Arsene finally changed tactics against Brighton: but will he do it again?

Arsenal+manager+Arsene+Wenger

To play or not to play: a closer look at Arsenal’s rotation policy.

Let me begin by saying that this article will not bring to light any groundbreaking information regarding Arsenal’s current rotation policy, but simply aims to provide the basis for further discussion today.

Aside from Arsene’s constant touchline zipper dilemmas, there has been much debate about a larger predicament on hand at Arsenal; Arsene’s rotation policy or lack there of.

Is it a matter of Arsene not having faith in his substitutes? Is Arsene secretly aware of the lack of depth in our squad? Or is it a concern that his substitutes are not in form and need a run of games in order to produce? Is he worried that the team will lose momentum and chemistry if the starting line-up is altered?

org for TG post

Whatever the case may be, one thing is clear: Arsenal’s starters are bearing the full brunt of Arsene’s decision to not rotate players often enough, and this is leaving our squad with countless injuries. This article will examine the mentality and considerations which Arsene may be using in regards to his rotation policy.

At first glance of Arsenal’s full squad, there is a great degree of concern over our lack of depth. There is a capable contingent of starters that fans are comfortable with, but the ever-present fear of injuries plagues the brittle confidence they have in some of Arsenal’s injury-prone players. Players like Diaby, Gibbs and Arteta are fantastic for Arsenal when healthy, but it seems that every year they fall victim to recurring injuries that cut their seasons short.

Despite that, I can see why Arsene believes there is depth at almost every position (aside from LB). After his most recent comments on squad depth, he believes in having two players for every position in the line-up. In goal and on defense, Mannone, Koscielny and Jenkinson have all proved that they can provide adequate cover if called upon. Mannone is not the ideal back-up keeper, but was good enough to help Arsenal secure victories earlier in the year.

The midfield is the position with the greatest depth and yet the greatest concern. The long and distinguished injury histories of Diaby and Rosicky have been well documented, while Ramsey and Frimpong have dealt with serious blows early on in their careers; failing to find the same form they had pre-injury. Coquelin is still inconsistent and finding it difficult to discover good form, likely due to a lack of playing time.

Arsene has seemingly lost all faith in Arshavin and has opted to just run out the remainder of his contract. Even when given playing time, Arshavin is often played out of position on the LW where his lack of pace and work rate are exposed. The wing is the only position that sees regular rotation, as Gervinho and Chamberlain are often rotated with Podolski and Theo (occasionally with Giroud rotating out and Gervinho or Podolski playing up top; but it will likely be Theo rotating with him, from now on).

So then, with all the aforementioned substitute players, why do they rarely get a start in the first team?

Why not play Rosicky when our offense is finding it difficult to break down the opposition’s defense? Why not play Coquelin in games that Arteta has clearly come out sluggish and is looking tired, after starting numerous games in a row?

Unfortunately, this is a question that I cannot answer without being in the Arsenal coaching staff. There could be personal disagreements between the player and the coaching staff, Arsene may have lost faith in their abilities (includes not believing in their current form) or maybe Arsene wants his starters to maintain their form and fears a loss of momentum if he changes the line-up too often.

If the latter two reasons are to blame for Arsene’s lack of rotation, then there are a few simple solutions. In respect to lost faith in his substitute player’s abilities, he simply has to lose any emotional attachment he may have with them and replace them with more capable players. It’s unacceptable for a top club to be carrying dead weight on its roster and to not sell a player who never plays because the bid did not meet Arsene’s valuation of the player.

However, it’s a different matter altogether if the player refuses to leave or no clubs have inquired about them. The allure of potential resonates in Arsene’s evaluation of his players, but some of these players would be better off on loan; gaining the necessary starting minutes for their development. Their growth will only go so far if they are only exposed to training sessions, spot starts and substitute appearances. In addition, it’s very difficult for a substitute to play one game every three weeks since they are lacking game experience/form, confidence that there is room to make mistakes, and the mental concentration needed to see through an entire match.

Clearly, the lack of a current rotation policy has not helped us find consistency from game to game and has only resulted in fatigue and injuries. This begs the question of whether Arsene’s belief that our starters need more playing time to gel as a unit, and gain familiarity with one another, is accurate.

Every time he incorrectly chooses to start a substitute, the decision is scrutinized and fans blame his tactics. However, when he elects to stick with the same starters in several consecutive games, fans call for him to rotate players more often.

Understandably, fans’ patience with Arsene’s decisions has grown thin after 8 years without silverware. Arsene is a professional who has stated on numerous occasions that he is not bothered by what the media and fans think about the choices he makes, and no coach would ever allow the masses to dictate their decisions.

With that said, I would like the rotation decision to lie somewhere between the two extremes and for Arsene to find the right balance between his starters and substitutes. The ideal starting line-up should always play against the top clubs and in important cup matches, while more squad players should start against mid to lower table teams. If Arsenal has a run of tough fixtures, Arsene would do well to start a few of his squad players, in addition to the current group of favoured starters. Such a simple rotation philosophy would help ease the burden on the starting group and keep them fresh, along with possibly taking preventative measures on injuries due to being overplayed. Non-starters cannot play confidently when they are in constant fear of losing their place in the next match.

We’ve already seen at first hand what a lack of first-team opportunities can have on players such as Giroud, Coquelin, Koscielny, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gervinho. If they were given a decent run of games, each one could perform consistently well. However, they generally have all failed to contribute adequately when only given a start every 5 or 6 matches.

Fast forward to our last match in the FA Cup vs. Brighton, and we saw Arsene fielding plenty of his non-starting squad players.

It was certainly a significant change in tactics from the majority of the season, and it was an encouraging sign that perhaps injuries played a factor in the lack of rotation all along. In addition, Arsene may have fielded his starters so often because he knew we needed to catch up with the competition, after an accumulation of poor performances earlier in the season.

Transitioning new players into a squad is never a simple task, and Arsene has done a commendable job of rotating the CBs and CFs/Wings. The area that needs greater focus for rotation going forward is the midfield. Now that the team is more established and that players are returning to full health from injuries, I am confident that we will continue to see good rotation from Arsene.

To conclude, if Arsene is truly cognizant of the lack of squad depth, but is simply refusing to admit it and electing to play his starters into the ground to compensate, then there’s a bigger issue at hand.

Firstly, he is jeopardizing the long-term careers of his starters by making them more susceptible to injury.

Secondly, he’s prioritizing his own ego above the greater good of the team instead of admitting he has made mistakes in his purchases during the transfer windows.

However, I truly believe that everything Arsene does for Arsenal is in the best interests of the club, and am just hoping for more frequent rotation to give our squad players a fair opportunity to prove their worth and to avoid an accumulation of injuries.

What do you Gooners think about Arsene’s rotation policy? What do you think is the cause of the lack of rotation, and what should be done to resolve this issue?

Written By: The Gooner

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140 Responses to Arsene finally changed tactics against Brighton: but will he do it again?

  1. marcus says:

    Great post TG. And a happy Monday morning to you.
    I think I could shed some light on this. First of all, 2 of our 3 proper sub players (Rosicky and Diaby are always injured). As for Jenko, only Arsene can tell you why he doesn’t play him. Then there’s Ramsey, Mannone and Coquelin. These three players, especially Ramsey, are awfully average. Maybe they could benefit from more playing time in their preferred positions. I don’t know. Then there’s the unholy trinity of Santos, Squillaci and Arshavin. These 3 players should be sold before the end of today and replacements brought in as they just suck. Purely and simply.

  2. Jerá says:

    I don’t agree with one thing: we don’t have midfield depth. The attacking midfield is fine. However DEFENSIVE midfield needs minimum two mature recruits in order for Arsenal to compete with Man Utd and Man City. Two natural enforcers (one as starter and the other as sub) will protect defense and allow creative midfielders to go forward with more confidence.

  3. Macko says:

    Hello, I think that what is lacking has Arsenal and at the same time has Arsène it is of the concurence between the remplacants players when it returns on the ground they do not give it is 100 % or at least it is the impression(printing) that they give.
    Arsène should dig into the young people to make play a (healthy) rivalry so that the players even remplacants it gives is 200 %.
    When I see chamberlain playing, he(it) gache the quazi totality of its balls(bullets), him(it) hold never his(her,its) place on the wing, he(it) always places it in the axis and especially he(it) is too passive in defense what gives more work has our side, on the match of Brighton in 1st half-time there was no action(share) has cause of him and of l other quoted(esteemed,highly-rated) has cause of Santos.
    When I watch some player I little not refraining of thought that they are for Their money(silver) and that they lost the faith in their team due to being on the bench

  4. Steve says:

    We all know that arsene wenger’s bigest problem is Ego and arsenal have suffered a lot bcos of wenger’s ego. Bcos of Ego he refuses to make substitutions even when a player has been horible in the match. He is very slow to react to the negatives happenings in a match. Have u guys noticed when a particular style or formation is working very well for d team, wenger is always very quick to change it, but when a style or formation is not working well, wenger sticks with it for a long time, just to prove a point that he can make it work, He sticks with it until it is too late for d team. Wenger knows that a player like santos is not good at all and is hurting d team, but bcos of ego, wenger says he is very good player and also refuses to replace him. Why did wenger change d way we played during d 2nd half of last season that worked wonders? Why did wenger change d way we played earlier this season(our defence was wonderfully good & our players were very much effective)? Why has wenger refuse to acknowledge d fact that our midfield is not balanced & that we need a ball wining, tough tackling, fast, imposing, ball playing defensive midfielder? What is squillaci still doing in arsenal, can he do d job in d absence of other central defenders? Its obvious that wenger’s judgement has be very bad in recent years. He is also complacent. The club needs a more serious owner that loves d game more. Wenger also needs a technical director of football and someone that takes care of transfer biz. So much to talk about, but am just tired.

