‘Nacho’s Anyone’? What this super signing will bring to Arsenal: in-depth analysis.

Malaga defender Nacho Monreal 

“What is important is that you bring in players who can strengthen your team, or you do nothing, you’re strong enough to do nothing.  We could do with top quality, one more, but you have to find him.  If I bring a normal player in, I give the club a problem.” – Arsene Wenger

There was much debate that the mighty Arsene Wenger would let us down yet again in the transfer window and that he would not reinforce the team with the necessary parts to at least qualify for Champions League next year.  However, it appeared the old, wise man still had a trick up his sleeve and he deceived us all.  At the 11th hour of the January 31st transfer deadline, Arsene perhaps pulled off the most significant coup in the January window: Malaga’s starting Left Back, Nacho Monreal.

Before you rush to proclaim that Chelsea did good business with Ba and Newcastle with Yanga-Mbiwa and Sissoko, you need to understand my criteria for rating Nacho as the highest quality signing.  Nacho was one of the few transfers not subject to: 1) a buy-out clause or an expiring contract, 2) under performance at his respective club or 3) a falling out with either the manager or club.  He’s also a Spanish International playing back-up to one of the best LBs in the world in Jordi Alba, and the whole Spanish squad itself is considered to represent the golden generation of football.

Nacho was a former product of struggling side Osasuna before making the first major move of his career to Malaga in 2011.  Last season, Monreal out-dueled Eliseu for the starting LB role, and was an integral part of their surprising Champions League qualification and 4th place finish in La Liga.

It was rumoured that he started learning English last year in preparation of a move to Arsenal this summer, and that our very own Santi played a huge role in persuading the Spanish International to join him at the Emirates.

However, the process was immediately sped up due to Kieran Gibbs’ injury yesterday.  This short-term injury could end up being a blessing in disguise, since we had an immediate need for cover at LB and Nacho is widely considered to be the second best LB in La Liga by a host of Spanish papers.  This is particularly impressive when you consider some of the LBs currently plying their trade in La Liga: Fabio Coentrao, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, Aly Cissoko, Adriano etc.

He has a relatively good track record for avoiding injuries and the only significant time he missed was two months in both 2008/09 (malleolar injury) and 2010/11 (meniscal laceration).  This season he dealt with some back problems in October that kept him out for just over a month, but everything seems to be cleared up now.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching Nacho play with Malaga for a little over a year now and I truly believe we have bought a special player who is astute at both ends of the pitch.  Defensively his positional play and awareness are good, he’s not afraid to get involved physically and is noted to be quite decent in aerial duels.  Still, like most Spanish players, he is better known for his great ball control and the innate ability to play tiki taka football to escape pressure.  Nacho has good pace and the stamina to run up and down the pitch for an entire game, with a penchant for good link up play with his forwards.

With that said, Nacho’s game is not flashy and he doesn’t have one particular skill that will blow you away.  He doesn’t have blistering pace or slick dribbling skills; he’s a well composed, steadying presence at the back that Arsenal will be able to rely on game after game.  His tackling and ability to close down on players one on one is quite outstanding, as he’s had an 83% tackle success rate this year, compared to Kieran Gibbs’ 69%.  Nacho has averaged 2.1 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game, while also contributing 1 goal, 2 assists, 0.8 shots/game and 0.4 key passes/game in 14 appearances for Malaga in La Liga this year.

In his Osasuna days, he really had to work on his crossing and delivery since the aerial attack was the focal point of their offense (Osasuna’s playing style is the closest thing to StokeCity in La Liga).  Despite Nacho’s statistics showing that he has only successfully completed 6 of 25 crosses this year, one must bear in mind that Malaga’s attack is focused around playing the ball along the ground, with a balanced approach down the wings and through the middle.  I suspect that Nacho’s crossing ability has been under utilized at Malaga and believe that Giroud can be the immediate beneficiary of his early or late crossing ability; now that Nacho will be given the license to do so more often.

There has been a lot of praise about the blossoming partnership between Podolski and Gibbs, and fans were particularly concerned when Gibbs went down with a hamstring injury for the second time yesterday.  I see no reason why the partnership cannot continue, and most likely improve, with Nacho at the LB position – his passing is more accurate and his defensive play is stronger since he was brought up through the ranks as a genuine fullback.  One must bear in mind that Gibbs was originally a winger who was converted to a fullback and this is the cause for his occasional mental lapses in defensive zone coverage.

118613915_Podolski_366631c

One might wonder what the signing of Nacho means to the long-term future of Kieran Gibbs.  Fortunately, Nacho is not seen as a long-term replacement for Gibbs since he will turn 27 this February, and will bring some much needed competition, experience and depth to the LB position.  Nacho will act as an invaluable mentor and his natural talents in crossing, positional play and technical ability can be passed on to Gibbs.

Gibbs’ injury history has been well documented and this will give him the opportunity to not be so heavily relied upon, and the necessary rest to prevent injuries.  However, Nacho is cup tied with Malaga and will not be able to feature for Arsenal when they take on Bayern Munich on February 19th.  Luckily, Gibbs may be back to full fitness by then and Arsene can ensure that when he does return, he will not be unnecessarily rushed back into the first team for both Champions League and domestic games.

Going forward this purchase will undoubtedly be a massive boost for our team and perhaps reignite the play of our own little creative wizard, Santi, who formed a fantastic partnership down the left with Nacho at Malaga last year.  It’s also a signal of intent to the rest of the Premier League that Arsenal is still capable of attracting top quality talent and actually has the financial resources at its disposal.  Don’t be fooled by the relatively modest £8 million transfer fee involved with the purchase of Nacho Monreal; Arsenal were just fortunate to once again capitalize on the dire financial situation plaguing Malaga CF and most of Spain.

Here’s to wishing that Nacho has a successful Arsenal career and that his transition into our squad is seamless! 

Written By: The Gooner

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106 Responses to ‘Nacho’s Anyone’? What this super signing will bring to Arsenal: in-depth analysis.

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Super-stuff TG :)

    You have wetted my appetite big time!

    Back in a bit.

  2. Nacho Man says:

    Nacho, Nacho Man. We’ve got to have a Nacho Man.
    Great long term addition to the first team, man

  3. Dobromir says:

    I have to agree with the sentiment, he looks like a solid player and at the perfect age. Hopefully he will contribute a lot both defensively and offensively for years to come.Very exciting! I hope he plays on the weekend as I can’t wait to see what he’s got.

  4. Breezy says:

    Sounds a bit like Sagna when he was first signed. good signing. I wonder if this will also mean that Santos will play as a left winger at times, allowing Walcott or Podolski to play striker when required?

  5. bobbyp55 says:

    What a thoroughly researched and well written article. I knew nothing of this player, but he sounds a great buy.

    Well done fella. Great read.

  6. macho man nacho welcom to our family guuners for life

  7. VCC says:

    Outstanding stuff TG. Fingers crossed he has a long and successful career with us.

    Onwards and upwards.

  8. oz gunner says:

    cheers TG, very insightful! Can’t wait to see him in action!
    Well done Arsene, hopefully another masterstroke!

  9. oz gunner says:

    @ VCC

    haha the bum is back!

  10. Nachos Gracias Senor Wenger says:

    I hope Santos does not mistake him for a snack.

