Evaluating Arsenal in 2014: Which of 10 Wishes Came Through

We finally got our super quality player on the left wing - one of ten wishes! :)

We finally got our super quality player on the left wing – one of ten wishes! ๐Ÿ™‚

It is the time of year to look back and make wishes for the future. On 31 December 2013, I issued a post with wishes for the coming year:ย 

https://bergkampesque.com/2013/12/31/happy-prosperous-new-year-fellow-gooners-ten-wishes-for-2014/

My ten wishes for 2014 were:

  1. A top-two finish, and hopefully us being crowned champions in May.

Well we know we finished fourth, so this wish did not materialise. Things looked good for us back then and a really good finish was in our grasp, but once again we did not see a good start through.

  1. Full integration of Ozil into the team, and finding the right balance between our options in midfield and attack.

It is fair to say that this has not happened as yet. Ozil has been out with injuries a lot this calendar year, both in our last and current seasons, so we have to give it more time. Hopefully he is back imminently as it is time for him to properly shine again for Arsenal. We also have not found the right balance as yet, but this is more due to the number of new players bought in attack and the large number of injuries (sigh).

  1. Somebody to properly claim LM/LW, either from the current squad or through buying super quality in January or summer.

Well this materialised with the signing of the mini-Hulk. Alexis can of course play in different positions but playing him on the left seems to suit him best, especially if he is given licence to roam centrally occasionally.

  1. The arrival of a beast of DM with footballing qualities to strengthen the double DM pivot and provide cover and competition for the ageing Arteta and (sooner or later) Flamini.

Did not happen and the need for a very good DM is still a main priority in my, and many fellow Goonerโ€™s, opinion.

  1. A home win against Bayern, and hopefully us beating the Germans over both legs โ€“ after that anything is possible!ย ๐Ÿ™‚

Did not happen, butโ€ฆ. We started the home game sooo strong and if Ozil had put away the pen and Szczesny had kept a cool head instead of getting sent off it could have been so different.

  1. Cesc to return to the real home of football.

Did not happen, but COULD have happened and, in my opinion, should have happened. Seeing Fabregas getting directions from Maureen is still so sickening. How many assists has he produced for the Chavs FFS! ๐Ÿ˜ˆ

  1. Wilshere to find his form again and have a great season and World Cup.

There have been glimpses in 2014: short periods of good form and dominant play. His goal and assist against the Northern Oilers seemed to be the moment of breakthroughโ€ฆ. but it was not to be, as the monster of injury kept hitting him hard time and again.

  1. Sagna to sign a new contract and to play more regularly as a CB; Jenkinson to claim the RB position or move on this summer (and us finding a great replacement).

Partly happened. We did not hold on to Mr Reliable and Jenks did not claim the RB position, but we signed Debuchy and Chambers who both have had fantastic starts to their Arsenal careers.

  1. To keep hold of all our key players whilst adding quality were required โ€“ and a few youngsters to make significant progress.

We did this, except for holding on to Sagna. Ospina, Chambers, Debuchy, Welbeck, Alexis are all quality signings. Whether youngsters have made significant progress is up for debate. Bellerin is a positive, but not many others have been given a chanceโ€ฆ Martinez did reasonably well and should get more playing time if and when possible.

  1. Dennis to join us.

Sighโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

The highlight of 2014 is of course Arsenalย winning the FA Cup: not explicitly wished for but a much, much needed achievement by the team which will hopefully create a mental and sporting platform for adding more trophies in the near future.

In the new yearย I will issue my 10 wishes for 2015.

What did you make of Arsenal in 2014?ย 

Written by: TotalArsenal.

 

 

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57 Responses to Evaluating Arsenal in 2014: Which of 10 Wishes Came Through

  1. James Bond says:

    nice one @ skipper –

    blast from the past and one for the memory lane, here is what I posted

    James Bond says:
    December 31, 2013 at 22:54
    nice one @ TA โ€“

    a very interesting wish list, let me do a mini wish list of my own then

    1: Finishing top 4 in the CL, if not winning it

    3: Beating all the top 4 sides in 2014, on a regular basis

    5: Having an impeccable record at the Emirates, making it a fortress

    7: Signing an Experienced Goal keeper, a Finished article and worldie cough Casillas cough cough

    9: Having a Fully fit Ox and him playing more regularly to cement his place in the side and in particular , sorting out the LW position โ€“ would be a treat to watch both Theo and OX operate on the wings

    last but not least

    11 : Having unbiased and more fair Refโ€™s for our big matches.

    Happy new year to everyone .

