Arsenal v Seagulls: 8 Observations

Arsenal 2 – 0 Brighton

Another clean sheet, another win, and joint fourth in the league table. Things are looking up for Arsenal. 2-0 to the Arsenal I take every day against any opponent, and Brighton gave us more than a decent game today. I hear some say that we should have scored more, been more ruthless, and I don’t disagree, but it is still good that we take these winnable games seriously and get the three points. This is a lot harder than you may think, but the team was focused, fought for it and deserved the win, and that goes a long way.

Eight quick observations – and please add your own in the comment section:

  1. The partnership between Rambo and Xhaka remains a work in progress. It is hard to see them play with some sort of plan in games like these. Rather than playing close together horizontally they tend to play vertically, away from each other. This is fine when we are attacking but when we are defending counter-attacks it often leaves our defenders exposed.
  2. Alexis needs to play more for the team. It was clear that Wenger told him this at the break, as he was less selfish and started to create opportunities for others, culminating in the assist of the weekend for Iwobi.
  3. Iwobi needed that goal. He took it really well and it was just what we needed to put this game to bed.
  4. Kola works better with Welbeck than with Alexis. He is less of an attacking threat as a result. The problem is that Alexis does not really do proper wing-play. He wants to move towards the box asap in order to shoot on goal. Question to you: other than with Ozil who does Alexis have a decent partnership with in the team?
  5. Lacazette is such an exciting attacker, we just need to serve him better. I love his movement and making himself available constantly. And that shot against the post is exactly what people come to football stadiums for: such quick thinking, such brilliant technical execution, such ferocious force…. and so unlucky not to score.
  6. Nacho Monreal I salute you!
  7. We are potentially one win away from becoming third in the table. A great turnaround if that were to happen in such few games. Man City are looking very strong right now and let’s see how good MU really are now they will have a few harder games coming up. I would like us to focus on ourselves and improve further, and the one player pivotal for this is Mesut Ozil (of course). Especially in the big games we need his creativity and guile to give us that extra dimension. And having Jack on the bench to support/replace him is also very important. This team can grow and grow.
  8. Why did we not push on after we went two nil up? Part of me believes that Wenger wants to spare the more vulnerable opponents/ fellow managers and tells his team just to play out the game. Another part believes that we do not push on to save us from further injuries. Another part believes the subs are not working at the moment. Another part believes we need at least one of Mesut, Santi or Jack on the pitch to get the really big scores.

By TotalArsenal.

42 thoughts on “Arsenal v Seagulls: 8 Observations

  • Good and intersting observations – bar one. You english fans have a strange and unrealistic believe in Wilshire. That believe have no fundament. He will stay the mediocre midfielder he always have. A proper manager would understand that and use his money for salary for sombody better. Wenger will of course resign him, probably give him a sign on fee and let him sit on the bench/loan him out some more years. When he isnt injured.

  • TA–
    Mostly agreed with 1-6– but more attuned to 7 and 8 in your observations.

    As for #7:
    Think of last season when City came out of the blocks winning 10 in a row at one point. That just doesn’t last. And it won’t again. For as much as I respect Aguero’s ferocity as a ST– a cracked rib is debilitating. I don’t care who you are– or how tough you are– that injury will stop you in your tracks when stamina and contact are involved. And if Aguero is not at his rampaging best– then the rest of City’s machine doesn’t hum. Jesus might have some goals already this season– but I don’t see him filling the vacuum. He just doesn’t look as much the assassin as Kun Aguero.

    I also think this will apply to MU. Most of their goals are scored late, in bunches, after breaching a defense that had held steady for much of a match. At some point that changes– and Mourinho will start pissing-off his players. That pattern is history. And always repeats.

    As for #8:
    The opportunities were there– and it could/should have been 3-0 at around 30 minutes– if Laca had scored at 2′– and the BHA GK hadn’t made the miracle foot-save on Ramsey. So– I’m not lamenting the 2-0 scoreline as ‘only 2’– but celebrating the chances against an 11-man defense.
    On the broadcast I saw– they overlaid a rectangular graphic that showed all BHA players within 22yds of the goal. And this was typical throughout the match. So really– I’m celebrating the tally, and the chances.

    Hey, look. We could be Liverpool right now.
    They can’t throw a rock in the air and hit the ground!
    I’ve never seen anything quite like it– open nets, point blank shots skyed, GK-gifted clearances.
    You name it ‘Pool has flubbed it. Then there was the goal Newcastle’s Joselu scored for the 1-1 draw today (a breakaway-miracle-tackle-from-behind-ricochet-off-Joselu’s-shin-and-rolls-inside-the- post). Klopp looks close to insanity on every miss.

