ER Cup Review: Poor finishing, light squad, lots of heart

Game 1 vs Napoli:


Here are my thoughts on Saturday’s Emirates Cup game against Napoli.

Saturday’s match was Arsenal’s first real test of pre-season. Unfortunately, the Gunners did not look up to the challenge. A slow start to the game was a precursor for a mostly slow game.

It was just the 6th minute Arsenal’s defense fell apart. A long ball was lobbed from half field and into our box. Jenkinson did good work tracking back and marking Insigne, only for the ball to take an unlucky bounce on his head that put the ball right on Insigne’s foot and he easily put it by a helpless Fabianski.

You can’t really fault Jenkinson in this case. A lot of defending is experience and he is still young. From that experience he will learn to just head the ball away and not risk keeping it in. Better to learn now than to have to learn in a cup final, or a crucial Premier League game, or something else. He will improve, so let’s not slam him too hard for this.

Their next goal came in the 28th minute with many different Arsenal players at fault. To start with, Hamsik was not closed down fast enough in the midfield. Both of our DMs were too high up the field to cover him and he broke down the field. The next problem was that Mertesacker was too slow to track Pandev’s diagonal run across the field. Finally, Fabianski absolutely made a mistake by coming out without getting the ball. Mertesacker was close enough to contain Pandev and our other defenders would’ve had time to come back and cover. Overall, it was bad positioning and communication that led to their goal, but it all starts in the midfield. A single DM would’ve been sitting farther back and Hamsik may not have even gotten that ball, but due to the double DM pivot one miscommunication where both go forward can lead to that mistake.

After Arteta came on, we seemed to regain some shape and begin to play better. Finally our breakthrough came in the 72nd minute with a beautiful overhead kick from Giroud off of a corner kick. Now, I don’t want to hear it called Sagna’s goal. Yes, he hit it, but come on. Everyone loves a bicycle kick so let’s just stick with that.

After that the tempo picked up and in the 86th minute we struck again. A great ball off a free kick from Arteta, a save by Reina from a header, and a brilliant follow up from Koscielny put the ball in. The determination from Kos was very nice to see and it was great to see him celebrate with the fans.

Unfortunately, the game ended soon after and it ended 2-2. Many positives could be taken from this game though. Rosicky looked lively, Jack looked very close to 100%, and some real heart was shown by Ox and Chuba amongst others.

Game 2 vs Galatasaray:


Here are my thoughts on Sunday’s friendly against Galatasaray.

Sunday’s match started out fantastically for the Gunners. Some really good passing was occurring and the team looked much better than on Saturday.

Sanogo had a chance early on that he just couldn’t convert. Sanogo and Walcott appeared to combine very well throughout the game and overall Sanogo had a pretty good debut.

Arsenal looked very dangerous during the first half and a few chances just wouldn’t go in. Theo missed one or two chances before just barely missing again after a beautiful long ball from Aaron. A few more chances would come and go before a nothing cross from Theo somehow ended up in the back of the net.

After half time the Arsenal looked lethargic and slow. Zelalem and Giroud coming on gave us a little bit zip for a while, but it slowed down again.

In the end, Drogba won a very soft penalty that he easily converted and then a mistake at the back from Mertesacker allowed Drogba to take a touch by him and put in the winning goal.

After this, Arsenal threw everything at Galatasaray, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Arsenal didn’t deserve to lose, but in the end they did and it comes down to being more clinical in the end. There was a mix of positives and negatives from this match. After half time, we missed the zip that Rosicky had provided in the previous game, but it was a positive that Zelalem looked like he could provide that in the near future. Miquel did not look ready for the first team, but Gibbs looked set for a big season and Jenkinson looks determined to prove himself this season. It was a disappointing game, but hopefully it shows Wenger that we need more players in our squad, especially with Gervinho and Chamakh leaving.


For now I’ll leave you with some questions:

1)    What did you think of the Emirates Cup?

2)    Did Ox looked ready to take on that CAM role?

3)    What youngsters from the Emirates Cup should be given a chance to stay with the first team in our friendly against ManCity and prove they’re ready for first team?

4)    Are you sad to see Gervinho leave?

5)    Who would you buy to replace Gervinho?

Thanks for reading. 😀

Written by: Dylan.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

178 Responses to ER Cup Review: Poor finishing, light squad, lots of heart

  1. craszygunner says:

    The emirates cup was good it finally let us see how we’d fare against proper opposition…well not very well l am afraid….it just shows we’re still bareft of genuine quality upfront ….DM and CB

    I would still leave Ox to develop on the wings and encourage him to be a bit more direct pace and power down the flanks we will be more lethal..

    Of our youngsters only Serge Gnaby is close…but he’s still way of the pace…see the difference when Walcott came in against Napoli….Zelalem I am yet to be convinced I wouldn’t put too much pressure on him yet..

    I am not sad to see Gervinho leave…he would never have made it in an arsenal shirt..more surprised if anything that arsene did not dither with him as he usually does…just to prove he did not get it wrong by signing him….the truth is Gervinho’s problem is between his ears all ability not much application qed

    If we can find genuine quality I’d replace Gervinho…but I think Wenger wants to use Ox and Serge and Lukas there depeding on who is on form…

    Tbh I can not remember too many games that Gervinho came on and really influenced and I can say he was our match winner…unlike Walcott for example…after 2 yrs best to cut your losses and move on…

  2. craszygunner says:

    I forget to add..Miquel should’ve been let go too with the other youngsters…I do not see him making it in the EPL…that is not to say he won’t make it….look at Pique for example…no one would’ve thought he would be a 1st choice CB at Man Utd…but for the last few seasons he’s consistently been on UEFA’s list of top defenders…

    Personally tho I am glad Drogba is far away in Turkey…he has tormented us enough!..not just poor Miquel but even the better arsenal defenders in the past…

  3. JM says:

    (1) It gives us an early examination where we stand against European opponents (and no where ready to win the CL at the present). We are at best, on par with Napoli and Galatasaray (Drogba is a crafty and opportunistic CF making the big difference, which leads us to how much a player of Luis Suarez’s footballing calibre is missing in the 1st team). The likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid on their current form will obliterate us.

    (2) Ox should share CAM role with Cazorla/Rosicky, the LW role with Cazorla/Podoski, the RW role with Walcott. He is not a shoo-in for starting 11 yet.

    (3) Gnabry, Sanogo(He is already in the 1st team). The match against Man.City (with their complete 1st team inc. of Negredo, Jovetic, Fernandinho, Navas) shall test our 1st team’s aspirations to improve on our league standing this season. They fought toe-to-toe against a new-look Bayern Munich in their earlier friendly.

    (4) Happy for Gervinho to be re-united with Rudi Garcia (his former manager at Lille) at AS Roma. He has had difficult times settling well at our club.
    (Coincidentally, our 1st team will not have any South American and African representative after the departures of Santos, Gervinho and Chamakh – if going on loan to Crystal Palace. Frimpong plays for Ghana, however, his status to remain with the 1st team is unclear)

    (5) Internally, it shall be Miyaichi and/or Gnabry.

    (a) Patrick Ebert (Real Valladolid) – Crossing, Freekicks, Long shots (attributes) – Good for Giroud
    (b) Luis Muriel (Udinese) – Dribbling, Acceleration (attributes)
    (c) Erik Lamela (AS Roma) – Dribbling, Flair (attributes)
    (d) Players who fulfill essential criteria of being a wide player: dribbling, acceleration, crossing, close ball control, setting up chances etc.

    It also depends on whether Luis Suarez arrives as well.

  4. Gerry says:

    Hi Dylan – I think you have covered the basics really well in your report, given the short notice you had. So well done once again.

    At the time of starting my comment, nobody has yet replied, but I bet there will be a few more in by the time i finish. So the filling in with details that will be spotted, I am sure the full picture will emerge. I just hope people do remember it is pre-season, and not go overboard with their comments.

    I thought the team put out in the first game against Napoli looked sound enough, on paper. The trouble was there were clearly players out there who were suffering from either a combination of lack of fitness, or had not got over the ‘commericial’ tour of Asia.

    The contrast between say Kos and Poldi was there for all to see? But that was the extreme edge, others were more subtle.

    You have the first goal spot on. That is the risk when you play a high line though.
    And you are right about the second goal. A combination of the above, and the problem beginning in midfield. I think HH it was, that said we cannot play Ramsey and Wilshere together in that double DM role, and on this evidence he is right. And it is these two that disappointed me most.

    Ramsey seems to have swung the confidence needle far too much the other way. He now believes he can beat not one, or two players, but run down the wing. pop up in the box, and still be an effective DM. Just because he applied a few tricks against lesser opponents, he has got to learn when to pass it and find space better.

    Wilshere 80% fitness seemed to apply to his brain activity as well. I am not sure he will ever breakaway from these blind runs into the centre of the opposition, only to get crowded out. You could try him out on the wing, but my guess he will do a Santi and turn inside to where the majority of players are. I am coming around to TA’s view that he may be best as a number 10, playing in the hole. At least there, opposition defenses will not have time to set themselves to crowd him out. As indeed was shown with that wriggle and twist he did on the edge of the box and gave him a shot on goal, albeit on his weaker foot.