    PS: welcome back FB.

  2. oz gunner says:

    @ BJ

    I know full well when the videos were. The carling cup one is three years old…that was my point…you had to reach back that far for a video that wasn’t entirely his fault. As for the red card decisions, what is he supposed to do? If a player is send through and a defender failed to track him does he just sit on his heels and let him walk it into the net?

    Obviously it does not mean a player cannot be better. My point was you are talking up a player you have only seen in a handful of matches. This isn’t like HH critiquing a player from the German league as he’s watch it for years. Szcz has been in goal in the premier league for a long duration and he has performed. Ospina has been in a lower league and is untried in a hard physical league. Therefore you have no case to say he will better because you have no examples to show. Your are expressing an opinion…I am expressing facts…there is a difference. Ospina could well be a revelation and be the best keeper in the league…but we just don’t know.

    This 1 in 7 games stuff is balony. It’s all made up dribble. You don’t win a goalkeeping award if you are not consistent.

    De Gea winning a MOTM award for a win also means nothing. It means that his team didn’t perform and protect him well enough so we had to keep them in it. Once again you do not want that to happen in the first place. Szcz has made a number of saves this season that has either kept us in the game or left us with the full 3 points.

    But this is where the debate stops with you and I regarding this issue. Because:

    – you don’t like him so it’s a very one sided opinion.

    – I’ve presented facts and stats to you (golden glove and comparison keeping stats (que “stats mean nothing blah blah blah I watch it with my eyes” – well then please open the other eye so you get a more balanced view)

    – you are trying to tear down an arsenal player. I understand supporters have negative opinions on players (I do too) but to try and discredit one so frequently doesn’t sit well with me (hence why a debate has ensued)

    ***for other posters reading this please refrain from saying that BJ and I should move on. This annoys me more than anything. It’s a football blog where people debate and share our opinion. It’s not personal between myself and BJ (I think he’s a great bloke (he’s actually a lousy bloke haha). It never will be personal ***

    Now for the newest post. Cheers TA

  3. oz gunner says:

    Jesus, it makes for a dire read doesn’t it TA.

    The Cesc decision still doesn’t sit well with me. I think he’s got 13 assists so far. Imagine him feeding through balls to alexis, Welbeck or ox…it’s enough to make you cry. Definitely made worse because of Jack, ramsey and ozil’s absence for such a large period of time.

    2014 has been a bad year for Arsenal in my opinion. We just haven’t kicked on as we all had hoped.

    I know it’s the holidays but where on earth are all the regulars hiding? The furry ones? The housewife retired gymnast?

  4. James Bond says:

    how does one provide a rebuttal to that comment when you’ve included this in the closing para “Itโ€™s not personal between myself and BJ (I think heโ€™s a great bloke ”

    flattery gets your everywhere @ Aussie – you win, Sczny is the king of kings, the champions for champions for winning an award – such is his greatness that he ended up sharing that award plus ended up the season without contributing towards our only trophy for 10 years (what a massive contribution ) ๐Ÿ˜‰ how be that for facts – I wonder .

    oh blimey – De Gea winning MOTM’s week in week out means nothing because he gets the required protection from a make shift or unsettled back 3 or 5 ? ? ? not sure how much of man utd have you watched this season but even if you hadn’t that much then am guessing you must have watched Arsenal vs man utd ? we should have won that game and then the week later, Liverpool should have won that game against man utd which they ended up losing 3-0 to De Gea (look up the shots on target or attempts at goal) and am pretty sure that you’ll find , that unlike Sczny, he did have a constant threat at goal – where as with Sczny, in most games this season, nothing comes his way as we are on the attack and then boom, when we need him – he lets them in or gets bored .

    it’s interesting how you like to scream and shout Facts and STATS – when I have merely asked, when was the last time Sczny kept a clean sheet and have pointed out that young Martinez has kept 2 WHOLE CLEAN sheets for only you to turn and point that oh well, he’s had like 3 shots on target – not exactly the point now is it ? a Clean sheet is a clean sheet . just like a fact is a fact . neither me or you can discredit young Martinez or take this away from him, similarly with the joint best fart award he won !

    it should have been 1 in 7 years, so I stand corrected since he’s been at arsenal for 7 years now as more or less our no.1 – so you are right, he is very consistent . 1 decent game in 7, 1 decent year in 7 –

    last but not least – you keep on saying this means nothing that means nothing – with all due respect, it may mean nothing to you but it may mean the world to the Glicster , so do respect his feelings before I get the Doomer back with his Sczny bashing !!!

