The Week Before the Week Before: Arsenal Monday Musings

Two preseason tournaments, two cups lifted.  So far, so good.  Goals aplenty, clean sheets, players looking fit and in form, youngsters impressing… Check, check, check, check…Oh and Cech… 😀

With less than a fortnight before the season begins I thought I’d throw out some thoughts for discussion.

Pre-Season:  Just how important is pre-season?  They say you cannot win the title in the autumn but you sure can lose it.  Well, it’s not even August yet so what CAN we take from what we’ve seen in July?  It’s been such a short off-season (given our participation in the FA Cup and the early start to this new one) and we seem to have picked up right where we left off.  Of course we have a bigger test in the national stadium against the league champions and their manager who (famously) claimed the Community Shield amongst his trophy count when he departed his first stint as manager over there in South London.  How important is it to Gooners?  What should we be looking for in that match, now only 6 days away?

Moreover, what can we take from the matches we have (perhaps) been watching?  Over here, in the States, the coverage has been poor.  At the moment I’m working on improving my internet and television service (to balance quality vs obscene pricing) but had no high-definition big screen access to the matches.  I watched what I could (highlights from Singapore, streams from the Emirates Cup) and I know I’m feeling good about many elements in the team.  The group seems united and happy, players look fit and ready and the competition for places which characterized the close of the season seems to be working a real treat.  The only missing first choice player, Alexis Sanchez, has hardly been mentioned and will be only value-added when he returns to the squad.  As it is, plenty of good players will be left out of the squad for that final pre-season friendly.  We’ll have time to discuss it later in the week, but surely the group picked for the Community Shield will be revealing.

With that match in mind, how about a quick look up and down the squad.

Goalkeeper:  Cech in, Wojciech off to Roma.

This one took me by surprise and I thought instead I’d be saying adios to my Colombian amigo, David Ospina.  Arsene Wenger has said some nice things about Szczesny and how it’s only a loan.  With an option to buy (according to reports) and a chance to shine with a Champions League club, I cannot see a way back for the guy who has made over 200 appearances for Arsenal.  That was one killer cigarette there on New Years day in the showers at So’ton…

Speaking of amigos and good-byes… Have a happy day, James Bond… Those of us who defended our Pole in Goal surely feel a bit as if the rug has been tugged (from beneath us) but it’s hard to argue we’re not looking MUCH stronger in the position with Cech, Ospina and Martinez.

Defenders:  Bellerin, Debuchy, Monreal, Gibbs, Mertesacker, Chambers, Koscielny, Gabriel. Those are 8 healthy defenders competing for 4 spots.  Compared to a year ago, when the departure of Bacary Sagna opened two of those spots, Mertesacker was recovering (from being dropped) from his World Cup winning run and Koscielny was nursing two tender (Achilles) tendons, this seems a world of improvement.  Debuchy and Chambers were new signings, Bellerin was strictly a youth team player and Nacho Monreal, nobody’s favorite at left back, was our 3rd choice center back?!  Talk about your duct tape and baling wire… Wow.  Some may still questions members of the group (I’ll go out on a limb and say that my 8th of the 8, at the moment at least, is Gibbs…) but at least we’ve got all of them fit and fighting with–and for–each other.

Midfielders:  Here’s where it could get really interesting.

Francis Coquelin (who I noticed went straight to the dressing room after being subbed on Saturday) seems nailed on as our man ahead of the back line–at least in the tighter matches where a draw is a satisfactory result. Flamini, his backup down the stretch last season, could be the latest player from England looking to extend his contract in Istanbul, while our Captain, Mikel Arteta, got his extra year and appears the fillip.  Do we need more in this area or can others, notably Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, do what Santi Cazorla did and morph their attacking tendencies into more ball control and linking between back and front?  Isaac Hayden, after a troubled year fighting injuries in the reserves, looked a decent enough deputy for Le Coq over the weekend and might just get himself fit enough to be the guy who can fill in here (and as a CB) if the injuries start taking a toll.  Do we need to buy in this area or are we strong enough?

Further forward versatility plays a role too.  Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil all want to play that hole role, the #10, and many see shunting them out wide as a disservice to the players–if not outright stupidity on the part of the manager.  I don’t see it this way at all.  With such skilled players it’s all about movement and doing the small bits–sometimes without or away from the ball.  Just a little defending to start counterattacks–or to just herd play towards our stronger areas; taking one touch (or a dummy) and moving play on rather than slowing play with dribbles or going stationary with 1 v 1s; a willingness to work overloads away from starting positions or switch areas with ones mates–these are the often unnoticed pieces which can turn fine players into great ones.  Having all these guys fit opens so many options but they must give the manager reasons why they cannot be dropped.  There’s a larger gap to some of the youngsters who might fill a spot down the road (Gideon Zelalem, 18 and Jeff Reine-Adelaide, 17) but no one will mind seeing them in some Capital One Cup outings.  What about Tomas Rosicky–a guy almost twice the age of some of the younger ones– who also got another year on his contract?  Can we prise one more “football year” out of him–or is he next summer’s Abou Diaby?  He’s hurt now, but maybe can fill a spot if the others take a niggle or look sluggish.

Finally there are the two Alexes or Alexis or Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez. Will the one fill in for the other, early season at least, and is this the season the Ox can make a place on the pitch his own?  With plenty of pace, power and technique he looks another one where injury and indecision (with his final ball or on the part of the manager) can be the only thing to hamper him.  At still just 21 (he turns 22 on August 15) but with over 100 appearances for the club he’s got that great combination of youth and experience and will surely be given his chances.  Now he must take them (rather than emulating his less successful mates…i.e., no cigs in the shower whilst contemplating what might have been)…

Forwards:  Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck.  Is that enough or should we spend (or promote)?   With Walcott we’re being tantalized–again–by another round of “will he or won’t he” and “as soon as something happens we’ll let you know.”  Just sign the ‘ting, I say.  After all, any place you would hope to go will have the money so at least you won’t be leaving us in the lurch.  Theo, in my opinion is a very useful player entering his best years (again we must cross our fingers regarding injuries), but isn’t quite in the position to hold the club to ransom.  If he wants out, he will miss Arsenal more than we would miss him (as we’ve grown so accustomed to doing through the injuries).  It would probably force our hand in the market–never a good thing with so few truly class strikers out there hoping for a move.  More money means more pressure, which is why the names mentioned have swaths of supporters at their current clubs ready to see their backsides.

Giroud might fit that bill or at least not be every Gooner’s favorite donkey (or Shrek)… Clearly he brings a certain physicality to the proceedings and appears to be a late bloomer and looking an imposting presence and fit enough as the new season awaits.  That picture from the pool in Singapore reminded me of my own days in the “buns of steel” calendars.  Sorry, fellas, that was pre-internet and all the “hard-copies” were lost when our house burned down… 😀

Consider me worried about Welbeck (re: injuries and taking his chances) but he might be another to fill in as the weather worsens and the matches start coming more steadily. Akpom and Iwobi (that was a well taken goal the other day) might be loan candidates but could also be kept around if needs must.  Anybody else?  (Surely somebody will mention Wellington Silva and/or Joel Campbell–please give a look at their goal totals on loan before their highlight reels…)  Strikers, however, can sometimes make the leap from promising to clinical faster than the supporting characters.  Sometimes it can be just that tiny bit of physical or psychological maturity which puts them over the edge.  Then again, as maybe we saw with the return of Nicklas Bendter yesterday, sometimes that edge is really a shin…

My overall feeling about the squad is strong.  I’m a good deal more concerned, in fact, with the support.  How will Gooners react to the first hiccup, the first sign of frailty?  You can’t win them all, but that’s not the expectation cycle these days, nor the happy ending people want when they plunk down for tickets at the Emirates.  If we get past Chelsea in that last pre-season match, invincibility will be on everybody’s tongue (or touch-screen) even though it will still be preseason.  Right now, I’d take no injuries, a well-fought draw and maybe a win in a penalty shootout.  Happy face: Cech! Overall, I’m just happy we’ve got the football happening and glad we’ve got the long August, minus those pesky qualifiers, as well as all those ducats in the bank, just in case.

What say you, fellow Gooners?  Are you ready for some football?  Or should we recognize that a good pre-season is just that.  Do we enjoy this fine fettle or fear failure (or at least a let down) as the matches turn from fun to ones which count?…  Do we have gaps in the squad which need filling in the final month of the transfer market?  What do you think of the big move in (Petr Cech) and the moves out (Szcz, Podolski, Flamini, Diaby, who am I forgetting?)  What about the kids? Will we see another Bellerin this season or is there another Le Coq out there on loan who we’re all ignoring?