    The Washington Post ran a headline today (though I didn’t yet read the piece):
    “Arsenal’s and Liverpool’s Fortunes Have Reversed.”
    Methinks: ‘The Curse of The Ox’.
    Both teams have done 180° turns since the swap.
    (And that £40M makes whatever lay ahead with Sanchez and Ozil palatable.)


  • Great observations TA! 👍😀. And very funny observation jw1 on “The Curse of the Ox”😆. TA – I am hoping that after the international break, we get the Ozil that we had for the first couple of years (in terms of number of assists). For whatever reason he seems to have very uncharacteristically misplaced a higher frequency of passes the last few games (or at least that’s how it seems to me; memory plays funny tricks I agree).
    Anyways, good win today. Solid but not very flashy would be my summary. Here’s hoping for a continuation of the same (a little more flash would not hurt!) once the break is over.👍

  • Also – meant to get everyone’s thoughts. During the summer break we often talk about who Arsene should get and the last couple of years, the general mood among Arsenal fans is to have a wholesale change in the team. Looking at Everton’s struggles (and recalling the Spurs struggles after the Bale money), what are your thoughts on Arsene’s approach?

  • Good job as always T. Today I felt like Iwobi was more in the game, maybe it has to do with being more central in the formation. The goal was a nice bonus. Whenever you mention Jack and Santi i get excited. For now, I just want to keep seeing Jack playing minutes. As long as he’s out there, he will do well. I have no doubt. His talent is irrepressible.

    JW, agree about man city. Every year, even under Mancini, they had stretches where they seemed unbeatable, and on another level, but including last year with that start and Pep, they always hit some inconsistencies. As a matter of fact, I think Mourinho will finish ahead of them.., just my prediction based on the type of team the “petulant one” is putting together for this league.

  • There’s no down playing what Arsene has achieved with this team, given the start we had. No one accepted the excuses that Alexis wasn’t yet fit to play and needed games to regain sharpness; or that Koscielny was suspended for two games; or that Ozil got injured; or that all the uncertainties leading up to the close of the window had a huge impact on our attitude at Anfield (some of the players and manager have since hinted at this). The sale of the Ox, close of the window and a clear-the-air meeting must have settled things and here we are, ahead of the same thing touted for the title because we let them ride roughshod over us on the day.

    As for the game vs Brighton, much as I would like a cricket score, it was more relevant to get the 3 points. Like I stated, our visitors are yet to be beaten by more than 2 goals by any team this season; and they’ve played City. Credit to Chris Hughton, who knows how to set teams up. We will see this more, in the future.

  • Trond, we are all aware of Jack’s fitness issues and giving him a new contract is subject to him being fit. But he has such a special talent of unlocking a defence at sheer will(shere) that we remain excited about him. I am not English btw.

  • Cheers JW, you make me laugh! Curse of the Ox hahaha 😀

    I think MC have got themselves into a rhythm and they are less dependent on the one striker up front (Aguero) as you seem to suggest. Of course, I hope you are right.

    Agreed re the goals and the chances we created and some of our football was sublime yesterday.

  • Thank you St H 🙂

    I reckon Ozil will come good again and this is not only measured in number of assists. The recent ex-Gunners’ comments and the contract situation may be having an impact on him, but I also reckon Wenger is saving him a bit so he can peak towards the second part of the season when it matters most.

  • St H, I speak a lot with Manchester football clubs’ fans at the moment. Many of them believe we have no chance to win the league or even to finish in the top four. I tell them we will finish first, second or third….. ‘Really, they say, but you bought hardly anybody and even made a profit!’. I tell them we had two holes to fill and Wenger filled them (Kola and Laca), we held on to our stars for another season and got rid of the curse…. the rest is media nonsense.

    Manchester United bought a load of players over the last few season and struggled to get them to work as a unit. This season they were granted a very easy start to the schedule which allows M to make the team look like a unit and build confidence. But they will get tested a few times now (Pool away next). So I reckon Arsene’s approach of adding only quality players for one or two ‘vacancies’ works best.

  • Big Apple J, agreed re IwobI looking better yesterday. You just can see that he needs that little bit of confidence to just be himself and self-exploit his enormous talents and he will become big. He is so intelligent on the pitch and the ball sticks to him like a magnet. Soon he will be firing on all cylinders, we hope.