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Arsenal_VCC says:

    Hi TA and everyone! It was nice to reflect back on 2014 TA (even if there were wishes that did not come true) particularly given the day to day “reporting” and “analyses” with each one trying so hard to pull Arsenal down and make everyone look like kindergarteners who accidentally strayed onto the pitch! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Overall, I feel good about 2014 as I thought it represented a nice first step away from the constrained years. Winning the FA cup obviously was the highlight. The rejuvenation of Ramsey, Gibbs starting to get over the injury-bug, getting alexis, and the partnership between Per and Kos were especially reassuring. Of course there were a few memories that I would not care to revisit – the defeats to MCFC, LFC, and CFC feature prominently – as well as the inevitable injury list particularly not seeing Theo except for one game! A non-team news I was pleased about in 2014 was that Chelsea’s bid to equal the invincibles was curtailed! I am sure that someone will eventually match the record…but just hope it is not JM’s team ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. James Bond says:

    apologies @ Skipper – I really didn’t want to bring all this into this new post of yours – but Aussie started it .

    and he wanted facts, as opposed to opinions

    then here are a couple of tiny examples as to substantiate my point even further on Sczny .

    we are winning 4-0 , no pressure as such and he brings down a bloke to get red carded and concede a penalty .

    against man city last year, we are already losing 4-3, he concedes a silly penalty, after letting in 5- this was last year when he won the joint award – sure, he kept a lot of clean sheets, but he also let in sh*t load amount of goals – be it against Liverpool (5) , Chelsea (5 or 6) , Man city 5 – once the floodgates opened against decent oppositions, he couldn’t keep his legs closed .

    am not trying to tear down any Arsenal player, am only stating my opinion backed up with a very balanced view – which may seem as biased and without merit to some and to some it may appeal.

    that’s the beauty of blogging, we can’t enforce our opinion on others as they are always free to read it for themselves and make up their own minds .

    agreed to disagreed would have been the easier way out on this one, me thinks ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

  7. James Bond says:

    Sczny 2013-14 , wins the joint award for keeping the most clean sheets .

    total games played = 37

    Goals conceded = 41

    Clean sheets = 16

    number of goals conceded after taking out the clean sheets = 37-16= 21

    goals conceded 41 in 21 games, which is almost 2 goals every game .

    how you like them apples ? I mean facts .

    that was a false award and we shouldn’t really give it as much importance as you are giving it, as in the eternal words of someone by the name of OZ Gunner and I quote ” it means nothing” . There were 3 better keepers in the league for 2013/14 in the premier league , if you look at the broader picture or the whole picture .

    enough said ? finally , time to start the engine time ?

    am off to bed, will reply tomorrow , if you want to continue providing entertainment to everyone else, am up for it !

  8. oz gunner says:

    ha..balanced

    you can’t list stats without looking at the full picture, in 2 of those away games Arsenal let in 11 goals. The difference being teams don’t play the sort of helter skelter type football we do (well did in games last season). He isn’t protected. United had plenty of players out but they counteracted this by playing a more defensive style. We didn’t. We had players out and we only sat Flamini in front and let out full backs bomb forward. Hardly a fair situation to attack szcz on. But hey EVERY goal we concede is Szcz’s fault :stern look:

    There is a difference between having an opinion on someone vs a full blown vendetta. In games when he makes a big save your response is “eh, any keeper would have”. In games he lets in a goal you chastise him even if he could have done nothing to stop it. That my friend is not an opinion…

    The gala red card – big deal 4-0 up…it was a split second decision that cost us nothing.

    “itโ€™s hard to find a game where heโ€™s not had a brain fart or made a blunder”…sure

    you’ve quickly turned into a tin foil hat wearing szcz conspiracy theorist

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Oz

    I think 2014 has been a frustrating rather than a bad year. Some of the basics did not come to fruition, such as a DM being signed, Ozil settling down, Jack coming through, Bergkamp or Henry joining the coaching team etc. Yet,we made good signings and won the FA Cup. On PL level we have just not got it right though, but some of the earlier mentioned basics would have made a difference in all likelihood… ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    _VCC ๐Ÿ™‚

    Fine comment and some good positive additions re Ramsey and the Koz Per partnership. These are two more basics to further build the team on.

  11. allezkev says:

    Interesting post, looking forward to your hopes for 2015.

    I guess you might be repeating one or two from your 2014 wish-list…

    For me, it has to be a top-quality def/mid…
    Two would be even better…

    Then the ‘issues’ with our back-four may not be so prsssing….