    The annoying thing is, when he does engage the brain he can be so much more effective. Some of his passing was sublime. So was Ramsey’s come to that. The problem is, when they both do their runs, and get into trouble, then lose possession we are are left high and stranded, hence goals can appear out of nothing?

    You are right not to blame Jenks too much for that first one. He tried to head it back for Fab, which might have been dodgy anyway, given Fab was so close. But that is where experience counts for a lot. My only concern about Jenks is he very one footed. I could be wrong, but I think I only saw Jenks play one left footed pass all game. It makes him very predictable. If he cannot go down the line controlling the ball with his right foot, he has to turn and play to ball across field with this right. He simply cannot turn inside and still go forwards – so minus points on the HT17 scale I’m afraid?

    Up front the commentator kept making the point – No width – and he was right. Poldi was doing his best to stay wide, but that is a waste. Not that he was on his A-game, but at least when he got involved when nearer his more natural position. But on this occasion, another HH comment i believe? … the link with Gibbs was not quite there?

    On the other side Gnabry looks like he will get games, but at the moment he is looking like Ox last season, just missing that final touch that makes the difference between hitting the net or going wide. He is coming along nicely, and did some nice tracking back too. What was missing was any chemistry between him and Jenks?

    I thought Rosicky did a lot of the driving forwards, but I’ve seen him more effective. What was missing was cohesion between that midfield trio. Either they either were all in attack, or Rosi was here there and everywhere. As a consequence, Giroud had very few opportunities, and fluffed the ones he did.

    All through that first half Napoli were well in control, and changes were not made at half time, but when they were, on both sides, it was far too difficult to say if it was them who dropped that enabled the the turnaround, or the pace injected first by Walcott and later by Ox. Or indeed, the removal of Jack that left more space in the middle?

    Suffice it to say, we played a lot better, and they were pretty toothless when they did try to respond. The missing piece may have been having Ryo out on the left, or leaving Gnabry on instead of Poldi, and we may have won that game. But it was all about giving players time on the pitch.

    The second game there is a lot to say, but really our back up squad was a little exposed.

    Playing ‘injury prone’ Gibbs twice( I would like to see the healthy f*ckers do the running he did over the two games is my response to that label) for example. No Monreal, so the luckless Miquel came on. Clearly nobody told him about the fragile creature that is Drogba – Yes we could all see what happened, Didier, you got hit by a mini tornado?

    It was always going to be a tough ask on Sanogo, but can see with a bit more familiarity with the team and he will come good. Likewise Akpom. However, this game got more of a struggle as the game wore on, and they brought out the heavy hitters. So let’s to take a little time out and hope the TW will gives something more to believe in?

  5. Gerry says:

    Sorry Dylan – I must hit the edit button and be more concise. Basically, I wanted to air the flaws, as I see them, so proper discussions can follow.

    I’ll answer your questions later.

    TA/HH – On the Fantasy Boing League, did I remember correctly that we are restricted to a 4-3-3 formation?

  6. Gerry says:

    TA/HH – Ignore that question .. I just searched and got my answer – memory was wrong!

  7. mA says:

    thank you for the post

    1) Frankly, am saddened that our cup went to another team just like that. Could the team have done better? definitely yes. Two or three top players could have made the difference. Winning that cup would have lifted the players’ spirit. Let’s not forget that this was the first game that the Arsenal lost since beating Bayern away (March-August).
    2) occasionally, Ox could be used in AM role, but not yet. After all, it is all about gaining experience slowly.
    3) Gnabry, Zelalem and Miyaichi could do the trick. Assuming the latter will occupy Gerv’s place.
    4) If Gerv replacement will not be an improvement, then am honestly sad.
    5) Worse even, I cannot think of any quality Left-sided winger within our reach. I might be wrong especially if Wenger does magic to unearth a gem. As it stands, that is where we are-all eyes on management.

  8. Dylan says:

    Excellent comment JM. Only one question. I’d heard Muriel was a striker, can he play winger as well?

  9. Dylan says:

    Great summary Gerry. 🙂

  10. Dylan says:

    mA, I completely agree with you, except I think there are plenty of wingers out there soon. I think we’ll be fine as long as Gnabry/Ryo isn’t his only replacement.

  11. JM says:

    @ Dylan August 5, 2013 11:03

    With his abilities (dribbling, acceleration and ball control) and stature (1.78m), Muriel can suit the inside forward and winger role.

  12. Dylan says:

    Good to know JM.

  13. JM says:

    Premier League season 2013/2014 preview on Arsenal from The Guardian.

  14. Admir says:

    1) It gives us a clear proof this squad is not good enough to win things or to compete against top sides no matter what Arsene Wenger says. Of course, the same thing happened in Emirates Cup 2011 when Kyle Bartley threw away a chance to win the trophy.

    2) I think he wasn’t that bad but I’d stick with proven players like Rosicky, Cazorla and Wilshere.

    3) Akpom and Sanogo. I wouldn’t take Zelalem to that game because we are going to lose and it’s not good for his confidence to get used to defeats.

    4) Actually, I think he was better than people used to write about him. He had his limits, a lot of them, of course, but he wasn’t all that bad. It’s funny but I actually had a huge belief that he would perform in big matches due to his ability to beat defenders.

    5) Nani but we all know that Wenger – hopefully in his last season at Arsenal – won’t spend a dime until we enter the last day of transfer window with zero victories in matches against Villa, Fulham and Spuds.

  15. Dylan says:

    Admir, I agree Gerv wasn’t that bad. But I don’t think we will lose all of those first games. I think part of the stumbling point in all these deals (such as Higuain) is that we aren’t guaranteed CL. After the qualifiers I think we will see deals go through.

  16. Gerry says:

    Dylan – You are very kind. I feel guilty about writing a comment which is probably longer than your match review. I very nearly offered to to split it with you, but our messages got separated and I guessed you may have already started.

    Anyway, answers to your questions:

    Q1 – it is a great format to produced some meaningful element to pre-season friendlies.
    Where it fails, on the consecutive day format, is if injuries are there, it can lead to players being over-used. That may just highlight our shortages, even with the quality of the Academy players being on show?

    Q2 – The Ox is nearly ready to take on a number of roles. But if we are identifying a starting role, then it will be a hard choice in the CAM position. I think his best option is to rotate with Rosicky in whatever role he is given. Attacking MF for certain, if we get the defensive DM sorted?

    Q3 – Given this is also a friendly, but one we would like to win, it is hard to think that many will get more than a few minutes late on? But that may be more complicated by any new signings we may want try out too? Apart from the ones on show already I would have like to have seen more of Eisfeld and Yennaris, but they have just had a thrashing in their friendly on Saturday, so I guess it will be only Sanogo and Gnabry. I would have Akpom on standby though. Zelarem creates too much expectation, and I can see him getting his education late on in some league game in the not too distant future, so I would give him a miss this time.
    Q4 – It is a shame he could never replicate his AFCON form. Whether that is down to the EPL or just Arsenal I guess we will never know. I am not sorry to see him go because it is the best thing for him.

    Q5 – Like glic, I would love us to use our transfer kitty on trying to offer Bernard an alternative, while he hesitates over what is best for him, rather than his agent/3rd party ‘image rights’ holder. It would be great as insurance if the Saurez deal goes pear-shaped, and he would be a great signing even at £50m(all in)

    Hopefully between the trial of another South American, and JB other bet(insider trading methinks???) we may have that DM position sorted soon, eh?.

  17. Admir says:

    Dylan, that is another thing that worries me – our potential recruits don’t believe our current team is good enough to enter Champions’ League without problems in qualifications. But then, take a look at Soldado’s transfer to Spuds. He made a switch from non-CL team to…non-CL team that is about to lose their – by far – best player.

    My point is, when you have determined people who are capable of doing their job properly (and, I have had my doubts about capability of people in literally every department of Arsenal FC – manager, Board, players, medical staff, coaches – except financial department for some time), you get your job done properly no matter what kind of obstacles are standing on your way. If you have Thierry Henry as striker, you don’t give a rats’ ass if opponents have Gigi Buffon, Iker Casillas or Oliver Kahn on their goal. If you have Patrick Vieira as central midfielder and skipper, you shouldn’t be scared by Roy Keane’s craps. It might sound like a tautology but sometimes things are very, very simple.

    Yesterday, Didier Drogba scored twice and deserved at least one more goal (BFG made a brilliant last-second-tackle). Olivier Giroud, who is eight years younger than Drogba, fired two shots and failed to make any kind of impact during his cameo.

    I had my hopes that this season might be a bit like 2001-02, with proper additions and determination on the market we could aim for the silverware, but it looks more like that ugly start of 2011-12 is waiting for us just behind the corner. 😦

  18. Dylan says:

    Gerry, don’t feel bad, it was a great comment. 😉 I agree with most if what you said, except I don’t think Bernard is worth a full £50 mil. Maybe £35 mil, but not much more than that.

