Wilfried Zaha: Arsenal’s Missing Link is Holloway’s ‘Precious’

Wilfred-Zaha

After extensively watching Wilfried Zaha ply his trade for CrystalPalace this year, I must say that I’m a big fan.

Zaha has great balance, pace, ball control and the goal scoring instincts needed from a forward.  He has a very unique running style that involves a wide stance, which is very deceptive and provides a great center of balance when running with the ball.  There are so many tricks at his disposal that he seems to create new feints, step-overs and turns with each passing game.  More importantly, from an Arsenal standpoint, he offers a more direct footballing style.   Despite over dribbling at times, Zaha relentlessly takes on opposing defenders with the desire to always cut inside, opposed to staying out wide, a la Gervinho.

First, I would like to take you back to a game he played vs. Manchester United last year in the Capital One Cup.  It was evident in this game that Zaha would have the talent to succeed at the highest level; however, I questioned his defensive work rate and his decision to not use his teammates more often, leading to a few errant passes and touches that left him with nowhere to go.

His trickery did lead to many Utd fouls though.  Still, I saw an extraordinary talent that only needed to refine his game before teams at the next level would start taking notice of him.  Fast forward a year later and he has assumed a lot more defensive responsibility than prior seasons and has become even more creative when taking defenders on.  He’s noticeably stronger and is using his strength effectively to shield the ball from opposing players.  He has shown true dedication to evolve his game and has become a well-rounded footballer.

The typical question that clouds such a big talent is whether he has the prima donna attitude that comes along with the talent. Zaha blends his confidence, boldly stating only Messi and Ronaldo are better than him, with humility; he credits his success to the faith put into him at Crystal Palace and those in the squad around him, in particular Yannick Bolasie, his winger across the pitch.

If Zaha were to make the jump to the Premier League, there are a few concerns that I would raise.  As previously mentioned, Zaha over dribbles and could still use his teammates more.  Often, his fullback makes darting runs down the flank, only to pass it to Zaha who does too many step overs/dribbles to no avail.  Fortunately, Zaha has the ability to make you forget a mistake very quickly by taking on three defenders and creating a scoring chance that only exceptional talents could produce.  Arsenal football is all about passing and moving into space (or it is intended to be that way) and Zaha would need to adjust his game to truly make an impact and break into the starting eleven.

Another concern is delivery.  Arsenal is in desperate need of a winger who can create space for those in the center of the pitch, provide crosses in the air and passes on the ground from out wide to our forwards.  Zaha’s excellent at creating space for others and has produced some dangerous in-swinging balls, but I have not seen consistent top-notch delivery from him yet.  However, this could be related to the lack of top-end talent surrounding him rather than a criticism of his ability.  Next, I question how Zaha’s game will translate to the top flight.  He’s used to dribbling around Championship defenders but EPL defenders are more adept at taking away space and knocking you off the ball.

At this point, I’m not convinced of two things regarding these rumours:

1)      Arsene Wenger would break his previous record transfer fee to acquire an unproven entity.  Zaha represents the typical Wenger signing; a young talent with loads of potential.  However, Wenger currently has Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gnabry trying to break into the first team and both are being played at the same wing positions with arguably just as much potential.  Arsenal’s rumoured offer to CP is in the range of £7-9 million with add-ons, which is nowhere near CP’s valuation of £20 million.  Typically, the asking price of young, English talent is inflated, so this should come as no surprise.

2)      Crystal Palace will actually let Zaha leave.  Holloway and CP really have no reason to sell their best player in January.  A bid for Zaha in June would likely garner just as much in a transfer fee, if not more.  Attaining promotion is more important for the club than whatever sum they’ll eventually get from selling Zaha.

With that said, there are some positives working in Arsenal’s favour.  Zaha is an admirer of Arsenal football and the Gunners have always been his boyhood club.  There’s also the matter of him being an England international now, where Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs, Jenkinson and Walcott can convince him that Arsenal is where his future lies.  I believe the only remote possibility Arsenal has of landing Zaha in January, is if the player himself requests a move to the club.

E

It’s impossible to predict how quickly a player from a lower division will adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, but I feel that Zaha is a special talent similar to that of Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain.  After 19 games in the Championship this season, Zaha has roughly managed to score a goal every 5 games, assist every 6 games, generate 2 shots with one on goal per game and is fouled almost 3 times each game. Not exactly the most overwhelming stats, but one must bear in mind that he already has 102 appearances in the Championship to his name at the tender age of 20.

The ability he’s shown in beating defenders is reminiscent of the greats (think of the flair of both Ronaldos).