    Keep up the good work Total….

    And Gelukkig Nieuwjaar… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. Great Stuff – Here is to a great 2015 for AFC – Here is my article on our top 3 players of 2014, two surprising name in the list
    http://bit.ly/1AgrYu4

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Allezkev, nice touch ๐Ÿ™‚

    Yep, DM tops the list, as finding the elixir that prevents all future injuries.

    How is life treating you? ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    agreed.

    It’s just so hard to stomach this season. Walcott, Giroud, Jack, Ramsey, Kozzer, Debuchy and Ozil have all missed massive chunks of the season. It leaves such a bitter taste in your mouth because you can’t help but think “what could have been?”

    The worrying thing is it’s a trend for every season…it never changes.

  15. allezkev says:

    Life is good Total, thanks…

    Busy at work, thankfully…

    I trust that life is being kind to you amigo?

    Gotta sleep now. Adios..

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Oz, it’s like a curse. Look at the Chavs, they can play almost same team every week, which makes such a difference.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Good to hear it Allezkev and sleep well ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Neeraj says:

    Ola amigos !
    007 looks like you still have not found any love for Szczesny inspite of his good performance against the Hammers.

    The West Ham game was unusually satisfying for me even though Arsenal did not find any rhythm whatsoever except the 5 mins in which we scored the 2 goals

    The main reasons were
    1) Kos returned (n so did Per)
    2) Ox came back and had a good game both offensively and more importantly defensively as well
    3) Le Coq played and played well
    Many may disagree but he actually played better than Song. Crisp tackles, quick passes and good aerial strength.

    I have always liked Coq so I may have a biased opinion. But I think Coquelin showed all the qualities we were looking for in a DM. He just needs to work on his fitness as he tired a littke towards the end.

    4) Szcz played with authority
    5) Cazorla is back to his form from his 1st season. Though most of his goals have been penalties. It has done a lot of good to his confidence.
    6) Nacho Monreal has become a better player defensively after his stint at CB
    7) With Ozil and Theo returning and Giroud waiting on the sidelines and Campbell n Gnabry waiting to make an impact , its time for Podolski to move on.

    8) We ended the year on a high after 7 wins in 9 games

    Happy New Year everyone. Have a blast tonight.

  19. oz gunner says:

    @ TA

    definitely, a consistent team makes all the difference. It’s why we started the season so well last year.

    @ Nees

    can’t disagree with those points. good observations

  20. Neeraj says:

    Read the comments on the previous post
    007 – the indians have played well down under but a few decisive moments have gone against us otherwise we might have even lead the series 2-0 at this point.

    About the Jan TW ….
    I think Wenger wont sign any major player especially with the lil praise le coq has got he will say that we already have 3 DM so there is no room for another
    I was pretty confident that we will sign a CB but few weeks ago AW made a comment that he wont sign anyone if everyone is fit in Jan and sadly for the first time this season all our defenders are fit.

    Plus the returning Ozil, Walcott, Ramsey, Arteta, ox(returned) also mean that we wont sign any attacking players as well.

    So it would be better if we kept our hopes at zero then maybe even a youngster will feel like a bonus.

  21. oz gunner says:

    @ Nees

    India would be better if they played as a team. Reports of fighting in-house has affected your chances. Your captain isn’t unifying the team.

  22. Neeraj says:

    Actually I dont quite beleive the fight rumour as it was there just for a day in Indian media. The Australian media is known for creating a lot of hype around such incidents. Another reason it cant be true is that Dhawan n Kohli are from the same city and have played all their county cricket together. But I do agree Kohli has stepped a little over the line in this series.

    1 Point I missed in my observations is that Arsenal are getting penalties !!!!
    Its been a good Christmas ๐Ÿ˜›

  23. oz gunner says:

    of course the indian media would play it down. India IS cricket (not only in india but the world) and they are treated like kings. Can’t have them looking bad so they’d squash it quick smart.

  24. henrychan says:

    Happy New Year all.. Wish you all the best..
    TA.. I don’t want to live in yesterday.. hahahaha..
    Let’s hope 2015 will be Arsenal year of glory..

    I Hope to celebrate this new year eve with a WIN against Soton..
    The games play at 22 o clock here in Indonesia..
    So if Arsenal win.. than My New year will be very bright.. hahahahaha..

