The One Striker that Arsenal Need

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As most of you are well aware, I am not Olivier Giroud’s biggest supporter. However, as much as I harp on his shortcomings, he maximizes the abilities he does have to consistently put forth his best effort for the club – you simply cannot fault a player for that. Giroud also provides us with an alternative to our attack when we are struggling holding onto possession, often acting as a safety valve for our players to punt the ball in the air to. He allows others to join the attack with his hold up play and he is a constant threat on set pieces, while also providing the occasional exquisite one touch pass around the opponent’s 18-yard box. Giroud is also frequently seen tracking back and putting in an honest effort on the defensive side of the pitch, which can be rare for a lot of strikers.

More importantly, as Total Arsenal has pointed out on several occasions, Giroud allows Arsenal to continue to play a “team game”. He is generally unselfish and contributes to the team effort, which is a stark contrast to the guy with the “little boy inside of him” before him. What requires further consideration then, is to recommend strikers that would still be able to contribute to a “team game”.

However, what Giroud lacks is pace, the technical ability to drift wide and interchange with our wingers and prolific finishing ability. In general, his finishing could be improved upon, but what stands out is the fact that he has failed to register either a goal or an assist against the top clubs this season (I consider domestic top clubs to be Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, us and Everton this season). I’m not advocating for us to sell Giroud off, as I believe he is a valuable asset for this club and a perfect back-up striker/one to play against the more physical teams; I’m calling for Arsene to finally bring in the reinforcements up top to propel us to new heights.

The following are a list of players we have been linked to that Arsene could move for during this summer. They have been separated into three different bins, based on various factors, such as affordability, EPL credentials, potential etc. There are several more strikers that have been linked to Arsenal; however, in the interest of time, I have decided to focus on the more realistic options that could actually bring us to the next level.

The less affordable and international suspects. This category of striker would definitely replace Giroud from the starting line-up and likely would not be within a reasonable price range for Arsenal:

Jackson Martinez, ST, FC Porto

Rumoured transfer fee: £34 million

League Statistics: 19 goals and 0 assists in 27 Portuguese Liga starts and 1 sub appearance.

Strengths – Power, height, aerial ability, aggression, skill, flair, pace, vision, intelligent movements and clinical finishing ability – Jackson Martinez is simply the complete striker. He scored at pace greater than a goal per game in his first season at FC Porto, but unfortunately has taken a step back this year due to the loss of both Moutinho and James Rodriguez last summer.

Don’t believe me that he’s the complete striker? Just watch for yourself:

Weaknesses – High buy-out clause aside, the only knock on Jackson is that he’s not EPL tested. Critics may argue that Jackson has only dominated in lesser leagues, but his goal tally of 5 goals in 14 Champions League games says otherwise. While the statistics of 5 goals in 14 starts is not jaw dropping, one must consider these goals came against the best clubs in the world, and two were against Atletico Madrid and PSG.

Verdict: Uncertain. It remains to be seen if Arsene would shell out this kind of money on a striker when there are several positional areas that need upgrading this summer. However, based on availability, Jackson is likely the top option this summer, considering that Diego Costa is rumoured to be on his way to Chelsea and Lewandowski signed a pre-contract agreement with Bayern.

Mario Mandzukic

Rumoured transfer fee: £20 million

League Statistics: 18 goals and 4 assists in 20 Bundesliga starts and 8 sub appearances.

Strengths – Mandzukic is one of the most underappreciated strikers in the world right now. Due to Pep’s infatuation/stubbornness of playing without a traditional striker, he has been criminally underused both tactically and in playing time. He lacks the pace and flair of Jackson, but he’s stronger than him, as well as slightly faster, stronger and more skilled than Giroud. Mandzukic frequently contributes to the defensive side of the game and plays the game with a certain level of determination that is contagious. His aerial ability is second to none and he’s very comfortable in his hold-up play or drifting wide to set others up. With goals against most of the best clubs in the world, there’s no questioning his ability to score in big games either.

Weaknesses – As identified earlier, Mandzukic lacks pace. He would also directly replace Giroud from the starting line-up, without providing a substantial difference in terms of playing style (just slight improvements in several areas). It also remains to be seen if he can replicate his goal scoring form outside of arguably the best club in the world.

Verdict: Pass. Despite only being a slight improvement on Giroud in terms of what he brings to the game, his finishing ability is what separates him from our current crop of strikers. The price tag is affordable, but a departure is only likely if the player requests it for more playing time; Bayern has no other reason to sell.

Karim Benzema, ST, Real Madrid

Rumoured transfer fee: £25 million

League Statistics: 17 goals and 8 assists in 31 La Liga3 starts and 1 sub appearance.

Strengths – Probably the most Arsenal-esque striker in the world, he would likely be Arsene’s top choice if he were to become available at a cut-price fee due to Real Madrid’s interest in bringing either Suarez or Aguero to the Bernabeu. He’s scored against every top club and his skill would likely set the EPL ablaze. Benzema’s pace, flair, creativity, vision, finishing, power and movement are superb and he would fit seamlessly into our starting 11. His game also complements Giroud, but it’s unlikely that Arsene would play with two strikers upfront, given the plethora of talented midfielders at his disposal.

Weaknesses – For all his strengths, Benzema lacks aerial ability and his skill and pace mean that he sometimes drifts out wide to create an interchangeable front three. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s important to remember that our plan B of long balls (which we shouldn’t be doing in the first place) would no longer be as viable of an option. It could also bring unhealthy competition to both club and country, as both Giroud and Benzema are battling for the starting striker’s role on both fronts.

Verdict: Pass. Undoubtedly the most naturally talented striker on this list, it’s easy to forget that Benzema is still only 26 years old. He’s also the most proven striker on this entire list and he would have instant chemistry with Ozil. The fact that he offers something entirely different to Giroud is a big bonus and it would give us the flexibility to play with two up front or rotate if need be.

The less affordable and EPL tested suspects. This category of striker would likely replace Giroud from the starting line-up, but may not be within a reasonable price range for Arsenal:

Christian Benteke, ST, Aston Villa

Rumoured transfer fee: £21 million

League Statistics: 10 goals and 2 assists in 24 EPL starts and 2 sub appearances.

Strengths – Prior to his Achilles tendon injury, Benteke would have likely been my top candidate to lead Arsenal’s line next season. At only 23 years old and with a confessed love for the club, a relatively affordable price tag, a proven track record of goals in the EPL, in addition to a blend of power, pace and skill not typically seen from a striker, it’s easy to see why. He’s also a fairly levelheaded individual that would respect the requirements of contributing to a “team game”.

Weaknesses – After a brilliant start to his career with Aston Villa last term, he struggled to replicate that form this season due to injury. He may be unavailable until at least October and there’s no guarantee that he’ll be the same player prior to his injury. Benteke also handed in a transfer request after his first season with Aston Villa, which could be a red flag if he ends up producing at Arsenal and looks to make a move to yet another bigger club.

Verdict: Uncertain. Despite his injuries from this past season, Arsenal may need to eventually gamble to elevate their status as title pretenders to actual contenders. Whatever you might want to believe, Arsenal is not exactly a top destination for the cream of the crop currently; we may need to buy a striker like Benteke to drive us to a title before re-establishing ourselves in that upper echelon. His value may have also dropped after the combination of injury and not being able to replicate his form from 2012-13.

Romelu Lukaku, ST, Chelsea

Rumoured transfer fee: £25 million

League Statistics: 13 goals and 6 assists in 26 EPL starts and 2 sub appearances

Strengths – Basically a clone of Benteke/Drogba, Lukaku has the pace, power, skill and finishing ability to really bring Arsenal back into the upper echelon of clubs. He’s younger than Benteke, which is another added benefit and also has a relatively injury-free track record. No matter what club he is at, he just wants playing time and loves the game.

Weaknesses – Chelsea are unlikely to sell Lukaku to a domestic club, let alone a direct top four EPL rival. That aside, Lukaku still strikes me as a bit of a mercenary, and I could see him leaving after a season or two for the likes of Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Manchester City or even back to Chelsea!

Verdict: Fail. It’s highly unlikely that Chelsea will sell him to Arsenal, so we can likely forget about this one.

The affordable and EPL tested suspects. This category of striker would not necessitate replacing Giroud from the starting line-up, but would instead provide us with more rotation and greater versatility:

Loic Remy, ST/W, Newcastle (On Loan from QPR)

Rumoured transfer fee: £10 million

League Statistics: 13 goals and 2 assists in 22 EPL starts and 2 sub appearances

Strengths – Remy has pace and dribbling skills to burn, the benefit of being EPL tested, can score from distance and play on the wing if need be. He has scored 2 goals against top clubs in Chelsea and Everton this season in 5 appearances against such opposition. He comes at an affordable price relative to his production and is thus a viable option for a relatively conservative club that likely has bigger areas of need to address this summer.

Weaknesses – Remy has a fairly extensive injury history that has prevented him from ever fully reaching his potential. What Arsenal would gain in pace, dribbling and the odd screamer from distance, we would lose in hold up play, strength and aerial ability. Remy would basically be an improved Theo at striker, in terms of offering better positional awareness and slightly less reliant on his speed and movement to score goals.

Verdict: Fail. With all the injuries we have accumulated over the years, adding another injury-prone player is probably the last thing Arsenal needs, despite his versatility and promising track record with scoring goals in the EPL.

Demba Ba, ST, Chelsea

Rumoured transfer fee: £8 million

League Statistics: 4 goals and 1 assist in 3 EPL starts and 14 sub appearances

Strengths – Ba’s statistics will not jump out at anyone, but this has more to do with Mourinho’s confidence in his abilities as a striker than with his actual abilities. He would add depth at an affordable price to Arsenal’s attack and has more pace than Giroud. He would add the bare minimum component of versatility and depth to our attack options, while still having the ability and will to play a “team game”. Finally, he is fairly durable and would be able to stay healthy, which is highly important.

Weaknesses – Ba has never been a top striker, but merely an effective one that was capable of scoring 10-15 goals a season. He doesn’t have one particular attribute that stands out and instead, is the type of player who does many things relatively well. Playing time notwithstanding, Ba has struggled to prove that he should be a starter at a top club in Chelsea, which may or may not be worrisome for Arsenal.

Verdict: Uncertain. Depending on what other options are available out there, Ba should not be our first priority. For a club with EPL and Champions League title aspirations, Arsenal should certainly be looking to aim higher. Ba is a capable last resort if nothing else is feasible though.

Danny Welbeck, ST, Manchester United

Rumoured transfer fee: £13 million

League Statistics: 9 goals and 1 assist in 13 EPL starts and 9 sub appearances

Strengths – You may not know this, but Welbeck has been the third most clinical striker in the EPL this season with a conversion rate of 31%. However, he has been limited in his opportunities as a striker and has been played in a variety of positions, such as CAM, LW and RW. He offers good pace, movement, creativity and honours his defensive responsibility – in 2013, Welbeck created a clear cut chance for his teammates every 276 minutes and made a tackle every 39 minutes (Statistics all courtesy of eplindex.com). He would be a great fit in Arsene’s expectation of a “team game” and his skill set would complement that of Giroud’s.

Weaknesses – Is it a lack of opportunity playing with van Persie and Rooney or a testament of his ability that he has struggled to find consistent minutes at striker? Van Persie has endured an injury riddled season and yet Welbeck has still not been able to cement regular playing time at ST, unless Rooney has also been injured. Prior to this season, he also struggled with his composure in the final third, but his conversion rate this season suggests otherwise.

Verdict: Tentative Pass. He could turn out to be the next Sturridge (a great scorer without ample opportunity at his current club) or he could truly turn out to be surplus to requirements at a 7th place club. Still, Welbeck is young enough to warrant taking a gamble on him since the transfer fee is reasonable. BUT, he should be nothing more than a back-up option if things do not pan out with other strikers with a more proven goal scoring history.

Edin Dzeko, ST, Manchester City

Rumoured transfer fee: £15 million

League Statistics: 11 goals and 1 assist in 19 EPL starts and 8 sub appearances

Strengths – With occasional goals against tough opponents throughout Dzeko’s career, there is some evidence that he can score in big games. He also understands the perseverance and drive it takes to win titles (EPL and Bundesliga), is EPL tested and has the physicality, power and skill to thrive in place of Giroud. Dzeko is in the last year of his contract and has apparently been told by Manchester City management that he is free to leave the club this summer. At £15 million, he is likely the best EPL option that Arsenal can afford this summer, while still contributing to a “team game”, without tying up sacrificing transfer funds elsewhere.

Weaknesses – Despite scoring some goals against top clubs, Dzeko is not a striker that can score at will. This is accurately reflected in his price and if Arsenal bought him, he should not be expected to be our savior/van Judas replacement. He’s failed to out compete the likes of Negredo and Aguero for a starting berth at Manchester City, so Arsenal will have to hope this is attributed to a lack of opportunity and not a testament to his ability (similar to Sturridge when Liverpool bought him from Chelsea).

Verdict: Pass. Again, depending on what other options are available out there, Dzeko should not be our first priority. However, Arsenal could do much worse than buying Dzeko, especially if we can buy a top box-to-box midfielder to play alongside Ramsey this summer. He would be hungry to prove to his former club that they made a mistake in letting him go and would be provided with the opportunity to do so at Arsenal. Never underestimate the ability of a departed player looking for redemption.

Written By: Highbury Harmony

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267 Responses to The One Striker that Arsenal Need

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    HH :)

    Superb, tour de force come back post. WOW.

    The question is whether a) Wenger wants to continue with the current system of a CF who, as he called it recently, does not run off defenders but holds on to the centre and plays into defenders, and b) if the answer is yes to ‘A’, whether we can improve on Giroud – just as much as he was in improvement of Chamakh, who was deployed in a similar role as the Frenchman.

    I think your assessment of Mandzukic is spot on and he is likely to be an improvement again, in terms of him being more effective in the air and scoring more against the biggest teams.