  5. Steve says:

    In some matches, some players do not work hard at all or are not doing what they are suppose to do, but wenger refuses to stand up and caution them or shout on them. Who are we to blame(it is still wenger). If we do not qualify for CL, wenger will still not change, rather its an excuse for him to get worse. Unfortunately, arsenal is sinking fast fast. I still blame arsenal fans that go to watch our games at d emirates, They are d weakest fans in d world. They do not protest. There are ways to protest that will make wenger & d board to sit up, when u don’t buy tickets until ur demands are met, am sure this is the only way out of this night mare. I normally tell my fellow arsenal fans that if u do not die of heart attack bcos of arsenal,then no woman can give u heart attack.

  6. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus 🙂

    How is Kenya today?

    Not sure about your assessment of Ramsey, Coquelin and Manone as ‘awfully average’. I agree they are not the finished article yet, and might not make the grade – I especially worry about Aaron – but they are still good players to have in our squad. I would like an older, experienced GK and Mannone to become our nr.3 for now; two young GK’s as our nr.1 and nr.2 is one too many in my view, and I would like an experienced DM, but still like Ramsey and Coquelin to stay and develop further.

    With regards to the unholy trinity, as you called it, I am sure that IF Arsenal could sell them today, they would do, but they cannot. 😦

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Jera: one yes, but two new DM’s? Not in my book. What would you do with Coquelin, Frimpong and Arteta?

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Bonjour Macko 🙂

    i don’t think any of our young players lack motivation – including the Ox – but it is hard to come back into a team and perform at the highest standards straightaway; especially in an unsettled, transitional team.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve 🙂

    You left your best sentence till the end: ‘I normally tell my fellow arsenal fans that if u do not die of heart attack bcos of arsenal,then no woman can give u heart attack.’ So true, so true!

    I don’t agree with your assessment that it is Arsene’s ego which is causing us many problems. Yes, he is stubborn and does his own thing, but most top managers do that. He does put trust in players and wants to give them confidence by playing them and not substituting them. This has little to do with ego, but more to do with his management style.

  10. Gerry Lennon says:

    Very good article for starting a discussion … as long as people responding just remember we are all talking from the sidelines, not in a position of full facts. A point you made yourself.
    I think the biggest factor, imo, is the question of balance. Some substitutes do not alter the dynamics of the side, but others do?. The obvious one is switching Walcott for Giroud?
    The more subtle ones are, Gibbs because his combination with Podolski is so much better?
    Arteta replacements have been various; Coquelin was unlucky to get his injury after his, more impressive start last time; Ramsey, surprisingly (to me) has done well. Partly because he keeps to his role position a lot better than elsewhere, and it actually suits his game better because the quicker pass is usually a, short, accurate, and yes obvious pass, but has not lost possession doing this. There is still a danger that if put under pressure quickly he is more likely to spill the ball more so than Arteta. But that has yet to be tested?
    Wilshere has not really got a like for like sub. Rosicky is the nearest, but he is better at moving the ball forwards quickly when there is space in front, rather than the quick turn leaving defenders behind.
    Podolski again has no like for like player, partly because he plays(his best) more like a wide inside left, which the 4-3-3 system allows him to do. Gerv is much better suited to use his pace inside rather than out wide, and if he brings his AFCON boots back with him he will be okay, and if the formation changes to a 4-4-2 who knows, it could be Plan B?
    Cazorla has a sub, but as you have pointed out, Arshavin has not been used. Lack of match practice is now going to count against him? A fit Rosicky is now more likely to fill that role, and the difference will be minor.
    The Ox and Walcott should not be a problem on the right, but usually is? AOC is having his first full season in the first team, which will undoubtedly help him next year. Perhaps more in the Rosicky direct role, rather than as a wide player?
    The back line again, when changes are made it does appear to alter the way they play. Mert I think you have to accept him as a whole package. His lack of pace can be exposed, and can easily subbed for Kos or Verm, but in doing so you lose the command and organisation of others that Per brings. This really affects the balance in our defence.
    Sagna or Jenks. Despite criticism from some, I think Sagna with a decent contract will still be one of the best right backs in the league. Jenks is still gaining vital experience and will be his replacement in time, but not just yet? Not a weakness, just a subtle difference
    Gibbs? He is a bit like Per M., you have to look at what he brings, rather than expect him to be in two places at once. Pace and drive going forwards, last ditch tackles in defence. Leaves a space behind him? Yes, but it is a team game and should be organised enough to cover that, and both Kos and TV5 do a good job there. Luckily for Gibbs, his sub makes him look brilliant?
    You could get away with playing Santos if you had two of them. You know what I mean? One who stays tight to the wide man, the other who drifts into the box. One who puts in a block tackle and passes, the other who dribbles the ball higher up field. One that stays wide, while the other follows the play in midfield. One who doesn’t have a shot from 40 yards … sorry, correction, neither should shoot from 40 yards?
    God, with that sort of discipline, Santos 2 could be our twelfth man?
    What I have said, in my rambling way, rotation is fine but it is a double edge sword, and getting it right all of the time is very tricky indeed?

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi TG,

    I have responded to a few early comments (as I know it is midnight in your neck of the woods now, and you are probably dreaming of a Pires hat trick right now, whilst you are providing all the assists 😛 ), but now it is time to say; thanks for a fine, well balanced post, in which you cover all the angles regarding rotation of our first-team players.

    In a nutshell: it is not easy.

    In theory, a manager should rotate regularly to keep his players fresh, motivated and in form. In practice, a manager has to decide for every match what his best availalbe 11 are to start the match, especially if and when we are in a position where we cannot afford to lose (as you alluded to in your post as well).

    He did not rotate against Bradford and it cost us. He rotated six against Brighton and it work out well; although we needed the subs to make the difference towards the end of the game.

    Arsene used to rotate a lot in the past and it often back-fired. Mourinho was famous for doigng a minimum of rotation from one game to the next when at the Chavs, and was often vindicated for it.

    My view is that Arsene first and for most wants to establish a base, a spine, a core in this team. With the departures and new arrivals over the last two seasons, this is proving to be more difficult. I reckon that is why he tends to select the same players a lot: to get an identity into this team and some good mutual understanding.

    I also agree with you that we lack quality in certain positions and that will make Arsene extra reluctant to rotate players. Let’s see what will happen in the next few days in terms of adding more quality to the team. 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Gerry 🙂

    Fine comment and I am sure The Gooner will get back to you later today. I like the way you compared the BFG with Gibbs and I think you have a point. It is a team sport and they both bring very good strengths, but also have a few weaknesses, which should be compensated for within the team.

  13. glic says:

    Morning Rectumator`s 😆

    An excellent worded post TG, you really have been a “Super Quality” signing for Bergkampesque !. 🙂

    Rotate or not rotate, that is the question !. It would be interesting to look at stats to compare which positions occur most injuries due to ” red zone ” physical exhaustion. I might be wrong but it is obvious to me that the goalkeeper and CB`s ( especially Mertescrotum ) dont hit red zones as they dont run as much as the midfielders ( they probably do the most running ), nor does Theo up front. So maybe it`s the midfielders who need to rotate more than any other positon, with other positions only rotated just to give others playing time !.
    Personally, I dont know how these professionals cant play two games a week , surely all they have to do is relax more in training with out any over exertive exercise !. It would be great top hear from some sports scientist why two 90 minute games per week is so tiring !.
    The next time my Sports scientist daughter visits home , I shall ask her !.

    Does anyone else think that AW`s decision whether to buy anyone could be decided on what result we get against the bindippers ?. I`m not really bothered, I just dont want him to buy someone just for the sake of buying or to appease the hecklers.

    Right, I`m off to the bored farmers wife institute, now do I rotate or not rotate……wind or grind……can I manage 90 X 2 minute sessions in a week without bringing on the mirror at some stage ?. hahaha

  14. Steve says:

    @TA, When i say wenger’s ego is costing us sometimes by not substituting certain players when they are awful, I mean, signing d player(eg santos) shouldn’t have happened in d first place, selecting him to play in certain games is unthinkable(eg, santos vs man utd, when he would’ve played coquelin or jenks there), now letting him finish that game is an abominatiom.(all these are ego,bcos he doesn’t want to accept his mistake in d first place & correct it) Wenger knows within him that santos was a panic buy, but bcos of ego,he refuses to accept that, thereby playing him just to prove his point & when d player is doing badly, he refuses to sub him. Wenger always refuses to do what d fans want,even when it is d best thing to do(THATS EGO). All these cost arsenal a lot. Gone are d days when u can manage playes in d league and still win d league, d last time it happened was early early 2000. We all know that wenger takes ramsey as his project(a project that must suceed at d expense of d team), thats why he plays him ahead of players that are far better. Earlier in d season,wenger was playing ramsey on d right ahead of theo & OX(which cost us a lot). Last season,wenger was playing ramsey ahead of rosicky even when he was fit, until when we were in trouble of missing CL, Even dis season he has continued doing so. Coquelin is far better than ramsey defensively & attacking wise, so why does ramsey get more playing time than coquelin? My brother am really concerned cos we are going towards d wrong direction. Over here in nigeria, no arsenal fan can boast in d public anymore, we are all ashamed & have become a laughing stock. Fans really need to stop buying tickets until our demands are met.

