Three wins out of last four: are Arsenal finally turning a corner?

Abou Diaby

It has been a roller coaster of a season for Arsenal characterized by inconsistency. We began the season on a high note, at some point even being the team with the best defensive statistics in the league. It was all bliss and celebration but before long, the team began to crumble. Losses against Chelsea, Schalke, Swansea and Man United, coupled with consecutive draws against Schalke (again) and Fulham, then Aston villa and Everton, saw Arsenal’s season engage in a downward spiral.

Gervinho, Mertesacker and Vermaelen had lost their early season form, Giroud was still finding his feet in the league, Wilshere and Sagna were fresh from injury, Rosicky and Diaby were still out and Walcott was still in the middle of his contract debacle. This meant that our best players were either injured, adapting, out of from or distracted. We lost ground on the leading pack and ultimately dropped out of the title race. The situation got so bad that at it began to look like we wouldn’t even finish fourth for the first time in a very long time.

Some fans began calling for Arsene Wenger’s head, but he retained his usual obstinate faith in his team and insisted that they would come good. Lately, however, it looks like Arsene may indeed be vindicated for his faith. Three wins and a draw in the last four games shows that the team may be beginning to put together a run that will see us get back in the champions league slots. We are five points adrift third spot, with a much more forgiving fixture list than those above us. We are beginning to display the kind of football that the world has become accustomed to seeing from the boys in red and white.

There are five particular players I would like to credit for this turn around: Wilshere, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud and Gibbs.

Wilshere has become the heartbeat and engine of the team, giving his absolute best even when the team is against the ropes (like in the first half against Chelsea). He defends, runs at players creates space for his team mates, and rips apart opposition defences with his incisive passing, constantly. Everyone is touting him as the next Arsenal and England captain, some even believing that this should be so immediately.

Walcott has become our most potent attacking threat and has become impossible to handle with his pace, first touch, combination play, movement and incredible finishing. He truly has matured.

Podolski continues to be our Mr. reliable with his goals, assists and defensive work on the left hand side of attack.

Giroud has really found his footing and is constantly finding the back of the net. His work rate, combination play, physical presence and predatory finishing have become too much for some to handle, and he still is getting better.

Gibbs (lately) has become our best defender. Both his defensive and attacking displays have really driven Arsenal to the form we all desire. He and Podolski have formed an incredible understanding on the left hand side.

Arsenal have began playing the kind of one touch football that makes me depressed every time there is an international break and I have to wait two weeks to watch them play. It began in that devastating 12 minute spell against West Ham where we absolutely destroyed them, scoring five goals in the process. That form has continued against Brighton, Liverpool and Stoke.

Our defence, however, was absolutely wanting against Brighton and Liverpool. Against Stoke, on the other hand, it was solid (granted we dominated the game in its entirety and Stoke aren’t known for their attacking prowess). I was particularly impressed with our new boy, Monreal’s defensive contribution. He is a remarkably astute defender, plus he has the ball skills of a winger. Not a bad buy, I must say. Mertesacker must also get some praise as he was our best center back. He dealt with crouch the whole game and this was key in keeping a clean sheet.

If you consider that players such as Rosicky and Diaby are fresh from injury, and will get better as games go by, and Gervinho’s displays at the AFCON are carrying the Ivory Coast, you realize that the prospect of finishing third is very real. Whether Arsenal can maintain this form is yet to be seen, but the initial signs are good.

Laurent Koscielny

We are out of the title race for sure, but we have a chance to go for the FA cup and with the belief, we could be the surprise the Champions league, like Chelsea did last year.

COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!!

Written by: Marcus

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79 Responses to Three wins out of last four: are Arsenal finally turning a corner?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent stuff Marcus. 🙂

    All agreed that Wilshere, Walcott, Podolski, Giroud and Gibbs have been great. I am bit surprised you left Santi, Sagna, TV and to a lesser extent Szczesny and the BFG out, but to be fair they have not been as consistent and good compared the five you mentioned in your post.

    I was looking at the MC-Liv game yesterday, and although MC have more quality on the pitch and bench than Pool, what the Northern Oilers were missing were players with more than professional drive: the real passion to win at any cost was missing, and without it any club is doomed.

    To be fair, Arsenal have been missing this at times this season, but the players you have picked, all have that professional AND passionate drive to win for the club and give their all. Out of the five you picked, especially Wilshere, Gibbs and Giroud have that attitude, and I have been well impressed with Walcott and Podolski too. But I would also like to add Arteta, Sagna, Koz and TV, and to a slightly lesser extent the BFG, Ramsey and Szczesny: they want to win and care about the club too.

    Now it is about getting them all to gel better and go from strength to strength. Let’s hope we will not be speaking about the need for more steel in midfield and/or defence for the rest of the season. Wenger has taken a big risk in my view by not being more decisive during the last TW.

    Anyway, Marcus, thanks for another fine and upbeat post: just what we needed on a wintery, February Monday morning (in the UK at least!). 😛

  2. VCC says:

    Marcus,

    Fine post, I think you sum the present up nicely.