Have at it, please…

by 17highburyterrace 

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85 Responses to The Week Before the Week Before: Arsenal Monday Musings

  1. steve says:

    wow that’s a lot of questions HT 🙂

    Do we need more in the DM area?
    No we’re good with a good mix of candidates (youth, prime and aging) – Hayden, Coq and Arteta.

    could AM’s morph their attacking tendencies into defensive ones as DM’s?
    No, stupid idea

    Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla and Ozil on the wing?
    Even more stupid than the previous idea, Ozil was crap out there and has since asked for the central role, Ramsey was crap out there and has since asked for the central role, Cazorla was crap out there and has since made it his mission to reinvent himself as a B2B type just to avoid it, Wilshere hasn’t really had enough time out there to be judged whether he’s crap at it or not but if the game at the Emirates Cup is any indication then the trend is set to continue. Maybe we should try Arteta on the wing?

    is this the season the Ox can make a place on the pitch his own?
    Yes, OX on one wing Sanchez on the other job done.

    Giroud, Walcott, Welbeck. Is that enough or should we spend (or promote)?
    Yes its enough and yes we should promote, Akpom being the obvious choice.

    How will Gooners react to the first hiccup, the first sign of frailty?
    With such a strong fit squad and no injuries to blame i predict any hiccup will be blamed squarely on the managers tactics i.e playing CM’s on the wing or on personnel choices i.e Giroud instead of Walcott as the front man in the match etc, something along those lines.

    Are you ready for some football? Or should we recognize that a good pre-season is just that.
    A strong Yes to both

    Do we have gaps in the squad which need filling in the final month of the transfer market?
    No not really so any further activity will be a bonus – happy days tbh

    What do you think of the big moves in and out of the squad?
    Excellent – quality in, dead weight out

    What about the kids? Will we see another Bellerin this season or is there another Le Coq out there on loan who we’re all ignoring?
    With so much choice (in numbers) already in the first team i don’t see any youngster having the opportunity to have a meteoric rise into the first team the way Bellerin did last season but when the Capital One cup starts there will be a whole host of talent that will impress. Another Coq – Hayden, not even on loan, he’s just been injured 🙂

    I think that’s everything

  2. retsub1 says:

    Nice write up 17ht you have covered just about everything.

    Last season we started poorly and many supporters ((quite rightly in my opinion). We’re questioning why we hadn’t got ourselves a quality defensive midfielder and many felt a new keeper (hats off to Mr Bond). As it turned out Ospina proved a very good buy and if we are honest, Le Coq exceeded everyone’s expectations.

    So this season I believe we have struck gold with Cech and if Le Coq maintains form we could be on a winner. Many question if Giroud is up to scratch ( I think he is). But if we do buy it must be someone who is an improvement on Giroud and there aren’t to many who fit the bill.

    My only concern is if Coquelin gets injured who replaces him? I wouldn’t want to go up against one of the big sides with a round peg in a square hole, or someone to slow or inexperienced. If you llook at Chelsea they obviously didn’t want to lose Cech, but they go out and buy one of the top prem keepers to keep their bench warm. If we want to be top notch we have to do similar.

    If our players perform and we are luckier with injuries I think we have a very good chance this year. My key players are Cech, Rambo and Kos and if he can stay fit… Theo. Of course players like Alexix, Ozil. Santi are all top class, but I think the former group are key.

    Lastly the support. You often have a little dig at the supporters. I have supported this team for a long time and in my opinion we have great support. Moving to the Emirates in effect spread out the noisy groups (what used to be the North Bank). All over the Emirates. There is little doubt that it is quieter than Highbury, but if you are sat amongst a group of prawn sandwich munchers ( can’t remember who said this originally). It’s very difficult to get an atmosphere going.

    I seem to remember Steve I think saying that very little criticism of individual players takes place during the game, but it’s only fair for supporters to speak about player performances after the game and particularly those fans who have paid entrance fee. I think this is very fair

    I spoke to some friends who were at the Emirates at the weekend and they said that Ozil and the supporters seem to be warming to each other, which can only be a good thing… It’s a two way street after all. A good example of this was Ebouie, who when he arrived looked very good. Unfortunately when he was bad he was awful. So much so that in one game he came on as sub and got subbed later in the game. However the guy had a great personality and most Gooners have great memories of him

    Great hopes for this season, but I think the weekend gave a pretty good pointer to what can be expected. Saturday we ran riot and I certainly expected an element of repeat on Sunday. But against a well drilled and organised team it’s always going to be hard work.

  3. proudgooner says:

    Hello 17,
    I also feel like Retsub, that you just about covered everything except.
    The forgotten man Krystian Bielik.
    Let not forget that Wenger brought him last season as a DM.
    He is suppose to be very very good. ??
    Arteta will play quite a few games and with Krystian Bielik, form permitting we may well have that spot well covered.

  4. proudgooner says:

    Plus as you guys said Hayden , he is or should be ready now.
    If he does not play for us then there is no point in having him. So it may be time to give our in house boys a chance like Le Coq.

  5. proudgooner says:

    1 more name i think may well surprise a lot of us this season is Serge Gnabry.
    With that all said i think we only should sign if its a world class player or excellent young star foer the future.
    A Messi, Suarez or Muller would fit in nicely. Sounds barking mad but we all know Messi has thought about joining us, Suarez wanted to when we activated his realise clause which septpool did not honour and Muller is just me throwing 1 out there.
    Draxlar lol 🙂

  6. proudgooner says:

    My first X1 starting team, so far if no more signings.

    …………………………………………….Cech………………………………
    Hector Bellarin………….BFG………………..Kosielny…………..Nacho nacho man
    …………………………………………..Le Coq………………………………..
    ………………..Rambo……………………………………Cazorla
    ………………………………………Mesut Ozil……………………………….
    ……………………..Walcott………………………….Alexis

  7. proudgooner says:

    Against phsyical strong or tall teams, Giroud should always start them of course.
    I am a big Giroud fan and have always backed him.
    I believe if he starts enough games or gets enough game time this season, then he will score 25+ goals.

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent post Seventeenho 🙂

    Yes we are fine to go with a fantastic squad. Wenger’s ideal is to play with four attacking all round midfielders that interchange. So Steve, comments about it being stupid for Jack to play on the wing are misplaced. If we are to win the title, I reckon it will be with 4-5-1 or 4-1-4-1 and Wenger will play four out of Jack, Mesut, Aaron, Santi, Alexis, Theo against the big teams, with Coq behind them and Giroud in front of them – sometimes Theo instead of the Rock.

    17, re strikers don’t forget Alexis: he can also play as CF.

    The only possible weakness is on the right wing/midfield position where Ox, Theo and Ramsey are works in progress. The former lacks certain skills, Ox lacks maturity and should go out on loan imo, and Rambo is not convinced about playing there…. Maybe Wenger convincing the Welshman is the easiest way forward! 😉

  9. NjkSG says:

    Guys, my opinion is stick to the squad that ended the last season strongly. Everyone except Cech. And maybe Theo on the right wing. That’s all. No more movement of players, and willo will have to be content on the bench.

    And 17ht, yep, bring on the Chavs and the new season!😁

  10. Gerry says:

    Ha ha HT I find this really funny. I would normally be expecting you to be having a sniffy little dig at the progress of youngsters coming into the first team squad, as just preening themselves, rather than adding any contribution with their efforts. Perhaps I do go too far the other way, but if all they got from some excellent performances was a ‘Thanks, now back to the kiddies group’ from Arsene Wenger, I don’t think we would have ANY progress from the youth ranks at all.
    However, and this is what is making me smile, I actually agree with much of what you have written, but I have a sharp disagreement with the comments made by others.
    😀 😀 😀

    However, you started with Szczesney. Your thinking is much the same as was expressed on the Arsecast. This loan is just a delayed good bye? I don’t. Yes, the performance in the game, followed by the smoking incident would have infuriated AW. But, as with Wilshere, he always looks for the player’s attitude afterwards as a way of redemption. I think Woijech has done okay in that department. He has trained with a smile on his face, distanced himself from his father, not just his comments, but in reality too, and made no negative comments about the Cech signing. The only reason he would agree to a loan is if he has a chance to return. The sticking point in the negotiations I think was just that. Does he have the last word if they want to exercise their ‘right to buy’.
    I would also be wary of Ospina whilst this window is still open, as he was quick to explore alternatives when Cech was just a rumour. So I don’t see Martinez going anywhere before September 2nd, if at all. He did pretty well in pre-season too.