  11. VCC says:

    Oz…the only bum on here is GLiC. ;-)

  12. oz gunner says:

    @ Nachos

    No but he’s already insulted the team on twitter

    “Verry good purchase gays!!!” :)

  13. Red Arse says:

    Absolute ace information Post, TG, top stuff!! :-)

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Superb Gravatar, Oz – it’s like a little stamp – a work of art! :)

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    For me there is no way that Gibbs will just make space for Nacho and end up on the bench for seasons to come. I can only imagine that Kieran’s future is in left midfield, but in order to be successful he will need to improve his crossing and start scoring goals. In a 4-4-2 we could have both playing, and as soon as Nacho ventures forward, Gibbs could sit back, or of course combine with him. The Pod and Gervinho could be moved into our two striker roles, where you would expect Theo and Giroud to be first choice most of the time. And on the right of midfield we could play Santi, Ox, or even Coquelin or Jenkinson.

    I am still surprised Wenger has bought proper quality for the LB position, and will admit I would rather have had a quality DM instead. But, as per TG’s fine post, Nacho man could be a huge signing for us. :)

  16. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Show off ;)

  17. Red Arse says:

    Although I am encouraged by Nacho’s signing, it has to be remembered that it only happened because of Gibbs’s unfortunate injury on the eve of the pre-transfer close.

    It just shows how quickly these things can be done! Contrast that with the Walcott contract nonsense.

    It is also a non-brainer that Wenger would not have bought anyone, if Gibbs’s injury had not happened.

    The problem with the quality of our CBs has not gone away, and it is weird that AW has let Bartley go, and sent Djourou out on loan (possibly permanently).

    Mixed feelings — pleased with the cover for Gibbs, but rather disappointed too, especially after all the Wenger quotes, such as “Yes, I will be active in the market, in January” and “we are working very hard to bring maybe 2 players in”.

    Perhaps he forgot to add, “If… there are any injuries.

  18. Gerry Lennon says:

    TA – You’ve said everything I would have said … only more succinctly!
    I’ll get back to you on your last question, but running late right now, cheers.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning Redders, all agreed :)

    It must be time for Miguel then; and I for one would like to see him next to Vermaelen or Koz a few times this season.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry, I am basically saying what you said last night! :P

    Take it easy and till later.

  21. henrychan says:

    @RA.. No bro.. Wenger is indeed looking for replacement of Santos..
    But he had some choices.. Including Jetro Willems and Leigthon Baines.. But Gibbs injured pushed him to act quick.. And lucky us Nacho is avaliable.. and in a good price..

    @TA.. How many hours that we have left to bring another DM as you wish..??
    How about Diame.. any goodnews from TW..??

    @VCC.. Mr. Champion.. I have already give my prediction for tomorrow.. please check..

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry :)

    It is all over now till the summer. The TW closed last night at 11pm UK time and if anybody had been signed up last minute, we would have heard by now. :(

  23. VCC says:

    Hi Henry. Thank you for your entry into the UMF 1 . I have GLiC’s and yours so far.

  24. Red Arse says:

    Hi Henry, :-)

    I am afraid you are wrong my friend in saying AW was looking at other left back options.

    He admitted himself that Gibbs’s injury forced him to rush out and buy Nachos as cover.

    If the injury to Gibbs had happened this week end, instead, the Transfer Window would have been closed, and we would have had to rely on Santos.

    I just do not believe there was ever a chance of AW buying anyone, and after some shoddy games in the past few weeks, that is really a bad mistake.

  25. VCC says:

    What a shame Wenger didn’t push the boat out and acquire a top CB. Then we would all be happy.

    Looks like I’m the most happiest with a replacement for Mr.Glass.

    Oz regarding the clip you put up about a Gibbs tackle that saved a “MIGHT have been a goal saving tackle”

    If I were as clever with clips as you I could rebound that with plenty of mistakes he has made!!!

    Remember the Birmingham City game when he turned his back on the ball,and their player nipped in and he tripped him and gave a late penalty away. That was the game Gallas had a sit down in the centre circle.

    Many pundits say that was the defining moment we lost the championship that season.

    I’m not saying he is a bad offensive player, quite the opposite. After all he is a converted left back from a left sided mid fielder (done by Wenger), but his defensive play leaves much to be desired in my eyes. Only my opinion of course.

  26. VCC says:

    Well said Red Arse. Wenger left that one late. What a shame he did not acquire a top CB as well. We would have been cooking with gas.

    On a side note, I noticed recently you said you have not seen Only fools and horses series on tv.

    Can I suggest you put the box set on your birthday present list. It’s probably the best comedy on British tv.

  27. Red Arse says:

    Vicky, VCC, :-)

    I liked your passion at 11:29, but you were talking about Gibbs, when the actual culprit was Clichy. [Say no more and Glicster might not notice] :D

    I have seen Fools and Horese advertised on TV most Xmas’s, VCC, but never really thought to watch it. I will give it a look on Youtube after your recommendation! :-)

  28. JM says:

    Our club and AW had actually wanted to sign another player:
    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/-we-were-close-to-making-one-more-signing-

    AW quote:
    ““We were close to one more signature,” Wenger said. “It did not happen because of the desire of the clubs to sell or not sell. It is only linked with that.”
    “It was not a money problem, it was more a desire from other clubs to keep their players.”

    With reference to L’Equipe (dtd 31/01/2013):
    (1) http://www.lequipe.fr/Football/Actualites/Toulouse-retient-capoue/346535
    (Interviewing Alain Casanova – Toulouse’s manager)

    and http://www.le10sport.com (dtd 01/02/2013):
    (2) http://www.le10sport.com/football/france/ligue1/raiola-le-psg-voulait-etienne-capoue-91594
    (Interviewing Mino Raiola – player agent, quoting Toulouse’s chairman)

    Good hints to believe that other supposed signing was to have been ….. Ligue 1 star Etienne Capoue, who can play DM/CB/CM positions.

  29. Ain't Got A Kalou says:

    Wow Gooner, best article I’ve read on our new signing hands down! Didn’t know La Liga had a team like Stoke, should mean some tough defending from Nacho mixed perfectly with that silky Spanish skill!

    I really hope he plays tomorrow, I didnt know much about him before but he seems like a huge boost to the team an should inject some life into our team for the 2nd half of the season. Hats off to Wenger!

  30. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    please oh please don’t say that. I’ll start having flashbacks of the Eboue and Sagna partnership. He’s converted to LB…hopefully it stays that way!

