DM hunt is over: And he’s not here to take part…but to take over!

He is the definition of tenacious.


It’s fair to say Coquelin’s career has never really taken off at Arsenal (as shown by his appearance stats below):

Games total:

2014/15 – Arsenal 5 (4 sub)

2013/14 – Freiburg 16 (8 sub)

2012/13 – Arsenal 11 (11 sub)

2011/12 – Arsenal 13 (4 sub)

2010/11 – Lorient 13 (11 sub)

2009/10 – Arsenal 2 (1 sub)

2008/09 – Arsenal (1 sub)

Could Arteta’s injury woes open the doors for Coquelin to get more game time?

He has a robust style that endears him to the supporters, and he loves the nitty-gritty. But why has he never succeeded in the mighty red and white? I could understand if you said he doesn’t fit our style of play or he has a poor range of passing. But in my opinion he ticks both boxes. Coquelin has had some ripping performances in the past too…the Man U game that didn’t exist (perhaps the only positive to come out of that game) and a game against the spuds come both to mind. Arsene likes a bargain so what better deal than a player already on our books?!

Coquelin’s biggest hurdle appears to be our manager’s perception of him…and it appears once his mind is made up there is no going back. Arsene has praised Coquelin recently but they’re the type of quotes that lead you to believe he’ll be on his way out at the end of the season. We’ve heard it from Arsene before “He’ll have a career and hopefully he’ll make it here…which in Arsene talk equates “I don’t want to hold him back so I have allowed him to leave”.

I agree with our manager most of the time but I disagree with him greatly on this one. What does Flamini and Arteta offer the team that Coquelin doesn’t? Experience you say. Yes that may be so. Coquelin has played in a number of different teams and has been in the Arsenal system for some time now (not to mention he still hasn’t hit his prime), so I think he’s got enough experience. What else? Arteta may have better passing skills but does he use them at Arsenal? Even then, Coquelin is no slouch. Flamini may be tough and fight tooth and nail but one could argue the young Frenchman is displaying more of a desire to succeed. Can Arteta play in the full back position if needed (red card or terrible run with injuries)? Flamini can and so can Coquelin. Flamini played as a full back during our terrific Champions League run in 2006. Unfortunately for Flamini he was never born with blistering pace but it appears to be dropping off rapidly.

It just doesn’t make sense that Arsene would splash the cash when he has the right person for the job standing in front of him. When we’ve needed a DM in the past this is who Arsene has turned to:

  • Gilberto rested -> Flamini (already an Arsenal player) is given a chance
  • Flamini leaves for Milan -> Denilson (already an Arsenal player) is chosen
  • mum taught me that if I had nothing good to say that I should keep it to myself -> Song (already an Arsenal player) given the go ahead.
  • Song departs for Barcelona -> Arteta (already an Arsenal player) is selected to play their despite playing as an attacking midfielder for large parts of his career.

Notice a trend there?

So Arsene, forget splashing 25 million on a DM. Spend it on a CB and/or another attacking player. We’ve got the defensive midfielder we need already, plus a couple of younger ones developing in the reserves. I know he’s not the highly fashionable “gorilla DM” that everyone cries out for, but he’s one of our own and he deserves the chance. Don’t agree? Well watch this and then make up your mind.

It was written in the stars…

By Oz Gunner

55 thoughts on “DM hunt is over: And he’s not here to take part…but to take over!

  • Great stuff, OzG, and nice to see you stand up for your man once again. 🙂

    Yes tenacious is his middle name and the Arteta injury might just give him the break he needs. Does it mean we should not buy another DM. Not for me, as both Flamini and Arteta will not have much longer at Arsenal and we need depth. I am already dreaming of Coqerlin, a combo of Coq and Schneiderlin, as DM shield for years to come.

    Would I play Coquelin on his own on Sunday? No way, but in combo with the wily Flamini oui, oui, oui! 🙂 Experience is key and le Coq on his own is a small guarantee for a red card in such a big match. That is why, if I had to choose, Flam would always get the nod for me, not that he is infallible though.

    I am really hoping we keep Le Coq and play him regularly from now on. But we also need to strengthen further: the DM position(s) is/are crucial in the modern game: they protect and link-up, they press and start off counter-attacks, they boss and they motivate. Let’s bloody invest. 🙂

  • Nice post but I don’t think Coq has what he takes….. Lacks tactical intelligence u could even see in the game against stoke hw was ways caught out…..too reckless still like flamini (who I don’t like at all) we need a younger version a arteta imo I like Coq but not against top teams

  • Is he a world class DM which is what everyone is asking for – no
    will the Arsene out front be satisfied with Coq as DM – no
    will Arsene buy a world class DM – absolutely not

    I think Coq has finally understood what a chance he’s been given by Arsene since returning from his loan. He looks fully committed (even over committed at times) which is definitely what we need.
    I believe that as long as he sticks to his defensive duties he can become a big player for Arsenal.
    The biggest problem I see is his passing. In games against weaker opposition I would always select Arteta over him because the passing game is more important.
    On occasisons like Sunday Wenger has shwon this season that he will play 2 in central midfield…he did it at Chelsea, at Liverpool, at Dortmund and even at West Ham.
    I think Coq will be one of them with probably Ramsey the other.

