Silverware Next Season? Five Things Would Have to Change

Who can be our Adamsesque leader next season?
Who can be our Adamsesque leader next season?

There is no doubt that 2013/14 is going to be a monumental turning point of a season for Arsenal. With new financial deals in place, hopefully a summer of transfer ins rather than outs, and possibly Arsene’s final season in charge, it will be the season that will hopefully see the return of Arsenal to glory.

But in order for us to achieve that, what needs to change?

1 – Sort out the squad by the middle of July, have a consistent first team and timely rotations

One of the biggest issues that I’ve felt has had a huge impact on the club is the fact that our transfers for the last few years are all over the place right up until August. As a result, in the preseason friendlies the squad doesn’t get too much time to gel in. In 2012/13, a large part of the business was done earlier, but for some reason the first team did not really gel in well till late in the first half of the season. In fact, I don’t think we knew our first choice team till late in the season. TV, being the club captain wasn’t performing and yet was played in the hope that he’d regain some form. Poldi, Giroud, Theo and Gervinho all were tried in the CF spot before Ollie took the role as his own. Similarly, I’m still not sure who Arsene thinks is his first choice keeper, RB and LB. Ramsey came into his own in his correct position late in the season after being played in a variety of roles.

Now of course, during the course of a season, players have ups and downs, and the first team evolves. But I’ve had this nagging feeling that our first team hasn’t been what it should have been. With a consistent formation earlier on in the season, the new players coming in hopefully having had time to gel in through pre-season friendlies, and a clear thought out squad with defined back ups, I am quite certain we can start the season in good stead unlike the first two 0-0 draws this season. Also, the fact that Poldi, Ollie and Santi will be in their second seasons, and Poldi hopefully fitter, we should be stronger.

It’s also important for Arsene to be decisive in terms of picking and dropping form/out of form players.  That’s another thing I believed let us down till late this season. There has to be genuine competition where back up and first team players will raise their games in order to be part of the playing eleven.

Finally, rotate the squad at the right time. I believe this season Ollie, Santi, Jack (at times), Arteta amongst a few players have been overplayed. This has partially been because there were injuries and partially because there were no viable back up options. That will hopefully change next season, because we finally have a good base of a squad with the strength of character, and with new players coming into improve the set up, players should be rotated so that form is retained and burn out minimized. I kept shaking my head when I’d hear comments in the middle of this season that so and so player was mentally or physically tired.

2 – A strong vocal performing captain

This point is again vital. Ever since I can remember it has been strong performing example-setting vocal captains who dig teams out of holes with the sheer force of their personality. Look back to Tony Adams, Vieira, even Cesc and RVP… these players believed and that belief shone through.

It’ll be interesting to see who Arsene gives the armband to if TV stays. I’m not sure if there’s been a precedent to a club captain being stripped of captaincy. Personally, my vote would go to Arteta. I wouldn’t want to give the armband to Jack just yet. It would put added pressure on him.

Or perhaps if Cesc returns, give it back to Cesc 🙂

3 – Capture the fans imagination, change the press narrative

Think of Arsenal FC, and the narrative over the last few seasons has been about the club’s financial security, selling key players, lack of ambition, sub standard signings, lack of bottle, manager losing the plot, unhappy fans etc etc. There has been little positive news.

Despite the fact that all of us, as fans, have our own opinions regarding the club, we are strongly and unconsciously swayed by the noise from news media, blogs and social media. The narrative we are being fed becomes vital in this regards, because this narrative plays a huge part in the fans going against the club rather than supporting it through thick and thin. Of course, with modern media, the fickleness of all of us has become pronounced. We don’t have patience nowadays. We need everything instantly.

Because of the above, I don’t believe the fans have been excited about the club or particularly proud of the direction of the club. It is hence vital for Arsenal to capture the fans imagination and change the narrative being spewed out by the media. So, Arsenal must make a statement of intent.

The narrative I would love to see for the next season would be “Arsenal mean business”. For this it is important for something monumental to happen. Hark back to the era of the unbeaten invincibles, did we not get excited about that? Hark back to the battles between Arsenal and Man U, despite winning/losing titles. Hark back to Lehmann keeping clean sheets leading up to the Champions League final and the run itself. Hark back to beating Real 1-0 away. Hark back to leading Barca for 78 minutes in the final. Hark back to the 0-0 FA Cup final vs. Man U when we were battered but we won on penalties. Hark back to winning the league in Old Trafford and Spurs. Hark back to Jose Antonio Reyes and Arshavin’s captures. The 4-4 vs. Liverpool. Even the 3-0 vs. Milan last season.

The funny thing is that the memories become less exciting in the last few seasons, so that has to change. My personal favorite way to achieve that would be Cesc returning. Or, perhaps another marquee signing to show we mean business. Or perhaps another unbeaten run… here’s hoping!

4 – Be strong against the top six, and clinical against lower half opposition

We have been quite abysmal this season against the top six, and I felt that has played a huge part in our struggle. This partially for me has been due to the fact that we have had many new players, and partially because of a general lack of belief in the team that we can compete with the top teams. This in particular was most visible in the first half of the season, and partially has come about because of the massive loss to Man U last season. I believe the psychological impact of that loss still resounds, and it is vital that we show the world that we can beat the likes of Man u, City and Chelsea when it matters.

Interestingly, in some of the previous seasons, we did quite well against the top six, but let in draws and losses against lower opposition. This is again something that needs to be guarded against.

We need to be consistent and clinical, and have that collective belief about us and the bit between our teeth. I was unbelievably proud of how we harried Man U in the first half of the game on the weekend, and that is how we need to play consistently. With hunger and intensity.

No fan will complain if that level of quality remains.

Against the top six, pick up home wins and away draws, and we’re laughing! Against the rest, be clinical and finish them off!

5 – Do the basics right and have clear objectives

Finally, I believe that for a large part of this season, we lost track of the fundamentals. The basics are vital, and even a poor team can get a result if the basics are done right. Solid no nonsense defending, making the right pass while up field, and pressing and harrying are things that we can be good at, but struggle to do consistently. If we get these basics right and don’t panic as we are liable to do quite often, then we will be sure to have a solid season.

At the same time, in terms of the basics, the manager and the squad need to be sure about their objectives and priorities in achieving those objectives. For me unless we don’t make the right buys, we are not in a position to challenge for the EPL, so therefore the realistic bet for getting a trophy can only be the FA CUP or the League Cup. The manager needs to know what he wants for the team, and make the right basic decisions to achieve the said. Buying an expensive quality player is just one of those decisions.

It’ll be interesting to hear what you guys think of some of these points and if you feel there can be further things that need to change!

Written by: Umair Naeem.

252 thoughts on “Silverware Next Season? Five Things Would Have to Change

  • ‘Mair, thanks for a fantastic post, with which I fundamentally and totally agree! 😛

    All five areas of improvements are spot on. You are so right about the press narrative / fans’ hope and imagination. The team and fans need a psychological push in the back and Arsene/BoD have a great opportunity to do so this summer, and yes as early as possible so we can settle down the squad.

  • Re the captaincy: agreed Arteta is a good candidate. The only problem I foresee is him not playing all the time next season, but then this goes for most players. I would also love to see Mertesacker become our captain as this would mean he is in charge of the defence, which I reckon he needs to continue to do anyway. If Cazorla could improve his English over the summer, he could also be a good captain… but Jack, yes too early for that.

  • Brillian, Umair! 🙂 I think you articulated what I would want to fix about Arsenal myself. 🙂

    Especially the part about being strong against top six and clinical against weaker opponents. Bayern made a really good example how to do it this season and they have showed that they think there is always a room for improvement. For instance, when they destroyed HSV with incredible 9:2 score-line, Matthias Sammer said that he is not happy with the way Bayern defended corners in that game and in matches against us (they conceded four out of five goals in those three games after corners).

    For God sake, our name is Arsenal!

    I would add just one more thing and that is connected with the aforementioned part. I think we have to make Emirates our fortress. We have given away too many points at Emirates so far (not just this season) and that is something that club of our stature shouldn’t have let happened.

  • Thanks TA! I’m looking forward to having a solid organized summer, going on to a big big next season.

  • Excellent ‘mair. 🙂

    I will be back later, but have you heard that Ferguson has now officially retired (end of season).

  • Umair

    Great post. I’d add:

    Step 0: get 6 of 6 pts and CL football. I fear without it that the investment and statement of changing the narrative in step 3 may be hard. AND, I say this thinking that step 3 is the most critical for changing the overall psyche in and around the club.

    Step 5: … And do it with a little mongrel, and variety. We are too nice playing too pretty at times. One dimensional is too easy to figure, a tough side and a few new added looks would help us with the clinical and the beating top 6 goals..

    Great post — jgc

  • @TA, not sure about Per as captain, I wouldn’t want to risk him going down the TV route. His first priority has to be to defend well.. and we need solid no nonsense focussed defenders. Santi could possibly be an interesting option.

    @Admir,thanks! I completely agree. For me we would have been in a far better position this season if we had been more solid at home (despite being bad against the big six). There were games that we dropped useless points in, which collectively we should have done better in. I remember back in Highbury there was a certain aura about us at home which I think has yet to be replicated at the Emirates. Weather it’s due to our lack of quality of the overall environment I’m not sure, but we need to work on that.
    But we really need to believe against the big teams if we realisticall want to win something.

  • ‘Mair,

    Great post. I agree with what you are saying. We need to ”Rebrand Our Team”. We need to have a clear vision and indication of where we want to go. Let’s be clinical, let’s not be afraid of the opposition. Let’s create the self belief that we need. Let’s add classy players to our team and show others in the team that we have some sort of intent.

    In the past few years we have clearly shown our intent to our players and other clubs by selling all our world class players. We said, ‘We are happy to settle for the 4th place trophy’.
    This needs to change over the summer and we need to finalise our transfers early.

    I dont know if it is possible or not but let’s re-sign one of our favourite sons back. Obviously his DNA does not have Barca written on it.

    As for a captain. That is a tough question as I believe TV is not the person to lead us forward. Arteta may get less playing time next season and would not be the right person. I like Jacks passion but is he too young and will his hot head the better of him? I guess I do not have an answer, but all I can say is that we do need someone strong and vocal.