    I am surprised you couldn’t see more than the highlights of the Asia tour, if you are a ‘digital member’ of AFC then the whole games should be on the player. I’ve not signed up my membership yet, more financial than idealogical principle – ie I won’t if they don’t snap up JD!
    😀
    But you are right, we are in a much better position at the start of this season, compared to last season. With only a couple coming back late from summer competitions, Alexis and Gnabry, and our new fitness boffins seem to have the rest back in tip top form. We will only know how we compare with Chelsea on Sunday, who like us, having a little changed squad from what finished last season. From all the games so far, we have finished games strongly, as well as started brightly. That 50 yard run by Ox seconds after coming on against Wolfsburg would have been a hamstring job in days gone by? This will also be key on the bigger pitch at Wembley.
    I hope you are wrong about Coquelin too. At the time I put it down to the fact it was in the 80th minute when he was subbed, and assumed he was just going to go through the ‘cooling down’ regime. The fitness gurus would no doubt have all the data, but he did not look like he was limping or anything?
    The Walcott saga is a distraction, and even if he signs it does not necessarily mean he is not going anywhere else for the next 4 years, it just means the buying club will have to pay the asking price because he is no longer on the last year of his contract?

    I am not sure why you mention Joel Cambell and Wellington Silva in the same category though. We have seen Joel play here, and despite his skills, he just did not cut it. Nobody has seen Wellington in the flesh, but the vids make him look skillful. True, very few goals, but plenty of assists, or should that be ‘key passes’ given that not all were turned into goals. I would rather give the guy a chance to show what he can do, and prior to Ox over the weekend, it was a position he could fill. Gnabry would have been another, but a good season on loan is a better bet for him, I think.

    Strong squad? Yes. Is it complete? Bigger question, and my answers you’ll see in my comments on comments.

    The Community Shield? Well I think AW will treat it as an extension of the pre-season. I don’t believe for one minute he will fall for playing the best players over playing the best team.
    We will go out to win it, and win it well. But if we lose? Well we have a different team behind that one?

  11. Gerry says:

    Steve, and remember these are only my opinion. I agree with most of what you say. My area of alternative thinking is when when you get too caught up with midfielders playing wide, as though it is a fixed position. In some cases in can be useful, but not in a strict formation sense, although they may return to these positions if they are building from deep, just so team mates know where to look. Thereafter it is about fluidity.

    I slightly disagree about Akpom at the moment, but things can change. I feel he needs to develop his all round game more, and he is not quite ready to be dropped in at the very top level. Once he gets a goal, I am sure more will follow … BUT that is the time he needs to take a step back from wanting more, to becoming a part of the team as a whole. A year on and we might be talking about a totally different player, but that will be largely down to how well he adapts his thinking.

  12. Gerry says:

    Retsub, again, only my opinion, but I think you and many others have it wrong about a new striker. He does not have to be better than Giroud, he has to be better than Giroud’s alternative. Big difference.
    I agree with TA on this point, Giroud is probably the best there is in that role of ‘holding striker’, plus his many other good points in defence, etc.
    What we need is a striker who is better than ‘iffy’ Walcott … if he signs, if he isn’t injury prone, if he isn’t inconsistent.
    Better than Welbeck, who works hard, but will he always need that extra touch to score.
    Better than rookie Akpom who has many plus points, many of which are getting lost in his own ambition … at the moment.

    But if we go into the transfer market, I cannot believe that Llorente is an option, as he is Giroud Mk 2. Great for continuity for the same type of play, not much good for Plan B.
    I think he is a ‘blind’ to make Real think if they do not accept the next bid, they will not get another chance? Why is this transfer still alive, and not just a rumour? Well if it was KB’s father that spoke to Wenger, thus avoiding any ‘tapping up’, makes it more credible – query how easy it was to get hold of AW’s number? – KB’s agent might be against it, but players have been known to change agents, and clearly this one is annoyed because contact did not go through him? I think it will drag on a bit because the player may want to see how Benitez set out his team first?

    Agreed on your other points

  13. Gerry says:

    PG – I think , certainly after the squad lists go in at the end of this TW, both Bielik and ‘The Jeff’ (@arseblog) will need space on the A List as neither qualify as ‘home grown’, and that may be tight?
    I think Serge has until the end of the TW to push for a place, but his late return will count against him, especially given the Ox’s flying start in the one position he could have taken? Just a chance, if he is fit enough, to slot in down the left while Welbs and Alexis are out, but I think Iwobi will get the nod, despite that having grave implications for HT’s love life 😀

  14. Gerry says:

    I’ll come back to TA’s comment later ..
    JK – You have to remember the squad that finished strongly was largely made up of guys being fresh, having got over injuries, while other teams had started to struggle, including the Champions?
    Now all teams will be starting fresh, and many have strengthened their sides in this TW, including West Ham!
    We have replaced a goalkeeper. No time to be that complacent ..
    But again, only my opinion.

  15. NjkSG says:

    Gerry, you are right about complacency. And alot of people are feeling that we have the team to win the championship this time round.

    However I think we are on the right track, and we cannot afford to sit back and relax.
    The new players in the teams need time to gel with the existing players though, so its going to be fun watching how the new teams work (ahem Man***).

    JK

  16. NjkSG says:

    Ah this is crap.. newsnow mentioned about us signing Fernando llorente by yesterday and then all news about him died down today. Then they went back to KB.. Hm..

    Hey Gerry, love to see your comments re TA real soon. 😁

  17. Gerry says:

    Coming right up JK

  18. Gerry says:

    TA – I think your reply needs flushing out a little.
    Basically you and I have fundamental disagreements on many aspects of the way Arsenal are heading, not to mention a difference on individual players. However, as I have said above, I do not disagree with your assessment of Giroud, or what he brings to the team.

    Where I do depart is this idea that he is the ‘one size, fits all’ thinking. This you put in your opening paragraph quite clearly. But you go even further with the idea that all the midfielders are so flexible that you can play any combination, in whatever position that Arsene dictates, and they will all come up with the goods every time?

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that playing our midfielders wide is a bad idea, but there are midfielders that are different, and there is a difference between wide and wide(r). Those differences make a big impact to how the rest play.
    Take the example of Iwobi and Ox, who would be my choice starters in the CS. Both can keep a sustain run from deep at pace. Wilshere has a short burst of pace, Cazorla is more a diagonal mover and pass type, Ramsey is a direct runner, but not with the ball. In fact I think there are only a few players who can do a wingers job. The two I have mentioned, Bellerin and Gibbs, Alexis a few times, but likely to turn inside at the end of the run, and Walcott. Even Ozil is probably more like Ramsey in being quicker without the ball?
    When either Wilshere or Ramsey play wide, they invite the full backs to go on their outside so they can turn inside, but have an option to pay it wide, thus maintaining the width.

    My argument is that the first two I named make it a much more dynamic attack, and by leaving the backs behind, much safer in case the attack breaks down. This, I believe, and it is only my opinion, is what AW is trying to achieve. Not exclusively, but as a way of to combat the PTB types.I think it was the Prof(Geoff) who said about tactics, getting the numbers to overwhelm the defenders.

    You may dismiss all the transfer stuff as much as you like, but what I look for, is not the players that are linked, but the type of player. Early this morning there was a link suggesting we were after an Ajax starlet, an attacking midfielder … Yeah we need one of those don’t we? But I duly read the piece to see if it had any merit, other than a promising youth from a good academy. It read;
    ‘An attacking central midfielder who can play higher up field. (but this is the key sentence). He can pick a pass and turn defence into attack very quickly.’
    That is the sort of player that appeals to AW. Not for this game on Sunday, nor for any in the near future. He would be for the post Cazorla days, or even the post Ozil days.
    Jeff Reine-Adelaide is in a similar type bracket, albeit more front line.
    Benzema, rather than Jackson Martinez, Higuain, or Llorente. You get the picture?
    Type, not the player.

    Back to your final paragraph. Ox, even after his much improved displays, is still a work in progress and should still go out on loan?? Really?
    Theo a work in progress? Surely that should be in the past tense. We know he can play wide, but lacks the dribbling skills, and he want to play as a centre forward.
    Ramsey a work in progress? Hardly, it got ditched almost as soon as it was tried. He can certainly play a little wide of centre, but his major strength is to run into space, not try and take people on down the line.
    Bellerin is the only one who might be an alternative to the Ox, and should/could be considered as long as Debuchy is fit?

    This is my alternative, and I think what AW is striving for? Pace, pace, and more pace, and when that doesn’t work, controlled possession.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Pace comes from the full backs and Wenger has options to add it in front of them if he wants too. But pace you overrate, as we play mainly park the bussers who squeeze out the space for pace. That’s the bit you are continuously not getting. And that’s where Giroud and four all round mid fielders come in.