    I reckon, as you know, that Arsene wants to build further on the ‘holding striker’ system and will add better players on the wing next. Draxler and Reus would add a lot, and a full season of Theo on the right with one of the Germans on the left could just be a complete transformation of our attacking play. If we can get an improvement of Giroud as well, or at least somebody who can compete with him, I would be very happy.

    Of all the other players you mentioned, I am only quite excited about Lukaku and Martinez. They might buckle under the expectations at Arsenal or become a big success. Benzema would be good but I just feel this is just not going to happen somehow.

  2. I love these kind of posts about potential TW signings, trouble is, I want more !….more candidates and don’t just leave it at the strikers !…….some tricky fast wingers please !….spill the beans, I want more !. hahaha
    PS
    And not to forget the “Hole” players !……some Reus`s…Draxler`s etc` !. I`m insatiable for TW gossip !. hahaha
    PPS
    And to keep Total happy…….chuck in some DM Beast`s !.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    I would also like to add, that I still feel that Jovetic would have played well in Giroud’s position and he might, should, be available as Dracula clearly does not rate him.

    The ideal player would have been Lewandowski and it will be interesting to see what Guardiola is going to do with him next season.

    I would also not mind to get a motivated Adebayor back, as back up for Giroud.

  4. Oh and thank you, HH !.
    pssst……and I was hoping for a slight smidgeon of dooming !. :lol:

  5. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers cockie!! There may be a doom (ish) post in store soon ;)

  6. proudgooner says:

  7. Highbury Harmony says:

    You’re insatiable for man holes I see Cockie, makes sense! Hahaha I’ll try doing more posts on other signings but this was directed just to strikers mate!

  8. AFC says:

    Guys, what about Soldado? Definitely a quality player but doesn’t really fit I at Spurs. We could offer him a way out and Spurs might be tempted to sell. A tad unrealistic though.

  9. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, Pellegrini stated that Jovetic has a future with the squad but has just struggled with injury. I expect to see him play more next season and Dzeko to be the only striker to leave this summer (unless Aguero leaves)

  10. ahmed says:

    best article I’ve read on arsenal summer transfer targets so far

  11. AFC says:

    Great post HH and good to see you back. :)

    For me it has to be between Manduzukic, Benzema and Balotelli (who you didn’t mention in the list of potential targets). All quality players and all have experience playing at the top level for a top club. Wouldn’t really want the likes of Ba and Remy. We need someone who is better than Giroud in my opinion but your inclusion of such players is justified as you could see Wenger going for such players.

  12. proudgooner says:

    I am only half way though reading the post and it is an interesting 1, but a thought come to mind. That is how much i think we have missed Theo Walcott this season,
    He was in the form of his life last season, our top goal scorer, the pace he adds and goals now have been missed massively, lately for me he has been the forgotten man. I just wonder what if he had stayed fit all season, what could have been? we will never know sadly

  13. proudgooner says:

    Out of your candidates i would go for Benzema or Remy probably Remy more so because he is more a different option to Giroud, i would add more pace to our attack
    A Tevez or Hendandez from united would be nice.

  14. Ms gooner says:

    Mario balletoli for central striker and rarco reus for Lw, they are the closest two players i can think of who have the potential to truly replace/emulate Henry and Pires respectively.
    Transfer fee wise should be around £80m, but we could use podoloski and rosicky in any potential deal(s). Main issue will be enticing the players themselves to join us.
    i know Balletolli is a controversial figure, but so is(/was) Suarez and wenger did bid for him.

    doubt this will happen though, one can only wish

  15. Highbury Harmony says:

    PG, I am planning to write a post on whether or not we actually play better with Theo. He’s a necessity but it’s interesting to see that he might actually get in the way of playing “proper” Arsenal footy.

  16. proudgooner says:

    There is alot more to come from Theo, i believe he wil be great, on the pace front then there is probably not a faster striker out there, his pace scares defenders

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Do you believe him, or is he trying to increase Jovetic’s sales price, HH?

  18. proudgooner says:

    ms gooner,
    I like Ballotelli and think we need a bit of a nasty or aggressive player in our team to add a bit of steal

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH, Total…

    Interesting posts–and fine writing–these past couple of days… I wrote my own (yesterday during the Madrid-Munich match) but I won’t be sending it in. Sorry. It just seems out of place now that we’re onto managers and strikers we want in…

    Just wanted to give TA a heads up. Again, sorry…

    Carry on…

  20. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, no idea but I truly believe that Jovetic signed with City for a reason and that his time will come. In the limited action he’s seen when healthy, he’s done decently well, but anything is possible in terms of purchases and sales there so I guess we’ll see!

  21. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, there is no themes with posts mate, you write what you want and TA will post it mate. There are only excuses and don’t let them get in your way ;)

  22. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, my apologies for not responding to your initial post sooner, as I was busy at work and now have some free time.

    Thank you very much for the kind words, and it’s nice to be able to contribute to your fine site once again!!

    I’m glad that we’ve sort of hit a common ground on the whole ST issue and I do see your point in terms of not JUST needing a ST that can break the line with his pace and score us goals akin to a one trick pony, like that which Walcott already brings. What I was trying to get at the other day, which I may not have been able to properly get across is that we can still operate with a style of ST similar to Giroud, but it would be foolish to not find one that is yet again an improvement.

    Much like what you highlighted with Giroud as an improvement on Chamakh, I think Mandzukic can be that man for us. Of course, if we manage to sign a world-class winger, a world-class ST becomes a lower priority, however we must be cautious as it blocks both Santi and/or Ox from first team action. Quite the dilemma, but an interesting one at that.

    No surprise that Mandzukic is your favourite option of the lot :P . However, I make the case for Benzema mainly because he offers something different than Giroud and our team can benefit from versatility. He has been heavily linked to the Emirates the past year and even more so the past month or so, so I guess anything is possible if the funds exist and the will to bring him here is there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ozil recommended him as a target to Arsene either!

  23. Highbury Harmony says:

    PG, Balotelli is a great shout and striker whose talent I very much like. However, I’m worried about harnessing his on and off the field antics that often cost his team. If Arsene or anyone could ever find a way to control that, he’d be a world class option.

  24. Highbury Harmony says:

    Good points Ms. Gooner, it’ll be interesting to see if the money is there for Arsene to spend this summer and if in fact he will spend it. There’s a bit of conflict of interest as we have some capable youth, but there is a strong need to win now too.

  25. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, cheers for the kind words mate! I doubt Soldado would be made available after just one season, especially with Adebayor likely leaving the Spuds this summer. I think the new coach will find a better way to incorporate him into the line-up and he’ll have a more fruitful second season with the club. Look above for why I didn’t mention Balotelli as I can’t see Arsene going for such a wildcard.

  26. James Bond says:

    don’t be boring now @ 17HT – no such thing as a Theme on BK – besides , if your written gem is on something completely different then so much the merrier as we need diversity ; )

    nice one @ HH

    your first post after a mini self imposed exile, did not disappoint one bit, and yes, Jackson Martinez would be a mighty fine signing and addition to our current squad but saying that, I wouldn’t have mind had Hernandez on your list ;)

    I think the Jovetic boat has sailed @ Skipper

    Mario.B has way too many brain farts for AW to consider him (twice as much as our own Sczny :shock: )

    Bony for about 15 to 20 million might not be a bad signing either, he’s dynamite and will fit in like a glove at Arsenal – I reckon he is the main reason why Swansea aren’t relegated and will play be in the PL for another season.

  27. Highbury Harmony says:

    It’s also interesting how little love Jackson gets because he’s more unknown. You’ll all see ;)

  28. Highbury Harmony says:

    And of course JB comes on right before me to give Jackson his due praise! Great minds think alike on both him and Balotelli ;)

    Cheers for the kind words mate, very happy to be back on the blogosphere chatting with you; I’ve missed it! Do you really believe the Swans will sell Bony after one season? Michu stayed there after all and I can see them trying to do something special next season with the right manager. Hernandez was one I considered, but I think Welbeck has more potential and is the more likely ST to leave United this summer.

  29. Gerry says:

    I am but a fleeting visitor these days, but I thought I would have a nose round to see what’s going on during a quiet day on the racing front.
    Lovely well written piece HH. Not overly keen on the content mind.

    I feel far too many are ships that have already sailed?

    The only two I would have any interest in are the two young guys, Welbeck and Lukaku.

    Welbeck because when I saw him and the Ox play for the England Under 21, or a friendly, I thought they complimented each others game really well, and that was about 12 months ago.
    Unlikely to leave Man U until their new manager has moved in, and unlikely to be sold to us at anything but an inflated price?

    Lukaku I wanted before he signed for Chelsea, but we did not follow it up once they sniffed around. He is a bit too similar to Giroud to need both though.
    Unlikely to be sold to us .. blah.. blah.

    Of the others:
    Martinez: If he was that good we would have got him after they had a close look during the Emirates Cup? From the brief glimpse in the CL, I thought he was marginalised far too easy. Given the goals he scored last season, and everybody looking at him, and yet he did not move, says a lot? And yes, the reported £53m buyout could have a lot to do with it.

    Mandzukic: Similar to Lukaku, in that he will score goals if given the service, but I cannot see him moving full stop, And here, less so.

    Benzema and Benteke fall into the category of ‘Perhaps, some time ago’
    Now it is a different story. Benteke has to prove he wasn’t just a one season wonder when he recovers from injury. Benzema would not survive the savagery of the EPL, imo.
    Remy too, fits in this category, but more about consistency, and the lack there of. And if you want a winger, snap up Tello and mold him into an Aresenal player, before he proves himself at another club?
    Demba Ba? Seriously? Surely we are looking beyond his level, even if there was interest during one of our more desperate moments. Another who boat has sailed?

    Dzeko? Nah, I just don’t see him being ‘The One’ either. He may be more clinical than Giro, but he ain’t blessed with much more pace?

    Costa was one you could have added? I was impressed with the whole AM team in their ability to control, turn, and move, all in the same action of receiving the ball, and Costa has that Suarez aggression that would go well in this league?
    Yes, we are talking at the high end here, and along with Cavani. But they are the sort of level we should be aiming at, if a striker is a high priority?

    I think we want a nippy, skilful player, who is tough enough to handle the pressures of mob handed defences. If we do’t buy at the top table for proven ability, then it will be a youngster with great potential?

    Muniain name cropped up today, but another midfielder?

    I would have JD, but I think his price might be Ozil-esque, but he takes a great free kick and corners, which is something we have been lacking. However, I fear some of our star youngsters must be getting a tad nervous if their contract are ending this summer?

  30. proudgooner says:

    HH,
    Your right on Jackon, the truth is i know nothing about him. He does look a talent though

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    HH,

    Cheers buddy. I cannot imagine benzema being good with back to the wall/ hold up play, but I like his explosiveness and positioning/finishing.

  32. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers Gerry :) . I felt I should start off with a slightly more captivating post to warm people up and ease them back into my posts, before the realist, doom post comes ;)

    Benzema is a pretty strong and powerful player mate, don’t underestimate him because he plays on the highly skilled and full of flair Real Madrid. His pace and technique alone would terrorize defences and he has very good ball control and decent hold up ability.

    As for Jackson, it’s 34 million buy-out clause, but he certainly has the tools to succeed in the EPL. Costa is but a pipe dream at this point, as we simply cannot outbid the likes of Man City or Chelsea at this point, however he would fit like a glove, in terms of the right combination of physicality, speed and skill.

  33. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, Benzema’s touch is not quite as exquisite as Ozil’s, but he can take a long ball in the air down with the best. He’s also stronger than he comes across – people often confuse skilled players with lacking “physicality” or strength, especially ones that have not played in the so-called “tough” EPL. The best players in this league are skilled, the whole concept of needing “toughness” in this league is quickly fading and is being replaced with the more modern, skilled player with amazing technique.

  34. Ms gooner says:

    HH, i think youth will benefit with top class senior team mates, unless we are loaded with such commodities, which is hardly the case.
    with Ozil i think we have a player who has great vision, he might not be DB10 but he is the best option available today imo.
    With Ramsey we now have a quality box to box player like fabregas was for us. these 2 gives me great hope, which is why i am daring to dream.

    Theo’s movement, pace and eye for a goal is very similar to FJ8′s movement.
    Which leaves us to ensure that we have players with the attributes of Viera, Pires and Henry to take to roll back the glory years. i firmly believe Reus and Balletolli can replace the latter 2 to the extent it is realistically possible.

    Ofcourse there are a few issues at the back that need sorting as well (like the RB situation and need to replace TM5 and/or add a powerhouse CB), but i dont know whether wenger has lost interest/(or the plot?), or whether the board is holding him back.

  35. Gerry says:

    Totally off topic, feel free to ignore.

    Alex in Oz – I think I remember you saying you used to follow American Idol? Well they are down to the final 6, and despite not having the live shows here, I have been able to keep up thanks to the Aussie company, Daily Motion, providing the videos.

    Well as you may know, I am a real rock fan, and there is a guy on there who is a throwback to the late ’60′s. Caleb Johnson. On the show last night he dropped the mike and it slid right to the back of the stage. In a flash, he slid over to it, and continued the song right on the beat. Fantastic!

    He is a Meatloaf lookalike, but has the vocals of Sammy Hagar(Montrose), and the stage presence of Paul Rodgers(Free and Bad Company). A heavy mix?

    just thought I would drop that in. Anybody interested, you can follow it all via Gossip and Gab.

  36. Highbury Harmony says:

    The infatuation with Draxler is somewhat unwarranted, given his injury history and lack of proven goal scoring history. He really has not done much and is a classic example of a player who is hyped because of his raw talent and not his actual contributions. I’m all for taking chances on players, but don’t we have a couple in our system already like that?

  37. Highbury Harmony says:

    Ms. Gooner, the Theo situation is interesting. As Cesc put it, “You need a player like Theo, as we have with Pedro. They can get behind defences and finish off chances created.” However, they also do not contribute as much to the team game and are more one trick ponies where you know the build-up play rarely comes from and is predictable. Theo is an outstanding talent, no doubt – but how reliant we sometimes become with him on the line-up to throw through balls to is somewhat concerning. However, adding versatility to our attack is always a bonus and we are definitely lacking his pace right now.