  25. Neeraj says:

    Can’t disagree on the India is Cricket argument mate. Spot on. But we are trying to develop in other sports. Badminton, Hockey, Shooting, Chess, Pool/Snooker, Wrestling and Boxing are some other games we are good/decent at. We are trying to have a football revolution but it will take time since even China have not managed it yet inspite of the amazing sports infrastructure they have built over the past few years. But we are still a long way off. Also we are nowhere in games like Rugby/American Football, Basketball, etc.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice timing, HeheheHenry. Happy New Year to you.

    Without understanding the past it’s hard to make progress ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Nik says:

    expectations for 2015
    1) top 4 finish
    2) advance to the Champions League quarter finals
    3) buy a top class defender either in Jan or summer
    4) start the 2015/16 season better than this season and being in the title race at the end of the turn of the year

    wishes for 2015
    1) top 3 finish and be top on the last day of 2015
    2) advance to CL quarter finals, draw Porto or Basel and advance to the semi-finals
    3) sign Marco Reus for his 25 million Euro buyout clause in the summer
    4) sign Sami Khedira for free in the summer (or sign Javi Martinez if Khedira should move to Bayern)
    5) Mesut ร–zil becomes the best player in the world
    6) no more injuries (certainly not to players like Diaby, Wilshere, Ramsey and Walcott….they’ve had enough!!)
    7) Thierry Henry and Dennis Bergkamp join the coaching staff
    8) Per Mertesacker is replaced permenantly by Callum Chambers, who becomes world class
    9) Lukas Podolski retires and becomes the Gunnersaurus
    and last but not least Arsene Wenger kicks Jose Mourinho’s ass in a street fight ๐Ÿ˜€

    Happy New Year everyone

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Nik, great wishes and love your final one. May it be so.

    Happy New Year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Gerry says:

    Well I have been distracted two or three times today, so this is the first time I have picked up my keyboard today.
    The first one was the round in circle argument surrounding our current No 1 keeper.
    I did say yesterday OZ – ‘brick wall’.
    For all the toing and froing, it basically comes down to one point of view being magnified, unfairly, onto one player being at fault for every point we dropped. And whatever way you cut it JB, you are attacking one of OUR players.
    Most sensible people around recognise that only one team will have the current best keeper in their team, and that unfortunately is the Chavs. The rest have to make do with what they have, perhaps until something better comes along. So when we find the ‘next Jack Wilshere’, I hope for his sake you are not constant with your criticism of him, even if that might make for consistency?
    Next distraction was a near ‘kiss the tarmac’ fall as I tried to avoid a static dog in front of me , while the others were pulling on lead like mad … downhill! I stopped myself by grabbing at the stone wall in front of me. The net result I broke a nail.
    Yes, ladies, I understand, it feels like the end of the world at the time.
    However, as I concentrated on my sore thumb nail, which died heroically in trying to grip the rock face, only to have the inside corner lifted in a manner it was not designed to do, I later noticed I slashed my palm on said rock face, and the is far more painful the the f*cking nail!
    Finally I set off this morning with thoughts on this post, nicely timed and all that TA, but like Henry, looking back tends to point to failings , with the odd bright spot in between.So I am not that keen to go back over the year gone by, except to agree with K. Gibbs, on the whole it was a good year.
    But the third distraction came whilst looking at NewsNow for TW rumours, I ended up on a D.Mail link, and before I left it I though I would click on their Science section. … that was around 12.30pm. Now two hours later, having got lost in a wonderful array of stories have made the headlines, most of them recent, I spent that time fascinated by it all. If you are interested you could do worse than check it out.
    I must admit I found it far more uplifting that the non-return of Cesc Fabregas. But as 17HT might say, that’s just me.
    Back shortly with comments on Arsenal’s future.

  30. Admir says:

    Hello, people! ๐Ÿ™‚

    TA, thank you for an opportunity to see what some of our fella Gooners wanted at this time last year and what did we eventually got.

    Here is everything about wishes for 2014 that came true:

    When it comes to 2015, my wish-list goes like this:

    1) Arsenal to retain FA Cup,

    2) Arsenal to finish at least third in the league in order to avoid stupid qualifiers – there is a remote possibility to grab the second place as well but at this moment I’d settle with the third,

    3) Arsenal to get as far as possible in Champions’ League – we need a lot of luck with a draw and to avoid Bayern, Real and Chavs as I don’t think we can beat any of those teams,

    4) Arsene Wenger to make a deep analysis of our problems with injuries,

    5) Arsene Wenger to form a well-balanced squad with at least two options for every position in the team,

    6) Arsene Wenger to sign long-term replacements for Per Mertesacker and Mikel Arteta that will be able to jump in the team immediately.

