What if Arsenal bought no new midfielders and promote Coquelin, Eisfeld and Frimpong?


What if Arsenal bought nobody this season?

I know this is sacrilege to the transfer horny hordes out there, but it is a necessary question to ask in my opinion. The paint on the old season has not even dried and everybody is talking greedily about the players we need to buy – and I have been as guilty as anybody. We all feel we have £70m+ burning in our holsters! 🙂

Yet, I feel there is not enough recognition for the incredible feat our boys have achieved since our painful loss against the Spuddies.

In a previous post I discussed our defence, and in this one I would like to focus on the midfielders we already have. It will be hard to do so without discussing our attack as well, but let’s give it a try.

Ever since Fabregas and that other guy left Arsenal two seasons ago, Arsene has been struggling to get his midfield – the most important ‘department’ of ‘Wengerball’ – to play the football he wants to play.

This season, Arsenal’s midfield has been our weakest area, either not supporting our defence sufficiently enough and/or not contributing to our attack enough. If we take out Cazorla’ goals, our remaining midfielders – Arteta, Ramsey, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere – have only scored a handful of open-play PL goals, and the assists-count is also nothing to boost about.

However, if we look back at the last eleven games (including BM away) our team has done very well: winning nine out of eleven matches and conceding just a few goals in  the process.

So, if Arsenal were not to buy any new midfielders, how would we cope?

It all depends what Arsene is planning to do next season. If he wants to return to more attractive, attacking football, he will have to invest in at least a DM and possibly a nr.10 midfielder/attacker as well.

With the imminent return of Mourinho to these holy football shores this summer, no team will be able to compete for the big domestic prices without having a mean defence. Even if he did not, it might be best for Arsenal to continue with two defensive midfielders who operate under a conservative remit, which has been one of the main factors of Arsenal stopping to concede unnecessary – and often early – goals.

If Arsene decides to continue with this – un-Wengerball-like – unadventurous double-DM pivot next season, he does not have to buy anybody, as the likes of Arteta, Wilshere, Ramsey, Coquelin, and possibly Frimpong, can all play there with decent to very good effectiveness.

This would leave us with the third midfield position in Arsenal’s 4-2-1-3 formation: the ‘1’, also known as the ‘player in the hole’ position, or simply AM. Many believe Cazorla is the best man  for this position, others prefer Wilshere  in the hole, or Rosicky, or even the Ox.

If Arsenal were not to buy another midfielder, and simply stick to our end-of-season formation, we would probably cope quite well in midfield, as long as the emphasis is on defending and not making play from that area, as well as scoring far more goals than our midfielder did last season.

We would see a battle, this summer and at the start of the season, between Wilshere, Cazorla, and maybe Ox, to claim the AM position (I expect Rosicky to remain a back-up midfielder next season).

Jack is best suited to conduct play in midfield: to give us shape and find the  deadly through-balls. However, he appears unready to score a decent number of goals in  that position next season.

Santi is best suited to play close to the box, where he can find through-balls for his fellow attackers and can shoot at goal as much as he likes. However, his positioning there often leaves a big gap between the DMs and the opposition’s box, and this might be the main reason why he has been played more and more on the wings as the season progressed.

You would say that Ox is the most intriguing player in terms of determining his potential AND the most suitable position for him. Next season, we should see him make a big step forward, especially if Arsene is not to buy another attacking midfielder, which for this post I am assuming he isn’t.

Can Ox develop into a player who can do to a large extent what Wilshere and Cazorla can do: bring the ball forward from midfield and produce through-balls – ala Wilshere – as well as score goals from outside and inside the box – ala Cazorla?

I reckon he might well get there and it looks like Arsene is slowly developing him into an all-round AM. But next season is probably too early for him to take on the AM role as our main man.

So, although Arsenal have some fine players for the hole position, we are currently missing a candidate who has it all.

Eisfeld is a very promising talent who is both good at pushing forward from midfield/producing through-balls and scoring goals/producing assists. It would be good to see him getting more and more games in the first team, but he clearly has a long way to go.

If Arsenal were not to buy any midfielders, we could still cope well, even though our AM position would continue to be a work in progress. It would probably not be pretty, but if Arsene sticks to two defence-minded DMs, we could go on a very good run in the new season.

However, if Arsene wants to return to Wengerball, he will have to look for one or two additions. Firstly, a more traditional ‘beast of a DM’ (who can play a bit of footie as well): the DM should enable Wenger to reintroduce a proper box-to-box midfielder (ideally Jack if fit), and as a result play with a more attacking, flowing style of football.

Secondly, an experienced, more a Bergkamp type AM/nr10, who can set up attacks from midfield through speed, physical strength, great overview of the game, and ingenuity; produce a large number of assists and score double figures PL goals himself.

The key question, fine fellow Gooners, is: do we want Arsene to return to Wengerball OR, for the sake of stable progress and possibly the best chance of finally winning something next season,  continue with, and build further on, what he and Bould have established during the latter part of the season?

The former could come at the cost of results/winning something; the latter at the cost of our enjoyment of our football (and winning something is not a given either).

Let’s see what will happen in the TW this summer: it will tell us a lot of what direction Wenger and Bould will be taking with our team.

Written by: TotalArsenal.


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236 Responses to What if Arsenal bought no new midfielders and promote Coquelin, Eisfeld and Frimpong?

  1. James Bond says:

    Thanks, ,TA

    that was outside the box thinking and a cleverly written article, well done.

    Coquelin – yes

    Eisfield – injury prone and should be eased into the first team gradually

    Frimpong – injury prone and needs to mature more, too acrobatic for my liking (rash)..

    how does this look instead ?

    Sagna/TV / Coquelin and promotong young nico yennaris 😉

  2. Silentstan says:

    We would be screwed

  3. James Bond says:


    that was rather blunt and direct, hahahahaha

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    JB 🙂

    Do you mean Sagna and TV as our DM’s? 😛

  5. Michael says:

    Maybe promote Chuks Aneke while Diaby remains hobbled. Aneke plays in a similar way and is perhaps the midfielder most ready to make the step up.
    Eisfeld is injury prone, Frimpong too is injury prone and is not as good at passing, Coquelin wants to leave, and Yennaris really needs to go out on loan.

  6. James Bond says:

    indeed, that’s what i meant if we don’t buy any midfielders and even if we do get a DM, trying one of TV or Sagna as our DM would not be so bad i reckon, TV more than Sagna… TV would feel right at home i reckon and would be able to interchange with Koc if need be, good solution for the longer term and would keep everyone relatively happy.

    but of course, this is all on the premise of your article, ” what if we don’t buy new mfs” i can already see TV heading most of the headers from gks 😀

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Michael

    Aneke is a decent call, and I am not talking about Diaby anymore as we just cannot count on him.

    Re Eisfeld and Frimpong, is not every young player injury-prone? We just have to hope that at one point they get over it and become reliable footballers.

    But what is your – and you as well JB 🙂 – answer to the question of returning to Wengerball or continue with our more conservative formation/style?

  8. Glic says:

    Thanks Totes.

    What if Arsenal bought no new midfielders ?…….the peasants would go f**king spare !.

    I like Le Cog, he basically needs lengthy playing time, he might have to go out on loan !. Not sure whether Eisfeld or Frimmers will make the next step !. Although younger, Gnabry has the X-Factor and will make the next step with ease !.
    Gnabry, Wilshere, Ox, Santi, Walcott and Ramsey Mmmmmmm….Just bring me in Isco, Pogba and the depth in squad with the mixture of youth and experience will have the Emirates will be rocking !
    On the subject of two DM`s with one being B2B, Petit/Viera and Viera/Gilberto…..I wouldn`t say that was boring football, it may have not been Wengerball, but it was still beautiful football !.

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    No Glic that was not boring at all and Vieira (two ‘i’s’!) was a brilliant, brilliant all-round midfielder; and of course the attacking four were all of special class (and played in a different era).


    Brillant article TA

    The end of last season has bought up an issue that in my opinion anyway, has ben waiting for in the wings for a long time.

    The question been is the way forward for our formation one which incorporates to “Defensive” midfielders?

    I think the answer is yes, we should be looking at this as our first option. Even when we had Cesc, i was never convinced by the balance of the midfield. Too many times against the big sides we were easily exposed and conceded goals due to poor defensive shape and system.

    I think Wenger will stick with 2 deep midfield players and look to push the full backs forward to provide the nessesary bodies. Jenks and Gibbs have the youth and dynamisim to provide this support.

    Then of course we have the “Hole” and the “Striker”. We need top quality there and if it is come within e.g. the development of Wilshere etc or through Player purchase, it will be key for the system to work.

    This is why, despite myself, i can not help get excited at the prospect of players like Jovetic and Higuain.

    We are very close. If Arsene gets the balance right and we make a couple of realy good signings that add the nesessary vaule, next season we could win the league.

  11. Glic says:

    Sorry Totes !….I had my two eye`s on Stretches thick biddy with the huge knockers !. hahaha

    Here is a link to something that will compliment your post Totes, it assesses the players on the fringes, plus you get to vote !. 🙂


  12. James Bond says:

    attack is the best form of defense, we need to get back to our usual free flowing style….

    i think the trouble we had was that we started the season with the steve bould approach, keeping it tight at the back and then scoring ….it helped us in getting a few clean sheets but also managed to drop 4 points in the process (against sunderland and stoke)….Wenger then decided to revert back to his style….which didn’t pay dividends as such because :

    1: the team was a new one, with most of them still getting to grips and trying to develop an understanding of each others game , least of all still trying to adhere to Wenger’s philosophy

    2: there was too much chopping and changing for my liking, the experiment with Gervinho and so on , formations e.t.c

    so the first 6 months was a mixture of both with wenger wanting less of the steve b effect….but then wenger got it right when the players trained more together and developed a better understanding, we went back to plan b (steve b) found the right combinations, formations and partnerships and voila.

    so for me , i don’t see why we can’t have a 50/50 instead of going out all guns blazing approach with a solid back 4/5 we have now….every one comes out a winner if we keep a clean sheet and put 3/4 past our opponents 😀

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent comment, Terry. 🙂

    Agreed on the FB’s having the energy and quality to add both stability to midfield, and support to our attack – and we have four exciting players in those positions!

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the link, Glic! 🙂

  15. slugboy says:

    Interesting, but I think we lack in a few areas:
    1. Goalkeeper not commanding enough
    2. Defence need training in defendng set pieces.maybe they cracked in last 10 games, but doubt it.
    3. Midfield need to add toughness to their guile.
    4. Wingers lacking movement and real ability to get past defenders.
    5. Striker good, but not world class.

    To resolve this lot we need a strong commanding keeper, a strong centre mid, wingers who can use their pace and a world class striker. Oh yeah some set piece training too. Apart from that we are ready to win loads of trophies……..

  16. Glic says:

    I would like to say I`ve always been an advocate of two midfielders sitting in front of the back four !. It comes as no surprise that the discipline of Ramsey and Arteta was a major impact in the last ten or so games !. Arteta will have to be replaced sooner of later, so Gundogan ( carbon copy imo ) or Pogba would be nice thank you !.

  17. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA :), nice of you to give our current group of midfielders some respect and their due. As you stated, a DM is necessary if we want to go back to Wengerball, which should be our objective. I am happy to win games, but not at the sacrifice of our beautiful, flowing football that we have become known for. With Ramsey and Arteta both on the pitch compensating for the lack of a true DM, our playing style will continue to suffer as a result. However, to be proud of their accomplishments from last season and to understand what we need going forward to challenge in earnest are two different things.