    @ VCC

    That’s okay VCC, you’re old now. memory isn’t your strong point anymore, I’m sure your still flexible though! Remember when David Rocastle scored the winning penalty in the 2005 FA Cup final :)

    Here’s the incident:

  31. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    I know you probably hate BSR more than anyone on the planet so hopefully you get a kick out of this. I thought it was very clever, especially the frimpong part

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz, yuo’re in fine form today. Great video :)

  33. Gerry Lennon says:

    TG – I agree with all the compliments that your article has brought to you. I would have liked a qualification when comparing ‘Nacho’ with Gibbs, and of the former’s greater experience? You do say, later on, that his knowledge can be passed on to Gibbs, which hopefully will be the case. I think with the run of games Gibbs has improved this season. It is unfortunate that this injury is the first time he has had a repeat of the same type of injury? Not a hamstring though, this looks more like a pull in the upper thigh, hip area, unless I am much mistaken. In other words, very like the one that put him out earlier in the season. That came from trying to cross on the byline while running at speed?
    Other injuries that have blighted his developing career were quite varied, but his recent 100th appearance has been spread over many seasons. I think we can have every hope that when he reaches the age of Nacho, he will fit the description you gave of the latter handsomely?
    @JM 12.53. Yes I thought the Capoue comments were interesting, but as I predicted, having sold one DM, they were not likely to sell the other. But, come summer, hey, who knows? Where that leaves Diame is another matter?
    On the possible inclusion of Nacho for the Stoke game, I think this is a real no-brainer.
    For those thinking that one of the youngsters might come in, alas, the first eleven are not the only ones getting injured. It has been hard on the Reserve/Under 21′s, the under 18′s, even the school age ones have been caught out! Meade, who played most recently is currently injured, Miquel, who probably would have bee the best bet, has only just come back, likewise, Yennaris, but he like Jenks would have been on his ‘wrong side’ That is not to say that either would not have tried to do a good job. So really it comes down to TV5 or Nacho. From the description given he sounds like a fully fledged Gibbs, he is fit, so he should fit in seemlessly playing his natural game? (This is despite AW, understandably, responding to ‘unfair criticism’ of Santos – least I hope that is the case???)
    The bigger questions may be, does our captain take a rest, or Per will be the fall guy if Kos returns? Diaby giving Jack a break(from being battered)?
    3 points please, and wrapped up by half time if possible. Thank you.

  34. The Gooner says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Thank you all very much for stopping by and for all the fine compliments, you’re all too kind! I hope some of you that made comments will stop by more regularly at BK, you won’t be disappointed :).

    Now, off to read your comments and get back to you.

  35. The Gooner says:

    Just saw the video on arsenal.com of Monreal’s photo shoot, I was really hoping to see Santi and Arteta come out and welcome him in like when Arteta welcomed Santi in during August. I was also surprised to not see Santi training today in the video, perhaps he had the day off to rest for tomorrow?

    In case any of you that don’t have an account for Arsenal player and wanted to hear Arsene’s thoughts about Nacho, our squad’s health, the game tomorrow and about coming close to making another signing. Enjoy!

  36. The Gooner says:

    Hi Breezy,

    I definitely think that signing Nacho gives us more flexibility up front. As AW said in his presser today, Nacho can play at LB and LM and we’re all aware that Gibbs used to be a LM/LW before converting to LB. Now, we have Gervinho, Podolski, Ox, Nacho, Gibbs and Santos who can all fill in at LM/LW if need be and it gives us the flexibility to move Podolski or Theo to the striker position when Giroud needs rest/gets injured/isn’t having his best game.

  37. The Gooner says:

    RA, VCC, Oz, 4eva49, Dobromir, bobbyp55:

    Thank you all again for the kind words and I’m glad you all enjoyed my work. I hope you’ll all be back to blog with us throughout the day!

    @4eva49, I had to show off mate, how else were we supposed to bring you back to comment after you’ve gone missing the last few days?! :)

  38. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    As I always say, you are a class act mate :). Thank you for the kind words and I’m glad you added further insight into the Gibbs and Nacho situation.

    However, I genuinely believe that Wenger will rotate Gibbs and Nacho at LB and keep Podolski and Gervinho at LW. I think Wenger likes to have two options at each position in case of injury and having both Gibbs and Nacho frequently play on the pitch at the same time could expose us if one were to get injured. Though, I do believe Wenger may toy with the idea of moving Gibbs further up the field if he’s not getting sufficient playing time. Either way, this will go a long way in keeping Gibbs healthy in the future, so for that I’m very happy.

    How could one not be happy though? Nacho is a class act and I’m finally happy to see Wenger be proactive and that there’s evidence of a long-term plan. I was beginning to question whether or not he would address the glaring holes in our roster and he apparently almost brought in Capoue with a £15 million offer. Toulouse was unwilling to sell until the summer and Casanova himself said that he turned down QPR’s offer because he wants their best player ever to go to a top club like Arsenal.

  39. VCC says:

    Looking forward to the Stoke game. I hope we have our new signing on display.

  40. VCC says:

    TG….do you think that other player Arsene wanted was Capouie?

  41. The Gooner says:

    VCC & JM,

    I believe that the other player Arsene wanted to sign was indeed Capoue. His comments earlier in the window suggested he wanted more cover at DM and I think he envisions Ramsey and Arteta playing different roles and only has them playing there by circumstance. The other alternative signing that fell through could have been Fernando Amorebieta, but I don’t think it was him since he stated that he would not consider a move away from Bilbao until the summer. In this instance, it was not Bilbao’s unwillingness to sell but the player’s lack of desire to immediately switch clubs.

    Toulouse’s manager was just very reluctant to let him go since he believes that Capoue is the best player to ever play for the club and that he’d be integral in their push to keep afloat in Ligue 1 and avoid relegation.

  42. The Gooner says:

    Kalou,

    Cheers for the kind words mate! As you can tell from my article, I’m ecstatic about the signing and can’t wait to see him play for us. The majority of La Liga players are underrated because of the lack of Liga marketing outside of the superpowers in Barca and Real. Much like Santi, Nacho is considered one of the best talents in La Liga not playing for either of the superpowers and most believe we have picked up another huge steal.

  43. The Gooner says:

    RA,

    I share the same sentiment with regarding only 1 transfer in, but it was very clear that AW was close to bringing another in but the manager was reluctant to let the player go, not because of financial reasons, but personal attachment to the player. With that said, I’m still very happy that we were not idle and somewhat proactive in fixing what has been a long standing concern for us: cover at the LB position.

    Mark my words, you will not be disappointed by Nacho! This has been going on in my head all day: “Nacho, Nacho man…All I want to be is a Nacho man!” hahaha

  44. The Gooner says:

    Gerry,

    If I understand you correctly, you would have liked me to compare Nacho’s stats to Gibbs’? Or contrasted their playing styles more? Just let me know, and I can quickly post Gibbs’ stats as a comparison to the ones already in my article :).

    In terms of the injury, there were mixed reports and I went with what it appeared to look like after Wednesday’s game. It was only in the presser today that Arsene said it was a “thigh” injury. When he pulled up in the Liverpool game while running, it certainly looked to be a hamstring issue to me. Of course, it appears that my initial prognosis was incorrect…good thing I’m not a doctor hahaha!

    I think Gibbs will be a very dependable, class LB for Arsenal, much like Ca$hley Cole was. However, the difference is Gibbs seems to be more grounded, sincere and committed to the cause than Cole was. He shows all the qualities of a great LB and just needs to improve his crossing, defensive zone concentration and coverage, as well as his ability to maintain full health. Having Nacho will definitely relieve some of the big burden that was placed on him to remain healthy and he’ll also be able to get tips on crossing and defending from one of the world’s best at the position.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi TG, I read somewhere that the other player we were close to was Jovetic. But I like the sound of being close to buying Capoue a lot more – a shame it did not materialise :(

  46. The Gooner says:

    Hi TA,

    The reason why I did not suggest Jovetic was because Fiorentina were less likely to come close to selling than Toulouse were. Fiorentina currently sit sixth in Serie A and are battling for a Europa league berth next season. However, it’s very possible that he was the player since it’s impossible to know since they remain unidentified.