    7) Danny Welbeck to stop taking Gervinho’s tips about composure and finishing for serious but to add clinical finishing to his physical abilities.

    8) Alexis Sรกnchez to continue with his Henry-esque performances.

    9) Referees to stop being jerks to us and to do their job fair and square.

    10) Arsenal to start beating the big guns on a regular basis, starting with Manchester City on 23rd January (they might enter the game without Yaya Toure and Sergio Agรผero).

    My predictions to 2015:

    1) a tough battle with Manure for the third spot – the penultimate match of the league season is at the Old Toilet,

    2) Arsenal to sign a defensive midfielder but the one in the mould of Arteta – perhaps Yohan Cabaye from PSG,

    3) Arsenal to sign a central defender in the summer – Winston Reid from West Ham is apparently a target but I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends at the Old Toilet instead and we get a top-drawer central defender from abroad (say, Mats Hummels),

    4) Theo Walcott not to return to his best football before our 2015-16 campaign starts :(,

    5) Arsenal to sell Aaron Ramsey to Barcelona ๐Ÿ˜ฆ after we beat them in the Big Cup this season with Ramsey’s goal :).

  31. Gerry says:

    Now TA, when you say ‘without understanding the past it’s hard to make progress’, how exactly does that apply to us fans?
    The club are the ones making decisions, and are basically the only ones to understand why decisions were made. All we do is comment on the pleasure or displeasure of the outcome.

    I want to live in the’Now’, but with an eye to what lies ahead.

    We are on the brink of a major upheaval at the club, which might have long term implications.
    I this this January there will be a huge amount of transfer activity compared to other winter sales. Primarily because Europe is suffering a financial period of hardship that is not going to end any time soon. It will not be the big teams that will be selling, except to replace, it will be the smaller clubs who miss out on CL or Europa money, and know they might get an inflated fee now, rather than summer when the market really cools down. They will be looking to get the best deal now so they are in position to regroup in the summer.

    Now those who looked at Steve’s list of linked players will note that for the most part they are similar types of players in different areas. We are not likely to buy two players of the same type. So we can assume, they are a list of possibles, back ups if you like, so if first choice is a no go area, then move on.
    Secondly, you will have noted from the list, their is a sprinkling of highly rated youngsters in there. These should be of special note because it indicates that Arsene Wenger is not solely looking to bow out in a blaze of glory, but is also looking at a legacy of youth that will live on after him. I think he is pointing Arsenal in a slightly different direction. And that is in an area where he may be able to compete with the big boys. That is getting high quality, young reserve players who will cost, relatively very little, but prove to be big assets in the near to mid-term future. This is where the bulk of our winter activity will be spent, and they may return to the selling club on loan if that is part of the agreement.
    Fans should applaud this rather than take the short term view. However, this will impact on our current youth crop …big time! I think those already out on loan will not return. Those who are about to be put out on loan, will also find themselves dispensable come summer. Chuba Akpom would be such a player were it not for the fact he is out of contract soon. I am guessing that he travels to Southampton with some assurance that he will play. That gives him a starting chance in the Cup game, while we rest our big guns on the bench. Campbell I fear, without showing more, will be loaned and sold in the summer.
    So the transition will be the players brought in in this age group, 16-17, will form the core of our Under 19’s and Under 21’s, and will be integrated into the first team next season, so by 2016-7 they will be very much at the heart of our first team … if they live up to the billing.
    Also on the agenda in this window are ready to play quality players to not only guarantee us a top 4 spot, but also, if not tied, help to push deeper into the current CL program.
    Yes, this is the tricky area. With one player we could muddle along and get 4th place based on the strength of our attack. Two players and it could be more comfortable, and have a sound chance of retain the Cup. That will be the limit of our quality signings, but if we got the three or four youngsters, it could be the best bit of business yet, with top ups in the summer too?

    Roll on 2015. Take me where you will ….

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Sorry to hear about your fall, Gerry. Hope you are notin too much pain…

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one Admir. Hope yor wishes and predictions come through, except the Theo one of course! ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. Gerry says:

    A near miss TA, thanks. The trouble is whatever you do with your main hand the palm is usually involved.
    I shall push off to the UMF site to see who is not got their entries in yet.
    Later …

  35. TotalArsenal says:

    Feel free to live in the now, Gerry! ๐Ÿ™‚ We all do. ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ignorance of the past is also you free choice. However, we all make assumptions and develop views on our beloved club which are fed by acts of the past. The ability to look back and evaluate is one of the big qualities of humans. And if the ability of influencing the club is our main criteria for blogging, we might as well stop doing it all together.