    Ox is not consistent and often disappears in games for periods; he also makes big, costly mistakes. Just try to understand that a loan is not a punishment; it’s a means to get to the top level we demand at Arsenal. And I don’t do sentimentality when it comes to my club…

    Ramsey is a work in progress on the right. You will not find a bigger Rambo fan than me. 🙂

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    And re Giroud, you still don’t get me or it, and I am tired explaining to you. So let’s leave it there, Gerry, as I don’t need you to flush me out one iota.

  21. steve says:

    You just don’t get it TA 🙂
    Just this past weekend there were 3 or 4 examples of when OX was hemmed in down in the right corner (park the bus style) and he beat not one but two players from a standing start (no running pace whatsoever) and got the ball across the box – just like Sanchez may do on the other side. The added benefit of pace comes from the ability to score a goal like the second one against Lyon on the break, a kind of blisteringly fast run that Wilshere, Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla just cannot do.
    Now i rarely see Ozil or Ramsey beat a man one on one with the ball and Cazorla kind of does it using his two footedness and zig zaging, the only real candidate for that type of offensive move right in a packed “park the bus” style situation down in the corner is Wilshere but then you miss out on all the added bonus of pace when you need it down the flank.
    With Ox you have the best of both worlds as you do with Sanchez on the other flank.
    Leave Ozil to pass and find space (central)
    Leave Ramsey to make excellent late runs without the ball (central)
    Leave Cazorla to his special brand of magic (central)
    Leave Wilshere to fight for the right to displace Ozil (central)
    And for god sake leave the wingers on the wing where they belong and provide the most benefit.

    Anyway we tried your way back at the start of last season with the 4-1-4-1 full of midfielders usually combining to create a central midfield cluttered mess and no width and the performances were pretty shit if i remember correctly, i’m very happy with what Wenger seems to be introducing this year – long may it continue 🙂

    You put a hell of a lot of onus on our fullbacks to be the providers of attacking moves from wide, i know who i would rather have out there jinking in or putting a cross in and its not the full backs lol.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    No surprise there, Steve, but as you are totally Ox biased and another pace addict, I am going to leave there. 🙂

  23. steve says:

    That i am TA 🙂
    Hey i say go the opposite way and make the creative midfielder battle a four way competition between Ozil, Wilshere, Cazorla and Ramsey, let the best man win and fill the rest of the pitch with attacking threat lol

    ———–Welbeck————-Walcott————
    Sanchez————Wilshere————-The OX
    ————————Le Coq————————-
    Gibbs———Kos————–GP5———–Bells
    ————————-Cech—————————

    hahaha i bet you’d die of midfielder withdraw if Wenger started trying that shit out lol 🙂

  24. NjkSG says:

    Hey guys, wait wait.

    To TA. Do not get too worked out over the individual thoughts.

    Steve, and the pacy thoughts. We are still not as pacy as the paciest teams. Seriously…

    Think of Alexis. He gets deployed as AM on the right. He is not a winger, and he does not have the pace that Theo or the Ox has. Why he can do it? He has the never say die attitude and he makes runs at defenders.

    The left side is TA style, consisting of a run-all-night left back and the less pacy Alexis.

    On the right side is a Steve or Gerry style attack, catering for Theo or Ox with maurading runs to the central area or beating the left backs on the flanks and put in crosses with their speed. Not that both sides has any speed difference, and our game play has little emphasis on speed. Most of the time the emphasis is on the passes. The accurate passes. And the occasional burst of speed.

    Steve, if the formation works out you will have 1 AM player and one DM protecting the defense. I am not sure if our defense can take it if we see maurading teams like the chavs. And yes, it will be a four way battle for one starting spot. And not everyone agrees with it.

    I hope no one is losing sleep over this.

    Cheers,
    JK

  25. NjkSG says:

    And re the Ox. This is going to be ironic, but thinking of his long runs, yes he is a good winger. Thinking of his mistakes, I do not think its only him that does that.

    We will see alot of mistakes coming our way, so its a matter of how we recover from the mistake there and then, not dropping any players.

    So TA, embrace the Ox. Do not discard.

    I know u have a tough week TA, moving house and sorts. So yup. Embrace differences 😄

  26. NjkSG says:

    Now back to Giroud.

    We will need Giroud not because he is all round striker. He has the ability to hold the ball and heads the ball cleanly. And sometimes when we are squeezed by the opponents in defense, he comes back and help us out. He is not perfect, but he is the missing piece in Wenger’s pacy midfield squad sans Alexis: the unpacy holding striker.

    Gerry and Steve, you can argue that Iwobi or Akpom can do the same, but both does not possess the big game player qualities Giroud has. Apparently not the best big game player, but one that holds up the ball enough for the midfielders to run beyond him and score. If we really get KB he might do the same thing that Giroud does. Except that his good feet is on the right. So I am contented with OG.

    Our game is not centred around one player. We have many pieces and the thing for us this season is to gel better than ever before. Play it the gunners way. Boring or not that’s what others say.

    Cheers,
    JK

  27. steve says:

    haha JK what do you think we have covering the defense in our current set up?
    Last proper game we played was the FA cup and whilst every body was forward (including the full backs) who do you have left protecting the defense?
    Thats right…. Cazorla and Coquelin – one AM and one DM.
    How is that any different to they way you just described my formation 🙂

    Btw dude you’re being a bit harsh on Sanchez lol, that guy has pace to burn bud, maybe not as much as Theo but Theo’s not a winger – you have to be able to run WITH the ball for that lol, that’s why he’s desperate for that striker role 🙂

    I just watched the first half of Chelsea VS Barcalona in their pre-season on sky sports atm – a particularly sickening game for me personally i must admit.
    Not only are Chelsea playing just how i want to play, with a quick, skillful, right footed, winger on the left cutting in and the same type of winger on the right but who is left footed cutting in. But they are also using this tactic with their new player Kennedy who i wanted to see us get (as he was one of the only left footed wingers i know of). And not only that, its working a treat too and they are all over Barca and the pace and power is winning out over passy passy the entire half.
    Urghhh, the team i hate the most playing just how i want us to play and making it work well 👿

    And just to add insult to injury the only other left footed winger i could think of in my list is also on show for Barca (Munir) and may still be available but as far as that half went looked bloody rubbish.

    Just pre-season stuff i know but urghh what a bastard lol

  28. steve says:

    the guy on the right was Hazard btw lol

  29. NjkSG says:

    Steve, we can play the same way too.. put ox on the left, Theo or Giroud in the middle and Ozil on the right. Santi in the AM position and Rambo and Coq on the deep lying role.

    Throw in willo in the left mid role, but I would not want to start another war of words with you on the midfielders no. Hehehe.

    At times we see this lineup last season, and its a joy how much they confuse the defenses by moving around.

    See how we tormented the Chelsea defense last season.

    Cheers,
    JK

  30. NjkSG says:

    And Steve, without a deep lying AM covering the back line with Coq we would have seen a different outcome.

    My point was we need 2 AM, one up front supplying balls to the strikers, and the other playing the deep lying playmaker role. In one game.

  31. steve says:

    sorry JK but the only left footed options we have out on the wing to cut in and score are Ozil and Wilshere and neither of them has enough pace or strength to play that role (the way i would want it played). Think of a player like Messi or Bale but obviously not those two lol, that’s why i was looking at Kennedy.
    I didn’t include Giroud as one oif those options due to the absolute lack of any pace whatsoever btw lol.
    Trust me bud my dream of that combo is pretty much dead as there are literally no options out there even if Wenger did want to sign someone like that.
    It looks as if one will cut in (Sanchez) and one will play right down the wing and cross (OX).

  32. steve says:

    This is how we looked when we attacked during the end of last season

    ———–Sanchez————-Giroud—————
    Gibbs————Ozil———Ramsey——–Bells
    —————-Cazorla———————————
    ———————————Le Coq—————-
    ——–———Kos————–GP5—————–
    ————————-Cech—————————

    If you played my formation (which was only a joke to begin with btw lol, but it makes for a good chat so i’m sticking with it) it will look almost identical:

    ———–Welbeck————–Walcott————
    Gibbs——-Sanchez———The OX——-Bells
    ——————Wilshere—————————-
    ——————————-Le Coq——————
    ——-———Kos————–GP5———–——-
    ————————-Cech—————————

    How is that any different? I mean defensively wise in midfield?
    You still have one AM and one DM 🙂

  33. NjkSG says:

    Steve, ah.. that makes more sense with your explanation.

