Santi & Ozil dazzle, Giroud MOTM, BFG controls, Bellerin matures: 8 positives from game

Thanking VI for picture

Thanking VI for picture

Well that was just what the winter-blues doctor ordered: five cracking goals, a clean sheet, two points gained on both Oiler teams and three on the Saints. It was not all super positive as we failed to add a second goal in a dominant first half and allowed Aston Villa a few half-decent chances at the start of the second half. But once the second goal went in the Villains’ resolve was damaged beyond repair and we then powered on emphatically.

Not much time tonight, but here are my eight positives from the game:

  1. I loved the maturity of our play, with us sitting deeper and playing compact and disciplined. We even had slightly less possession than the Villains but were a million times more efficient with the ball throughout the ninety minutes. As Keown just pointed out on MOTD, the triangle between Aaron, Le Coq and Santi worked a treat. Together they gave the defence fantastic protection and linked up really well with our attacking three. They all put in a shift and made the vital difference in midfield on the day.
  2. There is a great spine in the team now: Ospina – Koz/BFG – Coq/Rambo – Giroud: they protect the shape and allow our mobile and creative players to add creativity and attacking flair. A solid, disciplined and cohesive spine is so important to a team and we are looking stronger every week in this respect.
  3. Ospina is keeping Szczesny out of the team at the moment after another calm and controlled performance. His decision making has been as good as faultless, and the Weimann stop was crucial: a case of good anticipation and energetic and decisive intervention even when he was still ‘cold in the game’ until then. His distribution and long distance link-up play with Giroud was very impressive again, and the CBs seem to really trust him. Bigger tests will surely come but this is a fantastic development for him and Arsenal.
  4. Bellerin is another example of a fantastic development and another proof of Shakespeare’s ‘oh the sweet uses of adversity’ line. This guy is taking his (surely unexpected) opportunity with all he has got, and his confidence and concentration are very impressive for such a young talent. The icing on the cake was of course his brilliantly placed goal: what a prospect (and poor Chambers will not be sleeping very well tonight…).
  5. Giroud my MOTM. He was involved in virtually all our attacks, either on the ball or off the ball. He scored the first, produced a peach of an assist for the second, and created the space for Theo to score the third. His link-up play was good again and he battled for the team all over the pitch: a pivotal player in more than one way.
  6. Ozil and Cazorla were close second MOTM. Ozil for his all-round display, sublimely flicked assist for Giroud’s first, both in terms of quick anticipation and execution, and his vitally important goal (our second); and Cazorla for his fine assists and general, unselfish play: his assist for Bellerin was sweet in more ways than one.
  7. The BFG was fantastic in defence today, especially towards the end: read the game brilliantly and produced a fine number of interceptions and clearances. And he almost had a rare assist with a brilliant cross in the box for Akpom. Sit deep, protect the BFG and he will honour his name. Koz and Monreal also had fine games.
  8. We have given the Villains such a big spanking that they will be in total war-mode when the Chavs come and visit. I expect them to get something from the Southern Oilers – This PL season might not be over yet. 😉

These are my big eight positives but I am sure there are more…  And will Arsenal still sign someone before the TW closes, and if so: who?

Let’s be having you. 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

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52 Responses to Santi & Ozil dazzle, Giroud MOTM, BFG controls, Bellerin matures: 8 positives from game

  1. Twig says:

    “And will Arsenal still sign someone before the TW closes, and if so: who?”

    Hearing plenty noise about Mario Mandzukic. It would make perfect sense considering Wenger allowed 3 strikers to leave…

  2. Twig says:

    Today is one of those days where it’s impossible to agree on the MOTM. Probably Cazorla for me (only just), as he made the most contribution to the game, in an attacking sense (1 goal, 2 assists).

  3. tony says:

    Just been thinking what would have been if the 3points lost at leceister,saints,stoke and two dropped at liverpool and home against the spuds…
    We would have been top of the table!!

  4. jnyc says:

    Hey TA, happy write up..
    i just watched a youtube vid of ozil performance sunday. i expected a couple minutes, but it was 7 minutes! No filler, all touches and he just frustrates the hell out of opponents, always playing keep away, and gets it moving forward when it seems impossible. . More examples of what we dont appreciate enough. Always taking it for granted, only notice assists and goals like today. I think he created so many chances in the match that we forget while watching everything else.

    I’ll give you another example, commentators, steve bower, lee dixon, on girouds goal, didnt even mention the assist, even after a few replays. I was shocked, these so called experts missing the most important part of the play, and the genius of the game. At least the studio analysts did give it proper credit.

    Those are some of the reasons i dont bother with some of the Ozil critics.

    ALSO, @ JB , did you write yesterday that le Coqs deal is signed? Is this the reported 99%? Or is it inside info from your excellent sources that it’s actually a fact, done, just not announced? I hope so, he has been the difference lately, as much as anyone.
    We may look back someday at his recall as providence.

