76 scoring opportunities in one season: Arsenal’s master creator is back!

Bang that head that does not bang for Ozil! :)
Bang that head that does not bang for Ozil! 🙂

Two summers ago Arsene Wenger did something we had never seen him do before: he spent record bucks on a world class player, Mesut Ozil. It was greeted with widespread cheer among Arsenal fans even though at the time, it was a signing that defied the deficiencies of the team.

He had a dream debut at Sunderland where he created a goal for Giroud. If Walcott had his scoring boots on that afternoon, it would have been a hat trick of assists for our creative maestro. He went on to have a run of good games but then ran out of steam, and suddenly £42.5m began to look like a lot of money.

He then went on to have an average world cup (by his standards) with one goal and several assists. When he came back he looked jaded, just like all the German players did. Critics went on and on about how Ozil wasn’t worth his price tag. I would like to explore this.

Ozil is one of the best, if not the best, number 10s in the world. Arsene certainly believes so, and if you no longer trust his judgement, as I know many no longer do, then trust Mourinho. The problem is that we Gooners are trying too hard to compare him to Cesc, Oscar, Silva etc etc.

What we are failing to understand is that Mesut Ozil is Mesut Ozil and at his best, he is a contender for player of the year.

Many of his critics argue that he does not put in enough effort and I disagree. Yes, he does not put in enough effort DEFENSIVELY, however when you look at his play in the attacking half, you realize that Ozil is a very hard working player. He pops up everywhere in search of the ball and in a bid to create space for his team mates. He is always on either wing or in the middle trying to look for a decisive pass.

Here is an interesting statistic: Arsenal created a total of 406 goal scoring opportunities last season. Ozil created 76 of them – a massive 18.7%. That means Arsenal were more reliant on Ozil’s creativity than any other Premier League team were on any other player.

Let this sink in a it. 76 scoring opportunities for a player many view as mediocre. I believe that what many saw as a lack of effort on Ozil’s part was really him feeling a bit frustrated. Here is someone who creates chances for fun in a team where nobody, not even the main striker (Giroud) was making any decisive runs into the opposition box.

That statistic proves Ozil did not lose his creative nous, but that the Arsenal team were not able to capitalize on his efforts. This has changed now with Theo back and Alexis in the team. Ozil is primed to step into the fore as he now has proper goal scorers to feed. He already has created for Alexis, Welbeck & Theo individually. Even giroud will be a beneficiary of Ozil’s talent.

What is even more encouraging is that with Santi’s form, he will have to fight for a place in the team. All that is left is for Arsene to bring in a defensive shield (and my first choice is Morgan Schneiderlin), and then we can really see what Ozil is made of. I for one am excited to see him back in the team and cannot wait to see him properly link up with Theo, Alexis & Giroud.

He created 76 scoring chances last season when he was adjusting to the BPL, what do you think will happen when he is back and he is playing alongside ruthless goal scorers?


Written by: Marcus

121 thoughts on “76 scoring opportunities in one season: Arsenal’s master creator is back!

  • Some player Marcus, and yes, the combination of Giroud, Ozil, Alexis and Theo – the GOAT – is a mouthwatering prospect. A quality upgrade compared to the first part of the season, no doubt about it.

    It will take time for him to settle back in but I reckon he will start to make a difference almost immediately. With a bit of luck we will see him do his magic against the Northern Oilers on Sunday.

  • It’s not just that he doesn’t defend; he’s also very weak in possession. I also feel he slows down our momentum, unlike say, Rosicky who speeds it up.

  • good article…..very well written it will be a good fight between him and Santi for the 10 spot

  • Cant`t disagree that Santi and Rosicky have been playing well and deserve the credit they are getting ,but to say Ozil is very weak in possession is a joke. We need proper squad rotation to keep players fresh, competing for places and reduce injuries.

  • Good stuff Marcus. Can’t wait to see him back in action again. Santi has been superb (our 2nd best this season so it will be very stiff for him to miss out) but Ozil is a top top talent. Santi did play deeper at times on the weekend so maybe Arsene wants to squeeze him in next to Coquelin whilst he is on fire.
    This leaves my mouth watering:

    Coquelin —- Ramsey


    Sanchez – Giroud – Ox

    speed, skill and power across the pitch

  • Good afternoon, Guys. 🙂

    A really good Post, Marcus, and I, for one, cannot find anything to disagree with.:-)

    Cazzor is an exceptional player, but he has admitted that by his own standards he has not always played at his best, either last season or this, and while I find that a surprising admission, who are we to disagree with the man himself.

    Personally, I think Mesut is superbly talented, and gets pasted, unfairly, for his seemingly relaxed looking style. Others will no doubt disagree – but that is OK.
    Either way, the competition with Cazzor will make them both play better – and that can only be for the betterment of the team.

    It is, in any case, not a forgone conclusion that it is an either/or situation as to who plays and who does not, as AW is always full of surprises, and he may find a system where both can play in the same team. Why not?

    I don’t usually choose to comment on the views of others, everyone is entitled to their own, but I find it incomprehensible that anyone can truly believe that Özil is ‘mediocre’. Really?

  • Afternoon RA, pleasure regarding your comments as always.

    The laconic look of ozil does throw me off at times and it makes him an easy target for others. I just remember he’s the icing on the cake. Like a majestic swan in a lake full of ducks. Sanchez, ox, Rosicky and coquelin will do the grunt work and if they are pressing ozil can focus on what he does best

  • Oz,

    I agree with you – as usual.

    There is a saying that applies to your likening of Mesut to a swan, serene and graceful on the surface and going like the clappers under the water. In other words, he works much harder than appears to the casual observer.

    Yep — that sums him up quite nicely!! 🙂

  • TA,

    There are those who believe Mesut is mediocre, I suppose, and there are those who believed that the sun revolves around the earth, or that the earth is flat – and maybe some still do — but they are all wrong! 🙂

  • Yes RA we are like minded. I do get fed up with some of the criticism Ozil gets , most of it by the media mischief making , often by so called journalists who don`t even watch all the games . We all want the team to do well and the players want that too so lets get behind the players and build up confidence.
    I am sure that after this break Mesut will be eager to do well and that`s good for everyone.
    I do, however, believe that there should be more rotation in the squad. The seasons are long and hard and it`s vital that injuries are minimized.

  • Mike 🙂

    The head says yes to the importance of rotation, and we simply have not had the luxury to do so this season, but managers are reluctant to rotate too much, or indeed at all if unforced, for fear of dropping the momentum/performance levels of the team as a whole. That’s the dilemma.

  • Everyone here knows i don’t really rate Ozil as a player however my frustrations towards him are much more complicated than simply disliking the guy.
    Marcus hits the nail on the head with stating that what he thrives on is other people making runs but Arsenal’s problem is that we only have a few of those types of players atm.

    Sanchez – always comes deep, battles and then beats people to make goals himself
    Giroud – never makes runs (i don’t think he actually can), always comes deep for flicks and hold up play.
    OX – hardly ever makes runs, battles in midfield then takes people on much like sanchez, often down the wing to put balls in.
    Welbeck – also comes deep and works hard in midfield (it s been his best quality all season) and like the others is frequently caught too deep to make these so called runs

    They are our front three and if Ozil plays behind them who the hell is he going to put these balls into? No-one thats who, it will end up in the congested bloody mess it was when we were playing them all together in the 4-1-4-1 at the start of the season. And when it ends up in this congested mess it becomes about the players who can beat a man and make a goal not find space for others who aren’t there and Ozil goes back to looking shite again and being ineffective.

    Now hop over to the Arsenal website the lot of you and watch the last game again, fast forward to when Walcott came on and just watch the runs into the box he was making, its non-stop and it looks so obvious because no-one else is doing them. Thats the type of player Ozil needs, Walcott has never been good at beating a man one on one in fact imo he’s always been pretty shit at it but you play a ball into space and he will be there or if you can catch him making one of his darting runs into the box then your in on goal.

    This is the problem people we all rave about this magical maestro who can pick out any run with a pass and we are putting him in a team where nobody makes those bloody runs lol its insane!

    With Walcott back he has a chance but i would love to see that chance increased 100% by adding the only other run making selfish striker we have into the mix – Akpom.
    If you want to see the real Ozil put him in that CAM role with battlers either side and a shield behind but most importantly runners up ahead;

    Sanchez——-Ozil———-The OX
    —————New DM——————

    Thats what he needs otherwise he will go back to looking like a square peg in a round hole and i will go back to not rating him – NOT BECAUSE HE IS SHIT! BUT BECAUSE HE IS INEFFECTIVE IN THE TEAM WE HAVE.