    In order to properly understand what I mean in the last sentence directly above, you just have to pause and remind yourself of one thing: where did the current group of midfielders get us last season? Are you content with the only improvement coming from within in a group that has failed to inspire much confidence outside of scrapping for 4th place? One or two injuries and suddenly everything goes to sh*t again, especially when you consider Jack’s ankle, Ramsey’s and Frimpong’s legs, Arteta’s age, Diaby’s everything etc.

    In addition, I reckon teams would start to expose the lack of physicality and pace between Ramsey and Arteta. We largely found success in the league against lesser opponents and drew with Everton and Manure, the latter of which had what I term “silverware hangover”. The current midfield as it is, is simply not good enough, unless of course another 4th place finish is the desired outcome.

    One also has to be cognizant of the fact that the Spuds, Chavs, $hitty and Manure will all be spending this summer to improve their squads regardless of what Arsenal do or do not do. Having stability in management is wasted if we do not improve our team incrementally in the TW. Affording Coquelin/Frimpong more playing time in domestic cups is the answer; not converting them as full fledged starters/immediate back-ups ;).

    Now, I am not saying that Coquelin or Frimpong will not come good, but that we should give them every opportunity to succeed, SLOWLY. That means not buying 2-3 midfielders to take away all potential playing time, but to only start both individuals in the cups, sub appearances and the odd PL start (similar to how Manure play Smalling, Jones etc.). Imho, Coquelin and Frimpong were exposed to first-team action too soon out of necessity and this has unfortunately made them feel somewhat entitled to more playing time (granted AW does not rotate well at all either and needs to resolve this next season).

    AM is the one position, I am not too worried about. Santi, Jack, Rosicky and Ox are all capable of playing there, in addition to Eisfeld. There are plenty of options in-house that could fulfill the spot (even Gnabry as a SS) and plenty of cover in case of injuries. We need more goals from our midfield, but that also comes from better health (Jack) and more playing time/development (Rosicky and Ox).

  18. GaryH says:

    Assuming we play three central midfielders with one playing as an attacking midfielder I would purchase a holding midfielder such as Capoue to play alongside Wilshere.

    The attacking midfielder would be Cazorla with Rosicky the primary backup and Wilshere if any injuries. Chamberlain and Gnarby can play the role in cup games.

    Wilshere and Capoue would be the best tandum with Arteta and Ramsey rotated in for games. I would be happy with Frimpong and Coquelin backing up those four and playing the cup games.

  19. James Bond says:

    trouble with getting Pogba is that we already have coquelin , the games he has played he has been Box to box, i was rather impressed by some of his outings, a bit unlucky not to play more i reckon…

    but Gundaogan/Capoue would most def be welcomed additions no doubt !

    on a different note, that’s Rafa.B off to Napoli to show everyone it wasn’t a mistake when milan sacked him 😀 he really is useless, ha

  20. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, I would love to see Pogba and Ramsey/Arteta working as a tandem in the CM/DM pivot. Both are capable of covering every inch of the pitch and Ramsey/Arteta’s calmness perfectly offsets Pogba’s aggression/exuberance. Pogba will be able to create that something extra special for us in midfield, while Ramsey/Arteta could make all the smart, easy, conservative choices that help us maintain possession.

    For me, Pogba is the perfect midfielder for our team and we’d really benefit from his physicality, pace and skill on the ball. He would be a top quality signing to add a much needed injection of skill to our relatively unexciting current starting 11 (aside from Santi and Jack when healthy, Theo disappears far too often).

  21. Glic says:

    I like Le Coq ( the player ! hahaha ) but Pogba, although 2 years younger !, is getting playing time at Juventus and has been called up to the France squad !.

  22. Glic says:

    Agreed HH, he would be a tremendous buy if available ! Stop pussy footing about with your zipper Arsene and get over to Turin and kidnap PP……..talking of PP…..where`s PPP ?

  23. Glic says:

    It`s now 00:07 and I need to be tied to my bed !….no !…no funny stuff James Bondage !….I`m just tired !. hahaha

  24. arseweb says:

    I don’t see the problem. If we bought no new midfielders and kept those we’ve got, we’d be fine. I’d be very happy not to buy any midfielders. It’s strikers and defenders that we need (one or 2 top centre forwards, a centre back and a right back if sagna leaves).

  25. James Bond says:


    he’s also getting plenty abused in serie A, Pogba returning to england could be possible , yes, but at what price ? (15 million upwards ? ) unless he puts in a transfer request and forces his way out then yep, Diaby can stay on the sidelines .

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi HH 🙂

    Wengerball should be our objective, agreed. But maybe not next year: it might be best to continue with the pivot of Arteta and Ramsey.

    You keep undervaluing the run of 11 games and not give Ramsey and Arteta the credit they deserve, and there is no reason to believe they cannot become even more solid next season. Yes injuries are a worry but not so if the style is pretty straightforward: a midfielder who needs to shield the defence is easier to replace than you seem to think. And Jack and Coquelin can be more than decent back-up.

    AM as explained in the post is the biggest issue to resolve but we have discussed this one more or less to death! hahaha 🙂

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    JB at 23.34

    Good points. I reckon we went indeed back to how we played at the start of the season, and it will be really hard to get back to effective Wengerball in one summer. Of course, we all want us to be solid at the back and super-sharp up-front, but the question is can this be achieved so quickly?

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers slugboy,

    The post today is about midfield, and yes I would love to get a more traditional DM this summer who can add that bid of toughness when needed.

  29. malaysian gunner says:

    Then if the gunners can’t compete byXmas 2013,Wenger shd be sacked or resign.He has wasted too much time and I believe he wisll waste evn more time if he were to continue.

  30. TotalArsenal says:


    Capoue would be a great addition and would give Wenger a number of options in midfield.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Malaysian gunner

    Best is to stick to the content of the post. Those sort of comments get you nowhere here.

  32. darnz says:

    Our midfield is okay. Still think we need to buy a natural DM. If Arteta or Ramsey gets injured we could be stuck. Coquelin is injury prone, so is Frimpong and unless Wenger is bold and brings in Yennaris then we should buy a player in that role. I think our most effective performances come with Rosicky in the team in ‘the hole’. Cazorla gets isolated in the middle, teams realised he was a threat and he was being marked out of games. Wilshere needs to get to 100% before we make him our main man in that role. The team might survive without buying another midfielder but it heavily relies on the fitness of Arteta and Ramsey.

  33. TotalArsenal says:


    You wrote:

    “In order to properly understand what I mean in the last sentence directly above, you just have to pause and remind yourself of one thing: where did the current group of midfielders get us last season? Are you content with the only improvement coming from within in a group that has failed to inspire much confidence outside of scrapping for 4th place?”

    We have both agreed in the past that Arsenal has gone through a transitional year, and therefore we should look at the last period as the most important one imo. There is some stability now and confidence has grown significantly. Could this system work next season and win us silverware…. most probably…

    Like you, I still would like us to add a typical DM, but there is good reason as well to continue with the double-DM pivot structure. Things are just not as black and white as we sometimes like to paint them. 🙂

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, in the same way I may be undervaluing the results of our last 11 games, you entirely overvalue them. The way I see it, is the majority of those wins were all ones we (italics)needed(italics) to win and (italics)should(italics) be winning. Coming away with 3 points in most of those games is certainly good, but not something we should suddenly be overconfident about given the opposition we faced (Bayern were not playing for anything at that point and neither were Manure, while we had everything to play for).

    Arteta, Ramsey, Jack, Diaby, Frimpong are all relatively injury-prone, and even Coquelin suffered from knocks and strains last season. To believe we are “set” at CM is a big overstatement. To acknowledge our strengths is one thing, but to avoid looking at the obvious weaknesses (sacrificing good football, lack of skill, direct-forward passing, goals, assists, aerial ability etc. etc.) is exactly what has gotten our club into the precarious situation it’s found itself in during most of the last 8 years; fighting and battling for 4th place while all the clubs around us continue to get stronger and widen the gap.

    How much are you honestly expecting Arteta and Ramsey to improve? Arteta is already 31 and is not getting any younger. Ramsey is good and has room to improve, but it’s asking a lot of the rest of our squad to play a compartmentalized strategy given the people we have up front. You can certainly take away most of the goals we scored this season if we weren’t playing free flowing football: goodbye 7 goals against Newcastle, 6 against Reading and Southampton, 5 against West Ham, Spuds (down to 10 men) etc.

    Have you seen Jack play at DM? He’s a good B2B mid, but in no way is he a defensive midfielder. His talents are wasted if he is asked to sit back and be more diligent in his defensive duties.

    I guarantee you that if we don’t make the correct and necessary purchases this summer that we’ll continue to be scraping for 4th place with perhaps an even greater chance at falling outside CL qualification next season if Bale stays with Spuds (and is healthy) and they purchase and improve.

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Darnz, that is a very fine comment and you have summarised the essence re today’s topic! 🙂

  36. Highbury Harmony says:

    I’m not saying you’re wrong or that I’m right either; just that I’ve seen this trick and pony before where we lead ourselves to be consumed by the results to close off the season and believe we are largely set for the coming year. However, once the season starts, injuries accumulate, players cannot replicate the form of the previous season etc. and everything goes to sh*t and we are left scrambling for 4th place, sacrificing opportunities for youth and other squad players to receive playing time because AW is grinding his players to the ground out of necessity to grab points in the table or try and contend for silverware in cups.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    HH you cannot guarantee that – it is just your opinion, which of course is a great one. 🙂

    MU played with two Arteta-Ramsey like central midfielders for years and won silverware in the process. It might just be best for us to play like this again next season, that is all I am saying.

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed HH, but the thing is it is relatively easy to play with two holding DMs and to replace the fist choices if necessary. It is safe and we can build further on it.

    And of course, I would still love us to sign the beast of a DM (and Jovetic, Cesc or Shrek). 😛

  39. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, look at who Manure had in the rest of their squads over the years: Rooney, Berbatov, Evra, van Der Sar, Ronaldo, a focused Nani, a healthy Vidic, a younger Giggs and Scholes.

    Yeah, I would be ok with Arteta and Ramsey in MF if we had the likes of Rooney, Ronaldo, Scholes, Berbatov, Giggs, Vidic and Evra in our team too! Also, that is not my point. I’m perfectly comfortable starting the season off with Arteta and Ramsey in the dual DM pivot. What I am not ok with is ignoring this as a position in need of an obvious upgrade because of the results of the last 11 games of the season. We were incredibly fortunate with injuries and form (even Arteta got injured at the end), and you seem to forget Ramsey’s form in the 2nd half of 11-12 after we overplayed him at the start of that season.

    No doubt they’re both good players, but not enough if we want to be challenging at the top. We need depth, we need an eventual Arteta replacement and we need rotation. Such can only be necessitated from a signing this summer. Frimpong, Jack and Diaby are all going under the knife again so depending on one or any of them is certain failure for disappointment/further aggravation of current or a new injury.

  40. Highbury Harmony says:

    How could I have forgotten about Wes Brown too!

  41. Highbury Harmony says:

    And Tevez…

  42. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, what I am saying is that we don’t necessarily need a big name signing at DM. We need a good player who is reliable and smart similar to that of Arteta or Ramsey to help provide good rotation and to give one or the other the confidence to push forward to help our attack when need be!

    We do, however, need a top quality signing for our attack, especially if we want to produce some beautiful football in a compartmentalized strategy. That’s where Higuain and Rooney come into play, provided we can sign them of course 🙂

  43. TotalArsenal says:

    Ha ha HH,

    Now you are talking about our attack, but that will be my last post on the same theme. 🙂

  44. Highbury Harmony says:

    But do you understand what I have been trying to say? It’s not that either Ramsey or Arteta need to be displaced out of the current line-up right away. It’s that we need one signing at CM to provide depth and rotation and this player should be good enough to eventually transition Arteta out to a quality sub/alternate option by the end of the season.

