eradicate them. However this is not all bad as they prefer to be with their own kind so that they can spread their “wisdom”

A little knowledge is always a dangerous thing and today’s media coverage allows some people to become these instant experts that are just like some of the old vinyl record players, once the needle gets stuck in a groove – it “needles” you.

I say we are very fortunate bloggers to have found an internet oasis called Arsenal Arsenal.

Please take into consideration, that these are the ramblings of an old fart.


Could This Arsenal XI Beat The Top Three Premier League Teams?

July 29, 2013

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly Arsenal supporters will chuck their toys out of the pram.

Indeed reports from the Islington Gazette suggest unprecedented numbers of passers-by suffering teddy bear related injuries in recent days – and a spate of car windshields shattered by flying rattles.

The reason? Arsène Wenger telling journalists that we’re not close to signing anyone yet.

Despite the fact that the squad has been touring the Far East for the last few weeks; and despite the fact that the Premier League does not begin for over three weeks; and that the transfer window does not close for almost five weeks… it seems that Arsène’s comments have tipped some fans into near despair.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand it. The perception that we have handled the last two summer transfer windows with all the finesse of Ryan Shawcross doing flower arranging (“bad dahlia – me punch you”) is pretty widespread.

It happens to be wrong. We did partly screw up the summer before last, but still managed to acquire Per Mertesacker, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (two great players and one great player-to-be). Last year we landed Santi Cazorla, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud (one smash hit and two qualified successes).

And now supporters think this is going to be another summer without a “big name” signing.

I happen to think there are still some surprises to come this summer and that we will be among the teams making a big move in the market: not necessarily for the players with whom the press are linking us, but top players nonetheless.

In the meantime I would suggest that fans be more aware of how the media are playing them like a prize fiddle.

But let’s play what many would consider to be the “worst case scenario” game and consider how we would shape up against our major rivals if we DON’T buy any top players before the window closes.

In those circumstances I suggest our first choice first eleven might look like this:






Is this team good enough to beat a full strength Manchester United, Manchester City or Chelsea?

My feeling is that it’s a team that could beat any of those three on its day – but I have a couple of reservations.

Starting from the back, I think there are still question marks about both Szczesny and Fabianski. However, it’s possible that the younger Pole’s spell on the bench last season has cut out any complacency issues and this may be the season where he starts to fulfill his potential.

I’m not worried about the rest of the defence, which showed in the latter part of last season how focused and stingy it can be. In the BFG and Kozzer I believe we have the best centre back pairing in the EPL.

But reservation number one comes in when we move forward to the holding midfield position(s). It was clear last year that we had not quite worked out how to use Jack Wilshere. But use him we must – he is going to be one of the greatest English players for decades.

I can see him starting alongside the ever-reliable Arteta as part of a double-pivot, both of them tasked with snuffing out opposition attacks, but also with allowing each other to get forward when opportunity arises.

Ahead of them, Cazorla has already shown what he can do in the attacking midfield position, so there are no worries there.

Then we come to the front three: if Theo Walcott has as good a season as he did last year we will have no room for complaint. If he does even better, then we can truly celebrate his coming of age.

On the left hand side, Lukas Podolski had a bit of an in-out season and did not convince everyone that he’s a wide player. However, he is a fantastic finisher and was carrying a long-term injury which (he says) is now fixed. Again, we expect him to step up in his second season in England.

Finally we come to the spearhead of our attack (and the subject of yesterday’s impassioned Post from Mickydidit), Olivier Giroud.

The hunky Frenchman has been on fire in our pre-season tour and should also be ready to move up a notch in the new campaign. However, is he going to turn out to be the prolific goal grabber that most title-winning teams have in their ranks?  Can he do for us what Brave Sir Robin did for ManUre? Or what Aguero did for Man City? Or Drogba for the Chavs? I would love to believe it, but this may be the one area where we a little bit short in the 2013/14 season.

And before you shout, I have not forgotten about squad depth. Even if you think this first eleven can be a match for anyone, we all know that injuries and suspensions will take a toll and that we will have to rely on other players frequently.

We have some very strong players in our wider squad: Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky, Jenkinson, Vermaelen, Monreal to name but six. But we could certainly do with some back-up on the striking front and, possibly in defence too.

My conclusion is that we are not strong enough to seriously compete for the title without at least one key addition in attack and a couple of other squad players. I don’t care whether the new striker is the most famous player in the world or is someone of whom we have never heard (remember the young Nicolas Anelka?) provided he does the business in front of goal.

What do you think?

Can we compete without top class additions?

If our current squad stays mostly fit, can we do it?

Over to you.


Arsenal Transfers Great Expectations

July 25, 2013

This is a covert operation to unearth your deepest desires, and no shame can be attributed as it’s secret. Well, you know how it is in practice, Obama and Peaches may be spying, but hey!

Now this is only going to work if you are sensible, and it is the “minimum” requirement to make you happy.

So, I need to make an assumption, and that is that unless you are smoking some seriously strong stuff, or you are Mr Henry at Liverpool and think Andy Carrolline is worth £35m (long hair and pony tail), then we’ll assume you get what you pay for.


1.      £0. We will be fine and everything is going to be Hunky Dory.

2.      £10M. This will buy you one reasonable squad level player.

3.      £20M. Two of the above, or one Ist XI’er.

4.      £40M. One Superstar, or two 1st XI’ers.

5.      £70M. The full amount that apparently is available.

6.      £200M at least, although it makes no difference as not only am I a Black Scarfer, but I also wear a black bin liner over my head which is possible as I live at the bottom of a pond, and being a simple life form, have no need of oxygen.

Written by MickyDidIt