Terrorist Winger, Holding Striker or DM’s Wingman: Will this Gunner Finally Break Through?!

Arsene’s Arsenal War Episode IV – A New Hope!

Since TA’s post about squad rotation and preferred line-ups I’ve been off in dream land at how I want to see Arsenal playing. Basically I would love to see a return to proper counter-attacking football – moving the ball up the pitch in seconds, killing teams off with speed and precision like in the early days of Wenger’s reign.

Before the World Cup, I remember posting a comment on this blog about how brilliant Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was looking and how he could be one of the key players to England’s strategy at the World Cup – from Roy Hodgson’s comments in the aftermath of the assault on AOC in the second Stateside friendly it seems I wasn’t the only one to have that idea. I was excited by his pace and control on the ball and was disappointed for him personally that he wouldn’t get to play at a World Cup.

The Ox: ready for a Rambo-style breakthrough season?

The Ox: ready for a Rambo-style breakthrough season?

Having said that, it could end up being my favourite injury ever, and one of the best for his career as he will be fresher than any other WC squad members for the coming season. I believe/hope he can be used in a different way to last season, capitalising on the addition of the world class Alexis and the semi-imminent return to fitness of the former fastest footballer in the world (second now to Arjen Robben), Theo Walcott. If used to an effect pertinent to the situation at hand, I think his versatility can be a major weapon for the team now and in the future.

Let’s look at ways he could be deployed:

1. Terrorist winger. Ox is quick on the ball, can wriggle out of tight situations better than most without relying on his pace, is strong, and isn’t afraid to run at defenders; but at the same time, he generally makes good decisions about what to do with the ball. That decision making will become more refined with experience too. Maybe I’m expecting too much of him but as I’ve commented on a previous post, I envisage something similar to what Thierry Henry used to do to defenders.

2. Holding striker. His strength can help make this happen. Ok, he’s not as tall as Giroud but once he has the ball he can keep hold of it, hold defenders off and wait to link up with advancing team-mates. His awareness and ability to beat defenders will also add to his menace in these situations, as they won’t be able to get too tight on him in case he beats them, which will push the defensive line back and leave more space for our attackers.

3. In time, if Wenger follows up on his comment about Ox being able to eventually play in the middle: designated DM’s wingman. If we have a designated DM in the pivot Ox will have the freedom to roam forward and link up with the four front men. Using attributes already discussed, he can make defences nervous, making judicious runs into the box, passing or carrying the ball out of tight spots, drawing defenders to him and creating space and opportunities for team mates.

In general approach, I favour giving Theo his wish up front and having Ox, Oz and Sanchez behind him. My reasoning is that Theo is becoming acceptably reliable in front of goal (and more clinical than OG) and practice can only make more and more perfect. Whilst Theo would not be able to hold the ball up, the pace we now have in Alexis, Theo and Ox would mean that this would not be such a crucial skill for our front man to have…even if they couldn’t carve out an opportunity immediately, they can keep the ball between themselves for the few seconds until Oz, Rambo, Debuchy and Gibbs get there.

If counter-attacking wasn’t working (as it wouldn’t against Mourinho and his anti-football) and Giroud wasn’t on the field, Ox could then adopt role 2 from my list, and even interchange reasonably freely with Theo anyway, since Theo is used to a role on the right. It would all add to a sense of unpredictability to unsettle defenders.

Role 3 may come in time; he wouldn’t be ready for it now I don’t think – and Ramsey is everyone’s first choice for the kind of role I would like to see him playing if Wenger does move him into the middle eventually, but he could certainly learn to be a superb covering option for that position.

Wenger doesn’t pigeon-hole people and he plays to their strengths, so I think Wenger will use Ox’s versatility to the advantage of the team (including keeping Alex happy with the roles he is asked to assume).

The way I see it, the kind of football we now have the squad to play this season is really an evolution of the 4-4-2 we played in the late 90s – and they are among my fondest memories of Arsenal. I’m excited about the squad we currently have and Wenger’s decisiveness so far this summer. It suggests to me that despite all indications to the contrary since 2006, he knows exactly how he wants the team playing and he can now go and get the players he doesn’t already have to make that happen. I don’t really think there is a lot of room for improvement, although I would love to see a SQ DM come in. I think our attacking options are much more multi-dimensional than they have ever been for as long as I’ve been a Gooner.

It is Wenger’s time to go for the jugular. I’m hopeful of a glorious twilight to his Arsenal career.

How do the tactically astute see it? Am I expecting too much of the boy Oxlade-Chamberlain? Do I think too highly of him? Am I expecting too much of Wenger? Am I being wildly tactically naive? If we played the way I’ve outlined above next season (with a theoretically rock-solid back 6), will it be enough to give us a shot at the title?

On a personal note, I’m looking forward to taking my three-year-old to his first Arsenal game at the Emirates Cup on Saturday so if you’re going too, no swearing please… 🙂

Written by: Jozefos2013

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164 Responses to Terrorist Winger, Holding Striker or DM’s Wingman: Will this Gunner Finally Break Through?!

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Superb post, Jozefos 🙂

    Ox is sooo versatile, especially up front, and you have highlighted his qualities expertly well.

    I reckon he needs to learn a lot in terms of defending and also in terms of controlling his energy and composure, and as such, would prefer him in attacking role. I really like your thought of him being our holding striker….. It could work a treat.

    Back later! 🙂

  2. davi says:

    “Terrorist winger” – don’t see why Ox couldn’t play this role quite well. The thing is we already have Walcott, who is a better finisher and more suited to it. I think Ox prefers to cross the ball than to make diagonal runs currently but that could be coached into him imo.
    “Holding striker” – In a 2-striker system, maybe, but, like walcott, I don’t see Ox’s strength as being able to take the ball facing away from goal, with a CB’s shoulder in his back. Not sure his touch is good enough but unlike Theo, he may have the strength to keep his balance well enough. This role would probably put him most outside his comfort zone of the 3 you suggest; in a 4-4-2 formation, it may work but and in our current 4-3-3 formation, I think it would be a step too far for Ox.
    “DM’s wingman” – Ox has played this position or something like it before and has done pretty well. Like Aaron he does have a great engine, which is the most important thing for playing there, but currently Ramsey is far superior in that position and I don’t see Ox ever having the skillset to compete – however I think he’s a good backup for the role. Imo he’d be at his best alongside Ramsey and the DM. He’s an alternative to Ozil with a game more based on running behind the defence and appearing on the edge of the box than playing through passes.