  38. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, yes to Ozil and Ramsey – they are my first choices on the squad sheet for every game. Just a matter of keeping both healthy!

  39. Gerry says:

    HH – Last time i read anything was the matchday comments, and you seemed full of doom and gloom then?

    Have you eaten suitable humble pie for maligning AW for his non-inclusion of the Ox yet?
    Groin strain apparently?

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    You are selling him to me, HH, and if he is keen to come and join us, at only 26 years of age, he could be dynamite and a good plan B, or even A…

    Re Ox…. is he a winger or a dynamite box to box (next to a proper DM)? I reckon both Santi and Ox can play in more positions and the arrival of a proper winger would not hurt them too much. Reus could also be turned into a Henry-CF by Arsene…

  41. allezkev says:

    Interesting post…

    Sell Giroud…

    Sign Mandzukic and Benzema…

    Sorted…

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    Nah Gerry, the Ox was in fact not injured, just watch him in his appearance, he was a live wire. AW often blames it on knocks, but I’d imagine there’s some unrest within the squad over playing time. He still has yet to get the rotation aspect right and I still firmly believe he is not the man to lead us to a EPL or CL title.

  43. James Bond says:

    ahahahahahhaahahh – indeed, however, allow me to draw a comparison here…you might not like it but I reckon you are BK’s Balotelli ;) (and I does a runner !

    I can’t see Man UTd selling Welbeck – that was the main reason why they sacked Moyes along with the other petty reasons – now that all is well and Giggs has been made in charge , I don’t see Danny.W leaving Old trafford but anything and everything is possible in the world of football, so here is to hoping.

    back to Bony – why not ? if the price was right then why the hell not ? I said it last season that Michu was a one season wonder, even though he has been injured for the most part of this season , I still stand by it… BOny on the other hand is the real deal and for 20 million, he could be a gunner – remember that Swansea do have a habit of selling their players on a regular basis and can be classified as a selling club and a building club.

    we can offer Bony , European football and a chance to be a great or world class striker under AW, he’s young as well, still what 24-26 bracket ? we can afford his wages and so on, in the absence of Jackson, I wouldn’t mind going for Bony but like you – Jackson would be more than just welcome – we need a South American Striker as South America is where all the lethal strikers are at these days !

    Jackson I rate better than Costa – Costa the problem isn’t just that he might not be better than Jackson, but the main problem happens to be the Agents involved (look up who happens to be the agent for Costa and you shall know what I mean.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    51×0.33, what is that now?! If you have written a post, we will post it. You are one of the major thinkers on this site and your input is loved and required! :)

  45. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, if Reus ever wanted to come here (the Gotze comments about him wanting to go to Manure are concerning), then I would welcome him with open arms. He is one of my favourite footballers, loyal and humble too. Not certain on the Ox mate, his deadly pace and unknown stamina make him an unlikely candidate for the B2B role. We have too many options for the centre of the pitch and I can’t see him displacing either Jack or Rambo. He’s also not good enough defensively to warrant not buying another B2B mid with the two end capabilities a la Lars Bender!

    Of course it all hinges on Benzema wanting to come here. However, all players need to feel wanted and I doubt he will feel that way after this summer if Real buy another striker. One to keep an eye on, but as all rumours go, nothing concrete to hold on to.

  46. TotalArsenal says:

    Sell Giroud :twisted: TAXI!!! :)

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, if anything I am more like the Ronaldo of this site. I’m already world class, not brimming with potential mate ;) . You either love me or can’t stand me, but I always get all the attention either way hahaha!

    Good point about agents, I suspect JGC will come on at some point and mention the same thing! I always forget about how awful some are to work with on contracts!

    I’m not sold on Bony. For 20 million, I think we could sign someone better imo. However, it’s whether or not those clubs will sell to us. Bony is a good talent though and may be a gamble we need to take to see if there is more than meets the eye. Good showing for his first season in a new league though.

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Yet Wenger seems to be grooming him for the box to box role… I have my doubts too, though, HH.

    JB, the Jovetic ship might well have sailed, or it could be right behind you hahaha :)

  49. geoffchase says:

    Interesting…

    IMO, I’d go for:

    A. Mandzukic for least likely to change our style of play, so we are more interchangeable. Nothing like an injury to force you to play very differently. He would also give us some three way interchangeability if we went some form of 4-4-2, between Pod, OG and Mandzukic

    B. Dzeko for similar reasons and some in between traits that lie him between Pod and OG.

    I think that next years scoring lies on three things that ARE NOT strikers! Especially in a team game approach:

    A. New Dutch coaches bringing better training methods and perhaps some less heard changes in the med team/physios … One can dream of this because it would lead to less injuries which in turn would lead to

    B. Relying on our midfield team to provide the opportunities. From which I think both options above can be fruitful, as well as being unselfish .. We have IMO the best first choice midfield around barring…

    C. A beast DM or seriously defensive B2B …

    Thus, I listed new med trainers as the SINGLE BIGGEST NEED need for next year a few (3 from me? Can’t find it..) posts back… Our midfield can make any very good striker great and needs to be healthy. A bigger beast DM lets us play 2 strikers or 1 with more midfielder thus letting us look more different for different teams which we have not been able to do in recent years, even with RVP ..

    Thus, my choices I think would fit best with a very expensive DM and a very expensive new set of medicos, trainers and physios (in reverse order)..

    Ie to be controversial, we don’t need a striker as much as we need a healthy midfield via better trainers and then a beast DM.. That would free what we have (OG and Pod), and a better third would of course be a nice addition to that mix!!!

    Cheers — jgc

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agreed TA, he certainly has the pace to be a menace in the centre of the park and the vision, but lacks the consistency. I think at this point in time, his decision making, stamina and defensive play are lacking too much to be a presence there. I would love nothing more than to see the Ox thrive here since I rate him very highly and he is one of my favourite Gooners. However, I think he’s tailor made for the wing!

  51. Highbury Harmony says:

    JGC, I 100% agree with you mate! Very good points and it’s surprising it has taken Arsene this long to “re-evaluate” the reasons behind why players are getting injured so often. Imagine if Diaby were healthy – the need for a B2B beast would not even be in the back of our minds!

    The need for a striker was simply in terms of if we go forward with the status quo (as it is now)

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    But say we have a Wanyama in front of the back four who says come into my area and you are dead (and I have literally seen Juve and Barca avoiding the centre of midfield against Celtic with the Kenyan Beast operating there) and Ox is given a game in the box to box role now and again, with Ozil or Jack in the hole….. does he need to be a very good defender or can he just focus on motoring the ball into the danger area and beyond…?

  53. allezkev says:

    To me, Giroud let himself, the club and the fans down with his off-field antics.

    When we needed him at a crucial time of the season TA, he flunked it…

    Look mate, I’m under no illusion that Arsenal will sign Benzema or Mandzukic.
    The club will talk about it, but when all the season ticket renewals are in we’ll probably go for Kalou…

  54. Highbury Harmony says:

    Very good point TA, however I don’t see AW being accepting of a dedicated DM. He has said on several occasions that he would prefer two all-around CM who can interchange between defense and offense and know when to do each one. Kind of contradictory though as he has a more defensive and less skilled option in Flamini and an over the hill, slow as hell but skilled and intelligent Arteta.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Exactly HH. The double DM pivot needs sorting out first and for all. It is holding us back in more than one way. I love the Flame and I love Arteta too, but we need a nr.1 in there.

  56. James Bond says:

    ADMIR – how the F can you drink tea without MILK ?

    tea without milk is like a football match without goals .

    sort it out mate !

    ahahahahahahahha, alrighty Ronaldo , I mean HH!

    nah, Bony isn’t a gamble in my books – he’s a big match player and he delivers the goods when they are most needed, I have watched him this season with a very keen interest – if he was such a gamble, then I reckon he be worth taking the risk on, but like I said, if we fail to get the big names or the 5 star signings.

    I much rather have him as oppose to Benteke , for example.

  57. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also TA, how many opportunities would Ox get in the B2B role if Ramsey is healthy? I just don’t see it personally, but it’s certainly interesting to muse about.

  58. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes he did, Allezkev. His third leg sucked all strength from his other two and we paid for it. But I have been young too and sometimes the mini-brain takes over……… And he is French so it is in his DNA probably (the French Prime Minister does it too….). ;)

  59. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, I merely meant that he’s a gamble in terms of we don’t truly know what we’re getting. Is he maxed out at his potential? Or are we only brushing the surface? He’s not terribly young, but he is very unproven despite a good season. Who’s to say he doesn’t become injury plagued next year?!

    Of course, that can happen to anyone, but his track record of scoring goals against top clubs is promising!

  60. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, I think Bony will go for 25 million, not a massive difference though

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers for the kind words ahmed, glad you enjoyed the article mate!

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Ramsey needs resting more next season so we don’t overuse him, and Ox is a good alternative I reckon. I feel more and more that Jack is not suited for b2b, so Ox, who is as dynamic and strong as Ramsey could be a good nr.2. I like him on the wing too, HH, although he often seems to disappear in games in that position.. work in progress, I reckon, but a wonderful prospect.

  63. James Bond says:

    Bony is only 25 ;)

    the right age to blossom and peak begins after 25 for a striker, mostly .

    he will fit in like a glove as he is into the whole passing and fluidity philosophy – he can be our Suarez/Tevez, if you may

    I usually rate strikers on their displays in big matches and Bony hardly goes hiding during big matches or big moments, he is always there or there about’s.

    not sure why you guys are so worried about the DM or B2B role, didn’t you see the training pics ? Diaby is back baby, diaby is back ahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahha

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, if strikers peak after 25, just imagine what the likes of Benteke and Lukaku can do, not to mention Benzema who’s only 26! Also, don’t be fooled by one season of success, Benteke was amazing after one year and I think more is to come from him. He had worse delivery and players surrounding him too!

  65. TotalArsenal says:

    Carpe Diaby, JB, Carpe Diaby! :)

  66. proudgooner says:

    It’s ironic, when we were flying earlier in the season. All talk was on Giroud and how keeping him fit was everything to our challenge this season, when instead losing Theo , Ozil at a crucial time and Rambo totally dented our title challenge.
    I still think OG is very important though his affair came at a bad time and he dipped in form after. I believe he will be a very very good striker and is already very good when on form and everyone is fit around him.

  67. Highbury Harmony says:

    All agreed on Ox TA, but is it more to do with confidence in game time or actual ability/mental focus that lets him down? This is something I struggle with when it comes to AW, as I often feel that players do not always get a proper chance to show what they are capable of unless he has, for one reason or another, unwavering faith in them.

    I agree that Ramsey will need his rest, but I don’t want to see Ox as a bench player again! He deserves to be in the starting 11 and will break through soon enough!

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Lets hope so, HH. Wenger must have his doubts still and the big injury really fecked his season up, I reckon. But next season, we’ll see more of him hopefully.

  69. Highbury Harmony says:

    And there PG is my slight issue with OG. He is heavily reliant on those around him to perform and he still often disappears when the delivery is there. He is a good striker, but I’m not convinced he’s what we need to take us to the next level on a full-time basis anyway. I would prefer someone who can also create on their own and does not shy away when we need them most.

  70. omgarsenal says:

    Nice post HH and agree that Balotelli should have been on your list as well. Don’t forget that Podolski is still a pretty competent goalscorer,as is Giroud. I am convinced that Wenger prefers younger strikers who he can train up and also French,Spanish or Germans, who seem to be his preferred nationalities. Playing with the likes of Cazorla, Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere or the OX behind you can make just about any striker more effective, regardless of your past reputation and achievements. There is also DiMaria, who is not a classical CF but is a real threat from the wing. Strangely enough, I like Torres and am sure Chelsea would be happy to see the back of him. He is still young enough to offer great potential and with a team like Arsenal, would never want for chances.

  71. allezkev says:

    Btw TA, what do you think of the new head of youth, Jonker and the other two Dutch coaches….? :-)

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    It is triple Dutch to me, allezkev hahaha :)

    I reckon they are all there to focus on youth development and should be less involved in the senior team set up, but it could be a clever bit of succession planning. The jigsaw is not yet complete, I feel, and let’s see what happens this summer re Wenger etc.

    Are you working tonight?

  73. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers omgarsenal! I see the Balo situation differently (as eluded to earlier), but of course we all have different opinions. I agree that any striker can be made to look good with our midfield, but can you imagine an already good striker playing here? I reckon Benzema could top 25 playing with our midfield if he were healthy all year. Even if he only scored 20, he’d likely contribute to the team game, in addition to providing 8-10 assists.

  74. Highbury Harmony says:

    Omgarsenal, in respect to the nationality thing, do you think it is because players of these backgrounds are more “disciplined”/predictable? Or are these just the countries with a proven track record of producing more talented footballers?

  75. geoffchase says:

    HH and TA et al

    I like Wanyama but like HH don’t see AW taking him… UNLESS, he felt he had the tech skills to be developed more into what was needed. The point about big teams avoiding his space is crucial. When a big team, or any team avoids space, they deliberately make the field smaller for their attack, significantly advantaging the defense.. Significantly.

    Thus, I’d take him, or similar. IMO, AW wants another Vieira but when he trialled with Arsenal everyone to that point thought Yaya was a ST or false 9 type… Those players are rarer than SSQ strikers…. “Settling” for Wanyama might not be so bad… Just for counterpoint…

    For others on price, Mandzukic and Dzeko are good 15-20M prices we can afford. 30-45M on a DM or defensively mean B2B will not break our bank… A healthier Theo obviates some of the need for a Reus and ….

