Welbeck more Ugly, Move Ramsey Up-front, Xhaka no Cazorla: Player Reviews


We have about twelve days left in the transfer window. That means we have less than two weeks window left for constructive criticism aimed at helping us strengthen our team.  Not that we are awful but we can be better, much better.

To the last man, all are unsatisfied at our defending in the two games played so far, this new season. If we don’t put it right, the season could be very poor. The first response is to blame our back-line until it is remembered that defending is a function for the whole team.

Against Stoke, we dominated possession (which could be partly the opponent tactically allowing us to) pinning them back deep into their own half. Our four midfielders (Oxlade, Ramsey, Xhaka, Bellerin) ever keen to join the attack, repeatedly got themselves well inside opposition half all at the same time. Two scenarios developed:  the back-line moved to close the gap between them and the rest of the forward players, leaving themselves susceptible to the ball over the top; in order to avoid balls over the top, the back-line decided to instead sit deeper which then created a huge gap between them and the front players, meaning that whenever the opposition broke they ran directly at our back-line. The latter was more of the situation in the match against Stoke. Whenever they broke that way, Ramsey invariably was way, way upfield, and Xhaka who was usually our deepest midfielder was way, way too slow giving chase and our back-line became like sitting ducks. If we persist in playing this way, then 4-3 is the only kind of score line that can assure us victory. That would mean a terrible season awaiting.


CECH: Good. Was not to blame for the goal conceded.

MUSTAFI: Pre-season performance. Hope he would have regained his form fully by the next match. I can’t wait for Koshienly and Per to come back to join him.

MONREAL: The most tactically savvy of our back three against Stoke.  But his size and pace are not made for that role at the centre of the back-line.

KOLASINAC: One can just feel that he is being underutilized playing as a central defender instead of a left wing back. All his energy, his pace and power, his enthusiasm for offensive play have very little outlet for expression in that central defensive role.

Oxlade: He stood up to be counted. Still, he would never attain his full amazing potential until he understands more that bringing his team mates into his game with simple passes all add up to a dazzling performance. It’s a team game after all.

RAMSEY: With the ball, he was our best player on the field. But leaving Xhaka as the last man in the midfield is suicidal for his team. In my opinion, he would do better than Welbeck in the inside forward position. No further effort should be made to make him territorially more disciplined. He is incorrigible there. Further up at the inside forward positions suits his temperament and skill sets better. Trust Ramsey’s engine and love to be involved to push him from that position into midfield defensive duties, which becomes an added armour to his arsenal. The 3-man defence is not license enough for a central midfielder to be abandoning his post so flagrantly.

XHAKA: Not his best day. On second thought, he was handicapped by the fact that he was manning the defensive phase of midfield almost single handedly. Amongst other things, he had less passing options available to him and he is no Carzola at getting out of tight situations. Xhaka in the lone defensive midfield role is a recipe for dangerous turnovers. Also, he seems to have taken Thiery Henry’s comments too much to heart as he kept attempting so many failed overhead passes to Lacazette instead of his usual cross-field passes. Those direct over the top forward final passes are never forced.

BELLERIN: What was he doing in the left wing back role? Bellerin is not an intuitive player, not in the least inventive. He is a player who is very very reluctant to use his left foot. That role robbed him of his greatest assets which are his speed, his endeavour and the use of his right foot. He was no good throughout the 90 minutes, but I never blamed him. I blamed the man who put him there.

OZIL: The through passes seem to have taken a long walk. That’s stretching it back to last season. Stephen Gerrard said that when we turn over the ball, we are one man down. I agree with him. Ramsey and Iwobi are waiting on the wings. Maybe Ozil would return to life when his soul mate returns. Is this the reason why Wenger is holding so tightly to Sanchez?

WELBECK: In all situations he must caress the ball. He should know that there are moments when the ball wants to be bundled in, treated ugly. A goal scorer or goal creator doesn’t work for the perfect chance. He works to achieve even half a chance.  One thing is certain, he is not making it hard for Sanchez to walk back in. And by the way, Ramsey, Iwobi and Nelson are all waiting on the wings.

LACAZETTE: Beautiful goal wrongly ruled off side. A bit too keen to impress by dropping too deep to become more involved. He should not push himself too hard. He should stay around the box, and do what he knows how to do best, so says our Ian Wright. I swear he is better than Lukaku.

GIROUD: I love that flick that was the assist for the disallowed goal. He needs to educate Welbeck and co on the art of chancing it in the box.

WENGER: Please, please Kola at left wing back and never again Bellerin in that role. Also, wouldn’t it be better to deploy in a 4:2:3:1 with a holding midfielder against teams we would dominate as we did against Stoke. The holding man would patrol that gap between the back-line and the forward players. Finally, could you please gladden our hearts with at least one more signing (we know where we need him to make us stronger) while shipping out six more players before the summer window closes. We don’t want to be paying wages to un-registrable players, and more, we don’t want some potentially messy legal tussles.