    I would add Szezney to your credit list. Although he has one or two shaky moments, by and large he has performed well. Considering his back line have been inconsistent.

    If we can carry our present form into the rest of the season I see no reason why we can’t get at least fourth place in the premiership, and why not win the FA Cup.

  3. VCC says:

    Total.

    You mention drive and real passion for your club. I simple loved the confrontation between Jack and Michael Owen.

    This shows Jack won’t stand for any one messing with his boys. It’s a characteristic we have missed since TA has left.

    We need a bit of steal in the side, and with Jack leading the way perhaps the rest will follow.

    It looks as though he will have at least one ally in Nacho. This lad looks like he don’t take prisoners.

    Very up beat in this part of England (Essex) the place that’s full of beautiful women and handsome debonair men.

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha VCC 🙂

    Back a bit later to comment on your last comment.

  5. Gerry Lennon says:

    Nice one Marcus, Upbeat message is what we want.
    The real key as to whether we can carry this momentum forwards is getting the defensive side solid without losing our attacking potency?

    Against Stoke it was clear to me that the duo of defensive midfielders in Arteta and Diaby help snuff out any possible counter attack. That gave us the base to attack the second half on even terms. We also had 3 good opportunities to score against that 10 man defensive wall. Instead, the clean sheet meant the goal we did score counted for 3 points.

    Above all, we need a clear run avoiding injuries, especially to the above named pair.
    I can’t say I look too far down the fixture list, so it is just one game at a time for me.

    Fingers crossed with the international break, eh … except may be in the Netherlands???

  6. Gerry Lennon says:

    VCC – Did anybody else notice that little Jack is taller than Michael Owen? When did that happen?

  7. marcus says:

    Thanks TA and VCC.
    I left out TV and Sagna because they’ve had an inconsistent season, and based on what we know of them, that isn’t acceptable. I remember Sagna was named Mr. consistency once so I hold him (and TV) in very high regard so when they produce sub par performances, it is disappointing. Szczesny however does deserve a mention. He’s part of the reason we have been far much better defensively. I love the way he commands the box, protects his area, communicates with the defenders and when he is one on one with a striker, you feel that he has a chance of keeping the ball out of the net. Even when he makes mistakes, he does it with such authority. I think he is and will be a top player.

  8. GoonerB says:

    A very nice write up Marcus. Out of the other players mentioned by TA, if I was to pick one, I would add Santi to the list of key players that are making us tick recently. I do think he has drifted slightly more out of games at times recently, but he is in his first EPL season, and has has played a lot of games considering this. I do, however, feel that he always has periods in each game where he positively affects it. There are many times where I feel a sudden improvement in our play coincides with Santi upping the level of his game. I should probably say him and / or Wilshere, and at times it seems to me that they both feed off each other, with one taking the lead of the other, so that they both start to crank up the pressure in tandem.

    The defence collectively, for me, still has a way to go before I consider it as being part of why we are on the up. I currently feel it is mostly all down to our offensive part of the team and if anything the defence has done its best to cancel out the positives they achieve in a game.

  9. marcus says:

    Oh and an observation I made; the Ox plays much better when he is played on the left (for some reason). I’ve noticed that when he is played on the right, he tends to employ a timid approach that makes him anonymous for large chunks of a game but when he is played on the left he gets some what of a jolt in confidence and terrorizes the defenders like he did yesterday (and his famous display against man u). I can’t even begin to try and explain that so i guess the left side suits him more, maybe?

  10. marcus says:

    Gooner B
    Also I left out santi (marginally) because he seems to drift in and out of games unlike when he first arrived. Also, if you take keen notice, you find that lately he gifts possession away a tad too easily. Just watch his last 4 games. Maybe I’m being hard on him because i’m comparing him to Jack, who it takes illegal force from the opposition to dispossess him.

  11. marcus says:

    Oh and is it just me or does Nacho and Crouch look disturbingly alike? hahahahahaha

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC,

    All agreed on Jack’s on-field leadership skills. He was the only one in our away game against the Mancs who battled hard and fought for the shirt on the day: the rest were caught in an intravert daze. Just love the guy’s commitment and drive, combined with his vision.

    Did you notice his corner-kicks: quite a bizarre style but his delivery into the box is superb!

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gerry, fully agreed on Diaby and Arteta’s fantastic job to snuff out any counters, and keeping the pressure in Stoke’s half constantly. I reckon if and when we play against a bus-parker, we need to get one of two play next to, or even in front of, Jack; around the ‘D’ area. I felt Jack was left too many times isolated and with only Giroud to pass to into the middle.

    In these sort of park the bus games, I reckon Jack should play a bit deeper and either Cazorla or Diaby should play as close as possible to Giroud.

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Marcus, Szczesny is doing fine until now; he is a chancer though, as in he likes to bluff and tries to frighten oponents. I thought the Stoke keeper looked very good.