    Oh and I think Bielik is a great signing and will prove to be another Arsene Wenger master class. I hope he’s going to play in the FA Cup next week.

  • Hi Nik 🙂

    Hope you are right re Bielik, if indeed it gets done. At just 17 years old I am not going to get too much excited though. For all we know, he is the next Eisfeld… What a promise he was.

    i think you are right re Wenger not buying a SQ DM. He should but will not. A CB if we are lucky and more promising youth maybe. C’est tous – Das ist alles! 🙂

  • Cheers TA.

    For this weekends game I wouldn’t play him with flamini. I’d partner him up with Rosicky. If Yaya was playing it might be a different story

    To partner or not to partner is a tough question in my opinion. We have the attacking options now that a partner alongside le coq wouldn’t hinder our attacking threat like it has done previously. But I think his partner is Ramsey. Its the reason why Arsene put the heat on Ramsey for not being mindful of running the other way. If le coq has a partner where does he fit in the team?

    The way I see it:

    —-le coq – ramsey—
    theo -Giroud-Sanchez

    If Ramsey is injured I think the next best option is Ox (I feel it will be his position in the future).

    With Arteta and Flamini heading into their twilight years I think other options go to Chambers (Arsene said it’s where he sees his future despite playing at CB currently.) and potentially Hayden.

    If Arsene only had 30million to spend would a DM be your first choice? Or is CB, striker more important?

  • Absolutely DM, Oz. It has been key for a long, long time for me. it is the middle of the spine and we need top quality with real leadership skills there. Otherwise we will not go anywhere.

    I agree with Ramsey (and Jack) playing in the b2b role. That one is sorted.

  • Great work bro. Thank God this post is not on Just Arsenal site else you’d be dressed down as a plastic fan who have zero ambition. Most Arsenal fans want a beast kind of DM that will strike fear in the opposite team. They will claim that they are tired of developing great potentials, losing site of the fact that these already established ones they’re raving about were developed by someone. Le coq really came into his own these past games and his performances in those games are nothing to sneer at. I suggest that we try him out for the remainder of the season and if he falls short then a new DM should sought. Saw on super sports news that the new boy from Legia Warsaw deal has been agreed but subject to medical. Another litmus test for him is the Manchester City game. His performance in such a high profile game will give us the inkling of what’s to come. Meanwhile lets close ranks and keep supporting our darling Arsenal and hope for another Stoke like master class.

  • Hi Hedbo,

    Thanks for dropping in and taking the time to read the post. I disagree, I think the games Coquelin has performed best in have been the big matches. I also disagree he lacks the tactical nous necessary. He’s been involved with Arsenal for a long time now, learnt from other managers and he’s played across the back line. He also has BFG behind him and he is excellent at organising players (no coincidence that he brings out the best in Kozzer when they play together).

    @ Nik

    Every one wants a world class DM…where are they? Man U have wanted one for a while but not even they can find one. If you want a world class DM you have to pay a premium. In my opinion the money could be used better elsewhere.

    I disagree in regards to his passing. The video clearly highlights his wide range of passing skills. From chipped through balls to crosses leading to assists. I think his passing is far beyond that of a typical DM (everyone wanted M’Vila but his passing was average at best). Everyone remembers Arteta’s passing at Everton, what ranging of passing does he use at Arsenal? More often than not he goes for the Denilson approach and passes it sideways. I’m not saying he is not capable of it but I think he slows down the play. He has aspects that are similar to Rosicky in that he drives forward more often than not.

    @ TA

    agreed. I don’t have much hope in youth anymore. Once upon a time I thought everyone would make it from our academy. You only have to look at our 2009 youth cup winning team to see the disappointment. Eisfeld was another that promised big things but disappeared into the ether

  • Nice Oz

    You should see my tenacity when some one wants to fight me Oz Baby. Gritted teeth, adrenalin pumping. Oh yes, I have been know to run through sturdy doors and brick walls as I make my escape.

    Ime also quite tenacious when debt collectors ask for money. Though this technique involves rendering myself invisible by melding into walls and sometimes furniture

    “Were the f*uck is he John, he was here only a second ago?” They not knowing that I have actually fused myself on the bonnet of there removal van.

    I remember you always been a fan of Coq, arnt we all? The guy plays with a snarl and for his size really gets stuck in. Its not just overall ability but sometimes attitude that matters and hopefully his aggressive demeanour rubs off on some of our other players.

    The jury is out on whether he is the long term answer, but I like him. Its up to Wenger to decide if we can find someone better via the transfer market, but for the moment Coq certainly brings something different and in my opinion something needed.

  • @ TA

    interesting. I would have thought CB took presidence over a DM. I agree, it is a massively important position in the structure of any team. I just think it’s that high stamina type with good passing, tenacity and drive that works best.