  19. Dylan says:

    Admir, I think we’ll be fine. Even if new potential additions don’t have faith now, they will eventually. You just need to show them to have faith by winning. The Soldado transfer is different in that he was non-CL to non-CL. Whereas many if our transfer targets are CL to potential-CL. So once this becomes CL to CL it will get done, or so I hope. If no additions are made after the qualifiers, I will probably have the same opinion as you.

  20. JM says:

    CL play-off round

    Draw date: 9 August 2013
    (We will not get AC Milan and Schalke 04. We could get Real Sociedad, PSV, Lyon, Zenit, Fenerbahce etc as our opponents.)

    1st leg: 20–21 August 2013
    2nd leg: 27–28 August 2013

    Transfer window closes on 1 September 2013.

    i.e. Prelude to another mad scramble for late signings on hand …

  21. Dylan says:

    Just like always JM. I didn’t deny that. 😉

  22. oz gunner says:

    Cheers for the good read Dylan, nice format too. Like the hypothetical stuff.

    1. I don’t mind it but I also don’t like the format off it. In a pre-season Aussie Rules competition 3 teams play off in a round robin style fixture. The games are shortened and played consecutively. Based on that I’d go with 45 minute games. Can change up to 5-6 players between games.

    Arsenal vs Napoli
    Arsenal vs Gala
    Gala vs Napoli

    That way it’s not straining the players (thus increasing the risk of injury), the games are more exciting because they are shorter, and it’s played on the one day. The good thing is no team really has the clear advantage because playing one after the other has advantages (up to the speed of the game, warmed up adequately), but their are also disadvantages (fatigue starting to set in). Yet while Napoli have the rest it’s tough not to switch off and keep going.

    It’s happened for a few seasons now and neither side appears to have a distinct advantage.

    2) Did Ox looked ready to take on that CAM role?

    I think he can. I think he needs to settle on a role sooner rather than later. But like most young players he’ll have amazing games, and some poor ones. More we get into him the better he and Arsenal are for it. The boy is going to be World Class without a doubt!!! Time to unleash him Arsene!

    3) What youngsters from the Emirates Cup should be given a chance to stay with the first team in our friendly against ManCity and prove they’re ready for first team?

    Gnabry. I think he looks ready. He’s got the size and power to play with the big boys.

    4) Are you sad to see Gervinho leave?

    Yes and no. I’m always sad to see a player not make it when they’ve given their all for the team. He just doesn’t have all the tools clicking together. I hope he finds some consistency in his game though and enjoys a long successful career.

    5) Who would you buy to replace Gervinho?

    Dreamland: marco reus or Suarez

    Suarez – Giroud – Theo = bloody wonderful to me!

  23. Gerry says:

    Dylan – What if Bernard does develop into ‘the next Messi’, What price then? Yes it is a lot to pay, but think of the commercial gains that might off-set that.

    It is time we got a proper foot in the door in this relatively untapped area for us. By the time they get to Spain it is too late. If we could develop Bernard into a truly world class player, and he has got a lot of attributes that will suit our style of play, it would open many future doors for us. So I would give it a try. especially as the Saurez thing could go horribly wrong if somebody else came in?

  24. Gerry says:

    JM – When do they announce the draw for the CL play-offs. This Friday perhaps?

  25. AFC says:

    Gerry, do you want us to spend £50 mill on Bernand if we do not get Suarez?

  26. JM says:

    @ Dylan August 5, 2013 14:05
    @ Gerry August 5, 2013 14:31

    Draw date: 9 August 2013

    In addition:

    Quoted from “Regulations of the UEFA Champions League 2012-15 cycle”.

    Registration of players for CL play-offs and group stage (to final)

    List A (Conditions):

    No club may have more than 25 players on List A during the season, two of
    whom must be goalkeepers. As a minimum, eight places are reserved exclusively for “locally trained players” and no club may have more than four “association-trained players” listed on these eight places on List A. List A must specify the players who qualify as being “locally trained”, as well as whether they are “club-trained” or “association-trained”.

    A “locally trained player” is either a “club-trained player” or an “association-
    trained player”.

    A “club-trained player” is a player who, between the age of 15 (or the start of
    the season during which he turns 15) and 21 (or the end of the season during
    which he turns 21), and irrespective of his nationality and age, has been registered with his current club for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons (i.e. a period starting with the first official match of the relevant national championship and ending with the last official match of that relevant national championship) or of 36 months.

    An “association-trained player” is a player who, between the age of 15 (or the start of the season during which the player turns 15) and 21 (or the end of the season during which the player turns 21), and irrespective of his nationality and age, has been registered with a club or with other clubs affiliated to the same association as that of his current club for a period, continuous or not, of three entire seasons or of 36 months.

    Registration timeline:

    Before 12 August 2013 (24.00 CET) for all matches in the play-offs;
    Before 2 September 2013 (24.00 CET) for all further matches from the first match
    in the group stage up to and including the final

    For the three qualifying rounds and the play-offs, a club may register a maximum of one new eligible player on List A after the above-mentioned deadlines, provided the quota of locally trained players is respected. Such registration must be completed by 24.00 CET on the day before the relevant first-leg match and the club’s association must confirm in writing that the new player is eligible to play at domestic level at this time.

    If the registration of such a new player causes the number of players on List A to exceed 25, the club must remove a currently registered player to reduce the squad to 25 players again.

    List B (Conditions):

    Each club is entitled to register an unlimited number of players on List B
    during the season. The list must be submitted by no later than 24.00 CET on
    the day before the match in question.

    A player may be registered on List B if he is born on or after 1 January 1992 and has been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday by the time he is registered with UEFA. Players aged 16 may be registered on List B if they have been registered with the participating club for the previous two years without interruption.

    Hope the clowns at Arsenal FC (senior management, negotiators, manager etc) are aware of this.

    Should they mess up, we might see more of this (picture) from the boss:

    and further disenchantment at the club and management from the supporters/fans alike.

  27. JM says:

    In general:

    Play-off Draw date: 9 August 2013

    Play-off Registration dateline for players (max. 25 players), List A:
    12 August 2013 (24.00 CET)
    * Club may register a maximum of one new eligible player after the above-mentioned deadline, provided the quota of locally trained players is respected and List A does not exceed max. 25 players. (whereby 1 registered player will have to be removed from original list)

    1st leg: 20–21 August 2013
    2nd leg: 27–28 August 2013

    Transfer window closes on 1 September 2013.

    Registration dateline for all further matches from the first match in the group stage up to and including the final:
    2 September 2013 (24.00 CET)

  28. Gerry says:

    Thanks JM – I guess they had better get their finger out if they want anybody not signed already, to be on their list for the play-offs then? All done and dusted by Monday, eh?

  29. AFC says:

    Gerry & JM, Wenger has now said he is not sure whether we will sign any players before the CL qualifying rounds.

    Anyone think we are being taken for a ride?

  30. Gerry says:

    Not yet – He wants to surprise us

  31. AFC says:

    Dylan, thanks for the post on how we done in our matches in the Emirates Cup. 🙂

    I did not watch any of the Emirates Cup matches or pre-season matches (apart from some highlights) as I just do not see the point in watching such matches so you gave me info on how on the teams overall performance.

  32. AFC says:

    Was throughout the Emirates Cup.

  33. Admir says:

    There is one more reason why I’m so pissed off with our passive approach to transfers and I’ve already written about it for Bergkampesque – even if Wenger pulls those two fingers out of his ears and signs a player or two, it will take some time before new signing(s) gel in with the rest of the team.

  34. AFC says:

    Admir, I think we need 4 players. A GK, DF, DM and ST. If we cannot get Suarez I wonder what Wenger will do. He will probably just sign no ST and say our current ones are good enough.

  35. Admir says:

    AFC, that would leave us with Giroud and Giroud’s Le Coq as our strikers.

  36. AFC says:

    Admir, I have an idea if we do not get Suarez.

    Play a 4-2-2-2 or 4-4-2 (formation with two holding midfielders). Convert Walcott and Podolski to STs and play one of them next to Giroud to give him the much needed support he needs. That would give us Giroud, Walcott, Podolski and Sanogo for the two ST spots. Then buy a goal scoring AM and a traditional winger. Buy a DM and move Jack back to the double DM pivot.

    Back with the teams.

  37. AFC says:

    For winger get Di Maria and for AM get Reus.