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus, yes Nacho and Crouch do look the same! 🙂

    Their names also sound like two cowboys from the wild west…. Okay I’ll get my coat… 😳

  16. GoonerB says:

    Marcus @8.58, I have been banging on for ages about playing the Ox from the left and not the right. If not the left then maybe the attacking central area. I used the example that last season his 2 best performances, for me, were Milan at home and Utd at home. In those games I believe he played central and left respectively. Some attacking wide players just favor more the opposite flank while some prefer to play on the orthodox flank.

    I am not so sure there is any great mystery to it, and I would look at it on the lines of whether you see a certain player as an attacking wide player who is a big goal threat, or are they an attacking wide player that is more a creator for others.

    Those that are the goal threat are better cutting in onto their stronger foot. I would use Overmars and Pires as examples, and you could even look at Messi and Ronaldo. I see the Ox as this type of player who may even eventually play in the central areas as well. There is a great England under something training video of him (if anyone can post it up) to highlight his shooting ability.

    Other players like Lennon, say, prefer to be providers from the orthodox flank and chip in with only a few goals. I actually see this more as Gervinho’s role and is why when at times we had the Ox right and Gervinho left I thought that Arsene had it the wrong way round.

  17. GoonerB says:

    Sorry, just to dismiss any confusion, when I made reference to Lennon I didn’t mean you Gerry that frequents this site. I was referring to the one from you know where that shall not be named.

  18. marcus says:

    TA,
    lol yeah from the wild wild west..hahahahaha
    Gooner B,
    Very true. In fact Wenger keeps saying he sees the Ox ending up in the middle but I’m not so sure that matches his skill set. The Ox is a decent passer (for now) at best but has electric pace, can dribble AND (despite his current goal record) I believe he is a goal scorer. Chamberlain has one of the best shots on him in the squad and I believe his poor scoring record is down to his inexperience. He tends to shoot straight at the keeper more often than not which I believe is due to his lack of composure and inexperience. Look at his goals against newcastle and coventry. This is a player who when given a proper chance in his proper position will return 16-20 goals a season at least. I am willing to bet on that.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    GoonerB, there was I thinking you meant Gerry Lennon, Neil Lennon, or even John Lennon. I don’t, or refuse to, know any other Lennons! 😛

    GoonerB and Marcus,

    Good points about Ox’s ideal position. As long as we play with two holding DM’s and one AM, I reckon there is only space for Ox: on the wing – either of them. On Saturday, I thought we had an opportunity to play with one DM – either Diaby or A Treat – and two AM’s. The Ox could have worked really well next to Jack, with Cazorla or the Pod on the wing instead.

    Having said that, if we were to play with two up-front my preference would be for Cazorla and Wilshere, but I also don’t think we have the right calibre of DM at the moment to play such an adventurous formation. So for now, it is Ox on the wing for me and he just needs to start taking his chances a bit better; likes others have said, at least he was in the right place at the right time on a couple of occasions. The rest will follow.

  20. marcus says:

    TA,
    You’re right. We don’t have the correct calibre DM to play like that. By the way, gooners, here’s something many of you don’t know. You know how wenger said we almost signed someone on deadline day, but the club wouldn’t sell? Most of you think he’s talking about Villa (I thought so too). It’s actually not. They player he was talking about is etienne capoue. Toulouse wouldn’t sell him. However, we may still go after him in the summer. Now, had that transfer gone through we would have the proper calibre of DM.

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    Yep Marcus, after selling Sisonko they could not sell Capoue mid-season as well, I reckon. NU went in there first and we were the ones Toulouse out! 😦

  22. alexgunners says:

    Marcus,

    Great article and it is great to see some good performances on the field. It is invaluable to show your heart and passion on the pitch. We have a good squad and if everyone played with that determination and passion, nobody could stop us. What does stop us is the inconsistency.

    The team is starting to play well together and i do think that the team is playing now as a unit, no more distractions of TW or contracts. They do know that they have to make every game count in a race to third spot. We often criticize our team for playing so badly but lets also look at the fact that we are not too far off 3rd place and this is the worst start to a campaign in 50 odd years. It’s not all bad and I am not saying that we do not need reinforcements because we do.

    @VCC 07.53

    I loved Jack’s passion, he wants to bring a certain strength to this team and i believe that he is doing exactly that. We will not get pushed around, we will dish out as much as you give. Look at the Orcs, normally we are cautious and instead we just tried to stay to our game plan instead of being bullied. Great work Jack

  23. Red Arse says:

    A very good post, Marcus, and hits all the right notes for me. 🙂

    Have you seen much of the ACN? Who do you think is the best player there, and how do you think Gervinho got on?

    The Gerv is a nice man, but he is not my favourite player, but I am wondering if he plays with more confidence in Africa?

  24. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, 🙂

    You are just showing off your linguistic skills now!! “We were the one Toulouse out!” I like it! 🙂

  25. Red Arse says:

    Marcus/TA,

    You may have a point that Nacho Man and Crouch have a passing resemblance, apart from the disparity in height.

    Nacho is just under 6′, while Crouch is 6′ 7″, and you know what the ladies say – “Forget about the 6 feet – just show me your 7 inches!!”