COMMENT OF THE DAY: Still early days so nothing is broken yet. Not with 77% possession, good chances created and a terrific goal wrongfully disallowed. COYG, we have a good squad that needs just minimal of tinkering. The race is long.

By Pony Eye

49 thoughts on “Welbeck more Ugly, Move Ramsey Up-front, Xhaka no Cazorla: Player Reviews

  • Thank you PE. I guess we needed Arsenal to lose for you to feel vindicated to repeat your recent views in this post. I agree we need to defend better even though the team only allowed four shots on target and two corners in the whole game. Not bad for an away game.

    I only saw the first half and will watch the second one at some point this week. I think the big thing you are not grasping in your post is that we were extremely unlucky not to go home with three or at least one point. There were a number of clear penalty shouts and the goal should have stood. For me it also clear that we need to play two out of Lacazette, Giroud and Alexis (and I would include Perez too here) in order to take our chances – six shots on target from 18 attempts on goal. Ozil is a creator and so we need two good finishers. I am sure we will get a lot better once we can combine two of these attackers.

    I reckon the lack of appreciation for Ozil will never go away and he will always be an easy target. Luckily, he knows how to raise above this.

    Agreed re the need to get either Koz or BFG, or possibly both, back into the team. THAT is what will make the difference, and I have no doubt that RAMBO AND XHAKA will continue in midfield. Balance needs tweaking and a bit of practice, not bloody revolution. We will be back.

  • TA …….. I’d rather we blast all on our path and win all the cups than loose and be vindicated. I have a lot of respect for Wenger and where my views differ markedly from his, as in this case of our CM pairing, I strain to see if I can get new insights that would make me appreciate his thinking.
    I even accept that maybe the only contradiction might be that out here I think phantasy football, the well rounded players, while in there he has to contend with the reality that such players are not available thereby forcing him to tweak his philosophy to accomodate the materials he’s got.

    As for my ideas who’d doubt that if we had a pairing of a Gilberto and a Vieira in our CM, our team would be hard to beat.

    On Ozil, am often with the opinion that his genius is blunted by the fact that the players around him can’t tune into his frequency. Even if that is the case, the bottom line is that his genius doesn’t fit in. And the fact that he doesn’t seem to be in high demand means that there aren’t many places that would be real home to his exceptional gift. These days teams place a lot of premium on water carriers.

  • PE,

    Good points. I would probably choose for 3-5-2 but I also know I am no expert:
    ——– Coq ————
    Bel – Xhaka – Ozil – Rambo/Kola
    ——–Alexis Plus Lacazette (or Giroud or Perez)——–

    Ozil, believe it or not, plays best when he links up with Giroud and has two to four runners around them to interact with. I reckon he will build up a good relationship with Lacazette but it will take a bit of time. The idea that nobody is interested in Ozil, I just dont agree with

  • Something different. Love this list of tautologies:

    Free gift
    Safe haven
    Added bonus
    Short summary
    First priority
    End result
    Close proximity
    Armed gunman
    Joint collaboration
    Green in color
    Tiny speck
    Hot water heater
    Tuna fish sandwich
    Advance warning
    Advance reservation or make your reservation in advance
    PIN number (the N stands for number)
    HIV virus (the V stands for virus)
    The “reason why is” or the “reason is because” (ixnay “why” and “because”)

  • Really good review PE. For me it was another frustrating match in which Arsenal monopolised possession in the opposition half, were ineffectual in attack and got caught on the counterattack.

    In terms of individual performances:

    GK: Cech
    Wasn’t at fault for the goal. I thought he was strong in the air and showed his shot stopping skills.

    RWB: Ox
    Another excellent defensive performance from Ox who was good in the tackle and showed great defensive awareness. His transitional play via the dribble was also excellent. He showed great intent with his crosses as well, but again missed a target man to aim at. Arsenal’s man of the match for me and should really be deployed in central midfield at the expense of Ramsey/Elneny.

    RCB: Mustafi
    Was strong in the tackle but his defensive awareness and aerial strength wasn’t good enough.

    CB: Monreal
    Played out of position again in the centre of the back three. A very similar performance to that of Mustafi.

    LCB: Kolasinac
    A poor defensive performance from Sead who was ineffective in the tackle and lacked defensive awareness.

    LWB: Bellerin
    Was okay in the tackle but his defensive awareness, forward dribbles and crosses were again nonexistent. Needs to be dropped after two poor performances.

    CM: Xhaka
    Xhaka’s defensive awareness was much better than versus Leicester but his tackling was non existent. He showed great intent with his long range passing but struggled with his accuracy.