    Basically I think he’s a really talented and versatile player, but I also think it will take him a long time to nail down a position, particularly with the types of signings we have been making recently. He can’t currently compete with Ozil, Ramsey or Sanchez, who are playing the positions he could possibly have made his own and he’ll most likely continue to stand in for these players during times of injury or when they need to rest. He’s also competing with Walcott and Cazorla for those positions, so it’s going to be tough but if he hangs in there and continues to improve I think he’ll end up being a big player for us.

    I’d be interested to see that front 4 you suggest. As mentioned, Theo’s strength is not taking the ball with his back to goal, which is vital really, but he’s had some decent games up front already – I’d imagine Sanchez would be more suited to playing centrally but it’s hard to see Wenger asking him to play there before he’s settled in?

  3. rocastle says:

    Pretty good keeper too! Haha

  4. omgarsenal says:

    Wenger will be focussed on developing a partnership between Sanchez,Ozil,Ramsey,Walcott and Giroud. My guess is that he’ll use the Ox to support the above 5 AM/strikers alongside Ozil and Wilshere in a 4-2-3-1 or occasionally a 4-4-2 formation,depending on the circumstances. I see Sanchez playing on the left side and Walcott on the right with Giroud as lone striker and Ozil, Ramsey and Wilshere in midfield.

  5. omgarsenal says:

    Forgot to mention that this is a rotational setup with the Ox substituting for our AM’s.

  6. shrillex says:

    I like the idea of the Ox being a ‘terrorist winger’ the best. It would suit his skill set completely. I think his presence would scare defenders in case he beats his man and subconsciously making them drop deeper.(something Theo does). However, I don’t think he is the kind of player who will hug the flanks as he likes to drop deeper and collects the ball. If he does player as a winger, he would directly compete with Sanchez and Theo and wouldn’t get much playtime. I see him as a supersub or a rotation player to keep the others fit.

    As for being our holding striker, I don’t fancy him playing there. He has the strength to hold the ball up to link with the others but I doubt wenger would put him in a position he is not comfortable in.

    A DM’s wingman? Hmm… It is possible but Ramsey is our first choice there at the moment. Also, you have to think about wilshere also being able to play in that position. Judging by last season’s games, I would prefer him in a 433 formation alongside Ramsey and a DM. In a 433, If so, how will ozil fit in this formation? On the wings? He wouldn’t be as effective as he would be in a no.10 position. He had a decent world cup playing on the flanks but he was more effective when he was moved back to his favorite position.

    Well, how he plays…only Arsene knows

  7. TotalArsenal says:

    Great comment Davy and all good observations.

    I reckon Ox could learn how to play with his back to goal and yes his first touch still needs improving. The big plus, though, is his ability to turn with the ball and attack space and defenders with his speed and close ball control; something only Sanchez can do better than Ox…

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Shrillex, another fine comment and all agreed. 🙂

    Where are you based and how long have you been supporting the mighty red and white?

  9. jozefos2013 says:

    @shrill Let’s not forget Thierry Henry wasn’t comfortable as a striker when AW first suggested it. But Wenger saw something in him that he knew would develop.

    Part of my case for Ox to be a striker is that he’s listed on the Arsenal website as an attacker rather than a midfielder, but also he has stated he won’t buy any more attacking players. If not a case of misdirection, that leaves OG, Sanogo and Sanchez and Walcott, which seems a bit threadbare for a team with title ambitions. It makes perfect sense, at least in my mind, to get Ox playing in a more advanced role where his skills could potentially be utterly devastating 😀

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    Don’t forget Campbell, J.

  11. shrillex says:

    I live in the Chicago, I’m 16 and I’ve been supporting arsenal since about 5 🙂

  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Very impressive footie insight for a16 year old, Shrill. We have a few younger guys on here, like Dylan and AFC and Milo, but non as young as you! Welcome and if you want to write a post for the site, just let me know. 🙂

  13. shrillex says:

    Joze…True but I feel that he plays best when he drops deeper to start an attack. I feel that he is better when he drops deeper to initiate an attack. I truly believe that he can accomplish more there. But if AW see potential in him to be a striker, i don’t see why not, for all we know he could be our hidden gem 🙂

  14. shrillex says:

    Thanks for the welcome Total. I don’t know if I’m quite good enough to write a post for this site 🙂 my uncle used to be a rugby instructor and taught me some tactics and how to observe player’s movement etc etc

  15. TotalArsenal says:

    Shrill, we are relaxed here and very supportive towards new blog writers, so dont worry. But no pressure though, only if you feel like it you should write something. 🙂

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    The best role for Ox long term imo is Thierry’s role with a strong Bergkampesque player just behind him, but I am writing a post about this very topic at some point this week. 🙂

  17. jozefos2013 says:

    See, that’s why I don’t manage football teams for a living…

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Jozef 🙂

    I am really excited to see Campbell in the Giroud position now and again, next season. He is pretty all-round kind of player and if he scores early in the season could gather lots of confidence.

  19. shrillex says:

    Thanks Total. You’ll be the first to know if I ever feel like writing a post 🙂 Can’t wait to see your new post later this week

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    Now that the season is getting close, shrillex, I am starting to get inspiration again.

    Hopefully Dylan will send us his NY Gunners experience report early on next week so we can read about it in detail.

    I only watched the second half semi properly yesterday, and noticed a few very fine Diaby DM-like interventions…. Something most of us have been dreaming off, for sure?!

  21. Tester says:

    Great post. The Ox is a favorite player of mine & I really want him to succeed. But like Wilshere, his priority this season should be to just stay fit & get as many games under the belt as possible.

    1> With Walcott recovering & Poldi not match fit, I suspect Ox will be used as a “terrorist winger” at the start of the season. Well, I hope so anyway!

    I love Cazorla & everything he brings to Arsenal but the amount of times him & Poldi have left Monreal/Gibbs out to be skinned is crazy. With Ox on the left & Sanchez on the right, there is no “slow” counter attacking wing. Opposition fullbacks will think twice before going full on against us.

    2> I know it’s a terrible comparison but The Ox also reminds me of Rooney in the way he powers thru’ the game. But I don’t think this will happen.