  5. VCC says:

    Hi twig. Your spot on about MOTM. speak to ten people and they would almost give you ten different names. My MOTM was Ozil. For me he got us on the way with his assist for the first and scoring the all important second which gave us the confidence to afflict a painful blow on the Villains.

    What pleases me most is the fact we are growing a pair. Teams cannot push us around so easily any more. Maybe Steve Bould is starting to have an impression on our players at last. Being a no compromise player he maybe installing this into our play. Just have a look at Coquelin,s attitude and tenacity. This is also rubbing off on to others.

    Future transfers= I don’t think Wenger will buy any one else in this window. The only two types we need now is, a strong defensive midfielder and another centre half. We have enough forwards and don’t need Mandzukic. With Chuba showing promise I think we have enough fire power. What we need is POWER in midfield and central defence.

    Good to be a Gooner this morning.

  6. FLO8 says:

    Absolutely Tony! For me its the dropped points against Swansea, Stoke, Southampton, Hull, Leicester which are more so frustrating than the draws against Tottenham, Liverpool, Everton and Man City or the losses against Man U or Chelsea. If last season taught us anything it’s that you need to beat every team outside of Man U, Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham, to give yourself a chance at contending for the title and then how many points you can squeeze from those other teams will depend how successful your title challenge is. It the lack of consistency in the results versus those ‘mid to lower’ table teams that I reckon had frustrated Wenger this season and right so.

  7. VeePee says:

    Özil was picked as MOTM, to my mind rightly so, Santi next to I’m, not Giroud. Özil was almost unplayable, very effective, potent and dangerous. Just check his classic assist for the first goal. Generally all the guys played well.
    More of that guys.

  8. The BearMan says:

    I was very pleased for young Bellerin’s parents. How estatic they must be this morning, having witnessed firsthand their son’s progress. Yes! It was a brilliant Arsenal Team performance. Keep relaxed Ahpom, do not over-think each move – goals will come.

  9. FLO8 says:

    On the transfer front TA I don’t see Arsenal trying to buy anyone else in this window. Can’t see any real holes in the current squad. In fact I think Arsenal’s transfer dealings in the summer as well will depend on what Wenger decides to do with the expiring contracts of Rosicky, Arteta, Diaby and Flamini. If Rosicky and one of Arteta, Diaby and Flamini is resigned along with Coquelin, I don’t see us bringing in a midfielder. Also with the glut of forwards currently at the club and Ozil seeming joining that cohort as opposed to the midfield, I do see us moving on a number of existing forwards. Though again I think that will occur in the summer transfer window as opposed to now.

  10. James says:

    yes dis. to us all shows dat arsenal is a title contender with out much injuries. meanwhile, consistency matters a lot. lets wait and see what d result will be at Tottenham b4 we conclude. up gooners.

  11. D-Money says:

    Great all round performance. Shame it seems Ozil has to score or assist for people to “get it.”
    Transfers: Don’t think we need a CB. We have four there now; Kos-Per-Gabriel-Chambers and with Nacho-Debuchy as emergency options.
    Do think we need another combative midfielder for when Le Coq. is out/tired etc. In this regard I think Wenger is holding for someone of the ilk of Schneiderlin, Carvalho who will only be available in the summer probably.
    Up front we have sufficient options. Imagine effectively having to choose 2 from Alexis-Ozil-Welbeck-Ox-Theo-(Akpom) in each game! (I’m assuming Santi and Giroud are basically undroppable on current form) But if we want to kick on and given we have let 3 forwards go out on loan, and we can’t be sure any of them will return, I’d say we’d probably go for a CF at the Cavani-Martinez level, again, only in the summer I’m guessing.
    What A Time To Be A Gooner.

  12. D-Money says:

    Sidenote: I’ve listed Chambers as a CB primarily because a) think that’s his stronger position and where he’ll eventually end up whilst occasionally providing cover at RB or DM b) doubt we’ll see Chambers much at RB considering Debuchy, Bellerin and Gabriel are all more “natural” options there and appear to be better suited to that role

  13. geoffchase says:

    From last post:
    JB, TA, 17 et al,

    Will see game later, but some brief points/comments from highlights:

    a. Ozil also did his thing containing the transition

    b. Ospina, which I added to 17s lineup in place of Scz.. that gives én, moi-meme and jeg (that’s Hungarian, French and Danish for you TA and Steve for me, myself and I) 11 of 11…

    The reason, as JB would be happy to repeat ad nauseum (that’s latin for the record), 3 clean sheets earns you the right to see if it can become 4… It’s a game of forms (which if puns were a language, then I’d be up to five, or … öt, cinq, fem, respectively, for those keeping language count)

    c. Ozil really showed his class, or Qualität … cuz we can do some German if you want too