    All I can say is COYG. Let’s get back to where we belong. Our rightful place on top of the ladder

  • Afternoon ‘Mair 🙂

    I believe leading is the BFG’s strongest skill and comes totally natural to him, unlike TV who is a born specialist.

  • Redders,

    I guess Maureen will either be going to Ch3l$ki or ManUre

  • Thanks RA! Yep, just read that he’s officially stepped down now. Should be interesting who they bring in to replace him. Eitherway it’ll be a tough season next time round, with Jose potentially back in Chelsea with possibly Falcao, Cavani or someone like him at City and a new manager at Man U with the possibility of Lewendowski. Arsene has his work cut out in the summer.

    JGC, glad you enjoyed! Totally with you on step 0! It would also involve Chelsea doing us a favor today. For me as well the toughest and most important step is the third one. I remember our fans used to be excited to be Gunners, and that’s sadly hit a low ebb. We need good performances and huge excitement! Let’s hope it comes our way this time round.

  • @alexgunners, thanks! The statement of intent has to come one way or the other. If I were to look at our current unbeaten run, even that is a statement of character and determination… but we need to hit the next level in the coming season.
    On Arteta, you and TA are correct that he may not get the game time next season. But beyond him I’m struggling at options. If Poldi has been fitter and had a stronger season, he may have been a good option.

    @TA, fair point 🙂 I wish we had another Tony Adam!

  • The departure of RedNose is great news indeed. Now there will be a good chance to catch up with them and it could not have come at a better time.

  • ‘Mair,

    I think that is perhaps a problem that we have. We can’t even see who the next captain could be. Simply because we lack the strong characters needed to mount a title challenge. Let’s hope that this changes soon.

  • This is a nice write-up but in my view the only way out of this is for the board to allow this write up to come to pass. i always wonder why Usmanov is not allowed to be chairman of the board.

  • @alexgunners, so true. What heartens me is that fact that we’ve shown strength of character when we needed to (and touch wood we shall continue to do so).

    @TA, would be scary and interesting if Jose goes to Man U!

  • ‘Mair,

    No doubt there has been some heartening performances and some have stood up more than others but we need to do this collectively. The ones who have stood up have helped us overcome our shocking start to the season and overall got us to the position we are in.
    We may after all win our 4th place trophy

  • ‘Mair

    Maureen to MU would not be good news, but then Maureen back to the UK is not good news for football and for Gooners.

    So yes, scary indeed.

  • Total, Love him or Loathe him you have to say Alex Ferguson was the most successful and best manager in the Premiership. English football will miss old red nose.

    For the record I hated him and his obnoxious Mancunian United scum but hats off to his undoubted record. Happy retirement Sir Slex.

  • Umair et al,

    I’d add, co-captains of Per and Arteta… Both are fierce competitors who i think have hidden Adamsesque mongrel in them…

    Use an injury or something to ease TV out over summer without note or prejudice. We need the old, dynamic TV back..

    Cheers — jgc

  • Umair,

    Forgive me for not commenting earlier. What a fine post young Man.

  • I think it is a nice article and an insightfull. I believe the coming years will be arsenals if the fan become too patient and support the team and believe in the squad rather than being critical of the players. We need to be a lot strong from now on and starts to sign players that can add quality and give the believe to the and mental strength to the squad. Bring back cesc will be the best things that happened in recently cos it will add a lot of quality in the midfield and the attacking flare of the team. In addition to this, adding the likes of jovotic, center back, defensive midfielder in the mould of gilberto, and and if it is possible a keeper that can gives the sense of security in the back. Other than this, some players must be sold and used the fund to add players.

  • VCC, I will never forgive him for the way he ended our unbeaten, Invincibles run.

    Never a gentleman, and his football never put the world on fire.

    But he adapts really well to a changing environment and has proven in recent years he does not need a team of superstars to win things. His record of winning things is simply superb – nobody can argue about that.

    Good riddance though! 😛

  • @VCC, thank you 🙂
    Yes, Sir Alex has left a legacy that will not easily be bettered.

    @MAK, thanks. I think the summer ins and outs are going to be vital.

  • @TA and VCC, good riddance for sure. But what a man manager and what a coach. And a great eye for spotting talent. I hope Man U get ‘Arry Redknapp!

  • Alexgunners,

    Winning becomes a habit, and being successful brings a certain arrogance, swagger and guile.

    With two top class performers (as many are harping on about, including me) this will inevitably bring more wins and will give off an air of confidence. All these factors will bring about the leaders/leadership we have so desperately been lacking these past few years.

    Wenger needs to make a statement of intent this summer, and now after old red nose has retired it will be an ideal opportunity to get back to winning ways and not just settling for 4th place.

    He has the money, now go out and show us you haven’t lost the ability and expertise to purchase a couple of winners. AW may even have enough money to get three quality players and hold onto our Brit Pack and co. This would show all comers we mean business.I truly believe we have the foundations, and together with three more stars, can go all the way to the top. This drum I have been banging needs replacing I think. 🙂

    The captaincy is a dilemma for me. Vermaellen is clearly not suited. Arteta will struggle to play the majority of games next season (imo). Mertesacker is not the finished article. Jack is too young. I’m scratching my head who to choose?

  • VCC,

    AW has the money and as you said all we need is 2 accomplished players in the right positions and no doubt this will bring the confidence we require.
    The foundations are there, now as we have been saying is time to show intent and make it count. The club needs this and we need to regain our swagger of a decade ago.

    Captaincy is a big issue. So far we as fans cannot come up with our next leader. Hopefully this will be resolved and the right person/persons will assume the position. Regardless of who the captain may be, we require more motivation within the team itself. It’s not just up to one player, it is up to the team to have each others back and to show pride for the shirt that they are wearing

  • Moyes to MU would be great news, VCC, but I fear it will be the Special Twat. No doubt we’ll hear soon who it will be – not good for the share price to leave it undecided for too long.

  • Morning Smegmaticians 😆

    Fantastic post from the better `Mairinho !. 🙂

    Great news about Go Sir, funeral sex !.

    The impact may not be straight away, but Decent Manure Shit will never be as good !.

    Hats off to him though, he was the best ever football manager in England, we have had the second best manager and best economist !.

  • TA, and Guys,

    I copied this from a newspaper and thought you might like to have a read.

    It does imply that AW does not have complete control of TW and player purchases, if true, which is very curious.

    I would go for Billy the Kid, Wilf Bony.

    ARSENE WENGER and his board are at odds over whether Arsenal should launch a summer move for Loic Remy or Wilfried Bony.

    Boss Wenger is a fan of fellow Frenchman Remy, 26, and wants the green light to firm up his interest in the QPR striker.

    But members of the Gunners board are understood to prefer to splash the cash on Vitesse Arnhem’s Ivory Coast hitman Bony.

    Bony, dubbed the new Didier Drogba, has impressed members of the Gunners hierarchy with his stunning goal-scoring exploits this season.

    The £7m-rated 24-year-old is the top scorer in Holland and hit an impressive 37 goals in 32 starts for club and country this season.

    Only La Liga superstars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have more goals in a major European League than Bony’s tally of 31.

    But Wenger, whose other top striker target is Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic, is a long-term admirer of Remy.

    He considered a move for him in January but decided against it due to the striker’s injury record.

    Now Remy has proved he can cut it in the Premier League with a string of eye-catching displays and five goals for relegated Rangers, Wenger is ready to make his move.

    Remy will also be available for a slightly lower price than Bony due to a £6m relegation release clause in his QPR contract.

    But the difference of opinion between Wenger and his board could leave Arsenal in danger of missing out on both.

    Remy and Bony, whose Vitesse deal expires in 2015, have both set their hearts on moves to Arsenal.

    But Tottenham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Everton are also keen on Remy.

    Meanwhile, Bony is also not short of admirers, including Chelsea and West Ham.

    And he made it clear his main aim is to secure a summer move to Premier League.

    He said last week: “I’m very interested in the Premier League and the atmosphere in England, it’s a wonderful league and we will see what happens.

    “For me the Premier League is the top league in Europe but the Bundesliga is also good. France, Italy and Spain, they’re all good too but England I think would be perfect.”

    I hope Arsenal move their asses and don’t get caught with their pants down, like when we hesitated in bidding for Hazard and Mata.

  • Have a plan b. Don’t go kami kaze on the attack and leave the defence exposed.And stop the orgy of passes in /near the box and start shooting.

  • Cheers RA 🙂

    I see your blog-friend Shard has written a fine post on AA! 🙂

    Surely it is the manager’s choice, but with what seems a strategic decision to market the club in Africa, Bony is a far better option for the BoD… Maybe that is how Arsenal landed a certain Park as well…. Only Arsene did not budge and just did not play him…maybe?

  • That is possibly the best explanation, TA for the whys and wherefores of the transfer in, and loan out of Park, which otherwise is a complete mystery.

    Hopefully the two choices they are arguing about, if it is true, means that either will be a good buy.

    Looking back I picked that article up from the Daily Star, which has been used by Hill Wood in the past to promulgate his views, so perhaps they have an inside informant? 🙂

    P.S. Shard writes very well, but he can get over excited at times! 🙂

  • @Glic, thanks mate! Like the sound of that!

    @TA, interesting thought on the Park episode… it’s makes more sense than a player losing quality once procured…

  • I reckon both buys could be good, although a Dutch friend of mine said that Bony is a very sharp and calculated striker, but also quite lazy, as in not working for the team. And that sort of player does not usually end up at Arsenal (under Wenger).

  • A good afternoon to BK`s legion of insane psychotic bastardo`s. It`s your favourite carer, Dr Glic, live from a sunny Lesbania.
    As usual, I will be using a fictitious name to safe guard the delirious bastard in question. Although some money donated to my inshore Lesbanian Principality Tax Shaven Haven Account will reveal all !.

    Dear Dr Glic

    My wife is always complaining about how much our bed makes squeaking noises when I make love. Any advise would be appreciated.

    A troubled VCC

    Hello Bastard

    This is quite a common problem for normal peoples, but alas there are only abnormal bastards on this site !.

    Advise :

    Bastard, I will send you a prescription to cure what I see as two problems.