  36. TotalArsenal says:

    For example, in determining what will happen this TW window, past January TWs are a more useful guide than wishfull dreaming. ๐Ÿ˜€

  37. Gerry says:

    How can I be ignorant of the past than any other who reads and writes on here?

    Perhaps I should have said I like to be thankful for the players we have in the here and now?

    As for previous TW windows, a guide they may be, but history that surrounds each window make each one unique?

    Now if I was wishful thinking I would go beyond one, possibly two players, and well past previous January spends wouldn’t I? The youngsters are the future, if available I think AW will go for them. It does not mean we get any, or all, that are linked because of competition. But we will have to wait and see.

    But each to their own, as you say …

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    I don’t understand your first question, G.

    I am saying there is value in looking back, as I was responding to your original opening line, which I thought was somewhat flippant… ๐Ÿ˜•

  39. James Bond says:

    OZ Matey – there was really no need to get all personal, you are better than that – leave my tin foil hat out of this ๐Ÿ˜‰

    it’s interesting to see how so many of skippers and our wish list for 2014, haven’t come to light or remain the same .

    it was a good blast from the past and also highlights how this place has gone from insanity with the likes of Fozzy and Glics torturing us in tandem to something more sober ๐Ÿ˜€

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Well spotted, JB. I hope Fozzy is ok? ๐Ÿ˜”

  41. James Bond says:

    on cricket @ Neeraj

    I quite like india’s aggressive approach in test matches now – they are trying to replicate the great Aussie team of the last decade or the decade before by playing a more attacking brand, however – you still don’t have the fire power in the bowling department nor a decent spinner to be able to do that , just yet – you still haven’t managed to replace Anil Kumble or someone of that ilk – however, the signs are looking good and it’s nice of Dhoni to retire at his peak, so to speak after winning everything .

    it’s nice to see an indian team not get bullied in foreign conditions for a change even if it’s a very weakened Aussie side that had only just lost a 3-0 to the Pak team .

    there is not a single world class player in this current Aussie team without Pup and the indian team was full of superstars failing to play for each other or as a team .

    non the less, it’s been an entertaining series – one you’ll lose 3-0 , most likely .

    sorry but I have always supported teams with style and swagger, ha

  42. James Bond says:

    sorry to hear about your fall and nail, I bet Glic is having a nice little giggle at your expense though ๐Ÿ˜€

    I hope the new year brings you less pain and is more joyous though and I really mean it even if you don’t play nicely when it comes to me (has tears in his eyes and what not ) ๐Ÿ‘ฟ

    ok, back to being me – no, I don’t blame Sczny for every single goal conceded and so on – I blame the bloke who selects him week in and week out, and have said as much . I actually feel sorry for Sczny and yes, I know he is one of our own but don’t make it sound as if I am going to other places and bashing him . if we can’t openly and without prejudice evaluate our own players, then who will ?

    I have plenty of times done that in the past with Giroud and then he persuaded me to change my opinion of him through his performances – and have acknowledged that by issuing an open apology .

    so please – let’s not portray me here for being unbalanced or one sided – I do hear both sides of the arguments and all the arguments are same old same old , which means that the problem still refuses to go away – so what is the problem ? it’s all in the head would be my guess otherwise he would have learned loads more .

    PS: Good to see you back Neeraj, keep posting mate and I have plenty of love for Sczny, so much so, that I want him to see on the bench next to Poldi ๐Ÿ˜€

  43. James Bond says:

    worth dropping Fozzy , Geoff and AFC an email, me thinks @ Skipper

    they have been gone for far too long .

    even Prince, he said he was having a few health problems or some other issues that were of the serious nature . he’s a good passionate gooner, I like him !

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Emailed Fozzy in the past but no response. Geoff is just too busy right now, but yes AFC could do with an email.

  45. James Bond says:

    Muchas Gracias ๐Ÿ™‚

  46. oz gunner says:

    @ BJ

    Without prejudice????? Ha. It’s as biased an opinion as you can get. Let’s call a spade a spade matey.

    Happy new year gents. Because I live in the future I shall update you on transfer events.

    We have signed…..arshavin back on loan!

  47. James Bond says:

    exactly my sentiments, let’s call a mediocre goalie a mediocre goalie ahahhahahahahahahhaha

    not sure about Arshavin but KK is sure to be returning back – I miss that guy, was a good set piece taker, good at penalties and long passes !!! was it Kallstorm or along them lines ?

  48. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy New Year to you Oz ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Happy 2015 to all BKers – lots of health and Gooner happiness!