In fact, I believe Zaha to be a hybrid between all three of Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho.  He has the goal scoring instincts of Theo, the combination of pace, flair and ability to take on defenders in tight spaces like Gervinho and AOC (if not more), the directness of AOC and the willingness to play out wide like Gervinho.  Zaha could be that special ‘top, top’ player that would be worthy of Wenger’s pursuit.  All that remains is being tested at the highest level and seeing if he can realize his vast potential.  The latest news round-ups have Arsenal as the favourites to land him in January, but it will take an exceptional offer to pry Zaha away from Palace.

What do you Gooners think about Zaha as a player?  Is he the solution for our lack of delivery and directness from out wide?  Would that amount of money be better spent elsewhere?

 

Written by: The Gooner

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93 Responses to Wilfried Zaha: Arsenal’s Missing Link is Holloway’s ‘Precious’

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks TG, for a very informative and appetizing post! 🙂

    I can see why we have been linked with him, and of course I would love him to join us – whether Walcott signs or not. A player who can combine Theo’s, Ox’s and the Gerv’s qualities into one sounds to good to be true. And he is an Arsenal supporter as well…. Match made in heaven, I’d say! 🙂

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Voulez-vous Zaha? Aha! 🙂

  3. gregarious13 says:

    Green Light!! Zaha is a Gooner like Jack and would love to play for us despite our current misgivings. Also I can’t see teams like Everton or Newcastle allowing players to leave at this point so Zaha makes the most sense. Plus if we get Thierry back on loan I’m pretty certain he’ll love picking up tips from an Arsenal legend.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Good point gregarious13 – TH would be a brilliant mentor, and what a carrot to hold in front of Zaha?! 🙂

  5. Twig says:

    Very well written post. Well done. I believe he’ll end up at Arsenal. Being an Arsenal fan will work in our favour. But he needs to work on his game more, learn how to keep it simple when necessary and to work with this team mates. I would like him at Arsenal. But what we seem to need is a dedicated left winger that can swing crosses in. I don’t know if Zaha can develop into that player.

  6. babakrdaemi says:

    Wenger would turn him into a world beater. My only concern would be would the board keep him past his first contract?

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    babakrdaemi that is a concern we might have to learn to live with! 😦

  8. glic says:

    Morning Saca Frijoles 😆

    Great Post TG about a great prospect. You would think him being a gooner that it puts us in the front running to aquire his services, but caution, Arse Cole was a gooner, Smalling was a gooner and chose Clungechester Utd over us and Beef van Curtains was a gooner, but the paedo with a little boy`s hampton inside him was saying Clungechester !.

    Lets wet the appetite !.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    jenkinson is a Gooner…

  10. glic says:

    Yeah, but he`s a mad gooner like the rest of us, he`d have played for us for nothing even if the Chavs offered him £70k per week !. hahaha

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    your the greatest nutbum of them all. great vid -going to listen to it again! 😛

  12. glic says:

    My predictions for the coming weekend are:

    Ant & Dec Utd
    Alan Sunderland
    The Orcs
    Tea Baggies
    Queer Poof Rangers

    All wins

  13. VCC says:

    Great analysis on a hot topic TG.

    Your knowledge about Zaha is pretty comprehensive, so much more than mine. I have just seen snippets of him and he looks a talent.

    We need the finished article At the moment. My concerns about buying this young unproven talent is Wenger will blow all his treasure chest on him and fall short of getting sufficient points for the rest of the season, which a finished article might be able to give. Also, we have an abundance of youth presently, what is going to happen with these guys? Eisfeld and Gnabry must be given a chance surely.

  14. glic says:

    Nothing wrong with being a nutbum…..I think ! hahaha

    Hows little Henry doing ?, I bet he`s licking his balls………….like Father like Son ! hahaha

  15. VCC says:

    Cheers GLiC, nice and early. Silly question but who is Ant n Dec united? …is it ManUre?

  16. glic says:

    We all know about Terry`s problems involving the over stretching of his `scope, well my missus wouldn`t speak to me last night, for over stretching with my bit on the side……Bergkampesque !.
    Total, expect a citation ! hahaha

    I wasn`t even on here that long, it`s because the video took hours ! and Redders gets thanks and gratitude for a post that takes (and in his own words) 5 minutes ! . hahaha

  17. glic says:

    Cant be VCC, Manure are playing Alan Sunderland !
    Have you never heard Ant&Decs accent on “I`m a celebrity” ?
    Have another clue, ” Auf Wiedersehen Pet ” hahaha

  18. VCC says:

    Goodness gracious great balls of fire.LMFAO

  19. VCC says:

    VCC ….predictions for this coming week end….

    Liverpool v Aston Villa………home
    ManUre v. Sunderland……..home
    QPR. v Fulham”………….home
    Spurs. v Swansea””………home
    Newcastle v ManCity…………away

  20. glic says:

    Apart from the middle one ,I hope your wrong on all accounts ! 🙂

  21. The Gooner says:

    Cheers TA, always a pleasure to write for such a fine audience here on Bergkampesque :). I agree, I’m hoping it is a match made in heaven!