    4-4-2 (holding)-

    GK- Szez/Cesar
    RB- Sagna/Jenks
    RCB-Mert/New CB
    LCB- Kos/Verm
    LB- Nacho/Gibbs
    RM- Di Maria/Ox/Ryo
    RDM- Arteta/Ramsey
    LDM- New DM/Wilshere
    LM- Reus/Ox/Ryo
    RS- Walcott/Sanogo
    LS- Giroud/Podolski


    GK- Szez/Cesar
    RCB-Mert/New CB
    LCB- Kos/Verm
    LB- Nacho/Gibbs
    RDM- Arteta/Ramsey
    LDM-New DM/Wilshere
    RAM- Santi/Reus/Rosicky
    LAM- Reus/Santi/Rosicky
    RS- Walcott/Sanogo
    LS- Giroud/Podolski

  38. Admir says:

    AFC, I like that idea of two strikers in which Walcott and Podolski are actually used properly. I don’t see neither of them capable of dealing with demands of a lone-striker-role. Giroud’s best moments last season came in co-operation with Walcott who sent some fine crosses to him.

  39. AFC says:

    Admir, my comment at 16:15 shows the teams we could have if we buy a winger and AM.

  40. Dylan says:

    oz gunner, I would love Reus! 😀
    Gerry, you have a point, but what if he’s the new Gervinho and not the new Messi? What if he can’t handle the pressure of a £50 mil price tag (like Torres)?

  41. AFC says:

    Dylan, why spend 50 million on Bernand when you do what I have suggested to Admir.

  42. Gerry says:

    AFC – in your multiples of 2 formation you seemed to have dropped the to players that might make it work? The wingers?

    I am already highlighting the problem of two many bodies converging in the middle, and although Reus, who has been said many times before, we are unlikely to get, even less likely than Saurez, you have Santi coming inside, Wilshere ploughing up the middle, leaving the over-worked to provide width on the left, and Rosicky and Sagna on the right?

    Are you still in Fantasy mode? ha ha. Mind, your 4-4-2 is much more balanced, with room for the Ox too. I hope it catches on occasionally?

    We now know why Ryo did not play yesterday – Cracked rib … naughty boy, always tell teacher when anything like that happens.

    So he is off the list for the CL qualies? Hey ho ..

  43. Gerry says:

    Dylan, he is young and fearless. Quality costs money, if you had not noticed?

  44. Gerry says:

    AFC – The Bernard suggestion came from me.

    Reason 1 – He potentiallyfills in the same positions that Saurez could, or pair with if we ended up with both.

    Reason 2 – He is very speedy, no need for Di Maria.

    Reason 3 – He is going to be a world class player, if not with us, then somebody

    Reason – 4 As previously mentioned, it could open us up to a lot more talent that the we barely get a look in at the moment, and open up the commercial possibilities which will recoup the money laid out for him.

    Reason 5 – Unlikely not to be suited by our style of play, ergo, the the EPL

  45. Dylan says:

    Gerry, I’ve noticed quality costs money. But I’ve also noticed that overspending can be bad. Remember Torres? He appeared young, fearless, and unstoppable. But his £50 mil transfer to Chelsea ruined him, and it wasn’t even a league change! I’m not saying Bernard is the same. But I’d say our maximum bid for Bernard should be the £40,000,001 bid we made for Suarez. 😉

  46. AFC says:

    Gerry, did Milan not have great success with a narrow formation?

    £50 on Bernand is just too much considering Barca got Neymar for £50. If you want us to use width why not just go out and but 2 traditional wingers like Di Maria who are proven at the highest level.

  47. jgc says:

    Hi all

    Just a quick point and question.

    The point, is that just because we want someone means that the club will sell OR that the player wants to come. Even for enough money whatever that is.. Witness Cesc…

    The question: if you could drop 50m and 150k/week (or more?) on anyone available or that you think club and player would agree to the deal, who would it be??? If anyone!

    Leaving 20m for a GK and some defensive cover…

    Just curious about how real folks expectations are since we can at the moment exclude the now 55-100m (according to Rodgers) Suarez…

    For me it’s Cesc (I think Barca would let go for that) or Lewandowski (not sure but…)

    This is a take it or leave it, I want him and I’m paying kind of offer that AW et al never make.. Just for fun! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  48. Admir says:

    Gerry, the only thing that I’m going to ask about Bernard is:

    is there a possibility that he might be a new Denilson (not ours but the one that screwed Betis)?

  49. Glic says:

    Evening BK Broke Back Bandits 😆

    Hats off to you Dylan, you are a glutton for punishment having to write two match reports on which apart from having a fitness workout, we were abysmal !.

    Now listen hear Gerry, yes, I would like Bernie the Bolt, but at £50M !!!……are you crazy ???…….you live the wrong side of the Tamar…..have more dogs than Crufts…..have a thing about Stallions…..sorry, silly question !. hahaha

    Your remark about Wenger pulling both fingers out of his ears !. That could be hard as his head is up Stans Arse !. Mind you if I was paid…..what is it…..£7M per year….I would stick my head up Stans Arse and sing……la la la la la la la cant hear you….la la la la la la !.

    Right to the questions !

    1) What did I think about the Emirates Cup ?
    Perhaps If I give you some anagrams you will guess what I think of it !.

    It crap !….sue me!.
    Emir`s Tea Cup.
    Sepia Rectum.
    Upset ?, I cream.
    Cat !…..pure semi.

    2) Ox , all day for me. Direct and Dangerous.

    3) Gnabry and Zelalem

    4) Yes, although with the gravitational pull of his luna size head gone, then maybe Gerry wont be so crazy !.

    5) Obviously want Suarez as a strker, but for the wing ……Bernie the Bolt, but not at Crazy Gerry`s ice cream prices !.

  50. Gerry says:

    jgc- Surely we have a buy back clause of £25M. It is only worth Barca to sell to someone else at that figure – if Cesc says he doesn’t want to sign for us – and we take 10% of their profit over the £35m that they have not finished paying us for. Which I think is why they are desperate not to ‘say’ they will sell … and trigger our buy back?

    But in answer to your question, yes I would negotiate with the 3rd party who have Bernard’s image rights, and hope to get it for at least the matching money the club want £22. Agents fees and signing on fee can go on a different budget.

    As it stands at the moment, if his club get £22m, but the 3rd party get nothing except selling his image rights, which is a bit of a gamble if he gets injured, etc., so they could be tempted with a lump sum up front?

    So anything under £50m will be okay with me. But first they would have to persaude the player that Arsenal have his bet interests at heart, and where he can become a world wide star like Thierry Henry. What more could he want?

  51. Gerry says:

    glic It’s a crazy world out there. £100m for Bale, when half that gets you the next Messi?

    Not so crazy as you may first think. The classy Brazilian will always command a big fee?

  52. Dylan says:

    Hahaha Glic 🙂
    jgc, I’d just be afraid of Lewandowski using us as a stepping stone to Bayern. And Wenger said Cesc is giving Barca one more year.
    Gerry, I guess it’s just not clear how this 3rd party thing works so we don’t know how much we could end up paying.

  53. Dylan says:

    Gerry, you keep saying “the next Messi”. I think our point is, you can’t guarantee that. He could be the next Torres or Denilsok or Diaby or whoever. He could be a flop or he could be the next Messi. But paying £50 mil doesn’t guarantee him to be the next Messi.

  54. Glic says:

    This is for all BKers to look at…..apart from Gerry….can I trust you not to look Gerry ?. hahaha

  55. jgc says:

    Dylan, Gerry et al

    Gerry: agreed buy back for 25 and with say 40 on table for Cesc now it’s no. What I’m saying with regard to Cesc is forget the buyback and what’s owed if you could plunk down enough, 40m? 50m? That they just said YES! Would it be Cesc, Lewi? Reus? …

    Just to have it done and that hopefully magic piece of the puzzle done. If this person is truly magic, the next DB10 or Henry, then surely that’s worth 50m yes?

    So forget the “facts” for a moment, this is get it done I’m emperor for 10mins money… And note I don’t disagree on the facts or on being prudent or patient (tho mines wearing thin this TW 🙂 )…

    Dylan: I agree with both your comments, so, who would you take? 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  56. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Dylan.. Another great post bro..

    A. I think Wenger used his friendly games.. 6 times.. 4 in asia.. 2 in emirates.. to tested his squad.. and I think he will play his regular team again City..
    I mean :
    Sagna – Mertesacker – Koscielny – Gibbs
    Arteta – Ramsey
    Walcott – Giroud- Cazorla

    For lastnight game.. I agree that Drogba was diving.. but that’s football.. We will find another divers.. and We must ready for them..

    B. Rosicky and of course Cazorla.. is my first choice for CAM.. Willshere next.. then Ox.. but I prefer to play him as RW to subs Walcott.

    C. If Wilshere and Ox still count as youngster then they should.. hehe.. I like to see Miyaichi..

    D. Yes.. I’m Gervinho’s fan.. such as Arshavin.. Hope Yao G.. find his best at Roma..

    E. I’ll go for Bernard.. period.. Better to use 40 millions plus money for Suarez to bring cesar (3) Gustavo (15) and all the rest money (22) for Bernard.. Yes.. I think Bernard worth 22 millions plus.. hehe..

  57. AFC says:

    Dylan, agreed. I was not convinced by Neymar but he done for Brazil in the Confeds Cup and I have not seen much of Bernand’s brilliance. If he was that good why was he not starting over Hulk who done virtually nothing throughout the Confeds Cup.