    I just think this is the blue print:

    and Coquelin is most likely to deliver it. Cesc, Hleb, Rosicky and Flamini was our best midfield since the invincibles. We have a chance to better that with:

    THEN -> NOW
    Flamini -> Coquelin
    Cesc -> Ozil
    Rosicky -> Ox
    Hleb -> Sanchez
    Silva/Diaby -> Ramsey

    I think if he was 3 inches taller more supporters would be sold on him (not saying this is the case with you)

  • Cheers Mr Bond,

    You’re my new favourite poster 🙂

    Couldn’t agree more. Give him the rest of the season (Flamini as backup / cup games) and lets see how he goes. It’s likely schneiderlin will still be available then anyway.

    Then when he helps us win the champions league trophy we will be crowned visionaries 🙂

  • cheers Terry. Just missed out on commenting on your anedote in the previous post…add it to the collection of brilliant comments you’ve made over the years. You remind me of David Thorne (for those that have never read his stuff I highly recommend it, he’ll leave you in stitches. Read this email exchange with a neighbour that installed a bright flood light.)


    email exchange with a pushy Christian volunteer at his suns school

    “Dear Darryl,
    I understand the importance the resurrection story holds in your particular religion. If I too knew some guy that had been killed and placed inside a cave with a rock in front of it and I visited the cave to find the rock moved and his body gone, the only logical assumption would be that he had risen from the dead and is the son of God. Once, my friend Simon was rushed to hospital to have his appendix removed and I visited him the next day to find his bed empty. I immediately sacrificed a goat and burnt a witch in his name but it turned out that he had not had appendicitis, just needed a good poo, and was at home playing Playstation.
    Someone probably should have asked “So the rock has been moved and he’s gone… has anyone checked his house?” I realise Playstation was not around in those days but they probably had the equivalent. A muddy stick or something. I would have said “Can someone please check if Jesus is at home playing with his muddy stick, if not, then and only then should we all assume, logically, that he has risen from the dead and is the son of God.”
    If we accept though, that Jesus was the son of an Infinite Being capable of anything, he probably did have a Playstation. Probably a Playstation 7. I know I have to get my offspring all the latest gadgets. God would probably have said to him, “I was going to wait another two thousand years to give you this but seeing as you have been good… just don’t tell your mother about Grand Theft Auto.”
    Also, is it true that Jesus can be stabbed during a sword fight and be ok due to the fact that he can only die if he gets his head chopped off?
    Regards, David.”

    Agreed. Coquelin’s attitude is very likable. He’s not the type of player that leaves you wondering if he’s trying his hardest on the pitch

  • @ TA

    haha he’s a ripper. I like the: reading my book under the blanket wearing sunglasses

  • Hi Oz, this is as unexpected as it is good. I’m glad too that you have picked up on his passing game in your reply to Nik.

    If we go back to those days when Coquelin and Nico Yennaris were vying for the same DM spot, Frances got the nod because of his passing. He was seen as the more stylish of the pair. Something I have been repeating in my reasoning why he should play this weekend.

    What I have noticed in his recent games is he does read the game well, so when he makes a last minute tackle it is because he can see what happens if he doesn’t. Let’s face it, all DM’s get booked. Arteta escapes a few because of his captains armband. So I think it is a bit much to throw too much mud at him. He played it simple against Stoke and did not get booked. The game on Sunday will be much more demanding. I almost expect he will pick up his 5th booking, but if he can be like Alex Song and not get the second one, yet still do his job, then I think he will be half way to passing the test.

    The other thing about the Stoke game was he was never left short of a pass to somebody. Santi and Rosi offered, as well as the two CB’s behind, but he did show he could shield the ball too. You mention their lack of Ya Ya, but they have a formidable defensive pair to come on in his place, so this quick, short passing is something that they will have to maintain. I therefore don’t expect his long passing to come into action very often, but the more he plays, the better he will be.

    The big question, will he be here long term? I think we will have a better idea after this next game. I am strongly behind him having the chance by starting. He has deserved that at the very least. I veer slightly more towards him having a partner, due to the strength of the opposition, and if there is anybody in the pipeline during this TW, I would have said it is his likely partners that have more to worry about if he comes good in this game? So I say leave his long term future out of it for the moment.

    Nik – Please give the new lad a break. He has only played 6 senior games in the Polish league. I too have high hopes for him, but not a week after he steps off the plane!.
    I wish I could remember the name of the big Coventry CB who had the terrace chant that started …’6ft 2, eyes of blue, X is coming after you’, but I can see it being revived for him … unless he does a Mings, and keeps growing 😀

  • Of course Coq musnt play play alone at the middle, Ramsey is the best partner there, or the Man Rosiscky who has both pace and style. I support the writer because Coq is not different to the likes of Cavalho, he is 23 and Cavalho 22, i think he needs enough time at the pitch more game time will help him suit and adopt to EPL.
    Coq is very fit physically and still young is not afraid of interceptions all those are used to describe a DM, by the end of this season he will be a feet only away from a world class DM

  • very well said Gerry. Can’t argue with any of that.