  22. The Gooner says:

    Thanks for the kind words twig. I agree that we need a winger that can produce crosses given the type of striker we currently have. However, I don’t necessarily think it has to be from the left side, either side would do for me!

  23. The Gooner says:

    Cheers Glic! Great point you’ve brought up there mate. As another example, look at Theo, his boyhood club was the Poo (erm I mean the Pool) and he’s “currently” playing for us (can’t stress the word currently enough).

  24. The Gooner says:

    Hahahaha can never get enough of you Glic, that comment is gold!

  25. Red Arse says:

    Brilliant Post, T Gooner, 🙂

    You will have the master Post writer (TA) looking to his laurels!

    My concern is that AW might blow the transfer of Zaha on two grounds.

    First, Arsenal always negotiate hard and offer a fee much lower that the selling club want. This leads to protracted to-ing and fro-ing allowing other clubs to come in.

    Secondly, another Gooner, Smalling, went to Manure for much the same reason.
    Arsenal wanted Smalling to join them immediately but his then club, Fulham, wanted him to stay until the end of the season. Manure then stepped up, offered the same/similar terms and allowed him to stay at Fulham until the Summer and we lost him.

    I would like Zaha, but until the deal is done I will just not get too excited.

  26. The Gooner says:

    Thank you VCC, I really appreciate your compliment and your analysis on what you believe we need. I was musing with TA about writing another article on a lot of the transfer targets Arsenal have been linked to for January. The majority of them would be more “finished” articles at this point too.

    I agree with your assessment and there are plenty of youth in Eisfield, Gnabry, Ox, Miyachi, etc. vying for a place on the wing within our squad. But, that’s the tricky thing with potential; you’ll never know if a player will ever fulfill it. Zaha looks to be a more finished article on the wing than any of the aforementioned players. If Wenger has any hope of building a championship team with a core of players who want to grow old together, then a player of Zaha’s ilk would be a worthy investment. I’d rather Wenger actually have a long-term plan than just try to recover what seems to be another lost season. By this I mean, eventually altering the wage structure to help keep our top players and only adding young, top quality players to our young core of Wilshere, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Szczesny etc. However, I would like to see Wenger buy a more experienced player or two in January to at the very least get us back into CL qualification for next year.

  27. The Gooner says:

    RA, I 100% agree with you. I don’t think Zaha to Arsenal is a done deal by any means; simply tabloid newspapers putting one and one together. This article was written simply to give further insight to a player who has been constantly linked to Arsenal. Utd are rumoured to be offering the same deal as the Smalling one to aid in CP’s promotion push. I would absolutely loathe him going there as Smalling did. If Arsenal aren’t going to step up and pay a suitable amount for Zaha, what hope do they have in competing with their youth academy philosophy?

  28. The Gooner says:

    Morning (Afternoon) All :),

    So I learned my lesson yesterday: Never argue with Manchester City fans.

    I spent countless hours of my life debating that what Manchester City are doing now is nowhere near the same as what Arsenal did with Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp, Pires etc. I’m not quite sure if they didn’t read or hear anything I said because I mentioned numerous times that most of the players Arsene bought during that time were not established stars; simply players who had potential but were cast away by their teams. Bergkamp was inherited, yet they still managed to try and say he was a Wenger purchased because he was technically given the post 6 months in advance (despite Bergkamp being bought a year in advance). They seem to think that all Arsenal did was buy players too…just depressing that they even call themselves football fans as I’ve known the lot for years and are all bandwagoners who used to be Gooners or Pool supporters.

  29. The Gooner says:

    Also, there was a sense of continuity with the players Arsene bought. These players were purposeful purchases who would play an integral part in the team; what Manchester Sh*tty are doing is non-sensible purchases to overcome a deficiency of not being able to nurture their own talent. When Arsene started buying players like Campbell, Lauren, Lehmann and Pires, it was to complement the core he already had in place (not to replace expensive purchases that weren’t performing at the moment). Either way, I’m sure I don’t have to convince any of you about Arsenal’s philosophy never being the same as Sh*tty’s, just frustrated I guess!

  30. marcus says:

    I haven’t really studied him extensively but i have watched him play and there are a few issues that raise considerable doubt about his ability to succeed at arsenal. First and most obvious is his slight build. Judging from his size, even carl jenkinson would beat him in a physical battle, not to mention the jagielkas, kompanys, and stoke’s of this world. Combine that with the fact that his isn’t very pacey, and you have a real problem on your hands. He’d find it very difficult to beat the experince and physicality of epl defenders. Secondly, he seems to have the robben syndrome where he’d rather try and dribble past everyone than make a pass. This makes him a frustrating player to watch at times because when he is up against experienced defenders he often dribbles himself into trouble, many times at the expense of a scoring opportunity. That said however, I am impressed with his ability to think fast, turn defenders and score. He is also very young so he has plenty of time to improve. That’s a huge plus. My opinion is that though he has conspicuous weaknesses, these can be ironed out and he has the potential to develop into a match winner. I do not mind arsenal making a move for him but it has to be on the basis that he is viewed as one for the future and not an answer to our immediate problems. He’d make a great addition to our capital one team and occasional sub while he is educated in the ways of the epl..