    3> Wenger has said he would eventually play long term here. That’s why a Khedira move would be perfect for Ox. He could learn from him. But I’d rather we have Schneiderlin/Bender type. 🙂

    For the first time in a long time we have seriously good options for each position. All because we bought one multi-dimensional player in Sanchez. But I hope AW sticks to some basics. NO OZIL ON THE WING PLEASE. Thanks! Haha

    P.S : Secret wish – I love Paul Pogba but I want The Ox to become our Paul Pogba 😀

  22. shrillex says:

    I agree Total. Campbell should be a pleasure to watch this season. He still has to improve on his decision making and most importantly, his stamina. You wouldn’t want your sub ( i’m assuming he will play more as a sub) running out of steam after you brought him on

  23. shrillex says:

    Total, will you be going to watch the Emirates Cup? I will be there to watch the Monaco and Valencia match but unfortunately I will be missing the last one

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Tester 🙂

    Are going to change your name or will you stick with this one.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Are you flying over from Chicago then?

    Not sure whether I am going or not as yet.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Campbell worked his socks for CR, Shrill, but yes his fitness can always improve.

  27. shrillex says:

    Yup, I coming over for the Emirates Cup but I will be missing the Community Shield. Hope to see our new signings in action 🙂

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Very impressive, Shrill, now that is commitment to the team! Enjoy. 🙂

    Off to eat something with the family. Catch you guys later.

  29. Oluwashayour Victor says:

    Nicely written Joze, imagine how unpredictably consistent our team is gonna be if as hoped, Ox had a breakthrough season and did get crocked like Rambo was last season. Great times ahead and it can only get better. AFC, is it true that Sammy’s move is back on? Also read that a bid was lodged yesterday for Douggie Costa.

  30. AFC says:

    OV, I assume the Khedira question is for me?

    Khedira has apparently lowered his wage demands (to around £134k a week) so he can join us. There does seem to be a genuine interest by Arsenal in my opinion. I read not to expect anything to happen until the 11th August as this is when the German players come back from their holidays. I think he will either stay at Real or join us.

    Chambers will be announced on Monday (according to David Ornstein of the BBC, he is quite reliable). He also said we are still in a DM and a CB if Vermaelen leaves. I don’t think the Khedira deal is dead but has been put on hold. I would give it another two weeks.

    I can’t see us signing Douglas Costa. He plays behind the frontman centrally or wide.The problem is we already have so many players who can play in the ‘3’ behind the front man. Walcott, Sanchez, Cazorla, Ozil, Rosicky, Ox, Wilshere, Podolski can all play in the ‘3’. Gnabry and Joel Campbell can also play in the ‘3’ as well.

  31. AFC says:

    Joze, thanks for a thought provoking post. 🙂

    When I look at where the Ox will end up I try to look towards the future. Walcott will be around for many years to come and I don’t see anyone talking his spot so the RM/RAM/RW spot in whatever formation we play in the future (it seems to me like Wenger will only use various variations of the 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-2 formations) is Walcott’s.

    Ozil has pretty much taken the CAM spot if we play a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation and will most likely take up the LW spot if Wenger decides that we will play some sort of a 4-4-2.

    Sanchez will most likely be our long term ST. Ramsey has secured one of the DM spots and a new DM will most likely secure the other DM spot for years to come. The only spot I can see the Ox making his own is the LM/LW/LAM spot in a variation of a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3. His main competition for that spot will be Wilshere.

    May the best man win. 😀

  32. Funminiyi says:

    was it because i replied directly from my mail that made my username to change and also made my comment to take that long TA? AFC, would you prefer me as OV or as Funminiyi? Where is this knuckle-head JB of a guy?

  33. Tester says:

    @TotalArsenal : I will go with the Tester name haha 😀

    As for the topic of striker. Got to watch the Falcao-Benzema-Cavani developments closely. I hear Cavani wants out of Ibra’s shadow.

    Very sure Falcao will sign for RM which will leave Benzema available to be moved out. There is no way RM will keep both. And remember Wenger said ,during the UCL final, that Benzema will surely play in the premier league. And Benzema has just 12 months to go on his contract just like Khedira. I’d be happy with Benzema to be honest. Big club player,pace to run behind, knows Ozil’s game inside out.

    But the heart wants Cavani ❤ 😀 😀 😀

  34. Funminiyi says:

    my comment prior to the one i posted at 20.47 wasn’t displayed

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    I guess so FunM 🙂

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    Tester it is then! 🙂

    Really cNnot see another striker coming in unless Campbell or Pod will be sold.

  37. AFC says:

    Choose whatever name you like. FunM or Ov I don’t mind. Choose whatever name you like. 🙂

    Off for a bit.

  38. jozefos2013 says:

    Thanks all for positive comments on the post…I always look over my work just after I’ve pressed send and worry it’s a load of horse manure so 😀 😀 😀

    The thing about breakthrough seasons is they can take you by surprise or be disappointing by their absence. This time last year nobody would have thought Rambo would now be first choice in CM. I’m not under any illusions about Ox’s status in the group at present, and the young players I’m really looking forward to watching this year are Ox, Gnabry and Campbell – I think if two out of three can establish themselves as at least reliable squad players that would be a good return, but from what I know of them Ox is most likely to really stake a claim, although I admit I didn’t really follow Campbell’s progress at Olympiakos except to glory is his goal v Man U so all I have to go on is what I saw in the World Cup.

    In time I think if Ox and Theo are directly competing, Ox will edge it because IMO there’s a much more rounded quality to his game. Ultimately though as long as everyone’s happy it will be an absolute pleasure to have so many brilliant attacking players in the squad, and to return to the theme of the post that got me thinking on these lines, it will be an exceptional pool of talent for squad rotation purposes (which I think is what you were saying, Victor). Maybe we’ll have to hope ze German fitness coach doesn’t create more problems than he solves by keeping everyone fit ( 😮 ) all season!

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Jozefos, you did yourself proud and Ox in the process too! 🙂

  40. AFC says:

    Chambers is coming to Arsenal.

    Wenger said he can understand the shock at such a fee for the inexperienced youngster, but he likes the 19-year-old’s versatility.

    He added: “He can play at centre-back, right-back and central midfield. I hope he will give us competition for the players in this three positions. “He hasn’t played many games, no, but the English players on the market in England are very expensive and at the end of the day I was ready to take a gamble because he is a player for the future.”