    Do you think any of our youth midfielders have a chance of making it in the future? Does Hayden have a higher ceiling when compared to Coquelin?

  • Oz – I loved those links 😀

    I think a lot of it comes down to attitude and application. I think in Coquelin’s case his improvement maybe in no small part down to our new coaching staff?
    The oft quoted Eisfeld had a few difficulties when he first came. Got over that, but then had a period where things did not gel. He may have done better with our current coaches, who knows?
    But ultimately it was partly down to him.

    Hayden is probably the polar opposite off Eisfeld, in that he is not only his own biggest critic, he also works hard at improving. It will a be big tragedy for him if this injury spell turns out that he misses his opportunity to further himself at Arsenal. I am hoping he plays in the Under 21’s game tomorrow, and possibly comes into consideration for the FA Cup game. He has more physical scope than Coquelin, but it is going to come down to being available at the right time. If you read the Tyrone Mings story you would see how close he came to dropping out of the game, but for his own persistence. I think Hayden has that same stubborn streak not to be denied. I believe he also has the talent.

    As for the others, I keep coming back to what Alexis has done to AW’s perception of what top class players are all about, and apart from Akpom, I think very few will make it, with Arsenal at least. But they will have very strong chance of doing an ‘Afobe’.
    Jorge Bird did a nice biopic of Afobe on his website, and reading that and you see ‘if he did not make it here, then well…??’, and you have a good idea what I mean.

  • Coquelin is the personification of the “john obi mikel” tactic used by Chelsea and one we definitely need to have in our locker.
    Forget the defense for a minute and lets take the idea that we have two choices for each starting place;

    Campbell—–Cazorla—–The OX

    On that first line up once we get the DM signing sorted then the choice of partner (represented by the ???) becomes a matter of tactics;
    Wilshere – Quarter back creator
    Ramsey – B2B goal scorer
    Coquelin – Shut up shop, protect a lead (ie john obi mikel)

    The rest are to some degree (apart from Sanchez) interchangeable but those three choices for the DM partner can completely dictate the way the match develops and i think between them give an almost complete spectrum of tactical options for Wenger.

    We have seen how well it works at Chelsea, to have Csec work his magic and then when things need to be tightened up Mikel comes on to partner Matic. This is what we could potentially have at Arsenal but imo better!!

  • HI OZ don’t get me wrong I like him but there is a reason why the lorient coach said he wasn’t a dm and played him as a lb or rb even in struggling Freiburg he was not playing as their dm their is a reason Wenger recalled flamini who was past it imo and let him go on loan he isn’t good tactically the lorient boss alluded to that and I see it in his game everytime now he can get away with it against the smaller teams but any good team will expose him… Unlike most fans I don’t believe that a dm must be tall or a big but he must have tactical intelligence and the ability to retain possession which is very important in the modern height is just an added bonus… Kross isn’t all that in height or size but he is the one of the best because he is very intelligent and aware you get my drift

  • Well HEBDO look where lorient are on their table. Maybe if he played Le Coq in the right position they wouldnt be 16 and falling eh? lol

  • Ho Oz, 🙂

    I love a Post that is well written, with a very good presentation style, and a viable argument for a point of view.

    The choices for this week-end are limited due to injuries, and Le Coq has done pretty well when he has been brought in to do a job. If Chambers has recovered from his exertions it is possible that the Boss may play Belerin at RB and play the bigger more physical Chambers in the holding mid-field role instead.
    [OK, it is a given that all my suggestions of this nature are generally ignored by Mr Wenger, which is very naughty of him!] 🙂

    As a youngster, I had high hopes for so many of the ‘Wilshere’ era players, but so many of them have not made the cut, for example, Ping-Pong, Jet bot of whom I thought would be shoe-ins.

    Another one I had hopes for was Le Coq, but then he was shifted out on loan, which at Arsenal is usually not necessarily ‘the kiss of death’, but frequently ‘the kiss goodbye’ to their Arsenal careers.

    I kept a casual eye on him at his various loan clubs and truth to tell he seemed to have underwhelmed them all. Even at Charlton (perhaps because of injury) he did not seem to be pressing for a permanent place in their team, and this seemed to confirm he was not going to be good enough for Arsenal.

    He has done well in his games for us this season, but the defensive role in which he plays, unlike the more creative midfield roles, requires some physique and this he does not have.

    In short -Le Coq may well play against Citeh, but, sadly, I just do not see him as a long-term possessor of that role for the Arsenal, and altho’ AW will not buy a world class addition to the squad this January– we still do not have the money that would require — I think he is still looking for a strong, robust and skilful player, if one is available — a bit like Schneiderlin, maybe?

    Anyway, good stuff Ozzer, and I enjoyed it, as you can tell. 🙂

  • Love the post, Oz . ….
    Arsene, dont be stubborn, give him a chance.