  15. glic says:

    Hi Steve

    I can boast and look any one of the Lance Armstrong clubs ( financial doped Chavs and City ) fans in the eye and not feel ashamed of the direction my club is heading !. Do you honestly think that when I travel hundreds of miles to watch our amazing club play that I go to protest about stuff that 99% of other teams would give their right hand for !.
    As for being to stubborn to change a player who is playing bad, ask Mr Eboue, he was a substituted substitute !.
    I`m proud of what my club has achieved in the past and of the solid foundations it is creating for a great future. Form is temporary, Class is permanent !.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Steve,

    I heard before about how tough it is in African countries in terms of getting stick publicly if and when your team is not doing well, so I feel for you.

    Re Santos and Ramsey, I think you are missing the point a bit. They both have not been regulars this season. Santos is the sort of player who will get better the more he plays but as we are not in a position to allow him to get back into the team, and he clearly is suffering from self-confidence issues, it is unlikely we’ll see the best of Santos (again). If Arsene believes in Santos but we don’t; what is he to do: listen to us or trust his own judgement. Nothing to do with ego in my mind.

    Ramsey is a different case. He had his leg smashed to pieces and Arsene is doing everything to get him back to his best. He has lost his first place but Arsene has not given up on him. That is nothing to do with ego, but with a caring personality. I rate Arsene for this a lot.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Hear Hear Glicxster. You might be a nutbum, but when you make sense everybody should take note! 🙂

  18. glic says:

    Hahaha Total. If the lunatics are making sense, then………….bugger, I`ll let Redders work that one out !. hahaha

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes, Glic – and if Redders cant work it out, we are all doomed!

  20. Red Arse says:

    Hi Guys 🙂 and you Oh, Mighty Maestro Clog Man! 😀

    TG, fascinating topic in your usual really excellent Post!!

    Glicster, as to “if the lunatics etc … “, the answer is easy!

    As I have said before, on more than one occasion, you have a very creative mind, and you are very funny as a result — but you are also very smart.

    In some of your more serious comments, like the one at 11:46, you show the other side to your personality and that and other comments are right up there with the best. 🙂

    Sorry I cannot stay to chat — but not too good at the moment. Maybe later!

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Reddinski 😎

    Sorry to hear you are not feeling too good at the moment 😦

    Hope things will improve for you soon!

  22. nik says:

    About Aaron Ramsey – remember something first, he turned 22 a month ago, does anyone know a big club that has a 22 year old regular starter in the centre of midfield (Except for us with Wilshire)? No! It is a position where experience is inevitable and where a run of 4 or 5 or 6 starts in a row give you a lot of confidence. With Ramsey you can really see that as his best performances for Arsenal came at the start of last season where he was a regular starter until Arteta was 100 percent fit and after his Cardiff loan spell the season before.
    I think in these times and also in the last two games Ramsey has really shown that he has the potential to become our first choice holding midfield player. I hope that Arsene realizes this as well and does not put Arteta back in the side directly after the old man recovered.

    By giving him a new contract I think Arsene has really shown that he sees Ramsey as a base of this team meaning he will want Aaron to become the regular starter in holding midfield. And in my opinion it is the wright decision.

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    HI and welcome, Nik 🙂

    That’s a very good comment and food for thought.

  24. Ain't Got A Kalou says:

    The Gooner, outstanding post! This in addition to Marcus’ the past few days were superb. I love coming to this site cause of the quality and how the authors write articles a little outside the box an are not just looking for hits like some other blogs.

    I think you covered everything about the rotation quite well. Hard to know what is exactly goin on with the rotation without being the actual coach. I think it’s a combo of lack of quality substitutes, injuries and maybe too much faith in his starters and not enough in subs. We need to rotate more else we’ll get more injuries to key players and others will never reach full potential. Weird to see so many subs at once though, would prefer that Arsene brought them some in with te starters more often instead of all at once.

  25. Steve says:

    @glic, are u really happy d way d club is being unserious? Are u happy how slow transfers are carried out(ie if at all they will buy)? Are u happy the way our best players are sold every season? Making money should be balanced with carrying trophy. For wenger to come out to say that 4th place is like wining a trophy & that its good enough & also that is his target for the season, That shows lack of ambition. Yes we are proud of what d club achieved many years ago, but how about now? Top Players are no longer attracted to arsenal, Players no longer see arsenal as a big club where they want to stay in, rather a steping stone, a club where they develop and move on to better clubs. Nobody is saying we should spend £50m on 1 player, we already have d basis, just a few aditions will make us d best. A central defender as cover but can effectively do the job when called open, a DM like victor wanyaman or etienne capoue, a dynamic & complete striker like cavani, then promote meade to assist gibbs instead of santos. I love this site bcos of its unbiased posts, unlike some blogers that i’ve seen. @TOTALARSENAL, keep it up and some others.

  26. Gerry Lennon says:

    Thanks TA for your earlier comment. And Nik, I think I heard Arsene say in a ‘presser’ that he thinks the holding midfield role is Ramsey’s best position, but he needs to convince Ramsey of that?
    I still have a slight doubt until proved otherwise, as the last couple of games we have been allowed time and space to play out from the back. When we meet a team, like Liverpool perhaps? that will close down higher up the pitch, that will be the acid test.
    I agree with TA it is one of AW’s better qualities in his belief in players, and is prepared to support them, like Diaby and Ramsey, not to mention RVP who conveniently forgot all that during his months of negotiating with Man U behind his back ….?

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Ain’t got a Kalou: what a great name! But have you got a Kanu? 😛
    It was weird to see six substitutes. I predicted three and thought I was probably too adventurous, but six was a big surprise indeed.

    Cheers Steve 🙂

    Gerry, I would love it if Aaron would become as good as Arteta in that role, and with Diaby, Coquelin and Jack available to play next to either of them we might not even need a DM. But the jury remains indeed out for Ramsey in that position, and the best TW news we could have in the next few days would be the purchase of Capoue or Wanyama.

  28. VCC says:

    Total….I really can’t see any additions to our squad, certainly not at this late stage.

    We will have to go with what we have. 😦

    Will be interesting how we perform against the bin dippers Wednesday.

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC,

    Why not at this late stage? That’s how Arsenal like to do it: it allows them to put pressure on the negotiations, especially with those clubs who need to sell to balance their books. Didn’t Arshavin get signed in the last hour of the Jan transfer window?

    You might be right though – what will be will be!

  30. Steve says:

    I know every1 is entitled to his/her opinion, but saying that ramsey should be playing in d holding role is a blonder. There is more to that position than just passing the ball well, its obvious that arteta is not playing that position well, now some people are saying ramsey should be played in that role, it is quite wrong my friends. Ramsey is not strong at all, he is slow, he lacks d atitude, he doesn’t work hard enough, looses possession easily, etc, we obviously more than that. If ramsey can effectively play that position, why then are we asking for wanyaman or capoue.

  31. The Gooner says:

    Hi Everyone,

    First of all, thanks to all of you who have stopped by to read the article and to those who have left such in-depth responses! Now off to read the excellent comments and I will be responding to you all shortly.

  32. The Gooner says:

    Marcus,

    Thank you for the compliment and I absolutely agree with everything you said. So then, what is AW’s next move with Diaby and Rosicky then? Just hope that they will stay healthy, or purchase another midfielder to compete with them for playing time and cover for our starters? Definitely a dilemma, but by not having healthy cover in midfield, we are exposing ourselves to injuries to our star players.

    Ramsey, Mannone and Coquelin have definitely all been average this year. I think each would be better off with a loan move away from the club to gain more first team experience. Eventually, at least one of them should come good and be of Arsenal starting/substitute quality.

    No argument on Arshavin, Squillaci and Santos. I don’t think anyone has wanted to see them in our squad for quite some time!

  33. The Gooner says:

    Jera,

    Thank you for stopping by and for the fine comment.

    Who would you suggest as the two players to be brought in for DM, considering we already have Diaby, Coquelin, Arteta and Wilshere who can all play in the DM/B2B roles? In my opinion, I certainly believe we need one DM, but we currently have too many other midfielders to buy two more. Also, I think having one, reliable DM is enough in the starting line-up as the other should be a box-to-box type who can link up with the attack and help support our offensive players.

  34. glic says:

    With respect Steve, AW said winning the Premier League is the top priority, followed by winning the CL , then 3rd and 4th spot are ahead of FA Cup and Capital One Cup.
    Lets just say it might be lost in translation in saying 4th is a trophy, it is more important than winning the last two cups I mentioned, so in a way can be thought of as a trophy in a figure of speech .
    You are of course entitled to your opinion and it all makes for good blogging, but I just dont agree with trying to convince fans that boycotting the clubs games will be of any benefit to our club , team or fans and would make us more of a laughing stock than you implied earlier if our team turned out in front of an empty stadium . Now that would be embarrassing, dont you agree !. 🙂

  35. The Gooner says:

    Hi Macko,

    Cheers for the reply mate.

    I think the replacement players are definitely short on confidence, and their lack of playing time definitely does not help that either. Would you suggest buying new players to replace some of our current substitutes in order for both Wenger and the new players to have more faith in one another then? Or are you suggesting that our current replacements are good enough but that Wenger play them more often?