    And because i doubt i will be seeing that team up above stroll out onto the pitch anytime soon, especially in that particular set up then i really worry for Ozil. Like i said before he will become a player that does not fit our style, then pushed out onto the left, then subbed more and more, then loaned out to Inter, oh wait thats the other world class German who did nothing wrong but couldn’t fit into our style of play – you see where i’m going though 🙂

    Somethings going to have to change, either the player (which is doubtful) or the style of play but if it doesn’t expect nothing more than you saw all the first quarter of the season as it will be the same players playing in the same system – why would you expect a different outcome?

  • Excellent comment #11F 🙂

    Ozil is more than fast through balls, but you make a good point about the need to make those runs. Who CAN do them? Welbeck, Theo, Alexis, Gibbs, Bellerin, so plenty to benefit from his service. On top of that he can pick people out, and combine with them, around the box.

  • Thank you all for your comments. I actually love the fact that Cazorla has been on fire. This means that Ozil will not just walk back into the team. It’s a bit like the Ospina – Szczesny situation. As for TR7, he does NOT deserve to be dropped. Somehow when he plays, our game comes together nicely. Plus he is so energetic for a 34 year old. He must be thrown in the mix to battle it out with Ramsey & Wilshere.

    RA, believe it or not I have read articles by gooners that referred to Ozil as mediocre. I was as shocked as you are.
    Steve, I beg to differ. Sanchez. Theo, Giroud & Welbeck all make fantastic runs. let me break it down:
    Sanchez is soo hard working that one minute he is in our defensive half and the other he is the attacking. That is why you do not notice his runs. But watch him when one of our creators picks up the ball. Case in point, vs Galatasaray. He makes fantastic runs.
    Theo’s case is self explanatory (if you watch him play). Easily best of the lot in terms of movement.
    Giroud makes runs. Thing is his lack of pace means that these runs are only ever effective (and hence noticeable when he near the opposition box. Watch the chance he hit over the post vs Stoke.
    Welbeck is like Walcott. He makes excellent runs. But note that he is also a sanchez type. He will go and help out at the back when we are under pressure so his movement is more noticeable when we are on the attack.

  • Great post Marcus. I too am a big Mesut fan, as the only disagreement between myself and Steve, has been over him yet to been impressed 😀

    Yes he did miss his Christmas break last season, and that coincided with a fall off, big time, with the rest of the team’s performance. I have said for a long time that he will thrive with better players, or even players playing better, around him. Despite all that, I still do not want him starting against Man City.

    We have a team who is playing with a good balance right now, and by his own admission, Ozil will not be fully up to speed for a couple of weeks, so why disrupt what we have that is so good?
    We kid ourselves if we think his presence, if below par, will not disrupt things. Even if he plays alongside Rosicky and Cazorla, the space they have will get lost.. However, the Cup game on the 24/25th January would be an ideal starter. Not only for him, but for Walcott and Akpom too. rest both Rosicky and Santi, park Ramsey alongside Coquelin, and Brighton will be done and dusted.

    Then the question can be asked who makes way for whom. And it will be a tough decision, as I don’t believe for one minute that Ozil’s game will compliment Cazorla’s anywhere near as well as Rosicky can. Not to mention the fact the the transfer window will close shortly after that game at the end of the month, so who knows what additions there will be between now and then. Hopefully it will mean we can play the players who are on top of their game, not working their way towards it ….. and I am giving you a stern look Aaron and Jack!

    OGAAT …with minimal changes 😀

  • Twig – I disagree partially. TR7 & Ozil are different kinds of players. Tr7 is a dictator of the game. Ozil is an influencer. TR7 over the course of the game controls the tempo but Ozil makes those key passes that create chances. Two VERY different things.

  • Gerry – agreed 100%. I do not expect nor want him to walk back into the team at the expence of Santi or TR7. Same goes for Ramsey. I feel they should get 20 mins in each of the upcoming league games THEN a full 90 vs brighton. In fact if possible, they should get a reserve game in between for confidence boosting.

  • You beat me to Steve – 😀

    However, with the TW open, why are we being linked with strikers/attacking midfielders?
    Because AW has seen what he needs to match up with Ozil and Alexis? My man Diabolique for example?
    Watch this space!.

    I also think you are wrong about OX too. For a guy with normally an excellent first touch and pace, he is odds on to benefit from an Ozil super pass … and may he be cool enough to score from a few?

  • @Marcus

    Well, that was my point. Rosicky and Ozil are different players. You can easily tell Rosicky has the Dortmund DNA with the way he raises the tempo of the game. Ozil doesn’t. And I feel sometimes our game slows down when the ball gets to him.

    @Mike Brooks

    Yes, he’s weak in possession. Sorry about that. It only takes a simple shoulder shove to take the ball off him. E.g. Cesc on Ozil in our game against Chelsea.

  • Gerry, if we played all the players just coming back from injury and the guys who need to be given a chance to start for the cup game the team that could step out onto the pitch;


    It would rest nearly everyone and still look world class 🙂

    I get your point about Diabolique, its the same case i have always made about Akpom and why Theo is so important for us – its the selfish runs baby 🙂
    OX can do them but i think he is on full on Sanchez copy mode atm and trying to battle a lot in midfield but at 21 the lad can develop pretty much however he wants 🙂

  • Funny you mention Hayden there, I was hoping to see if he made the Under 21’s last night, but it was called off.
    I think you might have rested Coquelin and M-Niles alongside Ramsey?
    Mind, I have just checked the AFC website and the Yoofies are busy;
    21st Youth Cup – Royston
    24th Under 18 league match
    27th UEFA quarter final tie v Athletico Madrid.

    The latter one scuppers many of the younger ones from playing in the Cup, M-Niles Kamara, and O’Connor(who was in the senior squad training photos). It could be Akpom might be needed for that too?

  • Twig – It could be he is playing it sensible by keeping possession, because he can see nobody is moving into space?

    And your other point, was that the Chelsea game where he injured his knee, played on despite it, and subsequently needed 2 months off to repair the damage?

    As for Rosicky, you going back a bit with the DNA stuff aren’t you?

  • shit i didn’t realize they had that busy a schedule coming up lol so you could be spot on there Gerry, take out Hayden and even Akpom possibly – although i bet he’d like to play in both 🙂

  • i really see that cup game as a great chance to test so many things all at once. Give all the rusty players a proper starting place, all the fringe players a starting place and give Ozil the kind of runners IMO he needs around him to really shine.
    Just my opinion though and i am sure none of this will ever come to fruition

  • @Gerry

    That was just one instance. I’ve seen it happen severally. Don’t deny you haven’t seen it happen.

  • There is still time for 17HT and Geoff to come in on this, but I wrote this Just as the New Post came up. Sort of similar argument over Coquelin and Arteta & Flamini.This was my reply to Neeraj:
    Neeeraj, not too many pats on the back for your view on Coquelin. I can go back a few years when agreeing with Walter of ‘Untold fame, that he was a jewel in the crown of the Youth team. Largely, I have to say, based on his long passing game, not his tackling.
    What you have neatly skipped over is his ‘wilderness years’ with various failed loan spells? I believe he got sent off in his very first game for Frieburg? As it is now, he is one booking away from suspension?
    I also recall I said, after his first start on his return, at left back, that while he did well there he would do much better when he returned to the midfield?
    So you are not alone in singing his praises. But something is clicking in his head at the moment, and he is getting it right.
    I don’t believe all this tosh about never having a run in the side. It may have been in his late teenage years he got distracted, the old ‘too much, too soon’ problem that reoccurs every now and then. But whatever it was, he did not take his chance the way he is now. Not here, not on his loans, where injuries did not help him.
    Simply put, he has matured. If he can keep going the way he is, get his passing game back up to the promise of his youth, he will indeed be a contender for a new contract.
    Not at the expense of a new DM, but in the double pivot role certainly

    Being part of the slowing down aged population, I think you are ‘dissing’ – as you young people like to say – both Artea and Flamini for their contributions during a troubled period. And Carvalho might not appeal on some of his CL form, but I read a comment this morning that made me see AW’s real interest? How about a ball playing CB role for WC?????

    Congrats on your exam, you have studied hard so you deserve to breeze through. Well done!

  • Twig – Nobody is saying he is built like a brick outhouse, but I have seen him wriggle along the touchline with no space to work in, and still come out the other side with the ball.
    You sound a bit like JB on Szczerr, you remember the blips in 90 minutes not the whole contribution. We hear similar comment along this theme about Mertersacker. It does not change the fact that they are class players, but all 3 require the team around them to do their bit?
    May be you’ll get a better idea when he plays in a fully functioning side?

  • Well, just had a swift read thru the comments made while I was away, and memories came back as to the likely reaction of some of you good ol’ regulars on BK to this and that player, and good stuff it was too.

    The thing that most struck me tho’ was that based on Steve’s comment at 13:57, it is clear that he has been practising the art of the clairvoyant.

    It is great fun to read something that goes much further than a prediction, but reads as a dead certain recounting of the catastrophe that will definitely befall us when Mesut Özil resumes his (rightful) place in the team.