    Now off with family to Dunedin for ANZAC weekend trip…

    Cheers — jgc

  76. allezkev says:

    Finished mate…
    Always read even if I don’t comment…

    Well I hope that Jonker gets to work quick, because our Academy isn’t exactly turning out a conveyor belt of Jack Wilshere’s…

    Up early, so I’ll bid you Good Night Total…

  77. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers for the wonderful insight JGC. A much forgotten name is M’Vila, who off-field issues aside, is a quality footballer. Once again, probably far too defensive for AW’s liking but sturdy and strong in the tackle and not as injury prone as Wanyama. However, he likely doesn’t have the same influence as Wanyama either from a defensive point of view (or not on the biggest stage just yet). Sissoko is an interesting choice for a B2B role and with Newcastle more or less holding a fire sale this summer, it’d be interesting to see if he could be paired alongside Rambo.

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    Pogba is possibly the new Vieira, jgc, but I like a more defence-minded player like Wanyama, or, for a few years, Nigel de Jong.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    Always a pleasure to hear form you, Allezkev. Sweet dreams :)

  80. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, Pogba is but a pipe dream at this point, he’ll go to a much bigger club despite his poor form this half of the season. Lars Bender has suffered the same fate as it is rumoured that our interest has turned his head (not great if you compare it to the Torres situation a few years back). Nathaniel Chalobah, a Chavs prospect, is the closest thing England has to a Vieira and I reckon he would be a quality purchase if we could pry him away from there.

  81. TotalArsenal says:

    Wanyama can pass and play football too. He has a good overview and positions himself well, even in more attacking positions. Yes he has been injured a bit this season…. but most young players go through a face like this, and young he still is.

  82. TotalArsenal says:

    phase even hahaha

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Pogba is not really a dream for me, but I do rate him highly. We have Ramsey, Ozil and Jack, Ox, and Rosicky, so no need for Pogba as I dont see him as a DM. Phenomenal player though.

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, what happened to ‘By far the greatest club’ hey?! :twisted:

  85. Highbury Harmony says:

    I think Pogba has that menace and skill that AW is looking for and the ability to carry the ball up field a la Ramsey. He has much better pace and a feel for the game than Wanyama, who is far too defensive/1-dimensional for Arsene. If you read any reports or listen to interviews when asked on the subject, Arsene continually reiterates that he doesn’t feel there is a need for a dedicated DM.

    His words, not mine!

  86. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, we are only the greatest club in my own mind hahaha!

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    The only mind that matters, HH hahaha :)

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    You might be right and it is one of my big frustrations, as you know. I dont expect anything to happen re DMs and it is one of the reasons I am less excited about another season under Arsene. But pigs might fly oink oink. :)

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    How’s married life, HH. And where are you based currently?

  90. Highbury Harmony says:

    It’s interesting TA, if you look at the best clubs in the world, most no longer go with a dedicated DM per se, so there is some validation in what AW is saying. However, most also have a world-class B2B mid, so it may be a moot point! Ramsey is great but not quite there yet and his influence isn’t as potent as either Yaya or Schweinsteiger just yet. Real have Modric and Xabi Alonso, PSG with Matuidi and Verrati, Dortmund with Gundogan and S.Bender – none of which are not dedicated DMs. In fact, only really Barca employs a dedicated DM in Busquets, but he’s a skilled DM with a great range of passing.

    However, Atletico utilize their DM pairing very effectively and are proof that you need pace there to be effective. Gabi is the more offensive minded of the two, but both press extremely well and know when to defend. This is something Arsenal could definitely mirror going forward (if AW ever decides to change tactics).

  91. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, married life has been amazing mate! Thanks for asking :) . Currently, based in Toronto but always flying out all over the place to meet with clients. Typically, I have spent more time in Toronto, with only the odd trip here and there for short periods of time. How about you? Work going well? How is your family?

  92. AFC says:

    http://www.dailystar.co.uk/sport/football/375946/EXCLUSIVE-Bacary-Sagna-to-leave-Arsenal-at-the-end-of-the-season

    A source close to Sagna said:

    “He will leave the club 100 per cent – there is no way he will stay.

    “He feels very heartbroken, disgusted and disrespected by the board and the offers they are making, after being so loyal to the club for so many years.

    “Now his focus will be to help his team-mates and the fans by landing the FA Cup and a top four finish.”

    If this is true. Good luck to Sagna and may he do well at which ever club he ends up at.

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    Good points HH, the key thing is though that Schweinsteiger, Alonso, Bender, Busquets are all dynamic AND know how to defend, whereas we are missing such a skill-mix in one player. I still think MC have made a step backwards since they sold De Jong although that Brazilian guy (name escapes me) is looking okay, and the Chavs have recently invested in (even) more DM power.

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear it, HH. :)

    All is fine, I work on an interim basis as HR bid lead for a number of bids, which I can do mostly from home, which suits me well. Thanks for asking.

  95. TotalArsenal says:

    Sad news if true, AFC. :(

  96. Highbury Harmony says:

    Fernandinho is the lad you are thinking of mate. He is also a B2B type player.

    Is it any wonder as to why EPL clubs have failed in European competitions recently? Look at the emphasis in the EPL on a defensive midfielder, when perhaps it is only effective because all the clubs with cash are choosing to invest funds there. Atletico, Bayern, Dortumund, Real, Barcelona, PSG are the top clubs in my mind and none employ a defensive stalwart, but have CM players that can play on both sides of the ball and know how to command the pitch. Sure, Chelsea are in the final four this season, but that is owed largely to playing some incredibly boring football and purely parking the bus, as is typical of Maureen, not their prowess with a DM.

  97. JM says:

    My list:

    GK – Ralf Fährmann (Schalke 04); competition for Szecesny (as Fabianski is likely to leave as free agent; Viviano returning to Palermo). Key word: “COMPETITION”, not just a save backup.

    CB – Robin Knoche (VfL Wolfsburg); German U-21 international, understudy to Mertesacker & Koscielny; bright prospect similar to Matthias Ginter (who should be heading to Dortmund)

    RB – Tony Jantschke (Borussia Mönchengladbach); If Sagna goes, uncompromising defender.

    DM/CM – Morgan Schneiderlin (Southampton); EPL proven, Southamption’s defensive lynchpin who hails from the same region as AW (both from Alsace region, France)

    ST/FW/AM – Max Kruse (Borussia Mönchengladbach); Good return rate, very close to Reus this season. (If we could not get Reus himself, that is). Under the radar, German international.

    Don’t know who the above are? Now is the time to check them out:
    i) wikipedia
    ii) whoscored.com
    iii) transfermarket.co.uk
    iv) scouting reports online
    v) player’s match(es) videos
    vi) (even FIFA 14, if you want to)

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, don’t agree that playing a DM could be a main reason for lack of English success in CL recently. Not many clubs played one anyway and I am convinced that we were weakest in that area against Bayern.

  99. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers JM, long time no see and interesting alternatives!

  100. JM says:

    @TotalArsenal April 25, 2014 at 07:29

    I will be busy coming this summer and thus shall post irregularly on selective topics when time permits.

    (1) Ralf Fährmann performed better than Manuel Neuer, and is the top ranked GK in the Bundesliga this season. He has been working his way up from backup to No.1 GK for Schalke 04. Whoscored.com listed his strengths: Shot stopping (Reflexes), Concentration, Saving close range shots, Saving long shots …. what more can we ask for in a quality GK.
    Even Atletico Madrid wanted his services (should Thibaut Courtois return to Chelsea this summer). Szecesny needs serious competition to become better; Fährmann shall give him that and take over when deemed necessary. (esp. if our No.3 GK could be b/w Martinez & Iliev)

    (2) Robin Knoche is partnering Naldo at VfL Wolfsburg and they have done well together (Wolfsburg is fighting to get into CL competition next season). Who had been partnering Naldo during his days at Werder Bremen? Our very own BFG – Per Mertesacker. Knoche is the young version of Per, with more pace. Whoscored.com listed his strengths: Concentration, Ball interception – two very important aspects of defending by snuffing out dangers before they appear in front of our goal.
    Knoche is only 21yrs old and we shall have good references from his trainer, Andries Jonker (who shall head our youth academy next season).

    (3) Tony Jantschke is consistently performing at M.Gladbach, adapting well when playing both CB and RB. Good passing rate too: 89.9%, does not give ball away easily, good tackler and blocker of shots. Pure bred defender – Walcott in front could whack havoc against the opposition with Jantschke holding & supporting behind.

    (4) Morgan Schneiderlin is the defensive shield for Southampton’s backline (not Wanyama – who does B2B). We have Ramsey in B2B (Wilshere, The Ox can do them too). Dare I say: Arteta+Flamini = Schneiderlin. We have been scouting him since his days at FC Strasborg.

    (5) Max Kruse – endorsement from Jürgen Klopp himself (Dortmund would not sign him as they already have Reus). He is a dynamic frontman, well suited to Arsenal style of attacking football.
    http://www.dw.de/hybrid-kruse-once-again-shows-why-hes-unusual/a-17500258

  101. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, look around at every club that has had success in the CL – none play with the type of DM that you are longing for. What Arsenal lack is an ability to press. A Lars or Sven Bender will go a lot further than a Wanyama.

  102. Highbury Harmony says:

    Actually JM, Wanyama has been the man shielding the defense, not Schneiderlin. I’ve watched quite a few SOTON games this year when both were healthy. The heat maps in games also suggest the same thing as Wanyama has little movement away from the DM area, allowing Schneiderlin to move forward more this season. Since Wanyama’s injury though, Schneiderlin has sat deeper.

  103. Highbury Harmony says:

    Kruse is a quality player though, just unproven. He would be a very, very big gamble but again one that could pay off since his asking price would be lower. I would say he is a bit more akin to Aubemeyang, which is still very useful for our attack as he would bring more mobility and play the same role that Poldi has been playing for us the past few games. He would allow for a more free flowing attack, but is a little undersized and weak to play the lone ST role.

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    I should clarify – when I say unproven, I mean at a bigger club! He has the instincts and skill to thrive at one though, just a matter of a club gambling on him opposed to another more established talent.

  105. Highbury Harmony says:

    What’s even more interesting is Kruse played with Ozil at Werder Bremen and the two connected very well in their link up play. Hmm interesting…

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    Disagreed HH. What Arsenal need is a Wanyama or indeed a Busquets.

  107. Highbury Harmony says:

    Agree to disagree then TA. No team in the past few years has succeeded with playing a Wanyama type player. Barca has never been renowned for their defence, have not had much success lately and Busquets is nothing like Wanyama either. I think Arsene has it right in terms of not wanting a dedicated DM, he just has to find the right player. Wanyama is too one dimensional for me, we can find someone who brings a B2B game that is also more adept/mean defensively than Ramsey.

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy to disagree, HH. :)

    A Wenger team will never get to the very top without the discipline and protection of a dedicated DM (who can play football as well). Wanyama is such a player,, and so is Busquets. I guess we just see different things.

    Could it be that our decline started the moment we did not replace Gilberto?

  109. Highbury Harmony says:

    Our decline was in the works before Gilberto was leaving. Wenger was not spending the funds properly and he could not convince our best players to stay, while not having a pipeline of youth that were immediately ready to step in.

    The belief that a traditional DM is needed, is exactly how a DM is described; a traditionalist and outdated philosophy. It has been stated on numerous occasions that Makalele was the absolute worst thing to ever happen to English football and has been the reason that English football clubs have been held back for so long in European competitions.

    We’re talking about two different things right now. Winning the league title may require a more dedicated DM simply because all EPL clubs play that way. I’m talking about glory far greater than that, which is European glory and for that, you will need a proper playing footballer who can join in both attack and defense. There is no longer room for a slow, purely defensive minded player against the top clubs; Busquets is NOTHING like Wanyama. He has way more skill, a much wider range of passing and fair bit more pace.

  110. AwayGunner says:

    Great post and comments guys

    Any thoughts on Joel Campbell coming back? Is that still within the realm of possibility? Do you feel he and Sanogo would be able to serve as able back-up/change of pace?

    He may not be the SSQ we’re looking for at striker, but honestly (at least in the short term) I just want proper cover with some degree of skillset variability. I’m not sure there is a true SSQ striker available to us right now anyways so I would much prefer spending money on a truly significant upgrade. Marco Reus.. Absolute class.

    All that being said, a skilled DM (such as Bender) just has to be priority number 1 this TW. Even if it takes the entire kitty..

    Which part of Toronto are you from HH? (Mississauga myself..)

    Cheers

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Oh modern one! :)

    Nah, load of bollocks but I know we are not going to agree and life’s too short. Let’s move on. ;)

  112. TotalArsenal says:

    Welcome AwayG, yes DM is priority. Let’s stop conceding six at time, and move forward from that.

  113. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey fellas… Despite the fact that I’m not sending in what I wrote the other day, don’t think that I’m not enjoying all this talk led by HH… It’s very good stuff, IM(humble)O…

    This distinction between what it takes to win the domestic trophies and competing in Europe at the very highest level is particularly interesting and I have to side with Mr. Harmony–with the caveat that I still believe Wenger is the way forward for Arsenal. In my opinion, he has been trying for that goal ever since we got so close in ’06, while (whilst?) trying to “balance the books,” or i.e., spend responsibly, etc. From the high of 3 out of 4 English teams in the semi-finals of the CL in 2008 to the current malaise (only Chelsea, playing total-ANTI-football…) the level of the English teams–DESPITE all the money, has dropped precipitously… (In my opinion…)

    The question is why?