  36. The Gooner says:

    Steve,

    Thank you for leaving a very interesting reply and I enjoy reading comments that go against the grain and challenge the popular opinion.

    I think there is definitely an element of ego that affects every manager, not just Wenger. Fans of every club often complain about their managers being too slow to react to the game and substituting players having poor performance and some outside the club actually credit Wenger for being good at that if you can imagine! However, it’s definitely more his management style to give his players a little more time to see if they can recover from their mistakes and contribute to the game. Can you imagine how much their confidence would be deflated if he took them off after one or two mistakes? There are certainly times in the game where I cannot believe it took so long for a player to be substituted, but as long as we’re not losing a game, I see no point to make a rash decision. Also, with only being allocated 3 substitutes, it’s difficult to decide when to introduce a player, especially one that may not be at their best form.

    In terms of Santos, I believe that it’s not AW’s ego that has gotten in the way of him not being sold, but simply that no one is willing to take him off our hands. He’s one of the absolute worst players on Arsenal and it’s evident in every match he plays.

    As far as tactics changing, I don’t think Arsene changes them when we are doing well. In fact, I believe he does the exact opposite and keeps the same tactics and starters for too long after a successful run out! He’s quite predictable in his line-up and tactics, and this is where rotation could help us diversify our offence. We can’t use the same tactics as the second half of last season because we don’t have the same personnel. If you recall, we had a certain world-class striker at the top of his game that our attack was centered around. We have had to use the first half of the season to figure out how to properly bed the new signings into our squad and find a way to score goals without van Judas. Now that the majority of the growing pains are out of the way, I believe we’ll see a more cohesive unit on the field for the rest of the season.

  37. glic says:

    If Ramsey plays a blinder against the Bindippers on Wednesday in the anchor role, will AW buy a DM ?.

    http://www.teamtalk.com/arsenal/8448658/Ramsey-enjoying-anchorman-role

  38. The Gooner says:

    On a side note, Everton have agreed a £8 million fee for Leroy Fer of FC Twente. He’s certainly midfield beast and will be a big boost for the Toffees. If Everton are signing players, I believe AW should as well! No more excuses about lack of funds or players not being available!

  39. glic says:

    TG
    According to AW, he has no problem buying players, as long as they meet the criteria of being better than we already have, at the right price and are actually available !.
    Unlike you ( probably ), I had never heard of Leroy Fer until today !.
    Even more disturbing news is, I read a rumour that Isco is a cert to go to Chavs !…………Keep talking amongst yourselves whilst I insert my Hampton in the kitchen sink waste disposal unit !. 👿

  40. VCC says:

    The Gooner….Great post, which brought some fine responses.

    If Everton have purchased Leroy Fer, do you think that might free up Fellaini?

  41. The Gooner says:

    Hi Gerry Lennon,

    Thank you for the kind words and I’m very happy you left such an in-depth analysis on our squad’s depth! Hopefully you will stop by to comment more regularly :).

    Often people just assume that there is one issue to explain a poor on-field product: the manager and his decisions or a certain player not being Arsenal quality. Most, if not all, of us will never know what goes on within the Arsenal organization and can only speculate on what we believe the situation is and I’m glad you are cognizant of this.

    As you stated, I definitely think we have adequate cover for every position but LB. However, as numerous others have stated, is the quality of cover at the other positions at a high enough quality? Some of our squad players would be incredible substitutes, but are they too injury prone to be reliable for us when needed?

    Your observation about what Per brings to our team is spot on. His defensive awareness and organization of the back line often goes notice. My only complaint with him is his lack of physicality for such a tall presence, together with his lack of pace. I believe we can find a CB in the transfer market to replace what he brings in defensive awareness/responsibility and organization, along with better pace and physicality. Still, there is not too much to complain about with having Per in the line-up right now, as he’s been pretty good this season.

    I actually like that some of our players do not have a like for a like replacement. It brings unpredictability to our side and gives AW more flexibility in tactics. However, not all of our players have responded well to his changes in tactics/formation and spent the first half of the year trying to figure each other out. We have to keep in mind that Jack, Diaby, Santi, Podolski, Giroud, Gervinho, Mertesacker never really played with the team from last season due to injury or being a new summer acquisition. Technically, AW was trying to transition 7 new players into the squad this season!

  42. The Gooner says:

    VCC,

    Thanks for the kind words :). Looking forward to hearing your comments about Arsenal’s rotation policy later.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it makes Fellaini immediately available and just reinforces an already good Everton side. His buy-out clause is reportedly set at £22 million and I think he’s more likely to be sold in the summer for around £18 million when Everton isn’t fighting for a CL/Europa berth and have adequate time to find a replacement.

  43. The Gooner says:

    TA :),

    Thank you for the classy response and kind words as always! Your encouragement, insight and the crowd you attract are the reason we continue to contribute to BK!

    I agree with everything you stated and it’s near impossible to find the right balance to please both fans and more importantly, players. If we were winning, the rotation policy would likely be less noticeable and probably not a source of contention.

    We’ll see how AW chooses to rotate players from here on out, now that a lot of players are returning from injury. Hopefully there’s a healthy amount of rotation that our players will not re-aggravate injuries they have fallen victim to in the past. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but overplaying certain ones is definitely in the hands of AW.

  44. The Gooner says:

    Glic,

    If the Chavs buy Isco, I’ll fly over to London and together, we can pillage and burn down Stamford Bridge. In the process, we’ll kidnap both Isco and Eva Carnerio and bring them to the Emirates (or our own homes at our mercy if you fancy hahaha).

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi TG, it is you who should be thanked for a quality post that produced a number of fine responses! 🙂

    Back in a bit.

  46. The Gooner says:

    Hi Glic,

    Many thanks for the kind words and I’m honoured to be blogging with you everyday! Would I be one of the top signings of the TW then? Perhaps a Santi Cazorla hahaha!

    I definitely think you’re correct in your assessment of the midfield needing the most rotation. It’s the most physically demanding position and as several others have pointed out, perhaps we don’t have the necessary quality in depth at this premium position. We have Diaby, Rosicky and Coquelin who would be the three immediate replacements for Jack, Santi and Arteta respectively, but they are too injury-prone to be constantly relied upon. Most do not question their ability, and it’s time for AW to perhaps buy another midfielder to help ease the burden placed on them to be rushed back to full fitness. The dilemma then becomes, what happens when they are able to avoid injuries? However, I believe an abundance of quality players competing for spots is always a good problem to have :).

  47. Macko says:

    To answer, I think that they are any vouchers except some which for me are not made for the game(set,play) of Arsenal (Arshavin, Santos, Squillacci).
    I just think that some of the remplacants does not seem prét has to tear away(to extract) everything, to show that they are the best.
    When they have a chance to play he(it) should be is 300 %.
    Then say that they does not play as holder OK, but they are proféssionels and when we play for a team as Arsenal, when you know that you are on the scoresheet you owe of you preparés in étre in your best trains(forms). A boy as a jack wilshere, is him(her) always completely and it is above that have likes(loves) him(it) and that have respects him(it).

  48. The Gooner says:

    Hi Nik,

    Thanks for a wonderful comment.

    I love that you have strong faith in Ramsey, because I cannot even bring myself to believe in him most of the time! Not to take away from your point, but Chel$ea has another 21 year old midfielder, Hazard, playing regular football often in the middle of the park or on the left, Malaga has Isco, Real Mardid has Ozil, Ajax has Christian Eriksen, Borussia Dortmund has Gotze in the heart of their respective midfields. But to be in the in the company of those teams is fantastic and shows that AW and Arsenal have a bright future ahead and are even able to compete with teams in the now!

  49. The Gooner says:

    Ain’t Got a Kalou,

    Fantastic name, gives me a laugh every time I see it! Thanks for the compliments and we’re all happy to see you coming back and posting every so often. Seeing 6 substitutes at once was definitely a little shocking and I’d prefer AW to ease them into the squad over a period of games instead of going for an extreme in rotation. Either way, it worked out and we were able to escape with a much needed win (Spuds and Pool fans wish they could say the same!)

  50. The Gooner says:

    Hi RA,

    Cheers for the encouraging words and glad to see you blogging today!

    Hope you get well soon and that you’ll be back to join us later 🙂

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    TG, well done for replying to everyone: a real blog gent!

    I was thinking, in an ideal world Arsene could rotate in twos or threes in midfield from one game to the next. One game: Wilshere-Arteta-Cazorla the next one Diaby-Ramsey-little Mozart. Add a beast of a DM and Coquelin to the mix and Bob’s your uncle! 🙂

  52. The Gooner says:

    TA, it’s been my pleasure!

    In terms of rotation, I’d prefer to see something along the lines of this:

    vs. Top clubs and CL sides: Cazorla-Wilshere-new top notch DM signing (Capoue/Wanyama), with Arteta and Diaby rotating in every now and then

    vs. Mid table clubs: alternating between Cazorla-Diaby-Arteta, Wilshere-Diaby-Arteta, Rosicky-Arteta-new DM signing

    vs. lower table clubs and less important cup matches: Rosicky-Ramsey-Coquelin

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    That could also work, TG.