    Steve, with your amazing foresight coupled with your gifted clairvoyance, it must be that you are a betting millionaire, and that you are just toying with us — look, is there any chance of you giving me some numbers for the lottery this week? I would like to become and millionaire too. 🙂

  • It has been a long time since I saw an Arsenal team play as well and as fluently as they did last Sunday, with wonderful movement all over the park, and passing that matched up to that standard too.

    I have noticed the comments, for and against, the ease with which this player or that gets shrugged off the ball, and I have my own views on that from an individual player’s perspective, but thereis a common thread here.

    Many (all?) of us at different times have waxed eloquent about the disadvantage we experience against bigger teams because generally speaking our team have small statures.

    That has gradually been addressed, especially among the forwards with Giro and Welly, and in a different way with Alexis and the Ox who are robustly built. Chambers has brought his physicality to the back line too, altho’ as a young guy he is clearly in need of a break lately.

    However, the midfield is still populated by midgets, and I apologise to any midgets reading this, as there is nothing wrong with midgets – but too many of one physical type creates an imbalance which is detrimental to the good of any team.

    Arsene has at last seen that this is a problem, so we are told by the media, and is currently searching for a robust defensive midfielder (?) (or who may be small, dirty and top notch, like Mascherano), but will probably be a larger size to what we currently have.

    That leads me to the point – 🙂 – despite the great game we watched at the week-end, there was a problem that has consistently plagued us all season, in that every one of the midfield trio of Le Coq, TR7 and Cazzor were dispossessed or simply shrugged off the ball by players with inferior ball skills but greater bulk which lead to attacks breaking down or the potential to result in break-aways — and now that Steve has assured us that Özil will suffer from the same deficiency – and who can argue with the resident clairvoyant – 🙂 the need for a bulkier, more resilient midfielder is becoming paramount if we are going to challenge for the title, rather than to just jockey for one of the top four places.

    Am I wrong? [Steve, you are banned from answering as you can look into your crystal ball and see the answer.] 🙂

  • OK, so somnolence has gripped BK again — is it me? 🙂

    It will give you a chance to reflect on my daring comment – or politely ignore me — see if I care!! 😀

  • RA, i haven’t mentioned Ozil being knocked off the ball once in these set of comments mate, i simply said he needs runners around him to make his game work. are you sure you are not thinking of Twig? (please reread comments)

  • Thanx, Steve. 🙂

    I am going to have a short kip to recover from the exertions and excitement of communing with you guys — but when I win my £2m this week-end with your numbers, I will give £1m to Arsenal to help them buy that Polish kid Arsene wants, and split the other 50/50 with you. 🙂

  • Nice one Marcus !.
    As a chief talent scout for fanny and footballers, I know talent when I see it and Ozil along with the Sanchezmanian Devil are two players I wanted long before they wasted their talent`s at the un-appreciative Juans of Espana. They are along with Theo, will need time to adjust after their ( Theo/Ozil ) long absence, a bit of patience is needed girls as these two “BOING !” talents are proper SQ !.
    With some great players about to come back, it is looking good, so good, that our man Professor Geoff, currently of New Zealand, has it on good authority that Mansour City and Chavs are lending each other players to try and stop the Inevitable Arsenal Juggernaut !.
    With a full fit team available and no YaYa Toure ( I assume he is on ACN call ) available for Oinks……twats !, you didn`t think I was going to refer to Sanogo, did you ?……I expect us to play some fantastic football, but lose in a close 5-0 game !.
    Right !…..back to stuffing up my pillow with the un-washed special body hair of Mmmmmmourinho to send to Norfolk !.

  • Steve,

    Yes I am sure you are right – but it is more fun to ‘blame’ you – and I never let facts get in the way of a point I am making! 😉

  • Hi, Cocker Doodle, 🙂

    I was sorry to learn that your Mrs has been unwell, and both of you have my good wishes that it gets sorted out by the docs in the near future.

    Hasn’t affected your humor which is good! 🙂

  • Gerry, those were for the lotto on the weekend, i want the euro’s all to myself tonight 🙂

  • Marcus, another good post, but what else should we expect?… 🙂

    Nice too to see some of the wise old timers around these parts… VCC is back on the UMF at least…Where’s Terry?… Not much 007 these days but he must be not wanting to tip his sauce re: transfer. That or he’s got both hands busy patting his back (or other parts…) about recent keeper selections… Oz for the match preview, I say, as he’s already deciphered the professors sheik-o-garch conflagrations…

    I’m gonna go ahead and AGREE here with F11ngers, although, as always, I think his hyperbole is (way) over the top… Our Messy indeed needs runners (to make a shipload of assists) and Theo is the man. When you start adding in guys like Akpom, however, you’re just working yourself around to Wenger is the tw*t today but leaving room for Ozil to be the p*ssy tomorrow (or yesterday)… Note, I don’t want to associate those lovely lady parts with footballers if at all possible… 😀 With lottery numbers already listed, how about some stocks to pick?… My own predictions are at the end (re: this weekend) so keep reading… more winkies…

    As I’ve said (over and over and over…), even more than runners Ozil needs guys who will work with him and keep their eyes open for spacing and opportunities. He actually struggled quite a bit with this at the World Cup (mostly with Mueller who plays a bit of the same game as does Alexis…) but zee Germans got it together and won the tougher tight matches and had that one crazy result against the home team. We need guys working together and Ozil–and the manager and a growing number of players–know this. Steve is right that too many players racing back to help out (or get on the ball) leaves us unbalanced (it’s how U-7s play, after all)… A mature and well drilled team fills and covers and stretches the pitch… TA is also correct and points out what Steve is missing: a lot of our runs “in behind” in our normal set up are done by the FBs, so faulting the forwards for pressing and dropping deep to help on the defensive end (and being ready to spring the counter) is not quite right…

    I’m not a “formation” guy but it might be instructive to use the numbers for discussion sake. The manager believes (and I concur…) that our best chance at beating the better teams, including City at the weekend, is to use an unbalanced (strong right side) 4-1-4-1. Le Coq (and he–or anybody else–will need plenty of help) likely gets the nod in the deeper “1” spot but Alexis, Santi, Ozil and Theo, in my opinion, should also play. (They become the “4.”) Giroud, of course, goes up front and Theo, ostensibly part of the 4, in truth, should play from a wide right position but always off the shoulder (or at the level) of the last defender (and he can and will switch sides and working as the 2nd striker w/Alexis). This puts a big onus on the RB, and it’s a shame that Debuchy is hurt again. A tough spot for Chambers, surely, but a back four of taller guys who’ve all played at CB seems the answer (in other words, Nacho goes again, over Gibbs for this one, maybe)… We can work in everybody’s favorites for the easier matches and the home games where teams are coming to try and nick a point…

    Bottom line, the real beauty of Ozil is in those eyes and surely he’ll have been watching Alexis to see how he can use the tendencies of that guy for the benefit of the team (much as Santi has been, and will continue, doing). Not everybody needs to be passion and muscle and the ‘ard nut–even if the fans enjoy the likes of (normally wimpy guys like) Giroud (vs Shawcross) and BFG (vs Crouch) taking on such roles. If we can get everybody playing for one another (i.e., the team…) It should be good… But, if we can’t–i.e., if the results fail to satisfy–we can always blame both the player(s) AND the manager and call for a total re-do… Ooh it’s great to be a Gooner… :/

    On an entirely different topic… 😀 … Sorry I’ve been drifting in and out around here… I’ve been busy recently but I do read all posts and comments. People around here, by and large, are keeping it together but maybe that’s easier here in the new year given that we’re undefeated with two clean sheets…

    Finally, Gerry/others re: Le Coq… Who knows what’s up with Flamini and injury?…Only the player and AW, I would guess. Coquelin has played well but let’s be reasonable about the opposition. Hull (in a relegation battle) and Stoke away from the Bru-tannia are not the toughest opponents and it makes for an easy day at the rear of the midfield… Instead of Whelan (who should’ve punished us on another blown set piece…) and Walters and wee Bojan… put in El Kun and Silva and Nasri and Jovetic and Jesus of Navas and things move a LOT faster. (Not to mention the cynicism of Fernando/inho and Milner…) In other words, a big test for our man in the middle and he’ll do well to avoid getting his yellow in the first half hour… As bad as “supporters” will skewer the manager for dropping him, I’d play Flamini instead, if he’s fit. Unless we can pay for Carvalho to Southampton (we get Schneiderlin in x-change and such a deal seems far more likely over the Summer)… it will be a problem spot for the rest of the season as well. That said, Rosicky (or Santi and Ozil) can do a lot to help out Coquelin (or Flamini) in his duties. This match on Sunday is one where a draw is a GREAT result and losing by less than 3 represents improvement over last season. Will Gooners take them apples? Hell no we won’t…

    And therein lies your trouble… 😦 😀

  • Of course, had some over-zealous pillock (not been identified?) not given Hayden a kick, perhaps we would not be populated by midgets in midfield?
    RA, this is clearly a stir exercise. ALL players get nudged off the ball during a game. Even TA’s absent favourite, Cesc does – has anyone noticed his stats are starting to decline, btw?