  • Everton and manu** are perfect examples of what it meant by buying lots of players but the manager still got sacked in the end.

    17ht, maybe it is just me, but the whole midfield and Iwobi did not click in the first half. And the whole first half was at a walking pace with some bursts of speed here and there.

    That was why i mentioned that Iwobi did not get a good game, regardless of whether he scored or not. But i agreed that in the second half he grew into the game.

    Condolences to those getting caught in Las Vegas shooting. The world is becoming much worse.


  • I draw a distinction between winning ugly and winning lucky. I don’t mind the former but am never at ease with the latter. Against BHA it was winning ugly. So it’s fine by me. Best if they give me victory in style. Style will come with Ozil and Jack in the mìx. Ecstasy when Santi joins them. Meanwhile we trudge on grinding out victories.

  • Ugh… Just lost a long(ish) post. Damn new (for-me) ‘puter… Maybe later I’ll try to reconstruct my thoughts…

    In the meantime, I too have been thinking about A-kev, hopefully unharmed in the Uber wars… Part of the my reason for wanting to Blab is the hope that it gives him some insight into what’s happening in the matches when he’s out on the streets…

    On a more somber note, nobody–no matter their taste in music–deserves to be massacred simply for congregating in a large group. More needs to be determined about this incident in Las Vegas but (it seems to me…) we’ve got a real problem with suicidal types who can find access to weapons of mass destruction.


  • This is not TA–as you probably can tell by the length of the post… It’s 17HT but I’m struggling with my new ‘puter and can’t waste any more time trying to figure out how to post as myself… Later on, I hope… Sorry for the confusion…

    TA, your Br8downs after the matches are always really great, and this one is no exception… Always a few thought about players you’ve keyed in on, some good tactical observations, and some pointed ideas about the state of the team. For better or worse, I never find too much to disagree with…

    I’ll take the last one first (the state of the team)… IMO, it’s still too early to be worrying about the table or where the other top teams are at. As long as Wenger is at the helm–and our success is measured against his days at Highbury–this early period of transfer window then Int’l breaks will remain very, very difficult. The transfer window will always be “a disaster,” the early games–before the window closes–will be extremely hard due to uncertainties about the squad, and the international breaks mean more worry about injuries than the deeper money-down-a-hole teams fear. That said, we’re a stronger, more mature squad these days, so, hopefully, our boys (men…) who have to play for their national teams do so with maturity. No need to hurt yourself beating up on the Faroe Islands, etc., etc.

    This means that, compared to the top teams we are MUCH more of a work in progress, so we need to focus (much more) on the results–which have been very (very?) good. Avoiding losses–i.e., thinking about defending first is the key here. As Wenger says, one loss IS a crisis these days…and two draws (being even more lost points) isn’t far behind… More on yesterday’s game (tactics, player evaluations) below (or later)…

    I’m looking at our fixtures after the break and we have an even more difficult week than the one just past, albeit with a hair more rest between our travels. Indeed, 3 road matches (Watford, Red Star Belgrade and Everton) will be extremely tough. We need to play them OGAAT of course, but the climax at Everton looms particularly large. They ARE a team in crisis despite all the action over the summer. If Koeman is still in charge a result against us will be a massive step forward for them; if not, there’s always that “new manager effect” to fear…

    In fact, looking at a team like Everton it almost seems like spending big then firing your manager when the team falters is probably the essence of excitement for fans, so Koeman digging them out of their hole seems a bit of a long-shot. (Sort of like Wenger trying year after year to get us up for a top 4 finish.). They could still come back in the Europa league so that’s a bit of a bonus, esp. if we need to prioritize our league efforts…meaning we’re still somewhere in the top 4 mix and not too far off the lead. I agree with JW that losing El Kun will hurt ManCity and that broken ribs hurt and are a long recovery (personal experience)…which might be another reason to eat the money by making sure Alexis can’t move there until after the season is over. If it’s already over in January, then, like I had hoped this summer, we should sell him. Ozil not signing his extension is the bigger worry for me (and perhaps another cause for his “knee problem”–along, of course, for keeping him away from the Germany team for these two weeks). That’s a lot of weight on Jack’s shoulders, but many folks think of him quite highly, it appears…

    OK, that’s long enough for now… Tactics and notes on some of our players (from yesterday’s match) when I take my next break…

  • I’ve been out all day but have been receiving feeds about some suicidal nut case of a shooter, at a concert in Las Vegas. Not sure what’s becoming of the world today; I pray for the sweet repose of the souls lost. It just gets worse.