    He is perfect for squad depth. Finally, we have ourselves a versatile, young, homegrown 4th CB. 🙂

  41. Dylan says:

    Hello all! Back from NYC! I will begin writing tomorrow! For now, can anyone verify these quotes? Where did they come from?
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/10994347/.html

  42. AFC says:

    I don’t know Dylan but the Telegraph is a pretty reliable paper? The BBC and David Ornstein have said the deal with be confirmed on Monday. Both are pretty reliable as well.

  43. AFC says:

    What do you guys think about trying to loan out the likes of Gnabry and Bellerin to Southampton? Seems like a good idea? They would get some game time and Southampton would developing them for us.

  44. geoffchase says:

    Jozefos et al,

    Hi, great post, and a few thoughts different from above for consideration. They come from my knowledge (tragically first hand) of “all rounders disease” or ARD.

    In cycling there are three types of cyclist types if you will: 1) sprinters (assholes); 2) climbers (skinny pricks); and 3) time triallists (buttheads (w/ big engines)). These equate in football terms roughly to: a) pure strikers (self centered victory whores); b) Terrorist Wings (who fly away and soar to victory when you least want them to and cannot follow); and c) B2B or DM wingman..

    I am sure you get my drift…

    Anyway, ARD is a disease in cycling where you can beat any 2 of 3 categories. I.e. you can beat a sprinter in anything that isn’t sprints (climbing and time trialling), and so on…

    So, the reverse question, with all this versatility does Ox have ARD? Could he suffer from being well used everywhere, but being a “star of none”? Would we then, as a club, be best to pick one and really have him focus there?

    Just being contrary! 🙂

    cheers — jgc

  45. geoffchase says:

    All

    A little off topic, or more than, but it suited my prejudices and prior statements, and addresses how we might become more versatile in the formations we can show through midfield (with and without Ox)… And that is a healthy Diaby (yes, miracles, I know!)… But, IMO, the most important and first signing this summer was the trainer…

    http://www.gunnerstown.com/arsenal/2014/07/27/arsenals-new-german-signing-could-help-arsene-wenger-finally-bring-the-best-out-of-abou-diaby/

    cheers — jgc

  46. shrillex says:

    @Tester I doubt AW will sign another striker unless he offloads Poldi and maybe Cazorla. I don’t really fancy the sight of Benzema in red and white. Sure, he is more mobile than Ollie, but there are certain aspects in Ollie that Benzema doesn’t have. The most important one is Ollie’s ability to hold up the ball , Benzema is way worst than Ollie when it comes to that. Also, what kind of message would his( Benzema) signing say to Giroud? I’m pretty sure Ollie wouldnt fancy having his national team starter to be a threat to his starting spot at club level too.

    As for Cavani, do you really think its possible? 🙂 If Ollie can improve his shooting skills, he might well be our own Zlatan 🙂

  47. Tester says:

    @Shrillex Giroud is an Arsenal player & I will support him no matter what. But it’s wrong to compare Giroud to someone far far superior like Benzema. Like I said in another thread on this blog, if OG would finish the chances that were created for him, we would be winning games 3-0,4-0 within 60 mins & avoid nervy finishes.Again, Giroud is very very good at somethings but his misses make him absolutely awful.

    Buying a big name #9 will also tell Giroud that he needs to up his game & for me OG should only be 2nd choice striker if we have any ambition of winning. And Benzema’s hold up play is very good.Maybe not as good as OG but KB has skills so you don’t need to lump it up, you can play in behind the line. 🙂

    Hmmm Cavani 😀 😀

  48. shrillex says:

    @Tester Hmm… True, sometimes there are chances that should have been finished by giroud. But think back, a year ago Benzema was also missing easy chances and doing Torres-esque misses. Only this year has he really improved and put away those chances. Why do you think that Giroud cannot replicate this massive improvement shown by Benzema.

    Anyways, you cannot compare Giroud to Benzema as they are both very different strikers. Though I have to disagree with you saying that Benzema’s hold up play is good. People falsely believe that due to his physique, he is strong and can hold the ball up well, it is actually the opposite. He is the kind of player that,at best, knocks down the ball for his teammates. Also, Giroud is vital in how arsenal plays, his style helps others to perform better. For me, he is the type who would sacrifice scoring to aid the team. Well,each people has their own opinion but for me, Giroud is a decent striker though I wouldn’t mind another one. 😀

  49. Tester says:

    @Shrillex I get what you mean. But I’ve hardly seen Benzema miss many clear cut chances & on the contrary he’s a striker who can create something out of nothing. OG’s game is good but too reliant on runners. Each has their own qualities but overall, KB is a big football upgrade on OG.

    “Why do you think that Giroud cannot replicate this massive improvement shown by Benzema. ”

    I’d happy to be proven wrong… But at what cost and for how long? Man,just think of Chelsea away. His miss should have made it 1-0 instead of them scoring 60 secs later. At the top level, these chances count. Either way, I’ll support OG everytime he plays for us.

    I’m curious to see what AW does in this regard if KB becomes available. I reckon he’ll go for it.

  50. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent discussion between Tester Nd Shrillex. Will keep my powder dry for now as I willbe writing a post about this topic soon, but let me just say I reckon you are both right to a large extent. 🙂

  51. shrillex says:

    @Tester Well, one can hope that he will have a Ramsey-esque improvement with his finishing ability.Oh yeah, you need to see last years replays to see those misses, especially when he plays for France. But I doubt AW will go for an expensive, world class striker now that he has already spend so much and already has Sanchez, Theo, OG,Poldi who can play in that position. Then again…he has already stunned me with the amount he spent so far. Anyways, I think if he does sign another striker, it will be someone has PL experience and is a proven goalscorer (a 15-20 goal a season striker) 🙂

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Love the analogy, jgc. I reckon what Oxie needs is a long spell of fitness first and for all. Then the rest will come.

  53. jgc says:

    TA

    FWIW and some speculation… Hasn’t ARD beset TV5? Induced by the rise of the BFG-Koz pairing? He’s now the second best at every position across the back 4?? But, first at none?

    Cheers — jgc

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Jgc, fair point. On the other hand, if Koz is injured is TV not his adequate and first replacement? Also, if we were to play three at the back he would be awesome too.

  55. geoffchase says:

    Hi

    Exactly! … second choice at every position. Second for Kos OR BFG, second for Gibbs, second for Sagna. In a talent sense… Jenks and Minreal were second outside, but long term I’d have rated TV over them…

    I say keep him until replaced, regardless, but an example of a talented top player who doesn’t quite fit due to ARD, as it were (?)