    It you want to dabble in oblique TW chatter to remedy the vertically challenge brigade, so be it. MS – not big but very good. However, not even Geoff will think he is going to depart from Sainthood this month, on the cheap anyway.
    WC has an interesting alternative position he could play in, as noted above, but again, at a price.
    IG – the Borussia Bulldog, half the price, twice as good … at his best. Injury, and now up for sale does put a large question in mind whether he can return to those heights. Worth the gamble?:D
    KK – Polish bare knuckle fighter that would put the frights up Tiote’s rear end. But at a price.
    VW- Not the car, but an anchor from the sailing fraternity. A bit like sails, blows along well at times, but gets stuck in the doldrums at others.

    Any of those take your fancy RA?
    My own choice would be, a touch of 3, and Diabolique with the left over lolly.
    Oh, and 6ft 2, eyes of blue, the junior KB for starters

  • Here you go RA Midgets vs Giants;

    ——-The OX——-Cazorla———Gnabry—-



    Kick off 15.00, sometime in preseason 🙂

  • Gerry, TW tall player picks for me;
    Talisca – 6ft 2″
    Draxler – 6ft”
    krychowiak – 6ft 2″
    Van Dijk – 6ft 3″
    Mings – 6ft 3″

  • hahaha yep he just decides which side he’s playing for randomly throughout the game 😆

  • HT – I did say I would prefer Flamini alongside Coquelin, as one of the two changes.

    Talking of injuries, AW lt it slip in one interview, that Gibbs had a ‘heel injury’? Mostly reported since ans an ankle problem. So you could well be right about Monreal keeping his spot.
    I don’t agree with your thinking that the 4-1-4-1 explains how we have played so well, nor the 4 behind Giroud will magically work well together.

    But each to their own view …

  • I forgot about DvD for the CB spot, but it sounds like he will stay until summer, although at a price he/the club could be tempted?

  • hahaha HT, i love the way you phrase it when you kind of agree with me lol, i agree with Steve but he talks so much shit at the same time 😆 😆 😆
    I get what you are saying though mate and nice to see you back bud 🙂

  • I think the Ipswich manager is blowing in the wind when he says ‘Why would he leave when he can help us get promotion’?
    Double the wages. Playing in the CL. Long term prospects … Nah. No reason at all 😀

  • my thoughts exactly on both players Gerry, but its still a waiting game atm unfortunately

  • Hahaha, F11ngers has me figured out…

    East wind today but brilliant sunshine so I can wait even longer before heading out for my skiing…

    Here’s a heresy, as the professor (JGC) might say… The old ways of thinking about the game, which play upon deeply rooted feelings amongst the support AND are heavily employed by the (hit hungry) media need to be (constantly) questioned…

    In my earlier comment I tried to talk about a formation, but only as a reference point…Gerry took me too literally and disagreed… Imagine if I did likewise and took his belief that “Hayden was going to start” and bothered to disagree all twenty times he’s suggested it? You think my posts are too long now?… 😀

    Just kidding, of course, and everybody is free to put forth whatever wacky (untestable) ideas they please… Including discussing each of the 50 players to whom we’re linked even when we haven’t watched them beyond a highlight reel… 😀

    When we discuss how to play (formations, for example) or whom to play and give only quick judgements we limit ourselves (at best) or worse (parrot the media). Yes, the media needs sound-bites, but do we?…

    Maybe we do. On Ozil, lightweight, can’t be arsed, can’t play out wide, etc. were the mantras early season, when trying to integrate with more aggressive and, perhaps–more unconscious–players (esp. Alexis but also Ramsey, Wilshere, Welbeck and Ox) and not doing very well…might have been the better assessment. If you spent too many fantasy pounds on him and only got the one assist and one goal you cannot have been happy. Fantasy football is THE growth industry in football related media, by the way… Could it be that there’s more to the game than appearances, minutes, assists, goals and cards? Possibly… And, possibly, this time away and watching (and looking for ways to help the team…) will benefit him (and us). I’m just glad that the whole period wasn’t spent with Bayern Munich tapping him up through the media…

    Likewise, when we talk about Arsenal and our (clueless…) manager could it be that he’s trying to manage things with an idea to more than just the result at hand? (Managing the players and their confidences and the longer arc of the squad and club seem important…) As fans our purview is to live and die with each result. Put two in a row together and it’s “crisis” and “sack ‘im.” If they do well, it’s “Next Henry,” 😉 or “great form” and “back in the title chase.” As such, and as I asked above, will losing at City by say a one or 2 nil scoreline be an improvement? No, it won’t, even if it should likely be viewed as such… Nope, it will be the same 3 points dropped… 😦

    Results are everything but (if you’re still reading…) and you come here to comment they should also be nothing. What are we looking for in the performance?… Would we be happy trying to play on the break (i.e., parking a bus of our own) and keeping the match close? Maybe, maybe not…

    IMO, Wenger’s greatest contribution to English football was not the unbeaten season nor (all) the trophies nor getting the best stadium in the country built…it’s the insistence that the game must entertain. If you’re a Gooner then results = entertainment, but there’s a reason why it wasn’t enough for Roman in the first era of the Moo-man down at the pasture by the bridge…

    The bottom line, for us right now, is that we need results, so I expect a fairly negative game. Because the Arsenal DNA (under Wenger, not Graham…) has become the league DNA, I also expect goals…which might bring the match to life…Of course, if they go against us, it’s the opposite (the sky falling, death, or at least the worst thing to befall us since the last calendar year)…

    So, just a warning that maybe we shouldn’t conflate nice things which happen vs Stoke or WHU with our expectations at the (middle) Eastlands… A better guide might be the trips to So’ton (or Stoke or Chelsea) and if we have to play newbies at RB, Keeper and DM, (Chambers or Bellerin, Ospina, Le Coq) it could be worse… The counter argument is then we should just attack… Who’s up for shipping (another) six? Only the guy with that many fingers, probably… 😀

    OK, out the door… Happy Tuesday…

  • Here you go HT, exactly your point above about expectations expressed through my viewpoint on the game:

    Logically from the football brain;

    Last year 1-1 at home
    This year 2-2 at home

    Last year 6-3 away
    This year 8-4 away??

    Nothing has changed since last year, we still have good attackers bolstered by a leaky defense and no DM. In fact this year because of Sanchez we look a little more dangerous in attack and because of injuries and crap form we look a little more leaky at the back hence the adjusted scoreline.

    The same players drew at home as did the year before so what is there to think the same result is not on the cards away?
    If we manage to draw or come away with a less punishing defeat then we have logically improved since the same players are playing as last time.

    From the Arsenal heart;

    Fuck that noise! All out attack, lets punish those bastards!
    If we go there to sit back and defend we will loose for sure, teams with MUCH better defenses have gone there to do that and failed so same team as last week and lets outplay them and get the WIN. 🙂

  • hahaha btw TA i just got round to watching that vid you posted at the beginning of the comments and i have to say matey there is absolutely nothing in that whole vid that any other player at Arsenal could not or have not done just as well. I really still don’t see the big fuss about Ozil when you have players like Wilshere, Cazorla, Ramsey, Rosicky, OX etc etc etc
    Hopefully he can open my eyes in the second half of the season 🙂

  • Great to see 17 back and at last somebody has similar views re starting eleven against serious opposition. Two salmons up the stream. 🙂

  • Love your posts Marcus.
    Ozil gets no credit from many, i think you’re right to defend him with stats.
    2 Things he and arsene can improve. First, santis advantage is that he’s looking to score always, shoot on sight. Mesut can try to be more aggressive and shoot allot more. . Even when nothing was going in, santi kept trying.

    I understand ozils look of indifference is just his way, i know he cares and tries hard as anyone, BUT, at around 70 minutes, he is clearly exhausted, and should be subbed. I hate mourihno, but he was right. Especially when we have a lead, he should be the first sub. Even if we are chasing, a fresher attacker will help more, especially if ox, santi, or theo can come in.
    That’s how arsene can help.

  • Now is a good time to approach Everton for Jagielka. He was absolutely terrific against the Hammers today and will be gutted he is not going to win anything again this year in all likelihood. We get great cover from him and he would rotate well with Koz or BFG. Chambers would also learn a few things from him.

    Nice to see Jenks putting away his pen. 🙂

  • Johnnie, Santi will not score many goals any more. The opposition have found him out and his shots are not accurate or strong enough to worry the keeper most of the time (his recent record tells us a lot). But the good thing is he is doing this a lot less now and is turning into a better provider/enabler. I do agree though that Ozil could shoot more, but he will always look for the best ball rather than being desperate to score himself.