    Indeed, just realized Kev has been rather quiet on here. Do hope he is well, what with all the Uber brouhaha in London.

    St Henry, just to agree with your viewpoint. It is funny how we get criticized for not buying “enough” players in the transfer windows past, with fans glancing longingly at other clubs who are repeatedly referenced as more “ambitious”, (Spurs the summer they sold Bale and the one after; and now, Everton) only for the Prof to be proven right in rather going for few additions, so as not to disrupt team chemistry. Everton don’t look like a team which acquired more than half a football team with a view to displacing one of the top 4 and announcing themselves as the new money team in the land. Level on point with Chelsea and just one point behind 3rd place Spurs is not such a bad place to be for a “Crisis club”, with players who had vowed not play for us ever again, and with almost every player seeking an exit (that’s if you believe the media). Unlike the top teams who are on a goal rush, I believe we can only get better as our injured players come back and the spread of tough fixtures evens out and our rivals start to play one another.

    If things go well, we should be firmly in the top 4 by November ending (I am thinking 3rd). That will shut a few mouths up.

  • Njk, I know we seemed slow moving on Sunday, but I really think thats down to how they were determined to defend. There is no way to pick up any speed. All we can do against that type of 11 man defense is probe, try to pick opportunities of perfection to thread a needle for even a chance on goal. Though I like the long shots Lacazette took, and I want to see more of that from Jack when he plays, and Xhaka. I think it keeps defenders honest, draws them out a few steps allowing some passes through.

    The other alternative is loads of crosses against parked buses. It’s a tough choice, because Giroud is the man for that, and I’d like him to play more than just 20 minutes at the end when we’re struggling in that type of game. But I don’t want to sit our main man Lacazette from the start in many games, because, apart from top teams, most of the rest employ those tactics. The only thing i can think of is to consider bringing on Olivier earlier, but it’s hard to picture Wenger changing his sub habits.
    — But he did rotate much more than I thought he would for group Europa games. So you never know.

  • Totally agree with what you’re saying about pace, JNYC…

    The half-time adjustment I saw was that Alexis, from an outside left starting position was directed to play more like a #10–or the way Ozil does his business from the right–you know, dropping a little bit deeper to get the ball then moving it central or using his overlapping wingback (Bellerin). Compared to Alexis, of course, Ozil is looking for the pass first rather than the other way around. This, IMO, means fewer bad turnovers but also fewer assists (but maybe more key passes or pre-assists that break through the defensive lines, however). So, I have to agree with TA, that Alexis restricts Kolasinac’s game by positioning himself too statically before he gets the ball (essentially in Kola’s “lane”) and then rarely using the overlapping pass to the wingback when he makes the run. It’s a shame because Kola seems obviously gifted about when to cross vs pulling the ball back towards the penalty spot. Alexis needs that goal total to help stump for his next (massive) contract, though I’ll take that great assist he made as well… 😀

    As exciting as those guys who start on the left might be, I’d like to echo JW (last thread) about Holding’s (much) less flashy (in a good way…) game and the steadily improving work from Bellerin on the right. (Bells got the other assist in the match, even if was a good deal luckier than Alexis’ masterpiece of a back-heel…) Overall, I think we’re continuing to improve our fore-aft balance in the 3 (or is it 5) at the back formation. As we retreat, Xhaka and Ramsey (and the front three) can do most of their work via positioning rather than emergency work, leaving the clean-up to the CBs with wide help from the wingbacks. I like it. With the exception of falling asleep on the one set piece that rattled the bar (and left an open shot, screwed very wide, on the rebound), the defensive performance was a significant improvement from recent games, I thought.

    So, a work in process, some not-quite-first-11 guys contributing nicely (Holding and Iwobi). What’s not to like? Maybe our counterattack is a bit lacking but that could be down to some tired legs from the 3 matches in 5 and 1/2 days. I fully expect improvements there, but there I go again, letting the optimism creep in… Gotta watch it… Low expectations being the key to happiness and all that…

  • Morning chaps and chappeses
    Some fine comments yesterday, especially from my ‘alter ego’ Seventeenho 🙂

    So sorry to hear about the horrific shooting in LV. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and unlucky relatives…

  • Yes T, the world seems insane, out of control. You know I’m pretty hard right, but open minded, and I have always been for banning assault weapons and insane ammo, magazines. It’s just common sense. The fact that it cant get done makes things seem more hopeless.