  26. Gerry Lennon says:

    Hey TA, leave my relative out of this. I think Gooner B is quite right, anybody who read my football past would know instantly that I could be confused with a speedy winger who makes assists rather than score … ?

    On Nacho lookalikes, when I first saw him I thought we had got Yossi Benayoun on loan again? They do share that slightly gaunt look about them?

    I’ll rather judge Sissoko at the end of the season. With others recovering, Nouveauchatel – yes, I was an avid Eurobot reader during the recent ‘window – could still go down?
    I just hope that we don’t get Toulouse out twice? Boom Boom!
    It could be they kept the better one, which was my understanding, So a summer acquisition could be the start of something big, Non?

    Bye the way, I only added my last name because there were other Gerry’s who responded on other blogs, so if they do not frequent these fine pages, feel free to drop it to Gerry

  27. Gerry Lennon says:

    Red Arse – I thought that would be a good discussion point. Who, if anybody, would be worth signing?
    The fact that so many average Eurpoean based players look very good, it does raise the question about the standard out there? Although he did not distinguish himself last night, I thought Kedeye Brown of Burkino Faso was one of my picks. There were a few others that had shown flashes of brilliance, but he looked one of the more consistent?

    How about you?

  28. marcus says:

    Red arse,
    Gervinho has been the best player in the AFCON so far, until they were eliminated yesterday. Check my last post on him and you’ll see video evidence of his fantastic goals.
    oh, and by the way, here in Kenya, its more like 8-10 inches..lool

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus 😆 you tell him!

    Redders has already told us he is more than 6 feet tall, and the rest he has left to our imagination… but now you told him he would still be regarded as a smallie in your neck of the woods! 😛

  30. richie59er says:

    The Gerv can spar with the Pod for the position left of centre, I wholeheartedly agree with some of my Gooner brothers the Ox also looks far better left or central rather than wide right, so we’ve got everyone one and his dog wanting to play centrally. Theo, Pod, Ox. Girou (d) “the only real CF type” somethings gonna have to give.

  31. Red Arse says:

    TA/Marcus,

    Regretably, my joke does not work too well for me, I am only 6′ 5″, so a short arse 5′ 10″ guy would have the ladies running to protect their modesty!! 🙂

    Gerry, I have to admit that the Gerv has looked very good when I saw him play in the ACN, and marcus’s video highlights that, but he frustrates me when he plays for us.
    Wonderful dribbles, at pace, all wasted by not having an end product.

    I see you have picked up on Kedeye Brown, but for me there are so many terrific looking African players, many of whom are already in European football, that I could not make up my mind as to who were the stand out players.

  32. Mike says:

    Well Marcus I only wish I could be SO optimistic but although I agree it was a fine display vs Stoke and if you only watch the second half of the Liverpool and Chelsea games your right we don’t look half bad. BUT I still am not watching the same Arsenal of the Bergkamp era. We now have a solid team but it is still missing those truly special players. I rate Podolski as equal to Ljungberg (even though he plays on the left) He may even be as good as Pires but as he would have more assist if the players he was passing to where as good as Prires had on the pitch with him. Now the rest there is no one equal to Bergkamp (RVP might have had we held on to him) in spite of his good goal scoring run of late Walcott is not equal to his No 14 shirt he is good but no Henry. And now back to the midfield Wilshere is a solid player but he still has not displayed anything to me beyond that he is NO Cesc Fabergas or Patrick Vieira (nether is Diaby although he also is also good when fit) And I am not trying to be down on Wilshere but he Is the player everyone keeps saying is our best player and that bothers me as for me he is just doing what is expected of a CM. He is good but I would not rate him as the best CM in the EPL.

    But I agree we do look good enough to possibly qualify for CL football next season but I do not think we have a squad yet that can WIN the title or be among the list of teams in the CL that actually have the quality to WIN it. Not really. But it is true ones you get to the knockout stage in any cup competition anything can happen. But the 03/04 squad came up short in the CL so do you really think this years team really stands a realistic chance. Well maybe that is what it is a chance which is Not the same as being likely to happen.

    There is a lot of positives in the squad and yes on their day they can be a competent team but so can Chelsea, Spurs, (heavens did I say that) Everton,or even Swansea they have all been good on their day and all of them at some point looked like they could finish top 4 none look consistent enough to get to the top spot though.

    Not that I am picking on just Arsenal as I know Arsenal may have just have been really lucky to have assembled the team they did at that time. And remember Arsenal STILL had a good team even after Real Madrid, built the Galacticos team in that same era buying up the so called best in the world. I think the EPL of the late 90s early 2000’s was better then now. Players like Steven Gerrard and Lampard, Giggs, Scholes were in their prime then As when I look at the EPL today and look to see who is the Ruud van Nistelrooy, the Zinedine Zidane, the Bergkamp the Henry level players and you know except for RVP who comes close I really do not see anyone who has that amazing talent in the EPL at the moment. That is why ManU wanted RVP so bad and Giggs still is in the ManU squad and Scholes had to come back out of retirement last year to help ManU. I think on the whole the league has a lot more GOOD players then in the past but it is Missing the number of Exceptional players it once had.