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Oneven games: Gervinho-Villa-Ox
    Even games: Pod-Giroud-Theo 🙂

  55. The Gooner says:

    I was thinking more of:

    Top EPL clubs: Podolski-Villa-Theo

    CL: Podolski-Giroud-Theo

    Mid table EPL clubs: alternating between Podolski-Villa-Ox, Gervinho-Giroud-Ox, Villa-Giroud-Gervinho

    Lower table EPL clubs: Gervinho-Theo-Ox

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Nah Gooner, not for me: all games are three pointers and I rather have two equally strong trios. We know in reality Arsene will play the same three most of the time anyway, but Villa would not take a place on the bench and somebody would have to give…

  57. The Gooner says:

    If that were the case TA, I believe it would be Giroud or Podolski making way. Either one would be our new super sub off the bench. Villa would give rise to the birth of the true tiki-taka at Arsenal.

  58. glic says:

    It`s obvious to me that you two haven`t a Scooby Doo !

    Bendtner – Chamakh – Park…….. alternating on the end of Stevie Boulds Hampton !. hahaha

  59. The Gooner says:

    This one’s for you Glic, I thought Wonderwall’s lyrics were perfect for you and I feel about Isco, “No one feels the way I do about you now” hahaha. Europe’s “Golden Boy” aka young player of the year was awarded to Isco for his outstanding performances in 2012 and he just re-signed a new contract with Malaga today and the new release clause is approximately €40 million. We can still dream though!

  60. VCC says:

    The Gooner.

    Rotation. My angle is far more simplistic. You don’t have to start with a change of 3/4/5 even 6 changes.

    Why can’t we bring players on towards the end of games. Two fold, giving first choices a rest and back up/young players a run out.

    4 Times this year so far we have won by a 4 or more margin. Surely Wenger can have one or two mid fielders on the bench to have a run out. Thus giving them more experience also.

    We have currently on our books these guys who can all play in midfield =
    Diaby/Rosicky/Arteta/Wilshere/Ramsey/Ox/Cazorla/Coquelin/Arshavin/Frimpong.

    Then there is youngsters Gnabry/Aneke/Eisfeld.

    Surely this is enough midfielders?????

    Wenger seems to play guys into the ground, thus hitting the red zone. Then hey presto we have long term injuries on our hands.

  61. Steve says:

    @the gonner, kudos to u, well said. I just don’t understand why wenger enjoy deceiving the fans on transfers, This week he tells us he knows we need some quality signings and that he will make early signings, d next week he changes by probably saying “if he finds the right players,he will add, if not, he is happy with his squad”, Then another week he tells us that there are no players in the market that are better than his current players. NO PLAYER IN D MARKET IS BETTER THAN CHAMAKH, DJOROU, SQUILLACI, SANTOS, RAMSEY!!! He must think he is lying to some 2years old babies. There is too much lack of ambition in d club management, they are just interested in d money they will take home.

  62. VCC says:

    The Gooner 19:16….I’m with GLiC, …..I think I’m in Love.

  63. glic says:

    Thats no problem TG, I`m willing to waiver my prenuptial if he signs for £34m ( 40m euros ) and dont anyone say we cant afford it !. Get in quickly before the Lance Armstrong`s get in !.

  64. VCC says:

    glic…..£34m for who? Isco or Villa?

  65. The Gooner says:

    Steve,

    I don’t think Wenger is deceiving us per se, but that a lot of the players he does “want” are either unavailable or the club is asking him to pay over the odds. January is a tough time for clubs to bring in new players, since I feel the majority are either on expiring contracts, under performing or have issues with their current clubs. If you look at the majority of the signings thus far, none of the players other EPL teams have brought in would have significantly improved our side. Lewis Holtby is the lone top quality player and we’re already loaded on AMs in Cazorla, Wilshere and Rosicky.

    The issue with replacing Djourou, Squillaci, Santos and Chamakh is that AW does not know if these players on loan will be bought by the clubs he has loaned them to. If he buys new players to replace them but is stuck with them when they return from loan, then he has an immense wage bill on his hands.

  66. The Gooner says:

    VCC, unfortunately all of us are in love with Isco. The issue is whether we’d ever be able to afford him and bring him to the club!

  67. The Gooner says:

    VCC,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the rotation.

    Wenger often does substitute players in, but getting cameo appearances 10-15 mins a game is not often for our squad players to develop and find form. I believe my suggested rotation policy of the midfield for top/mid/lower table clubs would be the best way to get a run of games for all players in our squad. Of course, if we have a run of easier fixtures, we could always elect to go with a stronger line-up from time to time, but my policy would be the backbone of a structure that ensures equal opportunity.

    I believe we have enough midfielders, just not ones who can consistently stay healthy. Also, we still lack that true DM beast as TA has eluded to on several occasions. The jury is still out on Coquelin or Frimpong fulfilling their potentials in that role but both have failed to seize the opportunity thus far.

  68. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Excellento TG

    Lets face it, the pressure is on. We are taking the domestic cups a lot more seriously than we used too. Arsene used to play teams full of kids or stiffs, but now for these games his 16 man squad is very strong.

    Will be interesting to see what he does against Blackburn. Weve got Munchen a few days after.

    Juggling resources is not easy, especialy when you have conflicting pulls. On the one hand we have the established approach of qualifying for the champions league and giving the competion itself our best shot. And on the other we have the mounting pressure to win a cup, break our trophy drought and satisfy the swathes of our support that are becoming dissulsioned with groundhog day and the over comercialisation of modern football.

    The problem is, try to do both and we might end up with nothing.

  69. glic says:

    Isco you clunge, do you think I would pay £34m of my hard earned cash for a 31 year old Villa !…..f**k me..I could buy Aston Villa for less than that !. hahaha

    TG
    £34m……why cant we afford Isco ?…….If Wenger doesn`t want him because he doesn`t rate him then he really has lost the plot !. hahaha

  70. The Gooner says:

    Terry,

    Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by today! I was starting to wonder where you and some of the other regulars have been.

    Do you always plan to post the “69th” comment in every article? Glic must be on to something about your perverted ways, it’s happened on several occasions now hahaha

    You have highlighted the exact predicament that AW currently faces. He’s facing a battle on three fronts: win silverware (no matter what it is), qualify for CL next year and try to compete against the best sides in the CL. Once Arteta returns to full health and Gervinho returns from AFCON, coupled with proper rotation of Diaby and Rosicky and hopefully a new signing, I believe that the Arsenal can compete with strong line-ups in every competition! A bit optimistic of course, but I have faith in Wenger.

  71. The Gooner says:

    Hahaha Glic, I think you meant to direct that at VCC and not Isco. You must never talk to Isco in such a way!!!

  72. VCC says:

    The Gooner….My problem is I’m not sure you can pick/choose “Easier” fixtures?

  73. VCC says:

    glic…..that’s not very nice calling Isco a clunge. I thought you fancied him.

  74. glic says:

    Sorry Isco, get the whip and tell me how naughty I`ve been !, hahaha

  75. The Gooner says:

    Glic, with all the issues we currently have with our squad, it’d be an exorbitant amount of cash to splash out on one player. However, if we were to truly compete with the top clubs, adding a young, world-class talent like Isco would be the way to do it. It remains to be seen if the media reports about Wenger willing to splash out that sort of money is actually true.

  76. VCC says:

    glic…you certainly have been a naughty boy. Not only are you going to the bottom of the class but your bottom of the UMF1. hehehenry 😉

  77. The Gooner says:

    VCC, of course that is the predicament since the competition in the EPL has increased considerably this season. I would earmark Villa, Reading, Wigan and QPR as “easier” fixtures where we could see more rotation. If our players are not connecting in those games, they AW would do well to substitute our better players after half. Or at least that’s how I envisioned it happening in my head…

  78. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, yes TG. i wait for 68 and then pounce. Anyway, these days thats the closest i get to a 69. Yes indeed, the sad realisation has dawned on me, i am reduced to geting my pervy kicks on an Arsenal messageboard. hahaha

  79. glic says:

    TG
    With the money we supposedly have, is £34m really an over the top amount for a club as huge as Arsenal and for a top talent with at worse, a player we could sell on for more !.
    I used this point a while back, Manu bought Rio Ferdinand for £30m in 2002 !. It is now 2013, I`m sure we could afford it !.

  80. The Gooner says:

    Glic,

    It’s not whether or not we have the money, it’s whether or not AW will spend that amount of money when he’s of the belief that he could get a similar talent for cheaper. Who knows what actually goes on in the Arsenal hierarchy with respect to transfers…you and I both know that if I were at the helm of Arsenal, I would have submitted a formal bid for Isco about 2 years ago. The other issue is whether or not the player wants to leave since Malaga was his boyhood club…

  81. Bergkampesquer`s known as The Gooner and glic. You have been verbally issued a restraining order by my client Isco. A letter has been sent and you are both banned from Espana !.

    PS
    Get a life suckers !.

  82. VCC says:

    TheGooner 20:17

    I just don’t think it is as simple and straight forward as that. You cannot earmark certain teams/games because you have no idea who will be fit or even on form.

    You have to take each game as it comes. that’s why I would prefer to have one or two up my sleeve to send on late in fixtures for game time.

    imo Wenger has smothered himself with mid fielders, that’s where the problematic wages bill comes in.

    He seems to has swamped himself with too many mediocre bad buys lately. Where as fewer GEMS would be better to compete at the highest level.

    We keep hearing the problem he has in off loading players as they are on too higher wages……Well it was him that put them there.

  83. The Gooner says:

    VCC,

    Certainly even my rotation policy has a take it as it comes approach, but it was simply a guideline opposed to a rigid regiment. I must reiterate though, it’s not enough to just be playing squad players as substitutes in games. They must get full game time to try and find their form every now and then too.