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/02/01/arsenal-and-spurs-both-fell-short-in-etienne-capoue-transfer-deadline-day-tug-of-war-3377434/

    That was the source I read that seems to be the most accurate.

  47. Mike says:

    I think after reading about how concerned about young players getting playing time while at the same time Arsenal’s record shows these young players are not good enough. Take Gibbs and even before him Gaël Clichy do you think it would even be a consideration if Ashly Cole never left for Chelsea? He would have been Arsenal’s #1 LB and Clichy and later Gibbs would be worked into the team gradually in Cup matches and as a late sub in when in w winning position or injury to cole. And that goes for all the young players do you think had Patrick Vieira had never left that he would have lost his first team spot (maybe now but not the year he left) and that goes for ALL the 04 squad. What Arsenal is missing and HAS been missing for years is Quality Experienced players in the first team. The talented youngsters we lost after they where basically learning their jobs on the job at the expense of Arsenal winning trophies should have been behind more experienced players and even some out on loan if they could not be worked into the team. But I think the better ones could have. Remember Cesc started his career at Arsenal as cover for Vieira his first run of games was due to a injury to Vieira. And in some ways I blame his success at such a young age for making up Wenger’s mind that young players can win you trophies and that it would be OK to sell off all our experienced players. It was a experiment that cost Arsenal a 7 year trophy drought. AND now so many Arsenal fans are so used to this youth experiment they are willing to let the team me inconstant as young players continue to learn there jobs as first team starters. In some ways I do not blame the fans that think this as the past few attempts to bring in older more experienced players has given us Arshavin (who peaked and died out) Santos Squillaci, Silvestre and even short term returns of legends Sol Campbell and Henry (which actually went well if just temporary) and about the return of Sol and Henry imagine if they had never left?

    I do not understand why it is not more obvious to all Fans the end of winning trophies was also the start of getting rid of any player over 27 and replacing them with ether sub par players or youngsters that were still learning the game. So maybe Fans should care less if their favorite young star is getting enough first team playing time and MORE about building the best team NOW. Young players learn more training with experienced players then being thrown into the pool at the deep end and say swim or sink. I was pleased with the Signings of Arteta, Podolski and Carzola.

    Also think about all the criticism Walcott has been subjected too the biggest is he lacks a footballing brain I say that is bull what he lacked was a player like Henry ahead of him in the 1st team to learn from every day in training. RVP had Bergkamp and Henry to learn from every day when he was a young player at the club. And it was said that this season (about the same time Walcott started scoring goals Henry was actually training with him. I do not know if it is really true but that is the rumor I heard and I think it was true as it sparked rumors that Henry would again play on a short term loan. That did not happen but I do think his training with the club did help the team even without him playing

    So to close this rather long comment Nacho is not a BAD thing for Gibbs but is a very good thing for both Arsenal and Gibbs.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Fine comment Mike and agreed with a lot, but not all, of it.

    I like it that we are mixing young, mainly British talent, with quality purchases now. For me that is the best mix and keeps everybody focussed and on their toes.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    TG,

    It will be interesting to see what this lack of more arrivals, combined with a number of players being sent on loan, will mean for the team.

    1) Djourou gone on loan, and Squilaci seldom or never played, and doing a Winston Bogarde: will we see more of Miguel now? It must be, and it is about time to see him start first-team games now. Risky though…

    2) Chamakh on loan and nobody bought: will we see more of Benik Afobe who has just returned from Bolton W? He should be at least on the bench regularly now…

    3) Frimpong on loan and nobody bought: OK he was not first choice anyway, but the most traditional DM type of all our midfielders: Ramsey and Coquelin have been playing in the deeper DM role, so I guess this will continue as long as Arteta is not available. Risky in my opinion, but I am looking fwd to see more of Coquelin in the next few months.

    4) No experienced back-up for Szczesny bought: I feel Wojcieh is not having one of his best seasons at the moment, and I would love it to have a Schwarzer or Shay Given as our nr.2/close to nr.1 in the team. In case of injury to the Pole, especially if it is long-term, I feel we might struggle with Man1 or Fabianski in goal.

    Interesting few months ahead for us, that’s for sure! :D

  50. RockyLives says:

    Nice assessment of Nacho – thanks TG

    From what (little) I’ve seen he looks like a proper player – a sort-of left sided Sagna, but with the added ability of actually being able to cross the ball.

    VCC
    You might be right about a CB, but it’s not that long ago that we were all crowing about having not one, not two, but THREE top CBs in Verm, Koz and BFG.

    All three have, at times in their Arsenal careers, looked absolute class. But all three have also had bad spells. I suspect this means our recurring nightmare of shooting ourselves in the foot with defending errors is more to do with coaching and/or tactics than with personnel.

    So even if we had brought in a top CB, I’m not sure the mistakes would stop. The solution (in my ever-so-humble) lies with the coaching staff, not the playing personnel…

  51. The Gooner says:

    Mike,

    Cheers for the very detailed and in-depth reply.

    I think AW’s mentality is that it’s much easier to buy players young and develop them to play the Arsenal way, opposed to just buying players in the transfer market, where you must compete with other clubs and inflated player prices and wages. Also, if it were not for the dire economic situation in Spain, we would likely not have been able to afford players like Santi and Nacho at the prices we obtained them at. Spain is the hotbed for talented footballers right now and we’re currently getting massive bargains for players in the primes of their careers. The majority of footballers outside of Spain would take more time to bed into our squad and as you state, not all experienced buys have been a success at the Arsenal.

    Another consideration that you must make is that for the past 7 years we have been financing the debt for the Emirates stadium. It’s very difficult to be competitive in the transfer market and buy experienced top talent when you’re left with limited resources.

    I agree with most of your assessment that the youth should be slowly brought into the team, but I disagree that ALL youth should follow this development path. If we had not given opportunities to some of these young players early on in their career, we may not have been able to discover their exceptional ability in time if we refused to give them enough first team opportunities. Then, they could easily get frustrated and ask for transfers away to clubs more willing to give them an opportunity. This would represent bad business for our club since we’d have to pay over the odds for younger talents (like Chel$ea has with Hazard, Oscar etc.), when we could have just developed them in house. For example, had we bought Ox or Theo when they were already experienced or proven, they’d likely cost much more than the £12 million we paid for them.

    Of course, there’s a flip side to playing your youth at an early age. As we’ve seen with countless players over the past 8 years, we spoil these players with playing time and recognition and they eventually get frustrated with the lack of trophies and leave. However, AW has finally started to get the youth process right (in my mind), by finding a core group of young players who are tight knit and all committed to the same goal. He’s already re-sgined the core until 2017 and Arsenal finally have a chance to build something. Unfortunately, a young core has never been in place the same way it is now that it was in the past 7 years. We had brilliant talents but they were mostly not brought up through our own system and never really understood what it meant to be part of this organization.

    I agree to an extent that our youth system has let us down in producing top quality talent over the past couple years and that we’ve had to buy players from other academies like Southampton. I’m hoping that AW can rectify this and bring our famed academy back to where it once was in producing top quality players. Also, it’s worth noting that we still don’t know what we have in our hands in Gnabry, Eisfeld, Miyachi, Campbell, Aneke, Miquel etc. as some could turn out to be great footballers.