    Now some of the talented younger players may still develop into that type there are more then a few that could Wilshere is just one of a few in the EPL but really at 21 he has plenty of time to develop yet and I have to take in to account the time lost due to injury so he could prove me wrong I admit he has half of what you want in a legend now he needs to start pulling off the amazing be it passing that is so good you are amazed or goals or both.

  33. Highbury Harmony says:

    Marcus,

    Great write-up and it’s nice to see you back at BK! I was wondering where you had been the last few days, but the small break seems to have inspired even more positivity :).

    I pretty much agree with everything you say, as those 5 players have all played a key role in getting our team results the past 4 games. My issue is when we face the big clubs, Giroud completely disappears and against Stoke on Saturday, he was once again fairly invisible. When our team plays the ball along the ground more, he becomes less effective, despite not being a slouch in any way on his passing and ball control along the ground. He just seems to thrive on corners, set pieces and ball delivery through the air, which is a slight concern for me going forward. Our play has always been about keeping the ball on the ground and I’d like to see him become more effective in our “classic” style of play, opposed to the slightly revolutionized style that we’ve been trying to force this year. It’s great to have that alternative option in attack though, especially when our classic style is not working.

    Having Diaby back to full health is the key for me. His presence is what we’ve missed most in the midfield and when he’s on form, there aren’t many who can stop or match him. His combination of pace, technique, vision, aggression and ball control are just outstanding. I still remember that game against Liverpool earlier in the year and my jaw just dropped because that performance showed what he was capable of and was exactly what we had been missing.

    What happened to the Ivory Coast in AFCON? I was following the score live yesterday and was fairly shocked that they were eliminated.

  34. VCC says:

    Red Arse 13:59

    “but for me there are so many terrific looking African players”…….well ducky, I didn’t know this about you.

    At 6’5” you must have a very large closet, welcome out. . 🙂

  35. AKB says:

    Dear Highbury Harmony.

    I too, are not sold on Giroud. I think he blows hot and cold. I will be looking to acquire a more dynamic striker in the summer and use Giroud as an alternative back up.

    Can you use your European scouting skills and come up with a jack in the box type of player for me?

    Many thanks

    Yours truly

    Arsene Wenger.

  36. glic says:

    Evening Gargleshmucks 😆

    Thanks Marcus for a fine post, I give you 8/10 !. hahaha

    You beat me to it Vic`s, I was thinking the same thing about Redders !. hahaha

    Remember William Perry that Big defensive lineman playing for the Chicago Bears, he was called ” The Fridge ” !. So Redders being bigger than him should be called ” The Closet “, you definately dont want to be in there with him !. hahaha

  37. Red Arse says:

    Right you GurgleWangels – that is a declaration of WAR.

  38. AKB says:

    Red Arse, …I’m going to scratch your eyes out sweetie… XXX

  39. marcus says:

    Mike,
    Thanks for the compliments. I both agree and disagree with you. Yes, you can not compare the players one on one (like theo to thierry, etc) they may not be as good. But i disagree with your premise. This is because you are trying to compare players in a different team set up in a completely different era. For example back then we played 4-4-2 which means if bergkamp, henry, ljunberg and pires played in this setup, one of them would have to be benched and bergkamp would play on the wing. How effective would they be then? Plus they all have different strengths and weaknesses. like in pires vs poldi, pires may be the more elegant player but poldi has a better defensive contribution and a harder shot. Therefore its less about the players individually and more about the team setup. Like right now player for player we have a much better mid than man united yet we are 21 points behind them.

  40. marcus says:

    hi highbury harmony,
    it was a busy few days but now I’m back. Sadly, just in time for the international break.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Marcus at 19.31 all agreed. 🙂

    Mike: fine, well reasoned comment! 🙂

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    AKB (aka VCC),

    Depending on your budget, I can recommend a couple options:

    1) Exhibit 1 – Edinson Cavani. His skills and scoring track record are there for everyone to see, he’s got phenomenal ball control, aerial ability, first touch and is as clinical as they come. He can hold the ball up well, link up with players on the ground, has great pace and makes intelligent movements as well. He is the complete forward in every sense of the word and if we’re truly looking to compete with the Mancs domestically and with Barca, Real, Bayern etc. internationally, Cavani is the one player that could push us over the top.

    Rumoured price: £45-52 million

    2) Exhibit 2 – Stevan Jovetic. A burgeoning young talent who’s only starting to realize his vast potential, he has sublime ball control, first touch and vision. He’s very similar to RVP earlier in his career, where injuries have somewhat hindered him in reaching his potential sooner, but no one questions his ability. He could stand to be more clinical on his chances, but he often plays in the DB10 role behind the main striker, which has somewhat limited his goal scoring. As determined as they come, he’s also not afraid to get involved physically and will stand up for his teammates and get in the thick of things in a physical contest.