    The chavs plays a more direct version of football. Somewhat similar to how we played against wolfsburg after Giroud was taken off. Chambers resorted to long balls closer to the end of the game, and I think it was one quick counter that Walcott ran in and Giroud moved to the right that broke the wolves defense.

    If that is the game you are looking for the whole 90, then yes. But I will see the lads playing the passing game, sitting around the opponents D area most of the time against weaker teams. Against stronger teams we will sit back and defend and counter.

    So Steve and Gerry, your idea of the fast paced game is not all out of the question, the same goes for TA who likes the passing game better. But its just who the opponent is and its a game of 2 halves. Sometimes contrasting halves 😁

    Cheers,
    JK

  34. NjkSG says:

    I am imagining TA and Gerry laughing themselves off when they get out of their beds later.

    Hehehe

  35. steve says:

    yep, that’s the great thing about our squad atm, we have so many options should we wish to switch the style of play. It also give people like me plenty to talk about whilst calling for these (mostly unused) switches of style and approaches – happy days 🙂

  36. steve says:

    hahaha i expect Gerry is literally just getting up now – nutter lol

  37. NjkSG says:

    Its 4am! And Steve you are supposed to be asleep?

  38. steve says:

    Speaking of Gerry i just remembered i forgot to say the other day my backing is now fully behind Draxler – all the way! I would rather get him than Benzema tbh – i know crazy but true.
    My mate sent me a clip of his left foot skills (which i seemed to miss whilst watching the matches he played in, sorry Gerry) and they are very accomplished.

    Now i ask you, what do you want in a “striker in training”
    The height of Giroud – he’s about an inch shorter (check)
    The strength of Giroud – he definitely puts himself about (check)
    The speed of Walcott – no, but he’s pretty damn fast, i would say Welbeck speed (check)
    The ability on the ball of a midfielder – he played his best season as a No.10 and excelled (check)
    The finishing of Sanchez – not quite, but maybe level with the best of the rest at Arsenal (check)
    The tutilidge of a manager who has done the same thing before – Henry and RVP (check)
    Any extra bonus – two footed (check)

    Come on!! he just needs to learn the movement of a striker and at 21 he’s got plenty of time to do that.
    I hear he rejected Juve’s offer, come on Wenger get your money out! 🙂

  39. steve says:

    yep its a late one tonight lol.
    I got caught up watching the footy and now i’m quite awake lol.
    not long though, a quick puff on the vape thing and then i’ll probably try and get to sleep i think 🙂

  40. steve says:

    I forget is it 7 or 8 hours you guys are ahead? i know Batam was always one hour difference between you in Singapore but i always get mixed up between Sing and UK.

  41. steve says:

    hahaha 7 for Singapore, 6 for Batam – looked it up (it was bugging me my memory was so crap)

  42. NjkSG says:

    Gerry, 7 for us and 8 for Batam.

  43. steve says:

    Gerry?? Steve JK lol
    night bud its time to dream of eleven strikers in the starting line up 😆

  44. NjkSG says:

    Oops, should be for Steve.

  45. NjkSG says:

    Ah yes Steve, you are right. We minus one hour when we are in Indonesia, so yes.

  46. NjkSG says:

    Yes please dream of winning the EPL as well? And make it come true?

    😁

  47. Gerry says:

    It seems my timing is just out. I was awake and getting breakfast at 3.0am (bst). Mind, I did go to sleep around 7.0pm ..

  48. NjkSG says:

    Wow Gerry, Steve was right about almost getting off your bed earlier.

    Read the earlier comments later?

  49. Gerry says:

    Good morning all, G’night Steve.

    Okay TA, we will leave at a nil nil draw. You don’t get what I am saying about pace, and I don’t get what you’re saying about PTB’s.

    JK – When you say about Akpom and Iwobi not having the experience against the bigger teams, I would agree. In fact I already said about Akpom needing another year to find his ‘all round game’. Iwobi was my inclusion in the CS, in the absence of Alexis, not necessarily as a permanent fixture throughout the season. That goes with my thinking that this match on Sunday will not cost us any points should we lose, and why I think AW might just go with it?

    If it comes off then Iwobi will get a lot more game, even if only for being the sub to go to when resting Alexis?
    It is worry that the boys in blue are doing so well in their pre-season. The only good thing is that Barca might have been more rusty as their season starts two weeks later than ours?
    Still, they were always going to be the litmus test as to how well we have improved, or how much ground we have to make up. So from a momentum point of view, Sunday is an important game.
    However, I will still stand by Iwobi’s inclusion, hopefully not from the bench, because he and Ox will mean they cannot afford to overload in the wide areas. If memory serves correctly, Bellerin did a pretty good job on Hazard last time? I have put Debuchy in my starting eleven though, because of his experience, and not needing to get out of position going forward.

    Steve, nice of you to go back to the ‘Draxxy baby’ point I made at the time. From what I saw, and probably from the same video, was his use of his left foot is more controlled, where is right is instinctive and powerful. My only reservation about him, most of that stuff was before his injury? I cannot get out of my mind that a player who had a £42m release clause is now, apparently, available for £21m? Has he lost his pace? Is he structurally damaged? Mentally affected by injury? Only time will tell.
    Of course, he would have to pass a medical, so unless AW has knowledge that we do not, then it will not get to that stage … But, we have the pause I was hoping for, while the other matter is being sorted. And despite all the ‘6 hints’ stuff, I will only breathe a sigh of relief when the dotted line has a signature on it. Then, because I want it all, to quote a Queen song, we can turn our attentions to Shalke .. If the Walcott situation is not resolved?
    If, say the KB one goes through prior to Thursday, latest Friday, and he is announced and available to play on Sunday? How will that affect team Walcott? Will it be a bigger financial package to compensate for less playing time in the middle, or do they look elsewhere? Juve could be looking for someone 😀

    However, you and I Steve are in danger of needing 12 players in the team, just to exploit the full potential ha ha.

    I don’t go along with you on the either or bit. KB, if it happens will be an amazing signing. And JK, he is not like Giroud, which is why I think I think he will fit in really well. He is quite pacey, and is flexible to interchange with the players we have. And play alongside Giroud if we go for a double top at any time?

    I also spotted an error Steve in your two line ups. One of them should have had Per Mertersacker in there? To my knowledge, we have yet to play Kos and GP5 together? Has it got so bad that you cannot even type Per’s name? I suppose ‘Mertersacker’ would slow YOUR pace (of typing) down a little 😀
    Sorry, but I fear you will have to suffer him a little longer. Two left footers, and no leadership worries me with the Kos GP5 partnership, as it would likely mean Kos switching to the right?
    Mind, I don’t see it as such a big handicap with Per, as I don’t see him pressing on the half way line, and with my line up at least, the right back will not be needed to go out on a limb up front that often?
    Sunday will no doubt be a test. Let’s hope we can ‘buy’ our way to victory just irritate M even more? 😀

    Keep the faith ….

  50. NjkSG says:

    Gerry, re the gp5 and Kos partnership, I think it will happen in games where we need pacy defenders. Pacy fullbacks are not enough. Like what we saw against wolfsburg.

    I liked how they tormented us and I feel that the chavs plays almost the same football.

    I think I am addicted to your pacy views, but trust me TA I am not gonna get into their pacy lineup. I prefer a stable striker upfront. Someone like Drog, with the build and strength upfront. Sorry Gerry and Steve, but I prefer that option.

    While we stick to the pacy everything except for striker and keeper (does it work for you TA?), can I make one change to Coq? Hayden is better pace wise. He just needs games to prove himself.

    Cheers,
    JK

  51. NjkSG says:

    Gerry, my mind is playing Cahill’s headers.

    I think I need to put BFG in my starting lineup. Couldn’t find a better person heading the balls off Cahill’s head though.

    Cheers,
    JK

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Steve,

    The Ox can go past a man, I give you that. It is great to see, I give you that too. He is committed and passionate and has speed to burn, that I give you too. And that is where it stops and it is not good enough for a top club. Nice guy though. 🙂

    One goal, and just one assist, in 1500 minutes of PL games last season, 23 in total, tells me that he needs to go out on loan. He still needs to learn soooo much and he is not doing it at Arsenal right now, despite being here four seasons. With Ramsey or Jack on the wing, and with the full backs offering width and speed if there is space for it, we are far more dangerous than with your classical speed merchants when we play the PTBs or the top teams. Arsenal have moved on: we are much more dangerous with intricate passes using the width of the box, our fabulous all round midfielders and the additional width of both the full backs AND the mid wingers who offer so much more than Ox, Walcott or even the much overrated Draxler. Alexis has it all and there is potential, still, for Ox to develop but at the moment he is light years away. If Wenger can find another super all rounder like Alexis for the right, he will buy, but in the meantime he is still spoilt for choice with top quality midfielders who can be positioned out wide and do a great job. 🙂

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Top quality players can let their adrenaline rule their bodies but not their brains and nerve system. That’s what Ox somehow has to learn and Alexis and Mesut are his masters to learn from.