  • TA…We agree about needing a strongest possible 11 for the City away match, but not so much about Santi…Despite having woeful luck with his shots (early season) he stayed at them and finally got some goals (and, importantly, stayed fit…) A lot of guys, I fear, would’ve hidden… Overall, he’s probably been our 2nd best attacker this season, but still the narrative that he’s been “found out” persists. I guess if you’re lucky he’ll be gone soon enough, along with Arteta and the BFG… :/

    I think what Jnyc is saying is that getting into shooting positions–even if they don’t result in goals–puts fear into the opponent (sort of the opposite of the confidence you are suggesting they gain re: Santi)…and so… I’d tend to agree with him… Not everything has to bulge the net to be effective, after all… This idea goes to the headline of the Marcus’ thread…76 chances made–even if they don’t result in enough goals to win the quadruple–helps make the case that MO11 is (very likely) a fine player…

    Of course, try telling that to our Stevie11… 😀

    Everybody has their favorites and I tend to like our (lil’ wimpy Spaniards) and the more technical, more introspective (less gung-ho…) sorts (like Ozil)… But I agree, with Ozil back, Santi will likely score even less. Then again (as I tried to say above) it’s not all about goals (and the other fantasy stats), either… and maybe if Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, some of the other #10 types returning from injury gets their fitness and games together, Santi will be surplus to needs. For the moment (like with Rosicky…) appreciation seems at least as good as knocking him… 🙂

  • Mesut Özil (“der Rabe”), (featured cards in recent seasons):

    “Full-speed Opportunity Creator” (2010-2011) (with Real Madrid)

    “The Key to Victory” (2010-2011) (World Class OM)

    “Classy Attack Support” (2011-2012)

    “On-target Attacks” (2011-2012) (European All-Stars)

    “The Direct Hotline” (2012-2013)

    “The Mind’s Eye” (2012-2013) (World Class OM)

    “One of the Improvisational Harmony Creators” (alongside Cazorla & Wilshere) (2013-2014) (with Arsenal)

    “Natural Footballing Mentality” (2013-2014) (with the victorious WC 2014 “Die Nationalmannschaft”)

    “The Interdimensional Creator” (2013-2014) (German all-stars)

  • @ 17

    Santi has created 47 scoring opportunities thus far so he has definitely turned it around and become an integral part of the squad.

    @ Marcus

    Definitely not a knock on santi or Rosicky. Can’t fit them all in unfortunately and those two would just miss out on best 11. Personally I’d have Rosicky as the first name on the team sheet because he brings A grade endeavour. He continually works his socks off and it’s players like him that drag a teams defensive structure all over the place. Forward forward forward…always moving it forward. As RA mentioned, we played some long overdue beautiful football on Sunday. In my opinion it’s because we used speed and drove forward at all costs.

    @ RA

    The height issue is definitely a dilemma. I don’t know what the perfect mix is but I think we are about there. In my opinion bigger bodied players are overrated when you have players like Sanchez, Rosicky and coquelin. What they lack in height they make up in tenacity. Not the size of the dog yada yada…do we go a wanyama option or a smaller more type in coquelin? One has power, the other a better range of passing. A midfield of hleb, Cesc, Rosicky and flamini was arguably our most dominate combination since the invincibles. I prefer the Jack Russell flamini to the pit bull song. I’ve been saying it for years…coquelin is the closet thing we have to the 2007 flamini. Who plays along side him to compliment the midfield is a tougher problem in my opinion.

    Another thing is the bigger players often get played out of the game by opposition players that continually fall over at the faintest of touches. Hazard is a master at it.

    In conclusion save the DM money -> use the coq -> buy jagielka as a third string CB -> lets load up on cavani and draxler!!! 🙂

  • @ TA

    The chillies are doing well (always an ongoing battle with those pesky aphids).

    It’s the basil, silver beet and cherry tomatoes that are kicking on. Also grow my own alfalfa and mustard sprouts in this new 4 tier unit I’ve got. Stuff the zombie apocalypse…I’m set 🙂

  • Good morning all,
    I have just read the comments from where I left off – I find ‘the two salmon swimming upstream’ a nice image, but possibly they start their swim too early?
    Talking about a game coming up, just 7 days after the last one, where two of our long term returnees had a 20 minute run out after injury lay offs. Neither looked that sharp. Both have admitted they will be better with more game time. Yet the salmon are swimming up a stream that leads them to playing ‘from the start’ and against the second strongest side currently in the league. Based purely on what? What they can do at their best?
    Not for me. Next time against Brighton, by all means. We need a unified team, and the big emphasis on that surpasses anything that the minus 20/30% the ‘better’ players might add.
    IMO of course.
    Good of you HT to acknowledge that Santi may score less if he plays alongside Mesut. But it goes deeper than that. His whole game will be affected. He has been quoted as saying he loves playing the central role. His form upswing coincides with that. So either he, or Ozil will spend more time out wide left to the detriment of either. And as Steve put it, we will end up with the same congested middle ground as all of your 4 attacking midfielders like to come inside and say hello to Giro, in case he is a bit lonely there. 😀
    I know you said I misunderstood your thinking on the 4-1-4-1, as you were just separating attacking players from defending players as a bit of crude shorthand, but the real point I was making is that the 4 behind the striker have not shown to date that they play well together. Perhaps only 3 out of the 4, given the Alexis/Mesut combo has not had a fully fit run out. and nor will it this weekend?
    The combination that has shown to work well has been on display these last few games, albeit, as you and I would have it, against lesser opposition. But they had 11 players on the field and they were beaten, in the case of Stoke, comprehensively by slick pass and move between players who have a good understanding with each other.
    It is arguable that Coquelin, with support from the rest of the team, has put himself at the top of our various defending midfielders? He has more pace than both Arteta and Flamini, and better opposition will not frighten him either. But as we are away, I think the double pivot might offer a better platform for a slightly weaker attacking force to work from, as opposed to having a greater number of bodies who primarily attack, and at the same time weaken our defence?
    Steve half agrees with you, although not with the same players, because he wants us to try impose our game on them, even if it results in an 8-4 loss. I would rather keep the spirit of the side intact, whilst keeping the option of winning open for as long as we can, and take our chances as we have been doing.
    No misunderstanding there I hope?

  • Hoho 17, no need for the link with Arteta and BFG! 😦 A bit cheap buddy.

    I was actually making Santi a compliment. He is shooting less which enables him to create more for the team. His shooting is not good enough. Two good feet but neither is great, which resulted in far too few goals for the number of shots he takes, and for a long time he was just desperate to take as many as he could. Our second best attacker is Ollie, even with the few games he played this season. Santi the creator and hard worker I like and with regards to this he has not been found out. Happy now?! 🙂

  • Oz – Your conclusion at 03:09 is at odds with AW’s current thinking.

    Here is looking at 20 to 24 year old’s, not players at the back end of their careers. Jags falls into that same category as Perrin, albeit with good EPL experience.
    Cavani is a runner if the price is right. Draxler, much as I would like him, other suitors and a hefty buy out clause make him less likely too.
    Today, news is hovering around whether we have been successful with our bid for Krystian Bielik, for whom the residence of our unhappy No1(?) goalkeeper would be a great help?
    The possibility of Gundogan bid being successful is another. that might be a goer if Dortmund are willing to sell him, and use the money to get someone in to steady their ship?
    Brozovic – looks to be the cheap alternative to other attacking mids. maybe to put money aside for a striker?.
    Moreno, a Mexican CB, which should please HT, but I am not sure this is a real runner.
    Otherwise it is the usual Cavalho interest, perhaps as a CB? and a 22 year old GK????

    On the aphid problem, perhaps you should grow your own hover flies, they love them 😀

  • Gerry, neither 17 or I am saying both Theo and Ozil will start. It is too early for Ozil most likely. I am saying, in midfield and attack we will upgrade on experience, fitness allowing. I fully expect Wenger to start Flamini and Theo with either Coq or Rosa and Ox to be on the bench. To me that is what he will do and it would be right as Man City away is a very different challenge to Orcs at home.

  • JM – Yes the cards back up the post’s conclusion. Consistent 90’s all the way 😀

    It also has a consistent low defensive score too, as no doubt some will pick up on.

    If we are successful with our Gundogan bid, can you have his cards at the ready. It should cheer up those who hoped for Schneiderman.

    DON’T jump the gun though, we haven’t got him yet.


  • TA – I’m confused then. Without Ozil to feed passes to ‘the willing runner’, it seems pointless to start with Theo? Admittedly, Theo will not get in the way of Santi.

    In essence, all you are saying is that Flamini is your DM choice, but will partner one of three, and one will be dropped in favour of Theo?

    So no difference between us, except I would not start with Theo or OX.