    Ideally, we start: Ramsey-Arteta, then work our new signing in there, with Coquelin also getting the odd game here or there. By season’s end, we’ll be starting with: Ramsey-new signing and Arteta and Coquelin subbing in for starts.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    HH before I go to bed:

    just imagine we had the following in front of Arteta/Ramsey: Cesc, VJ, Cazorla, Theo. 🙂

  46. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, don’t play me like that…reminiscing of the past hits too close to home :(.

    Also, without the loss of Cesc, we would have never have gotten Santi, which I admittedly would be disappointed about (only because Santi wants to be here 100% 🙂 ). I’m looking forward to seeing who will ultimately replace RVJ though, since I cannot envision anything greater than us winning the title while he is still at Manure!!!

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes, HH, I do understand and I also think we will have Jack in the double DM pivot next season (a lot).

    It was good debating with you! 🙂

    Good night / evening compadre!

    Btw are you working on a post at the moment. You could do one in response to mine hahaha!

  48. Highbury Harmony says:

    I think if we can add Gonalons, a utility player (wing/CAM) if we sell Gervinho, Cesar (or some other experienced back-up) and a top quality ST (Higuain or Rooney), we’ll be laughing. It’s not a guarantee that we’ll win a title, but if luck goes our way in the form of no injuries, good rotation, good form/chemistry then we’d certainly have a good chance given our stability in management and within the squad (if no top players are sold of course).

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    HH lets see what the summer brings – but I will take a distance from the TW stuff until it is confirmed, as it drives me nuts! 😦

    Really gone now.

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, if you combined all my comments and took out bits and pieces I reckon you’d have a quality response post there :). Some bloggers actually take the time to read my comments so perhaps it would be wasted to convert it into a full fledged article!

    Good night my friend, always a pleasure debating with you :D.

  51. malaysian gunner says:

    The epl is very physical compared to other leagues.Ballet dancers like Arteta/Ramsay and Wilshire can be kicked off the park,imho.That’s why Arsenal shd get monster sized md.

  52. jgc says:

    Hi TA

    Another interesting thought and not out of the question if who we need isnt available or isnt available enough (too much, like over 20m). Per my prior comments, the “wrong” top quality DM is worse than none and thus a risky selection/buy.

    REgardless, I side with wanting:

    a. A good DM, top flight, perhaps Pogba or similar.

    b. Flexibility to play like we did at the end OR be more attacking as time, people and place dictate

    Which leads me to where I think we were not so good last year. It was flexibilty. The ability to be different teams to different opponents. The lack of ability to change mid game or mid-season made us an easier target. The defensive approach thus worked well buecause it is simply score what you can but make sure others dont (a touch/tad negative really).

    I would like more balance and dont care how it happens. So, do we need new midfielders or more flexibility, by different types of midfielders. I think new, but only because our different types are young and shouldnt be rushed in…

    A final note, teh invincibles was not at all alwasy pretty. I read once where someone described it as watching a python slow strangle and eat a bunny. Boring and in the end the outcome is always the same…

    That is to say that Wengerball hasnt always been pretty (it *was* his team!), and that the ability to do that and play beautiful attacking football with small changes would be best.. IMO

    cheers — jgc

  53. Hassan Haron says:

    You guys are not talking about building an instant EPL championship teams. All those players mentioned are good to qualify for the UEFA Championship only.

  54. Highbury Harmony says:

    Jgc, brilliant comment mate :). You have a knack for being able to enter a discussion with a high standard of logic/reasoning, neglecting emotion/overpowering personal interests/conflicts (if that makes sense 😉 ).

    I agree with everything you just wrote and you more less covered everything I tried to say about this article in one comment! Well done :D.

  55. GaryH says:

    We need to strip the squad of some of the deadweight players. They are the ones that have not performed, not progressed, have no chance of gaining a work permit and those who are dont want to be or not wanted at the club.

    Sell; Chamakh, Chu-Young, Bendtner, Miyaichi, Denilson, Santos, Djourou, Fabianski, Wellington(wp), Galindo (wp) and Campbell (wp). Release; Arshavin, Watt, Eastmond, Squillaci, Mannone, and Shea.
    These sales/releases will raise potentially over £25mil but importantly release over £500k per week from the wage bill.

    I think we need a realistically need several players with a striker, winger, holding midfielder, central defender and goalkeeper, that is before any other departures. My choices in order of preferance.
    Striker … Dzeko/Higuain/Jovetic. £20mil
    Winger … Sterling/Belhanda. £10mil
    Midfield … Capoue/Pogba. £10mil
    Defender … Sakho/Lovren. £10mil
    Goalkeeper … Adler/Julio Cesar. £5mil


    Would still have Afobe, Aneke, Eisfeld, Gnarby, Yennaris, Miquel, Bellerin and Martinez in reserve to cover injuries and play cup games.

  56. Highbury Harmony says:

    GaryH, fine comment mate :).

    Aside from part about sales of those players equalling £25mil+, I agree with everything you’ve just said. Not sure if we need to sign such a high profile 4th choice CB since if Verm, Koz and Mert remain healthy, there’s enough coverage there with Miquel and Sagna also capable of filling in if need be. GK, MF and ST are all necessities and the three areas that AW should be looking to fill this summer, while a winger is only a requirement if Gervinho is sold.

  57. AFC says:

    I am not really for the idea of playing two DMs or one DM. I would play a box to box midfielder like Song who can also play as a DM next to a strict DM. Sort of 1.5 DMs. 😀

    Rooney would be the perfect signing. He can play as an ST, SS, AM out wide or even next to a DM.

  58. AFC says:

    * as a

  59. Liam says:

    I think brining in Vermaelen to play DM would be an interesting project. Hes certainly physical enough to back up the likes of wilshere and santi defensively. Whilst he lacks all the technical abilities of an allround DM he would add some bite to our midfeild and can then offload to someone with a little more attacking talent. It would make us a little one dimensional but it is just a thought.

  60. GaryH says:


    I dont feel £25mil is unrealistic for those players (under £3mil each) but as said the reduction in the wage bill is more important. I have also been trying to be realistic in transfer targets chosen and to a degree judjing other possible departures.

    The BFG Mertesacker played well towards the end of the season but I am not fully convinced by him. He has good positioning, blocking lots of though balls etc but his lack of pace is worryingly against speedy strikers or any balls played behind the rightback (something Chelsea have done). Rather then go to the player and hold up play he just cant get there and retreats into the box, Koscielny did really well covering across for him. Vermaelen made alot of errors and his confidence was rock bottom last year, if he gets his form back he is a better player then BFG.

    I would be Happy for Sagna to stay but believe he will leave for Monaco or PSG. Richards would be my first choice but Corchia, Aurier and Byram would slot in behind Jenkinson.

    I would sell Gervinho but wouldnt loan him to Lyon, all these pointless loans are doing my head in. If we recouped over the £10mil we paid for him I would take it but dont think we need to replace him. His role as a backup striker and winger would be filled with the signings mentioned, allowing Gnarby to join the first team.

    Miquel I expect will go on loan. I hope he stays

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, for some reason, I can’t ever see Manure selling Rooney to us! But, I have really, really high hopes that by some stroke of luck that it could happen…fool’s gold?

  62. AFC says:

    Regarding ST, I think Wenger will try his best to Jovetic as he is the type of forward we are missing. The three types of forwards needed in a team and the players who fill these roles.

    Target man- Giroud
    Creator- Jovetic/Rooney
    Finisher- Podolski/Walcott

  63. AFC says:

    HH, I cannot see Rooney joining us either.

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    GaryH, all agreed on trying to sell before loaning any more players but unfortunately if that is the only avenue then we have to explore it since it relieves of us “deadwood” players and gets them off the wage bill.

    Most of the players you listed would not be able to command more than £1 mil each (aka Chamakh, Park, Santos) while I wouldn’t sell promising youngsters like Miyachi, Campbell etc. Fabianski is also a free agent this summer so we could not sell him, while Eastmond has already signed with Colchester United.

    I used to (and to a degree still do) feel the same way about Mertesacker as you do. However, he offers so much in terms of organization, composure, positioning, aerial ability and leadership that it’s difficult to displace him out of the current line-up. No arguing that as a player, Verm is more talented/skilled, but you often need players like Mert who’s presence in the line-up goes unnoticed and a player who is willing to take on the less glamorous tasks for the greater good of the team.

    I’m not worried about the CBs whatsoever, unless we for some reason sell Vermaelen. I would like to see Miquel promoted as our 4th choice CB, starting in all domestic cup competitions and maybe the odd PL game (if he shows progress and we can afford to start him).

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC in OG, I believe we have our very own Chicharito. Much like Chicharito, OG is more successful and effective when coming off the bench, however one also cannot argue that he is our best target man to bail us out when we are in trouble and want to retain possession up field. However, I would much prefer to play our typical style of football with a creator/fluid/clinical finisher up front than the target man style we’ve tried to force.

  66. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, which DM do you see as the most likely to join us and fit into our side?

  67. AFC says:

    HH, I think Wenger is going for Capoue. I have my doubts about him. Could he come to the EPL and be half the player he is just like Gervinho and Chamakh who also came from France.

    I like Pogba but then I wonder why SAF did not play him if he was that good. Man U do not exactly have the best CMs. Could we turn him into a top class DM/box to box midfielder, I am not sure.

    I think Wenger will shock us. Not really sure who I want for DM.

  68. AFC says:

    Another thing we Wenger could do is look for a young defender with the necessary physical and technical attributes and mould him into a DM. Risky and time consuming but could be worth the time to uncover a to DM that cannot be brought.

  69. AFC says:

    * Wenger

  70. AFC says:

    * top

  71. Sandman says:

    The last game Coquelin played was against Chelsea where he was hands down the best player on the pitch for Arsenal. After that he never saw the field again instead we go with the shitty ramsay and allow him to get confidence and better game by game (which took a while). This nonsense politics drives me nuts. Something doesn’t add up here

  72. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I think this is not the time for us to take risks, which is what I’ve alluded to in most of my comments in this article. Depending on the same squad to replicate their performance next year, depending on all our currently players to stay healthy, depending purely on youth, trying to save money by uncovering a gem, trying to force players into uncomfortable roles (aka square pegs in round holes) etc. are all unnecessary risks in a time where we are supposed to display stability and that the past 8 years have been a necessity because of increased financial constraints to pay back the stadium debt.

    Capoue is interesting and physically, I think he would adapt to the league very well and striker fear into the hearts of the opposition. However, technically, I’m not sure if he’d really fit into AW’s side, unless of course we are looking for that “enforcer” or contrast in style to what we currently have.

    My prediction is that Gonalons is the DM AW purchases because of his success in Ligue 1 and Europa league, not to mention that he’s been dubbed as the next Busquets, and is a younger, faster, more physical Arteta. Natural succession planning if he is indeed available at a reasonable price.

  73. Highbury Harmony says:

    current players*

  74. AFC says:

    HH, you may be right about Gonalons being the DM AW buys.

    I’m off now, speak to you tomorrow. 🙂

  75. AFC says:

    Maybe we could offer ridiculous money to bring Sergio from Barca. He might want to play in the EPL and be sick of winning everything at Barca. 😀

  76. Highbury Harmony says:

    Have good night AFC, nice to see around BK and for chatting with me at night when no one else will hahaha!

  77. AFC says:

    A bid of around 30 mill should do it. 😀

  78. GaryH says:


    The reason Campbell was added to the list was because I dont think he will get a work permit. I know he has had a decent season in Spain but has a poor goal return and think Sanogo barring any injuries is a better striker, Campbell seems to be more of a wide winger/striker hybrid. Eastmond was listed on the release list so wasnt counting any income for him, Fabianski should have been on that one too. My bad.