    He’s earning it. You must respect that.

  • re world class DMs
    a couple of years ago I was screaming for us to sign Javi Martinez, but then Bayern came along
    nowadays I think it is very difficult to find a top class DM becuase there’s not a lot of those
    that’s because it is the most complex position in football
    you need to be able to defend almost as good as a defender and build play as good as a playmaker
    best in the world for me are Martinez, Kroos, Lahm, Xabi Alonso, Busquets and Matic seems to be getting there

    re Copuelin’s passing
    Judging on the game against Stoke Coquelin’s passing was not what I want from a DM which was partly down to him and partly because Santi was everywhere
    what I want to see from a DM is to be the player that always gets the ball from the keeper or the defenders and to have an image of how the attack that he starts with his next pass is going to finish. He needs to know exactly where to play it going forward. He needs to be able to pass and move, play short and long passes on the spot and to be very very secure in possession.
    All I’ve seen from Coquelin makes me think he is never going to get there

    As for Sunday we need a defensive midfielder who plays very defensive and Coq can definitley do that. My guess is that either Rambo or Flamini will start next to him

    For the future I still hope for Zelalem to muscle up a bit and get into this position because the requirements for the playmaking side of the game are definitley there.
    And I hope for Arsene to sign Sami Khedira for free in the summer because he can really do it as well.

  • Interesting post.

    It does seem that Coquelin is doing his utmost to grab this opportunity.
    Correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t his contract expire this summer?
    Maybe time for an Arsene rethink is in order?

    I saw Francis and Frimpong totally dominate a strong Man City at the Grove about three years ago in the League Cup.
    Nasri was given some quite close attention.
    Arsrnal should have won, but our attack was rubbish and they had Agurro.
    So we lost.

    But Le Coq was impressive.

  • From the comments above, it seems that tendentious Oz, is championing tenacious Coq very well indeed! 🙂

  • cheers for the youth insight Gerry. I’ll definitely give that a read because I liked afobe and definitely thought he’d buck our inability to develop strikers. I hope Hayden makes it and gets an opportunity in the FA Cup.

    @ Steve

    good post, i like the versatility in our squad. But i feel Coq is the DM and his partners are interchangeable. I see Wilshere as more of a AM interchanging with Ozil or Santi. It definitely is the way to go though. But i think Ramsey is too good to leave out. If we are playing a good team Arsene should tell Le Coq to stay back and remind Ramsey of his defensive responsibilities. Against a lower ranked team let Ramsey join in the attacks more often. If we need support late take off an attacker and bring on Flamini.

    @ Hebdo

    I disagree. He has performed in bigger games as well. I think with his sort of application and fight there can be no drop off. He plays at an even level every game and is noticed by his team mates either dropping off or performing well (game against United – every one dropped their bundle…he kept fighting until the end). It’s not a glamorous position so you tend not to be noticed as much. As for loan performances. I think they count for nothing. Ryo performed well at Bolton and Feyenoord but didn’t perform at Arsenal (even after the injuries).

    @ RA

    cheers, thank you for taking the time to read it.

    The JET and Pong issues were annoying. Both i think rested on their laurels and never took that next step. Frimpong to busy clowning around (noticed he’s in trouble again for having a go at Gerrard) and JET had his off field demons.

    I too was disappointed with his performances on loan and kept up to date with what was said about him. I just think he’s one of those players that risers to the occasion when they play in a bigger team. It happens often in multiple sports. In Aussie Rules there are often players that are worth their weight in gold in the top level, but in the lower leagues they don’t perform. Is it a mindset issue? do they think they need to try harder…potentially trying too hard? or are the pitches not up to scratch in lower levels. Stick him in the Championship and I think he’s nothing special. Put an Arsenal top on him and he’ll rise to the top…he’s a phoenix RA 🙂

    @ Kev

    yes Coq’s contract expires at the end of the season (along with flamini, arteta and Diaby). Which is a shame because worse case scenario we could get a couple of million out of him due to his recent performances. If he performs well in the second half of the season he might do a Flamini and say “where was my contract offer before?”

  • There was another ‘failed’ youth player that gets thrown into the mix every now and then, but popped up to score for Bristol City earlier this week – Jay Emmanuel Thomas.

    If Arsenal were a mid table side then I think there are a few of our regulars in the Under 21 teams that would have had their breakthrough by now. But the higher up the ladder you go, the more competitive it is. That does not make the players we have poor players. Of course some may get affected mentally at having their dreams dashed when they seemed to be getting so close. Benek Afobe should be applauded for taking the chance when offered. If they could have afforded to buy him, I am sure he would have equally happy to stay at MKDons. The point is he has a professional career in the sport he loves. The majority of people just have a job.