  52. RockyLives says:

    Right then, predictions for this weekend…

    I can see I’m lagging in the table – I’ve been doing too much travelling lately and doing all my selections in about 30 seconds.

    This week I’ve given it some thought – so watch out!

    QPR v Naaaarch – A
    Toon v Chavs – A
    Fulham v Manure – A
    WHam v Swans – A
    West Brom v Spuds – A

    See what i did there?

    Remember the tortoise and the hare?

    Well I’m the otter…

  53. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    I actually thought a lot about what our team looks like after all the activity (mostly outgoing loans) in this transfer window. I still think that a player like Afobe won’t even make the bench/24-man squad since we have adequate striker depth if we shift players around. It’s difficult to buy a host of new players when there are plenty on loan and AW’s not sure if there will be interested clubs in the summer to take them off his hands.

    As it stands though, I believe that our starters will be:

    Szczesny
    Sagna Mertesacker Vermaelen Monreal
    Arteta Wilshere
    Cazorla
    Walcott Podolski
    Giroud

    Subs: Mannone, Gibbs (once healthy), Koscielny, Diaby, Rosicky, Ox, Gervinho

    Bench: Fabianski, Santos, Miquel, Jenkinson, Coquelin, Ramsey, Arshavin

    In sum, it would have been nice to acquire another GK but with Mannone and Fabianski still on the books and with likely no concrete bids, it’s hard to justify bringing in another keeper. As for Miquel, I think it’s finally time to see him as our 4th choice CB. If we keep him in the reserves any longer, he’ll be looking for an opportunity elsewhere and Barca have been reportedly very keen on bringing him back. Clearly, there’s a lot of talent there and he just needs to slowly be brought in to prove himself to AW.

  54. The Gooner says:

    Rocky,

    Thanks for the kind words mate :). Nice to see you back on here! I think we’ll all be very happy with this shrewd purchase by Wenger. Hopefully Nacho can start tomorrow and instantly bed into the team.

  55. RockyLives says:

    Cheers TG
    I’ve been ridiculously busy these last few weeks.

    And by the time I have popped in to say hello on AA there’s not the time I would like to stay and chat over here (or on Wigan’s fine site).

    I’m managing to read most of the blogs though – and they continue to be a credit to the Arsenal blogosphere.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rocky, good to see you and agreed with your previous comment. :)

    TG, all agreed, except Afobe. One injury to Theo, Giroud or Pod and I reckon he will be on the bench, at least until the Gerv is back.

  57. The Gooner says:

    TA,

    I was planning as if there were no injuries. In the event of injury, Afobe or Gnabry could make the bench. Gervinho, Theo, Pod could all shift to striker with the remaining two on the wings, along with Ox also possibly stepping in.

  58. Mike says:

    Hay I know this is a bit off topic but being this is Bergkampesque I thought I would mention this:
    If there any truth to this http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/jan/30/dennis-bergkamp-arsenal-liam-brady
    Has anyone heard any confirmation that Bergkamp has actually agreed to become head of Arsenal youth academy. Or is this just saying he is on the short list of people being considered even before checking with Dennis’s plans for the future? As I thought he was on track for the manager’s position at Ajax I doubt he would take a Academy position over a being Manager of Ajax even if it is Arsenal asking.

  59. glic says:

    Evening Slot Machines :lol:

    500 miles and I`m a bit tired………….Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    Usual quality TG. :)

    I always thought the best two headline posters on AA were Total Arsenal and Rocky Lives. You, TG my friend, are the Bergkampesque equivalent of Rocky. You both live in the same country so there must be something in the water in Canadialand ( Probably them Mounties pissing in the reservoirs, they always get their Man………hood out !. hahaha ).

    There`s no need to take such a long time picking the UMF teams Rocky, it`s not exactly Rocky Science !.

    Right, off to play pocket tennis, where I normally go from love to deuce after taking advantage of myself when one of my balls was out !. No fancy equipment needed, it`s not exactly Racket Science !.

    Actually, I`m off for some grub, the missus has been trying her hand at salad, brilliant, how hard could that have been, it`s not exactly Rocket Salad !. Right off, I think I`ve scraped the barrel enough !. hahaha

  60. Gerry Lennon says:

    TG – Re Gibbs & Nacho. What I meant was, the superior stats you gave(compared to Gibbs), were understandable if comparing the difference in their experience? Hence the need for the qualification, rather than just the mention. That’s all.
    Having caught up on recent posts, a little debate as to whether Afobe will make the bench? I think the problem is at the moment is that before any game we cannot be certain that a win is on the cards, but may end up scoring 5 or more goals. If there was more confidence around that we(AW, the players, and fans alike) should be winning some matches by 3 goals or more, even if that was realistic with the league being more volatile now, then youngsters probably would get a place or two? However, right now they are getting some valuable playing time in the FA Youth Cup, the under 21′s, and the pan European Next Gen thingy, so not many will double up to be on the bench, although I’m sure they would like to?
    Of course further loan moves could still happen for the promising ones like Eisfeld, who I was hoping we would have seen more of by now?

  61. The Gooner says:

    Mike,

    Not off topic at all, this site is dedicated to Bergkamp and is an open forum to discuss anything Arsenal..

    My understanding of the situation is that he is a leading candidate to replace Brady, given his outstanding technical qualities and what he represents to the organization and its fans. BK10 did state that he would love to coach/manage at Arsenal some day, so the logic is certainly there that he’d take a role in any capacity with the club. However, given the opportunity to manage a club and be a coach of an academy team, the choice would be pretty easy regardless of the clubs involved. In my opinion, the only way he’d accept Arsenal’s academy coach offer is if there was some guarantee that he’d eventually be given the reigns of the first team if his stint as coach was successful.

  62. The Gooner says:

    Hahaha glic, how do you do it? On top form as always! It better be some intricate salad that the missus is preparing or else you may have to turn to your other love, Isco (unless you meant she was tossing your salad hahaha).

    Thank you very much for the kind words, it is a compliment of the highest order. I’m really happy that you enjoy my articles as much as I enjoy your daily comical posts. I would love to read an entire article written by you at some point as I’m sure I’d be pissing my pants by the end of it!

  63. The Gooner says:

    Gerry,

    It’s very difficult to find any statistics on Nacho when he was the same age as Gibbs. However, Nacho was a regular starter for Osasuna at the age of 21 and was much more durable. As a player, I’d have to say Nacho has always been much more well-rounded than Gibbs since he was brought up as a genuine fullback and is not the classic, converted winger. However, Gibbs has outstanding pace and this is an area that Nacho cannot match him at, so if Gibbs can start putting everything together (crossing, defensive zone coverage and durability), on top of what he already brings to the squad, then he could certainly be just as good with the possibility of being even better.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Glickie is in top form again :)

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mike,

    On the one hand, the Guardian article is pretty bad: there are no direct quotes saying that Dennis is under consideration, and it looks like it has been quickly put together. On the other hand, because it is the Guardian and I reckon they have some good insider information/ good relationship with Arsenal, there could be more than a bit of truth in it. It would be great news.

    I don’t think Dennis is in a rush to become the manager of a top team. He has seen how Marco van Basten, Gullit, Roy Keane, Tony Adams etc have struggled to become good managers, and I reckon he’ll rather take his time and develop his management capability steadily.