    Leading after all that to:

    d. Steve and TA, we Americans are not here to take over your benighted countries. That is all a smoke screen for the fact that we already have. Watch your great tv, music, movies etc.. All American or culturally so behind the scenes… This is like a boa constrictor.. by the time you feel the wee bit of constricting pressure, it’s already waaaay too late.. 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛

    More later as I’m watching now… But so far Ozil is magnificent, as are all the others… Ozil however is so good by 31 mins that the linesman keeps shaking his flag in admiration!! :/ 😀

    Jó estét, bon soiree, god aften — jgc

  14. geoffchase says:

    On the TW query…

    Seems according to rumor that we’ve an agreement for summer with Schneiderlin. If true, big IF, then I’d be satisfied as things stand… Not that I’ve much choice anyway 😀

    Cheers — jgc

  15. geoffchase says:


    So far, all to comments made. Ozil my MotM for one different reason, atop all others.. At 67mins in AV corner. Hacked down by defender he’s up and retains possession, then battered repeatedly by Delf he holds it before they knock it out.. Very tough, bulked up a touch Ozil isn’t a powderpuff on ball just now..

    Cheers — jgc

  16. Gerry says:

    Yes TA, such good grasp of the positives, I could almost go along with you MOTM.
    Almost 😀
    I have to admit I was a tad worried when they highlighted our set up, with Ozil and Cazorla in parallel. I think this was one of the reasons we did not add the second goal. To my mind, on only one showing, the pair worked much better when they adopted the positions that Geoff and I were saying beforehand. Ozil up front, Santi deeper.
    In the first half i was very impressed with Coquelin. He really is getting better each game. Sailed a bit close to the wind when protesting his first foul, and was lucky that Taylor was in a ‘let the game flow’ mood later. That said, his reading of the game was superb, switching sides with Ramsey as though he has been there all season. In the second half when our dominance was at its peak he allowed himself to venture forwards. If he does not sign the contract, some one is going to pick up a bargain.
    Giroud had a great game, and I will continue to argue the point that I think he has got much more movement in his positioning this season. Several times I noticed during transition, he was the last of the forward players to get over the halfway line, he was that deep. Not just from set pieces either. His goal was impressive too. Mind I think if Akpom had started he would have revelled in a run from the halfway line, one-on-one with the keeper too?
    Even the doubters would/should have been impressed with Ozil? Now adding scoring with his No 10 role is most definitely a bonus. Onwards and upwards from here.
    Cazorla continues his fine form too. Worked really hard, here, there, and everywhere. Not many others are going to get a look in while he continues at this level. And TA, you are right to point to the axis behind him of Ramsey and Coquelin is working like a dream. Now the biggest fear is what happens when Coquelin gets suspended or injured? Will anybody else fit so well. Plenty of candidates, but few will combine so completely. Ramsey has Rosicky of course, and it requires Santi in that deeper role to bring it all together.
    The Per/Kos was again solid, and for once Per outshone his partner, who I thought had one or two shaky moments?
    Ospina in goal has done nothing but cement that position. Indeed, it is hard to think he will have a poor game to justify switching?
    Monreal was also on a high. Got forward and defended well. More like the player we first signed?
    Bellerin. Ah yes, the boy has grown in the that role, as they repeatedly said in commentary. I think physically taller too. I noticed he did not dive in to tackles, and he did not get very close to those attacks down the wing. Instead he looked to simply hold up play, which may have been orders, because he can tackle. However, ever ready to go forward, and his goal was just the icing on the cake for him. The more he plays the better the interaction with those around him. Consequently he compliments the movement of Theo and Ozil, rather than dictate their movement by his.
    Finally Akpom. So close to getting on the score sheet. If the earlier game showed promise, this simply added to it. His pace and directness is something else. The main reason I wanted him to start in this game, was no slight against Giroud. More a case of me moving the OGAAT to OGA – One Game Ahead. I know most of you were blindly thinking that Alexis absence was a ‘Wenjury’, convenient for a rest. What, however, the ‘slight hamstring’ was the opposite cover for something more serious? I wanted Akpom to start on the left to show he is capable of keeping a similar threat level should Alexis miss the NLD. I think he could play alongside Giroud if required, despite Welbeck’s return to training. I also think that twin spearhead of Akpom and Walcott would be deadly without Giroud.
    Pace and Balance is what we need going forwards, and those two match perfectly.

    I may have other thoughts later, but for now that is it.

  17. geoffchase says:

    A final thought

    Mirroring the post, Ospina at 92mins… After 50mins of almost no trouble, the strike by Westwood had highlight reel written all over it, and a top save from all that inactivity …. Scz likely stays where JB wants him a bit longer..