    Miyaichi im undicided on. He came back from Holland with a good reputation but has been injury hit for the best part of two years. If only we signed him when on trial wiith us before he went off to Ajax and broke his leg. The main reason I added him to the list of players to sell was to help get Gnarby promoted closer to the first team squad.

    Main aim of the sales was to reduce the wage bill for new players and allow players to be promoted up, Take the transfer fees over a few years to remove them if needs be, would make more teams enter for some of them.

    As for Rooney no thanks

  79. AFC says:

    I’m actually off now.

  80. Gerry says:

    TA – Another good post, but alas for myself and yourself, HH has said much of what I would have said, but in a different style? ha, ha.

    In short, if we don’t buy in this department then were are looking to repeat last season, but probably missing out on a top 3/4 spot, which would be all we could aim for, realistically?

    I also think a tad too much emphasis has been put on the ‘double DM pivot’ for our improvement. To my mind, when we were humbled in that first half against BM, It would not have mattered if we had Rooney and Higuain up front, we would have still looked a poor second best? We were overrun in midfield, and swamped in defence. It was BM’s ability to attack in numbers, and defend in numbers that was the shining light. From that game on you saw us doing it in a similar way. That ‘collective’ effort saved our season. But to expect the same for a whole season with those same players is asking too much, imo.

    Now whilst I am with the view that a DM is key to our fortunes, I also think igc has a point about quality. Let us hope Arsene makes the right choice, eh? But at least having a solid DM does open up the possibility of adding to our attacking capabilities, in some games, which the double pivot can take away, with the current front runners at least. I want to see improvement in this department, which also means adding a goal scoring midfielder as well. Nothing wrong in keeping the team and bench from last season, but if we are going to crack the top six sides on a regular basis, we need more?

    With a solid back 5, and equally solid back ups, and a midfield that can quickly turn defence into attack for our ‘new’ strike force to make full use, it should of should allow us to be in a position to bring in the youngsters named earlier into a confident side. But as we saw in those last 10 games, on the bench there was no room for any of them, such was the need for points? If the right players are added, then the 4 essentials need to be in each area, but this is where the likes of Sagna, TV5, Ramsey, Arteta, and the Ox are vital, because they can fill in at more than one position. The leaves 2 or 3 spots for Yennaris, Eislfeld, Gnabry, Miquel to get an opportunity? Note, I have already promoted the Ox to the first team squad. I would like to see Coquelin in there too, but I fear we may get an offer for him that will not be turned down?

    Hence the need to buy TA, it will help not stifle the academy players?

  81. jgc says:

    HH and AFC,

    A finalish comment as I drop back in.. First, though, HH, blushes for the pior comment 😳 ..

    Now, from my favorite kids movie, Megamind, the only thing that differentiates villains and super-villains, is “Presentation!” ..

    What differentiates what we want from what we have currently is almost, almost the same … “Presence!”

    We would like one player in central midfield with “Presence!” … Arteta and Ramsey are very good and do a fantastic job but neither has “Presence!”

    What is “Presence!” you ask… ?? 🙂 …

    Presence! = the fear created (in the other team) when the player is around.

    Thus, for example, on form, Yaya Toure has defensive and attacking Presence! The beast DM we all want is the Presence! that says this land is mine and dont you dare go f***ing about with the ball in here. TV has this when on form to a good measure.

    Your great attacking midfielders have it on attack, particularly with ball at the feet (Cesc at Arsenal, Santi, ..). Yaya has it going forward with or without the ball.

    In either case, it’s that tingle you get watching the game, knowing in those circumstances almost anything could happen! And may well!!!

    We dont have that. We *do* have negative Presence! in HHs “favorite” defender, Santos!! Every time he’s around on the field the other teams fans all get this tingle like something special could happen any moment, and it often does!!

    So, whether it is DM, Beast, B2B or whatever-you-call-it.. What we are all really talking about IMO, is Presence! or even PRESENCE!

    So, who’s got it and where do we get some… It only takes a little to make people avoid you… In avoiding you, if we are talking defense, then it shrinks the field for them.. on offense, your Presence! makes other players more open as players start hedging off their own marks.. Thus, more goals whether they score or not..

    So, Presence! … where to get some…

    And for my favorite quote from the movie, just insert “Presence!” for “Presentation!” see:

    I think it sums it up accurately! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  82. mA says:

    a very fine post TA -typical u, thanks

    those drumming up for Pogba need to realize that Ramsey was ‘almost’ crucified because of dillydallying. Pogba is way slow and inconsistent and i reckon he would take about 3 years to get a grip.
    regarding the post, we all know that a ‘beast’ mid is direly needed since ‘Wengerball’ does not work all the time. those to be promoted can continue with Wengerball but against a Bayern side we need a ‘beast’.

  83. lari03 says:

    I was thinking along the same line as the context of this blog a few days ago and I agree with Jgc on the need for flexibility.
    Having said that, I think we should buy a DM as well as involve Coquelin,Yennaris and Aneke. The most important part of our squad needing improvement is our strike force, where we need pace, trickery, power and precision so that the attack can impose itself. Gundogan or Wanyama + Benteke or Rooney and a new goalie.
    With Santos coming back, Monsieur Wenger has more experiments to carry out as well as conversions to make, I expect Santos to play second fiddle to Cazorla at LW ; Podolski as second striker or a juggling use of 4-4-2 to suit out squad strength while we add a new striker to start ahead of Giroud and provide a different style when necessary, fluidity in the squad and on the pitch when playing next season is key and maintaining the momentum built at the end of last season is essential.

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks MalaysianG – we could indeed do with a beast of a DM, but to call Ramsey and Arteta ballet dancers tells me you have never been to a ballet performance hahaha 🙂

  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi jgc – very good comments 🙂

    Maybe we have never been that good with flexibility under Wenger. Ultimately, he wants us to play a system of football through which we concur all. Once he is happy with the system, which he hasn’t been for a couple of years now, he will stick to it.

    I will say again that Maureen is coming and there will be no time to try out Wengerball systems if we want to win something next season. Agreed on the need for a DM, but we really could cope again without.

  86. TotalArsenal says:


    You’re not accepting my challenge then?! 😛

    Why don’t you write a post down the line of: ‘We need to buy: TA is bonkers’ hahaha.

  87. TotalArsenal says:

    GaryH, some good comments last night! 🙂

  88. TotalArsenal says:

    Sandman – I really hope we can keep Coquelin and play him more regularly next season. If we stick with the double-DM pivot, he could gradually give either Arteta, Jack or Ramsey a break. He should play at least once a month next season.

  89. TotalArsenal says:

    Will get back to other commenters later 🙂

  90. Highbury Harmony says:

    mA, have you watched Pogba play at Juve this year? He’s been their best player on the pitch at times and several of their top players have taken notice and believe he will be a star. He is anything but slow and his quality on the ball/assertive style are a stark contrast to Ramsey. Ramsey attempts to make plays that he is largely not capable of making, which is when fans get on his case.

  91. jnyc says:

    Great Article TA. For me, i would love to see alot more eisfeld in cup competitions. Frimpong not nearly ready because injuries killed his progress so far. Needs two full seasons on loan to be ready for a title challenging team like we intend to be. I like coquelin, but dont understand arsenes reticence. Loan would be best for us, but he may not like it. —
    and i strongly disagtee with those promoting the idea of vermaelen as dm. Not a good enough passer, also as a team that says we are challenging for titles, we cant afford a makeshift dm, or someone learning on the job. — havent we learned from the bad starts of the past seasons. We need to be ready to go full strength in match 1.

  92. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, you know something’s not 100% quite right when Gerry agrees with me (nice to see you on BK Gerry 😀 ).

    Basically (I know you’re not saying this since you want a DM too), there’s no need to test the theory of whether or not we can maintain and improve with the current crop of players without additions. We are in a position financially to continue to build on the momentum/improvement that we achieved last season and we would be silly to be complacent and stationary, especially as other clubs competing with us will not. If we were a mid-table club or lower, then perhaps I would agree with you but that would be out of necessity and not by choice.

    CM is one of our weakest positions in terms of depth and if you expect Jack to also fill in, they we undoubtedly become short at another position and sacrifice defense for more offence (shattering your expectation for defensive DMs). As Gerry stated, it’s a matter of collective team defending and attacking like a well-oiled machine that will ultimately make us successful so that the whole team feels entitled to work at both ends of the pitch.

  93. TotalArsenal says:

    hi Gerry 🙂

    Always good to read your comments. Re BM midfield overrunning us: I don’t really get it. In the away game Arsene instructed Arteta and Ramsey to sit back and protect and nobody walked over or through us any more….

    Of course, we all want a DM to add skills and options, but there is a strong case for keeping it the way it is as well – and spend our money somewhere else. With Arteta, Ramsey, Jack and Coquelin (Frimpong and maybe one of the youngsters) we have good cover.

    My preference is to invest in the midfield this summer, but if Wenger does not do it, I am the first one who will not be very suprised about it.

  94. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers mA 🙂

    I like a beast too, but there is a lot to say about the double-DM pivot and leaving the attack to the four attackers (including the AM) and (one of the) full-backs….

  95. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, look at how Bayern played in that 2nd match. Uninterested, not attacking until they were down 2 goals and sitting back. That is not their style of football and they became complacent after accumulating a 3-1 away win at the Emirates.

  96. AFC says:

    I think lari03 might be right about Santos being used on the LW. I think Wenger will try to sell him but if he cannot rather than just loaning him out and paying a huge percentage of his wages Wenger should keep him and use him on the LW. This might be able to free up the Ox to play in the hole or as a box to box midfielder and develop for these positions where Wenger sees him playing in the future.

    The thing about Santos was he was played out of position so it is unfair to compare him to the likes of Chamakh and Squil. Santos is really a wing back and a LM/LW for example in a 4-4-2 formation or in a formation with three defenders. Playing as a LM/LW is probably where we would have seen the best out of Santos in the EPL.

    Chelsea also found themselves in this situation with David Luiz. Rafa played him in a more advanced role and Chelsea practically saw a new player.

    Wenger is unlikely to permanently play Santos as a winger.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi lari03

    All valid comments. The hardest thing is to keep the solidity of our end of season formation and form, and fluidity on top. Let’s see what Wenger will go for and who he will buy.

  98. Highbury Harmony says:

    Santos has no pace to play LW…he’s a lazy git like Shava, but worse yet his vision and passing are not on the same level. Santos can dribble around defenders and shoot from distance, but he’s just an awful excuse for a footballer.

  99. TotalArsenal says:


    You can pooh pooh our performance against Bayern as much as you like. I know Germans and they never take it easy.

  100. AFC says:

    For me the best example of a team playing with two strict DMs to great effect was the Holland team when they reached the final. Van Brommel and De Jong defended a pretty crap defence all the way throughout the tournament. The only thing was that they had four world class players playing in the front four positions.

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers jnyc 🙂

    Would you like us to continue with the double-DM pivot set up/ more defence minded football, or go back Wengerball next season?

  102. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, I’ve seen Germans take it easy on several occasions and I’ve seen Bayern do it this season too in the Bundesliga…no Schweinsteiger, no Ribeiry, no Boateng, no Badstuber either. Too much over-emphasis on that result.

  103. TotalArsenal says:


    And Man City last season as well: two defence focussed DMs made them very solid and at times unbeatable. They changed it somewhat this season and were a shadow of themselves (although there are other factors as well).

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    Exactly AFC, which we do not have. TA pointed out that Manure played with two DMs and won for years, but they also had world-class/top quality players up front in Rooney, Ronaldo, Tevez, Berbatov, Giggs, Scholes etc (and at the back in Vidic, Evra, Brown).