  54. NjkSG says:

    TA, Ox is not as bad as you think he is.

    He just needs games and keep his head down. I am all for him to replace Alexis in the lineup until our energizer bunny comes back.

  55. steve says:

    Still watching your football through the stats sheets TA, you poor bugger 🙂

  56. Gerry says:

    Time out folks.

    Please take a minute orb two to wish Abou Diaby the very best with his new club.
    No player deserves an injury free season, that’s for sure.

  57. Gerry says:

    I cannot comment on the difference of opinion about Oxlade-Chamberlain …
    But if you were a stat man, I would think his would look rather starting in July 2015?

    Everybody has to start looking good a some point in their career, he may just be at that point?

  58. steve says:

    Gerry, Both Koscielny and Gabriel are right footed 🙂 Plus it was an addition to keep the theme of pace throughout the team evident 🙂
    I do feel however that BFG will get caught out quite a few times this season and so a Kos and “other” partnership would be a prudent thing to try for future proofing 🙂

  59. steve says:

    All for that Gerry, Good luck and best wishes Abou!!

  60. Gerry says:

    Silly me, I should have thought about how Kos and Gab pass. But both like to play on the left?
    Still, if anything untoward happens,Virgil is still available?

    Right I am off for the afternoon’s racing at Goodwood, so back later ..

  61. NjkSG says:

    Gerry, safe driving. Do not speed.

    Abou, good luck for your next club.

  62. Gerry says:

    It was on the TV JK, I am a couch potato these days

  63. Gerry says:

    I am glad Zelalem is confirming my thoughts from other day, in that he would do better when Crowley isn’t playing. Well there is an Under 19 mini tournament going on in South Africa at the moment, and they have just won 4-2. Lots of references to his i’nch perfect’ pass, which gave his an assist for the first goal,on NewsNow. He also scored from the spot, and Jorge Bird reckons he had a pretty good game….
    Guess what, Dan Crowley isn’t in the squad 😀

    So I expect more of the same in the next game.
    I came to this conclusion after thinking of his spectacular performance with the USA Under 20’s.
    He came on as a late sub and ended up MOTM in the middle of the three games, yet was only average when he started the next. The key was he was the only creative midfielder in that one as a sub.
    His somewhat ‘laid -back’ character probably does help him, but he will have to have a bit more belief in himself to know when he may be can do better than just passing the chance away?

    See if the theory upholds in the next game later in the week.
    Cheers

  64. TotalArsenal says:

    You can be sentimental when you talk about a player and using friendly stats is of course silly. If you want to ignore those key PL stats be my guest but then do not be surprised if I ignore you when you comment on this site. At Bergkampesque we talk intelligently about football and stats are for grown up debate. Unfortunately the level of the blog has been low recently despite Seventeenho and I trying to raise it.

  65. And, there’s my cue…

    Lots of comments here–which is good–but only three people participating in the continuing discussion (not counting TA). This blog is in trouble…

    I was out of town with lots of road time and then family. I might’ve responded but less than 50 words in I came across this which caused me to put better things first:

    “No, stupid idea

    Wilshere, Ramsey, Cazorla and Ozil on the wing?
    Even more stupid than the previous idea,”

    So steve, (and I brought this up in a recent thread) now you’ve called me (or my ideas) “Stupid” in addition to calling me a “Helmet” and a “Pleb” amongst the other names I cannot remember. With no respect, there is no discussion–except on the internet, of course, it appears… The most recent one you’ve written, to TA is absolutely dripping with sarcasm and a similar lack of respect.

    Yes, yes, I know, amongst your mates, buds, etc. (all the nicer names…) it’s all in fun. And, I know you were “only” talking about Wenger and “his” stupid ideas… Please note that some of us have deep affection for the people you call lady-parts or other names and thus FIND THEM OFFENSIVE. I also think TA’s ideas about the Ox are a step too far, but why entertain yourself with this stuff?… Like I said, he will get his chances, Now it’s time to take them.

    What you’re doing is called trolling and hyperbole and it’s nothing I want to wade through. You (like many other “supporters,” and, yes the quotation marks are back…) are constructing an elaborate idea about what you’d like to see and holding it in reserve for future rantings, when that “idiot” (or worse…) Wenger doesn’t employ the (frankly absurd) ideas you’ve trotted out. The current Barca team seems the mold (or is it mould?)…but with a pack of English or youf players because they’re the “right type.” Thank dennis I’m not one of them gun totin’ Yanks cuz it’s bullet to the brain stuff…In my opinion, of course… 😀 😦

    Unfortunately, Gerry, who tops you for word count–and actually knows a bit about football and wants to support the club above his own sentiments–gets similarly lured into believing in his own self importance. There has been a tradition here about answering comments when you’ve written a post, but I wrote this one (!!) Why then, Gerry, are you prepared to bully people by answering each response (or was it just steve’s) with endless trips through your mind–which, I hate to say this–but due to poor writing (two words: proof and read)–often end in cul-de-sacs?… Trying to get to the bottom of this thread (and yes, I read EVERY SINGLE word, a courtesy you do not extend to all of my writing…) I came across this one:

    “I cannot comment on the difference of opinion about Oxlade-Chamberlain …
    But if you were a stat man, I would think his would look rather starting in July 2015?”

    Rather WHAT?!?

    Yes, I know, “good…” Context is the interpreter’s (and editor’s…) best friend… (Cheers TA for noting how silly it is to talk about stats from preseason friendlies as if they have meaning. You might add in video compilations and back page or click-bait transfer stories amongst other silly items which seem to inform our main writers…)

    Now look, I’m no better than either of you guys. Long-winded, check; Don’t know much about football, check; Love my Arsenal, check; Can get excited by transfer whispers or even a brilliant moment or two on the pitch; check. Hell, I’ve even wasted some hundreds (or thousands) of words defending Szczesny (I used to call his Sneezy but learned how to spell his name upon your request, Gerry), Cech; 😀 😦

    On the other hand, I feel like I’m actually trying to COMMUNICATE with and LEARN FROM people so I (try and) proof-read my shit (shite?) and think about how others will see it and address them with a measure of respect. Then again, I live with people (I’m pretty sure Gerry doesn’t, do you steve?…) so I also want to improve my ability to listen to and (try and) understand what others have to say. In my weaker moments–especially if I’m having trouble respecting their views–I might raise my voice or repeat my ideas in only slightly altered ways and become what I do not want to become. I have to say, I feel I do TOO MUCH of that in this venue so it’s time for me to STOP.

    TA, As per your recent e-mail, I think there are a few solutions and they are best discussed openly on the blog here. Perhaps we could get somewhere if steve and Gerry are interested…

    1. Shut the blog down once and for all or at least for a period of time…

    2. Shut down the comments for a bit… and/or make people re-register and only put through comments if you find they meet a certain level of, er, quality–or at least maintain a convivial and respectful attitude.

    To the other responders…Thanks JK and PG for reading and commenting. You guys seem excited by some of steve and Gerry’s ideas so please let me know if I’m being too harsh. retsub, thanks too for your comment. You’re right about the supporters and how they deserve no criticism. I still believe the supporters need to take a bit more responsibility for their own “good time” by managing expectations and appreciating what is being achieved. In the stadium itself, our support could be a VERY useful tool but too often conveys the nerves (rather than the confidence needed) and turns to petulance far too quickly when the luck (or result…) isn’t falling our way. Just my opinion, of course, but the group (under Wenger’s guidance–learned through his own tough personal experience) is learning to distance itself from the fans in those moments…

  66. AB says:

    Evening all. A tense one it seems. A couple of observations from a regular reader, if occasional commenter these days.

    Its been a long and dull TW, which is starting to fray the nerves of all involved. Even so, this site has always managed to keep itself at least one notch above the usual hyperbole. That’s why we keep coming here – because there is intelligent comment to be found that adds perspective, be that on the football or on other matters. We should remember that before we lower the denomination; if we’re feeling pissed about the football, the chances are we are not alone in that. And lets not forget that people have other stuff going on in their lives; robust banter is fine in moderate doses, though other sites may give folk more opportunity for this if its what you live for. But Steve, it is rarely wise to initiate a ‘wanker’ exchange, as the spotlight usually comes full circle in due course.