    It did not quite come over like that earlier, when you were one of the two salmon?

    Who knows, Krystian Bielik could be available ha ha

  • Gerry, many have suggested to start the same eleven against Citeh. Now you are also a salmon. 🙂

    I expect us to play Flam with Coq or Rosa and yes with Theo instead of Ox. Theo will help containing the Citeh pressure as he is an outlet and has to be covered so they are likely to sit a bit deeper. Who will pick out Theo….. Santi or Coq/Rosa, or Alexis, no?

  • An error link on this previously:

    “The Mind’s Eye” (2012-2013) (World Class OM)

    @Gerry (January 14, 2015 at 08:12)

    Gündoğan checked and noted.

    I still believe we (and AW) would go for the CB reinforcement firstly. (Debuchy out for 1-2mths; Koscielny with his Achilles recovery; Mertesacker playing the most with no rest time, Chambers to be used sparingly in CB and to share duties with Bellerin at RB as well, Monreal playing LB mostly as Gibbs has his infrequently injury recurrence.)

    In my next 2 posts, I bring out both Santi’s and Jack’s attributes in reference to Mesut’s creativeness (consistent 90 overall) to our team.

  • Santi “Claus” Cazorla, in reference with Mesut Özil, our 2nd creative source, (featured cards in recent seasons):

    “Decisive Mid-range Passes” (2005-2006) (with Villarreal, Santi in his early twenties)

    “Swooping Cut-ins from Wide” (2008-2009) (Santi in mid-twenties)

    “The Hedgehog” (2008-2009) (World Class Wide Midfielder/Winger)

    “Stimulates Interlocking Attacks” (2009-2010)

    “LA MULETA LADA” (2010-2011)

    “Harmonising Attack Support” (2012-2013) (with Arsenal)

    “EL INGENIERO” (2012-2013) (World Class OM)

    “One of the Improvisational Harmony Creators” (alongside Özil & Wilshere) (2013-2014)

    “The Set-piece Commander” (2013-2014) (with La Roja)

  • Jack “the lad” Wilshere, our 3rd creative force (featured cards in recent seasons):

    “Genius Playmaker” (2009-2010) (The young Jack)

    “On-target Attacks” (2010-2011)

    “The Youthful Emperor” (2010-2011) (Breakout Young Star)

    “Assist-making Playmaker” (2011-2012)

    “Sublime Passing Rhythm” (2012-2013)

    “One of the Improvisational Harmony Creators” (alongside Özil & Cazorla) (2013-2014)

    “Spicy One-touch Assists” (2013-2014) (English Superstar)

  • Not quite TA – I have snipped this 17ooo’s comment at 17:04 –
    but Alexis, Santi, Ozil and Theo, in my opinion, should also play. (They become the “4.”) Giroud, of course, goes up front …

    That makes you splitting from your salmon pairing, and going up a different stream. I not wanting Theo or Ozil to start, but definitely stick with Coquelin, am in another stream altogether.
    Oh, and it was the 17:04 comment that I originally replied to, and followed up on his reply.

    It is a big sea when we all come back down stream, so we can get together again 😀

  • Cheers JM – Fingers crossed, I will look forward to that, if we are disappointed elsewhere?

    Which I think we will be, as Schneiderman is holding all the cards. He either stays with Southampton after the summer because they are in the CL and will give him a bumper contract. If he is terribly mercenary, he will sign on for Man Utd with a massive ‘golden hello’, AND a huge wage packet which is far bigger than we can offer, even if they are not in anything more than the Europa League. All we can do is offer him a bigger wage between now and July. Not much in the way of a signing on bonus because we will have to pay around £30m to get Southampton to release him in this winter. After that our chance will be gone for the above reasons. And before the season ends they(Saints) may try and get him to sign a contract with a reasonable ‘release clause’, and pay for doing so?
    On the CB, do you think AW is angling towards Cavalho for a dual purpose role? Or is about to unearth someone not yet mentioned?

    Not a lot to choose between all three mid fielders on the cards then, with Santi just edging out Jack, and Mesut consistently above both. Nice collection to have mind.

    To my eye, they are different from each other in their best passing skills. I would say Mesut is best at playing the ball in front of the runner, for him to get on to. Santi is more ball to feet, that is playing the ball to where the player is in space, and Jack more to where the player is about to be, with one touch control, can move it on again, or score from?
    Over simplification, as they all do a bit of everything, but in general that is where I see their strengths?

  • That also adds up to two changes, Gerry, but yes he wants Ozil and Theo for Rosa and Ox, and I want Flam and Theo for Coq or Rosa and Ox. Still at least two changes rather than saying, as the majority did, no changes in midfield or attack at all. 😉

  • @Gerry (January 14, 2015 at 12:53)

    a) Personally, I am not to keen on the Gündoğan link, he is a CM playmaker by trade (Dortmund’s defensive shield are shared among Sven Bender, Sebastian Kehl and Nuri Sahin).
    He had a serious spinal injury (which put him out for 1 whole season) and might have lost some of his robustness. While previously thought to inherit Bastian Schweinsteiger’s midfield controller role, that place has been taken away by Toni Kroos.
    To come to us, he would be fighting a starting space with Ramsey and Wilshere mostly, not an alternative to Coquelin at holding midfield.
    If we should really seek to capture another midfield all-rounder (to progressively take over from both Cazorla and Rosicky) in the summer, I would look to Koke of Atletico Madrid (in the summer window) to compete with the Ox.

    Leave the spot for any new DM to another world class player in the role.

    b) The outlook on Morgan Schneiderlin could be made worse as he is a player that also qualifies as a home grown player, which might mean Man. City and Chelsea are also in line together with Man. Utd (and Arsenal) in a bidding war. The northern and southern oilers are always in the lookout to fill up their HG quota (since they have barely enough) to fulfill the optimum requirements in both the PL and CL.

    c) I believe the sticking points to our pursuit of William Carvalho should be dealing with his agent (Jorge Mendes) and agency (Gestifute), along with matching Sporting’s final valuation after their reported purchase of the full ownership rights of the player. It could go down till the last day of negotiations.

    My personal picks for our new CB would be:
    Dede (Anderson Vital da Silva) of Cruzeiro & Brazil. (It would be a tough & messy negotiation)
    Angelo Ogbonna of Juventus & Italy
    Robin Knoche of VfL Wolfsburg

    d) At least one of the trio has to start with our team in every match; two starting could be great; all three starting, we would be unbalanced.

    Baton of creativity handling during season:
    Jack (start of season) -> Santi (winter campaign) -> Mesut (spring push) -> random opportunities for Jack, Mesut and Santi (end of season).

  • JM – Yes on Gundogan. He would be the replacement for Arteta, and tutor of young Bielik – Down to a medical now 😀
    Brogozvic is another play making type, who might be brought back for the deeper role, or so I read. Perhaps that is what AW is looking for, on the cheap, naturally? Having ball playing midfielders who can tackle? Throw in Coquelin, or Chambers, and should we ever see a fit Hayden before the end of the season, they might just cover it between them?
    I cannot see us, or more particular AW, paying over the top for Schneiderman, no matter how ideal he might be.

    I also see problems with your CB wish list. Juve, if they sell Pogba for big money they have no need to sell anyone else. Wolfsburg are a monied club too. And Dede is unlikely in this winter.
    Agbonna would be my pick of the three.
    With Cavalho, as a DM he would have to be at a bargain price, around £20m, I reckon, but if it takes care of one CB cover as well, Mertersacker in particular, and available in this window, well I think it is a goer at around £25m?

    But I am guessing there is somebody in the pipe line, beyond Mings, who may well be a target in the summer, especially if they fail to gain promotion. Any thoughts on Mareno?

    The article on Ozil kind of sums up what I was saying about both losing their edge if played together, and I would rather it was not tested out this weekend.

    AW has got a get out clause with not playing Ozil from the start, I am not sure Santi will appreciate being dropped completely though? If he fudges it and plays one out left, switching Alexis to the right, albeit there will be interchanging, but not with the fluidity that Rosicky and Cazorla have managed. I just think it will be far too messy.

    But that is what he is paid to do.

  • Gerry,

    It takes a great leap of faith to take anything presented on NewsNow as in any way accurate.

    That is not to say one should not indulge in discussing the possible permutations of the many, many players the fans would like to sign or that we are allegedly looking at, or preparing bids for, or sending Dick Laws to finalise contracts with both the club and the player’s agent. 🙂

    You are no doubt going to accuse me of cynicism, in the nicest possible way, and I would be unable to deny that, but all these blogs rely on ‘hits’ as many rely on financial advertising sponsorship, and they know only too well how to lure us in.

    That said, I do enjoy reading who would fit where, in what system, and what attributes our existing players have got that would lend themselves to the playing style of this or that new player, and who would have to make way to accommodate any new acquisition. 🙂

    Long may it continue — or at least until the end of the window on the 3rd February.