    JGC, as you and others have mentioned maybe Cesc will come back next year but I can understand you saying we should offer £50 million.

    But has Bernand proved himself at the highest level. No. Too risky to spend £50 million on him in my opinion when you could get two established players who have played at the very top level for that price.

  58. Glic says:

    Less than another £10M and we could have had both Goetze and Isco !. BOING !
    Yes, I know, let it go you sad muvver !. hahaha

  59. jgc says:

    Thanks AFC

    I agree that Cesc seems unlikely to go anywhere this year, but if anything did make him move it might be the intent behind 50m 🙂

    Cheers — jgc


    Thanks Dylan, i love your positivity.

    I feel you have a great career as an Arsenal supporter ahead of you. i wish to take you as my apprentice, But i will speak to TA first because he probably wants to adopt you to

    I was pleased with our attack minded approach. Naples and the Turks played on the break.Nothing wrong with that, but we are the Club with the big future, not them.

    I have always stated that when it comes to the transfer market we will have to be paitent. You dont bridge 20 point gaps to the leaders or acquire the nessesary players in one transfer window in order to do so.

    If you cant accept this reality and allow impatience to overwhelm you, then quite frankly thats your problem, not the Clubs.

    We have until the end of August to get a couple of our targets, and allied with internal improvements will begin bridging the gap

    It might not be enough to win the league this year, though we can live in hope, but it is the start.

    If we manage to get suarez and one other then quoting a hero of mine “Its not the beginning of the end, but perhaps it is the end of the beginning”

  61. Admir says:

    How about this:

    -let’s offer 30 million pounds for Lewandowski to Borussia Dortmund; they’ll accept it, it was reported they accepted even lesser offer from Real Madrid;

    -then, let’s offer Lewandowski a contract with a minimum fee release clause set at 40 million pounds that can be activated in the summer of 2014 provided that Arsenal finish season 2013-14 outside Top 2.

    Lewandowski would pay off even if he would play just one season at Arsenal with his goals in Champions’ League and Premiership, not to mention shirt and “Scrabble: Arsenal edition” sales.

  62. Glic says:

    Was it that Insurance puppy that said that Stretch, you know the one that you see in the back of a car window nodding it`s head !. I have one that nods it`s head up and down on my cock whilst I`m driving !……Oh Yes !. hahaha

  63. jgc says:


    I like your thinking! Think they’d take 30m down? They might just to see if they’d avoid him at BM….

    Cheers — jgc

  64. AFC says:

    Admir, that is a good idea. At least we would make a profit if he wants to use us as a stepping stone to Bayern.

    JGC, I think Wenger knows exactly what is going on with Cesc. Maybe, Cesc has agreed to come back to us next summer TW if he is not getting game time and we are really challenging for trophies.


    hahaha, nice Cornwall.

    Ive never understood mans fascination with dogs, They never liked me, Growling, barking, and chasing me down the street.

    Theres one in partacilur that every time it spots me likes to use my leg as a lamp post.

    And another thing, even those little ones should be muzuled. Last year one took me by surprise, sneaked up behind me and took a bite out of my ankle. I wanted to kill, but everyone took the side of the dog. hahaha

  66. Dylan says:

    Gerry, I would buy Rami, Gundogan, Muniain, Eriksen or Kroos, and Suarez. And Bernard if we could pull it off for (relatively) cheap.

  67. Dylan says:

    Whoops, last one was to jgc, not Gerry. 😉

  68. Glic says:

    You want all that lot for £70M Dylan !……are you on what Gerry`s on ?. hahaha

  69. Dylan says:

    Thanks henrychan! 🙂 I would agree except we still need a striker.
    AFC, one concern of mine is that Bernard wasn’t in the Confeds Cup. Why? Him and Neymar are close in age, if he was the next Neymar, surely he’d be nearly as good? And therefore a major part if the Brazil national team?
    Admir, jgc, and AFC, we don’t want a merry-go-round at our striker position. No point in him coming, taking a little to settle, and then leaving. I’d rather bring in Suarez to stay (and I’m still unsure about him). 😉 I would choose Lewandowski but he would use us as a stepping stone (like I feared about Wanyama) and big clubs aren’t stepping stones.
    TMHT, I agree, one transfer window doesn’t usually change a club from 4th in England, to one of the best in the world! We just need to be patient. 🙂

  70. AFC says:

    Dylan, agreed about Bernand. If he was that good surely he would have been playing in most of the Confed matches or would have been snapped up by a City, PSG, Real.

  71. Dylan says:

    Glic, fair enough! 😉 But supposedly we have £70 mil plus £50 mil in TV rights! In that situation I’d say:
    Suarez (50)
    Rami (8-10)
    Gundogan (25-30)
    Muniain (20-25)
    Eriksen (20-25)

    At the minimum we would go just over budget (which we could handle).
    If it was 70 mil I’d go for:
    Suarez (50)
    Muniain (20)
    Then maybe snatch Rami or Gamez. 😉

  72. jgc says:

    Dylan, AFC, et al

    AFC: I agree about Cesc and AW, but for fun to speculate and avoid the TW Fatigue! 🙂 … So, if not Cesc this year, who for your 40-50m down statement of intent guaranteed, like JBs sauces ( 🙂 ?), to arrive for that big p,unk in the table?

    Dylan, interesting list of your DM/holding types who’s most likely for say 20M after Suarez?

    Cheers — jgc

  73. Gerry says:

    AFC – On the Milan bit ‘playing narrow’ – Did they play in the EPL? No. Was it recently? Well they have not been all conquering since err since err since. No I give up?

    jgc – No. It has to Cesc’s decision to want to come back, not us putting in a bid just to get him, now, this instance.

    Dylan – I cannot believe he will go backwards coming to us, so the only gamble is whether we can improve on what he is now. I believe he will go to be a super player in another couple of years. The thing that distorts the price coming to the EPL is this 3rd party deal. If he becomes really sought after when he has further developed at Porto, they might put a £40m tag on him, and he goes to RM or Barca. But for us to bring him here then will still mean buying off the club, then buying out his image rights. But if we cannot make easily that much again, this season, marketing in an untapped market in Brazil, or Portugal for that matter, then there is something seriously wrong with the backroom boys?

    This is why Bale is such a deal for RM. They get his image rights which they will exploit to the full. I bet Barca have had to buy into Naymar’s 3rd party(assuming he had one) over and above the his fee. The only thing that is holding up that deal is they only want to put up £20m in cash, and defer most of it to a later date.

    It could be something Arsenal might try with Liverpool? £20m down the rest when we win the CL???

    Anyway, it was who would we have, with Saurez money, or with £50m. If you can have Reus, I’ll have Bernard.

    In fact my £100m would be;

    Bernard – £50m(less if poss)
    Le Gren – £20m(even if it means loaning back to Lyon, at least until January, but through to the end of season if the are close to CL qualification)
    Ginter – £12m( I cannot believe £6.1m is going to happen. Bargain if it does)
    Perez – £5m ( If this trial he having looks good – note, another S.American?)
    Williams/Eriksen – £10m/£15m(either/or, in that order

    Get a GK on a free late on, unless we get an offer for Fab that we accept

    For striker options Giro and Akpom in the middle, but also Walcott on occasions, and Gnabry, Sanogo, Bernard, Ryo, and Ox either alongside, or behind, depending on formation.
    Advanced MF; Wishere, Rosicky, Santi, Arteta.
    DM’s; Perez, Ginter Ramsey.(either double DM, or single, depending)

    One double Cup winning side, runners up in the League,and CL quarter finalists. Next season with Le Gren, the big hat-trick!


  74. Glic says:

    Do I detect a little wry smile from Arsene ?
    I may joke about our inactivity, but I will be amazed if Sanogo is our only acquisition this summer and fully expect at least one SQ player !.

  75. Glic says:


    Any one of :

    Suarez and Gundogan

    Suarez and Bernard

    Suarez and Muniain

    And I will be polishing my knob !. hahaha

  76. Glic says:

    I`m sure Gerry is more obsessed with Le Gren than I was with Isco !. Now let me think……Tattooist`s in North Devon ?. hahaha

  77. AFC says:

    Gerry, SAF also used a narrow formation in the last few years when a lot of his wingers were out.

    A narrow formation is not better than a wide formation and a wide formation is not better than a narrow formation it just all depends on what players you have. 😀

  78. Glic says:

    Trouble is, with Gerry`s fascination with dog and horses, he`s probably already got Lassie and Shergar tattooed on his knob !. So that’s what happened to Shergar !. hahaha

  79. jnyc says:

    Im still saying, more players like jack cazorla kozzer will want to leave if we dont show them some ambition.