  31. VCC says:

    TG….I think now and up until the end of Wengers current contract (two years i believe)will determine whether he has the strength and willpower to carry on. His team building within the next several months will go a long way to helping him make his mind up. There will be some tricky decisions to be made. As you say, buy Zaha or push along his already talented youngsters. Only he will know their character as he works with them on a daily basis, we don’t have that luxury.

    I’m not against getting him, but our glaring needs are experience at the moment. By all means if he has an extensive budget, go ahead. It will be a turn around from his history. Wenger does not spend big, but the omens look towards him taking a chance with Zaha as he prefers to pull a rabbit out of the hat instead of getting the finished article.

  32. VCC says:

    The Gooner……sorry I haven’t answered your question about team selections.

    Your mission, should you accept it, is to pick five fixtures from the total list of games over the week end. Their is no pre-entered list. You may take any desired fixture and say either home,Draw or Away.

    It’s easy, otherwise that twerp GLiC wouldn’t be able to grasp it. As I mentioned yesterday you will surge ahead of Cornwall straight away ( just take a look at his selections for this week, apart from the QPR one). 🙂

    Good luck, and welcome to the UMF League.

  33. richie says:

    Excellent article G – From what I’ve seen I like Zaha, it’s obvious he’s talented. However I think your right to make the point, “is he more of the same”? As Theo is stalling on signing the “damn ting”, comparisons are called for. So how does Zaha stack up against Theo? And would he be a direct replacement? One thing’s for sure he is certainly more of a footballer in the pure sense than Theo, also I would say that as a 20 year old his football is a least on par with Theo at 20. When Theo came to Arsenal at 17 he had speed, but little else. He has learnt to use his speed better in the last 6 years, his finishing has jumped to a new level over the past 18 months and he is more deceptive than he once was. Which means he is a far better player now at 23 than he was at 20; nevertheless questions continue to be asked about his progress, especially since the elephant in the tent (a massive red herring IMHO was thrown in) is this “Mad” business of Theo wanting to play central.

    Can Theo play with his back to goal? No!
    Can Theo take a ball on his chest and control it? Anyone ever seen him do it? No!
    Can Theo shield a ball? No!
    Does he have the strength to hold off a defender? Again probably not!

    But here’s the biggie for me, should Arsenal or Arsene even continue to hold talks with any player who even suggests that a clause, any type of clause be included in his contract? I mean the very idea is totally preposterous to me! I think if any player asked for such a clause to be even discussed then that player should be sold immediately, who the hell does the player or his agent think they are to tell the club and the manager where it is that they should be played? It’s the same nonsense when a player asks for his status to be written in. i.e. 1st choice keeper etc. Again IMHO that’s all nonsense! A manager must be free to be able to choose who he wants in each position without any contractual constraints.

    So why are we discussing Theo as a central forward?
    Because his agent threw it into the pot to be used as a stalling tactic while a few more months ticked by, and with each month Theo and by default his agent’s position became stronger. I’ve said this before and I think it deserves repeating.
    Those who have control of contractual matters at the Arse need to start playing hard ball with players that benefit extraordinarily from being at our club under Arsene tutelage.

    A player sign’s a 4 year contract;
    After 21 months the manager must know if he wants to keep him.
    If the player doesn’t want to sign a year’s extension, then on 24 months sell him regardless! And if we want to sell him abroad and he doesn’t fancy foreign food then surely Bosman needs testing? Because if it works in a players favour when he himself wants to move abroad unquestionably, under that logic it should work in reverse, otherwise the player would be breaking his contractual obligations. The court of arbitration must be able to decide if a player is refusing personal terms, solely to get his own way.

    Enough of my heartfelt rant over Theo’s failure to “sign the ting” although it’s gone on to encompass what I thinks wrong with agents, player power, and the entire system. Briefly back to Zaha and I think this nicely rounds things off. If Willy’s a Gooner? Then “lets be ‘aving him” as Delia might’ve said, he might not be the finished article “a la the 27 year old Jesus Navas” he might only be yet another young potentially good signing for us? But if he’s a Gooner and wants to play for the club he supports then hopefully we’ll be able to count on some loyalty, and that right about now counts for plenty with me because I’m mightily fed up with having want away players at the Arse. Lets only keep those who want to play for us and anyone else can F**k right off! Get it Theo?