  66. Gerry Lennon says:

    Right TA, if everybody else has gone to bed, here is my ‘confession’.
    I am based in Devon, UK.
    My home town, and team I still support in a lesser way is Coventry. However, I am over 200 miles away from both them and Arsenal, it is more of keeping up to date with them. So when it comes to conversations with old friends, it invariably drift into how ‘City are doing.
    My interest in Aresenal grew from a preferable choice into something stronger after Coventry were relegated. So I confess to not being a lifetime Gooner. However, with lack of TV coverage for relegated sides, Arsenal were the team I turned to in order to have an interest in MOTD.
    I perhaps should confess also that football in not my first sporting love. That belongs to horse racing from a very early age – and we are talking about nearly a 60 year affliction here! – but is was my activity over the last few years in that sphere, where I became more ‘web savvy’, writing my occasional blog, etc, that eventually led me to Arsenal.com, the Arsenal player, and the various connected blogs.
    In short, I have been a member of Arsenal football club for the last 2 years. It did not take long for me to find the better blogs to comment on, so you will see my name on other ‘good’ sites.
    Football experience?
    Now let’s see, the first full match I played in was on the Channel Islands – Guernsey – and it was a works team that were short of numbers … I played at left back. More Santos than Gibbs, but they had no one else. I think we were 3 – nil down in the first half hour, err, from crosses from their right winger. However, I made a perfect interception before the next goal was scored, I go so far as to say it was Koscielny-esque … I struck my right leg out to cut out the goal bound cross/shot from my nemesis on the right wing. Unfortunately, it spun off my boot, over the goal keeper who was right behind me, in a perfect position to save, and into the net …
    … our captain was very understanding about it. I think his exact words were …’Will you F*ck off up the other end of the pitch so you can’t do any more damage!’ It turned out to be a shrewd move because we only lost by 7 goals to 2. Happy days ..
    The history of my playing career did not end there. For some strange reason I got involved in a kids and adults match on a campsite in south Devon. (Not kids verses adults, that would have been too cruel?), Again I ended up at left back? Perhaps i should have added a little more when I said that the last time I played was at left back, eh?
    With my team losing 2-1 and the light was fading, I cut in from the left wing, popped a hopeful ball into the goalmouth which went over their goalie, and to my surprise it was given as a goal. The was no crossbar on the goal area, and I did say it was getting pretty dark? and the Ref was anxious to get down the pub, oh, and 2-2 was a good point to stop.
    So I rest on my laurels after that match!
    Therefore, you can see, I am really a lot like Arsene Wenger. Not that hot at playing the game, but if you apply a bit of intelligence to what you want to say, you can get people to believe you know what you were talking about …
    … Were you fooled?

  67. glic says:

    TG
    I was writing a serious post about Stan Kroenke and had written down hours of investigative journalism about him on bits of paper, which i wrote on when doing my driving. I put them in the bottom draw of my filing cabinet next to the computer only for my missus to put them in the recycle rubbish. I only found out after the rubbish had been taken away. I didn`t speak to her for a week !. Honest truth, I swear on my Isco tattoo !.

    Could be a world first here as I haven`t seen it anywhere else !. The Nacho Man, his real name is Ignacio Monreal Eraso. “Nacho” must be a nick name !.

    An anagram for his real name is……………………. Ciao(hello), I`m Arsenal Gooner !.

    Off on the right foot straightaway !. :)

  68. VCC says:

    Rocky……Glad to see you will have more time on your hands for blogging. Together with The Gooner,Total and you, us Gooners are spoilt with fantastic articles.

    Our Centre back position.

    I like Vermaelen and Kos, but have never been sold on Mertesacker. My early assessment, which I put in print about Mertesacker was for a guy already standing over 6′, he is poor in the air. He doesn’t seem to jump, is slow and cumbersome and has a turning circle of a ULCC.

    I’m as perplexed as you about our coaching staff. Its a mystery why we start sloppily and perform suicidal defending.

    But if you analyse the Liverpool first goal, it had nothing to do with coaching.

    Firstly Sagna slips while trying to change direction. Vermaelen tries an air shot on the edge of the six yard box. Ramsey tries a Cruyff inside the eighteen yard box, and Mertesacker turns his back on a striker shooting.

    All these acts are inbred and have nothing to do with coaching. Why oh why??

  69. Mike says:

    “I like it that we are mixing young, mainly British talent, with quality purchases now. For me that is the best mix and keeps everybody focussed and on their toes.”

    Agreed but Mixing young players in the rotation and relying on them to be key players before they have the experience is bad for the team AND bad for them. Wilshere really was thrown in too soon as was Walcott and OX . Wilshere is very very good and after half a season back from injury is starting to look up to the task but he also a few years older now then when he was first slotted into the squad. (the departure of Cesc I think may have forced Wenger’s hand to bring him along the a fast track)

    I know this is NOT Wenger’s fault but the selection of both Wilshere and Walcott in BOTH the U21 and senior England squad was a mistake it was asking too much of them too soon and hurt not helped their career Walcott NOT being selected for the WC finals squad was actually the best thing for him. And Selecting young players to be your key starting 11 is a mistake a well If you do not believe me then let me ask what have we won since Cesc (the key player) and Wenger started the youth experiment? That’s right nothing. out of all the young players ONLY Cesc and RVP where up to the task BUT both of them started there youth development at Arsenal with legends like Pires,Bergkamp,Henry, Vieira all still in the squad. AND even RVP (yes he had injury) only really was top his last few years (and arguably some would say his last season with Arsenal his best) My point is I am all in favor us working young players into the squad but It is not good for them or the club to rely on them too soon in their careers, AND not have experienced world class players to look up to and learn from in the squad. Bergkamp Came to Arsenal at his peak He was a big sigining do not let anyone tell you different and even then he had respect for players like Adams Bold, Keown, and Dixon.

    I’m sorry but the way Arsenal has been run lately was a HUGE mistake In is not being run like a Top 4 team bit more like a midtable or even a yo-yo club (one that bounces in and out of the EPL) if your a mid table team the self sustaining youth talent focused way is GREAT it even generates revenue when you sell your players to big clubs. But if Arsenal continues to run the club like a Midtable team then they will find that is exactly what they will become. Let the Southhampton’s the Newcastle’s the Vllla’s develop the youth players hell even loan them some of ours and let Arsenal buy top world class or ONLY play the youth when they are REALLY ready and NOT all at once one or 2 young players eased into the squad of experienced players is fine. But not like the way it is being done now. You do not see RM or ManU or Barca or Chelsea say Oh we need a new play make and look to a youth no matter how talented or we need a left or right back and bring up a player direct from the Academy team to the starting 11. NO they may bring a Young Phenom up to he subs bench and give him 10 min a game now and then. BUT big clubs do not rely on young inexperienced players it is NOT how you win titles.

  70. VCC says:

    Thanks for your 5 entries Rocky. …your odds are = 90-1…Good luck this week end.

    UMF 1 can I have every body’s entries in before KO tomorrow please.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Gerry, love the football stories and thanks for telling them to us. Your comments are always well-written, balanced and insightful and I am very pleased you are visiting regularly now.

    Devon is a great place: Devon, Dorset, Cornwall, all great places to live!

    What is it that appeals to you about horse racing?