  105. Highbury Harmony says:

    When did City play with two dedicated DMs? They are most successful when they play with Yaya Toure who is a true B2B presence influencing the play by contributing on offense and defence. They also have Aguero, Tevez, Dzeko, Na$ri, Silva up front! We aren’t even close to that level of quality up front, I’m not sure what you’re getting at right now…perhaps you can help me out 🙂 ?

  106. TotalArsenal says:

    Have you forgotten about Barry and De Jong playing in the pivot?

  107. Highbury Harmony says:

    All the best clubs in the world play with either one DM or two B2B type midfielders interchanging in attacking in defending: Real Madrid (Alonso and Khedira), Barca (Busquets), Juve (Vidal and Pirlo), Bayern (Schweinsteiger and Martinez), Dortmund (Gundogan and S.Bender), PSG (Matuidi and Verratti) etc.

  108. AFC says:

    HH, what if we done this.

    Brought a world class striker and maybe a top winger. Played Santi as our CAM, Walcott as our RW, top winger on the left and world class striker up top and continued playing Ramsey and Arteta as out two DMs.

  109. jnyc says:

    TA, of course Wengerball is fun, but our best success seems to come from more practical defensive style. I will say that as well as arteta and Rambo worked together, i think there is room for an addition in that area, because Mikel cant continue to be depended on for so many minutes, and i also love Ramsey off the bench as a shot of energy sometimes also.

  110. Highbury Harmony says:

    Nigel De Jong started 11 games last season…hardly a dedicated DM set-up. There’s a reason why he was seen as spare parts at City and sold as excess.

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Ramsey still does a lot of box to box

  112. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, do you see a realistic scenario where AW buys a world-class player? I for some reason, cannot! So imho, it is better to buy depth at CM and a top quality forward to offset the inability to play compartmentalized football.

    There’s nothing wrong with starting off the season with Ramsey and Arteta, but I can guarantee that one will get injured (likely Arteta) and eventually one or the other will suffer from poor form. With all the competitions we have to compete in, we NEED depth there. Do you really trust our other options at CM (Diaby, Frimpong, Coquelin and maybe Jack), when three of the four have already suffered extensive, long-term injuries and are all going under the knife this summer?

  113. Highbury Harmony says:

    So now we’re comparing Ramsey to Schweinsteiger, Yaya Toure, Alonso, Vidal, Matuidi etc.? Is Ramsey a B2B player or is he a dedicated DM with Arteta? What is it?

  114. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed jnyc – the main aim of this post is to give Ramsey and Arteta the credit they deserve and to show there is good reason to continue with them, at least for one more season.

    I would jump for joy if and when we get the beast of a DM though.

    The good thing about Arteta is he does not have to play internationals and so is able to recharge is batteries a lot. He has at least another good season in him and I reckon Ramsey will continue his slow progress.

    It will be very interesting to see what Wenger will do in our central midfield area, both in ‘defence and attack’

  115. AFC says:

    jnyc, agreed.

    What we seem to forget is that a defensive set up is often used by lower league teams to escape relegation by grinding out results against higher placed teams and not really used by teams in our position. Wigan might have stayed up if they had played a more defensive system. We could easily win trophies with a defensive set up.

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    I am not making those comparisons.

    Lets give it a break HH.

  117. AFC says:

    HH, we do need depth at DM but what I would have done is had a strict DM playing next to a DM/box to box midfielder like Song with Arteta and Ramsey coming into the team. Back 6 defend front four attack with the DM/box to box midfielder rarely joining in attacks.

  118. AFC says:

    Suppose we brought no strikers and went out and brought a versatile defender, a strict DM and a DM/box to box midfielder fusion and focused entirely on defence.

  119. AFC says:

    Martinez has left Wigan

  120. lari03 says:

    Some wishfull thinking here but if we get Fab back barcelona, then I would like to see if Giroud and Podolski can play the lone striker role with Cesc in the CAM and Cazorla at LW its a mouth watering prospect at least till January before moving for a new striker, then a DM would be top priority for. now.alas it is wishful thinking.

  121. AFC says:

    Just saw it on the BBC now.

  122. TotalArsenal says:


    Hard to say what Wenger and Bould will go for, but if Maureen returns to Chelsea being solid at the back and in midfield will become even more important.

  123. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey boys….I’m late to the debate and just catching up….Normally I’d have a lot to say, but…. I think you guys have said it all. Put me in the group who is very (very) doubtful that we can get by with what we’ve got in MF–There was too much hope (last season) on players (Diaby, Wilshere) recovering from injury to replace the real contributors who have left (Song, Cesc).

    Yes, we did the deed down the stretch and Ramsey’s never say die attitude was a factor. His chasing of his own (relentlessly) heavy touches was just the antidote to the slumping shoulders of his teammates who watched him. My fear is that when teams are fresher (early season) this will be a big (big) problem. There are a lot of Ramseys playing on a lot of mid-table (and worse) teams and they can drive their teams forward and create a lot of trouble for us when properly motivated. We need to beat these teams with quality (and a sense of ease). Drawing from the well is (so) much easier, when the water is high…..

    In Spain the debate is always Xabi Alonso vs Sergio Busquets, who is the better holding midfielder? I (always) go with Xabi because he can actually make things happen on his own. Busquets is great as a taller guy who can play the tiki-taka and (eventually help) free up Xavi to get a look upfield and maybe send a long ball or a killer pass to create a scoring chance. It also doesn’t hurt that a short pass can send Messi or Iniesta forward…. Alonso has to do more but he has the tools to do it, including a booming right foot….

    Arteta is not that far off being able to do likewise, but he lacks the mobility to make it happen on his own. Add in the (woeful) lack of protection from English refs and he NEEDS someone nearby with the technical ability of a Busquets. My point is, Ramsey is no Busquets, Arteta is no Xabi Alonso and solid as they might be, Wilshere and Cazorla are not Xavi and Iniesta (nor Ronaldo and Ozil)…. (And sorry, Vermaelen–or Sagna–playing as a DM, for me, is a pipe-dream….)

    We need improvement in MF and I don’t see it coming from within. (And I agree that it was a real shame that Le Coq was sat so that Ramsey could lead us down the stretch…) We can cope if we don’t buy in this area (Ox’s cameo for Arteta in the final match gives the tiniest glimmer of hope….) but I see a lot of long balls over the top and Olivier Giroud knocking down balls to Theo (or Poldolski or somebody) as a central strategy, i.e., very little of the better football to which we aspire.

    Huh, I guess I did have something to say, after all….

  124. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, what’s the point of having a B2B midfielder if they are not going to join in on the attack ;)? A true B2B player has the presence and ability to play at both ends of the pitch, bringing the ball up field on his own too, while having the pace and stamina to recover to help defend too.

    Focusing purely on defence would certainly be interesting, though we’d also be changing the composition of our football long-term, admitting that there’s no longer a place for “Wengerball”. I think it’d also take a toll on our goal tally/effectiveness in scoring since a large contingent of our goals came when we played free flowing football, which is something else we must consider.

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    Lari03 – If Cesc returns the team will make an instant step forwards. Either he, Jovetic or Shrek in the hole and it will be a different ball game alltogether!

  126. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, all agreed mate :). I swear there’s a post in there in response to TA’s article (there usually is!).

  127. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC – Martinez would make a great assistant to Arsene (together with Bouldie of course!) 🙂

  128. AFC says:

    HH, what I meant is buying someone like a DM/box to box midfielder fusion has the ability to attack but would not split his duties evenly between attack and defence. So instead of 50% attack and 50% defence this player would do 25% attack and 75% defence next to a strict DM with near 100% defence.

    Do you get what I mean now?

  129. jnyc says:

    TA, I also wouldnt mind Ramsey sharing time with Arteta, or coming on late as a sub. We talked a couple years back about Ramsey learning from Arteta when it became clear that he wasnt getting it done further advanced. I was hoping he could turn into or be utilized as a scott parker type back then, because of his hard work.

  130. AFC says:

    TA, agreed about Martinez. Maybe we should try to get him to work with our young promising players.

  131. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Martinez is headed to Everton!

  132. TotalArsenal says:

    Good morning 17 🙂

    No suprise in your response as it is what you have been saying for quite a while. 🙂

  133. AFC says:

    TA, I am assuming all of our attacking players will improve next season and score more goals, suppose we brought no strikers and went out and brought a versatile defender, a strict DM and a DM/box to box midfielder fusion and focused entirely on defence.

    Your thoughts?

  134. Highbury Harmony says:

    I get what you mean AFC, but why limit a B2B player who’s best attributes are likely their presence and ability in attacking and defending? Are we then not making a B2B mid more of a dedicated DM? Arteta joins in on about 10% of our attack, while Ramsey approx. 25% as it is now.

    So then, are you not basically saying that we should just add depth (i.e. Gonalons, Capoue, Benat etc.) and continue on with a slight improvement on the group we have right now 🙂 ?

  135. TotalArsenal says:

    jnyc – I expect Ramsey to make further progress in the next few years. If we buy a quality nr10 this summer, which I expect, Ramsey and Wilshere will probably compete for the space next to Arteta. Or possibly, we will see Ramsey and Wilshere more and more as our two deeper DMs (with at least some licence to roam for one of them).

  136. AFC says:

    HH, I am saying why not just buy two DMs but make sure that at least one has the ability to join in the attack when needed because there are some DMs that can only defend. Those players you mentioned probably fit the mould.

  137. TotalArsenal says:


    Interesting thoughts. I cannot see Wenger buying any more defenders although there are rumours re Williams who I really rate and would love to have.

    I cannot see Arsene going even more defensive, but he might continue with two footballing DM’s as per the last phase of the season. Of course, I would love him to buy a typical defensive DM as well.

  138. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I believe you are really going against the grain of TA’s article! So you are advocating entirely displacing Arteta and Ramsey out of the starting line-up or advocating for more depth to rotate the pairings/change them frequently (i.e. Arteta and new signing play 50% of games and Ramsey and new signing play 50% of games)?

  139. Highbury Harmony says:

    Surprisingly TA, A.Williams is one of the best defenders when it comes to blocked shots, clearances and completed passes. He would actually fit the mould of an Arsenal defender very well. Granted, Swansea faced the 8th most shots in the league, which likely lead to more blocked shots and clearances, but Williams’ stats are still impressive.

    Also worth noting is that Williams committed the most unforced errors leading to goals conceded. This is one area that he must improve on and gain some composure in.

  140. Highbury Harmony says:

    committed the most errors* (not unforced)

  141. AFC says:

    HH, Giroud may not be (and probably will never be) a world class striker but next season his goal output is likely to increase as with Podolski and Walcott. So we could have a team like this next season if we focus entirely on defence.

    GK- Szez/experienced GK
    RB- Sagna/Jenkinson
    CB- Verm/Kos/Mert/New versatile defender
    LB- Monreal/Gibbs
    DM- Arteta/Ramsey/two new DMs
    AM- Wilshere/Rosicky/Cazorla/even Arteta
    RW/LW- Walcott (RW)/Podolski (LW)/Cazorla/Gervinho/Ox
    ST/CF- Giroud/Walcott/Podolski

    And that is without our young promising players.

  142. plive says:

    great article

    like the postive reponses from readers also

    i personally hope gervinho leaves and I think maybe even podolski. rosicky should be a back up ( but takes up space on subs bench) so wouldnt mind him going also.

    I think next season is about having the right options on the bench, so there needs to be players we can rely on and are hungry so a good clear out

    I think we need a DM to come in and have a box to box midfielder ( either the ox or wilshere- ramsey can be used as a sub alongside the new DM)

    Arteta could be used for more of an attacking role , if we are playing a big game maybe drop him next to the DM for experience.