  • TA @13:52 – Just for clarity, i went back over yesterday”s post and found only three who wanted no change at all. Geoff, might have made a fourth, but added some notes that covered other eventualities. But only Steve and Retsub were completely in the no change at all.
    It excluded myself as I said I hoped AW would keep to his minimal changes policy, and I thought of two; Flamini in for Ox, and possibly Chambers in for Bellerin.

    Where we differ, and I go with the no change brigade, with the midfield trio of Santi, Rosicky and Coquelin remain in tact, and leaving both Theo and Ozil to come from the bench.

    Overall, I think the majority favour your position? So perhaps AW will as well.

  • Good news for you transfer scouts – Ipswich are on BBC 1 tonight, with their FA Cup round.
    So unless they are trying to preserve a bit more value in Tyrone Mings sale price in this window, he should be on display?

  • we spent the first part of the season desperately trying to make the likes of Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshere, Flamini and Arteta all work together with sub standard results, whether it be against the big teams or the Leicester city type teams. Then nearly all of the above got injured and it created even greater chaos with greater demands being heaped on the likes of Flamini who responded well or terribly (depending who you ask) and makeshift defenders. After several games of trying to get the rhythm going with what was left of the aftermath – a DM who was out on loan, a midget who hadn’t found his form or his most comfortable position, a 21 year old who has bursts of class and the granddad of the team who hadn’t played hardly any minutes of football, we finally clicked!!

    Now with Santi playing where he wants to play and showing us how good he can be playing there, Rosicky getting his match fitness back, OX turning his short bursts into sustained pressure and Coquelin overshadowing Flamini supported by a rejuvenated back four now Kos is back – all of a sudden we want to drop all this team development and go back to the beginning of the season where we try and make all the rusty superstars fit together again.

    No thanks!!!

    The team as a whole is working!! bloody keep it working!!!
    Keep the rusty guys as subs and hey use them if things are not working out but you have to give the guys who put in such a performance another chance to start, i don’t care who the opposition is.

    HT will back me on this, i am not the greatest supporter of Santi but that means shit when the guy is on form and the whole team is clicking, he plays well with Rosicky so keep them both in. Play the exact same team as last time and if things look a bit shaky then use the superstars on the bench to adjust.

    Theres got to be something wrong when i am the one calling for no changes and the same formation – wtf is going on??

    I can see i am the minority on this one (as usual) lol

  • Steve 🙂

    I understand where you are coming from but we just see it differently. If you dont care about the opposition, that is fine with me, but the man who is responsible to get a result will look at it differently.

  • I thought i was the man responsible 🙂
    Don’t shatter my fantasy TA!!
    Cruel bastard!!

  • You know how much you love a team and it’s players when you just want all of your favorites to get a chance to play in a big match. .,

    I thought i knew who I’d choose, but some of you have reminded me of some very deserving guys. Guys like Rosicky, the epitome of Arsenal to me, also Coquelin had earned the start, 2 nd only to Alexis for impressive play in the past few games. .

    I think it’s maybe made easier by the fact that Ozil and Theo may be still too rusty to start. Rb is a big question, i prefer bellerin ( future world class rb).. but maybe chambers height n strength get the call. I do worry about his speed limitations against speedy runners from the left.
    So finally I’d go with ox, whose much improved all around work rate has been tiring him more, so will need to be subbed for effectiveness anyway, giving a chance for theo.
    Tomas also gets the call from me, and Coquelin, (maybe paired with Flamini for our tighter setup, but havent thought that through yet).

  • Steve…I think Maybe for the first time I agree with you (about keeping the same team from last week). Actually TA and Gerry, I think Wenger will keep the same team too. Maybe 1 change. I dont even see 2 changes. But we Know Arsene, he can throw in all sorts of shades and changes. Oh well, I guess thats what keeps this interesting.

    On the post Marcus, It is beautiful. Ozil is just class and easily my best Current Arsenal player.
    Someone asked on twitter , ‘If you’re on a boat with the whole arsenal team and the boat was sinking and you could save only one player who would it be?’ My answer was ozil. It was probably one of the easiest things I’ve ever had to answer. lol. But thats how much I rate him.

    Really enjoyed the Posts and the comments yall. 😀

  • RA – I would love to believe just half the stories that appear on NewsNow – especially with this morning’s stuff 😀

    I only get really excited when Dick Law is involved, as he seems pretty good a nailing down contracts that suit all parties. I think he is going to busy over the next few days, as Poland puts him within spitting distance of other interesting potential?
    For those unaware, news is coming out that Arteta is out for the long term. A great shame for him, and I hope we keep him on as a player coach. But that may explain the persistent links with Brozovic and Gundogan. The former looks the closest to a deal?
    The latter is more unbelievable were it not for Dortmund being in a strong position to replace from the pick of younger German players from the Bundesliga … Because a reported double swoop for Hummels as well as Gundogan would be quite a coup?
    So, with the Bielik deal all but done and dusted, it will be interesting in which direction Dick Law flies to next. Personally, I would love him to go South. Italy via Zagreb may be? 😀

    Who said this TW was going to be ‘the same old, same old’?

    On to the current debate ..

    Steve, you express my sentiments really well with regards not interfering with our midflied that is playing so well. However, if Flamini is fit, then I do think Coquelin will need support. But I can see the logic of keeping Ox in place, as in his last half hour, when his quick burst get more sporadic, it is an ideal time to bring on Walcott? That said, Flamini would be the ideal sub for Coquelin, who also gets a bit ragged at the end. I worry also about Per. He looked like a guy who has played all season at the end of the Stoke match, and he will need a rest VERY soon.

    Steve, you will also have to amend your height figure for Tyrone Mings .. he is now 6ft 5!!, and he jokes about the fact that he may still be growing. 😀 He did not start the game last night, but looked to make a difference. Very quick for one so tall. Got a good first touch, although a bit Sanogo-esque with long legs in tight positions. I’ll keep him on my short list, but the world and his wife will know about him now … a very good prospect when he reaches his full height. Just to give an idea of how big he is, he tripped up 6ft 7ins Foster(Saint’s keeper) … and looked him in the eye 😀

    Southampton are now without Schneiderman and Wanayama, the latter coming off with injury.

    All good stuff for our quest for better things …

  • Nice one Marcus

    Ozil is class, no doubt about that. However, I do not recall in the good book it saying “thal shou be trodden by Wild Boar and consumed by frenzied Babylonians if one besmirches Ozil”

    Ozil has to prove it for me. I expect a great impact and am excited to see how he performs

    JM, I love those picture card shots of players mate. It reminds me as a kid back in the seventies, collecting panani (apparently the youth have a different and unsavoury meaning for this word) football stickers.

    After months of buying, swapping, and when Mr Shah was bending over, stealing stickers. I only had one player left, Bob Moncur, the old Newcastle left back. Finally after weeks of getting repeats, the kid who lived opposite “Snidely Charlie” announced he had Moncur

    Snidely Charlie was not be messed with. A freaky six foot five 14 year old with a massive nose which allegedly he used to peck his victims to submission. He was also a right nasty piece of work, loathed and despised by all.

    The kind of kid who was never invited to birthday parties, but when you arrived, he was always there regardless, stuffing his face with cake even before the sobbing birthday boy had blown out the candles.

    I agreed a swap with Snidely Charlie, my 350 repeat cards for his one Moncur. I handed over my sack and he stuck his hand out and it was empty.

    “Weres the card Charlie?”

    “Ime not giving it to yer, you bald git (Yes, I was bald at fourteeen), Collect another five hundred cards and I will trade”

    I was distraught. I couldn’t take him on, his nose was an offensive weapon. It was then that I realised that been cunning was the way forward. I approached Shah and told him that I knew who was nicking all the panani card, it was Snidely Charlie.

    Through the comfort of my bedroom window, I watched as Charlies father made the sobbing snide hand over the sack of cards to Shah

    I think at that moment, I may have had my first sexual experience. The moment was only spoilt when Snidely Charlie looked up to catch me staring out the window, so through fear I spent the next month in doors

  • haha Gerry i watched Mings little head to head with Forster and though exactly the same thing lol, the guy is still growing.

    As far as Hummels is concerned i think if Arsenal signed someone like that then it would be the death of BFG and (although i wouldn’t disagree with that) i don’t think Wenger has that in mind just yet.
    I would take the £30+ mill that Hummels would cost and buy an entire reserve back four so they can grow with the rest of the team coming through like Wilshere 22, OX 21, Welbeck 23, Coquelin 23 etc;
    Starting XI:
    Mings——Doria——Van Dijk——Jenko
    6ft 4″——–6ft 3″——–6ft 4″———6ft 1″

    With Jenko playing his socks off at West Ham and free when back from his loan then the others combined cost about the same as Hummels on his own and the pecking order at the Arsenal is maintained – nice bit of business 🙂

  • Always good to see Terry back. Somebody should do a biography… There’s a lot of wisdom under that rug… 😀

    We’ve gotten a little news from the club and it doesn’t seem good. Debuchy and Arteta have both had surgeries and now must recover. Both are old enough that their comebacks will be all the tougher and many are probably willing (if not happy) to look towards younger guys. That’s not a cheap shot, just the truth… Sorry if anything along similar lines (above, a couple days back…) was misinterpreted. Time waits for no man, but (IMO) the elders often come in for less appreciation than they deserve.