    CM: Ramsey
    Very strong tackling performance by Ramsey but his defensive awareness was poor as was his forward dribbling. His long range passing was okay.

    RAM: Ozil
    A better performance by the German but more is needed from him. His dribbling was okay but not threatening enough. He showed some goal scoring intent but not enough and his execution was poor. In comparison to his performance versus Leicester he appeared to try harder versus Stoke to create chances for others.

    LAM: Welbeck
    Hit and miss performance from Welbeck. He showed good intent with his attempts on goal and but his execution was again poor. I’m not convinced his finishing will improve to the required standard. Didn’t threaten Stoke at all on the dribble or with his passing.

    CF: Lacazette
    Had a good finish harshly ruled out. Starved of any real chances thanks to Arsenal’s slow and overly cautious build up play heavily contesting the Stoke penalty box. Offered no aerial threat.

    Overall it was a naive performance from Arsenal who played into Stoke’s hands with their slow, overly complex build up play and over committing too many players in the offensive third.

    It’s going to be a long hard season if that’s the style of play Arsenal are going to adopt. Central midfield again offered limited protection to the back three, who were completely exposed when Stoke counterattacked. Arsenal’s central midfield duo need to sit much deeper and closer to the back three and predominantly transition the ball through their long range passing or forward dribbles. Arsenal’s front three also need to learn to stay further forward to vertically stretch the play while still giving Lacazette room to run in behind the opposition’s defensive line. That’s pretty much what Henry said in his prematch comments and Arsenal did the exact opposite versus Stoke.

  • PE,
    Good post after a frustrating day.

    The statistics do show that we dominated most of the play and opportunities, but their one main chance was better than all of ours, and would have been a clear miss if Jese hadn’t converted. It came because we gave it away in a bad area and were very slow getting back.
    … it wouldn’t be right to call it unlucky, especially after the lessons we should have learned from the mess against Leicester…..
    .. this worries me because liverpool break lightning fast.

    On the positive….Giroud set up Lacazette beautifully once last week, that indirectly led to a goal, and again this week for a wrongly disallowed goal. ( so that’s 2 very productive sub appearances by Olivier). A beauty goal by Laca. He really knows how to find the back of the net. Garbage about his toe being offsides. If our opponents had that call go against them I’d be laughing. If the goal was allowed, and if there was video review, the goal would stand, they would have ruled inconclusive. A freaking toe.
    Hector should have had a penalty.

    And Welbeck, i saw on later replays, should have had one, BUT, if he hadn’t been trampled on his right leg from behind, he would have missed the shot anyway. I’m sorry to be mean, but he owns the premier league record for ways in which to miss shots. It would be an unfunny highlight reel.
    I’ve been nominating him as a versatile wingback, fast enough, more than big enough to defend, and has the energy. The occasional goal from WB would be above average probably.
    As part of the front line attackers, he’s too wasteful/clumsy… I also think he could be sold if a mid table English team want to splash some cash. We can market him as an “English striker”, but Arsenal fans know the truth. He’s an English “player”.

    KEV made a great comment on yesterdays post, about seeing Monreal as a sweeper type player. A very astute observation. He is best utilized as someone who comes out and disrupts, his interception stats are very good, but i think being center of 3 holds him back, though he does have enough discipline to do it well enough.

    I think that Hector on the left is designed to get him to be more aggressive cutting in to shoot on his right, and get into the box more. Wenger knows more from training and talking to the the player. Maybe thinks he wasnt producing enough going forward as a wb.

    Two transfer opinions, you’ve heard before…. the only thing that can’t happen, is us losing Alexis, without replacing him, that i would blame Arsene 100% if it happens.

    And to not get a good Ramsey backup will be typical Wenger. We see from Saturday, even against Stoke, even WITH Ramsey, it’s a dogfight trying to score on and beat premier lge defenses. It will be much harder if Ramsey can’t play. I think of you TA, and I keep praying for Jack. There’s such a feeling of hope when i see the photos of him in training lately.

  • Stoke result was a mere confirmation that the team lacks balance as we saw in the 4-3 win over
    Leicester City. Apart from poor individual defenders in the team our main problem is in the midfielders, both Xhaka and Ramsey are very poor when the team is in the back foot especially in transition. Xhaka can’t win a tackle fairly and when he is on the ball he lacks the skills of carrying the the ball or run past opponents. Aaron Ramsey lacks in defensive positioning which is a key element in that era of the field.

    So as long as we play with those two we will always concede goals.

    This also brings me to the point where I personally think the manager has created too many problems for the team by buying sub standard players and overpaying them and now he can’t get rid of them and most of them just want to continue earning high wages until the end of their contract. The manager probably has very poor scouts or is relying too much ot statistics rather than visuals. I could give you a long list of Wenger’s bad buys particularly in defence. In truth Wenger’s has never bought a top quality centre half except Soul Campbell.