    With those players we know we will get effort and commitment. wilshere could be played against lesser teams behind the striker with carzola pushed to the left.

    Frimpong, he is too injury prone its a shame, had real hopes. Coquelin should be sent on loan , dont sell, he is far too talented. He needs game time and experience.

    striker wise I would like jovetic as he can be played on the right , central and left.

    I believe the midfield is very versatile selling podolski and gervinho would make our attacking line versatile also

    Eisfeld – loan up to xmas, aneke – prem loan up to xmas –

    I think we should bid for micah richards also.

  143. TotalArsenal says:


    I can see Williams being the BFG’s understudy / main substitute with Miquel getting some playing time on loan.

  144. AFC says:


    Yes I am. It is up to Wenger entirely how he chooses to rotate between Arteta/Ramsey/two new DMs. I do not mind.

  145. TotalArsenal says:

    plive – welcome 🙂

    Fine comment and mostly agreed. If the Pod comes back fully fit, I reckon he will be a real force to reckon with, especially if he and Gibbs can improve their partnership further…

  146. AFC says:

    HH, in addition to my comment at 16:09 I would loan out Miquel, Coquelin, Gnabry and any of our other most promising young players to other EPL clubs.

  147. Mike says:

    IF Jack Wilshere could actually play as good as the HYPE builds him up to be then Arsenal would be fine BUT that is a BIG IF. As last season was far from spectacular. If Podolski can become Arsenal’s new Ljungberg and be fully fit that would also free Cazorla from the wing As when Podolski is not in the lineup Cazorla is the best option on the left forward. But if Pod is at his best he is much better choice up front. Ramsey MUST also Step up his goal and assit tally as well so we have more options IF we do sign a Yaya type DM then Arsenal could afford to sell Diaby or Ramsey as really they would become fringe players at best. Arteta is a far better passer then ether and Rosicky is better then ether driving the team forward. Diaby is just a walking injury list at this point and I feel it is past time to just cut and run on him if he manages to come healthy for someone else then so be it but Arsenal has gambled on him for far too long now. Regardless IF we do by a top playmaker then someone WILL have to go.
    In fact it would not be fair to that player to not sell or trade who ever it is as Arsenal really has no horrible players that deserve to sit on the bench for ever and NEVER play they may just not be good enough for Arsenal’s starting 11 but they deserve to play even if it is at another club. (Arshavin should have been released or loaned long ago if he was going to sit he was just wasted talent at Arsenal for 3 seasons now and at this point is so out of match fitness he would have a hard time keeping up with the pace or the EPL.)

  148. AFC says:

    Mike, Wenger will never sell Ramsey at this current time. I am 100% sure.

  149. AFC says:

    Also agreed re Arshavin.

  150. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, in theory, the premise of both your own and TA’s arguments make sense. Continue with either the defensive or current set-up and we should be able to replicate the last 11 games of the season (or whatever stretch we went undefeated).

    However, we know that football does not work in such a way and variables such as injuries, form, momentum, opponent etc. all come into play and will ultimately disrupt our balance if we solely rely on the achievements of the season prior. In your case, converting to a more defensive set-up with an emphasis on only buying DMs will translate to perhaps better success at keeping opposing teams out, but we also must be cognizant that it means a sacrifice in other areas of our game. In this particular scenario, it will mean less attractive football and a move away from the beautiful play we are known for, in addition to less goals scored.

    Whether Giroud, Pod, Theo and Santi improve their goal outputs next seasons becomes meaningless because if we focus on a defensive set-up, it will mean less chances created, thus less opportunities to score. Unless of course you are expecting all our attacking players to suddenly start converting over 50% of their chances, your blueprint will ultimately breed a lot of draws and 1-0 games (of course with the occasional defeat). We saw how ineffective OG became later in the season when we shifted to the defensive set-up because he was completely isolated up top. Theo and Pod’s inconsistencies will be even more exposed with such a set-up too. The reason being that none of those 3 are world-class players capable of creating something extra special on their own and need delivery to score.

  151. Highbury Harmony says:

    next season becomes*

  152. TotalArsenal says:

    Mike lol – you really love Jack don’t you! 😉

  153. AFC says:

    HH, the question is what is beautiful attractive football? We have been conditioned to think that our particular style of football (total football) is beautiful attractive football when in reality it might not be. What you or myself deem to be beautiful attractive football might not actually be beautiful attractive football. In many generations forward so called negative football might be beautiful attractive football. I think a psychologist would be able to expand a lot further on what I am trying to say

  154. AFC says:

    HH, for me I would rather we grind out results playing a defensive system where we can win trophies and then focus on playing our free flowing, beautiful, attractive football.

  155. James Bond says:

    let’s just say that i’m not a fan of Arteta/Ramsey combo, for me if we want to win trophies and be imposing as we once used to be then we can’t afford to start both , one has to be benched and rotated with the other if you may…hopefully we will get ourselves a proper DM, which will allow us to be more penetrative moving forward and doing things.

    it saddens me to say this but our team needs to be aiming high and gunning for silverware not be making plans to stay in top 4, why i say this ? quite simple, you look around at teams like Liverpool and Tottenham and their top priority is finishing top 4 next season, top 4 for us should take care of itself if we aimed much higher and showed desired to do so.

    you can have all the technical ability in the world but when you come against brute force or physical presence in the likes of league 2 sides (bradford) or teams like Everton & stoke (who will bully you to no bounds in trying to out muscle you and break up play) then you know you’re in dire need of that one player with physical presence, strength, grit and someone to be an absolute handful to play against e.g Fellaini/Yaya.T/Capoue e.t.c

    the point i’m trying to make ? ask yourself if you’re the opposition coming against the likes of Arteta and Ramsey in the midfield – how would you feel ? let’s just say, you won’t feel intimidated in fact as a professional football you would look forward to it .

    we have players with the X factor in this team now let us get that player with the fear factor 👿

  156. Gerry says:

    Evening all, I am catching up on responses while listening to the racing …

    Two DM’s?? No chance. What I said earlier was that with the ‘right’ DM, you can then have change in our attack on ‘occasions’ – i.e. either against the ‘lesser’ teams, or ones playing a lone striker? It would make us less predictable, which is good?

    The current rumour mill does indicate that Arsene would like a ball-passing midfielder, who can score? But one with ‘presence’ – thanks, jgc … that is what we are missing. Both in defensive midfield, and attacking midfield. PRESENCE! Ox will get there one day, no doubt. Arteta and Ramsey, whilst solid if the team is on a roll, but neither are capable of taking the midfield to the next level. Jack might when fully fit, but we have been there before?

    The expectation is high this TW. A marquee signing might appease the short term-ism in a lot of fans, but personally, I would rather we upgrade more broadly across the field, and using what we have already to improve alongside these better players.

    The TW hasn’t even opened and we have our first signing. However, from here on it gets tougher. Swansea look like they are trying to get an auction going for Williams. Liverpool are responding with a low bid for Grenier, Jovetic looks like staying in Italy. Oh so many twist and turns still to come, but I am certain that we will be better equipped at the start of the 2013/14 season than we were last. Not least because it is Arsene’s big chance to bring Arsenal right to the head of the top table .. which is where the silverware will be sorted out.

    So, be patient, it will turn out fine…

  157. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the question is not what is beautiful football, but how many goals you will sacrifice if you move to a defensive focused set-up. That was the emphasis of my response to you, not whether or not beautiful football would be sacrificed.

  158. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, the key for me is your first paragraph on flexibility/unpredictability. Playing Arteta and Ramsey all the time will quickly get exposed and we need that x-factor in midfield to keep things fresh and to have the versatility to attack in games where defending is not as paramount. Jack could be this option, however you must consider his injury history and the fact that we’ll be left thin elsewhere if he is pushed back (defensively because he likes to attack and positionally at CAM unless Ox/Santi move into the role).

    Having a midfield 3 of Song, Arteta and Ramsey would have largely resolved this issue, with Coquelin getting the odd start here or there, however that is no longer an option. Thus, it is of high importance to bring in a Song-type midfielder to help ease the way for Coquelin (will breed better success than just throwing him into the fire again when Arteta inevitably gets injured).

  159. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bond has finally kicked out (of bed….) his lovely foreign assassin and joined in the debate… And best of all, has told it like it is…. (I think Gerry preaching patience is also very wise….)

    Personally, reading all the comments, I don’t think anybody is over-blowing the last 11 matches. Given that Arteta and Ramsey to a certain extent were the leaders of those efforts we must salute them. That doesn’t mean that they are untouchable going forward. We want to be competing on multiple fronts and we want to give real matches to the teams above us. Still, that ability to get the job done and spur the team on should not be discounted….

    This is why (if I were to drop into dream mode) I would want a technically skilled younger guy with some considerable size and/or toughness to come into our MF. (Dembele wasn’t such a bad buy for Spurs, last season, as an example of the type….) Ramsey, I think, won out over Coquelin because he plays to the whistle–even if it’s him fouling the other guy chasing down one of his own loose touches–whereas Le Coq’s play too often begs for the ref’s intervention (in other words, he’s a diver)….

    For me, the jury is more than out on Frimpong. The little I’ve seen indicates a player who aspires to be a tough nut, can play the simple ball but maybe will struggle as the demands on his fitness and the pace of the games (i.e., against better opponents) picks up. Certainly I haven’t seen the sweet turns or stab-tackles that Diaby (as I recall…) can produce. That both have just had ACL surgery (Frimpong more recently) suggests that we shouldn’t expect anything more than the briefest of cameos from either before 2014.

    So that leaves Eisfeld…. On his account, I would defer to those who’ve watched him….Still, given the glaring issues with our double pivot boys, I would think it’s a big ask for him to come in and do a real job. Again, you can never discount the effect of the lack of protection given by the English (play on at all costs…) refs. Until a reputation is established it seems particularly difficult for young, small, technical players to thrive….Hell, even Jack (the future of the England MF…) has trouble getting calls as teams serial foul him….

    IMO, we could really use an announcement about a signing (maybe somebody from Italy, with initials SJ…) so that we can move away from all the hypotheticals–like standing pat (on the one hand) or trying a front 3 of Benzema, Messi and Ronaldo, with Shrek in the hole….(on the other)….

  160. jnyc says:

    To those getting on jacks case, or just writing him off– there was a period earlier in the season where he was showing his exciting skills — i thought Arsene overplayed him (as usual) i think around the holidays. — also, before the injury was apparent, he began to look a bit run down. After the long layoff, we shouldnt be surprised. His skills are there, just pray he can be fit. He is not just hyped by Arsenal supporters, but many in the National team.

  161. James Bond says:


    you really need to stop spying on me, i thought it was meant to be my forte 😉

    some very solid points up there and hard to disagree with any really, however , the Arteta / Ramsey partnership was formed due to necessity as opposed to it being out of choice due to the set back to JW…..but still i’m not going to take nothing away and they did do a fantastic job and as well as they could have done, now it’s time to move onto the next level, the level where we not only look to strengthen the team as a whole but have players on the bench that instill that fear in the opposition i.e. go back to that brighton game in the FA cup, as soon as the sub numbers were put on (both theo and jack were coming on), the opposition and the coach knew it’s gonna be mission impossible in trying to hold on now (that’s the sort of psychological edge we need more off )..,,Poyet openly admitted to that factor as well.

    at this present moment of time, the likes of eisfield, gnabry, coquelin e.t.c won’t do that but who is to say they can’t in the future ? they got the potential and what it takes to reach that high level…and they are certainly working under the right manager.

    agreed re- announcement but sadly like i said before, i strongly believe Jovetic was nothing but mere smoke screen…..but on a different note, check this out…a fan is telling AW to sign Higuain


  162. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, why limit ourselves to Benzema, Messi and Ronaldo with Shrek in the hole? We should be speculating about having Ronaldo-Messi-Suarez with Ozil in the hole!