    — jgc

  18. Gerry says:

    Oh I did the UMF league results table. VCC asked me if I could. Doesn’t make good reading TA

  19. geoffchase says:


    Of course we were right!!! 🙂

    That said, a stronger DM presence continually back, supported by Ramsey and Cazorla allows that to happen. That gives us full length of field vision and passing, which in turn allows the counter attacking more open field approach to work.. Which, in ITS turn, allows a just ever so slightly deeper set for BFG-Koz-Coq/DM up the middle, allowing more cohesive, less risky defense that plays to our defenders strengths…

    Interesting days and very good form heading to Spurs … Thus, we should hope/expect a top result despite their own form coming into some shape… Big weekend coming!

    Cheers — jgc

  20. geoffchase says:

    Now it’s off to bed for me so that JB can think Gerry and I are the same person… 😉

    — jgc

  21. oz gunner says:

    good stuff TA. There’s more positives from that game than you can poke a stick at. Monreal has been a revelation this season. Bellerin is coming on quicker than we had imagined. Santi is playing great. Theo is finally fit and looks to have improved his movement. Ospina has been a rock. Could go on and on.

    As for this man…His highlights only reinforce just how good he’s been recently. @1.26 Song who?
    He is a wrecking ball!

    @ FLOB

    Arteta signed a one year extension a couple of weeks ago. Hopefully Rosicky does too. Then Le Coq and Walcott can re-sign and we’re laughing.

  22. retsub1 says:

    Great video Oz thanks for sharing. I am totally convinced that Coquelin is the major reason for our recent good form. He has introduced a discipline we haven’t hsd for a long time. Song showed some promise, but used to lose his head now and again (occasionally to good effect). You can see Coquelin patrolling his designated area and shutting down creative midfielders from the opposition. I have no doubt he is going to get banned from time to time, but many players will know they have been tackled by Le Coq

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Geoff, love the analogy 🙂

  24. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice video OzG 🙂

    On a slightly critical note, he gave away a few unnecessary free-kicks in semi-dangerous areas yesterday. Ramsey’s discipline and positioning is also very important to him. Ramsey left Flamini isolated against Brighton but yesterday he was more restraint – and to some extent the same goes for Cazorla. But I love his tenacity, bite and enthusiasm, and we finally have a more dedicated, expert DM.

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey there…Happy Monday, which might just be a quiet one… I thought I might try to get out ahead of things just a bit… (Very busy here hosting the older generation…Parents and my mom’s twin sister, my Aunt…total years of age > 250… 😯 Also, did anybody catch the American Throwball big match? Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory… wow…)

    Sorry that I couldn’t take the ribbing there in the GDC, 007, et. al. People are free to say whatever they like, of course. I just don’t understand the instinct to take these blind, over-the-top positions on various Arsenal players and then use them to have a laugh at the expense of fellow Gooners. To me, a day when we can avoid the usual narratives of “team in crisis,” “gotta buy big,” “must change the manager,” etc., etc., might be a day when we can go deeper and talk about the plays and players and trends and combinations (etc., etc.) which DID appeal to us… Luckily, TA, with these “8 Positives” posts, does head in this (much better, IMO) direction…

    Trust me, I am loving the clean sheets and the new calmness in goal with the Colombian keeper (who I had in my first 11, JGC, by the way…) Beyond the one tiny blip I mentioned (a ball unnecessarily turned round for a corner) it was a perfect performance back there. Maybe it’s having Mert and Kos as his steady CBs (and the presence of Giroud, at set pieces, which should not be underestimated…) but somehow the whole team seems to know when Ospina is coming for a catch. As others pointed out, the pre-assist on the 3rd goal was really nice. He’s clearly the #1 right now. Still, I don’t see a lot of downside in hoping Sir Chez has a good outing vs Boro…

    But that’s just me, of course, and to each their own…I really enjoy making comments in real time during the matches but I’ll try and find a group elsewhere for those purposes. The situation with the English telly coverage makes it tough for an England based bunch of bloggers, which is maybe at the heart of the troubles. As I tried to write last week, the new technology (better screens) and every match shown allows for more complete and more subtle analyses which is the bit I’m interested in. Not for everybody, I guess… :/

    So, on that note, i.e., going for subtlety, I’ll be another one giving a(nother) shout out to Aaron Ramsey. He didn’t score and he wasn’t as scything as Coquelin (or that one super recovery tackle at the edge of the box made by Bellerin) but he looked extremely sharp to me. In attack he had his arms up a lot and those targets he presented, even if not used, opened space for shots (goals) and key passes (assists). We utterly dominated the center of the pitch and he was a large factor there. His first touches, in particular, I thought, were really deft and often featured protecting the ball with his body rather than the sometimes overly aggressive balls he puts into space which often require a chase-down (or worse). The movement and spacing between Ozil, Santi, and Ramsey–and Giroud and Theo (who both were popping up all over the place…)–was as good as we’ve seen. On the back of the dominance yesterday, it’s no wonder Alexis hamstring problem seems to have worsened… 😉