    1) Apply the prescribed WD40 liberally to your nuts on the zimmer frame to loosen and remember, the next time you go to the…….Drive Through Zimmer Wash, pay that little bit extra you tight fucker and have the….Hot Air Wax and Dry…it will stop the rusting of the frame…don’t forget bastard….the Wax and Dry are for the zimmer frame not your Hampton !.

    2) This is even more important. Before you penetrate during love making, gag the Mouse and squirt the prescribed WD 40 on your rusty knob and some in the rodents rectum. This will cure the squeaking bed and your poor Wife will get a decent nights sleep !. You sick bastard !.

    Until next week !.

    Dr Glic

  • @ TotalArsenal May 8, 2013 12:46

    ” … Surely it is the manager’s choice, but with what seems a strategic decision to market the club in Africa ….”

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/gunners-welcome-imperial-bank-as-partner

    More specifically:
    “Arsenal Football Club has announced a partnership with Imperial Bank to issue co-branded debit cards throughout ((Kenya)) and Uganda.”

    (()) marketing potential and branding for both parties with the signing of that “destroyer” playing with the green and white with The Hoops.

    =========================================

    If Wilfried Bony, we could potentially lose both strikers/wingers in Bony and Gervinho at the next AFCON when they play for Cote d’Ivoire. That would be 2 attacking personnel from our 1st team out of action for a good period.

    If Loic Remy, personnally I never liked players from Marseille coming to us since the last 2 we signed from them: Na$ri(went over to Man. City) and Flamini(free transfer to Milan) left us on bad terms. (Pires was the last good signing for us from Marseille).
    Also Remy (and his agent) turned down Newcastle in favour of the club at one of the bottom clubs, QPR, for reportedly more wages. (And him getting away from France/Marseille to avoid the new tax law for high earners – a 75 per cent tax rate on income above one million euros)

    For me, no to both.

  • Dr, Glic.

    Many thanks for your in depth sympathetic approach to my problem. As you are well aware I have always had a problem with my dyslexia, oops sorry, dyspepsia, Oh F**k it, these tablets you’ve put me on have affected my brain, I mean dysfunctional said frame.

    It is now 63 years old and in dire need of a thorough overall. Can you suggest a “fine tuning” programme to get it close to how it was at the tender age of 25?

    I have just finished reading Strech’s best seller “Exploits of a gigolo” and fancy a little reminiscence of the opposite kind, nudge nudge, if you know what I mean?

    Yours in Dire Straits, oopps sorry there I go again, that’s another passion of mine.

    Yours in Dire need.

    Vicky.

    XXXX

  • ‘mair,

    I read the Post this morning and was mightily impressed.

    I have re-read it again, and thought I would try and find something missing that I could bring up to discuss.

    Unfortunately, I cannot, because, just as I first thought, you have produced a superbly thought through and well written article!! There is nothing that I can disagree with!! 😀

    Well done, and thank you.

  • Dear Dr Glic,

    I am writing to you, on behalf of my dear friend, Terry, who wishes to remain anonymous, because like Vickers, he does not want anyone to know about his ‘little problem’.
    Well, actually he has more than one ‘little problem’ but this is not about the swinging one.

    Terry (oops) is currently unable to blog on BK, because he is suffering from ‘wife has locked him in the basement’ syndrome.

    She, Mrs Terry, (oops, again) does not recognise him because he has not been to the barber for his wig lately, and it keeps growing, and in addition, he smells more manky than usual, and the bin men from two blocks away having sniffed him out, have been searching for the pile of rotting fish ever since.

    Anyway, tomorrow, Mrs Terry, is going to call Battersea Dogs home to have him taken in for everyone’s good. He, Terry, oops, this anonymous bloke, obviously does not want this, because, the last time, they fumigated him and his syrup, to get rid of the nits, and stuck some instrument up his jaxi to find the zimmer frame bicycle bell he accidentally dropped up there. They then put him in the ‘unidentified animal’ compound.

    He needs help.

    No seriously, he very much needs help.

    What is your prognosis and what do you think, as well?

  • Sorry, TA, but I wrote a follow up comment from something we discussed on BK a few days ago. (I think).

    Because I flit hither and thither, I get confused, 🙂 and I posted my comment on AA, but they will probably wonder what the hell I am talking about.

    Anyway, I am repeating it on here, as I seem to be talking to myself, again, on both sites!! 😀

    We were talking, a little while ago about some of the very promising young talent we have coming through from the youth/reserve teams.

    Unsurprisingly, much was made of our hopes for the young German duo, Serge Gnabry and Thomas Eislfeld, because they had been superb in the early part of the season, and more recently, we have signed another German kid, (in January?) who has taken the U21s by storm, and goes by the name Gedion Zelalem.

    I have seen him play, as some of you probably have to, and at 16 he is already some player.

    I mentioned my own personal interest in Chuks Anneke who I think is one for the immediate future, but since the Next Gen series games, I have been mightily impressed by Chuba Akpom, who is big, fast and technically superb.

    Now that we have hit the TW silly season, it does not hurt to remember that AW does have to have a care when bringing in new talent or he might cut these guys off at the knees without giving them a chance to show what they are made of.

    Exciting — and a little worrying.

  • Umair, top post as usual. 🙂

    Regarding the captaincy, what would that mean for Vermaelen if he is stripped. Would that make his dip in form permanent. Will he feel unappreciated and not wanted? He has been at Arsenal much longer than Mertesacker. For Vermaelen to lose the captaincy to Mertesacker (a CB like himself, who has not been at Arsenal as long as he has) would make him lose all believe that he can get back to being the beast of a defender we all know he is. Could Vermaelen being stripped of the captaincy lead to him being sold. Possibly. Although if Wenger is looking to strip Vermaelen of the captaincy he has gone about it the right way. He has not done what the manager of Wales done to Ramsey, which is publically humiliate him and just tell he does not deserve to be the captain. That is why I respect Wenger. He wants what is best for the Arsenal players and will defend them till he dies. Something others managers like Mourinho and SAF probably would not do.

  • thanks umair,

    although you’ve identified and discussed core issues and elements we have lacked in the past and things we should be doing in the future to avoid past mistakes, however to take it a bit further.

    i would want a complete change in captaincy and ideally would want one of our CB’s to be the captain, which is where i am going to agree with TA. The teams who have been successful have had someone from the back 4 as their captain….i disagree that BFG may go down the route of TV5 , TV has been more forward minded and attack minded, by that i mean him wanting to run forward and make those attacking runs , whereas BFG is more defense oriented and keen on holding his lines and shape well….it could be a stroke of genius to have the tall german as our captain and make Jack wilshere his deputy…i also feel that BFG does well under pressure and doesn’t wilt as such, he can soak it all in (mind you he is close to a 100 caps for germany as well, so there is more experience and guile there as compared to most of our starting 11 bar Poldi)

    also i feel once we get a decent DM, we should get back to our offensive ways of playing as at the end of the day, it’s the team who outscores the opponent wins , doesn’t matter how many you concede as long as you keep scoring more at the other end but with a decent DM in our ranks, it allows us freedom to move forward and be more creative and destructive.

    we have been playing with the “hand brake” on as wenger says it, although i do agree to an extent that we have but it’s mainly down to wenger’s tactics and baffling use of subs, he still makes substitutions based the older beliefs or scientific theory that players tend to tire after the 70 minute mark ? that for me is utter rot, if you have decent players on the bench who could provide more zest and penetration then they are good enough to be brought at the 60th minute mark and deliver the goods, it also goes against him saying that we concentrate on our abilities and believe in them without working on the opposition’s weaknesses……so to say the above basically contradicts on what he says.

    Also when was the last time wenger took his squad away for a week or few days to bond and gel ? ok, the opportunities are very few in between due to international commitments but there are opportunities none the less to do so, especially when we have a 10 day break or more in between games. (some may argue that isn’t that what we already do on pre-tours , nope that’s different to going away half way through the season and so on)

    last but not the least, stop some players for talking to the media as freely as they have done,there should be appointed players allowed to brief or speak to the media,

  • Umair, fantastic post mate! I largely agree with almost everything you have written and all of these points have been echoed in some way or form in articles and the comments section, but it’s nice to finally see it all summarized in one article.

    The rotation issue is quite a conundrum. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t scenario. On the one hand, AW likes to continue to play his on-form players. It’s just his style to have a starting 11 that almost always play together to establish chemistry and continuity and a back-up 11 to fill in, in case of injury. The dilemma then is that his back-up starting 11 are off-form when called upon, whether it be due to rest or injury. On the other hand, not starting a player again after a bad performance can lead to a drop in confidence. With AW, a player can remain on the sidelines for weeks before seeing the pitch again after a poor game. He has yet to find the perfect balance and his decision to randomly start off-form players or to continue to start certain players can be perplexing. Hopefully, this issue can be resolved through buying the proper players this summer to add depth and top quality, while also beginning the season with a sustainable rotation policy that sets the tone for the rest of the year.

    To point #2, I believe Arteta is a great choice to be the next team captain since he is vocal, now a veteran on the team and has plenty of experience playing in the EPL. However, as captain, he should be a player who starts the majority of games, which provides us with a bit of a predicament. If we buy a dedicated DM beast, Arteta then becomes a deep lying playmaker, which displaces Ramsey out of the starting line-up. I’m fine with that, but is AW ok with this?

    Point #3 was certainly original and I particularly enjoyed it for that reason. So long as the intent is actually there re: signings, there is no reason to not make such a press release. In past years, management told us that we had a team capable of winning the title, when it was clear that our squad was a CL qualifier one at best. The club has failed in so many ways on a PR front, mishandling fans’ expectations, not properly managing players’ public comments (even though they have the freedom to speak their mind), not revealing pertinent information to fans (especially injuries) etc.

    Nothing to disagree on point #4 as you’ve captured my thoughts, word for word. However, there’s also a discrepancy in talent both of high quality and depth when you compare us to the top teams. We need to rectify this in the off-season with a couple top quality signings and we’ll be just fine (which you more or less covered in point #5 🙂 ).