  163. Highbury Harmony says:

    jnyc, don’t listen to anyone getting on Jack’s case :). The lad is absolute class and just needs to be slowly worked in and out of the line-up so as to ensure that he makes a full recovery and is slowly brought back. His skill and ability will speak for itself!

  164. AFC says:

    HH, by using a defensive set up we would score less goals but concede less goals. Lower league teams have used a defensive set up to win matches against top teams when they shouldn’t have with less quality than us so we could easily use as defensive set up to great effect. The strikers at lower placed teams in the EPL do not have better/more consistant strikers than we do.

  165. James Bond says:


    Wenger didn’t feel he had the choice back then as we were basically in all competitions and in with a shout…he felt jack was his best bet of helping the team to deliver success (i don’t blame him for being short sighted as if he hadn’t then most of us fans would have been on his case), so as you can see it was a no win for AW in selecting or leaving out JW.

    there is no Hype when it comes to JW, the lad is simply the best young midfielder in England (would that come under the bracket of me “hyping” him ) 😉

  166. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB LOL!!!! That video was hilarious, though I do admit that I led the charge that you witnessed in that clip. Step 1: butter up the manager and shower him with love. Step 2: State who you want him to buy and repeat it over and over again. Step 3: Throw in a name of a player like Messi that is unreasonable that you know he will never buy. Step 4: Mention the player again you originally wanted that is a more realistic purchase.


  167. AFC says:

    HH, would you rather win a match 1-0 or 4-3?

  168. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, your premise lies on the fact that OG, Poldi, Theo and Santi will improve their goal scoring outputs if we only improve our defense and continue on with the set-up we saw success in at the end of the season. That is yet another risk we do not need to take and we will see less goals and less opportunities to score as a result. If our current attacking group are left isolated up front, we will struggle to even score 1 goal against mid-table and top clubs.

    What works in lower divisions does not work in the top tier, unless you have world-class attacking players to compensate, which we do not.

  169. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, it’s not whether I’d like to win a match 1-0 or 4-3. It’s why there needs to be a sacrifice of one or the other. We don’t have to go ALL defensive or ALL offensive. We’ll be more successful if we adapt a combination of the two and add depth to the positions we need, in addition to a top quality signing up front (to create and score goals).

    To answer your question, I’d like us to win matches the proper way, by playing our style of free-flowing football and scoring as many goals as possible, while also collectively defending as a team. What I do not enjoy seeing is hanging on by a thread and being extremely defensive for 75 minutes of a match, clawing for points against mid and lower table sides. Sometimes grinding out wins is necessary, but it should not become the gold standard for our club. We operated in such a manner out of necessity, now is the time to improve in earnest and bring us to the next level.

  170. Highbury Harmony says:

    Basically, why should we adopt the mentality of a mid-table club?

  171. AFC says:

    HH, if you look at the the players we have who can play in the front four positions we are not that far away. Santi who plays in the CAM position is class. Walcott is one of the best RWs in the PL, Podolski when fully fit is good enough to be our LW so we are only missing a top ST/CF.

  172. James Bond says:


    i also thought it was very clever and hilarious, so now if Wenger goes out and buys Higuain, he’ll come out and say, ” i gave you fans what you wanted” and everyone would be a happy bunny, Higuain is a very realistic target 😉

    also, as much as their is promise in Theo/OG/Santi/Poldi improving their goal scoring numbers next season there is also a possibility that it may drop or they may struggle to match it , what happens then ? yep, if they score more goals then that’s brilliant but we mustn’t expect it, we still need that one world class signing that ensures it, if anything it will make the rest of the bunch more hungry and motivated to do even better !

  173. AFC says:

    HH, the thing with Wenger is that we are too attacking and as a result our defence is often left exposed. What we need to be able to do is have the players to use a defensive set up when needed which at the moment we do not have.

  174. AFC says:

    Basically, why should we adopt the mentality of a mid-table club?

    HH, I am not saying we should. But when we are facing the top teams in the EPL/CL it would be stupid for us to play our attacking football, leave our defence exposed and try to outscore teams who have much better world class attackers than.

  175. AFC says:

    HH, when we are playing the likes of Barca and Real are we not a mid table team in comparison to them.

  176. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, what can Theo and Poldi create on their own without Cazorla? Not very much I reckon…Pod has some good combinations with Gibbs down the left and has assisted his own fair share of goals but all that production will inevitably drop across the board with more defensive football. Not to mention, Theo and Pod are incredibly inconsistent. They fade for 80 minutes of a match and come to life in spurts of 5 or 10 mins, Santi is occasional subject to this too.

    We are very, very far away from having a collection of world-class players up front.

  177. Highbury Harmony says:


  178. Highbury Harmony says:

    It is a mid-table philosophy when you focus on a complete defensive shell to grind out wins and it is also their approach to take the easy route out of only improving defense and defensive mids. In relation to attackers, those aforementioned positions are comparatively much cheaper.

    We are not in a necessitated position where we must be frugal with our spending due to a restricted budget. However, we are in a position to add a top quality player or two to really boost our club back into the top echelon of clubs. Why sell ourselves short?

  179. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, who said anything about outscoring clubs in the CL? Again, it’s not one or the other, which you are focusing WAY too much on right now. Playing complete defensive football largely won’t get you anywhere either since AW will be beaten in that game by the minds of tacticians like Maureen. Thus, it has to be a balance to both approaches and just playing our own style of football and with the right quality and luck we give ourselves the best possible chance to succeed.

  180. AFC says:

    HH, the thing is do you see Wenger buying a striker better than the ones we already have?

    The same can be said about a DM. Are there any good enough DMs out there who can hold the fort on their own who we can afford. I doubt it and that is why I would like us to continue with two DMs.

  181. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I haven’t said that we shouldn’t continue with two DMs…I just don’t think we should ONLY buy CMs this summer and neglect our attack. That is all :).

  182. Highbury Harmony says:

    If anyone is interested, a statistics article I wrote for fantasy football has been featured as the #1 article on the whoscored.com!!!

  183. AFC says:

    HH, the only thing is, if Wenger plays 4-1-2-3 then we are way too unbalanced and too attacking.

    I used the CL scenario because that is the situation we often find ourselves in. We go into the first leg and get pulled apart defensively and then in the second leg we try to outscore the opposing team to stay in the CL.

  184. AFC says:

    HH, I did not say you said that but I would like to see Wenger buy two CMs who are actually good enough to come in when needed.

  185. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha AFC, when in this article did I say we should shift to a 4-1-2-3? My reasoning for only buying one CM and one ST have nothing do with formation changes mate!

  186. AFC says:

    HH, again the 4-1-2-3 scenario was not aimed at you. It was aimed at those who think we can use that formation to great success.

  187. James Bond says:

    congratulations and well done, HH

    that basically means none of us stand a chance of winning the Fantasy PL next season on here, ha hahahahahahah

    can we let HH have the away kit already 😀

  188. Highbury Harmony says:

    I see AFC, you quoted me in the comment so I thought you were trying to convince me that a 4-1-2-3 would not be successful. If we had the right players up front, it could be a good strategy but unfortunately we don’t. With the current composition of the squad, we are better suited to playing the typical 4-3-3/4-2-1-3.

  189. AFC says:

    HH, what I was trying to say was instead of TRYING to buy a striker who can score 15-20 goals why not sign DMs who can stop us from conceding 15-20 goals.

  190. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, in no way was it indicative of FPL stats as a whole mate ;). It was simply an article about why Arsenal need a clinical striker with a hint of fantasy aspect in it (it will likely be controversial around these parts since I took a swipe at OG in the process hahaha!).

    Also, I really faded towards the end of the season and finished outside the top 20,000 in the world. There’s still hope for you all yet!

  191. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, and what I’m asking you is that do we need two more DM’s to help us from conceding 15-20 goals? Further, is it realistic/feasible to set a target of only conceding 17-22 goals in a season?

    We can’t we buy a DM to help us with rotation and potentially help us concede 5 less goals AND a ST that can help us score 15+ goals (undoubtedly said striker will take away goals from another player so in the end it will only be a marginal improvement on the 72 goals scored to maybe 80).

  192. AFC says:

    HH, I totally see your point.

    To me our squad seems to lack depth all over.

  193. AFC says:

    Wenger should be looking to sign players in all positions although DM and ST take priority.

  194. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sounds like AFC wants Wenger to use his “wildcard”…. 😀

    Actually, it’s an interesting back and forth you guys are having… IMO Wenger always wants “good footballers” who can “express themselves” and he sees the starting positions (and thus formations….) as very loose things. Santi gets penciled in on the left side of a front three but he certainly doesn’t stay there… In my opinion, down the stretch we were playing a 4-4-1-1 with Santi and Rosicky and the more forward part of the middle four and Arteta and Ramsey the more rear-guard pair (so, maybe that’s a 4-2-2-1-1, except I’m pretty sure they don’t let you use that one in the Fantasy/Video game world…again 😉 just to be on the safe side….)

    For me, since we can’t use the wildcard it’s about looking to see where we really need improvement. And again, the focus comes back to DM… Even though I don’t think AW uses the term….

    IF Ramsey did better in front of goal we could maybe get away with his penchant for giveaways and heavy touches and lack of pace and (sometimes) clumsy tackling and rashness going forward. IF Arteta was more physically imposing and a better defensive presence (to borrow from JGC) we wouldn’t lament that he sits back and we never get to see that nice right foot of his (the one he used to beat Man City the last time we actually beat a team above us….) As it is, his positional discipline (which I, for one, appreciate….) robs us of using the whole breadth of his talent….

    You guys know the players out there better than I do, but this seems like an obvious area where a single signing could lead to significant improvement in the overall squad. In lieu of the wildcard this is where (I think) Wenger should be looking….

  195. James Bond says:

    sometimes i really admire your sense of humour, especially when you mock someone who finished outside the worlds 500,000 😀

    there is no hope mate 😀 but no worries, i’m a mighty gooner and just like how we stunned BM in front of their own supporters, i’ll try to do the same next season 😛 i’m already planning on buying RVP as one of my 3 attacks for next season 😀

    @ HH

  196. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I agree that our squad lacks depth overall. However, I am also very happy that we finally have a spine/core in place that I’m confident can at the very least deliver us a top 4 finish. If we did not make any additions (unlikely), I would still put us in the same range or maybe slightly above clubs like Spuds, Everton and Liverpool. It would still be another breathtaking finish to the end, which I personally would not prefer but I think 4th place is still an achievement we could pull off.

    That said, I would rather not leave so much up to chance and take the bull by the horns and add to our impressive current group. Take advantage of the fact that other clubs above us are going through transition and make a couple/few signings to really improve this squad and see where it takes us.

  197. James Bond says:

    PS: why not have that article posted here ? doesn’t matter if it’s anti OG 😉 would still be worth commenting on i reckon

  198. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB hahaha I’m glad you understood my subtlety in that joke, I very much enjoy your humour and ability to laugh at yourself just as much :D.

    Not to worry, it was my 1st year doing FPL so perhaps it was beginner’s luck ;). Adding RVP may be a good thing or may not, just depends on how you use the resources in other areas if you do not own him!

  199. James Bond says:

    would you still consider it to be an achievement if we finished 4th and then were knocked out of the CL in the qualifiers ? : )

    open question to everyone.