  80. Gerry says:

    glic – I just like quality when I see it – and no, that wasn’t the reason I abbreviated Le Gren from Grenier ha ha

  81. jgc says:


    I *know* and agre it takes both team AND player to agree. AND, I know Cesc this year is highly unlikely. Highly… But, open your mind, even for 1 in 10 chance of two yes’es, where would you put 50m down? THAT’S the question…

    I like many like Cesc and figure 1 in 10 we might score with that “ambition” … What’s your dream? 🙂

    See, I know I’m dreaming, but while we wait for AW et al to do what he/they will…

    Cheers — jgc

  82. Gerry says:

    Before we descend further into the murky world of glic’s well known obsession with tattoos and where they are put, I am going to drop out and see what the rain did for the Ashes.

    Catch you in the morning ..

  83. AFC says:

    JGC, if we were going to try and buy a player for £40-50 million I would go for Vidal. Highly unlikely it will happen but like you said there is always a chance.

  84. Dylan says:

    jgc, I’d hope for Gundogan as our holding midfielder. If Arsene likes the double DM then Gundogan us perfect. Looks like a younger Arteta to me, perfect replacement for him.

  85. Glic says:

    I have said this in past comments Dylan after watching Gundogan, he is an Arteta clone, but much younger and probably fitter !.

  86. Dylan says:

    Agreed Glic! 😀

  87. jgc says:

    Thanks Dylan and Glic

    I like Gundogan too… Don’t know enough on Vidal …

    Cheers — jgc

  88. jgc says:

    And AFC, sorry!

  89. AFC says:

    JGC, HH will be able to tell you a lot more on Vidal than I can. Vidal is one of the best modern box to box midfielders (see HH’s article on modern and traditional box to box players). He can play in a two which I think he done for Juventus, where he played beside Pirlo. He can also play as a CM or AM and scored 10 goals (I think for Juventus). He is 25 and I think he would be worth the big spend. I think we could get him for £40 million if we were serious.

    That is what I want us to do. Spend big on a DM and a ST. Get a cheap GK and DF and we are sorted. As HH has said we can go without a GK.

  90. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi guys – greetings from Rennes.

    Good to see you all keeping the blog going with some fine comments. 🙂

    Have we signed anybody today?

  91. AFC says:

    Imagine Vidal and jack in the double DM pivot taking it in turns to attack and defend. One can only dream. I would then have Arteta and Ramsey as the second DM pairing.

  92. AFC says:

    TA, NO!!!

    There is a young DM called Perez (I think he is Romanian) who is supposed to be having a trial.

  93. Dylan says:

    AFC, I believe Perez is Columbian. But speaking of Romanians:
    Anybody know about this guy?

  94. AFC says:

    Thanks, Dylan. I must have got him mistaken for this Romanian ST we are linked with. Sorry, know nothing about him.

  95. Dylan says:

    AFC, me either. But according to fifa and his stats from last season in real life, he’s awful.

  96. AFC says:

    Dylan, I want signings! Wenger has said we might not even sign anyone before the CL play off rounds. AW is leaving it late and if we do not get anyone it will be his own fault.

  97. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers for the update, guys. 🙂

    Nothing shifting then as expected.

    Catch you in the morning.

  98. davydavy says:

    Great post Dylan; I am also in two minds about Gervinho leaving. On a good day he offered us penetration and trickiness down the left side, and this gave us attacking options. Not enough of our players have the confidence to take on a defender one-on-one and get behind the defensive line. Gervinho could do that, and it was unfortunate that he was put under so much pressure by a lot of our ‘fans’ that the all-important final ball became too difficult for him.

    I agree with all those who say we should make a real effort to sign Bernard – he offers the same but also with a bit more pace and a better dead-ball delivery. He seems ready-made for the position to me, and I just don’t understand what the club is doing here.

    I also like Vidal and Gundongan but I would be surprised if Juve and Dortmund showed any interest in letting them go. They would certainly strengthen the team!

    There’s also a good chance that with game time the Ox, Sanogo and Gnabry could develop into consistently effective Premier League players this season, so the forward line might not be a problem. it’s really the left wing where there’s a need for a new super-quality player and we are also a bit short of numbers in central defence where we could benefit from a bit more cover.

  99. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers for the match reports Dylan :). Another fine article that was well balanced and fair given the play over both games!

    It’s quite amazing how consistent we can be with some aspects of our game and so inconsistent in others. We consistently play one half of good football and one half of poor football. Now is this a result of coaching, the quality of players in our squad or team mentality? Perhaps a combination of all three?

    Now that we’ve had less than favourable results against better opponents, it’s become very clear that we need new signings and that we needed them earlier in the season. Integrating new players into a new club, system and city etc. can be challenging and I believe we’ve already missed a significant competitive advantage we had going into the TW – the managing carousels above and below us gave us the chance to really take a leap ahead on our rivals, yet we watched everyone else around us strengthen while we remained complacent. Nothing new there I guess.

    JM raised an excellent point that we need to make the new signings quickly before the CL squad deadline dates. Labouring on new signings even more will hurt us more than it already has…Also, he preached a point that I have been echoing for quite some time – the difference between a striker like OG and Drogba/Messi/Suarez/RVP/Rooney/Ibra/Cavani/Falcao etc. is very apparent and we need our own version of a SQ striker in order to change a game in a moment’s notice. Without it, we’ll be struggling to break down/score against teams that park the bus against us and fail to capitalize on the few scoring chances we may create.

    Gerry, a lot of love for me in your first comment today mate ;). Great, insightful comment by the way and yes I did mention that Ramsey and Jack would be a poor DM pairing. I also made the comment about the Poldi and Gibbs combination not being anywhere close to last season’s magic yet. What’s interesting is that despite coming away from yesterday’s match impressed with Ramsey, I 100% had the same views as yourself. What the f*ck was he doing trying to out dribble 3 or even 4 defenders on the pitch yesterday? First of all, it’s not his strong suit and second of all, he’s supposed to be an intelligent player that can read the game at a high level. He was basically giving the ball away as not even the likes of Ox, Santi or Jack could have done what he was trying to accomplish.

  100. Highbury Harmony says:

    Jgc, Vidal is quite possibly the second best B2B in the game today and could soon usurp Schweinsteiger for that title if he continues his form from last year, or even scarier, betters it. Just a fantastic player to watch that has it all – goal scoring ability, vision, ball control, endurance, pace, aggression, positional awareness, strength, composure and tackling.

  101. AFC says:

    HH, we must be dreaming if we think we can get him. I say put a bid of £40 mill on the table and see what Juve say. 😀

  102. Glic says:

    Not sure about signing Romanians unless we want to pick pocket a goal !.

    On a similar subject, does anyone think Wenger looks a bit like a Romulan ?

    Well I can see a resemblance !. I bet they`re tight f**kers as well !. hahaha

  103. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, unfortunately Juve are not a team in need of cash or looking to sell any of their top players. We’d have a better chance of overpaying for and getting Pogba than Vidal imo.

    If we’re looking to capitalize on a sensible signing within our “cash” parameters then we should be looking to Spain. The economy still isn’t worth crap there and a player like Camacho would be very serviceable for us and could be the eventual successor to Arteta.

  104. Dylan says:

    Thanks davydavy, all agreed.
    Thanks HH, I agree, Vidal is incredible. But Juve is so strong now that they won’t sell. They have no reason to. I also agree that we should look to Spain for players (Muniain, Gamez, etc).

  105. AFC says:

    HH, Benat is a good option. Sandro is decent but he belongs to those bloody Spuds. 😀

    What is we were to offer Barca an offer they couldn’t refuse for Sergio Busquets like £30-40 million or do you think Barca would never sell him. They do need to balance the books as well after Neymar.

  106. Dylan says:

    AFC, I believe Benat already went somewhere.

  107. ProudGooner says:

    I am disappointed that we did not snap up Remy on the season long loan , Newcastle got him today. I don’t know the target our club have , but i do know it’s possible they we will not get them and with a proven skilful striker like him being availble for a season long loan would have been a great back up plan.
    Plus it would have taken away other clubs making the prices so high as we would not have appeared so desperate, he is a star. That is Cesear and Remy we defo could have had and both would have improved thing a lot.

  108. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Benat went to Bilbao already!

  109. AFC says:

    That’s a shame, he would have been a good option.

  110. James Bond says:

    Real Madrid are €590m in debt so how do they get round Uefa’s Financial Fair Play rules ? hmmmmm

  111. AFC says:

    Guys, back to my post on the Bale situation. I was reading a report where it said that Real want Bale for around £86 million but only want to pay £20 million up front and pay the rest in installments as they normally do. That means Spurs would not even be able to replace Bale.

  112. James Bond says:

    no, they didn’t do installments when buying Ronaldo from UTD, they paid the whole 80 million in cash in 1 go.

  113. James Bond says:

    the 20 million installment has more to do with the FFP than REAL normally paying in installment @ AFC

    but yes, it’s great news

    and hence the reason why spuds haven’t sold him yet, as they are seeking a bigger pay in one go instead of 5 installments of 20 million

    if they agree, on installment plan then the price goes upto 120 million (6 years).