  34. oz gunner says:

    Just dropping in to say brilliant stuff by the gang yesterday, had me in stitches as usual, brilliant match review GLIC haha mercury in the testies (gives new meaning to ‘balls of steel’ haha)

    @ Gooner

    Cheers for the detailed analysis of Zaha. I’m guilty of knowing nothing at all about him, but with your article and GLIC’s (1.25…holy smokes!!!) vid i say sign him up. Great read

    @ VCC

    Man U
    City
    Chelsea
    Arsenal
    Pool

    cheers

  35. The Gooner says:

    VCC, no worries mate :). After seeing some of the predictions come in today, I figured all fixtures were fair game. I have until kick-off on Saturday to make my decisions right? Should be passing glic soon!

  36. The Gooner says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Cheers for the reply and contributing your Zaha insight. Just wondering, have you seen him play this year? He’s bulked up quite a bit and has some serious backbone/guts. He’s very aggressive and not afraid to stand up for himself. Also, I’m not quite sure if you’re referring to the same player, as Zaha has very, very good pace. He’s not as fast as Ox or Theo, but he’s got the same acceleration and pace as Gervinho, which is more than enough considering he has better foot skills than all 3.

    No disagreement on over dribbling though and it’s an aspect of his game he’ll need maturing on. He also has the ability to take on a 3-4 defenders and go through them successfully, which is exceptional.

  37. The Gooner says:

    Thanks oz, glad to share my insight for my fellow Gooners! Proceed with caution on youtube videos though as any player can be painted as a superstar :). However, I can assure you that Zaha has bundles of talent and is brimming with confidence, following in the foot steps of Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  38. richie59er says:

    I’ve re-posted this from yesterdays blog because I think it’s very relevant to my post above and Theo’s non-signing and possible move on, how many have left us and gone on to achieve greatness elsewhere?

    (I give you this to ponder; several young players have left Arsenal and Arsene Wengers tutelage only to regress, is Na$ri gonna be another?
    The Guardian
    Roberto Mancini’s wobbles continue as his midfield malfunctions and his strikers fail to shine. Manchester City’s stuttering midfield display was embodied by Samir Nasri who is an impostor of the player who starred for Arsenal: it was the Frenchman’s half-turn in the wall and his stuck-out left ankle that provide the crucial deflection for Robin van Persie’s winning free-kick).

    I’m still praying to “Dennis” for normality to be resumed and a timely injury to occur to the above free kick taking back stabbing Judas, btw.

  39. richie59er says:

    What do you mean? How can you call me vengeful and vindictive? 😆 🙂 😆

  40. The Gooner says:

    Hi Richie,

    Really appreciate the feedback and the praise on the article!

    As for the comparison between Theo and Zaha, you’re spot on that Zaha is more talented in a footballing sense. He’s definitely a more developed player in every sense than Theo was at the same age. However, there’s always a risk of gambling on potential since we do not know how Zaha will develop and cope with a more physical league and better competition.

    The striker demand confuses me. Walcott never featured as a striker for Southampton and he’d be a one trick pony playing centrally. If he had better ball control and offered more outside of his speed and improved finishing, I could see a future there. I also concur that the sudden demand to play as a striker is confusing and perhaps a cover for his contract demands for the public.

    Financial power is still the new flavour in most sports, but as with all things, luck comes in cycles. Teams will discover other ways to win and if FFP comes into effect and works as it has been planned to, we’ll start seeing inflated prices drop and more realistic player wages. For example, just look at North American sports despite having different transfer systems. The NHL and NFL are putting a higher emphasis on scouting for young talent and building teams from the bottom up instead of constantly splashing on free agents. Even in the MLB, where there is no salary cap like in football (soccer for North Americans…) the richest teams traditionally buy everyone yet still can’t consistently produce championships. I really think that football will soon enter a different era and we’re already seeing teams like Borussia Dortmund and Montpellier come through with success outside of financial backing.

  41. The Gooner says:

    VCC, definitely agree on the rest of Wenger’s contract determining his lasting memory on the Arsenal faithful.

    Depending on your assessment of “lacking experience” I may agree or disagree with your second point. Finished articles may not necessarily fit into our side. Arsenal play a very specific brand of football and don’t purchase players that deviate from it. Also, the finished articles are often more difficult to integrate into a team from a chemistry standpoint. However, I do think you are correct in wanting players of higher quality being transferred in. It’s very difficult to pry these players away from their current clubs without over-inflated fees and wages though. In addition, as previously mentioned, not all these types of players would fit into our squad both skill and personality wise. The wide contingent of Spanish players would fit our side since they have been groomed in the tiki taka style and are all rather humble and have a team first mentality. The difficulty is luring them away from Spain and other teams outbidding us. For example, it’s great if we could get an established player like Huntelaar from Schalke for 10-15 million, but considering he’s already 29 years old and will soon be experiencing decline it’s a considerable investment for 2-3 years of production. This is why I believe Wenger goes after younger talent as he sees it as a shrewd way to do business. Yet, he’s got a conundrum because even if we wants to buy more established players, it blocks the youth’s development and opportunities on the first team since the experienced ones feel more entitled to start (and rightfully so).