    Cheers — jgc

  56. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, how are you defining Chambers as home grown? Do you mean English born?
    Could be an amazing signing though as the Southampton academy has produced some gems and we did need the versatile depth!

  57. Highbury Harmony says:

    Cheers for the link Shrillex, now I know why AFC was calling Chambers homegrown!

  58. AFC says:

    Hi HH, Chamber is homegrown but is under 21 so he can’t be part of the 8 homegrown players needed at the moment? He will count in a few years though.

  59. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I just get excited every time we purchase a Soton academy product! Not sure where this leaves Bellerin though, but if Chambers converts into a CB, then we’ll be laughing since he’s technically very sound, young and has big potential.

    I could see him replacing Mertesacker from the starting 11 in a couple years. If the article above is correct, we would have to get rid of some of non-homegrown players to bring in Schneiderlin/Khedira.

  60. AFC says:

    Ryo and Coquelin will be sold? Martinez will go on loan?

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    The way I see our line-up now is as follows:

    ————————Giroud————————–
    Sanchez—————Ozil——————-Walcott
    ————-Ramsey————New DM————–
    Gibbs——Koscielny——Mertesacker—Debuchy
    ———————–Szczesny————————-

    Subs: Ospina, GK; Monreal, LB; Vermaelen, CB; Arteta, CM; Wilshere, CM; Cazorla, CM/W; Podolski, LW/ST

    Reserve: Chambers, RB/CB; Flamini, CM; Diaby, CM; Rosicky, CM/W; Chamberlain, W/CM; Sanogo, ST

    Jenkinson and Gnabry leaving on loan.

  62. AFC says:

    HH, where is Joel Campbell. He should be on the bench instead of Sanogo in my opinion.

    Jenkinson needs to stay. I see Chambers as our 4th CB and Jenks as our 2nd RB. We don’t need to loan out Jenks. I would rather Bellerin and Gmabry should go out on loan.

  63. AFC says:

    I can also see Sanhez playing up top with Ox or Wilshere on the left. I can see Giroud dropping out of the team a lot.

  64. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, forgot about Campbell! I have no idea where he slots into our line-up. I think he’d be a better ST than Podolski but I can’t see him replacing either Poldi or Santi as a sub and will likely play as a W/ST as a squad player for the time being.

  65. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, I think Jenko needs to play minutes and he won’t get that at Arsenal. His development will stall if he is primarily used as a bench option. Chambers can play more than just a 4th CB and can be a backup RB imo.

  66. Funminiyi says:

    Away from our push & shoves,Initially i was happy when the deal for Loic the money grabber fell through but now that Pool have shifted their attention to Saints’ Jay Rodriguez, i cannot but feel sorry for them (of a truth, i can feel the pain of their fans). Do you guys want to get them relegated before kicking the ball? Who knows, maybe Koeman is also trying to build his own team. Tester, you & Shrillex ehn, one thing i’ve come to understand about competition is that it brings the best out of the competitors, i say AW should bring in a SQ striker and you guys will be amazed with the effect it will have on OG.

  67. AFC says:

    Team 1 (4-2-1-3/4-2-3-1):

    Starting eleven: Szez, Debuchy, Mert, Kos, Gibbs, Ramsey, new DM, Walcott, Sanchez, Ox and Wilshere.

    Subs: Ospina, Vermaelen, Jenks, Wilshere/Ox, Arteta, Santi, Giroud.

    Team 2 (4-4-2):

    Starting eleven: Szez, Debuchy, Mert, Kos, Gibbs, Walcott, Ramsey, new DM, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud

    Subs: Ospina, Vermaelen, Jenks, Wilshere, Ox, Santi, Campbell

  68. AFC says:

    FunM, Koeman sent a tweet out saying looking forward to training. The training ground was empty though. 😀 He seems a bit pissed.

    HH, we need 8 defenders in my opinion. Depth is key. 2 RBs, 2 LBs and 4 CBs.

  69. AFC says:

    Wenger did kinda say that Jenks will fight it out for the RB spot with Debuchy for the RB spot. He implied that Chambers was signed for just added depth.

    City have or are very close to signing Mangala.

  70. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, while I agree that depth is key, when does a purely 4th CB see the field? I think having players that are versatile and can play at multiple positions is more important to ensure playing time. However, if we get hit by injuries, it could be a different story – we’ve been fairly lucky that Kos and Mert have been so durable the past couple years.

    Jenkinson can also play at CB, so I guess it depends how we plan on using him and on Debuchy’s durability.

  71. AFC says:

    Team 1 (4-2-1-3/4-2-3-1):

    Starting eleven: Szez, Debuchy, Mert, Kos, Gibbs, Ramsey, new DM, Ozil, Walcott, Sanchez, Ox/Wilshere.

    Damn I forgot to put Ozil in.

  72. Highbury Harmony says:

    The rumours are that if Vermaelen leaves, we’ll push hard to sign Nastasic.

    I can’t see Jenks beating out Debuchy for the starting role – not even Sagna could for the national team.

  73. AFC says:

    HH, there will times next season where we will need to rest our entire back four e.g. cup games. If two of our defenders get injured at the same time and are out for a while we would be really light in defence.

  74. AFC says:

    Debuchy was ahead of Sagna for tactical reasons? He is more attacking than Sagna. I am not fully convinced by Debuchy. The fact that he was picked ahead of Sagna for the French team doesn’t convince me either. DD left Kos out for Sakho so…

  75. Funminiyi says:

    HH, It doesnt necessarily have to be at CB or RB, he can even coming in a situation whereby we wanna kill a game as a RW/LB who can bomb forward and also help by tracking back when necessary a la Dirk Kuyt.

  76. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC, statistically, Debuchy was better than Sagna at every single possible category, both offensively and defensively. Whether that is attributed to Newcastle having to defend more is another story, but Debuchy is technically the better player. However, in terms of game to game consistency, Sagna has him beat imo.

  77. Highbury Harmony says:

    Funminiyi, there is no point in keeping Jenkinson and stalling his development if we simply plan on playing him as a late sub to kill games and for cup appearances. If we’re concerned about long-term growth then the right move would be to send Jenkinson on loan, especially if he’s craving first-team minutes. However, if he’s content at being a back-up and only featuring in cup games, then we should be fine.