    I am saying this because I have praised many of our young aspiring players recently, like Maitland-Niles, Ormone-Ottewill (who returned to action in their last game, and had a good one apparently), and the slightly older Hayden. The younger ones like O’Connor Zelalem and Crowley still have a couple of years to improve their chances. However, even these players will struggle if AW now pursues the idea of ‘topping up’ with only the very best from the wider world. According to reports, another 17 year old is set to join us, which is making my case for me. As a club we cannot match the huge money that others are prepared to throw at ‘proven’ players – £200m for Bale, £500m for Messi, or even £77m(and rising) for Pogba. It therefore makes sense to gamble a little on the young ones that look to have exceptional qualities, and hope the %age success rate is higher than those who come through the ranks. It is hard headed commercial thinking, which is why I think the injury prone Wilshere, and the stop start Ramsey, or the one-trick pony Walcott, are not immune from being shown the door, any more than Afobe. Because, if the players being bought, from here on, develop further from their existing talent, nobody is safe, say bar Alexis, and Ozil if he lives up to his billing?

    If you want the club to be successful and in the hunt and winning things season after season, then face up to the new reality.
    Thomas Vermaelin should be in the forefront of your mind after reading the above. Excellent Player. Great club man. Injury prone. Gone.
    Abou Diaby – Fantastic player. Injury robbed career. Going …
    Arteta – Great player. Loyal to a fault. Late injury. Contract not renewed, unless it is as a player/ coach?
    Thomas Rosicky – 34 years of age, yet playing some great football. Contract will not be renewed, but he will get a nice retirement deal in the USA.

    Who knows who will be the next name on this list, but the price for ending the ‘barren years’ once and for all, this is the price you pay. The kids are lucky, they can start again elsewhere.

    Tomorrow’s game will show us how close we are to turning things around …
    but be careful what you wish for?

  • I suppose it all comes down to cost of coaching and development vs youth player sales. A select few have made it (Wilshere, Gibbs and perhaps Szczesny) but a very large number have failed. It’s okay when we get 1M for Simpson or 2M for Afobe, but those that leave on a free equate to lost time and money. It’s not as though reserves generate massive amounts of revenue through ticket sales and merchandise.

    We have more luck poaching other teams promising youth (5M for Ramsey, Bellerin, Walcott, Ox, Chambers and Gnabry).

    Fingers crossed on Zelalem.

    Whilst I enjoy reading about our youth I have next to zero faith that they’ll make an impact in the seniors

  • Gerry 🙂

    There is merit in your theory, but your two words descriptions of stars like Ramsey, Wilshere and Theo are at best simplistic. Here is something for you: in 2024 they will still be playing for us. They have come through difficult times and are coming to an age in which they will become big players, and as you know, Wenger remains loyal to those he believes in, whatever fans like you think.

    Wenger will also now keep buying top quality players, but of course will not spend silly money as you quoted, and nobody will anymore….. It is just media nonsense.

  • The one to watch out is Ox. When Theo was his age he scored 13 in 38 games, whereas Alex has just two in 30 appearances already…. He is, as yet, not taking his opportunity and he better starts adding meat and vegs to his excellent trickery.

  • TA, I know I am treading on sacred cows here. Yours in particular. However simplistic, it does not disguise the facts. Wilshere is injury prone. Now he may well be able to adapt his game to be less so, if the foundation of damage has not already been laid, a la Diaby?
    Ramsey. I understand people saying lets slot him alongside Coquelin as he was just coming back to his best. I agree his best, like Wilshere’s, is absolutely wonderful. Where I differ is I have yet to see him come back from any injury and play anywhere near his best … even after 4 or 5 full games. Not because he is not fit, because it is in his head.

    Or let me put it this way. One place left in the side, do you play Alexis Or Wilshere? Alexis Or Ramsey?
    If AW is looking for 10 out field players of a similar skill level determination, injury resistant, and stamina to burn, neither Wilshere or Ramsey tick all the boxes. It will take time to gather in such a squad, but in the key areas, every 20-22 year old he brings in now, you can bet they will be mighty close. If they are not more consistent by the time Arsene’s contract runs out, then the next manager will be looking around for the players that will be, either from the youngsters now being pick up, or elsewhere …because that is what it is going to take to be ‘successful’.

    I am not quite sure what you mean by ‘fans like me’. I am only thinking out loud the same compare and contrast thinking that AW is likely to be doing. Not many fans ever look at the reality. Most just look and say ‘he looks good, let’s buy him’.

    I don’t see AW as the cuddly Uncle who likes to see all his ‘nephews’ smiling and happy. I think he is the sort of person who would buy a dog to do a specific thing, but when it cannot do that job, he will be out looking for one that can … but he will try and find a good home for the other one … if he liked it?