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comments today and good of you TG to respond to individual bloggers. Little Henry is like having a baby again: v demanding! catch you all later! 🙂

  43. The Gooner says:

    Richie, I really think all the players that left Arsenal for Man City were requested to go there by Wenger to ruin City’s image and reputation (if you ask me, they’re doing a spectacular job). It’s really a sub plot one can only realize after careful observation. Adebayor, Clichy and Na$ri are all hotheads that boast and disgrace both themselves and the football club. Wenger wanted Man City’s financial power regime to be tainted by such players and knew he could take advantage of this. In fact, yesterday both Clichy, Na$ri and RVP gave United the game. Clichy committed the foul that led to the free kick, Na$ri abandoned the wall and unnecessarily stuck his leg out that deflected it into the net and RVP provided the kick. However, one might say, well City won the championship last year. To this I say, 2 players can only do so much to prevent a squad from winning and Wenger’s secret plan almost worked until Aguero scored two late goals in the last game of the season to lift Sh*tty to the title.

    On a serious note, I think Arsene is a master at getting the best out of his players, much like SAF. At Arsenal, players are schooled in a certain way and play a specific brand of football. They regress because the teams they join have the allure of money, but inferior coaches and the teams are generally a collection of players thrown together opposed to a group that has been groomed together. Wenger’s style of football isn’t meant to have one superstar (opposed to last season since it’s all we could really do given the lack of talent in the squad). I’m not saying these players aren’t talented but that often star players that leave Arsenal are a product of the other players around them all playing as a cohesive unit, Thus, it makes sense that they regress or crumble if they’re asked to lead a team individually.

  44. glic says:

    Your right richie, we cant have players dictating to the manager and club.
    Although I must admit to being peed off once by this. I have it on good authority that Arsene came close to buying Messi in the Summer, Messi was just about to sign the contract, when he said to Arsene, ” Mr Wenger, will I be playing up front ? “……well, if you could have only seen the rage on Arsene`s face !………”Sacre Bleau, you little clunge, you were going to be back up to Szczesny, but now you can f**k zee offski ” !.

  45. richie59er says:

    @VCC I’m not sure Arsene likes pulling a rabbit out of the hat (in terms of his star buys) more than he does developing a player? The truth is it can come down to the same thing? Develope a “Jack” in-house or buy a “Rambo” from outside for £5Mil. They’re both midfielders, both debuted in 08 for us, both had massive potential, one fits into our one midfield like a glove, the other continues to look like he’d be more at home elsewhere. What I’m trying to get at is that buying a finished article from outside, naturally an older player is no guarantee that they fit into our system, easily. An experienced finished article might play well for the team he’s with but there’s no assurance he’ll fit in at our club. Arron has been with us for a considerable while (and yes I do remember his horrific injury) and like I said above often still struggles to look at home. The piece of the puzzle has to fit and sometimes it might be quicker to take someone more embryonic and develop them, mould them if you will, into what you want, rather than try to fit a fully finished (set in their ways) square pet into a round hole.

  46. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Can comment to much.. I feel very tired.. just arrived from my office.. at 10..

    I agree to bring Zaha in.. if only :
    1. Walcott is leaving..
    2. We sell Chamakh, Arshavin and Park also..
    3. We keep playing 4-3-3..

    That all for tonight..
    See you..

  47. richie59er says:

    To play “Devil Advocate” Apparently DD sold “God” the idea of coming to us, to play under AW not BR. It was common knowledge at the club that Bruce Rioch was only a holding manager, but not many knew who was coming.

  48. henrychan says:

    Sorry.. can’t.. not can..

  49. glic says:

    TG
    Have Toronto got a football team ?. I only ask because Gareth Bale was seen looking at furniture in a Toronto Ikea.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20667481

  50. VCC says:

    The Gooner + Richie59er….

    Points taken, and don’t disagree with both of you, but I guess what Im trying to say is established players with bottle. We need some attitude in the team as well as skill and athleticism. Giroud warmed me up when he stood up for himself. Our kids have been intimidated and need a TA style type to protect them.

  51. The Gooner says:

    LMFAO glic! That made my day! Toronto FC are Toronto’s team, but they are a sorry, pathetic excuse for a football club. They have not made the MLS post-season in their rich and extiniguished 6 year history. Also, I can’t help but think how much money Rupert Wyatt could have saved on filming Rise of the Planet of the Apes had he just used Gareth Bale instead of the performance captured Andy Serkis.