    But back to the football, and I do think the causes of our grief are to be found here. It feels to me like gooners are really torn this summer. For the first time in years we are not focussed on the distress of losing our best players, or the nerve shredding of just creeping into the top 4, or the frustration of seeing a clear need in the team/squad and us not being able to fill it. For once we have, frankly, next to nothing to complain about, For once we have everything to expect from the coming season – and all the anxiety that comes with realising what it means if we don’t achieve what we hope for. We have a top squad, bursting with youth, leadership, experience, pace, strength and talent – such that we can barely identify anyone we could buy in to strengthen it – and all we can do is debate which formation will prove the most potent. The unspoken fear is that now, with no excuses to hide behind (not even your sofa Mr Glic) we still conspire to underachieve…., and what then?

    This Sunday means bugger all to me in truth – though I will find an excuse to celebrate big time if we manage to win. We all desperately need to get into the season proper, and see how our team (dreams) have come into fruition, enjoy the performances and debate flops. But generally, even after some hair pulling, we manage to come together again and focus on where/how we can improve. Its the space thats currently killing us, not the site; lets not forget that, but pause before we slag off a fellow commentator here. There’s only 10 days to go, and every reason to feel that this year really could be ours! COYG!!!!!

  67. steve says:

    AB, lol whats a ‘wanker’ exchange lol and when did i initiate it? 🙂
    Not being hostile at all, just didn’t quite get what you were saying bud 🙂

  68. AB fine comments there, thanks for pitching in… My take is that problem is not the space in between but the fact that we cannot guarantee a happy outcome–or at least one which will be to everybody’s satisfaction…

    I should probably wait and turn this into a blog post (maybe a farewell post…) but my thought is that anybody who puts fingers to keyboard has an outsized notion of their own importance. Rather than wanting to be part of something bigger and supporting your club–through thick and thin–in a deep and tribal manner, it’s more about being able to get your frustrations out, naming your favorites and–with varying degrees of self-reflection and blindness–proclaiming your own personal wisdom, normally in an “I told you so” fashion. Nothing wrong with that but it’s rather the opposite of building a community. Maybe people have been at it too long and they’re looking for a way out–with individualism is the answer. (In truth, I fear “Wenger Out” makes the Arsenal blog world go round. Without it, I wonder…)

    steve, OK, I understand about mates and all that, etc., etc., no problem. You’re still a troll, however, and your vision for your idealized football team is just that: YOURS! Where is the give and take? Where is the ability to be influenced by your mates? Not true, not true, you were quick to start calling Giroud a donkey as soon as James Bond did… 😀 😦

    And maybe you have even started to see a little glory in some of the others over whom you took radical stands. For me, the one of the saddest moments of the entire last season is when you came on after the FA Cup final and immediately started in on remaking the team according to your ideals. No word of celebration or acknowledgment of this community or anything. The response was, “Oh, I did that with my mates,” which just about says it all. We’re not your mates and this is just a platform for you to spew about the kind of football you love (in most ways the opposite of anything resembling Arsenal football) and poke at people (with your wanker, maybe?…) when we’re down–and even when we’re up…

    It’s also an issue of subtlety. Why do I want to have an argument with you that goes nowhere–Giroud’s a donkey, Ozil’s a pussy, Ox for PM. Wingers who cut in, Pace, Power, (but not Pass, unless it is one that nobody else could do…) blah, blah, blah. It makes me repeat myself over and over (in my posts and comments. In this post I was basically trotting out YOUR ideas, after all…) and truth be told I don’t take a lot of pleasure in it. There’s a lot more agreement than you ever let on, but that’s boring, I guess… Sure, if you and I were the last two on the island, I’d have to accept it…and maybe it would pass for entertainment…but you’re not. You may think you’re keeping the comments going but if it’s just jabbing at the same couple of people with the same old ideas where’s the fun?…

    Like I said, I’m likely part of the problem with my own entrenched views (and long-winded prose). I want to have a good time watching Arsenal and learn more about the game as I do so and maybe even build a community of people whom I like and respect and whose writing makes me smile or think or even change my mind. Some of those folks I might even someday meet and catch a match with (Everton Home, CapOneCup Rd. 4, Swansea away in late October?…)

    Anybody else?…

  69. NjkSG says:

    Guys, except AB, chill. We should not get our heads ahead of the body. Be level headed guys.

    TA and 17ht, I wasn’t excited about the pacy formation that Gerry and Steve were talking about. I would rather have a balanced formation, but nope no CM or AM on the wing. That means willo, Rambo, ozil and Santi stay in the middle.

    I might get excited by how Gerry and Steve like the pacy wing play, but thinking back we should not get over pacy. Just reiterating this per my previous comment to Gerry I think.

    We must have the pacy and non pacy guys in the team. Pacy guys to ramp up play, non pacy guys to hold up the ball and getting passes through perfectly. And non pacy guys to defend toughly. This is how we win games. Over pacy costs us precious points, re start of last season.

    Ok, shall we end this topic and someone please do the Sunday preview?

    This will go on forever if not stopped. Seriously.

    Cheers, and please do not kill over this 😜
    JK

  70. NjkSG says:

    And 17ht,

    Please please please do not close this. By far this is the best blog in terms of guys speaking up. Other blogs seem less friendly, and our friendly banter is what makes me read in the first place.

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    There’s your answer TA, shut er down… 😦

  72. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry JK, I had a response going there for you but no longer… Break time for me…

  73. steve says:

    I literally just said i will step back from commenting just to keep people like you posting and happy and of course most importantly the blog alive.
    How in the f*cking world did you derive “There’s your answer TA, shut er down” from that????

  74. Frozen says:

    For what its worth, as an inactive bystander, I must say I still frequent this blog regularly and it really is a shame to see commenters like Steve degrade the years of effort TA has put into Bergkampesque. I realize that my (and every other passive onlooker’s) absence from the debate is equally detrimental, but I just want to say that I completely understand TA and 17’s frustrations with certain posters (no you’re not delusional) and if shutting down the blog is the best way forward and saves you some heartache… then so be it. Steve, you’re a far cry from the character and quality of blogger this Arsenal hub used to attract

    It is a bit comical how the discussion was so much more lively, civil, and –for lack of a better word–“intelligent” a few years ago, when we were regularly losing our best players and hadn’t seen a trophy in years.
    Fast forward and we have assembled a truly exceptional team that is inches away from competing for every trophy in Europe. Sure, maybe we’re still a year or two away from the CL, but watching our pre season match v. Lyon the other day and hearing the commentator gush over a ” 70 yard pass from Petr Cech to Mesut Ozil”: no chance in hell I would’ve believed you.

  75. Gerry says:

    Damn it, just when I thought I was getting somewhere with you appreciating Ozil 😀

    Ooops, the banned sarcasm.

  76. NjkSG says:

    17ht, Gerry, seriously cool down. And get some rest.

    TA, everyone do not wish to see this site go. I used to read arseblog and they are not good. Even by a mile.

    Gerry, Steve, I know you guys are emotional sometimes, but the emotions get ahead of you. Keep your heads on I will say. Even for 17ht.

    Frozen, well said. I would have liked to see not really active guys get more active.

    And I stand by my opinion not to shut down BK, TA and 17ht. You are the 2 best editors here. You will need to stay.

    Other news or commentary sites really do not appeal to me. Not even close to BK.

    So guys, get some sleep, get your heads reattached and get the preview done by someone please.

    BKer forever,
    JK

  77. NjkSG says:

    Ah Gerry, sorry. The first paragraph should be for Steve. Seriously Steve get some sleep!

  78. JM says:

    Comments (the extreme ones) may be moderated in a blog post, by both TA and 17HT (admins & moderators role), or any new could-be assisting moderators (what they have in those online forums to help the site admin). Possibly, put it under some terms & conditions to regulate proper discussion.

    My case in naming a starting Arsenal team is a simple one:
    1 GK
    4 DFs (2 FBs & 2 CBs)
    4 MFs (1 volante, 1 regista, 1 trequartista with freedom to roam and 1 wide midfielder who can also play a B2B/raumdeuter role)
    2 FWs (1 main striker and 1 raumdeuter/auxiliary 2nd striker)

    The best players in current form, during training and performance levels (by AW and his coaches) for the job.

    ====

    @JK,
    An afternoon to you, I am currently in Singapore too.

  79. NjkSG says:

    Hi JM, aren’t you the one who caught the game when the Gunners came to Singapore? Welcome to this hot and lovely country.

    Moderation is somewhat needed when we are open to everyone who posts, but I have seriously came across posts who are far worse than Gerry and Steve in other blogs. Far far worse.