    Rumoured price: £20-25 million

  43. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also AKB,

    Both options can also be seen as complements to Giroud since neither are the exact same type of striker. In Cavani you have the ultimate complete package, that can do everything Giroud and RVP could (granted less technical ability than RVP, but more pace). In Jovetic, you basically have the complete opposite of Giroud, since while Giroud excels in aerial duels and holding up play, Jovetic excels in pace and keeping the ball along the ground (whether it be by his outstanding dribbling or passing) and isn’t too shabby in the air either.

    Given our need to also address our defence (DM and CB), it would make more sense to go for Jovetic unless the rumours are true that money is no object for Arsenal (anymore).

  44. GoonerB says:

    Either of them sound great HH but I do feel we have a lot of attacking technical ability now going into the last third, so a prolific goal-scorer that could link in well with our other technical players would be my preference, if money is no object. I have watched how often Utd have won a game late on, that they have not been that great in, purely due to how many prolific goal-scorers they can get out there. They literally score their way out of trouble.

  45. glic says:

    I recommend these options :

    1) Exhibitionist 1 – glic. Like all the greats….Pele. Zico, Isco etc his name has 4 letters and will fit on most Hamptons. A two footed striker of your goolies and a right fist f**ker. Quick witted to bamboozle the hardest of defenders. A handsome bastard rumoured to be the next Bond. Yes he owns enough land to build another Emirates on, yes he`s an international playboy, yes he`s the cure for lesbianism, but he also has a sensitive side in which he can relate to peasants like you !. The list is endless !.

    Rumoured price: 3 Pies & Mash or 2 Salt Beef Bagels.

    2) Exhibitionist 2 – glic`s mirror. As above but a left fist f**ker !.

  46. Highbury Harmony says:

    GoonerB,

    That’s exactly the difference between the top teams and us, on days that they’re not the better team, they still find ways to win. I believe a clinical striker of the highest caliber would be the ideal option but AW spending £45-50 mil is almost out of the question. Granted, by then Napoli may have already achieved their goals (winning serie A or qualifying for CL) so perhaps they’d be willing to sell him for less than his buy-out clause (maybe around £35-40 mil), which would still be a massive sum of cash for the financially prudent AW.

  47. AKB says:

    Dear Mr. Harmony

    I don’t know who told you that money was no object, but they are pulling your leg. Cash is the first thing my board looks at ( they’re a greedy, stingy lot).

    With that in mind I would not be able to pursue any striker over the £20 mil mark.

    So, your mission, should you choose to take it, is, I need you to come up with someone valued under that price.

    Cheers Arsene.

  48. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahahaha Glic, clearly either option would more than adequately solve our clinical striker conundrum. It also seems that signing Glic would help Arsenal’s global brand, as solving lesbianism could make Arsenal the ideal club to support in the LBGT community.

  49. Highbury Harmony says:

    AKB,

    At under £20 million, you might as well sign up that Glic character hahaha. You aren’t going to find a proven, top notch caliber striker at that price!

    I will continue to look through my library of player scouting reports to see if anyone fits the bill.

  50. AKB says:

    Mr. Highbury Harmony.

    “you might as well sign up that GLiC character”………four letter strikers…….we would be better off with a “Prat” than” GLiC”. 🙂

  51. AKB says:

    Salt Beef Bagals or Pie n Mash……that’s such a difficult decision.

  52. Highbury Harmony says:

    AKB,

    In response to your earlier request for a striker that fits your price criteria of under £20 million, the best two options I can immediately think of are:

    1) Robert Lewandowski – Great ball control, good pace, very strong aerial ability and is equally adept at playing the ball along the ground and linking up with team mates. I wouldn’t class him as a clinical finisher yet, though he is certainly getting close with his scoring record (22 goals in 34 Bundesliga starts last year and 13 in 19 starts this year). Much like Giroud, he makes very intelligent runs and has a penchant for finding open space, yet he can dribble his way through defences and create scoring opportunities for himself too. He’s basically a faster, more technical and refined Giroud (hold up play and aerial ability are good but not quite as strong though).

    However, his rumoured price is £15-20 million and I’m not sure if he’s a significant enough improvement over what we have now to push us over the top. Lewandowski has certainly showed the qualities to eventually become a top notch striker though, and Manure are rumoured to be chasing the striker’s signature this summer.

    2) Marco Reus – Excellent pace and ball control, this young talent has the ability to take on defenders one and one and has the composure to finish in tight spaces. Not great in aerial duels, but he certainly has the raw talent that could see him eventually develop into a world-class player. Joachim Low sees Reus as the eventual replacement for Podolski on the left and many believe he’s already a better player than Lukas was at the same age (given his starts for Germany in the past Euro Cup and goal scoring record at such a young age; 18 goals in the Bundesliga as a 22 year old, 11 the year before and 8 the year before that).

    Rumoured price: £15-20 million

  53. TERRY MANCINI'S SOLICITOR says:

    Great stuff Marcus, i love your enthsiasim.

    I share your sentiments. The sun is setting on a difficult era and a new dawn awaits.

    At the end of every home game Jack Wilshere gos to every corner of the ground and applauds the support. Others follow him, Chesney, Ox, Gibbs etc. He is all but captain in name.