    Much of it, I think, is because the domestic demands of this (new, money driven…) parity in England take too much out of the top teams to (truly) compete in Europe. It doesn’t help that the league seems determined to serve the interests of Sky/ESPN/NBC with their scheduling stuff. As seen in the debate above about defensive midfielders (So’ton and Newcastle, for example, were very tough matches when their hard-nut DMs were all there and healthy…) it becomes very difficult to compete in a 2nd (big) competition when the league stuff is so tough. Even the little teams (battling relegation) don’t roll over for the big clubs (see Sunderland recently at the Etihad and Stamford Bridge…)

    A huge part of that (as Josy will tell you…) are the referees. They allow (extreme) physicality and (extreme) simulation (diving) so it becomes a lottery. Personally, I don’t think they’re corrupt, only whimsical (in the extreme). It helps feed the (TV) drama but it also makes things wildly unpredictable, if not a complete farce. It’s all fun and games when Chelsea are on the losing end of these things but the league will be won this year by a team (Liverpool) which lives on diving, led by a player (Luis Suarez) who is great (and was wanted at Arsenal by a big % of the supporters…) but is clearly a cheat. Is this what the FA (and the real powers–the oligarchy of billionaire club owners…) truly want for our league (and “brand” of football)?… Hard to say, but it sure seems like it…

    So, in the end, my take (for our club) is that we need to win these remaining matches (which nobody would even realize we have still to play reading the recent posts and comments)… We need to get our best players healthy over the Summer, sign on our manager and our best veteran players (…worrisome talk today re:Sagna who seems gone despite being offered a 3 year deal…) and add just a little where necessary (at CF, deep lying mid, and probably, since we’re losing guys at the RB and Keeper postions)…

    A great blog-writer once talked about seeing things One Game At A Time, but that was a while ago… We’re on MNF, I think (Sing it for me, Hank Jr….)… if anybody still cares…

  114. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha TA, we are definitely not going to agree. Every time I point to current clubs without a dedicated DM, you point to history! The DM position is not dead by any means, just a club with aspirations as big as ours has to evolve with the faster modern game and get a true B2B CM alongside Ramsey that can not only bring a defensive presence, but an interchangeable offensive one as well.

  115. Highbury Harmony says:

    AwayG cheers for the kind words! I’m living right in Midtown Toronto (you may consider it downtown Toronto). Mississauga is a great neighbourhood and constantly changing – getting more and more urbanized! One of my best mates is from there and is also a big Gooner.

    I agree that there may be some internal options worth exploring for ST, but we currently need a player who can play for 2-4 years until those prospects are ready. While I do believe youth players need to be given a proper chance, I’m referring more to the ones who are older and have had glimpses of first-team action, but inconsistent opportunities (i.e. Ox).

    Spot on with a skilled, faster B2B DM like Bender mate. That is what Arsene has been longing for and hopefully he backs up his claim this summer.

  116. Highbury Harmony says:

    Always fantastic insight from you Mr.17!

    I think there are a myriad of things holding English football back and one that you have missed is the dearth of homegrown English talent that has reached world-class levels in the past 10 or so years. Spain, Germany and Argentina have been dominating the scene in developing skilled footballers and more of them have desired to stay on home soil (especially Germans). Unless England completely revamps their training and academies, EPL clubs will not stand much of a chance as the best players continue to flock to Bayern, PSG, Real and Barca.

    If Southampton were a bigger club, the factory of young up and coming English footballers would not be so bad! However, England’s at a point where even smaller countries like Turkey, Belgium etc. are giving them trouble and are producing better up and coming players

  117. TotalArsenal says:

    Come on 17, send that post to me. What’s going on with you?

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    And 17, that last paragraph is a bit annoying. Just because we talk about the possibility of Van Gaal arriving, or what the ideal striker would be for Arsenal does not mean we will not approach OGAAT. I appreciate input from various angles and you should send your post if you want to change the subject. Simple.

  119. TotalArsenal says:

    Let me get this clear, HH, you want us to play with two b2bs: Ramsey and ANother, right?

  120. TotalArsenal says:

    Off to cook and eat, catch you later :)

  121. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, yes. However, the B2B mid would be more defensive than Ramsey a la Lars Bender. The two would interchange between attack and defense and know when to stay back when the other attacks. I’m not of the opinion that we need a pure DM who just sits in front of the back four.

  122. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry, TA, I don’t mean to annoy…What’s going on with me is that (frankly) I think, Arsenal support is facing an existential crisis–to deal with reality (watch/enjoy the team and club as it is…) or not?… Here on the internet, with every bad result (or even in match scoreline) we get an avalanche of “This must end” declarations. Anything, anything at all, but not this…For me, I can’t take it. I *want* to celebrate, enjoy, appreciate–as well as criticize, rant or otherwise declare my righteousness. So, that other piece I wrote (comparing the Moyes situation to our own) doesn’t seem a good one. However, if you like, maybe I could do the match preview for Monday, given that I was at the same fixture last season, the famous 7-3, Theo running down his contract spectacle)… Oh-Gaat, as it were… (Smileys and hugs and you ARE a great blogger…)

    In the meantime… Assuming we win out and AW signs on this will be a season that is remembered for a couple of things:

    The optimists (supporters?) will remember 2014 as the year we ended the trophy drought. It will also be remembered as the year we bought big (Ozil) and the year when Ramsey came good (despite missing critical mid-season months). The realists/doomers/Wenger’s-lost-the-plot folks will remember it as the season where we could not compete with the teams above (and around) us away from our home ground and were truly humiliated. Even moreso if we stumble in these final four…

    My trouble is that–even though we still have matches to play–the debate now centers on fantasy solutions. Who will we get as our new manager? Who will that guy (or gal, to be politically correct and even more fantasy driven…) bring in, i.e., buy with all our money and who will he/she keep from our current squad? Fun stuff, for sure, and best of all, since it will never happen, you can always say, “if only” and “as I said back in…”

    And that’s for the quote-unquote “realists”… :D

    So, placing the “solutions” to one side, the question then is why can’t we compete against the top clubs away from home?

    I would argue it’s because the manager (whom I still support…) is too daring in his tactics away from home and has an irrational belief in his (often depleted) squad’s ability to win with attacking football. Not having players like Walcott, Ramsey and Ozil and believing others could step in and replicate their contribution was just plain silly (see Chavs, Everton matches, esp.). 2nd–Believing that humiliation doesn’t matter. “It’s only 3 points” is true enough, but beyond demoralizing the support it also leads to extreme conservatism amongst the players and even the tactics of the manager himself. Wenger might’ve wanted his player thinking OGAAT, but the fact that we were only able to eke out draws after EACH of those humiliations (vs Chelsea after the ManCity 6-3; vs United after the Liverpool 5-1; vs Swansea after the Chelsea 6-nil; and against Wigan in the FA cup, thank Dennis for the pens…after the Everton 3-nil…) suggests that OGAAT isn’t so easy for the guys who actually kick the ball and/or make the subs (or actually choose not to, in trying to see out a nil-nil vs Chelsea).

    So, the manager tries things (i.e., dares to dream, sort of like a lot of bloggers, I think…) and sometimes they don’t work. So what? All those other (would be) managers and other (would be) players are gonna do the same thing. It would be different, for sure, but not necessarily better.

    Look, I can understand if people are done with Wenger and this particular version of ground hog day. I’m not and I think (but cannot prove) that things will be better if we stay the course (as best as we can given all the stupid money which will be flying around us, perhaps tempting some of our better players–at least the older ones). Patience is NOT something the current culture prizes, but it also might just be a good thing.

    Football ain’t what it used to be and there’s competition for your entertainment dollar (pound, euro, whatever…) If you’re bored, (or if your expectations haven’t been met…) try looking elsewhere. I think we’ve got something decent and good (in all the meanings of those words…) and I feel it would be FAR more satisfying to win with the current manager and (much of) the current squad. I see them (at least) trying to move us forward (which gives me confidence for these remaining matches–yes, there are still matches to be played)… But, hey, that’s just me…

    Sorry for this interruption in your normally scheduled programming…

    Back to the subject at hand… Barca has had their transfer ban suspended. As such, I think Lionel Messi could be ready for a new challenge and he’d certainly offer a different look from Olivier Giroud in the forward position. He’s my guy to buy…

  123. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH–trying to get back to your actual subject matter…It’s snowing here and I am procrastinating with my other duties… It’s clear to me that Wenger envisions a fluid attacking and defending group of players with the only truly dedicated defenders being his CBs and the keeper. As such, guys like Poldolski and Walcott and the Ox, if they’re gonna play, need to drop into MF and help our possession/pressure game. Building around a big fella (Giroud–and playing all that Route 1 as we do…) seems weird but it also seems to be the manager’s emerging idea for a near “total” football–in England–or at least something which has the potential to entertain as well as get results. If only he could dive in the box for pens rather than doing that ridiculous “oooh I’m soooo injured” hand waving thing near the center circle… At least it helps spare the blushes of a keeper (Szcz) not so perfect in his closer-in distribution and a CB (the BFG) more than a bit gangly/awkward on the ball…Maybe?…

    As such, instead of buying CFs Wenger buys MFs. Ozil and Santi and young Jack, in addition to Rambo and Rosicky can cover some ground and help out in defense That’s also why I like (in the fantasy realm) Messi. He’s a footballer who can drop into midfield but also move the ball quickly into scoring positions. Truth be told, to my eye, he looks a lot more nervous about actually taking his chances as he’s getting older. Barca leaking goals at the other end, could be the reason he’s feeling the heat… Wenger, I think, wants to play Barca (or Guardiola style Barca) football in England but sees the need for an old fashioned big guy. With the current reffing, had we been able to get Suarez and he had played as he did this season, we’d have won the league at a canter, if not a trot, even with all the injuries…

    Back in the real world… (unfortunately) our guys who might get in behind the defenses or at least turn well with the ball (Theo, Ollie, Lulu) aren’t as good Luis (or little Leo) on the ball (i.e. dribbling or making 1-2s with their mates)…Who (amongst your list) is? Is there anybody lying beneath the radar who might be there? I gotta say, in those Olympiakos matches, I didn’t think Campbell was gonna be the guy (poor workrate, never looking for the pass). In our matches, Yaya S looks like he might develop into a cross between Ade and Ollie–at best. Who knows, a goal or two might change my impression. Here’s to him getting one (or more) before the season is out…

    As such a back-up for Ollie (Benteke, I think comes closest…) plus a speedy winger type to spell Theo and the Pod plus better luck with the injuries and the goals will come…You know the names out there better than I do…

    OK, gotta at least tidy up the house… Cheers in advance, etc., eh…

  124. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, you can only talk tactics so much until it becomes absolutely boring. There would be nothing left to discuss if all we did was talk about the upcoming game. Also, the game isn’t for another three days. Football goes beyond what happens on the pitch too – also it gets too tense when we start talking about the upcoming games because we’re quite sh*t right now and winning a single game is a struggle for us.

  125. Fcuk all this football stuff !……in the sunshine today and I`ve been to St Mawes, Helford river, Penzance, St Ives, St Agnes and Perranporth !……..I`m changing Cornwall`s name to………………….Cornwall to wall fanny !. hahaha

    Hey sweet 17……..you been nicking the brackets from your local DIY store again !. hahaha

  126. Highbury Harmony says:

    Unfortunately, the solution for you is to not go on blogs at all, because people are free to discuss whatever they want to discuss.

  127. Hey Double H !……..when you going to do a doomer post ?…….I want you to entice an enraged Transplant out of Wengers loft !. hahaha

  128. 17highburyterrace says:

    Uh oh, are you banning me? HH, hey, this sucks, wtf, etc… :D

    No, no, I can take it, I really can, I think… I just like to try and drive home my point that it’s all fantasy and untestable and people (maybe, perhaps) might be better served with an occasional statement of humility…

    At heart I just think there’s a disjuncture between people’s expectations (for entertainment, including, mostly, the “thrill of victory”) and reality, i.e., what’s actually possible. What are we up to this season? 12 managers sacked in the Premier league? Do we really need to sack the rest of them? (Except Rodgers, of course, if he gets Pool across the line)…just because losing matches (or even watching boring ones) isn’t fun enough?…

    So yeah, sometimes it gets to me (but I really appreciate the scouting reports from people who actually watch)… Don’t mind me and please (please, please) carry on… :D

  129. James Bond says:

    play nicely you 2,

    I think 17HT wants us to win the FA cup and finish 4th, before he will allow himself to be in dream land with us again with all this transfer talk and so on

    but yes, me Amigo , this is why I don’t like us playing once every week — too much time on our hands to talk about from Arsene Wenger’s coat to everyone’s dream signing or wishful signings.

    that’s why I said, please go ahead and let TA publish your post as we need diversity and BK we have a bit of everything, really other than it being ages since you last wrote a post for us (Was it a quickie last time for the game after thoughts many months ago ? I think so, if memory serves).

    you want Messi ? well, he’s injury prone and has lost a bit of pace , I don’t want a has been at Arsenal, So I’ll let Man city and PSG pay the £205 Release clause for him – purely on his recent form and health worries, I am going to back out of that signing :D

    cheer up – I know , I know, it’s snowing and it reflects in your mood, but it’s lovely jubely in UK, nice and sunny with clear blue skies , sandy beaches (bitches even) and am sure you know the rest !

    on a lighter note, you know that whenever Skipper and HH are debating or discussing something, it will always eventually come down to “agree to disagree” :D

    Hey Glics, how’s the doomer chart and Fozzie B hanging, I mean doing ? :)

  130. The thing is !……..if we were all happy with our current form and just become brainwashed into thinking everything is OK to just compete for 4th trophy and an odd final and except a cycle of groundhogness without being able to think for ourselves of ways of bettering our club with or without the current regime, then we might as well become spastarded spuds and move to Haringey !.
    All becoming AKB clones would make for boring blogging !. As a founder member of The Doom Society !…we encourage mass debating amongst our brethren to bring a more interesting take on matters on all Arsenal !. hahaha

  131. James Bond says:

    really great to see JM back and yes, we are on the same page re- Morgan Schneiderlin

    I think we had a little discussion and debate over this the other day , didn’t we @ HH when you said you wanted Lallana from them and I said, I much rather get our hands on Morgan Schneiderlin / Lovren or Wanyama.

    Prince and VCC where art thou ?