    Remembering back to the last NLD, which Alexis started from the bench, signs point to AW taking a similar tack. On the other hand, all that space and movement and interplay yesterday didn’t net us a second goal until around the hour mark. Still, Alexis changes everything and it’s just a different dynamic–perhaps an all around more “dangerous” one–when he’s out there. I’m very curious how the manager works him in given that dropping anybody from yesterday’s match seems harsh, yet his obvious excitement to play seems well suited to the derby. Spurs are playing well and certainly won’t bring the same extreme lack of confidence we saw from the Villains. Also, according to some (wink, wink), they’ve got a very fine keeper who might not be quite as beneficent as Guzan (who had a tough outing, if not an outright shocker, truth be told)… If we can control the middle of the pitch as we did yesterday, however, good things, I think, will happen at both ends…

    Anyhow, we should probably bask about yesterday just a bit more, enjoy business done in the window (i.e., no hand wringing and/or “need” to buy another Kallstrom…), etc., etc. Or bash one another for having criticized the wrong players at the wrong time… 😦 😉 😀 …before worrying about the NLD and the hamstrings of our “one-man” team…

    Or something…

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    Hey 17HT 🙂

    Nice Ramsey analysis

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Great the decision by Oliver yesterday, sending off Bertrand for his awful tackle in the Saints v Jacks game

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    One oldster has been up, had her coffee and now needs a rest… 😀 While I wait for the others, a couple of comments…

    Giroud as man of the match seems just a hair(cut) too strong, but that’s mostly because Santi and Ozil can not only play together, but can play at an elite level together… As you and others have noted, yesterday was a good day for both… In looking at these two, (let’s free our minds and) think of the best of Xavi and Iniesta… Add in Alexis (for Messi…) and that’s what we’re trying to build, I think… Giroud, even though he can drop deep and adds a lot to our set piece D (and our containment game) and can be a factor on the break (see goals 1,2 and 3…) gives us “shape” in that others can comfortably move away from him to occupy other spaces… Hard to give MOTM to a guy who was only on for 3/5 of the goals, however, but there’s a reason he won’t be picking up any Weng-juries of his own any time soon (I would guess). Akpom looked as good a stand in as any of the recent options (Yaya S, Campbell, Lulu…) we’ve seen recently and (even though I hate that sort of play…) Guzan wouldn’t have gone for that ball if he hadn’t thought he’d get to it first…i.e., CA-38 is fooking quick…

    Giroud’s early goal allowed us to play on the counter (much as we did at ManCity), which, I think makes him even more useful. (For all his size, he’s not a real “in the box” target man…) You don’t need to control the ball if you can control the space(s on the pitch)… (Chavs did the same thing on Saturday, for example, w/o their main #9, and will be tough to catch, dropped points in that one notwithstanding…)

    One at a time, of course, and the NLD represents a much tougher challenge. One I’m looking forward to, however…

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    By a mile, 17ho, Giroud my man of the match. We basically play with 12 players with him on the pitch. I am a bit disappointed nobody else seems to see it that way, but ther you go. 🙂

  30. Gerry says:

    HT You get curiouser and curiouser with your comments.

    I think you are the first to say that our goals were down to Guzan?
    I am running through them in my mind …. OG’s was from an angle but hit with some force. Ozil’s did go under his hand, but it was placed right on the inside of the far post.
    Walcott’s wasn’t that far out and hit it straight and true on Guzan’s short side.
    The penalty he guessed right, got a hand to it, but the power beat him. Bellerin’s went through the legs of a defender, and again, aimed at the very farthest corner just inside the post.
    By which time their defence was all over the place.
    I also recall it was a fresh pairing at CB, and know that can have a disrupting effect on keeper’s control?
    I am not sure, even with a winky, that Alexis’s hamstring is ‘worse’. We could not be sure how well things would turn out, so him not being on the bench when the message was a slight chance he might play, said a lot more?
    I am glad you mentioned Giroud’s work with near post set pieces. I too, thought he was excellent. I think everybody is chuffed that Ospina is turning out to be a really shrewd £3m buy by AW. I have not caught up with yesterday’s comments re Szczesny, I was busy ‘scouting’ – Monaco are looking like a well balance team again. The pitch is something to be wary of too. It is laid over an underground car park, and gets very hard underneath. Not good for players having any joint problems. Two came off with knee problems last night.
    As for Szczesny I hope he can get through this spell, but I want to see the happy smiley face first, before he ousts Ospina. The Cup match should suit him well.

    Ramsey I thought was near his best last time, and if he is learning from Coquelin that just doing the simple things right does help to build confidence, all well and good. If he is confident, then we have an excellent player back. It is when other players are back the real problems will occur. I will be quite happy to see Welbeck on the bench next game, but not starting. Unless he has an outing with the Under 21’s first. Same Route for Jack Wilshere, as he has had even longer out, and I wouldn’t play him at Monaco for the above reasons.

    My hope is we get through this TW in better shape than we started the season after the last one. So far, so good?


    Nice one TA

    So many positives my friend. How long before we become Englands best team again? Next year we will win the title.