  • ‘Morning boys….Still raining here 😦 and because we’re so used to sun it can bring a fella down)…. All the best to Terry….(Uh, oh, it looks like the long posters are hitting the send button, and I’m the worst of them….)

    Umair (-inho?), in another excellent post, has hit the nail on the proverbial head and the various stars need to line-up for us to do better and nip at the heels of those above us. With SAF’s retirement and the return of Jose (where, where?) and City about to win the cup that nobody cares about, I think we’re going to see some big (exciting?) stuff happening amongst the big 3. Haha, I’m getting ahead of myself. How can Chelsea call themselves a big club if they can’t put up a big win vs Totts today?….

    Those clubs should (italics) dominate the headlines while the rest of the league only get “local” interest. The red and blue parts of Liverpool have plenty of hand-wringing to do over the bitey guy (sell him? keep him?) and whether or not “genius” Moyes will stay and do it all over again. Similar things might happen in North London, where players are letting their mouths get away from them (SCSZ and Big Sexy Ollie) discussing the “fundamental shift in power,” (LOL) or only thinking about themselves—sort of like G. Bale (and AVB) looking for escape routes….

    What I’m trying to say, is that this match today is massive (of course)…. and, that (purely) local interest is a thing of the past. Hell, I’m a guy from California in (more or less) complete agreement with today’s writer from Pakistan. Innersting times….

    I should (italics) stop there but alas, I’ve got another interesting coffee in front of me (from Rwanda, of all places….)

    For me, the captaincy issue says it all and is the reason I’ve suggested that I just don’t see a core of real quality in this team emerging anytime soon. Until a real leader who elevates the performances of those around him AND gives us those key moments which win us points (or get us through to the next round….) comes to the fore, we will be waiting. I thought TV5 had maybe done it when he bundled in that goal (his only one all season?) at Bradford City and got us into extra time. It reminded me of his late goal vs Newcastle the season before which was key as we stumbled towards our top 4 spot. Now he sits on the bench, however and Top 4 (and the whole landscape for next season) will be determined without his input. Lest we not forget, this run-in might be a whole lot easier if the current arm-band guy would’ve not given a pen AND gotten his blocked in that match vs Fulham….

    It’s amazing to me that seasons turn on such small moments but indeed they do. Imagine if RVP hadn’t near-whiffed that sitter vs Real Madrid (which Xabi Alonso cleared off the line, as it agonizingly–or deliciously–bounced towards the net)?….United could well be in the CL final and Sir Alex wouldn’t be stealing the headlines from today’s London Derby–(Haha, dig that, a London Derby that doesn’t involve us, except for the nail-biting….) Umair is so very correct that It all gets amplified on the internet (the global pub?), to the point where those with the (25-50-100 pound) tickets march into the arena with narratives as fixed as the scowl (or the smile) on their faces, which, of course, transmits to the players and even the manager, no matter how aloof he aspires to be… We’re all just boys (and girls), after all, even if the sums of money (for tickets and salaries and transfers) have inflated to crazy levels….

    My point is that it can all change very quickly but we need a Club that can construct a Team that can create enough of a platform for a real Star (or two or three) to take those moments and create something memorable and special. It’s been too long (and it can’t be all about winning half of a CL tie, or scoring four at Anfield to give United another title)….In a certain way (financially?) we’re close, but I think we maybe get ahead of ourselves when we think we’ve got true quality in depth AND guys who are ready to break out and become real stars. But, just like the weather, things are always changing. Around here the sun seems to be coming out, which means the mushrooms (morels) should (italics) be popping. Maybe the same thing will happen in our part of North London, so today, I think, “maybe.” Still, it has to “happen” (and then happen again and again) and we need Kings and Princes in our part of North London (with us as happy subjects)….and not just Emirs selling plane tickets….(with cats growling….) on our shirts….

    ‘Nuf said, gotta go get some shrooms, back for the derby….

  • For me Santi will not get the captaincy. Wenger will feel he has not been at the club long enough to be able take over as captain.

    I really would no want Fabregas to our new captain even if he returns. For me he does not deserve it. He left us in the lurch and went back to his boyhood club. He is a top player but if he returns he should start off from the bottom. Why should Cesc stroll back into Arsenal as our captain and be our main man. Cesc as captain, not for me. Right now I would say our two best candidates for the captaincy are Arteta and Sagna. Both experienced pros who are reliable and do not get involved in the side of football which we do not like to see (racism, fighting, sulking over wages or role in the team). They do what they are payed to do, which is play football. Arteta might not be a regular starter for us next season, same with Sagna and Sagna might not be an Arsenal player next season as he is yet to sign a contract extension. So these factors will also have to be considered too.

  • AFC,

    you make it sound as if TV has been in this arsenal team least 5 years more than the BFG,

    TV joined in 2009 and then spent the best part of 2010 injured.

    i’m not sure if time duration should be one of the factors for captaincy considerations, if it was then there be no one more deserving than Jack and Arteta shouldn’t be wearing the captains arm band since both him and BFG joined the same year (although Per M joined early in the summer as opposed to Arteta’s last minute arrival).

    by taking the arm band off TV, it will relieve him and allow him the freedom to get back to his best , in my opinion he shouldn’t be sold and developed to play through the middle as a DM along the lines of David Luiz (it may end up being a stroke of genius as well from Wenger, as it would allow us more options in rotating our players and keeping them fresh)….that was one of the main reasons why a certain Jan Vertonghen didn’t join us, no reason why we shouldn’t encourage TV to do the same and play anywhere in the back 5 when need be.

  • BJ, play Verm as goalie in the back 5? Hmm, never thought of that but he could be our cheap in-house alternative! 😉

  • Jesus 17ht, did your last paragraph have to go ahead and ruin my article that is set to come out tomorrow?

  • saying back 5 was far more easier then saying back 4 as it sorta complicated it ( back 4 minus goalie and rb 😉

  • REMY TO ARSENAL, WENGER MAKE IT HAPPEN!!! 🙂

    If we can get Remy for around 6 million he eould be a perfect replacement for Chamakh and Bendtner who likely to leave in the summer.

  • BJ, for me this is the order of who should get the captaincy is Vermaelen loses it.

    1) Arteta
    2) Sagna
    3) Mertesacker

  • AFC, I’m not as fond of Remy considering we have plenty of depth at ST (Poldi, Theo and Giroud) and are in need of a top quality player like Jovetic. Adding too much depth also creates an issue with player unrest and unhappiness due to a lack of playing time. Also, before you suggest that Poldi and Theo are wingers, bear in mind that Santi now plays on the wing and we also have Ox, Gervinho and potentially Gnabry also joining them for wing competition. One of Theo or Poldi will move to the bench as a back-up ST/W most likely.

  • Hi Redders 🙂

    All good and promising youngster, but for me Eisfeld is the one to watch and I expect him to break through first.

  • Guys, Ferguson retiring could be a bad thing for us. Suppose Mourinho takes the job and brings Ronaldo with him.

  • AFC, Ronaldo could have gone back to Utd regardless if Maureen was there or not, so I’m not too concerned about that. What I am concerned about is how Maureen’s tactics would maximize the pieces they already have there and make them that much tougher to play against.

  • HH, thanks for pointing that out to me. In that case you are right. 🙂

    Forgot about the young and upcoming Gnabry. 🙂

  • AFC,

    Arteta (may not be a regular starter next season if we get a DM)

    Sagna ( you have got to be kidding me , right ? on current form he doesn’t even warrant a guaranteed place in the playing 11, let alone his poor injury record which rules him out).

    Remy deal officially done then or are you just being excited by the thought of having the next Henry at arsenal ? (he does look a lot like Henry or least remind me of the king, looks wise and sometimes when he finishes superbly well).

  • Wow 17 – your comments are such fun to read – I never know how they are going to end! 😛

    Sz- Ox – Koz – Gibbs – Jack – Santi – new signing – new signing – maybe Jenkinson and Nacho: these will be the super players in the next few years – gradually getting better and better.

    They will be supported by the good team players of Mertesacker, Arteta, Giroud, Rambo, Theo, Pod, Sagna, TV Nacho, Rosicky

    20 players: 10 top talent + 10 team performers + new talented youngsters coming through.

    Is that not enough mushroom popping for you?

  • RA, I wonder how Moyes will do as manager of United. Players love playing for him and seems to get the most out of them, but he’s one of the worst managers when it comes to spending hefty sums on transfers. Most of his expensive purchases have failed, but with that said I could easily see him bringing Fellaini with him to Manure.

  • TA, I’d place Gibbs in that maybe category along with Ches and Ox. The only top players we have right now imho are Jack, Santi and Koz, with all the others flashing good to great potential.

  • Hi AFC – length of service should not be important for wearing the armband. It is the ability to lead which matters.

    BFG with his 100000 German caps, ability to structure play and communicate clearly, as well as thriving under pressure, is my favourite captain. ‘Captain Per’ now that sounds good! hahaha 🙂

  • BJ, HH has pointed out that Theo or Podolski could be one of our strikers with Santi now playing on the wing and Gnabry coming through the ranks, so Remy is not really needed.

    Sagna has been amongst the best RBs in Europe for years. He has remained loyal and has come back from numerous injuries which could explain his dip in form. Maybe if he is given a role of responsibility he will be reborn. It was not too long ago where people were saying Evra had lost it after he had a poor season. Now look at him, he is reborn.

  • HH, I have seen enough to believe that Gibbs, Ches and Ox will become great footballers. But time will tell of course.

  • HH,

    I think he might try and nab Baines too, as Evra is coming to the end of the road, I hear.

    The local radio station [Talk Sport] who said Moyes is the new manager and will be revealed shortly has now said ‘he should be announced shortly’ — bastards!

    Sorry, AFC, I should have waited until he came out on to the balcony and waved regally to his new plastic ‘fans’ from Surrey. [A stock broker County in southern England, for those who might not know] 😀

  • TA, just because you have seen enough, does not currently make them top talents is what I’m trying to say. Gibbs is still incredibly injury prone, Ches suffers from far too many blunders and Ox regressed this season. All three flash great potential and I hope they’ll develop and reach their promise, but it’d be incredibly misguided to already be calling them “top talent” when none have proven themselves consistently enough at the top level yet.