    Some of the critics are right. The Grove can at times be a souless bowl and in the world of corporate greed the fans can feel like customers rather than supporters. The antidote to this is a new team led by boys that have a genuine feel for the club and though this may be controversial to some, no connection to Highbury.

    Wilshere and co are that antidote. There heart, unlike mine by the way, belongs to the Grove not Highbury. This new spine will shake of the past and take us into a glorious new future.

    Keep the Faith

  54. AKB says:

    And so say all of us Terry’s solicitor.

  55. marcus says:

    harmony, gooner B
    Its very difficult to pick between Cavani and Jovetic. That said, after careful thought, I’d go for Jovetic. Cavani is world class and is among the world’s top 3 strikers. However, to me he is too similar to Giroud (only better). He is a tall, strong goal scorer, and we have that in Giiroud. What we don’t have in our team is a striker with immense skill who can score spectaculars, dribble well and create things (a la Bergkamp). Acquiring Jovetic would give our forward line not just depth but range. 3 different types of strikers. I’m not saying Jovetic is better than Cavani, I’m saying he is a better fit based on what we have at our disposal.

  56. AKB says:

    Mr. Harmony.

    Right that’s it then, I’ve made my mind up I’ll take Lewandowski.

    Can you pop over to Munich and tell them all, we will be back in the Summer to grab him.

    When you get back put your expenses on a petty cash slip, it’ll be sorted, I promise. 😉

    Regards

    Arsene.

  57. marcus says:

    Highbury,
    I would dance in the rain the day arsenal bought Reus. He is so good that I feel jealous that BVB got him before we did. He is a super player who can replace Pires. That’s how highly I rate him. But that valuation is way off. I don’t see BVB letting him leave for anything less than 30Million.

  58. Highbury Harmony says:

    AKB,

    Interesting that you chose Lewandowski over Reus, I’m actually a bigger fan of Reus despite the fact that Lewandowski’s goal scoring record has been better this year and last. There’s something about the raw talent that he has and the promise of more that I’m drawn to. Reus is just so fast and so talented with the ball at his feet that it overcomes the weakness in aerial duels. Lewandowski doesn’t have any one ability that really stands out to me, aside from his goal scoring track the last few years, and he may only get better.

    For under £20 million, Lewandowski certainly appears to be Arsenal’s best bet though. We would just have to beat out a host of other clubs to get his signature this summer!

    Marcus,

    Borussia Dortmund are one of my favourite clubs and seeing Reus go there opposed to Bayern or Manure made me so happy, even if Arsenal couldn’t get him. I don’t think Reus would be sold at £30 million. They rate Mario Goetze at that price and Klopp considers him their best player. However, you are right, I may have slightly undervalued Reus. If Reus was interested in leaving, he’d probably be sold for £20-25 million.

  59. Highbury Harmony says:

    Actually AKB and Glic, you two would love this lad, Reus, if you watched him play more often. He’s just as good as this highlight reel makes him out to be:

  60. AKB says:

    H & H

    After watching that video I have changed my mind.

    Reus it is. I’ll take him instead of Lewandowski.

    He has quick feet, can shoot with both feet and has an airport named after him.

    Don’t let GLiC see this lad, he may come over all unnecessary

    Can you pop over tomorrow please in case ManUre get wind of us after him.

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    AKB,

    If I am to drop by your office tomorrow, I need to know if I am being offered a job as a hit man to eliminate the competition or the position of head scout. I must know so I can prepare my questions and responses in advance and tailor my resume accordingly ;).

    Yours truly,

    HH

  62. Highbury Harmony says:

    Another 4 letter superstar Glic, it must be fate then! Perhaps your “Isco” tat on your todger can be salvaged through slight modifications by combining the ‘Is’ into an “R”, the “c’ into a “e”, erasing the top of the “o” to make it a “u” and finally adding a “s”. What do you think?

  63. AKB says:

    H & H .

    You’ve got the job as hit man.

    Ok, drop by my office tomorrow, I’ll give you Terry’s address and you can collect a shooter from his loft.

    Then you have to go to Launcestown Asylum and waste that four lettered guy in room 69.

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic could not tattoo the word REUS on his hampton. The Dutch meaning of the word is ‘giant’, and it would be so sad for him to hear the hysteric laughter if and when he revealed his pride in full glory to a Dutch speaking lady. 😛

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha TA 🙂

    Perhaps since we couldn’t erectify (err I mean rectify) that Isco tattoo situation, perhaps we can help him remove the “Cesc” tramp stamp that he got a few years back first. I’m feeling a little generous today and we all know Glic’s affinity for players with four lettered names!

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    There is also Kanu on his anus, Song on his tongue, and Rice on one of his testicals…. 😛

  67. Highbury Harmony says:

    🙂 TA, I said I was feeling a little generous, not feeling like Mother Teresa! And why stop there, I’m sure he also had Cole on his other nut and Kolo on his butt cheek too hahaha

  68. Highbury Harmony says:

    has*

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent additions HH. 🙂

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi VCC,

    Herer are my UMF’ers:

    Draws for Spuds, Southampton, Norwich, Villa and Stoke. 🙂

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Right, night all! 🙂

  72. oz gunner says:

    @ Marcus

    great uplifting post, and fingers crossed we have turned the corner. If everything clicks I see no reason for us to not grab 3rd place again.