    Reading the programme at half time Frank, something caught my eye. It was an article from one of Martin Keowns sons on how his dad would prepare for a game. The day before a match, Keown would insist on a siesta. One particular day, Keown Junior and his older brother had a massive ruck over whos turn it was on the bike. Tugging away on the chopper with a solid grip, the noise awoke an enraged Keown who appeared from the bedroom wearing nothing but Y Fronts and socks. It was at this point Keown Junior asked readers to imagine Keowns ape like pounce at Van Nistoroy, but this time with one sock hanging off and Y Fronts unfortunatly exposing a dangling testicle.

    I found this story particularly amusing TA since my dad would regularly do the same thing when I and my older brother had a fight. However, in his case the siestas were daily in order to shake off hangovers and his Y Fronts were in hand to use as a weapon. The drooping testicle was just a bonus.

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Terry 🙂 you have created some terrible images now! 😀

  33. TotalArsenal says:

    That is it then. A youngster and ready to play CB. Nobody sold. Very sensible. Bring on the Spuds! 🙂

  34. steve says:

    Well then gentlemen that’s the transfer window over, here is your Arsenal squad in full:

    The Starting XI

    The first choice subs
    Campbell/Silva——-The OX———-Wilshere———–Walcott

    The fringe players

    The under 20’s

    Is that not the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen, no wonder everybody was pretty chilled out about the whole deadline day madness.

    The way I see it our subs team could push for a top four place in the league let alone the guys ahead of them in the pecking order, not to mention the youth team that has Carling cup excitement written all over it, the future is bright fellow gooners.

    It is such a complete squad I can only muster but a few questions still remaining to keep us occupied during the next summer break;

    1. Do we start the next season having retained both our loanees on the wing (Campbell and Silva) and let them fight it out for the chance to become a first choice sub or do we grab the money and run choosing instead to replace them for one of the supposed transfer targets (Dybala, Draxler, Reus etc)?

    2. Do we buy one more CB to partner Gabriel and provide complete top choice cover in every position within the team (Kos and BFG could both be injured at the same time, crazier things have happened just look at this season) or do we leave the position vacant for one of the youngsters to fill after all Chambers didn’t do himself any harm there this season?

    3. Do we make every effort to grab the one that got away this transfer window and sign Schneiderlin to replace our captain as the first choice DM and in doing so probably resign Arteta to a fringe role?

    4. And who will be left in the fringe player group come the start of next season, will it be the mass culling that a few think it may be or will Wenger continue his unwavering faith in the surplus resources he has, Coquelin has surely shown the benefits of this approach to player management evolving from surplus to requirements into absolutely vital?

    5. Do we selfishly hoard the young stars we have at our disposal providing excellent cup match options and injury crisis cover or will most of that team be loaned out for proper game time gaining the experience they need to continue up the Arsenal conveyor belt of talent to the first team?

    That’s all I can come up with to keep me theorizing over the summer break, damn you Wenger! lol
    For me personally at the moment my answers would be;

    1. Completely on the fence on this one, I really want to see Joel do well here at Arsenal but equally I wouldn’t mind seeing the once wonder kid of Germnay (Ozil) being backed up by the new wonder kid of Germany (Draxler). I guess it will come down to how much the judges have been impressed by the loanees performances in Spain this season, I wish them well.

    2. I say make the signing, complete the total balance of cover for the starting XI. Van Dijk has my vote here, almost the same height as Per but with speed he is also in the same age group as the rest of the sub back four and so can develop alongside them helping to form what will one day be the new starting XI.

    3. I think this is a pretty resounding yes from almost every gooner but there may be someone new on the scene by the time summer rolls around, you never know. Arteta would be more on the fringes as a result but would remain in the squad for the next season most definitely.

    4. I’m in the culling camp on this one, Podolski, Diaby, Miyaichi, Flamini all gone, Sanogo loaned out once more but Martinez retained for emergency GK cover. That leaves only two senior fringe players Rosicky and Arteta (if we make the Schneiderlin signing), not a bad pair to have in and around the team both providing an amazing amount of experience and tactical knowledge.

    5. Hoard them!! lol I want to see my Carling cup youth teams return!! In truth I could see anyone in that team bar the very young trio in midfield being loaned out for game time and I am sure they would excel and do their development a world of good but I’m a selfish bugger plus their added presence may actually make us injury crisis proof for once, not something to be taken lightly after the craziness of this season.

    Not too many big questions to be answered tbh which is a great position to be in and there’s still half a season of great football left to watch before we get anywhere near asking them – oh to be a gooner!