    There have been many poor buys over the years and Wenger is currently paying for them now. If his past summer signings are anything to go by, he’s certainly on a much better path in regards to new transfers in.

  84. glic says:

    Noooooooooooo !
    I was told Isco had done a sort of town twinning thing, but with his Hampton…….he had twinned his Hampton with mine in Cornwall and mine was twinned with he`s in Malaga, he even sent me a photo with my name tattoed on it !.

  85. glic says:

    True TG, I`m going against my own advise of that he has to be available in the first place, but, If you dont ask, you dont get !.

  86. VCC says:

    Isco signs new contract with Malaga. Confirmed on sky sports.

  87. oz gunner says:

    Morning/night all

    Typical top notch read TG, and just as good are your follow up comments! I’ve got a lot of faith in young Ramsey, I think he’ll come good and I’m glad he signed a new long term deal.

    Tactics, rotation…definitely something that needs to be introduced more!

  88. The Gooner says:

    Hi oz,

    How are you doing?

    Thank you for the kind words, always appreciate it!

    I guess I’ve never come to understand everyone’s “faith” in Ramsey, he certainly showed great potential pre-injury and in the first half of last year, but I’ve still never felt that it was top, top quality if that makes sense. I’ve always seen Ramsey growing to be an ideal substitute player who could rotate in and start and be dependable. What makes you believe in Ramsey?

  89. The Gooner says:

    Also, short update on the Villa link I posted earlier:

    Not going to happen haha, confirmed by Sky Sports.

  90. oz gunner says:

    I’m good TG, yourself?
    I just think there is something about him that will see him go far. Mentally he is very strong and his stamina is arguably the best in the team, two massive qualities in today’s game. He had so much promise before his injury and it has affected his confidence. It’s as though he tries to hard to please Arsene and the fans, I think if he relaxed a bit and developed more confidence he will become a fantastic player. I’ve dreamed for a Ramsey + Wilshere combination for a very long time, and I think over the next few seasons we will see it.

    In most sports youngsters/reserve players always say the biggest shock when playing in the seniors is the speed of the game. In reserves the quality is not as good so the pace tends to drop and you think you have more time on the ball. I think Ramsey suffers from that, he gets caught on the ball at times, but it’s something he will change soon I have no doubt.

    No villa, damn you TG. This TW is getting more upsetting by the minute. At the very least I thought “Awesome, now when I play Fifa those b*stards who play as Barcelona won’t be able to select him!” Come on Arsene it’s too hard for me to defend against Villa, Messi and Sanchez…they’re all too bloody quick!!!

  91. The Gooner says:

    Oz, I’m doing excellent, thanks for asking!

    Very fair points on Ramsey, I probably just need to show some faith and be more patient. I am not sure if he’ll ever regain the pace he had pre-injury and his long passing and creativity seem to have disappeared (although this could be correlated to the lack of confidence). He’s definitely thick skinned like Theo, I was just hoping that he’d exert his influence more and take his game to another level after what he did in the first half of last season.

    Yeah the transfer situation is looking pretty bleak for Arsenal, while Tottenham and QPR have emerged as destinations for Capoue (according to his agent). Haha very reasonable logic in wanting AW to sign Villa! I’m not going to lie, I would love for us to sign a new player or two so when I also play fifa, I can have some new weapons to show off. There’s nothing concrete for us right now, the only persisting links were to Villa and Diame. It’s looking more likely than ever that nothing will happen or that AW will pull a rabbit out of his hat and surprise us all (still can hope, right?).

  92. oz gunner says:

    Glad to hear!

    It’s hard though because he showed so much promise early on. It’s hard to keep our expectations in check because we all think/hope youngsters come on like Cesc or Jack. I just think Ramsey has plateaued in his development, not everyone can improve on a sharp incline. He’s had a few rough patches but I definitely feel he’s on the up again.
    I’m probably the worst person to ask though because I felt Lansbury was going to be the next Romford Pele, unfortunately that was not the case! I also though great things would come from Vela, JET, Håvard Nordtveit, the list goes on. I tend to think every Arsenal youngster is going to be the biggest thing since sliced bread!

    I hope he does TG, if not for the team but to keep all the doomers at bay at the very least. Although I’m sure Cavani, Hummels, and Fellani wouldn’t even please that lot!

  93. The Gooner says:

    Banking on youth coming good is a personal flaw of my own too, as I’m generally more interested in prospects and up and coming players than already established talent. I just haven’t seen that same promise in Ramsey that I’ve seen in Jack, Ox, Cesc, Gibbs etc. However, I was wrong about Theo and Jenkinson and have never been happier about being incorrect about either. In fact, Theo’s already become one of my top 5 favourite current Arsenal players (after he signed da ‘ting).

  94. The Gooner says:

    Based on AW’s latest transfer comments, it appears that he’s searching for a depth signing at striker, in addition to cover in midfield since we’re short there, especially with Arteta and Coquelin injured. His comments suggest that he’s only looking for top, top quality talent that is better than what we already have and I’m not sure if those types of players are available right now.

  95. richie59er says:

    I’m arriving on this debate late so I’ve no idea who said what yet, but here’s my blind to other comments tupence worth, in response to TG’s article. First off I don’t think it has anything to do with Arsene’s valuations, as to why we as a club are unable to move players on. I think it has everything to do with players like Arshavin not accepting lower wages to play somewhere else. Shava would probably be gone tomorrow (in a flash, well ok slow walk) if he got offered the same or more than he earns now. Same with Squilla he knows the best move he can make for his future is to see out his contract with us, because no one is going to give him a pay rise (unfortunately for him it’s all down hill from now on).

    Maurine had the same problem recently with Ricardo Carvalho after speculation of him leaving Real in the summer of 2012, and with JoMo publicly stating that he (RC) wouldn’t get any playing time in the 2012–13 season, he still opted to stay at the club and fulfil his contract. Reading between the lines no one was offering RC anywhere near the wages he was on at Real, so for financial reasons why leave? Although no one could’ve predicted it when we bought him, Shava has internal issues, I really believe he could’ve gone as far as he wanted, I think he was that talented. But to rise to the top, to be a Messi or a Bergkamp technique isn’t enough! The discipline and mental strength has to go hand in hand with the physical side of playing. If Shava had been a full deck of cards he would’ve been up there with Messi, as it is he’s a sandwich short of a picnic (not in the crazy sense, just in a footballing sense).

    Next up I can’t understand this penchant for claiming Shava is being played out of position? At Zenit st P’s before we bought him he was being played wide left mid. Dicky the Advocate (No mug him) played little Andre on the left of a front three for Russia. It was hard for Arsene to play AA as a winger because as is very well known AA didn’t mind running forward with the ball at his feet, he’d do that as often as you’d want but if he lost the ball stupidly he’d either stand and watch the action or walk back with all the haste of a fully gorged sloth. Played at the Arse on the left of a front 3 was if anything worse because although he showed moments of greatness, 2 players we needed to cover for him. Incredibly some people thought he should be played centrally? Imagine? A man without an engine played in probably the most physically demanding spot on the field. Shava has only ever done anything for us when left. Now let me read everybody’s sh**! 🙂

  96. oz gunner says:

    @ Richie

    Great comment, couldn’t agree more. Some players push on to bigger and better things, others rest on their laurels. I think it’s a fundamental problem with our youth set up. Too often in recent seasons the youngsters have not progressed further, and i base it on the amount they are paid so early on in their lives. You have to be made of sterner stuff and a desire to succeed if you want to become a great player. Others think it will just appear on their lap. This is where I think development coaches not far out of the game are absolutely vital. They can groom the youngsters both on and off the pitch!

    AA is definitely a disapointment. I too felt he had the world at his finger tips. But hey maybe he doesn’t care. While we are shaking our heads in disapproval and thinking what could have been, he’s probably sitting in his mansion laughing whilst he’s having sex on a bed of money! My only advice to him is watch for paper cuts!

    @ TG

    me too, I often get more excited about the prospect of carling cup and FA cup matches as opposed to Champions League. I like the idea of promoting from within so it’s good to see what’s coming up through the ranks. They are never available though TG, if it’s not the January availability fiasco it’s the ‘market is too expensive’ or ‘inflated prices’ fiasco in the summer TW. It’s all a bit hard to stomach

  97. The Gooner says:

    Richie,

    Glad you could join the conversation!

    You make some very good points about players not leaving a club because they know they won’t be able to make the same wages elsewhere, and it’s in the best interests of themselves and their family. However, while I find this certainly to be true in other sports notably one where players can still play the sport they love in lower leagues while they are still affiliated with their respective teams, football athletes are not given the same luxury. I think if they had the option to go elsewhere on less wages, they would seize the opportunity to be playing real matches again.

    I believe that the real reason these players are not sold is because: 1) no other clubs actually place bids for the player in question or 2) other clubs offer minimal fees to the players’ respective clubs and the managers turn down the offers in fear of selling a player at a discount and having the sale come back to haunt them. Of course, this could be in combination of a player potentially not being offered acceptable wages and them not wanting to move to the interested team. Without being privy to the situation, I really cannot accurately comment on why a player is not sold. Any of the reasons we have listed could be the just cause for a player not leaving a club where they are unwanted.