    Trust me, they are just over passionate about us and might get a little overboard sometimes, but I somehow love their friendly banters. If you take a step back you will see it 17ht and TA.

    So for me, yes moderation is needed. But to what extent? If we put moderation for all comments, we will have a busy TA and 17ht vetting through all the comments. Unless TA and 17ht doesn’t mind.

    Cheers,
    JK

  80. Gerry says:

    HT – By the time you read this, it will be much later in the day, but for what it is worth I will try and answer your criticisms of me, and my writing.
    1, My inability to spot missing words is a psychological thing of having a tendency to see what I want to see on screen. If it was a ‘hard copy’, i.e. black print on paper I can assure you I would catch every one. As it is, a comment post that probably should take less than an hour to write, ends up being 3 hours. Most of that is taken up by re-writing ‘in running’, to use a racing terminology. The re-read of the final copy often throws up many more things that need rephrasing, or indeed just the need of a missed word. Not because I am stupid, or I lack the education, that, albeit later in life. More to do with the fact that my mind works so much faster than my clumpy fingers can type …. I assure you this is far more annoying to me than it is to you. Any word that has the same letter early in a word, and my brain is on the same letter towards the end of a word, almost without exception the middle bit gets missed out, e.g ‘remember’ becomes rember, and the second ‘i’ in ‘ability’ is missed every time because the first one is followed by an ‘l’.
    The latter example is particularly annoying because the i’s and l’s are hard to distinguish with my eyes, so I often insert in the wrong place …grrrrr.
    But you are right of course, it is only an excuse for not having it perfect every time it goes to print.
    However, it does make me overlook other peoples spelling mistakes without irritation or frustration.

    2, Why did I ‘bully’ other people who commented on YOUR blog?
    Well partly because you said you were busy, so comments made in response to your request for comments were more than likely just going to hang there for a couple of days?
    The other reason, I gave in my response to your post, in that I disagreed more with the replies than I did with your views.
    However, I knew I was … errr ‘challenging’, for lack of a better word, their views, so I did say in every case, that it was ‘only my opinion’. Not said in a sarcastic way, but genuinely saying that they were free to differ …. Good of me I know, I normally just bully people … (oops, sarcasm again). Of course I just think I put forward my ideas, to which I have thought through, and I am prepared to discuss.
    Sometimes though ideas can be misinterpreted, and then it gets a response that needs further explanation. For example, pace against PTB teams. TA argued that pace does not work against PTB teams because there is no space to run into. Which is true, and why Theo on his own, never had much joy against such teams. However, I was talking about counter-attacking. Using pace to get to defensive teams before they have the wall set up. Hence the reference to Geoff’s quote of overwhelming in numbers(which I believe he was using in this same context?) I also made reference to how this works in my comment in the Lyon game, when I noted that none of the 6 goals involved the fullbacks getting forward. However, I went on to say that only when these swift attacks were halted that the FB’s overlapping helped to maintain possession and width.
    So I agree entirely with JK, that pace on its own is not the answer, but used at the right moments it can be decisive.
    Good for JK, he was the only one who responded to me, and stuck to his view without feeling bullied, I hope?

    Now whether my, and subsequently Steve’s comments, who is seemingly on a different time zone to me, ha ha, helped to keep the blog ‘alive’ in your absence HT, is of course very debatable. But taking the wider context of the READERSHIP, which has always been much greater than the number of writers who put their views forward, then at least it showed there was something fresh to read. Now that may not be to everyone’s taste, as Frozen made clear. A bit too personal and condemning for my liking, because, within decency limits it should be open to all? Clearly on the terraces the band is much wider, but I doubt if many would raise their voices against the more extreme views held and heard in that situation? But as I have said on previous occasions, this is the internet and there is an unknown audience out there that can be extremely offended by a misplaced remark. Therefore there are some basic limits. I am not sure that should extend to fairly expressed opinions and ideas though?
    However, I think you might be more offended that the conversation drifted away from what you expected in your absence, than me intruding on your replies to responses? Again in your absence. I am sorry if that my intervention caused the deflection, but it was done with honest intentions, and I did not think I would be arguing or agreeing on the same points that you would do on your return. Like you have said above, I like the sound of my own voice, (and think it is preferable to a vacuum). Guilty.

    You also took offence to the after-flow of my criticism of the Ox’s poor passing, even though the ‘Ox hate’ thing was a myth, as Steve explained at the time. But it did not stop you repeating it at the head of your next post?
    I would love to know what Ox pass %age was in the next game he started. Pretty high I would guess?
    Not because I criticised him, but he himself would have known he should do better, and I am damn sure AW and Steve Bould would have had a word?

    So my answer as to whether the site should close, is not really down to us. TA has picked an awful time to moved to Scotland weather wise, but a good one, in that, it is the closed season.
    You agreed to take on the mantle of running the show in between, which is fantastic, again, as much for the wider readership, as us comment writers, and despite what you may think, we are grateful. But if either or both of you feel that the contributions are not what you want to hear, well that is in your hands?

    Personally I think it is a mistake to close it, 4 days before the curtain raiser, and thus 11 days before the start of what could be an epic season?

    Come on HT, get a grip :frown: You may not enjoy transfer chatter, perhaps on the basis it devalues the team we have? But all those Arsenal fans who do the clicking on other blog headlines clearly have an interest? True, they may be the ‘fickle’ fans you so despise, but many are genuine Arsenal supporting fans, and have been so for longer than you and I have. If this site means anything, then it is a voice of healthy debate where people can express their views without loads of one line abuse from disingenuous and anonymous fans who just want to shout them down.
    Frozen is right in one respect, the likes of HH and RA commenting have been very limited, and they are sorely missed. But just look at the new post writers who have come on board?
    Don’t just take a personal view of one commentator, who I think has every right to feel angry for nothing more than being taken for who he is, not perfect, but a genuine supporter of AFC, …
    and declare then that for a reason to close the site
    I too have had cross words with Steve, but it does not stop me ‘chatting’ with him. I am sure he would be fun on the terraces too 😀

    Do as JK says, move on.
    time now 7:12 GMT. Let me see how long it will take to bring this up to your exacting standard?
    time now 8:13 GMT. First run through, 20 minutes; 10 rephrasing; 7 missed words; 5 punctuation errors corrected, and a couple of corrections to corrections. Second run through: more sentences have a longer explanations; more corrections, two more missed words, missed from the first run through. Some grammar correction due to corrections. Third run through: a few bits of rephrasing; odd bits of punctuation due to rephrasing.
    Final run through to see if it is good to go …. damn, a few commas and a missed word!

  81. Gerry says:

    Phew! I thought the site might be closed the time it took to get that out 😀

  82. NjkSG says:

    Yes TA and 17ht, Gerry is right. Do not take a comment from one commentator.

    And also days before the start of the season, every gooner and gunners alike are looking forward to more friendly banter.

    So, come on guys, maybe Gerry or 17ht or myself can write the preview. Or even TA if he has the time.

    What do you think?

    And HH we need you back! 😁

  83. retsub1 says:

    In the early hours of this morning I penned what I thought was a good response to all the flak flying around. Then Grrrrrrr it disappeared into cyberspace. I tried again a while ago and found myself going down a different train of thought. At the end of the day we are all different and all have different points of view. It would be pretty boring if we all agreed all the time. As long as people respect each other, surely we can get along?

    I wonder if there are cultural issues involved as well. I spent a large part of my career working for American Banks. My secretary arrived at work one day and announced she was pregnant and asked if I would tell our daily contacts in New York as she was a little shy. So I sent an email to my colleagues/friends simply saying “Lisa is up the duff”. Now in the UK this clearly meant she was pregnant. However in the U.S. It had a totally different meaning and the responses I got were interesting to say the least.

    Maybe things have been misunderstood? Maybe not? But somehow or other things have gone out of whack. Looking from afar a lot of it looks like banter to me, but then again I am not on the receiving end of it.

    I have to say though, that compared to many other blogs I have looked at, this is a very friendly blog and very rarely sees the Agro that goes on elsewhere.

    I remain a big fan of Bergkampesque (although Henryesque would have been my first choice lol) and really hope it continues

  84. TotalArsenal says:

    Many thanks for the balanced responses; you know who you are. 🙂

    The blog is in a cul-de-sac and not where 17HT or I want it to be. And if it is no longer fun then why continue it? We have very little free time and we need to use it wisely. The blog might come back, but if so, in a different format. For now it will remain closed for commenting.

    Thanks for all the fine contributions and discussions over the last three years. Hope our teams plays a blinder of a season once more. COYG – VCC! 🙂

  85. AwayGunner says:

    Thank you for everything guys.

    AG

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