  • sorry just popped in to defend my man OX lol
    TA you must realize that when Theo started playing we were Arsenal, not this jumbled mess of mediocrity that we are now and playing teams that were a lot less developed than they are now, its absolutely no wonder that he scored more goals.
    In the team we have at the moment, devoid of quick breaks and incisive defense splitting passes is it any wonder that the only goals are coming from the only player that can pretty much make them all on his own in a congested area.
    The last game we played was the first in a VERY long time that we actually looked like the Arsenal i remember, no coincidence then that Theo actually got a couple of chances through on goal (one on a quick incisive counter attack no less).
    Until we get that kind of rhythm on a consistent basis we are going to need players with a bit of trickery who can make a goal themselves or produce an assist and the closest player to Sanchez on that front this season has been OX.
    I can’t remember the last time Theo took two players on from a standing start down the wing and tricked, paced and bullied his way past them to put a cross in.
    You know me though i would still like to see Theo on that wing but OX also involved in that role Rosicky was playing in against Stoke.
    Just don’t use blind statistics without any context to compare two completely different types of players and evaluate their performance. 🙂

  • @ TA

    If ox doesn’t make it we might as well pack up and support another code. I think he can be anything he wants. He just needs to adjust his shooting technique a little. He has ridiculous power in his shots. I think he could play CM, AM, winger or striker if he wanted too. Future is in his hands

    I want to know what’s going on with diaby and gnabry. Do they still exist? I’ve got high hopes for gnabry.

  • OZ, Gnabry always reminded me of a German OX, slightly less pace but more refined strike.
    Could you imagine an attacking midfield of;

    One Sanchez and two Sanchez’s in training lol

  • Can I just add to that Steve, before I slip off to the races.

    Alex is one of the few who have looked at Alexis and said ‘I want to be as good as him,trying as hard as him and playing alongside him’
    Theo wants to play with Ozil … to get those nice passes laid on a plate, and Alexis who will make it easier for me to score 😀

    I am not sure what you own view is TA. If there are no better players out there, then fine. If there are better players out there, but we don’t need to sign them because we have the aforementioned sacred cows, then fine.

    If not either of the above, beg tell?

  • btw i would really like to see us take a punt on Ravel Morrison, considered an amazing talent but a total dick head – i think we could replace the Manc shite with Arsenal class and get a great player but i have absolutely no hope of Wenger ever considering him even with this type of baragin deal;

    “Morrison is seeking a relatively modest £15,000 a week (the same wage he is paid by West Ham). And there is a further incentive for his next club: he is prepared to waive any right to compensation should a club terminate his employment for stepping out of line.”

    Oh well looks like another complete waste of talent.

  • Gerry, Jack is injury prone….so what? He is only young and if he is as injury prone in three years time then maybe his future is elsewhere. He is a super, incredible talent,so Wenger and the fans will stand by him. Ramsey is a big player who always add to the team…. Wenger will stand by him for years to come. He is the Welsh Kroos in the making. Theo is a weapon which every team in Europe wants, simples.

  • Well Oz and Steve, we have to disagree on Ox, at least for now. I want him to come good as he is a nice lad but I have my doubts he will. Love to be wrong though. 🙂

  • I love this phrase injury prone lol, i heard someone say it about Debuchy the other day down the pub.
    Injury prone should surely refer to someone like Koscielny who due to an underlying medical condition may have game time limited , i am fucking positive there is no one running around with brittle bone syndrome or some other such infliction which would make them truly prone to injury as the tagline suggests.

    When a player gets injured as a result of someone knocking them into the advertising boards or sliding into their ankles at pace etc etc its not called being injury prone ITS BEING FUCKING HUMAN lol.

    The only players we have that are anywhere near injury prone are Gibbs, diaby and Koscielny due to underlying problems (many caused by bad injuries in the past), the rest are just unlucky and certainly not given enough protection from the referee. If all these players that play for Arsenal with the tagline “injury prone” played in La Liga they wouldn’t see the inside of the medical room all season.

  • Some really interesting comments about our young players, and yes, it’s certainly becoming increasingly difficult for them to get a look in.
    You only have to look at the Chelsea Academy, full of players’ hoovered up from all over the place, to see where it’s all going…
    Hopefully the lifting of restrictions, recently, allowing the likes of Arsenal to scout all over the British Isles, as it used to be, will help. But it’s gonna take time for Arsenal to reconstruct it’s domestic scouting network…
    I look forward to our Academy bringing in lads from all corners of the UK again, and not only from abroad and the Greater London area…

    I see that our Academy has got a 15 year old striker from the Czech Republic.

  • Hi Oz – Great point and post! 🙂 I must say that I had viewed Coq as one more of Arsenal’s products who did not live up to their potential and groaned when I heard that Arsene had recalled him from Charlton. But, he has been a revelation these past few games and long may that continue! 🙂
    I think you have a point there regarding his tenacity though it was not as apparent before. I don’t think that Wenger has given up on him though. Given the number of places that he has been on loan before, I doubt that Wenger would have persisted if he did not believe in him. As Coq acknowledged, the time in the Championship seems to have really helped him. I have to say that looks like an inspired move (sending him to Charlton)! I have a good feeling about this team and balance and feel that we are going to pull of a terrific run of games. May still not be enough to challenge for the title but …
    Here’s hoping for a terrific performance on Sunday…and three points! 🙂

  • Hey fellas…Saturday football on but not Arsenal…As such we can debate all sorts of things… Sorry, long one coming, I fear 😦