  • The same could be said for Jack I guess too, but he has a quality when healthy that is a level above Gibbs, Ches and Ox.

  • RA , thanks for letting me know about Moyles. 🙂

    HH @ 17:15, Man U are in real need of a Fellani type midfielder so it could happen. Let’s hope it does not. 😀

    TA, for me length of service shows loyalty and patience (qualities which are needed to be a good captain) so length of service is one of the factors that should be considered when choosing a captain. Agreed regarding Mertesacker. He is a born organiser/leader. 🙂

  • RA, good point on Baines, he’s been long rumoured to transfer to Manure and Moyes was likely the only reason he stayed for so long. Will be sad to see Everton drop from a upper-mid table club back to obscurity. Also, I wonder if there will be some sort of non-compete clause similar to that which was placed on Rodgers (he still got Allen though…).

  • I know that many of us were somewhat horrified when Santos played left back, and then wandered all over the pitch.

    Last night I watched the Wigan left back, Espinosa, do exactly the same, but with tremendous pace, because he looked slim and athletic, as well as having great skill like our Santos.

    How ironic, I thought, that I was not sorry Santos had gone back to Brazil, but that I really would not mind us getting Espinosa. The difference? Only one of excess weight on Santos, I suppose.

  • AFC,

    football is a short term business as far as memory goes.

    Sagna has not been the best RB in Europe for a fair few years for me, could be down to his injuries or form but either way, he was good but not sure if he has been as good as he had been from 2007 to 2009 or 2010 per se.

    Jenko is the way to go,

    also not sure about loyalty re- sagna as it’s hard to tell when you have had 2 broken legs and have spent plenty of time on the treatment table, if that was loyalty then Diaby has to be the front runner.

    Also, not sure if he comes under the loyal category by holding the club ransom for more money (increase in wages, longer contract) by turning what was offered to him twice and then letting all the PSG/Monaco/Russian rumours take place…in short, loyalty in football is a lovely joke these days and something we shouldn’t associate with players anymore unless and until they have come through the ranks….i do suspect he’s been played there to maximize his value….(i can’t remember the last time he put in a decent cross either, from someone as experienced as Sagna you certainly expect plenty better).

    i know you’re a Sagna fan and would like to see him at CB but i wouldn’t.

  • RA, I think we’re set at LB for at least the next 10 years. With Nacho and Gibbs playing at LB for the next 4 and Gibbs/Meade playing there for the 6 years after.

  • I cannot wait to tell my brother, who is a Manure fan, that SAF has retired. 😀

  • Sorry HH (thanks for reading….)–feel free to cut, paste and/or quote….Quite an honor and the secret to my grand plan for never having to write an article…. 😉 Thanks also to TA…I’ve got my running togs on now, so with bag and knife, I’m almost (italics) out the door…..Unfortunately, it’s gone a bit cloudy again–in my mind as well, as I cannot share your (short-term) optimism….

    Arteta has been a great captain and his unselfishness is amazing. Mustn’t it kill him when Ramsey tries a pot-shot from distance while he has to back-peddle and take responsibility for keeping the “shape” of the team?….

    How about Kos for Captain?….His English must be getting there and he has taken TV5’s place? I’m sorta kidding, but he’s (IMO) by far our best defender….TV5 is done, I fear, at the club, though I like the idea of him at DM, if I’m asleep and dreaming….too bad I can’t handle the heavy hallucinogens (or even the lighter ones….) in my old age 😀

    My (continuing) point is….that it’s gonna be a bit of time moving the parts around and around (which, as we know can be fun….) but it’s really about building a whole new team and then having those guys step up. These past two years we’ve bought older, more mature players. Why? Because we needed them to have even a shot at top 4. As such, I think of just about everybody who we’ve bought (over the age of 25) as being stop-gap and, in essence, at their peak or fading. (This doesn’t stop me from loving most of them, by the way….) Over time, one by one, they will all be getting phased out. I hope they can get their hands on a trophy (or two) but I wonder….

    Cesc leaving the club (and, btw, it’s a dream, though a lovely one, to think he’ll ever return….) shook the team to it’s very core. (Nasri going didn’t help either….) RvP was Captain for a year and saved us from (CL) relegation, but then… This year we’re doing it ugly and with “collective” leadership–and, we hope, help from Chelsea today. It’s gonna be a long time before a new, more seriously competitive group (with real stars) emerges. And then the challenge, as before, will be trying to hold it together while keeping the stars (and disgruntled “would-be” stars) from getting their heads turned….

    These are structural issues, and for every Santi there’s a Park, for every Arteta there’s a Santos, for every Per there’s a…..you fill in the blank–I was gonna say Poldolski, but some might say Giroud…. The youth project isn’t dead (at all) and it’s the only way to (really) compete with the money-down-a-hole clubs. We have to get lucky with the young ones and then do what we need to do to make it impossible to leave. I see more drama (and not the good kind….) in May for several years to come….

    Sorry…. 😦

  • BJ, Sagna does not want more money. He just wants a 2 year contract extension. Surely that is not too much to ask. Agree about Sagna’s crossing and attacking play though.

  • 17ht, the youth project only works if they are given the opportunity to actually break through to the first team and not continuously blocked by new signings. However, if we do not make new signings, we cannot compete with the top clubs since the youth are not ready yet. It’s quite the predicament…

    Also, project youth only works if you actually retain the players you develop and not continuously sell them in a vicious cycle.

  • HH,

    I am glad to hear you have a Post coming out tomorrow. Umair wrote a spendid one today, and when I am not feeling too good, the quality of the writing on BK, including your flowing prose, gives me a good lift.

    In addition to TA, who has always written great articles, and many of them, there is another great writer, Rocky, who you will know from his hopeless efforts to win the UMF league, and I am hoping he will find time to write one for BK too. [Fingers crossed]. 😀

  • RA, cheers mate :). You are far too kind! Perhaps you should take a page out of your own book (literally) and read your own work when you are not feeling too good.

  • RA, with your sheer financial knowledge you could easily write a book on the financial situation Arsenal are in and maybe even a book on FFP. 🙂

  • AFC,

    he wants more than 60 k (the current wages).

    and if you agree re- his crossing and attacking play than in theory you also agree that he is no where near the best RB in england let alone Europe.

    i wouldn’t mind seeing Sagna go and then us getting M.Richards from man city (now there is a true gooner). if that was to happen then we would have 3 very good RB’s and potential international ones as well (Richards, Jenko and Bellerin).

    but i could also understand if we kept sagna in the name of keeping as much of our current squad as possible and adding a few quality players here and there.

    Re- SAF retiring then it feels like old news since it was first broken out on BK last night 😀 i don’t think it will be Moyes, my money is on Jose. M

    either way, is there a chance that we sold RVP to Mans on the basis that we he won them the 20th title , then SAF retires and we get RVP back 😀

  • OK, really, out the door, but I’ll be back for the big derby (again 😦 that it’s not us playing in it and controlling our own fate….)

    Indeed, RA, the writing here is inspiring–yours included and keeps me excited even when I get a little down in the mouth.

    Go on you Blues, or something….

  • AFC,

    I heard that Sagna was negotiating with PSG, but that there was a hitch.

    Sagna has been a fantastic player for us, and probably the best in the EPL, but the leg breaks he has suffered have slowed him down, and at his age that is not going to get much better, and he is no longer so dominant.

    Anyway, if the only reason he stays with us is because he cannot get PSG to cough up more money, or give him a longer contract, then he can go to blazes, and good riddance.

    Eventually the club have got to stop being pushed around by the players.
    The reason Nasri, Clichy and van Persie left was because of money, but the truth is they dictated what was going to happen, and the club had no say.

    Enough!

  • BJ/AFC and others….The tactics column in Arseblog has a very interesting analysis about Sagna (and Rosicky), which points to the fact that BS3 (who I adore and think we should move heaven and earth to keep….) is like our 3rd holding midfielder. If it didn’t take his work (plus that of Arteta and Ramsey) to do the work of a real holding mid, we might be able to use his (normally) immaculate defending and/or his not all that bad attacking and crossing (I remember some good ones to RVP and Cesc and others back in the day)….

    Jenks has promise and a great right foot and he’s a life-long gooner, but I still think there’s a reason he hasn’t gotten his spot back….and that we’ll be sad if Bac leaves….

    Too bad that the big match today doesn’t include him, though it saves me from having to put in my blonde extensions….. 😉

  • RA,

    exactly hence the loyalty AFC believes and associates with Sagna goes out of the window as well.

    Sagna is past his best i reckon and we really need to stop letting players hold us to ransom.

    least with RVP he was honest and released his intents early, maybe Sagna did the same when he slated the clubs policy earlier in the season…loyal players don’t question the clubs policies openly, to this day i have not seen Steven G say anything bad or adverse about LV FC or even the likes of Frank L.

  • BJ, Sagna has never really been an attacking RB. He is more defensively minded, a bit like Monreal is.

    How would having to potential England Internationals fighting for the same spot in our team work. One would likely leave to be guranteed first team football. There could be a problem regarding Richards wages and injuries.

  • AFC,

    I have a slight advantage when it comes to analysing balance sheets, and interpreting financial statements, as I am a qualified accountant, home, at the moment, on an extended sick furlough, just as I was scheduled to go back to NYC on a new contract.

    The fact is, I find it difficult to write such articles without lapsing into accountants-speak and boring the asses off all non accountants. 🙂

    But the real writing genius is that rascally Glic! 🙂

  • BJ, for me Sagna still has a lot to offer just like Rosicky. At least Sagna speaks his mind and is not just a puppet of a club. It would be sad to see him go.

    17ht, thanks for the comment regarding Sagna. 🙂

  • AFC,

    Nacho is a different kettle of fish .

    if you want to look around at decent in my opinion RB’s then compare Sagna to the likes of Javier Zanetti, Pablo zabaleta and dani alves (he may have his defensive fragility’s here and there but is mighty effective going forward).

    no, not necessarily, jenko at best is the 4th choice RB for England and Richards when fit will most certainly be in the top 2….also loyal players can often take pay cuts to get their dream transfers done, not a problem.

  • RA, a SLIGHT advantage. You have a huge advantage over most people (myself included) when it comes to finances.