    Btw, If you ever want to write an article for Bergkampesque, just let me know! :)

  72. glic says:

    Credit where it`s due, Gareth Bale really does belt out the Welsh National anthem with pride !.

    http://www.art247.com/images/large/MIRRORPIX/WA/WA2558376.jpg

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mike,

    Thanks for trying to explain your point of view with a thorough comment. We have not been in a position to buy experienced quality players continuously until recently. Arsene had to develop young players in order to still compete. Now we are seeing a fine mix of youth and quality, experienced players; this will make us stronger and stronger going forward. The only thing we have to do now is be patient and not sell any key players on in the next few years.

    I don’t agree with you about not playing young players as regular first starters at any time. If a player is ready, a player is ready. Wilshere is, Rooney was when he was still a teenager. Really good players can play from an early age. Ajax won the CL with a handful of young, talented players. The young players are not the problem; it is the experienced players who have let us down regularly this season. It is all about a fine balance and I reckon Arsene will get it right again, but we need to remain patient.

  74. glic says:

    Do you think he had some sort of royalties of merchandise deal written into his contract extention ?

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41oW2d%2BIyWL._SL500_SS500_.jpg

  75. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great stuff TG

    Love your enthusiasm for this guy. With young Gibbs injury record a left back was a must. Theres nothing wrong with competion for places.

    UMF

    Arsenal 5-0
    Everton
    Reading Sunderland draw
    Westham Swansea draw
    Fulham Utd draw

  76. VCC says:

    Terry , your guilty as charged.

  77. VCC says:

    Terry’s odds = 66-1….cheers stretch.

  78. glic says:

    Right, it`s been a long day, so I`m off to pull my wife`s head out of the recycling bin !.
    UTA :)

  79. VCC says:

    VCC entries.
    Ars v Stoke……home
    NU v Chavs…..draw
    Ful v MU……….away
    Eve v AV………home
    MC v Pool…….home

    Odds = 18-1

  80. The Gooner says:

    Cheers Terry! Glad you could drop in and leave your thoughts, we missed your comedy today though Glic generally more than makes up for everyone else haha! Monreal should only improve our defence and give us some stability at LB. It will certainly ease my tension when I watch Arsenal games, praying that Gibbs stays healthy so that Santos won’t ever have to step on the pitch again…

  81. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, yeah cant deny it

    Last year my optician wanted to send me for tests because my apperently my right eye has the same vison as a Hawk. He wanted to know if i had always been like that or if something had happened to me

    I told him i dont realy know, but that his wife has fantastic taste in underwear. hahaha

  82. VCC says:

    TG…..whats your prediction on our game tomorrow

  83. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Vicks, hows the payroll thing going?

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC, beautifully tattooed semi-scrotum :P

    Here are my predictions:

    Draws at: Goodison Park, Madejski stadium, Craven Cottage, City of Manchester Stadium, and the The Boleyn Ground.

  85. The Gooner says:

    VCC, I predict we’ll beat Stoke 2-0 :)

  86. VCC says:

    Cheers TG…..I’m going for 3-1 to the good guys.

    Thanks Total your odds are 491-1…..Herb is quiet lately?

    Terry…..I finished the first part just before Christmas. Now waiting for the second part which will start sometime in March. Are you finding companys are going to be up to scratch come April 5th?

  87. The Gooner says:

    UMF Predictions:

    Manure away win
    Spuds away win
    West Ham vs. Swansea draw
    Reading vs. Sunderland draw
    Wigan vs. Southampton draw
    Newcastle vs. Chel$ea draw

  88. The Gooner says:

    My odds will be awful, but with my current place in the standings I need to take some risks or else the Glicster will pass me…that would be embarrassing!

  89. VCC says:

    The Gooner….don’t worry about GLiCster, the only thing he will pass is excrement. ;-)

    Your odds are 326-1. and you are right you have to start picking up points because you only have 3 more selections x 6, including this one. Good luck.

  90. RockyLives says:

    Evening GLIC, Terry et al
    (not sure who Al is, but I didn’t want to leave him out).

    VCC
    Picking up on the CB thing – that’s kind of what I was getting at: I think if any of those three players was dropped into, say, the Man City back four they would not make those sort of “individual” mistakes.

    I think there’s something about the way we set up that means they’re always firefighting or, put another way, they’re always chasing the play rather than dictating it. And when you scrabbling around unsure what’s happening or where your team mates are – that’s when you make unnecessary slips and wild air shots and so on.

    By the way, I agree with you about the BFG’s jump. He’d never make it in basketball! But I like his all-round defending (although, along with all the defenders, he has had some bad moments in recent games).

  91. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC,

    Herb and I had email contact recently. He is unhappy about what is happening at the club and for the time being would rather stay in the background.

  92. VCC says:

    Rocky

    It’s been so frustrating watching our inept defending this year. One game we look good then the next we are a shambles.I know its not easy, but if we could cut out our shoddy work at the back we would be further up the table.

    There has to be a reason, but to put your finger on it is impossible as an outsider.

    I do feel though, Mertesacker Is the weakest link. I wonder why Wenger let Bartley go when it looks as if he is ready now, if his Swansea and Rangers performances are to go on.

    Another angle, why dosent Wenger give Miquel a place on the bench and bring him on gradually at the end of games!

  93. VCC says:

    Total……that’s a shame about Herb……I enjoy his input and sometimes actually agree with him although he takes some stick from certain areas.

    We need diverse opinions on here, it would be a boring old world if we all agreed,

    Variety makes the world go round.

    HERB, if your reading this, ….Get your arse back here buddy..PRONTO. I’m not terribly enamoured with ALL things Arsenal at the moment, come and be my ally.

    Also I want your UMF 1 predictions before KO Saturday.please.

  94. alexgunners says:

    TG,

    Great analysis of Nacho. To be honest i do not follow La Liga but your post has given me some hope that we have someone established and perhaps someone who can give Gibbs a bit of advice on the defending aspect. I would love to see Nacho and Santi link up as they did in Malaga. Not only that but i hope that Santi settles in more as well. We have a great player in Santi and it would be great to see him play to his full potential on a weekly basis.

    I would love to have seen a couple of further addition to our squad but it was all hope. This trasfer was only pushed through due to the injury that was sustained by Gibbs. Otherwise, why wouldn’t AW sign him at the start of the transfer window to settle the defence down since we have lost a few points this month alone due to our dodgy defending. We need to be more pro-active but with The Gunners that is hoping for too much.

    I look forward to seeing him in the starting line up against the Orcs as i believe it would be a massive mistake to play Santos in the LB position given his for and the fact that he simply is not good enough to wear the Arsenal shirt.

    VCC,

    Here are my predictions for this round of matches:

    The Gunners (H)
    Chel$ki (A)
    Manure (A)
    Everton (H)
    Man$hitty – LPool (D)
    Swans (A)

    @ Rocky,VCC

    Frustration is an understatement when it comes to our defending.
    We work so hard to get Goals and we simply get undone with a counter attack because we are not positioned well or fail to track back. Let’s not forget how many goals we have conceded by failing to clear the ball in our area. Let’s hope for more consistency in the back. We are the 3rd highest goal scoring team but the defence is costing us games and too many points. That is why we are really struggling to get into the top 3 at least.