  50. Gerry says:

    I second that.

    However TA, I have noticed that when you change the banner photo some ill seems to befall the one depicted; Giroud, Welbeck, and now you have gone for Alexis?

    Perhaps, not wishing any more ill luck on our players, you could put up another of your heroes?

    Cesc Fabregas ๐Ÿ˜†

    I know, another tactless joke to start the New Year ….

  51. Gerry says:

    UMF n:otice
    As it stands at the moment, the only entries outstanding are:
    PRINCE
    ALEX
    XAVIER
    TMHT.

    Still time if you haven’t gone to bed from the midnight celebrations?

  52. oz gunner says:

    My 2015 hope/prediction…

    Corporal Jenks ends the year as our first choice RB. By all accounts he’s having a good crack at it at West Ham and is performing. I hope he comes back and is told he’ll be a part of our future plans. None of this “don’t want to block his career” mumbo jumbo!!

  53. Gerry says:

    I see the big news on the Gossip columns is about a Podolski walk out of training yesterday?

    Two conclusions you could make if it is as reported:
    1, He was just told he would not be in the starting line-up?
    2, He is upset with AW belittling Milan’s loan deal as a ‘joke’, and thus scuppering his chances of getting regular football at that club?

    Either way, I cannot see him on the bench with all the media attention that would entail. Nor do I see him in the starting line-up if he missed training?

    Sadly, much as I like the Pod, I think his time here was coming to an end. Not because he is not a quality player, which he is, as well as a fun guy to have in the dressing room. No, it is more the problem of fitting him into the team on a regular basis.

    Ideally he plays best on the left side of of the front 3, with Gibbs over-lapping on his outside. In fact, today’s game would have been a perfect opportunity, because the Saints are without Clyne which should give Gibbs more of an attacking option? The problem is, I suspect at least, the plan is for Walcott to start on the right, which means Alexis on the left …. and just may be giving Akpom his first start in the league, nominally as the CF, but as all three can mix and match and have lightning pace. Ideal for what might be an open game?
    But that does sort of exclude Podolski does it not? I mean you can dress up the 4-3-3 anyway you like – 4-1-4-1, or 4-5-1, or 4-2-1-3, or 3-1, it is unlikely the trio in midfield that was successful on Sunday will be changed? Wherever you might like to put in Podolski, he lacks the pace of the others, and if he goes in the middle he is less flexible to switching. That is my view at at least.

    Other news on the gossip front is more names being added to the DM spot. It makes me think that our need in January is pressing, due more to the fitness of Arteta and the reliability of Flamini, rather than shortcomings of Frances Coquelin, who has undoubtedly increased his stock with his last appearance? This is AW’s dilemma. Does he pay a high price to try and get Sneiderman at close on ยฃ30m, unlikely in the extreme? Or, as new names are rumoured suggests, he is looking for a cheaper option. Remember, whoever signs for whatever position, they will be holding out for 4 or 5 year contract, with 3 being the bare minimum? That means, like puppies post Christmas, they are not something you can toss aside after Easter because you find they don’t sit so well in the new environment? Therefore, even as a cheaper option they have got to be very good or AW will stick with what he has. I believe this is also one of the reasons why he is also looking at younger options.

    See how the squad looks when it is announced. Last week I correctly predicted an attack heavy bench if AW thought they made need to use them late on. I will go for a more even bench this time, with 3 of each among the outfield players.

    While not as bad as Sunday, the rain is also going to reach the Southampton area by kick off. That should suit our pace up front, although without Giroud, the outlet ball from our keeper will be kept more on the ground.

    Good game to win, keep the faith …

  54. Gerry says:

    Oz, if you are still around, are you officially pulling out of the UMF, having not put in an entry for a while? You are currently 10 points behind Cockie, and it would really annoy him if you were to pick up the wooden spoon ๐Ÿ˜€ On the other hand, you could carry on playing and overtake him?
    Just asking because you are still on the list..

    Jozefos is also on the list, but it sounded like work/study commitments ruled him out.

    On the Jenks thought, it is his progress that has already been blocked by Debuchy? I think he would be mad to drop an almost guaranteed first team spot with WHA for an occasional game with us? I don’t know why, but his very one-footed style does not seem to show up so much with the Hammers ๐Ÿ˜€

  55. Gerry says:

    As I switched back TA I see Welbeck is still there. I must have been anticipating your next banner change?

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    It is Sanogo, Gerry, and a BK banner only brings luck… ๐Ÿ˜›

  57. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post ๐Ÿ™‚

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