  • Great preview, PE and always good to pour out your thoughts after a game as that. In truth, we deserved to win the game and most of the post-game criticisms are borne out of frustration (or relief, in the case of those pundits who get paid for slating Arsenal/Arsenal) of losing our second game of the league season. We dominated, had the chances to score goals, denied a fair few calls that may have changed the course of the game and even reviewed tactics as we chased it.

    It is a thing that we need to defend better as a collective and this does start with the structure/ combo we have in midfield. Unless there is something in his contract, I do not understand why Wenger fails to accept there are games where we may be better bringing Ozil on from the bench, after others may have grafted for a good lead, so he can play with less attention as the opposition seek to equalize. One of such games is away at Stoke. Again, I agree and did imply it here that he seems to have lost his gift of seeing the pass others do not. He has ignored runs by the forwards which may have put us at an advantage, instead cutting inside or going backwards; the difference with Xhaka is he keeps trying those passes, even if with a low success rate. But he sees and gambles on it. Ozil has the ability to play the right weight of pass but won’t do so, unless it is Alexis making the run. That’s got to change!

    I am not sure how ready for a major game Koscielny is (he is a Pro and had some pre-season action, so I expect him to be) but Liverpool will need us at our best, with our best men. Alexis doesn’t have to start, for the reason that he didn’t play in pre-season. If we have Kos, Mertesacker and Mustafi back in good form, with Coq as DM, we could do very well in that game. It has now become a must-win game for us.

  • Ignatius, you don’t consider the likes of Koscielny, Mertesacker (World Cup winner) and Kolo Toure (even if coached into the role) top quality centre halves?

  • Hi PE, TA, and everyone! 😀👋. Been a while since I have spent some time going through the comments. Still managed to keep in touch with the posts through the year – great stuff. Thanks to everyone who has written the articles.👍😀.

    I came across some rather interesting stats on Arsenal pre- post transition to back 3 (as I am sure many of you have). What strikes me from the ones I saw is that it did not really aid us much defensively but actually helped pick up our offense. In the Stoke game, as frustrating the end-result was, the number of opportunities conceded and the goal scored was not unusual (below average actually). But, given the focus on offense, the inability to score was. I think Wenger also referred to something about offensive efficiency I believe in his post match presser. This, cost us the match I think. The Xhaka error was magnified only by the result. There were 3 CBs back on the goal-scoring play and 2 stoke forwards. Normally you would not expect a goal to be scored from this situation. But, that’s football. Koz’s return will help. Ramsey’s general positioning is hard to fault – he was the one consistently troubling Stoke. I would not be surprised if the plan was for him to take on a more active offensive role given Stoke’s tendency to sit back.

    Where I am going with this is that love or hate Wenger, he focuses on Offense and sets up the team to improve goal scoring while staying slightly better than the average PL team on goals conceded. Doesn’t mean I agree or that the defense cannot be improved. But, it is likely to come at the expense of the offense, which I think is something Wenger may not be inclined to favor – at least not as a strategy for the whole season; a game or so perhaps. Xhaka helps with the offense while offering a modicum of cover to the CBs. Santi is the best I feel, but is not available. That’s why I feel Coq is not favored unless his partner is someone like Santi who can compensate for the relative lack of offensive contribution. Ozil’s relative loss of form from middle of last year is the more worrisome element in my opinion. Finding a way to help him rediscover his form is critical and the constant criticism about his defense from pundits is not helping. Everywhere he has been he has been passable defensively but lights out offensively. When his main strength is diminished, well…

    I think it was TA who said that this squad has what it takes to succeed. I agree. This is not the teams of 1996-2004. And there is no Vieira / Gilberto out there waiting for Arsenal to join. I am sure if it was the matter of taking someone in and transforming them into Vieira many would have done it. Laca and Alexis will score. The key, I think is going to be what Ox, Ramsey, and the rest will contribute and whether Ozil rediscovers his 20-assist season form.

  • Hi all..
    I don’t want to comment about last night lost.. again.. something I need to write off.. hehehe..

    I just tingled by Waldo Motm.. Ox..
    I think for personal appearance.. he was great.. but football is teamwork games.. and Ox just ain’t a good teamwork player..
    I think he want to show something of his ability.. but not quite sure for whom..??
    Wenger or Conte..?? Hehehehe..
    He don’t need to show Wenger.. Wenger believed in him every single day..
    So if he want to express Conte.. and that Conte want him badly.. 40-50 M will be a great sell.. hehehehe..

    Ramsey did impressed me.. that what he really is.. an AM.. Competition forced him to play more depth.. just like Cazorla..
    I wonder if Ozil bench for a while.. at let Ramsey play his rules.. Coq can play for the DM rule.. But the problem is Wenger believed in Ozil very much.. and with Sanchez back.. He will give Ozil another opportunity to start..