    Glic is a quality writer and I am yet to fully read his page on BK. 🙂

  • HH 😕

    Nothing is ‘incredibly misguided’. I said: ‘these will be the super players in the next few years – gradually getting better and better.’ I am not saying they are super players right now, am I? Just top TALENTS, which in my view means that they have great potential/talent to become really good in future.

  • BJ, Zabaleta is a bit younger than Sagna and Dani plays alongside better defenders. If he played for us he would certainly get caught out in the PL just like Santos is. Obviously Dani is better than Santos but they are both very attacking fullbacks.

    Also, is Jenks not the 2nd/3rd best Engligh RB?

  • VCC – UMF’s for the weekend .. the squeaky bum one?????

    Fulham v L’pool – draw

    QPR v Newcastle – draw

    Sunderland v S’hampton – draw

    Norwich v WBA – away

    A Villa v Chelsea – home

    Let’s hope we are not relying on Everton and/or Sunderland to do us a favour?

  • TA, I am saying that they cannot be placed in the top talent category if you’re going to put Nacho and Jenkinson in the maybe category. Either all are considered top talents because they flash great potential or not (if that makes sense). None of Ches, Gibbs or Ox, especially the latter two have really proved anything in the EPL. Just because promise is there does not mean it will be realized (injury in the case of Gibbs).

  • Umair – Nice post, as usual. Cannot add anything original from what has already been said.

    I am still busily catching up on my other stuff, but when I get a moment I like to read the topics.

    One question though. After Red Nose said he had no intention of retiring last week … Did he jump, or was he pushed? All will come clear if they sign somebody a few days after the season’s closes?

  • OK HH, it is not about proving anything; it is my personal judgement that they will be great players in the future. I am more than happy to disagree with you on this: it is purely a subjective judgement: Ches, Gibbs, Ox will all become top quality players in the next few years imho. 🙂

  • Did Glic tell you about the conversation he overheard in a pub near where he lives in darkest Cornwall?

    It went like this.

    A beautiful girl came into his local pub, and when she had downed a few power drinks, she turned around, faced this total stranger, looked him straight in the eye and said,
    “Listen here good looking, I screw anybody, any time, anywhere, your place, my place, in the car, front door, back door, on the ground, standing up, sitting down, naked or with clothes on, dirty, clean. It doesn’t matter to me. I’ve been doing it ever since I got out of college and I just love it.”

    Glic could not believe his bad luck that he had not been chosen.

    Anyway, the stranger, with his eyes now wide with interest, responded, “No kidding. I’m a lawyer too. What firm are you with?”

    A lawyer’s life, eh? 🙂

  • OK, TA and HH, it’s a fight.

    You will have to meet in Florida, with me as referee, and we …. well you …. can get down to it!!I know a very good fish restaurant just outside Sarasota!! Loser pays!! 😀

  • BJ, my order of best English RBs at the moment.

    1) Richards
    2) Johnson
    3) Jenkinson
    4) Walker

    Although next season Jenkinson and Walker will probably overtake Johnson.

  • @RedArse thank you again! Really glad you enjoyed it!

    @AFC, thanks! I honestly think that TV still has quite a bit to offer us, so i hope that he isn’t sold. He needs to get his form back, and for that losing the captaincy to Arteta or someone is important.

    @BondJames, thanks mate and I’m in complete agreement with you when you say that players talking to the press should be a bit more controlled. Some of the statements coming out reflect very strangely on the objectives behind those statements. Also a better more organized preseason with useful games ahttp://umairn.wordpress.com/2013/05/08/things-arsenal-needs-to-do-to-win-silverware-next-season/nd squad bonding would surely play a role in making the squad know each other better.

    @HH, thank you! For me the communication is mishandled hugely by the club. Weather that’s by design, by default or just plain misunderstanding, it has to be corrected. You’re right, we are told our team is good enough to win the EPL when we struggle to get the top4, one day we are told there’s 70mn to spend, the next day that number changes… countless examples. The fans have to be a part of the narrative, and for that the communication is vital.

    @17ht thanks! 😀 I hate Jose, so will shy away from the nickname!
    It is indeed a brilliant time where we the fans can hail from different parts of the world and yet be so involved in the direction we want to the club to move towards.

    @Gerry, glad you enjoyed!

    On separate note, I’m thrilled its Moyes and not Jose going to Man U! Although I rate Moyes highly, I don’t think he’ll instantly hit upon a winning strategy.

    Re: Sagna for captain… I guess a useful option, but even if he stays I’m not sure he’ll get regular game time. I think it’ll be down to Arteta and Jack.

  • interesting choice.

    Johnson/Walker/Richards/Kelly/ are all ahead of Jenko in my opinion. hence jenko 5th choice.

    Walker is currently better than Jenko and uses his physical strength rather well, he was the difference when spuds played vs everton as well, it was evident why he is one of the top 3 Rb’s in England when he was up against the best LB’s in England , Baines.

  • BJ, forgot about Kelly but I feel Jenkinson and Walker are in a higher class than him at the moment.

  • BJ, I would like to see England go for youngers that will have improved by 2014 rather than the older players who could enter a decline very soon.

  • it won’t happen under hodgson as such even thought the likes of Gary N keeps insisting England do.

    we have a good young core of English players but there needs to be a nice blend of both young and old.

    with the likes of Neville in the England set up, i won’t be surprised to see more young english players being thrown in the set up.

    the weak area for me has been the back 4 , suffice to say apart from Gary Cahill none of the other 3 have played together enough due to injuries /form or the terry/rio shenanigans.

    right then, chelsea vs spuds, a draw would be perfecto

  • I see BBB is in full swing !. 😆

    Calling me a quality writer just proves how right Dr Glic is, with his analogy of deranged disturbed delirious bastardos and Bergkampesquers !. hahaha

    All the retirement talk of Go Sir, funeral sex has taken the eye off the most important game of the season tonight in which we have no say !…….. Chelsea FC are playing Gareth Bale FC !. A Wobbly legs Wednesday !. A Gareth Bale win and we are really up against it. Come on you rich Kuntz !.
    I cant believe I will be hiding behind the sofa when we`re not even playing !. If only I could do a emoticon someone shitting there selves smiley !. 😯

    Anyone watch Elementary last night ?. How about a young Vinnie Jones sort of Beast for a DM ?.

  • TA :), you’ve misunderstood me entirely. I think Ches, Ox and Gibbs will be fine players eventually, but to claim they are already top players is an overstatement. They may become top players based in the potential they have shown but they are not already top players. If they were to continue to get injured or further regress they could not be considered top players and thus should fall under the maybe top players category for the time being.

  • Oops I wanted to type in ain’t got a Kalou as part of my comment not my name! Sorry AGK for stealing your name ;).

  • Damn phone is causing me problems,? I hate working on a moniker device!

  • BJ, agreed the CBs area is very week and the likes of Lescott have had limited game and in my opinion Englands best CB has pulled out. Gerrard is played ahead of Lampard despite Lampard being on fire this season. And Rooney continues to be played too far forward when now he performs better in a deeper role.

    I’m off now. Speak to everyone tomorrow . 🙂

  • Fine post Umair, you have a very level headed perspective that i personaly like. I can not disagree with any of your points and in a way its a blueprint that i would like the club to follow. One point though mair, sod the media. Any body with any sense will disregard these idiots.

    The good news for me is that i believe that the club know exactly what there doing. People have been banging on for ages about them doing this or that at a time when things were not possible. The difference now is that the club is entering a new phase were we will finaly start seeing the rewards associated with our stadium move. Watch this space baby.

  • I thought you were one of our top posters HH, but looking at your last three comments, your going down quicker than Suarez and Bale at a muff munching contest !. Don’t come back until you`ve sorted yourself out !. hahaha

  • I’m baaa-aaack, and the “big” match just kicked off. Anybody else watching?….

    Only got a bit more than a pound of mushrooms and a pair of wet feet….

  • Gary Cahill with a header from a corner and Chavs lead 1-nil….

  • @17ht I am.. 1-0 to us!

    @TerryMancini, thanks! I do have faith that the club is on the verge of standing back up to where it ought to be, and am quite looking forward to a good strong summer!

  • What time is it there, mair?…..

    Time for a 2nd goal, I say…. (Mata’s had a couple of very good chances and should’ve done better….)

  • HH, I agree wit Glic, that was just embarrassing dude…I know my name is extremely unique and humorous but stealing it seems to be below u . Guess it was only a matter of time.
    You see, I’m a vengeful Gooner and tried to post something under your name but it wouldn’t let me!
    While we’re on the subject, I agree that Ox is definitely a maybe. The case for Gibbs being a top talent could be made if he could just damn stay healthy, and prob the only thing holding him back is that, more concentration on d and better crossing. Woj doesn’t get enough cred for the work he does and is probably deserving of being top talent or near it.

  • Wow—Ade runs the break and score like he was Henry…. 1-1….

  • @17ht it’s 12.15 am… and unfortunately the second goal went up the wrond end… damn Adebayor… :/

  • OK, that’s not too bad if you’re a night owl….

    Indeed, wrong end, but sort of nice to see Ade focus his love/hate for Arsenal with his best goal in years….

    If we sold him for 25 million does that mean Torres should score two because he cost 50?….

  • Ooh….Ade wasn’t too far off netting a volley….(Henry, would’ve….)

  • The Little DM beast (destroyer?) makes it 2-1…. 🙂

  • Have to say, despite all of his Rafa’s critics, he’s got the team on a good streak despite the games coming thick and fast!

  • Oscar was credited with the goal if anyone cares.

    AGK @20:10 hahaha that would have been very funny! Hope I didn’t stain your reputation mate 😉

  • I can’t quite follow all the BKers definitions of types of midfielders….Isn’t Ramires sort of a rich man’s Denilson?….

  • Torres got an assist on the Ramires goal, so does that mean he’s paid off 12.5 mil of his transfer fee?

  • I have Mata and Luiz in FPL, neither of them have done anything. I have the monkey too, but more than happy if he continues to do nothing though!

  • Really BJ? I would much prefer a Spuds loss than a draw/Chavs win.

  • Sounds about right AGAK…. Ade almost gets an assist but the RB is wide on his bad foot….