  52. VCC says:

    The Gooner….you will pass GLiC on the first round, he’s a doughnut. Don’t tell him I told you though. (mums the word)

  53. The Gooner says:

    VCC, Etienne Capoue should tickle your fancy :). Guy has balls of steel and while a fearless tackler, often gets the ball cleanly. He’s also a great distributor of the ball, making both the simple short passes and the more ambitious long passes. Oh and he’s also 6’2 and looks straight up “gangsta” as the kids would say and he doesn’t take crap from anyone (still a good team player, no history of attitude to coaches or off the pitch incidents).

  54. VCC says:

    Well Richie, don’t beat about the bush sunshine, you tell him. 🙂

  55. VCC says:

    OZ….Chelsea are not playing a premiership game this wek end.

  56. richie59er says:

    Managers have to be accountable for the decisions they make and fall on their swords when they get things wrong. At the Arse in recent years we’ve had some great strikers Thierry & Dennis there was another one? But every time I try to remember his name, strangely I’m transported back to the scene of Julius Cesar’s murder when one of his own stabs him in the back. Was it Brutus Judas that did for him? Or was it Brutus the Judas? Anyway if Arsene decided he wanted Thierry in Goal, and God at Centre Half then contract considerations be damned maybe it would’ve been another rabbit that leaped from the hat! Who the hell is Messi to dictate where he plays on the pitch? Give him an inch and the next thing you know he’ll wanna play on Las Malvinas. 🙂 😆 🙂 😆

  57. richie59er says:

    Yes I know that was a bit insensitive politicaly but it was only a joke! Vale! Clara Y Cesar mi amigo’s grandes?

  58. richie59er says:

    Yes I know that was a little bit politically incorect but it was only a joke! Vale Clara y Cesar mi amigos grandes?

  59. richie59er says:

    Word press has much to answer for! Either things go missing totally or you get 2’s

  60. richie59er says:

    Was Shrek in that firm too? I mean next time the Spuds play Manu’er thats got to be a money well spent double bill! “Monkey boy meets Shrek in the bog” Thats got to be top order family entertainment al round.

  61. VCC says:

    The Gooner.
    Thats it then,made up my mind I’m off to see Arsene first thing in the morning to tell him we must sign this Etienne Capoue bloke.

  62. glic says:

    Good call richie
    Messi can f**k off and join up with Osvaldo Ardiles ( anagram = A dildo loves ars ) and Ricardo Villa and play for Falkland Hotspurs !

  63. VCC says:

    UMF League update…..

    GLiC 983-1
    VCC 9-1

    Oz you need to review your Chelsea selection. They are not playing in the Premiership this week end

  64. Red Arse says:

    VCC,

    My selections for Sat 15th Dec

    City…………………..
    Liverpool……………
    Manure ……………. All to win
    Norwich ……………
    Everton …………….

    No cheating!!!

  65. The Gooner says:

    Richie, I think the name you were looking for was Bendtner!

  66. glic says:

    Big Odds there VCC, but they mean nothing. Go back over 62 years ago when a QPR fan was about to shoot his load, he had 500 Million spermatozoa siblings at the stating line in his testi`s, all but one were handsome looking bastards, the odd one out was a UMF !.
    You may struggle with that zimmer frame , but you must have been a f**king good swimmer !.
    You must have been knocking the other spermatozoa out the way with your face !.
    With odds of 500 Million to one, I wish I would have had a pound on you !. hahahaha

  67. The Gooner says:

    Have any of you seen the latest news on arsenal.com? Wenger says we’ll be going with a more experienced squad tommorow night vs. Bradford. Really hoping we can win the Capital One Cup this year (better than nothing)!

    Predicted Starting Line-up:

    Podolski
    Gervinho Rosicky Oxlade-Chamberlain
    Ramsey Coquelin
    Gibbs Vermaelen Squillaci Jenkinson
    Szczesny

    Subs – Mannone, Meade, Mertesacker, Arteta, Eisfield, Arshavin, Chamakh

  68. glic says:

    TG
    I`d rather play Meade or Arshavin at CB than Squillaci !. hahaha

    We should get to the Semi`s against a third tier team and with a bit of luck, a decent draw and a Final. Which we will win, as they say thing`s happen in three`s, our last three Finals have all ended in 2-1 losses , next will be a win !. 🙂

  69. The Gooner says:

    Glic,

    I was actually surprised with Squillaci in the CL game last week. He wasn’t as terrible as I once remembered him to be. Made all the safe plays and often cleared danger with his strength/height. I wouldn’t mind starting him against what you say is a third rate Bradford side. Keep in mind that they’ve only conceded 6 goals at 11 home games this year and have only lost once in the last 12 games. We should definitely beat them, but anything can happen unfortunately…

    As for the draw if we make it to the semis, I’m hoping for either Norwich or Swansea so we can exact some revenge for one of those two losses. It’d be nice if Chelsea were knocked out, but I’m expecting them to make it to the finals.