    @ HH

    Definitely undervalued Reus the first time. He went to BD for 17 million and has been a quality purchase. Very good buy and an upgrade on kagawa I feel. BD really are spoilt, they have probably the best two young Germans in the world at the moment (Reus and Gotze) and I don’t think they’d part for either unless 30 million+ was offered.

    Canavi would be a dream. Lewandoski would be my choice. Young, clinical, not overly expensive and a real handful. Wouldn’t surprise me if Manu snapped him up though, especially if they continue not using Rooney as a striker. I’m shocked hernandez hasn’t got fed up and left yet though, surely with his knack fr scoring he’s been offered big deals in spain or italy

  73. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oz,

    Reus was bought for 17 million Euros, the equivalent of £14.5 million, so the valuation wasn’t off by too much. His statistics aren’t representative of how good he’s been for BD this year, as him and Gotze have formed a fantastic, almost innate partnership in their link up play. It’s been a pleasure to watch.

    SAF seems to have Chich’s ear though, there were rumours that he wanted to leave but then he had a meeting and apparently his long-term future is still with Manure. I really don’t think Lewa will go to there, it was just speculation as I can really see them going for Wanyama as their big purchase this summer. With RVP/Chicharito/Welbeck up front, they have plenty of strikers and Rooney can also play as a SS or as a midfielder. Either way, they are not short on options and I’m convinced Lewa would see this as well.

    I see Cavani going to $hitty and Aguero going back to Spain. That leaves the door open for us to go in for one of Jovetic or Lewandowski and for some reason, I feel strongly that AW will buy one or the other (gut feeling).

  74. oz gunner says:

    I don’t think welbeck will make it at united.

    I hope/pray your gut feeling is correct. Bit like sturridge at chelsea
    That’d be immense!

  75. oz gunner says:

    oops second part needs to be will welbeck

  76. oz gunner says:

    God RA came out…you miss a lot in a day 🙂 Good spotting VCC.

  77. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha will welbeck? You’re out of sorts mate! I’m not quite sure what you meant, the original did make sense, I assume you’re saying that Welbeck will make it somewhere else like Sturridge eventually did but his situation was the same as his at Chelsea??

    If that’s the case, I think you’re right as Welbeck certainly has untapped potential but I see him just like Sturridge; he’ll be more effective at a mid table club and never one who can thrive on the big stage because there’ll always be better strikers than him.

    Another intriguing development would be if Aguero makes his long rumoured move to Real Madrid. That would leave the door open to the possibility of one of Higuain or Benzema leaving. Clearly, the strike force isn’t working at Real right now and Benzema has always been one of my favourite players. His technical ability would be perfect for Arsenal and he could even play in combination with Giroud (some familiarity from the French national team).

    Still far away, but could make for an intriguing summer!

  78. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post 🙂

  79. Gerry Lennon says:

    As per usual, I come to this debate late, but here are my thoughts.

    Arsene will be looking for the next Reus, rather than the halfway there article.

    I believe you are right in one respect, AW does put a value on players, and like it or not , he will not go over that. Take the Walcott deal. My feeling is that he put £20m as the limit he was going to spend. He hoped to get the 4.5 year contract with that figure, but had to settle for the 3.5 year deal. Crucially, he did not go above his limit.

    So, when it comes to looking for a striker he might look at Cavani at £30-35m, he did look at Villa, but at no more than £12m? With Reus he probably thought £15m at that stage? Too late now, he has been exposed as something special.

    With that in mind I think he may well go back for the guy at 05 Mainz? It was not the right time in January as they are fighting for a Euro spot and were unlikely to sell(cheaply). Come summer, different proposition?

    Sadly, I think Capoue may also be a miss too? I said at the close of the transfer window that Toulouse would not let him go on the cheap because of their previous sale, and their precarious league position. The rumoured £15m offered(matched by Spurs?) is probably at the top of his spending limit, so don’t hold your breath on that one?

    However, there is another German player who could fit th bill, if the club are willing to sell. Again, January not a good time to buy because the club is also involved in the Euro place battle. Who am I talking about? Well if you promise not to repeat the name as it may push the price up, okay? – Sebastian Rode of Frankfurt. Here after known as the ‘Toulouse German’.

    On the striker front, I mentioned Kedeye Brown yesterday, well he should playing in the second semi final in the AFCON tomorrow night(Burkino Faso). Different type of player to Gervinho. Not the finished article by any means, but might be of interest. He already plays in Europe, for one of the Russian clubs. See what you think? An Arsene estimate of £10m perhaps.

    Tonight I have less dizzy heights to muse over in the Johnson Paint trophy .. No! don’t laugh. I shall be rooting for my Coventry against Crewe. In the previous round, the City were down 2-1 in the 89th minute, but did a ManU and scored twice, once in ‘Fergie’ time!

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