    Let wait and see what will happen in this very short day.. Who will Wenger add to the team and will leave..??

  • Great comments all.

    1) Giroud make things happen in the box. His, knock downs, his flicks, his aerial prowess, his intelligent positioning from cut backs, his excellent hold up play, the bullying presence of his massive frame. The big question of starting him is ……. who should be taken out?

    Lacaz? Well, well … No (except as Plan B).
    A wing back? No.
    A central midfielder? No.
    A central defender? Well, well … No.
    The keeper? Of course No.
    The only positions left are the inside forwards with starters in Ozil and Sanchez who happen to be the major supply lines to that box. Am afraid Giroud stays on the bench.

    2) Ramsey’s runs into the box is an asset that cannot be overlooked. Yet it’s benefits come with it’s liabilities. How can this contradiction be resolved? Simply by moving him from CM to AM where again the starters there are Ozil and Sanchez. Sanchez is untouchable. So how does Ramsey compare to Ozil in that role.

    By my valuation out of 10 marks I’d give to:

    Ozil when we are in possession ………… 8.5
    Ozil when we are out of possession …… 3.5

    Rambo when we are in possession………7.0
    Rambo when we are out of possession . 6.0

    Being an attacking role “in possession” will be more weighted by multiplying by a factor 2.

    In possession ……… Ozil = 17 …. Rambo = 14
    Out of possession .. Ozil = 3.5 … Rambo = 6
    Total …………………… Ozil = 20.5 .. Rambo = 20

    By my criterias their is very little to choose between the two in that role. I suspect that Wenger’s multiplying factor for “in possession” would be 3 or 4 or even 5!

    3) Oxlade v Bellerin at RWB.
    Something tells me that Bel has plateaued out, while Oxlade has just started his rise. Oxlade exhibits an amazing ball talent, and an equally amazing team immaturity. Play him consistently and he would grow quickly in the later to become truly an amazing player.

  • Waldo, I think you are seeing a different game. Ox has made just One (how can I emphasise?) successful cross into the box. If he was the MOTM he could have carried the team on his shoulders and scored.

    Xhaka and Rambo are not communicators to the rest of the team. We need better players to find space in the opponent half, and that is what was lacking in the team, except for Lacazette, who did well finding space.

  • Really enjoyed your post PE, warts and all.
    I thought it was fair critique.
    I’ve only seen highlights of the game on TV, but we should have won, the offside goal could have gone either way, the finish was emphatic and gives me great encouragement for the rest of the season when Lacazette is fully acclimatised to the EPL. Of the three penalty shouts we should have had at least two, but even taking those and the offside goal into account we shot ourselves in the foot with sloppy defending for their goal.
    Stoke were rubbish tbh but we were, well, a bit Arsenal…

    Liverpool is going to be another level, they always put on a show when the Gunners roll into town.
    If we aren’t prepared we’ll get blown away. The Brazilian striker with the massive teeth (forget his name) always plays well against us, so we’re gonna need Koscielny back in the back three with Monreal and Mustafi either side.
    Wenger has to bite the bullet and choose either AOC or Bellerin for right wing-back because if Arsene doesn’t play Sead as left wing-back then he deserves all he gets.

    We cannot lose at Anfield, because the fans are already losing faith after a typically Arsenal performance at Stoke, lose again and it’s not going to be pretty…

  • Kev, will that be Roberto Firminho? Lol. He does do well most games and a very hardworking player. Our biggest concern should be Mane, in my view, as his movement and strength on the ball are usually a worry for our lightweight midfielders and full backs. That’s why it has to be the Ox at RWB and Kolasinac at LWB, if we go with 3 at CB. No sentiments. Bellerin will be bullied by Mane and Firminho but not Ox.

    We probably need to have one of Coq or Elneny in for some energy and running demands in the middle; so one of Ramsey or Xhaka will be dropped. I would have preferred Coq, Xhaka and Ramsey but seeing as Ozil remains undroppable in the manager’s estimation, I won’t even propose it.

  • Eris, yep, that’s the man, Firmino, he certainly has an impressive set of ‘Hampstead’s… 😉

  • Jenkinson and Bramhall on loan to Birmingham.

    Bennacer sold to Empoli.

    Akpom linked to Celtic and Leeds

  • Good to see you here, St Henry, and great balanced comment.

    This is spot on:

    “In the Stoke game, as frustrating the end-result was, the number of opportunities conceded and the goal scored was not unusual (below average actually). But, given the focus on offense, the inability to score was. I think Wenger also referred to something about offensive efficiency I believe in his post match presser. This, cost us the match I think. The Xhaka error was magnified only by the result. There were 3 CBs back on the goal-scoring play and 2 stoke forwards. Normally you would not expect a goal to be scored from this situation. But, that’s football.”