  70. VCC says:

    Cheers RedArse……….your odds are 11-1

    You’ve been quiet lately, are you ok?

  71. VCC says:

    The Gooner….that’s weird about Squillaci, cos I thought the same. I have been hugely critical of him but thought he did ok. Give him another run out and get him to earn his money. 🙂

  72. The Gooner says:

    VCC, my thoughts exactly! Might as well give him another chance, we’re paying the bloke something like £60,000/week, might as well make him show us he’s half worth it!

  73. VCC says:

    TG……I don’t know why Wenger don’t give Eisfeld a start tomorrow, we have nothing to lose. I’d also start with Meade at left back. Podolski coming in for Giroud up front as well.

  74. The Gooner says:

    VCC – I don’t think I’d start Eisfield tomorrow, mainly because Rosicky needs some playing time to get back to get back to full fitness. I think Eisfield will come on as a sub if we’re leading in the 2nd half though. Also, we all know Ramsey is Wenger’s secret love child so he’ll likely be getting a start. Outside of those two, we need a holding midfield so Coquelin should round out our midfield. Giroud has a back injury and is out tomorrow so Podolski should be starting up front after only coming on as a late sub on Saturday.

  75. VCC says:

    Your dead right about Ramsey being Wengers love child. I’ve nothing against the guy personally but he is not good enough for Arsenal. That’s a part of Wenger is dislike, hanging onto players too long.

  76. The Gooner says:

    As much as I love to rag on Ramsey, he does show glimpses of good talent. My issue is the consistency post injury and he doesn’t have anything to his game that really stands out. Passing is good, pace is average, on-field awareness average, footballing intelligence good, finishing below average, ball control and foot skills average, defending and tackling below average, aerial ability below average and aggression is well below average. As you can see, he’s a quality squad player with some potential but he’d be better used for domestic cup competitions and spot starts for injuries or to keep others fresh.

  77. oz gunner says:

    Apoligies VCC, I thought Chelsea were playing Southhapmton?
    I’ll take a QPR v Fulham draw then

  78. marcus says:

    I actually haven’t watched him play that much this year. He still needs to bulk up a bit more though. Like i said however, he is a young lad with mountains of potential and can develop into a world beater. I forgot to mention that zaha can do something that our current wingers fail miserably, and that is putting in a good cross. All in all, thumbs up on a fantastic article.

  79. TotalArsenal says:

    More or less all agreed; what is not below average is his stamina and engine, and he is still young to further improve in other areas. Maybe a loan spell at Newcastle or Everton, or Wigan would do him a world of good.

  80. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus,

    Nothing more frustrating than watching bad cross after bad cross, or a good cross not anticipated. Hopefully we will get more balance this season.

  81. VCC says:

    This kid looks quality. Give him a start Tonight Wenger.

  82. VCC says:

    Cheers Oz……your odds are 13-1

    Good luck with your studying, hope it’s going well.

  83. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning all 🙂

    Hope to find some time to do a small preview this morning.

    Thanks for vids Oz. Are you able to do prematch for Monday game against Reading, or still to busy for uni?

  84. oz gunner says:

    Morning all,

    Sorry TA, still no go at the moment. 2 weeks until the uni shuts down over xmas so need to soak up as much lab time as i can get. Will be trialing new mobile human monitoring equipment tomorrow. It’s the same stuff used by Felix Baumgartner for the ‘edge of space’ jump, the military, and soon likely to be used for athletes. Amazing stuff lets you access skin + core temperatures, heart rate, gps, breathing rate, motion, ect through laptop, mobiles. Strap them on some of the Arsenal players and we can see who is slacking off at training!!!

  85. VCC says:

    Do we believe the tabloids that Wenger is interested on Nani?

    If true, would you swap him for Walcott?

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC – no and no. What about you?

    Oz, no problem – it is just so I know. Your studies sound fantastic and I can see you end up at the mighty Arse as a mad sports scientist one day! 🙂

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    New post – new posT 🙂

  88. VCC says:

    Outstanding Entries for this weeks UMF League are

    Henry
    Rocky
    Total
    Herb
    Tmht

  89. richie59er says:

    Bloody hell your right G NB52! How could I forget the man that was more of a great striker in his own mind,in one year than Van Judas was in 7 out of the 8 he was with us.Poor Nicky B he had idea’s so far above his station. Bit like the other fool who thinks he can dictate where he plays.

  90. glic says:

    Nothing new there Oz, Stretch has had one strapped on his telescope for years, he has been the guinea pig for my Award Winning Tackle Nav !.
    I think you will get a lot of kudos if you tell them about my other invention you have been trialing, ” Mercury Rising ” !. hahaha

    BTW – I have added your most recent video to our video page.

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