    Overall, (I think) I’m with Gerry when it comes to the youth policy. Buy low, sell high will produce a solid revenue stream for the club, good players for the league (and the lower leagues) and a bunch of kids who had a decent education and some good stories of guys with whom they played, not to mention fun times in London. How many will make it into the first team at Arsenal? Not many… As such, I’m also with Oz in that it’s hard to get too excited about the youth team matches and the stories in those ranks… As a club we definitely have the financial muscle to grab younger players–ready for some first team action–from other clubs and that’s probably our way forward. Chambers or Bellerin will play this weekend while Sagna (likely) sits for City but still collects his 100K, for example…In other words, we are attempting a different approach from the silly money clubs, but one which still makes things very tough on the home grown guys…

    We need guys like the Sot’on boys to do a job NOW. Which of them play tomorrow? Who knows? (Only AW…) Ideally, all three (Chambers, Theo and the Ox) might play, but with bought and fully developed players like Alexis, Ozil, Santi and Rosicky, I just don’t see it. Of the two attackers I’d go for Theo, simply to stretch the pitch and present that danger in behind, even if he needs to do a lot better when the ball gets to him…

    The Ox is a conundrum and I think TA is closer to the truth than many would like to acknowledge. He’s got soooo much talent but it needs to be married to a true confidence and correct decisions on the pitch which lead to points won for Arsenal. Too often, I fear, the Ox does the “right thing” but not the one which breaks open the play or makes the assist or goal. Nobody needs things to fall his way more than him. Potential can only carry one so far and as our other players come back from injury his chances may get fewer and further between…

    This leads to the topic at hand: Le Coq the answer at DM? I’m sorry Oz, but. with all respect for an impassioned and well written post, I have to disagree. Obviously, I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong, but I just haven’t seen it. He does look bigger and he offers a nice combo of the skill of Arteta and the decisiveness of Flamini (willingness to make the cynical foul) but I think he comes up short of both of the veterans as a complete player. We’ll likely see what he can give us tomorrow and the support he receives, I fear, will be the key to his success (or the reverse). If he can funnel City attackers towards Kos and Nacho or Gibbs (our left side) I think things could go well…If they’re on the right (likely BFG and Chambers or Bellerin) consider me worried. Also, he needs to conserve that cynical foul and yellow card until later on, if we want to have a chance.

    That’s my take on Le Coq as a DM, emphasis on the D… As a “pivot” player who might help generate a bit of attack, unfortunately, I see even less. Yes, the range of passes is good, but what about the ability to shield the ball and move it on with correct placement and at a pace which puts the opponent on the back foot? The skills are there to a degree but not at the level Arteta consistently brought. Additionally, a single big boot is a very nice thing to have in a deeper lying mid. Our last actual victory over Man City (I’m pretty sure…a 1-nil in our stadium 3 seasons ago…) was provided by the current captain with a late long blast… I realize Arteta doesn’t have the physical game many would like to see (having been weaned on Vieira) but I think Le Coq falls short here too and the abilities as a true field general or quarterback for a team with our aspirations seem a dream. People are pointing to his performances vs Hull and Stoke, but I’d offer up the showing at Southampton where we generated very, very little… Like I say, I’d loved to be proven wrong, but I just don’t see it… Sorry…

    Nope, I think we need to buy in this part of the pitch for our immediate needs and that (longer term) some younger guys could make the position there own. Chambers is doing too much learning on the job but looks the better long term prospect (being 4 or 5 years younger) and I’m actually excited about the Polish kid we just bought another 2-3 years back. Hayden fits in there somewhere, but maybe more as a CB. Again, if Le Coq can prove me wrong (and does enough to win a big money contract with the club…) I’d be pleased as punch… I just watched the end of Leicester-Stoke and N’zonzi (well tortured by Alexis a week ago) did just fine in closing out that one. Le Coq is (maybe) at a similar level I fear and if we made a cheeky bid for N’Zonzi, you’d hear no complaints from these quarters…

    So much has to do with the competition at hand. Yes, sometimes world class players are beaten by hard working lower clubs. Still, it’s always a stretch for a guy who shines at youth level or in the lower leagues or even against the poor clubs in our own division make the step up in the critical matches. It’s hard to say, but it’s fun to watch and guess at it. Still, when you rate the French deeper mids you’d have to think that Pogba, Schneiderlin, Capoue and Flamini all rate ahead of Coquelin. If Diaby could play again, he would as well. On top of that, Arsenal aren’t constrained to only picking French players…

    That’s all theoretical. Tomorrow we will likely play one or both of our French DMs and, frankly, I think Man City, if they play at their best, may really turn them over. They also may play as a disjointed group of bought talent or set out to try and keep us out and nick a win. Let’s hope for one of the latter and if we’re at our collective best and get a bit of luck ourselves we may have a prayer… As such, I’ve gotta conclude as I began, with a frown, 😦 Sorry… Thanks for reading…

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