    Even with my penchant for reshuffling I can only see myself pondering one definite addition in the summer (a new DM) with the other two (CB and AM) falling short of “essential” status and landing firmly in the “bonus” category.
    With such a strong squad now I can’t think of anybody suggesting we need more than the very few players I have highlighted above, but if you see it differently by all means make yourself heard.
    (not including a new GK replacement for Szczesny JB!! Lol)

  35. allezkev says:

    I can’t remember the last time (if ever) that I was so chilled out on transfer deadline day. Maybe the Villa result had something to do with that…

    Interesting comments Steve.
    For me, getting Coquelin signed and sealed is an absolute must…
    Would be nice to have Akpom signed up as well…

    Would also like to see both Campbell and Wellington given a chance.
    That’s if we can fit them all into the 25 man squad, etc…

    Schneiderlin would be a nice signing in the summer.
    Another striker if Akpom leaves…

    As has been said on here already, the squad/team has a look about it.
    A competitive look, that may be just too late for this season.
    But could well be fighting it out with the Oilers next season…

  36. steve says:

    Absolutely agree with that whole comment allezkev! Next season will be a cracker!!
    Coquelin and Akpom have to sign it would be crazy not too 🙂

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice one Steve, will respond tomorrow. Night all. 🙂

  38. steve says:

    Interesting to see you would go for letting Campbell and Silva get given a proper go of making their mark next season. As i said i could go either way on that, but my heart will always say let the guys who are already Arsenal players give it a go but i should think a bit will depend on how much of an impact they make on loan maybe?

  39. steve says:

    coolio, night TA

  40. allezkev says:

    As far as Campbell and Wellington, Steve, I suppose it all depends on the business Arsene does…
    If he brings in a player or two of the quality of Draxler or Reus, then that would change things mate.
    But Arsene has his own ideas and promoting from within seems to be Higb on his list of priorities..,
    Gnabry is another…

  41. allezkev says:

    Like you Steve, I think that Diaby, Podolski and Miyaichi are gone.
    Flamini also I suppose…

    Did you see the reports that Napoli tried to make a cheeky bid for Coquelin?
    Apparently they were told that Coq is on the point of re-signing…

  42. allezkev says:

    That’s me done, night Steve…

  43. steve says:

    i agree, imo Gnabbers (before he got injured) was probably performing to a higher standard than Campbell has this season despite his young age but he may very likely be on the list for loan outs next season i think and would get some invaluable game time for a player at his stage of development (just my opinion of course).

    hahahaha fuck off Napoli!!! classic! 😆

  44. steve says:

    night mate


    Got to say lads i sensed a different atmosphere during the Villa game. A feeling of optimism and excitement about our future seems to be returning.

    Kev, Cab driver hey? ive got my eye on you mate. Got three Black cab drivers as clients and they are all smarter than me. I dont like that.

    One of them has become a good mate but fed up with the geezer knowing everything I tried embarrasing him at a dinner party by reading up on Chopin and joking that he would no nothing about him, probably thinking he accompanied Elvis on his Vegas tour

    The Bastard started reading out all his works and commenting on his classical impact. The birds were well impressed. Thank fuck the host didnt have a piano.

  46. VCC says:

    Terry. You keep saying,,,,,,,….”next Year”. “Next Year” When will this “Next Year” finally arrive?

    I suppose next year A?

  47. geoffchase says:


    Rumors are Schneiderlin this summer. I would presume that’s if we make top 4 etc

    Thus, perhaps a CB and perhaps a wing if there’s anyone like Reus or Draxler really available. We will see on that..

    Rest looks fine but I expect more of what I saw vs AV which has Ozil roaming behind and around the striker, defending in transition but being the outlet guy…

    Again, we wil see…

    Terry, next time go less mainstream to be sure! 🙂

    Cheers — jgc

  48. geoffchase says:


    Next year, of course!!

    Geez — jgc 😉

  49. Gerry says:

    Well it is over, and we have what we have … almost? As both Coquelin and Akpom are able to sign pre- agreements with any club on the Continent, or come May, any club in the in the FA jurisdiction. Worrying?