    Our club needs a balance between those who know their games and how they can contribute and those feeling their way into the game and the team. One thing which veterans might bring is a knowledge that getting out onto the pitch only helps if you can bring value. Hopefully there’s good communication between manager and players and nobody playing who shouldn’t be.

    So, with Ozil and Theo just finding their feet and mystery hurts (and illnesses and recoveries) for Gibbs, Chambers and Flamini, it’s hard to know what will be the best line-up at Man City. If Ospina goes in goal it will be his first substantial test. Anyhow, the manager will figure it out and the fans will second guess and hail or impugn depending on whatever happens. Overall, it seems a tough one…

  • On that last point HT, I do think that if we don’t test these guys when the opportunity arises, then we are never going to find out if they are good enough. Which then leaves them vulnerable to the view that they aren’t good enough because they have played a against top opposition?

    I take the same view over Ozil and Walcott as I will down the line with Ramsey and Wilshere, and that is nobody should get into the team when are playing well, solely based on how well they have played at their best. I go back to the point I made last week, I think AW’s expectation level has been raised by Alexis Sanchez. Even the slightly deranged TCM got it crudely right, by saying AW should sign 10 more like Alexis.
    I think this is why this TW has had a different look to it, albeit it has a familiar ring to it, as the only signing to date is a 17 year old. We are being linked with seriously good players, along with a hundred of ‘never in a million years’ ones.
    The trouble is, the pieces have to fall right before anything happens. This Bielik lad is lucky one that might have slipped away in another TW. The cheap low bid only alerted other clubs,but the wheels will be put in motion very quickly. I hope the medical is just a formality tomorrow, and he is there to watch the game alongside Woijech, as I think he(WS) will be key as to how quickly he settles here.

    Like Steve, I find the Hummels link somewhat dubious, unless it is a blind to get Man U to pay a little extra, and leave our other targets alone. A retaliation for them trying it on with the man in pink? DvD, sorry, V-v-D has talked up a move, even if his club are saying No, as just one possibility. I don’t believe we have a pre contract, verbal or otherwise, with MS, even more so with their other injury.
    It may mean that Sunday’s game takes on greater significance if it squeezes more money being advance for transfers?

    As for our seniors, something will work out for them. But they should be aware that AW has been quite ruthless in the past?

  • Well… That went over like your proverbial heavy metal dirigible… :/

    When in doubt, go back to the topic at hand… First off, that’s quite a photo there at the top of the post…It’s so strange that I think it might be real… Any back story on it?

    Ozil’s throwaway quote about winning the league is getting morphed into some hit-grabbers on new snow…and, IMO, it’s a (very) good thing that he seems to have a lot of belief in the team and (one would guess) his ability to add to it. One thing I’ll say about our squad is that as many times as supporters have felt that it was “all over,” the guys have rallied and gotten back to minimum standards. Plenty of people will say that they’d trade our consistency for the ups and downs of United or (even) Liverpool, but I wonder…

    This match at City feels like a big one, but then some (ostensibly) easier ones with full weeks in between (Brighton away, Villa at home) are on tap to take us to the close of the window. Results in both arenas seem very important and getting a bit more than the Polish kid (the Next Isaac Hayden?… 😉 …) seems a must… If results go wonky a PR blitz (more signings…) would seem even more critical…

    However, as always, WTF do I know?… 😀

  • Oops…Simulposting with Gerry… 🙂

    Agreed, the younger players finding some form and the combos which work in the easier matches should get a run out in tougher ones. Still, we want to create good experiences. Sending lambs to the slaughter doesn’t make the lambs into rams…

    I think people fail to appreciate the difference between playing a set of decent players who rely on their physicality (in front of their home support) vs playing seasoned internationals and (a few) world class players in a match they’re intending to win. The latter can ratchet up the pace of play and pounce on much smaller mistakes at will…

    So, it’s a balance and for me at least experience is key. When I have the energy, Gerry, I can usually decipher a lot of good ideas about getting in some of the youngsters into the various spots. It gets tougher (more confusing…) when Steve always wants more more more in (some) scenarios which seem to me would produce nothing but lamb sausage. Sometimes, I have to say, I tune out, given that there’s not much chance the manager is really considering any such notions…

    Le Coq is older and has played in big matches. At Chelsea a couple of years back his exaggerated fall (dive) went uncalled and the Chavs got in at the other end for a decisive goal. In other words he’s got a certain type of “big match experience.” Chambers too, knows a bit about trying to guard World Class forwards (his soft yellow against Hazard, again, more recently, Stamford Bridge). He’s probably the pick at RB unless he’s “sick” again. Ozil and Bellerin, going forward would be a treat and a very aggressive sign… Gibb’s “injury” means Nacho is preferred on the other side. We’ll see how the rest of the team picks itself, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ozil and/or Flamini in at the expense of the Ox and/or Le Coq… Two holding mids if Flams is “ready” might be the call in which case Ozil might not be ready either…

    Who knows, and I should probably wait to see what the preview writer decides…

  • I agree HT, Geoff has taken on a toughie to decypher who is fit, half fit, etc. I wish him all the best.

    From what you are saying about ‘lambs to the slaughter’, you make it sound like they are straight out of the under 18’s and had not played before. And with RB, as though we have a multiple choice?
    It is either Chambers or Bellerin is it not?

    I guess ‘experienced’ Flamini could go there, but is that a better option?

    In truth it is Coquelin that you are more worried about I think? But that is why I think I would go with the double pivot, and have Flamini there, if he is fit to play. That would be at the expense of OX. But as I said above there is good reasoning to keep the whole attacking players together.
    However, if Flamini is not fit, the thought of starting Ramsey ahead of Coquelin would be worse than dragging Rosicky back to DM?
    No, the obvious, and I think the way that AW will see it, depending how they shape up in training, is Coquelin starts with or without Flamini. The bigger shock would be to see Bielik on the bench 😀
    Now whether Ozil comes on for Santi, the more like-for-like swap, but less popular, but it keeps Rosicky and Ox to help out the DM.
    The alternative is to take Rosicky out to accommodate Ozil, but that puts even greater pressure on our back 6, as his ‘cards’ indicate he is not that strong in the defence area.
    Therefore, logic tells me that AW will use Ozil’s experience to help control the game late on, or chase it with Walcott.
    I would love to see Bellerin come on in the right midfield slot to play in front of Chambers, if the latter gets the nod at RB. That would be an attack and defensive substitution.

    I still have a good feeling going into this game that our current attack will give most teams a run for their money, but that is based on how fluid they have been. Yes, Man City will be tougher, but it is our defence that just has to match what the guys up front can do. Win or lose, you cannot ask for more than that?

  • TA, Gerry and HT

    TA you have mail!

    Short preview, I have, or need to have, Gibbs fit and don’t worry too much about Ozil and Theo a maybe

    cheers — jgc

  • Sounds good Prof. AW did say the news on Gibbs looked ‘promising’.

    I hope you are not affected by the Swiss Franc freefall? Being the globetrotter you are, it was probably a good currency to go travelling with.

    All quiet on the TW front. Only repeats of yesterday’s news. Our first signing, subject to his medical, is ‘very happy’.
    So am I,, as he was on my list of probable signings. I just hope Dick Law keeps clocking up his ‘air miles’ and we have another arrival expected in the next day or two? I have made no secret of the next player on my list is where his next destination should be, bar his name, and I hope the reported offer from one of our rivals has the same effect that the offer on Bielik did.

    To most, I am sure will think this player is not a priority. he is expensive, unproven, and not that tall. However, if we ever have to do without the services of Alexis, through injury or suspension, then this player would see that he is not unduly missed. At a stroke, he would wipe away the thought we are a one man team. To have both, with the right DM, we could play a 4-2-4 formation that would give Arsene wet dreams before every match 😀 😀 😀

    The best of it is, the only player he would take a position away from is Kieren Gibbs, when he cuts inside in the final third. Welbeck doesn’t want to be out there, and so would be challenging Giroud for the central position. Alexis would move to second striker, and Walcott and Ox vie for the right wide role. All four capable and willing to drop back and help the defence, so the pairing of MS(?) and Ozil in midfield need not be a cause for too much alarm. Especially as the wingbacks need not press on the way they do now.

    Yes TA, I am still dreaming …but what if …….?

    Dick, make it happen!

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