    The game is crazy wide open….Mourinho would put an end to that….

  • i would like it to be a draw since it gives a big push for the top 3, i don’t want to us to finish 4th, HH

    perfect scenario , this game carries on until like this till the 89th minute with spuds scoring in injury time to make it 2-2

    final whistle blows !

    a chelsea win is the 2nd best result, i wouldn’t mind that also.

  • Halftime….

    Umair, I loved your article today AND the more dreamy one before it about Cesc returning home…. Keep ’em coming….

    I completely agree about communication with the fan base, but how do you say we’re gonna raise ticket prices and in exchange we’re gonna give you lots of exciting games in May as we scamble for 4th? A lot of “us” are engaged in the whole “long-term” plan, etc., etc., but it seems a really hard sell….

    For me it’s all about wages–as long as certain teams offer silly wages we have to raise our level–as they are earned–and take a hard line with those players who don’t deserve them. Player evaluation (and scouting replacements) then becomes critical….

    Anyhow, Spurs need 2 and I don’t see it. Still, this Chelsea squad don’t seem to know how to really take the life out of a match….Are they missing Obi Mikel (or Essien or Makele)?….

    Finally, I can see the logic of wanting a draw, but I think that a CL qualifier in August could be a good thing….but I think I’m on my own on that account….Plus, Spurs deserve a beating….

  • I didn’t realize the first Chav goal was two-headed….Oscar with the final touch….

    What do you guys think of Moyes at United (which I guess is a done deal)?….

  • spurs will get the beating against stoke 😉 if not then sunderland are more than capable.

    i am rather optimistic of us finishing 3rd, the higher we finish the more true reflection it is of our hard work in the last 3 months…and we can take that momentum forward into the start of next season, finishing 3rd will be a real high considering most if not all the football experts in england have written us off even for top 4.

  • @17ht, exactly right… which is why the squad strengthening in the summer is important so we have a team that the fans feel is worthy of challenging for honors. The ‘value’ of the tickets will mean something then, unlike the 4th Place Trophy we are chasing every year. I think a marquee signing could definitely help in getting the fans excited… of course there’s a lot of hard work to be done!

  • I just think it’s gonna take some time, we have to out-recruit the silly money teams by offering higher wages–to our player and transfers–and then have those gambles pay off. No more Arshavins, though you could argue that Theo and Poldolski haven’t paid off very well either….

    Time also means more kids come to watch the matches who weren’t spoiled by the glory days of a decades ago… 😦

    AzPil almost curls one in….Totts getting caught on the break now….

  • Whilst you lot are keeping me up to date on the Spuds – Chavs shenanigans, I am watching our future man in the hole in action aka Blow Jobetic as Glic would call him! 🙂

  • This match should be done and dusted….Hazard’s never very happy using his left foot….Sometimes it appears those guys don’t want to pass to Torres….

  • Is he, er, getting the job done?…..Spurs going for plan B….Win FKs on the right side for Monkey man to take?…..

  • BREAKING NEWS
    David Moyes is set to be appointed as Sir Alex Ferguson’s successor at Manchester United.

    An announcement could be made tomorrow afternoon.

  • BJ, I am 21,545 right now. Hoping to get into the top 20,000 by season’s end but things have not been going as well for me lately 😦

  • He is blowing more hot than cold. I am impressed with the drive and energy of Fiorentina and they have a number of very good players. They play quite un-Italian footie.

  • TA, how’s the jobber doing today….That one is gonna happen, I think, so inquiring minds and all that….

    Is Ramires a beast or a destroyer or what?….Good thing he didn’t hurt himself slipping there in front of the open goal (my eye, my eye….)…Still a match, even if Mike Dean isn’t buying Bale’s dive over retreating A. Cole….

  • BJ that is good news! But I wont trust it until it is officially announced by the Mancs themselves. Moyes is a talented manager, but that would be a gamble for them. And no Maureen is a big relief.

  • TA you enjoy watching other men play in other men’s holes? I used to admire you, now I’m not sure what to think…

  • TA, thanks for anticipating my question, or seeing it above 🙂

    How come they won’t pass it to Torres?…. Is it because he’s lost his pace?

    Dempsey in for Holtby–Is that AVB’s final sub?

  • BJ, thanks mate! It’s my first season playing FPL so plenty of mistakes were made. I’m quite a fantasy guru though and generally come 1st or 2nd in any pool I’m in, whether it’s baseball, hockey, football, american football or basketball.

  • So, a Chavs win means Totts cannot catch them, so no worse than 4th. We’d have to win our matches and they’d have to drop 5 points for us to get 3rd…

    Or am I mistaken?….

    Also, doesn’t Moyes as new Mgr at United mean that SAF still makes all the personnel decisions (kicked upstairs, as we say….)?

  • He is doing ok 17, but not brilliant. His shooting technique and positioning are very good, but he is not an integral part of this team. He can do everything though. Wingplay, beast in the box, shooting from outside the box, good passer of the ball and bags of energy.

  • I’m prepared to send you the prize right now HH….What’s your address? 😉 I completely agree with TA about the unpleasantness of having to be realistic and pick players you hate….

    Maybe you could sell us your secrets, in a nod to fantasy fair play (ffp)….

    Uh oh, 2-2 Ade to Sig….

  • Ade, finally, where he’s supposed to be…..Offsides (and flagged for it this time)…

    Little squeaky for my cheekies….but not quite hide behind the sofa time….

  • 17ht, haha well it’s not easy picking up a player like van Judas or the monkey, but I’m able to separate my emotions for an ulterior motive. Must have been something I picked up from the cutthroat business world ;).

    Also, there’s no one recipe for success. The leader in my money league had van Judas and Bale for less than 5 weeks each this year and has mainly stuck with Theo, Mata, Benteke, Suarez, Michu and a bunch of defenders who have kept clean sheets. He’s crushing me right now as I’m in 2nd and he has a 170 point lead on me!

  • Yossi B in for Oscar in the 85th….and the fans don’t like it….No gas chamber sounds that I can hear, however….

  • This game could not be turning out any worse from a FPL perspective…Spuds better not win

  • That’s gold, HH, gold…. Keep ’em coming….

    In all seriousness, I need (italics) some juice in the game to make it fun…There could definitely be an open-invite game AND a second money game (which you or anybody else could host). Unfortunately, I doubt that I’m at your financial level so I could only afford a token amount (as my donation). If our own Sir Alex (alexgunner) wants to donate a prize that would be plenty for me….

    90th minute….

  • Diving mudderfudder get the whistle on his spot but boots it directly to helmet-head….Neener….

  • Ade push off….Yossi B has done good work down the right, I think…..

  • Haha 17ht, it will be a token amount of $10. So long as we can get 8-10 people committed to the BK FPL pool! The cash prize will be put towards an Arsenal kit of the winner’s choosing :).

    There are many ways to win in FPL, generally at the beginning it’s about in-form players and mids/forwards more so than in the second half. Captaining the right player (double points for whoever you captain) is crucial to doing well. For example, two weeks ago when Benteke scored a hat trick, captaining him would have been worth way more than having a combo of Van Judas, Bale and whomever else. Also, in the second half of the season, clean sheets are more frequent, thus defenders gain a lot more value. Defenders who also score fairly consistently are then of the highest value.

    Part of being successful in FPL is also looking for differentials who you think will do well. For example if everyone has van J but there is another striker who produces as much but is cheaper, why not roll the dice on him and use the leftover cash to upgrade another player? It’s not a necessity to choose players you detest is what I’m getting at :).

  • More gold there, HH….

    So, it’s all lame duck stuff, but that would’ve made my first week in the UMF a 9 pointer (except, of course, that you can’t use the make-up games, I think….) and I was only 6 minutes away from 15 points….

    Next year, next year….

  • If Moyes gets the job his first act for the Mancs could be kicking the Chavs out of the top-four in the last game of the season! 😀

  • The wasted chances from Chelsea were RIDICULOUS and (frankly) I think Demba Ba (or Ollie Giroud) would’ve ended it early. If a coach (Mourinho) could get the front guys (HazMatCar) harassing defensively they will be right back into the league. They also need a front man they want to pass it to….

    Anyhow, all to play for now….

  • Thanks for the gamedaychat, somebody needs to give Glic the all clear so that he (and his girls) can come out from behind the sofa….

    Oooh…. a bunch of very pale people are talking about what it means to them that SAF has stepped down (up?)….

  • 17ht, Roman just has a hard on for Torres, it’s either that or he’s too stubborn to admit buying him for 50 mil was a gigantic mistake. There are rumours that any incoming manager must stick with Torres and will not be allowed to bench or sell him.

  • He’s just lost that little bit of pace through injury (pre 2010 World Cup) plus, of course, the pressure of being a 50 million pound guy….

    That was a great day for Arsenal (and not a bad one for the toonies….)–Torres to Chavs for 50, Carroll to Pool for 35….

    (My point, btw, is that the TW is not always the answer….)

    OK gotta put my apron on for a bit….Laters….

  • I would have preferred a Chav win, but beggars cant be choosers. The Spuds play at The Orcs long before we play, if The Orcs could get a point then a win for us over Wigan on Tuesday night will guarantee us 4th spot unless there is a massive goal difference turnaround on the final day of the season !. Come on Pulis and Stoke, honestly, we have always loved you !.

  • who would have ever thought that us gooners would be getting behind stoke and want them to get a favourable result just this one 😀 roll on saturday !

    football – nothing is impossible

    i do suspect that Moyes getting the job at mancs will now let chelsea off the hook as he won’t be going out all cylinders against them (i hope that’s not the case and they go on and win against chelsea)

  • Why would you say that, BJ? I reckon Moyes would want to honour his team/contract to the last day of the season and leave in style. I also reckon the players will give their all for him in the next two games.

  • if i had things going my way,

    i would want Chelsea to lose both against villa and Everton

    and then let spurs get the 4 points to qualify for 4th

    with us finishing 3rd.

    i don’t want chelsea finishing in top 4 simply because that would mean they will be to offer top players champs league footy next season and Jose M can get who ever he wants, this way, Jose will have to spend next season in trying to qualify for the year after 😀

  • TA,

    i sure as hell they do, you have no idea how much i wanted Arsenal and Everton to make up the top 4 but since that’s not gonna happen with Everton , i would prefer spuds for the above reasons.