  132. JB…..I cant remember where we are in The Chart of Doom !……..I think it`s either +2 or +3 points better off, but that doesn`t tell the story really, as personally, I think our team performances have been worst than last season, just look at some of the big scores we had ( and I`m looking at you 17 !..as you went to the Newcastle exhibition game ! ), not so many this season and that equates to more boring games !.
    Right off to watch some Sky plussed stuff !.
    Later sock cuckers and gentlemen !. hahaha

  133. proudgooner says:

    Gervinho just scored for Roma again, his 14th of the season

  134. geoffchase says:

    My goodness!

    I go to sleep and it turns to future vs heritage/history, details vs systems, and a touch of petty or pedantic sniping. I’m on vacation yet can readily imagine I’m still amongst my towers ivory walking halls hallowed…

    So, all in fun, but seriously too (ie don’t take this personally)… Please let the professor solve it:

    DM vs defensive B2B: wouldn’t we be pretty equally happy with any of Schneiderlein, Wanyama or Bender … A good team learns to play with the skills it has, and we would have enough with any to win most any game really. Preferences of course, but each offers something special we could work with… For example Celtic could’ve won in Europe if they’d had the rest of the skills to do so. We likely do have those skills.

    On a viewing or personal preference I’d prefer a silkier Bender, but would be just as happy with a Wanyama, or, in between, Pogba?!? If we dare dream..

    More flexible is my preference, but equally a touch of structure and mean down the middle might better protect Per from all out pace and force folks over the top to his strength… Equally, that mean, or should I say Presence!, would offset some of our “prettier boys”, remove the need for JW to try to play 20kgs heavier than he is (so he focuses on what he does best) and protect Ozil …

    See? One can win with any choice

    Tactics vs Philosophy: aren’t the two the same. Your philosophy dictates tactics in part and how you respond tactically and mentally. Admittedly, we aren’t great now, but we also aren’t total shite. The last game or so have shown us what we missed in AR and in Ozil. We aren’t crap, we just aren’t complete yet, which is, I think, what this post was on about in the first instance..

    Now, back to my vacation… Oh wait, the kids are yelling … Hmm….

    Cheers — jgc

  135. TotalArsenal says:

    Where would we be without fantasy, seventeeno?! :) dream the life, I’d say.

    Good comment and I totally get where you are coming from. It is a great quality to keep seeing good and beauty in things and especially in everything arsenal; and remember you are not alone in this: there’s AB, JB, Alcide, Gerry, etc, etc.

    But we are not all like that and the hope for change needs to be entertained now and again. :)

  136. Highbury Harmony says:

    No ban 17, just that you don’t need to complain because people don’t want to discuss the upcoming game. Blogs were meant to discuss whatever is on one’s mind, so if people want to discuss management, injuries, transfer rumours, what happens at other clubs etc etc, they should feel free to. If you are so caught up in only discussing one part of the game, create a blog and dedicate it to that!

  137. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cockie @ 21:10, that is probably the most insightful thing I’ve ever hear come from your foul mouth! How dare you!!

  138. Highbury Harmony says:

    ^ lol I meant 21:01!

  139. TotalArsenal says:

    Have a great break Geoff :) and good comment.

    Thanks, HH. I repeat what I said earlier: in a Wenger team we will not win anything with two b2bs, unless they are both very good at everything a midfielder needs to do, including defending… But I much rather make things straightforward and get a really good DM, who can also move forwards on occasion, but remains back a lot to let Ramsey, Jack or Ozil rule the attack, with FBs and three attackers joining in. This might not be modern in your eyes but I don’t give a damn. We play too un disciplined/drilled as a team under Wenger, and for me the only way of supporting this free approach – and compensate for the BFG’s slowness – is by adding steel, stamina and speed in the centre of midfield.

    For me this is sooo obvious, but I respect your point of view. :)

  140. James Bond says:

    being different is a good thing and having a different opinion and perspective is even better or else things get very boring , agreed with Skipper

    and then we have the Professor aka JGC-Damus who comes on to give things a real spin :D

    agreed @ Glic’s – I have been shouting for a 7 -0 since like forever, but who knows ? history might repeat itself and a match preview of new castle would be perfecto @ me Amigo, you can share some of your memories from last year as well !

    I hope things are ok in real life as you seem to be a tad on the down side lately.

  141. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht @ 19:06, great comment mate!

    It’s interesting how distinct of a difference there is between how I would set up the team and how total would. I believe you and I see eye to eye in terms of wanting a more fluid attack with interchanging parts to become less predictable.

    Also, to drive home my point, I like for comments to be of the Arsene philosophy variety – free to express yourself! I might not always agree with what people are saying, but please say whatever you’d like. It’s what sparks good discussion, because it’s be pretty boring if we all thought the same thing or wanted to talk about only a singular topic.

  142. Highbury Harmony says:

    And that is where we disagree TA. Footballers are smarter than we take them for and we don’t need some athletic, one dimensional player in out squad like Wanyama who is really only good at one thing. We need a complete midfielder to keep things as unpredictable as possible for our attack. Who will drive us forward? Ramsey? A new B2B? Ozil? It’s endless if we get the right player!

  143. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, it’s an exercise in futility to expect Arsene to change. He doesn’t want a dedicated DM so there’s no point beating a dead horse – you must move on and realize he’s looking for a complete CM.

  144. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, I think I better understand why you want Van Gaal to be our manager ;)

  145. TotalArsenal says:

    You clearly undervalue the importance, but that’s fine with me. You also undervalue Wanyama, but again I respect your point of view.

  146. Highbury Harmony says:

    Wanyama has proven to be very injury prone this season. He is good for what he is, but nothing more. I prefer complete footballers and not one dimensional players, he is strong defensively and is dependable, while makes good, short easy passes. The idea of a simpleton like Wanyama contradicts the beauty of the game and my philosophy of what a footballer should be. Maybe we should buy Andy Carroll too!

  147. TotalArsenal says:

    I won’t rest on this and I have spoken to many a Gooner whose first priority is also a quality DM. One day we will get him hahaha :)

  148. Highbury Harmony says:

    And I don’t underestimate the importance of our CM pivot. I just understand what Arsene wants from his players and why he doesn’t believe in a dedicated DM like most managers in the world today at top clubs. I know we need a better player next to Ramsey, it just isn’t Wanyama. Busquets would be top notch, but he oozes skill and does the dirty work, the former quality being the difference.

  149. TotalArsenal says:

    Every cathedral has a foundation

  150. Highbury Harmony says:

    For example, Matuidi of PSG is a B2B mid but more defensive and covers every blade of grass on the pitch. THAT is the type of player I want, not someone who just sits back in front of the back four for more than 3/4 of the game.

  151. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH, didn’t you write a post about how we should buy Wanyama? My memory isn’t perfect, but I’m pretty sure it was you (not TA) who wrote it… If so, this new stance would be, er, rather ironic, no?

    IMO, we need our younger players healthy enough to 1) be able to take the pitch ahead of lesser options and 2) get enough matches so they can realize some of their ample potential. Part of #2 means getting respect from the refs as well, which, sad to say, only comes with time… They might not all come good, but I’m inspired a bit by the partial seasons we got this year from Rambo, Ox, Theo and JW… Next year, eh… (shakes head)

    SO, excellent stuff today, really great to have the Highbury Heavyweight back on. Sometimes I write my long-winded drivel and then nobody responds and I worry that I’m stifling the debate…or at least the contributions…and I wouldn’t want that…

    I’ve got a bit of running around to do this afternoon, but I was spending some time re-working my earlier piece (some of the ideas, however, are already expressed in my comments and it’s more philosophy than football…) so I could maybe get something together, if desired, Total… Match preview could also be drummed up, if Oz doesn’t have a blockbuster on tap. (I really miss ‘em, btw…)

    Finally, who’s feeling down, 007, me or Glic? Can’t quite tell from your comment above… He’s a sky is-falling-sort and I get a little miffed by folks always throwing both the baby and the bathwater out of the tub. The issue is purely “existential” at my end, hopefully it’s the same with him…Remember, it ain’t easy keeping multiple fists up multiple hand puppets and keeping legions of lesbanians satisfied… :D

  152. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, I am finished, let’s move on.

  153. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, it was not me mate! I believe that was the Kenyan Gooner!

  154. Highbury Harmony says:

    And yes 17ht, health is the most important thing. Re-examining our training and injury prevention will go a long way in making us competitive again. Also, Diaby has a leg injury again :(

  155. Highbury Harmony says:

    I did write a post on how he would help us, but after watching him play more, I retract my position. Far too one dimensional and not nearly skilled enough for me.

  156. TotalArsenal says:

    It is a big yes from me, seventeeno. I have a post by josefoz for tomorrow, but both posts offered are very welcome and will be issued ASAP.. :)

  157. 17highburyterrace says:

    Uh oh, I spoketh a banned person’s name…Comment awaiting moderation…

    Busquets is a horrible simulator–so he’d fit right in with Giroud… :D I prefer Xabi Alonso but that ship sailed back when we didn’t want to kill Denilson, Diaby and Song…

    Arteta has done yeoman’s work at the rear of MF. Obviously he’s a limited commodity with his best seasons behind him. Flamini looked very promising early on but a few bad plays have balanced the obvious spirit he brings and he can’t make the first 11 even when he’s well rested from suspension. Cabaye (also in the rear-view) looks better and better and Toons have certainly imploded since he jumped ship…

    Anyways, it’s an interesting debate, I think and just such a shame that young jack couldn’t be the heir apparent–for us and England (replacing the nicer Pool hero, Stevie G). Potential he might get an outing or two before season’s end, though, I think I heard…

  158. James Bond says:

    I don’t quite get the whole “injury prone hoopla ” @ HH

    every player is injury prone for you or is that your way to dismiss someone’s dream signing ehhh ; )

    get me a player with an injury free record at Arsenal and then watch that player become injury prone thanks to our medical team – hence you get the point.

    a player could be injury prone or simply may have had the major injury scare behind them – usually players in their early 20′s are a bit more injury prone, based on reading a few things here n there.

    it’s a fine one for a post and I will be more than happy to discuss this one there with you but simply saying Wanyama, Bony or other players are injury prone doesn’t quite merit the submissiveness with such bullishness , I reckon

    ahahahaahahhahaahahhahahah @ Glics is always feeling down – the only time he’s not feeling down is when Usmanov releases a statement and expresses a desire to take over Arsenal and buy Arsenal trophies :D

    @ 17HT

  159. James Bond says:

    ah, Jack wilshere – let me be controversial now

    IF we don’t get more injuries to our players, then I think that we shouldn’t play Jack Wilshere, keep him on the bench but no need to play him for the remainder of 2/3 weeks or the 3 or 4 matches which are left.

    he’s been out for far too long to be able to warrant a place in the starting 11 for me at least, unless injuries strike to our midfield AGAIN – I wouldn’t play him .

    and I can already see TA, flexing his muscles …

  160. AB says:

    Evening chaps – that’s one hell of a lot of DM debate to wade through to get to the bottom line; and positions much as they were at the start! Me, I’m a spectrum man – its not all about extremes, and what we’re all after is a top player who fills that spot and ups the team; who’s going to be complaining then!?

    Time for a shift though – what of the left wing? Should we ignore Pod’s ability to crack in the goals and go with some jet-heeled, drably type? Or do we need to keep the space for Ox, Jack or Santi?

    For me this is the toughest space to fill – the DM one we are all arguing about essentially quite fine margins; no one (except possibly Wenger) thinks we don’t need to strengthen there. But LW is a much tougher call – do we go for broke and attack with the highest quality here, or is this an area we can leave alone entirely?

  161. Highbury Harmony says:

    I didn’t say Bony was injury prone, so get your facts straight. Wanyama IS injury prone, as he has proven this summer. Just one reason in a line of many of why I wouldn’t want to see him at Arsenal. Whether someone else wants him here is his choice though, just something I can’t see Arsene doing ;)

  162. AB says:

    dribbly – not sure what a drably is…..

  163. 17highburyterrace says:

    AB, I think you meant Draxler-ibbly… ;)

    007, I think Wilshere needs the playing time…Get him healthy and get him to Brazil, I say. It’s only three matches :( but any big time minutes would be good for him, I think, same for the Ox…

    Just my take on it, of course…

    OK, just gotta get my tea (loose leaf Darjeeling, no milk) in my “to-go” cup and pick up the kid from school…

    L8RZ

  164. Highbury Harmony says:

    What is the infatuation with Draxler? I know he’s young, got skills and a lot of raw talent, but he hasn’t done anything yet! He hasn’t even had one successful year in the Bundesliga!

  165. James Bond says:

    I was using bony as an example hence e.t.c e.t.c, however , you did say “who is to say he doesn’t become injury prone next season “. – do you see your obsession with injuries and fearing injuries with anyone and everyone , or is all of this falling on deaf ears :shock:

    since we are now talking in sheer FACTS – go on tell me , how is Wanyama INJURY PRONE based on his 1 season at Saints ?

    how many seasons did he spend at Celtic and out of those, how many months he was on the stretcher ? you can go back to the club before celtic as well.

    let’s get the facts straight then, shall we ?

  166. AB says:

    17 – tea?! I didn’t know you even knew of the stuff. Your coffee sounds great though – I’m always envious of the sound of that, not to mention all the skiing you have on tap. Hey ho – another rainy day in south England ahead….

  167. AB says:

    HH – I’m up for buying Draxler; though you are right at his age and track record it is a significant risk. But we are a club of a size and budget that will often mean taking a risk if we are to hope to land the very best talent – lets face it, how many of us would have seen Ozil coming our way? We know Wenger craved after Hazard and Goetze, but he could only have landed them if he took a chance on young potential; by the time they had proved themselves beyond reasonable doubt then there were bigger clubs in for them. What we have to accept though is that taking a chance does mean it won’t always come off – and maybe Draxler will prove to be a dud rather than a Hazard. But in spotting young talent I would be inclined to trust Wenger’s eye, instincts and track record – they may not all work out, but enough will if we make the investment.

  168. Highbury Harmony says:

    AB, Hazard had dominated Ligue 1 before though, and Gotze the Bundesliga! I’m all up for buying players with potential, but don’t we have one who deserves a spot already in Ox? If we’re hinging on someone unproven to come in, I’d rather give the opportunity at LW to Ox before Draxler, but that is my personal opinion maybe.