    We were unlucky in the game with the key refereeing decisions AND we need to be sharper with our chances. I believe we need to play two of Giroud, Alexis, Lacazette (Perez) to win a game. We will be back against Pool.

  • P E, well said in your recent comment about Ox and Bellerin .. Plateau may be the perfect word.

    Yes Kev, the NOT offside goal was a beauty, so i wish people elsewhere would get off the Lacazette needs time line… He has a goal in each of his first 2 games, one stolen along with a point by refs. Even shouldve had at least one penalty too. With decent officiating, he’d have 3 maybe even 4 goals. What more do we want from him? Some people talk about him like he’s Spud loser Roberto Slodado.

    He’s in a new team, new country, and hasn’t been phased at all. No performance anxiety, tightness, or drought at the beginning, like so many other new players coming to this tough league.. Give him half a chance and he’s on it. And Giroud the best plan B striker in the country.

  • Jnyc,

    It is difficult to please all the fans and non-fans, re: Lacazette.
    I would like to unleash Alexis and play both of them behind Ollie. We really need a target man and Ollie is the one.
    Maybe let Ozil have a breather and start Ollie up front against the leaky Liv defense.

    And, someone please pass the message to Wenger and say we need Kos and BFG back. And please drop Ox.
    Bells did well but was caught too much on the left. He would have done better in his natural habitat, which is on the right side.

  • John, I didn’t know that Lacazette was copping flak, certainly not from anywhere that I frequent?
    Not that I doubt what you say, in fact it doesn’t really surprise me, all the same the majority of fans, especially on here, have the sense to realise that it’s gonna take him a bit of time to be fully up to speed, I mean ffs he isn’t a robot.

    I did read that we got a fee of £450,000 for Bennacer, so that’s over £24million in sales so far!
    Toral looks set to leave on loan again, apparently he signed a new deal last January…

  • Njk , as i think about it, I really like that idea, using Giroud to start, especially against teams that park the bus in their box to clog up the game, especially at the emirates.

    And Kev,
    i spend just a little time on a very negative Arsenal site, that I won’t name, trying to defend our players and Arsene. They are 80% Wenger out, but even more they are constantly ripping our players, as you find sometimes on twitter too, that’s the other place that I spend most of my time online.

    It’s amazing how they see, or don’t see things. They complain about all of our players, including Lacazette, often Ozil, like some idiotic pundits on tv and radio, Durham, etc.

    I saw a stat today that TA will like. Arsenal have created the most chances so far in 2 games. 38. Ozil, the most abused player, has the most with 10.

    When someone accuses me of being negative when I’m critical of some things Arsenal, I know I have the credibility to speak on both sides.

    Today I defend Ozil and Lacazette, while at the same time, I’m obviously not satisfied with our results overall so far. Regardless of the referees, we have allowed 5 goals, and couldn’t keep a clean sheet against Stoke. Right now, I think that clean sheets should be our first focus, because we know we can create scoring opportunities.

  • Twitter, wow, that’s another type of gravy mate, there’s some very odd people on there.
    I did used to have a look from time to time, back in the day, there were a few on there who were quite interesting but there was also a worrying bunch of, how do you say, loony tunes.

    I also pop into other sites from time to time, across the spectrum, just to keep up with the differing views.

    I saw some brief highlights of the U23 game vs Man City and the referee was truely hopeless.
    Even in the few minutes that I saw there was a succession of late challenges, not just on Jack, and a few of our players left in a crumpled heap, with no action taken.
    All the same there was some excellent phases of passing by our lads with Jack as the fulcrum.
    And the goals I saw, only two of, were top quality.

    After suffering such a huge percentage of his career inactive and under treatment, it didn’t surprise me when he reacted. Referees are absolutely brain dead when it comes to the late ankle tapping challenge.

  • Jnyc, actually I wanted Ollie to start the next game versus Liv, flanked by Alexis and Lacazette.

    Kev, I have been saying this for a few years. The ref association has some bias against us and it is not new at all for refs not to take any action against our opponents, but always takes action when we do the same.

  • The word from john Cross, ( not always right ) is that oxlade Chamberlain has told Arsenal he won’t sign to stay, regardless of salary offer. If true, he must be sold. It’s bad enough to lose a true star like Alexis on a free, but to have players who have achieved nothing in the sport, or for the team get extra big contracts elsewhere at our expense… we can’t have that.

    Sell him. Period.

    I hope Arsenes comments, twice very recently , about Ox getting ready to go to the next level, and be the biggest English star, are designed to elicit bigger offers from Chelsea or whichever club.

  • Njk, I’m not sure that I’d do it vs liverpool, because I think we might do better with our paciest line up against them. But who knows how it could turn out.