  98. The Gooner says:

    In terms of AA being played out of position, perhaps I have mis-phrased my intended way of explaining his situation at Arsenal. I believe that he could have had greater success playing in the central midfield attacking position (as we saw at the Euros last summer). His creative instincts and appetite for shooting the ball make him a better fit there. Of course as you say, he lacks the work rate to play at such a premium, physical position. Naturally, we would need two defensively responsible midfielders to help cover for him. He’s definitely a lazy player and unfortunately he has no place within our squad. But by placing him on the left, a position requiring a great deal of defensive responsibility and pace, he was doomed to fail and was left naturally exposed.

  99. richie59er says:

    @Steve I not sure I’d call Santos a panic buy or a necessity buy, I mean everyone and his dog was screaming at Arsene to buy a full back (any full back) because we didn’t have one. (remember the injuries)? Now I know Arsene didn’t exactly buy a full back in Santos (he bought a Brazilian wing back) and as a Brazilian wing back Santos ain’t so bad, the trouble is we’d have to move to a totally new formation to let him play at his best. I’d actually like to see us play 3 5 2 as would a few others on here.

    @Glicster in the system we play our full backs often cover the most ground.

  100. richie59er says:

    @TG; it’s not that others were bidding too low for Shava, when he went out on loan we were forced to top up his wages. His last manager actually stated if Shava would lower his personal terms we would’ve taken him perminantly (Arsenal were in favor) in fact he told AA the door is open if he wanted to play more and get back in the Russian team. Shava ain’t just lazy he’s greedy too!

  101. The Gooner says:

    @ Richie, that’s the thing though. I’m not convinced the comments weren’t mere smokescreen tactics in telling the fans what they wanted to hear. They went out and bought Hulk and Witsel in the summer TW and I really have my doubts that they were truly interested. Of course, I’m not certain in my assumption but for some reason I think there’s “more than meets the eye” with Arsenal not being able to rid themselves of Arshavin. I also feel that the tabloids play a part in hyping up potential destinations for him, without any of the intended destinations actually having firm interest.

  102. richie59er says:

    @Oz I’m with you on that one Bro’ I watch the kids and see future stars straight away, Arsene ain’t often wrong though! He doesn’t wave goodbye until he’s sure and he’s been spot on so far, no kid has left to come good elsewhere. He keeps them for an age, I really thought (and hoped) he’d hang on to Bartley though.

  103. richie59er says:

    @TG I see it differently Shava’s shot his bolt, others can see that his usefulness is limmited! Why would they offer him the big wages he wants? He’s not value for money! If we’d had the benefit of hindsight we wouldn’t have offered him the contract he’s on. Other clubs that are now prepared to buy him want him cheap and on a salary that reflects his actual worth to them, which is less than we’re paying him. I don’t see why we’d want smoke screens, we want rid of him, his wages could go elsewhere, no like Carvalho he prefer’s money to playing.

  104. oz gunner says:

    @ Richie

    He sure doesn’t. No one can say he lets them go prematurely. The list is endless (simpson, hoyte brothers, traore, randall, barazite, ayling, ect ect).
    I do feel he is a bit of a hopeless romantic though when it comes to players who want to play football. He appears to never want to stand in their way (Bartley, diarra, and Özyakup spring to mind). I wish he was stronger in that aspect. Bartley could have easily been used of Djourou and is more developed and ready for the big stage when compared to Miquel.

  105. The Gooner says:

    @ Richie, not smokescreens from us but from Zenit. The tabloids list many clubs that are “interested” in Arshavin, but nothing ever occurs in a concrete bid from my understanding. All it is to me, is journalists looking for hits on their articles. Certainly, there’s an aspect of money involved that may not be satisfying Arshavin given the salary he’s currently making. With his contract ending in June, it made perfect sense to wait out until the end until signing elsewhere. However, with the other players like Squillaci, Santos etc. I generally believe that no one is interested in their services and it’s not a matter of not wanting to accept lower wages. In my opinion, every footballer wants to play.

  106. richie59er says:

    @TG Thats exactly it both Hulk and Witsel wouldn’t expect big salary’s because neither has been getting any as yet, Brazil then Porto for Hulk no big contract there, Liege & Benfica for Witsel the same, neither were big buys either.

  107. oz gunner says:

    @ TG

    I think every footballer wants to play when they begin their career, but more and more frequently they lose that desire and treat it more like a job. Too many players ride out their time on the bench collecting their pay check. Wayne bridge comes to mind when I think of players who just want to play. He’d rather take loan deal after loan deal rather then collect splinters.

  108. richie59er says:

    Carvalho didn’t! I saw his interview on Spanish TV. He said categorically that if Maurine wouldn’t play him he didn’t care as long as Real paid him.

  109. The Gooner says:

    @ Richie, you were completely misinformed about Hulk and Witsel not being big buys.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/1150664/zenit-st.-petersburg-sign-hulk,-axel-witsel-to-deals?cc=5901

    Zenit has not released the exact player wages, but several of their teammates have been quoted in saying both their wages are exorbitant and they earn more in a week than some do in a year.

  110. The Gooner says:

    some on the team do in a year*

  111. The Gooner says:

    I guess a player near the end of his career, like Carvalho, wouldn’t mind sitting on the bench receiving his wages.

  112. richie59er says:

    Exactly Oz G theres plenty of players around who measure themselves by the salarys and not achievements. Some know they’ve had the only big move of their careers and they milk it. I know Shava is lazy on the pitch and in training, if he had any ambition left he’d want to get back into the Russian squad but he’ll hope to get put on a good salary when he’s a free agent because he’ll cost nothing he’ll want it in kind in wages.

  113. The Gooner says:

    I think there’s an element of ego involved too. The best way for a player to exact revenge on a club that has mistreated them is to force them to pay the wages in the terms of their contract.

  114. richie59er says:

    @TG now thats the sort of newspaper selling storeyI don’t buy at all. Neither player was worth even half of the €40Mil reported and therefore that really is a storey put about to apease the fans. Both are only “ok” players we looked long and hard a Witsel as a DM. I noticed Zenit weren’t commenting on how much they payed. If that storey was true and Zenit were that dumb then Arsene was selling Shava on the cheap!

  115. richie59er says:

    Right I’m being called by both my Wife and Pillow 🙂 whichever gets me 1st, G’nite G’s.

  116. The Gooner says:

    @Richie,

    http://en.rian.ru/sports/20120906/175810769.html

    According to General Director, Maxim Mitrofanov, both were worth exactly €40Mil .

  117. oz gunner says:

    I think the ego for those sort of reports belongs to the board/owners. Look at PSG: “hey guys we payed X for Ibrah”. Zenit: “yeah well we paid Z for Hulk”. PSG: “that’s nothing, we also payed Y for Pepe”

    According to them the size of their wallet matters!

  118. The Gooner says:

    Certainly oz, but it doesn’t make the reports any less accurate if the GD is coming out and publicly showing the player’s transfer fee.

  119. oz gunner says:

    Nite richie.

    God who needs the day crew huh, the night crew is what makes this site tick…i hear they’re more handsome too! 🙂

    Suppose i best get back to school work.

    Catchya Goon

  120. oz gunner says:

    @ Goon

    I’m definitely not saying they are inaccurate. I’m just saying I think a lot of the time they leak or pay to leak the stories, so they feel a bit richer/manlier compared to the other owners.

    Suppose it’s the same if i owned an Aston Martin, i’d tell anyone who’d listen (even then I’d still tell those who don’t haha). But at the moment I’ve got a bomb so I’m not telling anyone!

    For instance:

  121. The Gooner says:

    Haha oz, of course I understood what you were saying, just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. Classic over-compensation by owners 😉

  122. Macko says:

    Hello, of aprés the site ” the team ” Etienne Capoue wishes to leave Toulouse, Tottemham, Everton and Psg is déja at the time: (

  123. TotalArsenal says:

    Holly smoke you guys have been busy last night! 🙂

    Richie, you have the honour of having written the 10,000th comment on Bergkampesque! 🙂

  124. TotalArsenal says:

    Macko Capoue will be ours! I feel it. Let’s go for him Arsene, you have nothing Toulouse!! 🙂

  125. Gerry Lennon says:

    Thanks TG for your reply earlier. I think we are on different time zones, so I’ll be as brief as I can.
    Recent comments on AA. I will defend him to a point. His current position is, as I understand, it, that his family are settled in London and he wants his children to have their education here. Arsenal gave him a contract, so if they want to end it buy him out? If Reading, Fulham, or QPR can’t match it, why should he leave? His international career is probably finished, and his next move will (out of contract) involve a signing-on fee that will off-set any wage reduction.
    As to his playing, I think much of his problems began with the rise of RVP. He is not the first player unable to ‘fit in’ with RVP’s dominant role, go to Carlos Vela, Bendtner, Chamach, and you see a recurring theme? Playing the more Podolski role, with Gibbs as the ‘wide’ man would suit him fine. The problem there is without Podolski playing, the ball gets played to Sagna’s more often that not. Also, Gibbs was missing for much of this RVP period, and Sagna was the magnet as the outlet ball. Arshavin is Russian, and it is a characteristic to get depressed(yes, a generalisation I know) and I think he got fed up with not being involved in the game. I’ve seen it time and again where he has been ignored when in space, but given the ball when he can do little with because he has two men to beat. .I think that is what has affected his game more than anything. If I can take you back to that epic CO Cup match that went into extra time … who was dripping sweat at the end of 120 minutes? Yes, the ‘idle’, ‘lazy’, ‘Don’t give a F*ck’ Arshavin. Why, because he was involved. Play him in that hub behind the strikers and you can see him near his best. The Cazorla substitute role may yet be available, if AW will stop punishing him for not leaving?
    That said, on transfers.
    I nailed my hopes on M’vila I will admit. I think Rennes management scuppered that deal by never fully accepting that with any bid they could not get more. They did not just leave the door open for others to come in, they shouted it out via a willing media to publicise.
    There will be alternatives. I cannot see Toulouse willingly letting both their DM’s going, even though they have replaced one, in their current position in Ligue 1? So Capoue will not be cheap.
    The fact that most clubs who have players that would possibly satisfy our needs are involved in scraps for European competitions, may mean will will have to do without until summer?
    I am not familiar with Maher, who is the latest rumour for a midfield addition, so I’ll await on developments there.
    Striker? Who knows if this Villa is just another dashed hope, a media driven, but never a possibility rumour, or a masterstroke in timing by AW?
    I am still hopeful of two signing before the window closes, but I recognise the difficulty in getting the players we need to improve our options.
    TG, you laughed at the D Beckham ‘signing’. I actually whispered it that it could be a good signing if we have enough room in the squad. I’m not talking long term contract or anything. But just think for a minute, a CL game with 5 minutes to go, all square, and we have a free kick … what, a curler into the top corner, a pinpoint cross on to Giroud’s head? Come on, worth a dream moment, surely?
    Seriously, he could teach a few how to get a decent ball in the box. I think it is an outside possibility. They want their kids to go to school in London(like AA), and Brooklyn is said to be a fan of Arsenal … watch this space?
    Cheers, for a good read. I will try and do more.