  169. TotalArsenal says:

    Am happy with Jack being eased back in at 007 and would love him to do well for England.

    AB :)

    Clever change of subject.

    Ozil – Reus – OG/mandzukic – Theo

    With Rambo and Wanyama in the back….. The roof is on fire!

  170. James Bond says:

    right play time over, I read Gerry’s comment for the heavy metal peeps and checked that thingy out on youtube, was rather good – cheers for that Gerry

    here’s a french one, oh Macko where art thou ? come back Macko !

    don’t understand a word of this but it’s rather decent , enjoy (Milo, you might like it as well !

  171. AB says:

    HH – dominated Ligue 1 is no guarantee of success. And Goetze hardly dominated the Bundesliga – he was a bright young star, and linked with us for 2 years before he went to BM. That was when we could have invested – or taken a chance on potential as you might view it.

    Evening TA – I’m liking your line up. Moreover, its one we could now afford. But can we attract the players I wonder? I know you are up for a change of manager, but for this TW we will stand a better chance of attracting top players (assuming CL football that is) with Wenger at the helm than with anyone else we are likely to bring in as coach. I would love to see what could be done with cash in hand and Wenger up for spending….

  172. Highbury Harmony says:

    Victor Wanyama games lost to injury:

    2013/14 – 12 and counting
    2012/13 – 5
    2011/12 – 3

    So the injury history prior to this season is not extensive, but he’s missed time here and there. My concern is he was discovered relatively late and the more he has been used, the more injuries he has picked up. It was in his 2nd season at Celtic when the injury concerns surfaced and that has arisen with Southampton this year. Whether it has to do with his body or bad luck remains to be seen.

  173. TotalArsenal says:

    Last comment re Wanyama, HH. He is 22 and played 167 games already. He played more than 90 games in two seasons for Celtic…. Time to reverse your opinion me thinks. He might prove you wrong just like Ramsey did. ;)

    We also know from Marcus that Wenger spoke to Wanyama last summer, but for some reason he did not go for him (as yet). Might well turn out to be another Yaya moment.

  174. Highbury Harmony says:

    AB, when you dominate Ligue 1 for 2 seasons below the age of 20, it is pretty assured that you are going to be moving on to better things. 32 goals and 32 assists in 3 seasons is pretty spectacular and AW’s interest was warranted on more than just potential.

    As for Gotze, he produced seasons with actual stats to back his cause as a rising young star. Outside of the CL, Draxler has yet to really prove himself, but perhaps he is just waiting to break out, if he can stay healthy.

    Gotze’s stats:

    2012/13 – 10 goals and 8 assists in 23 starts and 5 sub appearances
    2011/12 – 6 goals and 5 assists in 14 starts and 3 sub appearances
    2010/11 – 6 goals and 11 assists in 29 starts and 4 sub appearances

    Gotze was 18 in 2010/11, younger than Draxler is now and producing at a higher rate.

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    Last season at Celtic he played 49 games, scoring a one dimensional 9 goals, two in the CL! :lol:

  176. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, for me it’s the one-dimensional aspect that I can’t get over. I don’t think we need a player like that. But again, that is my preference and based on AW’s comments, he seems to think the same thing. My idea of what it takes to be successful in the modern game stems from watching footy in multiple leagues and the best teams do not have a dedicated DM – if they do, they are of the skillful variety.

    Now, if Wanyama ever decides to become a B2B beast like Matuidi and his heat map shows that he is not sitting in front of the back 4 for 85% of the game, then we can start talking. As for now, we can move on to bigger and better players for the CM position. Just my thoughts.

  177. James Bond says:

    right, so he has missed what 20 games in the last 3 to 4 years due to injuries ? and has played an impressive near 170 games ?

    can we take him off the “injury prone” list then ? @ HH

    thanks for the stats and getting the facts straight , much appreciated ;)

    but yes, like I said, you fear for any player coming to Arsenal and then spending some or most time of the season on the stretcher – look at Ozil for example ? due to lack of options and the situation AW put himself in, he kept playing him and even he had to sit some matches out.

    point being ? if we can sign KK in january being injured, then an injury prone signing won’t surprise me one bit.

    good news though, we agreed Wanyama wasn’t as injury prone as we first though, phew (you can stop jumping up and down with excitement @ TA

    ahahahhaahhahahahahahahahahah

  178. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, how many of those goals were off headers? From what I recall, I remember both being off of headers, at least one off a set piece. He never dribbles and drives the ball forward, and he only rarely joins the play offensively. One-dimensional, but a good player at that dimension for sure.

  179. Highbury Harmony says:

    both CL goals*

  180. Highbury Harmony says:

    170 would imply that he’s played 4 seasons. Those statistics were based off 3 seasons with approximately 90 games. So he’s been injured a decent amount I’d say!

    Hahahahahaaha

  181. TotalArsenal says:

    I respect that AB, and you are of course right to be hopeful. I have been like that every season, but said to myself last season, that in the next one we need to see real improvement. In my view that has not happened and I value the truth – however subjective – highly.

    Rodgers was not a big name and he did not attract big names,….. But this will be different this summer.

  182. Highbury Harmony says:

    He also was an unused sub in another 6 games in 2011/12 and 1 more in 2012/13. So he didn’t even play all those games he wasn’t lost to injury either…

  183. Highbury Harmony says:

    We can say approximately 100 games for 3 seasons, 140 for 4 seasons to be more accurate

  184. AB says:

    HH. There’s no arguing with the stats – but in both cases, if Wenger had stumped up £30 plus M for either of these two a year earlier than when they left their clubs, it would have been seen as a significant risk. I’m arguing we should take some of these. The age difference between Draxler and the other two is largely down to height/build – you don’t expect a taller player to be physically fully developed at 18 (think Ronaldo or Bale). But potential is potential, whether it comes out fully at 20 or 23. If Draxler is the real deal we either move for him or accept he has passed us by; there won’t be many Ozil style second chances around for the players that do kick on.

  185. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I still see Liverpool struggling. If Suarez leaves (I reckon he will still want to for one reason or another), then how will they replace him? Sure, BR will bring in talented players, but will it be like at Tottenham? Spend all the money on 5-6 players or go big on one to replace like with like? Liverpool has good up and coming players but little to no depth. They will find themselves in trouble when they have to play UCL/Europa football, domestic cups and EPL games.

  186. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, as my dad likes to say, a goal is a goal, even if scored with the arse :)

  187. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, it’s a fair point in terms of some players developing later than others and in terms of physical stature, Draxler is definitely taller. However, it would be nice to see one season os success before gambling on such a player when we have the exact same type of player in our system already lacking opportunities. Unless you’re selling Ox or permanently moving him to the B2B role, I see no reason to buy Draxler, unless we are playing him at ST.

  188. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, doesn’t mean he isn’t one dimensional. Fonte, Terry and Skrtel all score goals too, so what? Hell, Flamini even scores goals but I would still say he’s one dimensional.

  189. TotalArsenal says:

    Of course, it’s still early days for Rodgers/Liverpool and yes the muncher leaving would hurt them…. But I would not bet against Rodgers getting a suitable replacement.

  190. AB says:

    TA – you are right fully on Rogers. Even if he is a total cock, if the pool get the PL this season he will have done a fantastic job. And, as I’ve said before, what pains me most is the sense of what might have been for us. Whilst it is clutching a bit, I have to observe though that pool have been hugely fortunate with their injuries in marked contrast to ourselves. Arguably some of this might be down to better handling/treatment of players – I don’t know. But if they had dealt with anything like our injury record they would be out of the top 4 in all probability; and as for us, if we had not….., well I’d rather not dwell on what might have been.

    So, yes you are right we could have a change and it could all turn out swimmingly. It would be a mighty clever bloke to plan and deliver that though – I doubt many at the pool would have bet much on their level of progress this season, however much they might have wished for it. And do we feel we have people smart enough at our club to make such a managerial call? Gaz? Dein I could see having a vision, just as he did with Wenger; Gaz looks like an accountant through and through.

  191. TotalArsenal says:

    He really is not one dimensional, HH, but will stick to his task as he is asked. That is also what I like about him…. A team player with respect for the coach.

  192. Highbury Harmony says:

    It might be prudent to actually think about the players we already have in our team before considering just buying players.

    ST – Giroud, Sanogo, Bendtner (will be gone)
    RW – Theo, Ox, Gnabry (Santi and Rosicky can also play here)
    LW – Santi, Podolski, Ox, Gnabry (Santi, Jack and Ozil can also play here)
    CAM – Ozil, Santi, Rosicky (Jack can also play here)
    CM – Ramsey, Jack, Arteta, Flamini
    LB – Gibbs, Monreal
    CB – Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen
    RB – Sagna, Jenkinson
    GK – Szczesny, Fabianski (will be gone)

    So, our biggest priorities should be ST, GK, CM and CB imo. Even if we sell Podolski, we still have plenty of players that can slot in. Unless we’re buying a world-class option in Reus, it seems futile to add another player brimming with potential when we already have Gnabry and Ox in the same situation. That’s all I’m trying to say re: Draxler.

  193. Highbury Harmony says:

    Ah TA but that is a different story. How do we know he is JUST doing what the coach is asking of him. We don’t know that, it is purely speculation. If Arsene buys him and tells him to attack more and he does, I will change my opinion. At the current point in time, his performances have given me no reason to believe otherwise (re: one dimensional).

  194. TotalArsenal says:

    Wenger is that sort of clever bloke, AB, and I reckon IF he leaves this summer, he will be involved in choosing and attracting his successor…. Three Dutch coaches for out youth players….. :)

  195. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, re Draxler…….wait for it…….. I actually agree with you hahahaha :)

  196. TotalArsenal says:

    I know it because I have seen it at Celtic at times.

  197. Highbury Harmony says:

    It was bound to happen eventually TA! And to your point, if Wanyama is actually restraint in his role, then I would welcome him. I just haven’t seen the attack side to his game yet but he is young enough to mould into anything I reckon.

  198. AB says:

    HH. I dont want us to block player development either. But Gnab and Ox can play in a range of roles, and all the speculation around Draxler would have him moving into a more SS/ST role in time. The best teams have depth in quality and the competition serves to bring out the very best players and ensure quality cover for injuries or congested periods. Over reliance on one quality player has cost us this season – in terms of Walcott. And we have no equivalent on the left. I rate Ox just as you do. I don’t think he has anything to fear from competition.

  199. Highbury Harmony says:

    Then what we want is the same thing a B2B beast to play next to Ramsey. I’m not sure what we’re discussing at this point. I told you I wanted a defensive B2B player and not one that just sits in front of the back 4 continuously. You have seemingly wanted someone who is disciplined and only sits back.

  200. Highbury Harmony says:

    AB, of course the best clubs have depth, but are we acquiring depth in the right positions? We also need another GK, a 4th CB, another CM and another ST. Personally, LW is not a priority for me, but it is definitely hard to pass up on a talent like Draxler.

  201. AB says:

    HH. Positions all agreed. But we won’t spend big on GK or 4th choice CB. And will we find the SQ ST that everyone wants, or will they be bought up elsewhere? DM we all hope for – fine margins around our differences here. But what Wenger will always spend on is a ‘game changer’. Walcott is one, but shows in patches. Ramsey is becoming one. We need more options of this ilk – and with Ozil and Jack there as providers, we could be devastating. That is the sort of football that excites Wenger, and therefore the sort of player we go for, even if we might be notionally weaker in other parts of the field.

  202. Highbury Harmony says:

    Exactly AB, all I am saying is that it’s fine to have options, but let’s have options at the right positions! Yes, Draxler can also play at ST so if AW intends to also play him there and at LW, then so be it, sign him up! However, if he exclusively plans to play him at LW, then what? We already have a glut of mids that we can’t all start, how do we rotate to keep 7 CMs happy? Not to mention another CM if we buy a B2B/DM this summer.

  203. TotalArsenal says:

    Just watched a Wanyama YouTube vid and I did a Cockie hahaha. I cannot do the IPad copy paste stuff, but have a look. His goals are headers, box poaching and long distance shots, but his real beauty is his defending.

    Anyway, I am off now. Have a great weekend all, and dream the life. :)

  204. AFC says:

    I wouldn’t want Draxler at the club. I think it would only be worth purchasing someone like Reus or Di Maria for the LW. Di Maria would be my first choice but he looks like he is staying at Real. He has now found a place deeper playing as a CM. I would rather just start Ox as opposed to buying Draxler to play on the LW.

  205. Do we blame Wenger for failing to acquire Gotze or Hazard ?. I know he was tracking them at an early age but maybe in the past he couldn`t pay for these players because of financial restraint conditions .
    However, now is different and he must find the next “Gotze” and “Hazards” of this world and pay the going rate, which sometimes is not as high as people think, look at Isco, £25M !. Gotze was only £30Mish, Hazard £32M.
    Who are the next big stars ?. Imo, Ross Barkley is one, but will Arsene just let the other clubs just walk all over us with out a fight ?. Probably yes, as imo, he wont budge an inch over what he thinks they are worth and in todays climate that is a losers attitude !. He should identify the talent and then leave the negotiations to someone else and not worry about the price !.
    Maybe HH or someone else with their ear to the ground regarding, “the next young talent”, could do a post on them !.
    My son and I knew about Suarez, Hazard and Gotze long before they were mentioned in the blog world and I give credit to HH for my drooling of Isco, but another one who I highly rated was Sturridge and was shocked to see Liverpool just waltz in with no competition and grab him for a bargain £12M .

  206. AFC says:

    Barkley just reminded me of that young CB called Stones and plays for Everton. I think he is 19 and is highly rated. He would cost around 20 mill but what do you guys think?

  207. AFC says:

    who plays*

  208. AFC says:

    but could he worth it, what*

  209. AFC says:

    Cockie, for Liverpool it was either Sturridge or Walcott for ST and I am glad they chose Sturridge. :D

  210. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, if you see Barkley in Stones, where do you envision us playing him then? If not at CB and at CAM, I’m not interested mate!