  95. Herb'sArmy says:

    Hi all, I hope life is treating you all well.
    UMF 1 selections:
    Man Utd – win
    Sunderland – win
    West Ham v Swansea – draw
    Wigan v Southampton – draw
    West Brom v Tottenham – draw

  96. The Gooner says:

    Alex,

    Thank you for the kind words, I am hoping that Nacho will have a rippling effect on the rest of our squad too and settle in quickly himself. I’m also hoping that he’ll groom Gibbs into a more well-rounded fullback since Gibbs has great potential and is the future at the LB position.

    I think we were all slightly disappointed that there weren’t more signings, but I was thrilled to at least make 1 signing at a very shallow position. Can you imagine how much worse we’d all feel had AW stay put and not bought anyone at all and gone with just Santos for the next 6 weeks?! I’m trying to remain as positive as possible and show my faith in the team and Wenger since we’ve seen amazing second half performances before!

    VCC, you want some diversity in thought my friend? Wait until tomorrow if Arsenal don’t play well hahaha, just kidding!

  97. oz gunner says:

    Predictions:

    Toon v Chelsea draw
    Reading v Sunderland draw
    Manure
    Totts v brom draw
    Arsenal

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post :)

  99. alexgunners says:

    TG,

    You are 100% correct, If we had not bought anyone in, imagine the anxiety levels over the next 6 weeks with Santos in the LB position.
    We should perhaps consider grooming Miquel and Meade for the following season during Gibbs’ absence. I don’t want to see us losing another up and coming player like Bartley due to lack of opportunities. Since we are not buying players to back up our current defenders (apart from Nacho) we really need to get them involved more.

    During our FA Cup game against Swansea, Bartley help his own and was unlucky not to score against us twice in both games. He is someone who really got away from us and I feel that we will regret.

    We have some very talented youngsters and they need to be implemented. Gnabry has played for the first team already and to me he looks impressive. Why not have him on the bench instead? He may not be ready to fully step up yet but his progress will only be hindered by not playing against top class oppositions.

    Ive gone off topic a little but i guess i am just venting my frustrations. As a Gooner, as some of you may agree, there are some frustrations and this is mine

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    I am very busy in the morning so had to publish the prematch post now. Feel free to comment on either post, depending on which topic you want to blog about!

    Catch you all at some point later in the morning! :)

  101. Gerry Lennon says:

    TA – Thanks for taking my history in the spirit it was meant – sadly all true!
    I would rather write for this blog than the Bleacher Report – I had an invite from them, but my problem is time. I have 16 dogs to look after, and they are my No1 passion.
    My horse racing interest began early, but I suppose rather than just selecting horses for the big races, the Derby and Grand National, and the latter I can go back to 1953! My brother had Early Mist and I had Royal Tan, and they finished in that order – Royal Tan won in ’54 though!
    Between 1958-59 I began to follow horses from one season to another, on the flat that is. I followed a quirky horse called Aggressor, who was a moody so-and-so, but when in the mood … The day he beat the Lester Piggott ridden Petite Etoile in the big mid-summer race at Ascot I was an emotional wreck. He had no chance on form. He was an outsider in the betting. He nearly refused to race, and he was up against an unbeaten filly who had won the two fillies ‘Classics’,1000 Guineas and The Oaks the previous year! He also had to give her 3lbs in weight … But he was in the mood to not be beaten. Utter joy for me. I was hooked.
    If I knew what I know now I probably would have worked in racing stable yard. At the time I was too big and heavy to be a jockey, and I never realised that they had people who were like that in yards. What might have been?
    Anyway the years passed by, I went university rather late in life, got my degree(Eng. & Ed), and started looking at racing in a more analytical way. So now I have my own system for producing time-based ratings. That is an on-going project I have to say. They were very disappointing 3 years ago, so I modified things a bit, and it was better but inconsistent. Before last season I revalued my base ratings, and that showed a big improvement. I made a handsome profit over the Flat season which was nice. I should be working on my second upgrade now, but domestic issues have sort of gotten in the way. If I am not homeless by April it will be amazing! I have just had to hand a dog over to a local animal charity because after an accident to her foot she needed a £1500 operation to save it, which I don’t have. The betting and the lack of funds are not connected, btw. I don’t bet during the non-Flat(Turf) season. More the fact that I have had issues with the dogs and the local council. But for the time being, we are okay. The dog too, has had a successful operation and will be okay.
    That is how my passion for horse racing came about.
    Football only comes third in the passion stakes. I do enjoy other sports too. For sheer excitement I don’t think you can be the Ryder Cup in golf? I got my Sky Sports Channels 1 & 2 added to my broadband package 3 years ago, and in each of those Ryder Cups has been worth the subscription alone. Funnily enough, I can take or leave golf any other time. Likewise tennis, for which I was a big fan of in my early years, and could watch hours of Wimbledon matches. Too much money involved I guess. That is why the Ryder Cup is so brilliant. All the egos are taken out of it. The ‘team’ victory is what matters most … if only other sports could manage that, eh?
    Yes, I will continue to put my bit in, and try and make sense of it all. I see Liam Brady is pulling out this season rather than next … Could this blog’s homage become something more?? Oh, how I wish??
    Right, enough of my how’s and why’s. Three points today, no problem?
    p.s. My horse to follow for this year’s Flat season is DUNDONNELL, if you fancy an ante-post bet for the 2000 Guineas? Not my top rated, but my instincts tell me he never had a chance to improve on current best. On good ground, and if he has ‘wintered’ well, he will take a lot of beating. Cheers

  102. VCC says:

    Cheers Gerry, I will have a penny or two on him.

    Sorry to be nosy, but 16 dogs. I’m a dog lover too, I have a ten year old Boxer called George who I love dearly. Do you run a kennels or are they pets?

  103. Gerry Lennon says:

    No kennels VCC, they are just household pests … if you know what I mean.
    I inherited a beautiful Springer from my late brother, and losing her to cancer too, was a massive blow. I had taken in a cross lab and he missed her too, so I got a lovely Springer Collie cross. She was so good I had the pick of the litter and chose her full sister, who will be 14in June. Just before the last ‘foot and mouth’ outbreak down here I went back to the same farm because they were advertising the opposite cross – Springer father, Collie mother – I didn’t take any money with me, but they persuaded me to take all 3 remaining pups, on a 3 for 2, pay us later basis. They were 2 males one female. I found a home for the one male but fell in love with the other … the rest is history. 31 pups down the line I eventually got them all sorted. However, given that the male father was a grandfather before he was two, you can see how things evolved pretty quickly?
    I found 19 good homes for the pups, but 12 are still with me, and come April 5th, all will be 10 years or older. I did take in a 6 month old collie too, but she is the one having her leg repaired, and a Jack Russell who is just over 2 years old.
    It was not planned, and I took responsibility for the ones I couldn’t find homes for. However, one got out and bit another dog. I paid their vet bill, but it was owned, I believe, by a policewoman, so naturally there were repercussions?
    Here’s a tip for your Boxer if he is getting a bit stiff in his legs – Yumove tablets. I read the reviews at Amazon and thought I give it a go, both for the eldest and one who turned out to have an arthritic spine. It really does seem to help. It has a concentrated form of all the stuff they claim to add in ‘senior’ dog food. My problem is I am wearing out faster than the dogs. Having lost the first ‘sprollie’, again to cancer, when she was only 10, I thought a coulpe of years back I would probably only have about 5 dogs by now?
    C’est la vie, as they say in Newcastle.

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