  126. henrychan says:

    Hi.. Morning all..
    Sorry for not my late contribution.. I just go back from a 4 days retreat in Surabaya..

    I’m very happy that Arsenal finally will come to Jakarta in 13-14 July.. After 30 years.. hehehe.. and Wenger said that he will bring all the team.. because no World Cup or European Cup this year..

    Some Rumours said we want to bring Villa for CF.. But for that position we had already 4 players who can do the job.. Giroud, Walcott, Podolski and also Gervinho.. So I don’t think Wenger will bring another CF..
    We do need a LB.. Santos must be replace with a better player.. And Jetro Willems will be great.. Diame, Gourcuff, Stekelenburg.. Any news about them..??
    Last game.. Ramsey play as a DM.. And he do just fine.. hehehehe..
    TA.. I think I am right this time for Ramsey.. hehehehe..
    And I think Eisfeld also.. He will be another Arteta in the future..

    No one make any prediction for UMF..??
    Tonight will be some games.. isn’t it..??
    I will go for draws.. hehehehe.. looking for 3 points.. hehehe..
    So I choose for:
    Stoke – Wigan draw
    Sunderland – Swansea draw
    Aston Villa – Newc draw
    Everton – WBA draw
    Fulham – WHU draw.. hehehe..
    And for this.. I can surpass our handsome VCC.. hehehehe..

  127. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Morning all, hope your all well BK’rs 🙂

    Sorry peoples, havnt been around, been really really really really really busy. With work, court cases, being charged for strangling a kangaroo on Australia day 😉 not to mention some floods that the east coast of Oz have had to endure,with cars being tipped over, trees being uprooted and damaging properties..you know same old shite in our weird summers,loss of internet, my foxtel (sky) losing its signal just before we met up with the queens from Brighton 👿

    Anyhoo, really miss being around, but when ive found 5min ive had a read but havnt commented. Hope to be around more in the next few days. When does the TW shut 😉

    @Total, you have some really talented writers on here, and TG has impressed me a few times, not to mention your goodself…always a joy, and stick to your guns 🙂

    @Oz, enjoy the desert. At this time of year, i dont know how you could. 🙂

    @Glic, any chance of a few pics up on site, of the love shack. That stuff always interests me. 🙂

    @VCC, how are ya mate? Dont you think that yellow jersey is starting to look a little stale on you. That colour is not in season and would look better on someone far more handsome than yourself. 😆

    By the way, these are my picks for this round:-

    Villains v Toon = draw
    Shitty = away win
    Sunderland v Sheep = draw
    Naarich v Spew = draw
    Chelski = away win
    Fham v Wham = draw

    Catch you all later, and keep up the good work all. 😀

  128. oz gunner says:

    Morning all,

    Damn you richie, damn you. i wanted that comment!!!

    @ PPP

    you bloody rapscallion! The upper east coast have had some big rain huh. My trip to the desert has been delayed because of the floods. Got the call a few hours before my flight. Sucks because i was good to go, now i’ll have to wait another 2 weeks most likely!

  129. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Oz,
    it hit NSW and the Eastern suburbs of Sydney where i am real bad the last couple of nights. Roofs coming off, floods, trees flying around like in Wizard of Oz. Crazy stuff..I dont mind the damage so much as losing my foxtel and internet during Brighton game. Oz, your a great scout and thanksfor Giroo, the goals were fantastic. Now, any chance you can work on getting Marco Reus, he will be the next big thing, and hes flying under the radar of excellence 😉

  130. oz gunner says:

    Thats terrible, the east coast have had shocking luck in the last few years. Queensland copped bad floods only a couple of years ago. Now us WA people are going to have to pay $16 a kg for bananas again. Have you no soul mother nature?

    Oh how I wish PPP, he is on the list of many BD players i’d like to steal. He was the perfect replacement for Kagawa. A like for like, same price, and Reus will be better! I liked how they replaced him with Reus with no fuss, easy as you like! I’ve still got my fingers crossed about Draxler!

  131. VCC says:

    Hi and a very Good Morning to all BKers.

    I have noticed Henry and PPP have submitted entries to the UMF1 League for a mid week shout.

    I think its only fair to have everybody included, so I wil take your entries guys and wait for ALL members to submit their selections.

    If we don’t get everybody involved unfortunately I will only run with the week end coming.

    I’m sure you guys understand the fairness involved there. Plus the fact I can still remain top dog for another few days.. 🙂

    Feed back please!!!!!

  132. VCC says:

    PPP. My jumper looks very dapper thank you very much.

    I’m getting used to wearing it now, will be such a miss if I get toppled.

    You must get your finger out if you want to start challenging, don’t for get you only have three more entries at 6. Also, remember, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, ask skippy. 😉

  133. alexgunners says:

    HI to all once again,

    Happy belated OZ day to all fellow Aussies.Finally back from a weekend off and ready to for more Gunners news and action.

    TG, firstly very well written article in regard to a topic where we all have different opinions on. It’s a casa of, ‘Damned if you do and Damned if you don’t.

    We have touched base on this numerous times and i believe that we need to rotate and introduce some of our back-up players and youngsters so that they are prepared to step when called upon. we have talented youngsters and rotational squad players that need the playing time.
    Training is not enough and perhaps a loan is what they need. We do have a lot of dead wood and we need to reward players for consistent performances and not just hand out contracts that do not allow us to move them on in the future.

    Yes, players can benefit from a good run in the first team but we also run the risk of player burn out. As much as AW believes that we have enough players to cover our positions, i believe that he is not right. We cannot say that Arshavin sitting on the bench and playing on the wing is enough of a back-up. I feel that we are light on our bench due to the fact that some of our players haven’t had enough of a run on the pitch to gel with first team regulars.

    This is a continued dillemma and we do need to mix up the formation a bit so that we are also not too predictable when we face teams. This would infact give us an advantage so they do not know what to expect from us. Wouldn’t that be great?

    Thanks once again TG for your view on this topic. As you know, we will all have our opinions but it would be great if someone(AW) took some of this info onboard instead of being too stubborn. I am not saying that he must go and that we need change, just that we sinply need to have more than one dimension to our game.

  134. alexgunners says:

    HI VCC,

    Sorry, i did not realize that the UMF also ran though the FA Cup games.

    Here are my predictions for this weeks’ games.

    Newcastle (AWAY)
    Man$hitty (AWAY)
    ORCS (HOME)
    Swansea (AWAY)
    The Gunners (HOME)
    Chel$ki (AWAY)

  135. VCC says:

    Hi Alex. How ya doing?

    I’m sorry you missed last week ends predictions but I promise you I done the best in the circumstances.

    I made several entries here on BK, but unfortunately you were the only one not to reply. I hope you didn’t mind us going on without your personal selections.

    I put all fixtures in a bowl then picked 6, then a separate bowl had home/away/draw.

    This is absolutely true, the first fixture that came out was…=
    Brighton v Arsenal

    Then (I was sweating here~) I picked one of the three away/home/draw tickets. Would you believe an away ticket came out. The absolute truth. Whats the odds on that happening?

    Anyway your selections weren’t too successful i’m afraid. You still have 3 more weeks with 6 selections, so all is not lost.

    Your odds were 1428-1.

    I’m afraid you have some catching up to do as you are currently joint last with that gangster GLiC.

    Many thanks for participating in a bit of light hearted fun. I find it very enjoyable.

  136. TotalArsenal says:

    Good mornin to you all! 🙂

    New Post – New Post 🙂

  137. alexgunners says:

    VCC,

    Thanks, Judging by my track record of selections in the past three weeks, you selections using the bowl are more successful than my personal selections. I may have to ask you to pull out the bowls again in the near future if my picks this week do not pan out too well.

    It’s all good fun

  138. VCC says:

    Cheers alex…..much appreciated. Your other selections were =

    Brentford v Chelsea Home
    Huddersfield v Leicester Home
    Macclesfield v Wigan Draw
    Oldham v Liverpool Away
    QPR v MKDons Draw.

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