  • That’s it Glicster, a draw would be very nice. Maybe you should go to the Shitannia on Friday with your van full of buns and cream cakes and hand them out for free in order to rebalance our karma… 🙂

  • TA and BJ, would you really prefer the Spuds make it instead? The monkey is more likely to stay if he is guaranteed CL football. I would rather see them continue to toil in Europa league obscurity and lose Bale at the same time to Real!

  • Chavs have unlimited resources (to an extent even with FFP), so I could easily see them still convincing players like Falcao or Lewandowski to join them even without CL footy. If Spuds failed to make CL, they would likely have to sell Bale AND would not be able to attract top talent to their club even with the large transfer fee they’d receive in return for him.

    Anyone understand what I’m getting at here?

  • be that as it may, HH

    i would still want Jose . M working his towards CL footy again instead of trying to win it.

    besides, whether Spuds sell Bale or keep him has no relevance to us, we’re still going to be the no.1 team in London and hopefully winning plenty of trophies next season thanks to the arrivals of a few world class players or top top player.

    Spurs have had to sell their best players every year more or less , so they sell Bale and get 50 million plus a decent player, much like us they are unlikely to spend all of that money on signing players and even they did , like i said above, we will be one step ahead of them, with more all round quality in the team.

    to cut a long story short, competition is always healthy, if spuds get better then that means we need to improve as well, and deliver the goods next season…mind you spending heavily doesn’t ensure you get to win anything or finish higher than Arsenal, look at chelsea for example.

    i much rather spuds qualify and keep bale, he is good for the PL and a competitive spuds side keeps us on our toes and makes us want to improve all the time as well…it’s almost turning into a healthy rivalry , dare i say.

  • wishful thinking made me 100 quid richer tonight thanks to a draw between spuds and chelsea 😉

    and if Villa win on saturday i’ll be laughing all the way to the bank 😀

    see you tomorrow then.

  • on a different note, i get the feeling that as soon as we’re able to secure champs league footy i.e. us winning against wigan and both chelsea and spuds securing to win, there might be a new player signing or announcement …cough jovetic cough cough ?

    or maybe more than just one , yep wishful thinking again but hey, we did manage to get Podolski in may last year or least announce it.

    what are the chances of Jose. M coming to chelsea and bringing C.Ronaldo along ? only 2 teams in England can afford Ronaldo’s wages and price, with SAF out of the picture, i don’t think Ronaldo back to Utd would be on the cards and with Ronaldo showing some respect to utd , signing for man city should be ruled out ?….fitting CR in the current chelsea midfield might be a problem though or maybe they would have to offload a few players ? they could even play a 4-4-2, scary .

  • BJ, I think you’re onto something with all your ideas–Jovetic getting announced and Jose/CR back at Chelsea. Is it wishful thinking to believe that I think the former is actually more likely than the latter?….

    I gotta say, I’m still a little shocked that Chelsea couldn’t put that match away and that we had to worry just so you could make your 100 pounds 🙂 Ade was like the Gareth Bale of the team in white…. Still plenty of business to take care of (and I’ve yet to study all the various permutations in the two relegation battles), but it was nice that Chelsea couldn’t breathe their sigh of relief quite yet.

    I’ve got to run to my Spanish class. Maybe I’ll ask all the futbol guys what they think of SAF stepping down and what they think of Maureen-yo leaving Madrid–far from a done deal, IMO. They’re all Mexicanos so they favor those two teams because of Chicharito and Hugo Sanchez (from way back)…..

    We need to bring back Carlitos (Vela) so I have some Arsenal to talk with them….(How’s that for some fantasy talk?…..)

    Night, night….

  • don’t mind me for expressing my wishful thoughts, in the end i do want the EPL to be power packed with world class players and for that reason i don’t want bale to leave and would want to see CR return.

    i have mooted the return of Vela back and for 3.5 million it’s going to be a good deal but does Vela want to return only to find himself in the same place he was ? (the bench or as a backup player ) i doubt it, he would make for a decent super sub though.

    laters !

  • BJ, if Maureen needs to work his way to CL footy, you can guarantee he’ll play even more boring football to ensure he gets there. He allows for a little more freedom when there’s less to play for.

  • sounds even better to me 😀

    to make it even sweeter, it will be even more satisfying if spuds finished 4th and then failed to qualify for the CL after losing that CL qualifier in august 😉

    win win i reckon.

  • BJ, I truly believe that if the Spuds qualify for CL and manage to keep Bale, they will be better than us next season (TA, is it time to shove a bar of soap in my mouth?). Just look at his numbers this year and Ronaldo’s around the same age. Ronaldo went from 17 goals when he was 23 to 31 the following year, while Bale’s tally of 20 this season will only improve next year.

    With the extra CL cash to bring in a player like Moutinho and Damaio, along with Bale, Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Holtby, Dembele, Dempsey and a healthy Assou-Ekotto, Sandro and Kaboul (don’t forget about them), they’ll be a very, very solid young team. Dare I say it, but they could likely field a stronger starting X1 than we could on paper of course. What happens in a real match is unpredictable.

    My reasoning is that Bale, Lloris, Vertonghen, Walker and Moutinho would all be top quality players with Bale and Lloris being top, top ones. At worst, we’d be on par with them if we picked up Jovetic and a top quality DM. We’d be better than them if Jovetic found his scoring boots and somehow produced at a rate relative to Bale’s this year, since we have Santi and Jack (if healthy) as top, top players and top quality potential in Koz, Gibbs/Monreal, Ches and a new DM (Ox will likely start on the bench).

    Of course, all of this is conjecture and speculation on my part (as always), but it’ll be more interesting if the Spuds qualify over Chavs (or even us).

  • i see where you’re coming from and the fears expressed, however fear can be our best friend or enemy 😉

    if the fear of them over taking us is such that we wish our competitors remain weak for us to be steady finish in top 4 year in year out then i disagree with that notion, isn’t that what has made us a tad comfortable finishing where we have been without pushing on and letting the teams below us catching upto us ?

    i will have to disagree with your fears and in fact go the other way, all that quality and competitiveness should rile us on and make us even more stronger and lethal…besides you only improve if you have healthy competition around you…..who knows, if it was to happen and spurs make it big, it may make us more proactive instead of being reactive….as Arry put it “it will be wenger’s biggest achievement to finish top 4 with this current squad he has” hence the only way can be upwards and onwards with 3 quality enforcement’s this summer.

  • BJ, my concern isn’t becoming complacent if our rivals do not improve, it’s that we could and have remained complacent even as they have been improving! Imagine if the trend continues even if the Spuds improve? *shudders* now there’s a scary thought…

    Just look at Chavs, $hitty and Utd as they have all continued to improve while we have stayed relatively status quo (granted we have spent much, much less), but the point is there is no urgency.

  • Though, we’ll never be guilty of spending 35 mil on any player…

  • Lol Oz, inspirational youtube videos will assuage all our concerns

  • Good morning all. I’ve been up since 3.30 am so I have a little time to comment on the above post Chav/Spud’s result.

    Whilst it may be fun to chat as to whether, whoever will finish 4th, or not, and miss out on CL place … and thereby not be able to sign top players.
    Let us not forget, it could still happen to us!

    I think our two games are far more risky than the other pair, because of recent results, both Wigan and Newcastle will be looking to save their skins. Wigan may well do a Brummie by winning a Cup then dropping out of the EPL. We are probably fortunate in playing them just 3 days later, but win or lose in the Cup Final, they will be fired up to get something from this game?
    Depending how results have gone, the long trip to Newcastle will not be a walkover either, despite their recent slump.

    I believe Benitez was desperate to win last night so he could rest players ahead of the Europa Final the following Wednesday, so I think A.Villa have a good chance of a win.
    Their last game is at home against Liverpool, so plenty of reasons to think they will be up for that?

    Spurs have nothing else to concentrate on, so a win against Stoke put the pressure on us.
    Against Sunderland the following week, who may well be safe, also looks winnable … more pressure on us .. So to use a misplaced glic-ism … premature gloating is not good, as you may not get a second chance ..,?

  • Morning all 🙂

    Fine video OZ

    Gerry, who is ‘premature gloating’? We all know there is a long, long way to go before we are safe.

    All teams still have tricky games to come and we must hope that with a win at home against Wigan we’ll be safe, for which we need the Spuds to drop points at Stoke. Like you, I hope we don’t need to get points against a Newcastle team who need to win to stay in the PL.

    Good to see you commenting again and hope your other activities are paying off. 🙂

  • Good Morning All.

    Both Arsenal games will be tricky, there is no doubt about that. But if Arsenal fail to get 6 points, which will make them safe for champions league spot, against Wigan and Newcastle they don’t deserve either 3rd or 4th.

    All the excuses I hear against Arsenal, tiredness, more games than anyone else, referees, you name it some Arsenal supporters keep moaning.

    We have it in our own hands, Wigan will be tired three days after the FA Cup final, and Newcastle are going through turmoil atm.

    It’s two win win games for us. JFDI

  • TA- Another glic-ism .. I am holding my own – re ‘other activities’

    As for the comment, have you read read the earlier discussion? It was all about preferred results of other teams … I was just bringing it back to the little matter of us needing to win.

    Sorry, in the middle of sorting my placepot out, byee

  • Gerry……It’s all about us. Win the last two and we qualify….simples. Let the other clubs worry about themselves.

  • Gerry’s odds = 577-1

    AV v Chel
    Stoke v Spurs
    QPR v New
    Nor v WBA
    Ful v Pool
    Eve v WHU
    Sund v Soton
    MU v Swans

  • Hi Vickers, 🙂

    Here goes;

    Villa v Chelsea = Draw
    Stoke v Spurs = Draw
    Norwich v WBA = Away win
    Fulham v ‘Pool = Away win
    Manure v Swansea = Home win

  • Cheers Red Arse and Total.

    Red Arse odds = 131-1
    Total odds = 294-1

  • New Post – New Post 🙂

    Just a quickie to fill the day, as in the evening HH’s fabulous new post will be issued! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s