  • njk, Jync,
    I’ve become a full fledged fan of Giroud and as Jync indicated his superior effectiveness is in a crowded box, meaning against teams we dominate. Against such teams it’s a tough decision whether to play Giroud alone or with Lacaz. It’s tough because we have to think about the supply line also, which in the case of the two playing together, means that Ozil would be missing. Formation wise, playing only one of them equates to 3:4:2:1 and playing both is 3:4:1:2. Am tilted towards the former as Sanchez is good at both creating and scoring.

    Against Liverpool it’s likely to be more of a midfield encounter with quicker brakes (supply lines) which would suit Ozil better with Lacaz as the striker.

    One other important consideration is that Ozil is a lot more effective with Sanchez on the field.

    Am quite satisfied with our forward options in terms of the personnel. My concern lies in our defence and the defensive phase of our midfield. That’s why am a bit perplexed when the whole talk is for more forward players like Lemar, when the other areas need upgrading.

  • Jnyc,
    If Oxlade is bent on leaving, I agree with you that we should cut our loss and sell him. As for his career path, if (a big IF) he is able to learn the use of space without the ball (wants ball. to feet) and IF he becomes more of a team player he would become world class. He’s already able to breeze past people with ease and confidence. But that’s about all which is disappointing considering his done 6 yrs with us. These his limitations might be DNA stuff in which case he will always flatter to deceive.

  • Since starting affiliations with that “Little mix” star, Perrie Edwards, the Ox has improved his game involvement and, it would seem, his confidence to make demands or take a position regarding his career. But it was all down to our club’s negligence to allow his contract run into its last year. It pre-supposes that the club was not convinced of his ability to improve and was not willing to offer him a significant raise in a new contract, took him for granted as the focus was on the “Big 2”; or, who knows, he may have perceived some apathy at a time he was anxious to sit at the table and then made up his mind to leave, no matter what.

    It is a shame but the thing to do, if we don’t convince him to sign the deal (isn’t his Dad a gooner, or at least, prefers the club?), is to sell him with his main suitors being rival clubs. For me, same goes for Mesut Ozil. The only man worth the Free transfer gamble is Alexis. I also thought Arsene’s endearing comments about him were to attract a greater fee for him. Hopefully, we buy a useful replacement if that decision to sell is taken.

  • Eris ……. I believe you have hit the nail on the head. Wenger couldn’t make up his mind about Ox for negotiating a new contract, and suddenly Ox had an impressive 16/17 season and the stakes changed with Ox seeing himself on the driving seat. Can’t blame him if he steps on the gas. If his game had not picked up, today he would have been part of the club’s deadwood to be shipped out.

    Ox is still far from a world class so am not scared of selling to any team. My philosophy is if one sells well, with good scouting one can always replace with a player as good or even better. It’s the money from the good sale that would talk.

    What am yet unable to figure out is why many more players don’t stay out their contracts and market themselves on the free which should give them better earnings (wages and sign on fees). There must be a catch to it somewhere . Anybody knows?

  • PE, it has always been my thinking that having a contract with at least a couple years at a good wage is smart long term business for a player and agent.. Imagine picking up a serious injury in the middle of your final year on contract. Risky long term play. Could lose any big sign on fee, and next future contract could be short and lower salary because of question of health and recovery.. which is risk to the new club. Who wants to buy a question mark?

    Do you think that’s how it could play out?

  • PE, when I saw “quicker brakes”, I thought you meant that the players go back to their positions quicker.

    But, after that, I saw the rest of the sentence and I think you meant by “quicker breakaways”.

    Yes. we needed our team to have quicker breakaways, but with Rambo and Xhaka we could not do it due to the lack of incisive passing from both of them. If it happens against Liv I am sure more people will ask Wenger to bring back Santi, be it himself fit to start or not.

  • njk, ……. that must be it. It’s risky for a player/agent to shun a new contract when there is still 2 or 3 years left on the old. Plenty can happen in 2 or 3 yrs like as you suggested serious injury, loss of form, the player’s targeted clubs not having a need to recruit for the position at due date and maybe a few more minor things that all sum up. But the nearer the end of the contract the smaller the probability of such happenings. It looks to me that Wenger overweighs things. That’s the downside to perfectionism. The best we can do now is sell if the price is good. We can’t live now and pay later. One interesting option left is that we can compete in bidding for our freebies.

    Sorry for the “brakes”. If am to read the comment a week from now I would be momentarily thrown off track.

  • Pony,
    People have been mentioning bidding for our own free players out of contract lately because of the situation our mismanagement has left us in.

    I believe Arsene when he says that we’ll try our best to get them, Alexis, Ox, Ozil, to sign before the contract is up.

    But never, in a thousand years, will Arsene pay the equivalent of a signing on bonus when our own player becomes free. It would be like buying Sanchez twice, for the privilege of giving him a huge raise in salary also.