  114. davydavy says:

    Even with the money paid in full there’s probably only one other player in the world like Bale, and he’s already at Real Madrid. There’s no like-for-like replacement available at the moment.
    Sp*rs have already brought players in for their post-Bale world, and need to be less reliant on one player from now on. Soldado, Chadli and Paulinho are quality players but not at Bale’s level. If Sp*rs are lucky they might still hold on to fifth place!

  115. Dylan says:

    davydavy, I don’t think Bale and Ronaldo are that similar (assuming you’re referring to Ronaldo and not di Maria or something).

  116. Highbury Harmony says:

    Well, Spuds are rumoured to be in the market for a CB and will use whatever instalment money they receive from Real as payment towards a winger. However, I also heard AVB requested Morata in any Bale transfer so that’s more bad news for us. He’s going to be a great player and led Spain in scoring in the past U-21 championships.

  117. Dylan says:

    HH, Real won’t let Morata go.

  118. Highbury Harmony says:

    Dylan, we’ll have to see just how badly Real want Bale ;).

  119. davydavy says:

    Dylan, I really do see similarities betwen Bale and Ronaldo – both attack at speed from around half way, can beat their man, have fearsome shots and can create goals out of nothing. Similar styles, although CR is quite a bit ahead overall.

  120. Highbury Harmony says:

    Some alternatives to consider if Liverpool continue to refuse to sell Suarez to Arsenal:



  121. AFC says:

    HH, why don’t we just convert Walcott and Podolski to STs and play one with Giroud and have one on the bench. Then invest in two quality wingers.

  122. AFC says:

    JB, Real paid for Modric and are still paying for Modric using installments. Does anyone know if Real are paying Malaga in installments for Isco? That must be how they are getting around FFP.

  123. AFC says:

    I also feel we need to increase what are players are valued. For example I would value these players at these prices:

    Wilshere- £50 million
    Walcott- £30 million
    Santi Cazorla- £30 million
    Koscielny- £30 million

  124. AFC says:

    * our players

  125. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Giovinco can play the wing and reminds me of Hazard/Muniain quite a bit.

    The issue with playing Poldi and Theo at CF is that they haven’t proven themselves to be any better at the position than Giroud either. At least Giroud gives us better shape to our attack despite all his other deficiencies. Yes Theo gives us pace and a quick counter option but his hold up play leaves much to be desired and he’s a one-trick pony at the position.

    Poldi seems to be lost at the position as well and he’s seemingly lost his pace since joining Arsenal…

  126. AFC says:

    HH, Giovinco also plays SS.

    Do you not think by switching to a 4-4-2 and playing Giroud-Podolski and Giroud-Walcott they would compliment each other and get the best out of each? Giroud would get the support he needs and giroud can do the hold up play for Walcott etc.

  127. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, in theory they would complement each other quite well except for the fact that neither players are great SS. Poldi and Theo lack the vision, playmaking ability and technique to properly complement a striker like Giroud.

    Giroud also severely lacks in those aspects of the game so we are limiting ourselves up front by playing them all centrally. However, it would be interesting to play a 4-4-2 with Giroud and Theo up front, with Ox on the RW opposed to Theo. Ideally, Ox could play as a SS, but he’s not ready for such a role yet; his decision making and composure are not at the desired level just yet.

  128. Highbury Harmony says:

    The problem with a 4-4-2 is that we’d also be lacking the playmaking further up field since the midfield 4 are traditionally required to trace back more than wingers in the current 4-3-3/4-2-3-1.

  129. AFC says:

    HH, a 4-4-2 would only work if we are playing with two holding midfielders. If we are playing a standard 4-4-2 too many holes/gaps will be left for the opposition to exploit. I would also NOT want Wenger to play Ramsey as a RM.

  130. AFC says:

    HH, not if we are playing 4-4-2 with two holding midfielders. The LM and RM would have more freedom to attack.

  131. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I still don’t think it would work. If it did, AW would have already used it. You’d be asking for even more out of our current fullbacks than we already are in the 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 since more freedom to attack means less bodies back in defence. So either the fullbacks become dedicated defenders or they are required to become wingbacks.

  132. Highbury Harmony says:

    And I can’t see Santi agreeing to playing a deeper role in mid as a LM, opposed to a LW.

  133. AFC says:

    Or a narrow formation such as a 4-2-2-2 might work. Our fullbacks would have to provide width and probably take on the role of WBs.

  134. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, is that asking too much of our injury-prone starters in Sagna and Gibbs though? Fortunately, we have Nacho and Jenks to back them in just in case, but after that if the former two get injured, we’re kind of screwed…unless the two fullbacks are asked to stay back.

  135. AFC says:

    HH, I would just ask them to stay back considering how poor some of their crossing is. 😀

  136. Highbury Harmony says:

    Haha AFC, but is a compartmentalized strategy the best way to go? I don’t think we have the class of players to truly thrive in such a style of play. Going back to the Invincibles days, we saw that sort of compartmentalized strategy, but it worked mainly because of Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Ljungberg up front (3 world class players and another great player), while also being supported on occasion by Cole and Vieira.

    Then, on defense the combination of Cole, Toure, Campbell, Gilberto, Vieira and Lauren could all dictate the game and strike fear into the hearts of the opposition. There’s also 4 world class players among that group too…

  137. AFC says:

    I think Brazil also used a 4-2-2-2 formation in their glory days but they also had world class players of course. I just look at our squad and think we should use a narrow formation. Why? Because we have a load of DMs/CMs/AMs. Walcott is a RW/ST hybrid so does not offer width and Podolski is a false 9. Ox looks destined for the middle. So why not play a 4-3-1-2 or even a 4-4-2 where there are 4 CMs instead of 2 CMs, a LM and RM.

  138. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, the SQ options available to us on the wing are much more enticing than those at ST. However, I attribute that to the lack of high end strikers in general compared to wingers. It also helps to explain why clubs with elite strikers generally fare better in domestic and European competitions.

  139. AFC says:

    Spain were also using a 3-4-3 diamond in the Confeds Cup (I think) against the team of amateurs. They had the back 3 with Sergio in front with 6 attacking players given total freedom.

  140. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC @ 2:59, definitely good points since we lack true dedicated wingers. However, when Theo is actually honouring his wing duties, he does give us ample width and can really spread a defence. He’s also showed that he’s more than capable of scoring and assisting goals from the wing, and is a quality crosser too.

    It’s just a shame that he drifts centrally so often in hopes of proving that he should be our #1 striker.

  141. AFC says:

    Or I would try to do someting like this.

    RDM- Arteta
    LDM- Ramsey
    RAM- Wilshere
    CAM- Rosicky
    LAM- Santi

    Behind one of Giroud, Podolski or Walcott and tell the fullbacks to stay back.

  142. AFC says:

    HH, all I know is that something needs to change. Wouldn’t it be funny if AW went the way of Big Sam. Played a 4-4-2 with two no.9s who were brutes and two traditional wingers and decided to base our entire game on crossing and long balls.

  143. Highbury Harmony says:

    Any line-up with our current players should technically not include Giroud. I say that because he just does not fit the style of play we are known for or are looking to achieve. If you bring in dedicated wingers who can cross the ball, then our entire strategy changes, but we will then also be taking advantage of his best attributes – finding space in the box and aerial ability.

    Basically, we have a plan B starting right now because of a lack of other options and because AW is too cheap to pay the cost required of him to bring in a truly elite striker that would allow the club to play to his liking.

  144. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha AFC, you basically beat me to it 😉

  145. AFC says:

    HH, apparently we did make a last minute bid for Carroll.

    No particular way of playing is right. The Stoke way is just as good as the Arsenal way if you have the right players.

  146. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, of course there is no “right” way of playing. However, there’s an aesthetically appealing way to play the game and an ugly, boring way of playing the game. In the end, I guess whatever gets wins pleases ownership and management, but I’d rather spend my time watching free-flowing tiki-taka football any day.

  147. AFC says:

    Agreed, playing free-flowing football is good as long as it does not get you relegated. I am talking about Wigan. 😀

    There were rumour going round that Stoke were going to sign a load of young Barca players to try and make their football more attractive. Cannot see any Barca player going to Stoke. Surely that would be football version of hell for them.

  148. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, Stoke did sign Muniesa from La Masia, so I guess there’s a starting point to convince others to come…???

  149. AFC says:

    HH, I did not know that. Seems things could changes for Stoke. In years to come they might be challenging for the fourth place trophy of which we are the current holders. 😀

    I do not think there has been any other team who has finished in fourth place more times than is.

  150. AFC says:

    * us

    On a side note, Newcastle love signing French players even more than AW. If Newcastle ever get relegated from the EPL they could always join Ligue 1. 😀

  151. Gerry says:

    Good morning all, I am awake early, so I thought I would check who is still around, but I might have just missed you?

    HH – Thanks for the compliment earlier, I really appreciate that

  152. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I kind of wonder how Newcastle are going to do next season. They were a story of Dr.Jekyl and Mr.Hyde this year after their run from two years ago. As long as their players stay healthy, I reckon they could even be challenging for 4th.