    AFC and Fun, bear in mind, we also have capable academy players that will feature for us in the COC too.

  78. AFC says:

    Agreed HH. If Jenks will ONLY be a bench player and make cameo appearamces it is best he does go on loan. If Wenger is actually planning on rotating Debuchy and Jenks e.g. Jenks plays a 1/3 of our games this season then I’m okay with him staying.

  79. AFC says:

    I would also say keeping Jenks and Chambers could be useful if we need to change formation. Wenger might want to switch to a formation with 5 at the back e.g. a 5-3-2 at some point on the season. Can’t see it but you never know.

  80. Highbury Harmony says:

    AFC all agreed mate. I was just saying that if he is a part of our future, he needs meaningful playing time. If he’s purely a back-up and won’t play much, then he needs to go on loan.

    Funminiyi, to your point earlier, I really feel bad for Southampton. I’ve always enjoyed watching them play and it must feel awful for Saints fans to see the massive exodus of players (Lallana, Lambert, Chambers, Lovren, Shaw and soon Schneiderlin and Rodriguez).

  81. AFC says:

    The Daily Mail are saying Jenks could be sold to Hull. They have offered £3 mill and we want £5 mill.

  82. AFC says:

    Why did Koeman take the job? I wouldn’t have if they told me they would he selling most of their best players.

  83. Highbury Harmony says:

    Outstanding stuff, thanks for the official link AFC! No idea what is happening at SOTON, they could be relegated by November/December at this rate.

  84. AFC says:

    The fans are saying that fat women who is now in charge of the club (I think because her dad who was the owner died) is selling whatever she can to make money. She is also laying off a number of backroom staff, selling players etc. She will probably sell the club soon after she has made her profits.

  85. AFC says:

    Very convenient how the pictures do not show what shirt number he will wear. Maybe he is taking Jenks number and spot?

  86. Shrillex says:

    Arsenal signs Calum Chambers! Can’t help but feel sorry for Southampton. A few months ago I would have believed that they could enter the top4 if they make a few quality signings.

  87. Funminiyi says:

    HH, we’re also once in their shoes, but ours wasn’t at this rate, imagine a squad of Van judas, Cesc, Hleb(though, he’d have been restricted to cameo appearances by now but i think we’d have won some silverwares with someone like him in our side), Nasri, Flame(if he did leave back then), Kolo Toure and Adebayor. But thats all in the past as we have a squad with better potential compared to cowards that jumped ships. Just read now that we’ve agreed a £3M deal with Hull City for Jenks but you never can tell with Wenger.

  88. Shrillex says:

    Top 6*

  89. AFC says:

    TA, Wanyama is most likely available. 😉

  90. Shrillex says:

    @AFC Hmm… If you had to choose, would you sign Wanyama or Schneiderlin ?? Based on current form I would pick schneiderlin but I also like the look of wanyama.

  91. AFC says:

    Shrillex, I think we can do better than both but I would be tempted to go for Wanyama. He just seems to be different from any of the midfielders we have at the moment.

  92. Prince says:

    Please Arsene, sign up Kevin Doyle!!!!!!!!!!!!

  93. AFC says:

    Why????

  94. Funminiyi says:

    Prince, are you kidding me? Who needs Kevin Doyle when we have Chuba

  95. Prince says:

    He’s a bargain!
    Everyone knows Girooood is planning another major sex romp before kick-off against a title rival.
    Remy has a broken heart.
    Im on my tenth heineken……………………
    and i miss you BK bastardildos 😆

    Ps. Doyle was flavour of the month about 20 yrs ago 😆

  96. Prince says:

    Back to my boomerang, and beer…………carry on…

  97. AFC says:

    LOOOOOL Prince.

    Seems Remy is off to Spurs then. They always get everyone’s left overs. 😀

  98. AFC says:

    Anyone in for Clyne and Prowse? 😀

  99. Prince says:

    On a serious note.
    Im really suprised that Fonte has not been mentioned. In my fantasy team from day ‘uno’ last season, and cant fault him……

    Didnt do too bad for ‘Soton the selling club’ either…

  100. TotalArsenal says:

    He Prince-baby, how is life?

  101. Prince says:

    Ok, im off to club bed, starring ‘d.j pillows’…….. but i shall leave you all with a question that you can choose to ignore or make Prince happy(ier), and answer me this:-

    If you could choose, only one ex-Arsenal player, to come back into the current Gunners set-up for the season…..who would that player be?

    ooooooh, and one condition!!

    You cant pick ‘Dennis be thy name’ or King Titi.
    Now pick your player and why?

    G’nite BKrs 🙂

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Good news re Chambers. Let’s hope he will fit in well.

  103. Prince says:

    Hi Total, was just about to catch my beauty zzzZZ’Z.

    Im alright mate (still a little cut on cesc) How about yourself?

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Dixon or Gilberto, Prince

  105. AFC says:

    Vieira! He would be the perfect midfielder to play next to Ramsey, Wilshere etc. He would be our captain and he would scare the shit out of opposing teams.

  106. AFC says:

    Or Ian Wright. 😉

  107. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear it! Yeah, it will be a shock to see Cesc Fabrechav in a blue oiler shirt! 😦

    We need the DM beast to compensate for this ‘loss’!

  108. Prince says:

    hmmm

    Viera is a no brainer and i should have put him under the one condition…(He would make us complete)

    Dixon has my ears pricked up!
    Can i ask why Totes, or is it a trust thing with the new guys

  109. AFC says:

    Chambers gets the 21 shirt. I would have given him the 36 shirt.

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, I think he meant in coaching staff…. Otherwise Vieira any day! 🙂

    Sleep well, Prince.

    Nice to see HH commenting again! 🙂

  111. Prince says:

    Totes, ive been thinking about this beast position and im starting to shy away from wanting a Khedira type of B2B midfielder and wanting more the ‘take no prisoners, ask questions later’-
    De Jong

  112. Shrillex says:

    Gevinho!! Coz of his giant forehead!!

  113. TotalArsenal says:

    Prince, because he would add to coaching staff a lot.

  114. Funminiyi says:

    lol, 😉 Prince your nuts.

  115. AFC says:

    Even if it is a coaching role. Wrighty could teach Giroud how to actually score goals. 😉

  116. TotalArsenal says:

    Shrill, I miss his flat screen forehead!