  200. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB that article was actually initiated from a debate on which Arsenal players would be worth considering for FPL next season. Then, it moved onto a question from another fellow FPL manager/author who asked who I’d rather have between Higuain and Jovetic. The site owner then decided to take my comment, fix it up and edit it a bit and thus an article was born.

    I figured people were just sick and tired of hearing my rants about why I want a clinical striker at the club, plus I’m really trying to help build that FFF site since I really like the individual who created it (much like I respect and admire TA 😀 ).

  201. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH, way to go on the article….I’ll be checking it out, even if you don’t cross-post it….

    It makes it rather intimidating, however, not just for playing you next year in a BK fantasy league but in trying to put together a maiden post of my own…. 😉

  202. 17highburyterrace says:

    JB, we should be heavy favorites no matter who we play in a CL qualifier, but as you know, upsets can most certainly happen. As such, I would be pretty much devastated if we didn’t get through, much as I would have been if we’d choked some of those late matches against mid-table and already relegated clubs. For me, I see the qualifier as a continuation of where we (just) left off, and thus a good thing. With the pressure due to expectations (raised almost a decade ago now by the manager) some REAL pressure is the thing with which this team must learn to cope. Game in game out, grind out the results and worry about the bootiful stuff later….Sort of like the life of a spy like you, no?

  203. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht and JB, cheers for the kind words of the article mates :D. I can’t wait for you both to FINALLY write your maiden posts for this fine blog. Don’t put too much pressure on yourselves on writing masterpieces; a lot of the stuff I write in the comments in particular is just talking out of my ass and TA and others just put up with it because I’m also capable of writing some rational, logical and well-balanced stuff too!

    Instead of the lengthy replies, which we all appreciate, you could each very likely just add to them and turn them into articles!

  204. Highbury Harmony says:

    In related transfer news, we also lost youngsters Elton Monteiro to Club Brugge and Jordan Wynter to Bristol City on permanent deals in the past week.

  205. Highbury Harmony says:

    Kolo Toure signs with Liverpool. He likely replaces the retiring Carragher, but those are huge shoes to fill!

  206. James Bond says:


    that’s one way of putting it.

    but allow me to share my own thoughts on the subject,

    there are often times, when i wonder, if finishing outside the top 4 may have served us better as opposed to finishing 4th…

    all this stuff about us not being able to attract top top players because we’re not in the CL is kind of “rubbish” when you look at Monaco who have signed the likes of Falcao/Valdez (possibly ) and the pair from porto.

    if anything, i feel if we didn’t finish top 4, that would be seen as a sort of a wake up call to everyone that mattered really as for now the board is content with a top 4 finish and perhaps holding AW back with his plans (transfer ones as well), who knows ?

  207. GoonerB says:

    What are you on about, FFS we need at least 18 world class players to be even near competitive next season and I am talking in the £30m+ bracket each on over £150,000kpw, and not these second rate £12-15m players. On top of that we need a new manager, preferably one in a baseball cap, as the current one we have got hasn’t got a f—ing scooby do, and while we are at it………sorry, sorry, sorry. I came down yesterday with a touch of LGitis but I am on medication and recovering. Watch out for the symptoms which include extreme unintelligible neanderthal ranting, and an inability to be happy with anything. It is very nasty and I wouldn’t wish it on any of you.

    Back to myself now so nice post T.A. It is certainly an interesting consideration. I haven’t read all the other comments but have said that if I was forced to just choose one position to be addressed this summer it would be the top class number 9. If we got this player I believe that you could leave the defence, and as per this article, midfield as it is and we would be competitive next season.

    My main reasoning would be our latter third of the season form which was title challenging form. If anything I felt some of the games that we were more dominant in ended up a bit tight and tense because we didn’t score more when we could have done, which is where that higher quality number 9 comes in. I actually don’t think AW will only improve in this position anyway so I am excited to see what happens over the summer. I do (like Glic) like the look of Pogba if we could nab him.

  208. AFC says:

    HH, wow. I did not see Kolo going to Liverpool. He has been linked with them in the past few weeks but I did not see it happening.

    Also how would you feel if Miquel, Gnabry and other promising young players were put out on loan to other EPL clubs.

  209. TotalArsenal says:


    If it is true that the board is content with just finishing in the top-four, what do you think they would do if we do not achieve it?

    Answer: invest just enough to get back in the top-four – not more and not less.

  210. Highbury Harmony says:

    And further JB, if we secure a top 4 finish next season through a continuance of abandoning a beautiful, flowing football approach, it really brings into question what our priorities are. It was initially believed that our results and ambition were handicapped by the stadium debt and a refusal to change our ways in terms of playing style. If the former is no longer an issue and the latter is sacrificed all season to secure 4th and nothing more, then who’s to blame/where do we go from there?

  211. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA @ 21:07 hahahaha, well done mate 😉

  212. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha GoonerB, that was a brilliant intro! 😀

    I am writing one more post about ‘what if were to buy nobody this summer’ and it will be about the attack, and I will finish it with some overall conclusions

    It will test the nerves of our fine fellow BKers even more, but it will all come good in the end hahaha! 😆

    If Arsene were to stick with the more defensive minded set up for our midfield, I have little doubt he will be working hard to get our ‘attacking four’ to become way more effective, and this could include getting a new nr.9, but I don’t think he will do that. Anyway, please return in a few days when the ‘attack’ post comes out.

  213. James Bond says:

    well in that case, if we still let the stadium debt hamper our progress then i much rather still be at highbury , least we didn’t have to pay crazy prices for the tickets, sell our world beaters, so on and so forth,,,

    what club in today’s world doesn’t have debts to pay i ask ? not many.


    so let’s say if we got rid of Wenger for the sake of discussing it, how many clubs do you feel would be lining up to sign Wenger ?

    let me tell you, there be no shortage of “big” clubs wanting him, that’s for sure…

  214. AFC says:

    JB, Wenger could get any job he wanted. I am sure even Man U would have offered him a deal.

  215. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good stuff, Total, and taking one end of the extreme (no buys) is maybe just (the bitter medicine) that the doctor ordered…. We all want the magic pill that cures everything, so an inventory (and appreciation) for what we have is a necessary (but not often undertaken) step. As they say in the E.D. ads here in the States….”Be sure to consult with your doctor to be sure you are healthy enough to engage in sexual activities. And, in the case of an erection lasting longer than 4 hours, seek immediate medical attention”….

    Like I say, one extreme to the other…. 😆

  216. GoonerB says:

    I will definitely pop back around T.A

    J.B, I agree AW would not be short of suitors.

  217. GoonerB says:

    17HT, 4 hours? I didn’t realise…. I am just getting on to NHS direct.

  218. James Bond says:

    precisely my point, AFC

    the problem doesn’t lie with AW, he’s a top manager and him getting us a top 4 finish with this current squad is nothing short of a miracle i reckon (and as does Harry the spuds napper).

    the problems stems from the fact that when Wenger supposedly wants Remy, the Board wants him to buy Bony ? i’m not sure how much truth there is to that but surely, it should be Wenger having the final say on such matters, i also wonder if Chamakh, and Santos were also the boards preferences 😀 ok, i shouldn’t go that far

    but hey on a more serious note, our scouting has improved in the last 18 months and i’m very impressed and content with our buys, suffice to say am already looking forward to our future signings cough (Rooney) cough cough

  219. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB, I urge you to read Gooner B’s entire comment. There is a very strong hint of sarcasm at the start ;).

  220. Highbury Harmony says:

    I’m sure you got it JB, but it made me giggle!

  221. James Bond says:


  222. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH, sounds like GoonerB could be a good one for the BK FFL next season, though only getting 100 million to spend might put him off 😀 …. And, of course, he must first survive his priapism….

    Anyhow, that was a good chuckle out loud….sort of the antidote for the barf-taste I get every time Bond mentions Rooney….

  223. Highbury Harmony says:

    JB goes BOING! for Rooney

    *Test* Isco (you know who that’s meant for)

  224. James Bond says:

    actually it’s BOOING when i do it, hahahha

  225. GoonerB says:

    HH, using 17HT’s 4 hour limit before seeking urgent medical attention, one could imagine that since putting up the large Isco poster on his bedroom ceiling, that a certain individual basically has a season ticket at the fine A+E departments in England’s South West.

  226. Highbury Harmony says:

    GoonerB, that likely explains his absence on BK over the last little while. “Dr.Glic is out of the office…”

  227. Mart says:

    Great idea, we are not short in midfield! as long as we signed a top quality striker and strengthened at the back we could challenge?

  228. magnum says:

    Arsenal need creative mid fielders. Santi has been good this season and will certainly improve in next season. One concern is he has been clearly taken out of the game against quality opposition so i think we need someone who can unlock the defense to give different option.

    Even though we have lot of midfileders we are well short of creative ones, i for one do not want to rely on JW & Ros. The later is ok for final stretch but that isn’t enough for title.

    JW – a lot of potential but still to prove on pitch. I don’t want to rely on someone who had one good season along side Cesc. Look at the stats he created just 3 more chances than Ramsey & 9 more than Theo, this season. Media hype aside, even on the player of the season Kos made his mark on Fans but there’s no mention of him.

    I am fine to hear JW is great potential but nowhere near finished article. If we rely on him to carry through next season, then mark my words even top 4 is in jeopardy.

    Also, it might be injury later in this season kept him on bench to start with but i do not think that was case the towards final stretch. Even AW was reluctant to bring him in because of the gap he leaves on mid field. At least, that’s not what AW i know of and that too when his own position or legacy of CL place is in question. He opted for Alex instead and he did well too if not great.

  229. jgc says:


    A last input as this took off it seems whilst I was sleeping. Some replies or comments:

    Gerry: thanks for the kind words, to me Presence! says it all. Presence! makes others better and other teams shiver. We are very good but have little Presence! What differentiates us from ManU and the others above us, is Presence! The goals they scored to beat/draw us, by those with Presence!

    Thus, I dont care who or what we buy or get, we need Presence! which comes from skill and quality in what they do… Almost doesnt matter where it goes on the pitch..

    For Glic, Presence! is BOING!

    Finally, once you have some Presence! on your team and in how you play, the whole team gets that mana, if you will, and develops it’s own Presence! which in turn means you are halfway to victory when you show up… like ManU is currently…

    AFC: Beautiful football is like goals. Doesnt matter how you got there as long as you win in the end. Beautiful is second to that one.. Calm strangling of your victims, ala early 2000s, is fine as long as they die in the end.. >:)

    For all: IMO, we are far closer. We have almost all the pieces and simply lack 1-2 with that word I have used enough already!

    cheers — jgc

  230. James Bond says:



    PS: take it with plenty of salt 😀

  231. TotalArsenal says:

    jgc – now that is a good word to write a post about, as I am sure you have presence of mind to do it justice! 🙂

  232. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 😛

    !7 – look away now! 😀

  233. James Bond says:


    who would you like to see at arsenal when you say a striker of top quality, let us know your preference as well as the signing at the back you would like to make ?

  234. S j little says:

    Stop messing about with all these hopefuls, go out and buy some more experienced players like Arteta instead of wasting money on the useless Academy.

  235. weedonald says:

    TA….lets stick with what has worked in the last 10 games…..the team finally gelled after our loss to the Totts and Wenger’s managerial ability became apparent as well. My question is, are your two options mutually exclusive or can we play Wengerball AND still maintain our run-in formation if we add a finisher like Benzema, Rooney or Higuain, and start rotating in our younger players more often?

  236. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi WeeD

    I reckon over time Wenger will always make us play good footie again, but as long as he instructs the double pivot midfielders to mainly sit back, we might see a more conservative, un-total football like sort of football.

    Maybe we need to start with this firm base next season and then gradually introduce a more adventurous style of footie from the midfield.

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