  211. Wenger himself has said, Barkley is one of the best he has seen at his age !. However, to get any of the top young talent, Wenger needs a fcuking rocket up his arse !. Come on Prof` Geoffers !………tell him it`s not Rocket Science, he just needs to get a fcuking move on and not let the grass grow under his feet !.

  212. AFC says:

    Not sure what you mean mate.

    Cockie mentioned Barkley with reminded me of Stones as both are English, young, play for Everton and have potential. I was just wondering if he would be a good 4th choice CB.

  213. AFC says:

    which reminded*

  214. Right, I`m off to lullaby`s !……..I`ve mentioned Isco twice this evening !. hahaha

  215. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha AFC you said Barkley reminded you of Stones. Did you mean Stones reminds you of Barkley? If that is the case, Barkley moved from CB to CAM throughout his career mate, which would mean a similar progression for Stones, no? I could be swayed either way for a CB, either young with potential or a more veteran option. However, either way I don’t want to be spending north of 7 million on a CB regardless.

  216. AFC says:

    Yes I did mean that HH but I did not know that Barkley was originally a CB. I also cannot see Wenger spending big on a CB. In that case I cannot see many options. Maybe Ferdinand on a one year deal if he leaves United? A veteran player (and a winner) who could help us win a title as a squad player. Hasn’t played that well this season but that could be because of tensions between him and Moyes.

    And with that I’m off, speak to you soon HH. :)

  217. 17highburyterrace says:

    Just back–quite a discussion…

    AFC, my impression was that Pool held off on buying Theo (for less than 10 million) because they had Sterling. They picked up Sturridge in the same window (Jan 2013) as Theo finally signed da ting. But maybe I’m not remembering correctly. Also, I just don’t see AW putting up the big money to buy Everton’s up and coming players (Barkley, Stones). Maybe a deadline day deal if one of them is demanding a move…(i.e., Arteta style from a couple of years back…)

    HH has a lot of great ideas going, mostly at the front, but I think we cannot be so optimistic when it come to our defense. Negotiations with Sagna seem stalled. Fitness AND quality (IMO) are a problem at left back and how great a defender (Koscielny) does it take to make the BFG look adequate? Many are talking about handing the captaincy to a guy whom I doubt any of the top clubs would touch as a starting CB.

    As such, finding a real quality (younger) CB, or better yet a hybrid CB/DM– i.e., a Gilberto or an Alex Song (who showed up for practice on time)… Might have to be a primary concern. People believe Vermaelen can do it, but I’m not so sure. (Talk about your injuries, and he seems shorn of confidence…) Also, with the dearth of quality CBs out there (Barca transfer ban has been “suspended”…) I can’t see him staying as our 3rd choice CB/LB. And then there’s the trouble at Keeper if Fabianski cannot be convinced to re-up.

    My point is… Whatever small successes we’ve had this season–and I do believe we had some–were built on our strength at the back. Gazidis/Wenger needs to get these guys signed up or we’re going to need replacements and/or upgrades at a near head-spinning level. If we lose the manager AND he’s not planned for some sort of succession/transition, I would fear even more regarding this (fragile) platform.

    But that’s just me, of course, your mileage may vary…

  218. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha I see what you meant. You didn’t mean you saw a lot of Stones in Barkley, you mean in terms of potential as an overall player (being young and English). I think Stones could be a great talent, though I wouldn’t pay 20 million for him personally. Have a good one AFC, I’m off too mate!

  219. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning FFGs :)

    Not tough at all, 17, just as expected. Did you open a bottle of fizz? Hahaha :)

  220. geoffchase says:

    TA,

    I opened a local craft brew here in Dunedin, Emerson’s Taieiri Gorge Belgian Ale….

    Cheers — jgc

  221. TotalArsenal says:

    Proost mijn vriend!

  222. TotalArsenal says:

    For clarity HH, I would like a sitting DM who stays back predominantly, but can go forward as well IF required (if we are chasing a result). You want two box to box midfielders of whom one is more defence minded but both join the attacking efforts almost constantly.

    Wanyama is my man for the more holding DM position, but I still dispute with you that he is a one trick pony, one dimensional player.

  223. James Bond says:

    Popcorn, anyone :evil:

  224. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I want two B2B mids who take turns joining the attack. One stays back when the other attacks. Who said anything about both joining the attack constantly?

  225. Highbury Harmony says:

    I could also care less what you think. We both think we are correct so there is no point in taking this discussion further. We have differing views on what it takes to be successful in the modern game.

  226. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, you appeared confused last night and I clarified things this morning. Not sure why you have to be so arrogant? :?

  227. Highbury Harmony says:

    Not being arrogant, this discussion just doesn’t need to go any further. You clearly want the discussion the go further with your little jab at the end of your initial comment today, so I think it’s better to leave it as is. We clearly don’t agree on most things and have differing views on how to improve the club.

  228. TotalArsenal says:

    It is clearly boring you JB, and I am sure you are not the only one, but it is an essential discussion in terms of analysing why we are making no progress, and what needs to be done to do so.

    Happy to move on though, if it is boring you. :?

  229. Highbury Harmony says:

    I’m excited to see SOTON vs Everton today, big game and I’ve always enjoyed watching the Saints play. They generally are great at home so hopefully they can find some goals without J-Rod!

  230. TotalArsenal says:

    Fair enough HH.

  231. James Bond says:

    not at all.

    Popcorn = cat fight = me likes and enjoys !

    but seriously, am enjoying this discussion both of you are having, it’s very nice to see a constructive discussion about a player whom AW may not be signing !

    the time to get him was when he was at Celtic.

    we could now get Mo.Diame though for £3.5 million – that’s an AW type of signing, ha

    but yes, continue by all means and for future reference, when I mention popcorn then it’s me being a bit naughty.

  232. Highbury Harmony says:

    LOL @ Everton!!!

  233. Fozzie B says:

    Good afternoon Bergkampesque DM Beast Burlesque Botty Brethren!! :lol:
    Now listen here bastards!!! Thanks to you I dreamt about a threesome of Wanyama, Bender and Ramsey!! :lol:
    Now whilst my erotic mind is like the ever expanding universe … That dream was right at the outer limits!! Haha!! :lol:
    Wanyama plays the “Flame” role and Wenger turns Wanyama into a better Fernandinho technically wise but who likes to bully the midfield!!
    Bender to replace Zorro and sorted!!
    On striker I am very lost at the moment!! I keep thinking of Wengers past targets in ratatouille and cavani etc … And can only think Costa or Cavani!
    Benzema I’m warming to as a backup because of his chemistry with Ozil and mobility!
    Martinez for a poor mans Cavani I would take after Benzema!!
    (Although could be not to different to Cavani in price)
    I think Wenger will not change his valuation of the Draxler and the club seem in unwilling to sell in Jan and I think the money could be better spent on proven talent.
    I was thinking of who else we could raid in the South American market and came up with Adrian Ramos but he is replacing Lewandowski at Dortmund!
    Josip Drmic will be a fine Bendtner replacement with the chance he could develop to Lewandowski standards so a no brainier for me!
    If we miss out on our SQ targets then Remy would be my backup.
    But it would be extremely poor if we did not get our SQ striker when we still haven’t replaced RVP !! Criminally negligible with our bank balance!!
    Thanks Totes and HH for the entertainment and posts!!
    Oh yeah and the erotic dreams you kinky bastardos!!
    Off to London now for Anzac !! Laterzzzzz !!
    Ps. Forgot to say that was a fetching picture of Stretch from the Tranny annex!!
    Wow what a beauty!! Perhaps you could repost that masterpiece !! :lol:

  234. Fozzie B says:

    That was for Cornish Van Bastard that last bit!! :D

  235. James Bond says:

    wb @ FB !

    ahahahahahahha 2-0 Saints

    Everton 2 own goals

    ahahahahahhahahahaha

  236. James Bond says:

    goal difference the same as well , me likey likey

    ahahahhahahahahahaha

    4th place trophy is ours ahahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahaa

    when is the open bus parade :D

  237. Highbury Harmony says:

    Of course the 4th place trophy is ours, no one was ever going to threat us for our prized possession :twisted:

  238. James Bond says:

    Saints fan scream – “Who needs Jay.R , we got your back 4″

    class chant !

    ahahahahhahahahahahahahah

  239. James Bond says:

    hi-Five @ HH

  240. Highbury Harmony says:

    I like how the Saints play, typically always forward or at least when it gets to the front 4 – their only real sideways passing is from the DMs.

  241. Highbury Harmony says:

    Arsene take notes!

  242. James Bond says:

    and they are ALWAYS pressing and closing the opposition players down, regardless of the scoreline

  243. James Bond says:

    I thought it was a penalty for Saints, that hand ball . not given.

  244. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, their fullbacks are also much more durable and are faster together combined than ours – also better defensively!

  245. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahahaha we should all become Saints fans! Something there for all of us – JB, you can drool over Schneiderlin/Lovren, TA can get hard for Wanyama/Pochettino and I’ve got Lallana/Shaw/J-Rod to stalk! Finally, we can all drool over the fact that they play proper football with pressing defense and constant forward attacking offense!

  246. James Bond says:

    well in AW defense, we tried doing that and ended up conceding 5 goals, 6 goals and so on .

    it didn’t work in them games so now we try to bomb forward on one side with the other FB sitting back and not making the same runs, I have noticed this in the last few games –

    it comes down to confidence of the whole team, I suppose.

    Everton do exactly the same as the Saints with their FB’s.

  247. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, Baines doesn’t have the pace to bomb down the sidelines, so it’s really just Coleman. The reason we can’t mirror the Saints play is because we don’t move up and down like an entire team. This is why I was on about a B2B mid with pace!

  248. James Bond says:

    but that’s the thing though, they mostly played proper football even when they were in the 3rd division.

    P has come in and taken them to the next level with the pressing and high pressing, that’s all – after he got the players he wanted and brought most , if not all of them in , used his investments wisely and bought shrewdly minus the italian nutter.

    they have mostly been a passing and fluid team.

    italian nutter brings me to MArio. B – that nut job lost it big time yesterday night – go take a look on youtube or else where @ AFC – we don’t need such a nutter at Arsenal.

  249. James Bond says:

    you are mistaken with that one.

    Everton’s FB’s bomb down at the same time and are looking to attack or be in such positions and be in the box -

    he might not be the fastest LB but he knows how to bomb forward and be a potent threat.

    you are just being biased as you are an admirer of the saints and since they are doing us a favour , I am inclined to agree with you ahahahahhahahahahahahahah

  250. Highbury Harmony says:

    Atletico is a team I enjoy watching, mainly because they move up and down as an entire team. Arda and Koke put in an honest effort defensively and are obviously very adept and skilled offensively too. The difference is then our wing play, as our wingers lack the pace and defensive ability to contribute. This is a considerable issue when we start with Santi/Poldi and Theo on the wings – the play becomes too compartmentalized.

  251. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, watch Baines carefully; he doesn’t bomb down the sideline, he does join the attack but rarely is he seen sprinting or running with the ball, simply because he really can’t at his age and he never had the pace to begin with!

  252. Highbury Harmony says:

    I would Gibbs bombs down the sideline when he can, but Sagna not so much. Sagna is in the same situation as Baines, no longer has the pace and just joins the attack when he can.

  253. James Bond says:

    Atl-M are a bit boring to watch though for me – they work hard for each other and as a part of team – they are well oiled and conditioned, so yep you can give credit to their manager for that

    but they are not my cup of tea when it comes to watching football –

    what good is too much pace when you don’t have proper passers in the team though ? but yes, we need at least 2 additions with pace and presence, agreed.

  254. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, agreed in terms of pace without playmakers being an issue. This is why we have Ozil and Ramsey though mate! Also, the obvious other difference is that Atletico have Villa and Diego up front that are both top quality strikers (one more so than the other now).

  255. James Bond says:

    don’t forget JW !

  256. Highbury Harmony says:

    Will JW start if everyone is healthy/we add this summer? I’m not so certain unless AW chooses to play him next to Ramsey

  257. James Bond says:

    not for me but you know AW, will try his best to find him a place and give him game time.

    and this might be one of the main reasons why we don’t have that beast of a DM, because AW wants to see the JW – Ramsey double pivot ? possibly.

  258. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear from you Fozzer and that we helped you dream the life hahaha :)

  259. TotalArsenal says:

    Michael Owen what a dirge!

  260. AFC says:

    Well I think what HH and TA want is possible. If you look at things now in the squad we have Ramsey, Flamini, Wilshere and Arteta. Rosicky and Ox can fill in when needed.

    Now I would say we need a DM and a box to box midfielder for our squad. I think we need to have a DM in our squad but whether the DM should start matches is another story entirely. In a physical league like the EPL where the physical demands are so high we should have the chance to put a DM in our squad for the matches against tough opposition in the league. That is the reason why Mourinho signed Matic.

    There is no chance in hell that Wilshere can play in the double pivot next to a box to box midfielder as he does not offer enough defensively but next to a DM, I think he could. A partnership of let’s say Ramsey and Bender would work and a partnership of Wilshere and Wanyama would work.

    I think the issue is Arteta and Flamini. Flamini cannot protect Jack enough when he goes forward and Arteta cannot rotate adequately between defence and attack with Ramsey. If Bender comes in and Arteta leaves that’s half the problem solved. But then we are left with Flamini…

  261. proudgooner says:

    Get in there , come on you Saints 2 -0 up against Everton after 10 mins :)

  262. proudgooner says:

    It is a result i thought it was on now, it was the early kick off even better :) 4th is ours now we can just tweek our play and concentrate on winning the FA cup and trying to get 3rd place.

  263. TotalArsenal says:

    PG – Lets beat the barcodes first before we celebrate… but good result for us. :)

  264. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post :)

    Josefos has written a fine post with some challenging questions. Should make for good blogging.

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