  117. Prince says:

    AFC and Total- No i did mean player, but coaching set up makes the conversation more interesting. (give me an answer for both 😉 )

    Ok, really off to bed…..looking forward to catching up tomorrow 🙂

  118. TotalArsenal says:

    De Jong next to Ramsey or Diaby and the defence can play ‘push, shag or merry’ 😆

  119. Shrillex says:

    Prince, as for a coaching staff, wouldn’t gevinho be the best choice….the hairdressing coach….hahah

  120. Highbury Harmony says:

    I still think Wenger is after Khedira. Just waiting on his wage demands to drop and there are too many players that have his ear about wanting him to join Arsenal (Ozil, Podolski and Mertesacker). He’ll be out of playing time at Real given that they now have Isco, Di Maria, James Rodriguez, Xabi Alonso, Illaramendi, Kroos and Modric all competing for 3 spots (Di Maria can play wing).

  121. Shrillex says:

    De Jong or shawcross,flamini who would you want as you leg breaking DM? 🙂

  122. AFC says:

    Shrillex, I’d take Joey Barton if he was younger. Seems like a bigger prick than all pf those players.

  123. AFC says:

    HH, he is. He could also be after Pogba and Vidal. 😉 Let’s not jinx it though.

  124. Funminiyi says:

    Edu if Vieira feels too big to come back

  125. Shrillex says:

    HH, in my opinion AW wouldn’t go for khedira as we have many similar player. I would go for a tough tackling DM,someone like bender,schneiderlin or wanyama. I also have a feeling that if anyone is to leave RM, it would be Di Maria

  126. Shrillex says:

    AFC, haha true but he doesn’t break legs does he?

  127. Prince says:

    Hi Funminiyi, and thanks for the compliment.

    Hi Shrillex, your name sounds like the pills i need to take daily 😉 and TMHT and Bouldy have the ‘perms’ covered.

    Hi HH (current Ugliest Mo Fo and champion) 😉 I really like Khedira and tend to believe that what you say is true. My concern with the maurading B2B mid playing in a double pivot is not the player himself, but on the discipline on the players around him when he pushes forward…I will elaborate when i get some shut eye, but Song got slammed when he pushed up and the others knew not how to cover….

    …..will try to sleep now 😦

  128. Shrillex says:

    If I had a player that I would spend break the bank on, it would be pogba. He wouldn’t be our pure defensive minded DM he can do the dirty work well enough

  129. Highbury Harmony says:

    Shrillex, how do you figure Di Maria is more likely to leave than Khedira? I think both are just as likely due to playing time. Khedira is not better than Modric and is not a CAM/W like Isco or Di Maria. If anything, Khedira is more expendable at this point.

    Have you seen Bender play? He’s not a tough tackling DM by any stretch and is more B2B that can play as a dedicated DM if need be. Schneiderlin is also not a true tough tackling DM either but is proficient playing as a dedicated DM, though he ventured forward more often when playing alongside Wanyama.

  130. AFC says:

    Shrillex, no he doesn’t but he’s willing to fight an entire team. Remember what he done in that match against City. I couldn’t stop cracking up that day. I was getting the popcorn ready when Balotelli came on the pitch but unfortunately he didn’t get into a fight with Barton. 😀

  131. Shrillex says:

    Haha Prince…. I’m a sleeping pill, and you sound like you need it ,badly 🙂

  132. Highbury Harmony says:

    Prince, I 100% agree with you that it is a fairly risky strategy to go with two B2B mids in the center of the pitch, but there isn’t a true holding CM available right now that can play the type of game we want. If our focus is on possession and controlling games, we might actually be better served playing with two B2B players there. Of course, it begs the question of whether or not both Ramsey and Khedira are good enough defensively to ensure we are solid in our own end when we don’t have the ball.

    That said, there are more efficient defensive B2B players than Khedira though (Schneiderlin and Bender being two options).

  133. AFC says:

    HH, only De Jong and Mascherano would be good options if you wanted a destroyer. Problem is they are a bit too old.

  134. Shrillex says:

    @HH what I like about bender is he goes for all the 50-50 tackles ,and mind you, he seems to win all of them. Also, what we need isn’t a pure defensive minded midfielder , to be honest all of those are extinct, but what we need is a defensive minded b2b midfielder.

    Schneiderlin on the other hand is, like you said , not a tough tackling midfielder. His positioning and reading of the game is outstanding, he rarely puts himself in a position where he has to make any risky challenges.

  135. Highbury Harmony says:

    Shrillex, I completely agree. Bender isn`t a tough tackling destroyer though and I have always advocated against going with such a player. A defensive minded B2B player has always been my preference but I would never say no to adding a player of Khedira`s quality, if he is what`s available.

  136. Shrillex says:

    Hmm… I wouldn’t mind having khedira in our team , but it think a b2b midfielder with more physical presence would help us in the long run. Well, if AW thinks Khedira would benefit the team more, I don’t see why not.

  137. Funminiyi says:

    Are we not forgetting Gaston Ramirez? I wonder how many more players do Saints need to sell before
    they can afford to bring back
    Gareth Bale?

  138. Tester says:

    The last of the true DM that I can remember was Claude Makelele. Busquets comes close but his job is to tackle/intercept & then recycle possession for the star players ahead.

    Everyone else from Matuidi,Javi Martinez,Schneiderlin,Bender,William Carvalho all read the game perfectly & can capably play B2B CM if necessary. But their reading of the game is so good that they also hang back when necessary & break up play. If you see their stats, it’s almost impossible to distinguish between them.

    I
    Khedira – Top player yes but a weird signing for Arsene. Not seen him win a tackle & is more B2B player. Would really mean both MF will need to work hard to protect defense.
    Javi – Won’t leave Bayern.
    Matuidi – Happy at PSG.
    Schneiderlin – Would be perfect! Underrated class player + PL experience.
    Bender – Not seen the man lose a tackle. But from all reports, doesn’t want to leave Germany.
    Carvalho – What a tank this man is. Pretty fleet footed for someone his size. He even leads counter attacks from his own tackles. Hah!