    Clubs will offer some of the biggest signing on fees, as much as is allowable, in a lump sum. Now there is little chance they will extend before that. Agents take a chunk of those fees, so any agent will guide him in that direction, rather than just a raise. They will want both.

    The fees that clubs will offer Sanchez will be historic on top of salary…

    And you know why they will literally be historic? Because no club has been incompetent enough to let their most valuable asset/player(s) get into this situation, in this age of insane transfer fees.

  • Kev …….. Iwobi is already 21yrs in May (that’s before the start of this season) so I believe he qualifies as a senior player.

  • Jnyc ……. I agree that it is gross mismanagement, The harm would have been done. After that the seasoned trader would analyze the new situation without sentiment. He would be faced with the choice of a big sign on fee to resign Sanchez or an even bigger recruitment fee for recruiting a brand new Sanchez equivalent. Moreover the added advantage of the former is that there would be no bedding-in time. The real Sanchez would hit the ground running. The super computer that has no emotions would come up with that decision. Kind of ….. the best of a bad situation.

  • Yep PE, I make you right, I didn’t really check the stats, maybe the journo writing the piece should have…

    I kinda think that Campbell could be a decent wing back, especially if AOC leaves.
    Gibbs and Perez could be gone soon, Toral seems set for Derby for £3m, that’s more into our pot, Kroenke will be delighted.

    There seems no interest from anyone in Debuchy, which is strange!
    Akpom is still making up his mind but that could be another permanent deal.
    Probably with sell-on clauses inserted?

  • Mustafi is an odd one, I mean where have these rumours come from?
    Is he unsettled?
    Is his agent after some commission?

    Surely we can’t afford to let him go unless Arsene intends to use Sead regularly in the back three? Not a great idea imo…

    It’s all rather chaotic over there, I’m not getting good vibes about this transfer window and the way we’re conducting it.,,

  • Yesssss Kev,
    I’m bewildered about the Mustafi rumors. My best guess is that absolutely nothing true about it. Why would a team even bother offering us about 15 mil less than we paid 1 year ago? There was an even more strange loan rumor.

    Probably came from a tweet from a not very bright young man, and somehow got picked by a terrible click-bait site like fourfourtwo or that type. Just shows the horrendous quality of what passes for football news.

    Liverpool will be on a high, we must be mentally prepared, and find a way to use it against them..

    By the way, I am predicting a start for Coquelin in this one.

    And i really do hope they keep Coutinho. It will be, in my opinion, one of the worst transfer (non-transfer) decisions of all time. If they do sell, it will be incredible business for them, and it will make it harder for Arsenal to compete in transfers and on the pitch, ultimately.

  • Wenger did say, in a recent interview, that clubs may start to experience that more and more players prefer to run out their contracts because of the greater rewards it guarantees owing to the ever-inflated market. What we need to do going forward is ensure the best players are not allowed to enter the ‘safe’ period of their contracts, so as to keep them interested when a new deal is trashed out and placed before them. Maybe, that’s what we employed the new Contracts man (forget his name, now) for.

    I read an article which showed that Manchester United has 10 players coming to the end of their contracts. They include Mata, Herrera, Blind, Fellaini, Young, Shaw and Carrick, amongst others. Not ideal but it shows that there’s nothing new there. The problem is that the media tend to make more of such stories as it concerns Arsenal because they know we have gullible, social media active fans, who will frighten other fans to make for clicks on blogs and sites, and as such, more revenues. We are Box office material, in a manner of speaking.

  • Jnyc, me too. 😃

    I am so hoping Liverpool don’t sell and keep a sulking Coutinho than pick up all that cash and give us problems.

    As for Mustafi, there’s no way those rumours are real. He did play in Italy and speaks the language but very unlikely that the home of defenders will be in such dire need as to be willing to pay £35m for him. In any case, agents do these things at times to get their players some respect. Recall he was looking like Holding was ahead in the pecking order (with the rave reviews the lad was getting until the last 2 games showed he still needed polishing). Such a rumour sends a message; it may have worked too.

  • The league cup is becoming a joke. It is now called the Carabao Cup.

    The media is a nasty bunch. Mustafi did well in my opinion but he lacked the game time as he came back late.

    Looking forward to the match preview from 17ht.

  • Hi all..
    JK.. agree with you.. Carabao sound like Kerbau.. Buffalo..
    Can someone give a good info about this..??

  • It seems like Carabao is a Chinese company and the English league cup draw is done in China amid alot of controversies and delays (i seriously do not know why, as EFL is not a cup that is closely watched)

  • 84, I actually still have a fondness for the League Cup, it was responsible for my first ever visit to Wembley.
    The final of 1993 remains one of my favourites.
    The Football League could have done a better job in choosing sponsors and that hasn’t helped its prestige, I mean who could ever forget the Rumbelows Cup ffs…

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