    Naturally I was hoping for more, but very happy with what we have. So on to your questions Steve.
    1, Returnees Campbell and Silva? However I would throw in all loanees as not returning, including Jenkinson. Silva, if he came back he would go straight out on loan to a club here, but that just keeps him dangling. I admit, I do not know enough about him to be sure he cannot make it in the EPL, but the odds are stacked against him. Campbell will not fit into our system. Simple as that. We are playing a high tempo game, particularly in and out of transition, and while Campbell has pace, I don’t see him lasting more than half a game. I wish him all the best and hope he makes it good at Villareal as the Spanish league will suit him a lot better. Jenks has found his home at WHA, and with no change of address, he has it made, albeit, not at the club of first choice. Toral, and probably Sanogo too are likely losers to make way for a gentle shift in the summer, as Arsene tightens up the squad to 16 or 17 ‘hard core’ regulars, the rest made up by developing youngsters, both those we have and new faces in the summer.
    2, CB cover?Mmmnnn. I think they have missed out on one target. I watched the Empoli match on Sunday, and the youngster there looked very, very good. Unfortunately, the part-owners have bought out Empoli’s share, and will be moving to them in the summer. I cannot see him leaving except for a very big fee. ‘Ty from the Fens’ might be an alternative? I don’t see V v D moving to be 4th choice though? A young improver would seem more likely?
    3, MS? I got terribly confused on this one. Even JB seemed to think his contract ends this June after initially arguing it was next year. Yet I have seen more than one web site proclaiming his contract runs until 2016. The other confusing thing is, MS himself apparently told French journalists he had agreed (personal) terms with Arsenal. Well unless he had permission to have contact, via his agent, then we are patently tapping him up? However, the only logically conclusion I can come up with is this. Yes his contract does run until 2016, but within that contract there was a clause/verbal agreement/whatever, that if any club made an acceptable offer then he would be allowed to leave. That was broken in the last window, but promised to honour it next time. Hence, they gave him permission, because possibly/probably they have an acceptable offer from us. In return, we did not press for his immediate departure – the ‘Coquelin’ effect? – but pay less than the £25m they said it would cost last time. How binding this is in the real world we will have to wait and see. Personal view is Southampton have spent £10m of hiss fee to keep him until June, and have a player on loan/ future purchase? as a replacement if Clasie is not available. Problem area solved?
    4, Yes, a cull seems likely. But mainly of the players you speak of plus the loanees I added.
    Gnabry has a few games to impress, but I think a loan could be likely, and he will be back next season, if all goes well. Akpom will continue to be given time from the bench, and might be given the odd start. Depends if he signs a contract before the loan window closes. I don’t think Welbeck will be especially happy to play second fiddle, and he could be a casualty in the summer. Remember he was not a Wenger signing. His work effort and everything is sound. Pace and height, and abundance of stamina. But he will be playing out wide until the Akpom issue is resolved. Arteta has signed an extension, but that does not exclude a move if he wants more playing time? Similar comments apply to Rosicky. If slots allow, he too would be great to have him around. Depends on summer aspirations being filled I guess. Wilshere is probably safe for another year, but he may not take kindly to not being an automatic first choice? We will have to see how well he fits in during the remainder of this season? My personal view is he represents the biggest disruption to the balance of the team that we have seen over the last few games. Injuries can change all that of course. Down the lower order, more academy players will be shown the door, and hopefully they get a decent chances elsewhere.
    5, A fresh influx of players is almost guaranteed. Meanwhile fresh loans during this season may decide the fate of those close to the first team. But expect a much more targeted approach to youngsters coming in. Particular from S.America requiring a sizeable fee, thus getting around the work permit restrictions.

    Summer signings? That once again comes down to where we finish in the league. CL can attract players who might turn down more money. I hope we get to follow up on some of those we were looking at this time around. I think AW is very good at developing trust from other clubs, and respecting their decisions, even if for a short delay before the next inquiry is made. That can help if we can get in before the big money is splashed about. it will also help if we continue to play attractive football and look like a side going places. Not all teams will be as accommodating as Villa.?

    OGGAT it is then. With the big one next.

    However, a touch of OGA is not too much of a bad idea in terms of planning a little rotation, and Leicester provides the ideal opportunity the following Tuesday? Just saying ….

  50. steve says:

    you make some interesting points as usual Gerry.
    I actually think Campbell has was it takes if he continues to work hard at his development and steps up his game but as you said a summer signing in this position would spell the end for him and most likely Silva as well.
    Jenkinson is a difficult one, i do think we need someone to bridge the gap between 30 yr old Debuchy and 19 yr old Bellerin but if once reviewed AW decides Jenkinson is not up to par then you may be correct in your assumptions. I could really see Bellerin going out on loan with a guaranteed starting place in a team, he still has a fair bit of physical and tactical development left yet and that would be just the ticket. But without Jenko that leaves us a little short on cover at RB so maybe just maybe we will get someone to replace Jenko if he is let go. Can’t think of anyone that jumps out at me atm probably Clyne from Saints but just spit balling tbh. I still hope Jenko gets his chance though.
    Toral and Sanogo could leave as you suggest but they may well be headed on the same loan carousel that has seen Coquelin rise to MVP, we shall see on that one.
    Agreed on most other points as well although i still want to see Welbeck be given his chance and not on the wing, mainly as sub for Giroud up top would suit me fine.
    Wilshere is the most difficult of all, I of course want to see him in the side but not at the expense of the quick transition rate we have atm from defense to attack. I don’t think he would hinder this in anyway but if he did under perform then he has problems because (as you can see above) theres plenty of players ready to take his place.

    Happy days!! great questions to have to ponder and i am sure we will at great length over the summer and as for now i, like all of you, am incredibly happy with that stellar squad we have at our disposal for the rest of the season.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Steve. I have used your questions as the lead for the next post as I would love to hear more responses to your excellent questions, rather than have this linger at the back of this post. Gerry please copy and paste your fine responses. 🙂

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 😛

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