    Any of the above would be great. Hope AW sorts it out 🙂

  139. proudgooner says:

    Welcome Callum Chambers !
    That takes Wengers shopping price up to £62,000,000.
    I do believe he has shown that he is not afraid to spend big has been proven 🙂
    Our team has not looked so strong in years. I can’t wait for the new season to start, I really hope we can win the community shield against City before it does that is another cup, also the Emirates cup . We really should be winning that at home , last season we didn’t and it was disappointing .
    TA,
    I really like your idea of playing a back 3 with TV5 being part of that, I would have gone Doubochy —— KOS ——TV5
    But I think chambers coming in could spell the end for him. Coqulin can defend
    Also Flemini could play centre back.
    Or there is a possibility Chambers could become our DMB in the future.?

  140. proudgooner says:

    Joze,
    On your topic of the OX he is by far best when played in the centre as a ACM .
    I too share your support of the OX I think he is a fantastic player that is yet to show his best in an Arsenal shirt, I must say now Eisfeld has left I think you are right this could and should be the OX big breakthrough season , he just needs to stay fit and get a lot of playing time. I like the thought of Ram-OX as an attacking b2b option against weaker teams if that makes sense. You are right also to compare the OX to Rooney I remember Wenger saying the same thing.
    The only thing for me is I want the OX to be a master of 1 position but with stiff competition for places he may have to just play were he can for now.

  141. Highbury Harmony says:

    This video really highlights Chambers’ skill set in terms of intelligence, reading the play, long passing, tackling and footwork. Worth a watch!

  142. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PG 🙂

    Yep I cannot believe Arsene’s spending until now.

    HH, nice vid. He is very strong for his age!

  143. proudgooner says:

    HH,
    Good video, Chambers has amazing skill is Englands under 19’s captain.
    I think its fair to say Sagna has been well and truely replaced.
    I am glad he left now, we have a great young player in him and MB2 of course.. It is good to see Wenger still buying young players, also will to spend big on him, he is our 3rd most expensive player we have ever brought, that is how highly he is rated. 🙂

  144. Highbury Harmony says:

    Very strong indeed TA and he will be a big talent at Arsenal imo PG! Hopefully he’ll live up to that big price tag mate 😉

    Chambers has been officially given the #21 jersey.

  145. proudgooner says:

    TA.
    Its great isn’t it, for me nobody deserves to be able to splash out more then Wenger. I think winning the FA cup has really made him hungry for more success it seems like he has got a taste for spending cash also.
    I dont think he has finished yet either, i think he will be looking for your DMB i think it will come quicker if TV5 leaves so looking at it that way i am not fussed if he does..
    That is 4 massive players we have signed now, you may as well say 5 with Joel Campbell as he has never kicked a ball for us and is a great player. 🙂

  146. proudgooner says:

    Yeah deof fingers crossed HH

  147. proudgooner says:

    What do you guys think about Loic Remy, i think for £8,000,000 we should have him now Liverpool have passed on him.
    On a business view he could play for us for 2 seasons score some important goals and sell him for over £10,000,000 i would have thought easy.
    Plus i would sell Ryo, we have enough wingers now and he will struggle to play now. Sell him and that would nearly if not pay for Remy.??

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    Without TV we will be vulnerable to CB injuries, PG. We cannot let him go IMO. A top club has at least three experienced CBs.

  149. TotalArsenal says:

    No need for Remy and not a big fan anyway.

  150. proudgooner says:

    TA,
    Your right i know you are now you have said that, i am still annoyed at him for going on holiday with Van Judas lol.
    That said if he does go and i believe his confidence is a little shot, then Wenger will get a replacement, plus we have Djourou still

  151. proudgooner says:

    Also on my wishes for this season, i hope Sanogo can stay fit and start banging in the goals.

  152. proudgooner says:

    What would you like to see happen with Jenkinson?

  153. TotalArsenal says:

    I like to keep Jenks or for him to go out on loan for four months, and you?

  154. proudgooner says:

    Chambers can play as centre back, but you fear for Jenkinson now we have signed 2 RB. I worry that it would damage Jenkinson if he went out on loan, he loves the club but needs to play. It is a tricky 1 as lomg as he was happy to go on loan for a few months then its ok and hope he understands. But we are light on defenders soi am not sure..
    Wenger knows best.
    But there is a chance Chambers plays CB so we will just have to wait and see i suppose.

  155. jozefos2013 says:

    Djourou’s offski, surely? I remember watching him improve in 06/07, I went to about half of the league games at the new stadium up until about Christmas and thought he was excellent by the end of September – if it hadn’t been for unlucky injuries at exactly the wrong time I think he would have been a rock for us but in the end his development was cruelly and irrevocably stunted. The upshot of which is I don’t think he’s up to the job now and hasn’t been for a few years.

    I hope Sanogo can do something too, I really felt for him against Boreham Wood, he still hasn’t scored in red and white, has he?

  156. proudgooner says:

    Djourou had a very strong world cup.
    I think it was on FIFA world cup stats that had him in the top 10 performers at the QF’s stage.
    That said they can be misleading, but with TV5 future uncertain then i would keep him at least til we have a replacement. imo

  157. TotalArsenal says:

    Wep Jozefos Sanogoals needs to score!

  158. proudgooner says:

    Joze ,
    No he still has not scored for us yet.
    But like i used to say with Ramsey, once he starts to score he won’t be able to stop. That one did not work out to badly 😉
    Sanogo, once he starts to score he won’t be able to stop lol

  159. proudgooner says:

    34 Francis Coquelin has been given his squad number so i assume he is staying, were as Djourou has no squad number still.
    Joel Cambell still has no number either.

  160. geoffchase says:

    All

    IMO, Joel can be our second striker, but that’s me.

    For B2DMB, I want Vieira cloned. Failing that Schneiderlin over Khedira due to age, not capability. I think there is more upside to Schneiderlin longer term in that regard. Finally, I liked the comments comparing Schneiderlin to Bender, and would note that I would prefer an excellent reader of the game over a good 505-50 tackler since if you read the game well, your tackles never have to be … 🙂

    For Prince, Vieira was my answer until you took him off the table while I was sleeping still (geez you were up late/early!) … Now, I would say, as a player in his prime, Adams … I will also answer for the absent JB with Seaman (knowing his feelings about Scz! 🙂 )

    About Soton, the new owner (daughter of the former) is cashing out by selling as it may be more the lucrative approach for her than selling an otherwise quite good club. Started with Pochettino leaving (first) … Or such is what I read… Shame to watch a wholesale dismantling like that… Even worse if you are one of the players who remain… will be rooting for them in all but 2 games this year.

    cheers — jgc

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