    Gomis and Remy are very good additions, on top of last January’s spending spree that saw them bring in Sissoko, Debuchy, Gouffran, Yanga-Mibiwa and Haidara.

  153. AFC says:

    HH, Newcastle will be stronger for sure and so will Swansea with the addition of Bony.

  154. Highbury Harmony says:

    You’re welcome Gerry :). I’ve found myself enjoying your comments more and more these days, as it appears you’ve adopted a bit more realism lately to blend in with your usual optimism. We’ve seemingly met somewhere in the middle, where my dark depression has once again found another glimmer of hope (how soon it could quickly fade depends on judgement day, aka September 1st hahaha).

  155. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I’m confident that we’re still better on paper than most of those clubs (Swansea, Newcastle, Everton, Liverpool etc.), but as we saw last season anything can happen on any given day and the gap separating us from them has definitely been closed (with their new additions).

    The scary part is that if Liverpool refuse to sell Suarez and they sign Diego Costa, they’ll likely also be a better team than us on paper…Of course, we still have the trump card only because of Wenger, but new signings will definitely be needed.

  156. AFC says:

    HH, I’m off now. Probably a 1% chance of us signing a player tomorrow.

  157. Gerry says:

    AFC – I see you are still around?

    On this formation chat you were having, I thin also that the narrow thinking of players in boxes is not what AW is about.

    He wants intelligent footballers who can move opposition defenses around, even PTB ones, to create opening for whoever is in the striking position?

    Fluidity is the key, so players who are comfortable in more than one position, Like Ox, Santi, Saurez, Bernard, etc, are ideal. So I agree to some extent on HH’s thinking about Giroud, but I think he is expecting him to be much sharper this season. Poldi has got me thinking he may be ‘considering his options’?

  158. AFC says:

    HH @ 4:02, fully agreed.

  159. Gerry says:

    AFC – you are forgetting Perez?

  160. AFC says:

    Gerry, I meant a big name signing. Now I’m really off.

    HH & Gerry, speak to you guys soon. 🙂

  161. Gerry says:

    HH – Costa says he wants to stay with Athletico. And Saurez is about to take legal action. They will have to sell him, but not necessarily to us if they get an offer in Europe?

  162. Gerry says:

    Of course you did?

  163. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, of course my hope is that Suarez controls his destination and that it ultimately leads to us. I don’t see many other clubs capable of offering Suarez the playing time, prospect of CL footy and receiving delivery from a SQ player like Santi.

    Costa staying at Athletico could put a serious damper in our attempts to lure Suarez from Liverpool. However, if he formally requests a transfer and takes legal action, anything is possible, though the aftermath will be ugly. One had to know that any scenario where Suarez left Liverpool would not be “amicable”.

    It does beg the question though of why Suarez wanted out of England and away from the media frenzy of the EPL, but would move to a bigger city in London to another EPL club in Arsenal. How long can we realistically expect him to stay though?

  164. Gerry says:

    HH – I also wonder how much of this is his agents doing. Remember all those bets placed in Barcelona?

    Long term, well I think that will depend on how well he settles. In London you can be more ‘invisible’?

  165. Gerry says:

    I will go back to my earlier reasoning that I think Saurez was genuinely flattered by AW’s interest. I also think that he would have been equally ‘flattered’ by a Man U interest?

  166. Gerry says:

    Realistic thinking tells me he would love the experience at Arsenal if we say, won the FA Cup. But if we only grind out 3rd place in the league, don’t reach the quarter finals in the CL, and miss out on both domestic Cups, he will be off.

  167. Gerry says:

    I see Miquel (no surprise?) and Yennaris are going on loan to … Leicester.

    Good choice I think, but whether either returns is another matter? The under 21’s will miss Yennaris that is for sure?

  168. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, I would love to know how much of Suarez’s desire to leave and join us is his or his agent’s dealing…what scares me is that if Rooney leaves for Chelsea, if Utd join the race for Suarez.

    I agree that finishing above one of the top three will not be enough for him, as he’ll want to see that we can actually win some form of silverware or progress into the latter stages of the CL.

    However, it is astonishing just how much better we become with Suarez in our line-up. We suddenly have a top 7 striker in the world capable of changing the game in a second, gain plenty of attacking depth up front and add another dimension to our attack.

    If we need a goal late in games, we can bring OG to attack aerially and have Suarez and Theo attacking from the flanks. Santi gets a man that he’ll have full confidence in providing delivery for and I’m confident that he will be able to find Suarez no matter where he is on the pitch (he’s just that good).

  169. Highbury Harmony says:

    It’ll be a good opportunity for both youngsters to gain some more experience in the championship. However, this certainly means that moves are coming as Miquel was our 4th choice CB in pre-season and Yennaris was likely a first emergency call-up if our CMs got injured.

  170. Highbury Harmony says:

    Another Plan B if we don’t get Suarez, Pablo Daniel Osvaldo of Roma. He’s gone under the radar this summer, largely because he plays in the more defensive Serie A. However, he’s got good mobility and strength, great technique, good touch, a powerful right boot, strong aerially and is very acrobatic.

    His track record of 16 and 11 Serie A league goals the past two seasons at Roma has seen him finish 3rd and 12th in scoring. The year prior to those two he spent at Espanyol where he scored 13 league goals, good enough for 11th in scoring in La Liga that year.

    Here are some highlights:

  171. Highbury Harmony says:

    Unfortunately, like Suarez, he is known for having a bit of a temper and is at odds with his current coach. We could get him for less than market value because of it, but not sure if AW will take a gamble on such a player, especially one not as talented as Suarez.

  172. Macko says:

    Bonjour, Emirate cup est un trophée de préparation mais un trophée se doit d’être gagner.
    Chamberlain n’est pas du tout au point, manque d’implication a l’inverse de Ramsey qui lui se prend pour le seul joueur de l’équipe qui court partout n’importe où ….
    Je vous trouve gentil avec Jenkinson qui n’en est pas à son premier match, il a déjà joué en équipe première, vous le trouvez au niveau : pas moi. Il devrait le prêté une saison et aprés on verra …..
    Sur les jeunes Zelalem, Akpom, Gnarby et surtout celui qu’on oublie Thomas Eisfeld qui lui est très bon et comblerait ce qui nous manque : un distributeur de jeu.
    Gervinho est parti, je suis content car je n’aimais pas ce joueur et je pense qu’il n’aimait pas Arsenal.
    Sur le recrutement je dirais juste un bon Milieu défensif et un arrière droit pour remplacer Sagna sinon je pense que l’équipe est bonne si on inclut les jeunes 😉

    Merci, GO gunners

  173. Gerry says:

    Sorry HH, I got tired again, so I am now on my second Breakfast.

    I think we agree on what Saurez would do for our squad, as well as the ones on the pitch. It is that fluidity, and the ability to turn very little into something, and not just himself that Wenger has made him our number 1 choice.

    I watched the entire Bundesliga Preview on BT Sport and there were some fascinating aspect and insights came out, mainly from people who knew what they were talking about, which helped.

    One of them, talking about Klopp, said he replaces players that are right for the team, and not necessarily right for the position. He felt AW has been buying bodies to fill positions? I had a think about that, and think he is probably right, but with some excuses for the circumstances. And it also may signal this change now, and why transfers are taking longer than normal? He has said it himself, he wants the right players who add quality. When you think of the quoted 209 players linked with us since this window opened, I bet most came about because the writers were simply linking bodies with positions … along with the majority of fans, I would guess?

    This is why this Saurez link is different, and a few of us can see why. It is also why my first alternative would be Bernard, albeit his best is yet to come. He is not my only consideration though. But as he jets off to inspect the facilities in the Ukraine, he says he will not be rushed and will not sign while he is there. So I just hope we can, via his agent, persuade him to detour via London before he returns, and ‘inspects our facilities’? Then seriously negotiate with his 3rd party people.

    I am not averse to having both Saurez and Bernard, and it could be possible if we upped our offer on Saurez to their £55m, but with less up front and defer the rest over the next couple of seasons with various targets inserted?

  174. Gerry says:

    Macko – I was going to cheat and get a ‘google translation’ of your thoughts but I failed. In the absence of TA I will do my best in this reply, but anybody else feel free to add correct.

    No we did not win the cup – Tant pis!

    Chamberlain is not all bad, but despite the general opinion, Ramsey will be alright without any players coming in.

    Jenks needs to go out on loan. Sorry for abbreviation.

    Zelalem, Gnabry, Akpom, and the missing Eislfeld were all very good.

    Arsenal will not miss Gervinho, Gervinho will not miss Arsenal – Nicely put.

    For signings, we need a strong Midfield General, and possibly a back up for Sagna until the youth players are ready?

    Over to you Dylan for your reply?

    Aologies in advance for any misinformation I have just given Macko. Jus suis desolee?

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post – New Post 🙂

    Marcus gives his giraffe view on the pre-season games. Enjoy! 🙂

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