    17, really detailed observations on the adjustments, and as I was reading, I seemed to remember almost everything you noted.
    My only caution is that for Holding, there was no real test because of the way Brighton played. But I do still like him, as long as he doesn’t make risky forward forays. He needs to keep things simple.

    If Koscielny were out for a long period, i might feel more secure with Mertesacker playing instead of Holding for now. I was looking forward to seeing Chambers midweek, I cant find any info on his injury status. I don’t want Mustafi to have to play too many games.

  • I am not sure for BFG to play 2 games per week, thus we needed Mustafi to be the stand in.

    If Chambers can keep his head on his shoulders, he should do just fine, but so far his performances are due to how much the opposition pressure us.

  • OK, I think I’ve got it… Very nice…

    I know I need to avoid the politics, esp. if someone wants to combine ideas like “hard right” and “common sense.” 🙂

    In my view, it just seems like we’ve got some very (very) tough times for humanity in general terms and that the last thing that’s probably needed are “proxy wars”–whether they be between peoples of the US of different languages (i.e., Puerto Ricans vs those who speak “English”), or Arabs vs Persians bombing (and starving) the Yemenese or arguments about war guns used on folks gathered to hear songs of wine, whiskey and women…and wars and guns (probably)… Ugh… 😦

    Of course, we’ve got the same stuff happening around our football club, something that you’d think might unite us. We’re coming off a better period–between Int’l breaks we played 6 and got 6 wins and 1 draw, (and zero losses) with 15 goals scored vs 3 conceded. Now, however, it’s back to stories about our ownership and the players who that guy cannot (or will not) buy. Kroenke, Alexis and Ozil = a LOT of hand-wringing (and hits on the various sites and blogs), but, I wonder, isn’t there more to being a Gooner than just looking for ways to feel worse? With no defeats in our last 4 league matches, we’re only 46 more (league matches undefeated) away from something we might ALL enjoy… Nah… I’m SURE there will be folks who will find a way to hate on 50 undefeated… More frownies…

    I will say this… I’m sure glad there’s no national anthem before football matches so we don’t have to choose whether to stand, sit, take a knee or lock arms… Playing in the Europa League we don’t even have to listen to that (very weird, IMO) song (anthem?) they play before the CL matches…

    Anyhow, I don’t have a new post or anything, although I think I’ve mastered the software to the point I could post one if I wrote something… So, I’ve really got nothing to say…except…

    Happy Wednesday…

    Oh, and where’s AllezKev?…

  • Yeah 17, I’ve always thought that champions league music, anthem, whatever it is, is so overdone, trying to exalt the games to something noble, classical. Silly really. It’s just games, and the people who commision and decide on the ceremonies are all about money, no matter where it comes from.

  • The interlull has brought a period of near silence here.

    The only news we can hear is Ozil’s contract news (which does not make any sense at all), and the news that Kroenke wants to buy all of Usmanov’s shares.

    It makes the Interlull even more unbearable, and i could not wait for next week to arrive quickly.

    I am not gonna talk about singing at matches, aa people can choose if they want to sing or not.

  • The interlull has brought a period of near silence here.

    The only news we can hear is Ozil’s contract news (which does not make any sense at all), and the news that Kroenke wants to buy all of Usmanov’s shares.

    It makes the Interlull even more unbearable, and i could not wait for next week to arrive quickly.

    I am not gonna talk about singing at matches, aa people can choose if they want to sing or not.

  • Aghhhh lost another great post. My fault I know I should have copied it first. Why is it all the long ones? This will be a shortened and copied version.

    17HT couldn’t help but point out that six wins and a draw from six games is trophy winning form although probably impossible. Sorry 17HT couldn’t resist it, you are always so accurate.

    I will try to avoid politics , but suffice to say that until gun control is improved on the US the Awful things that happened in L A will continue I am sad to say. In a country of such a huge population there must be any number of nutters seeking the type of publicity that guy got, even if it does cost then their life.

    Am happy to discuss Arsenal politics though. I must admit that Silent Stans nature means everything I say is based on heresay, but the guy seems to be running the club as a business with little or no thought for the club, it’s history and it’s supporters. If I understand correctly the Rams move hasn’t gone well and NFL attendances are dropping. Then again if he is purely business driven, surely Alexis would have been sold? I don’t know what’s going on, but I don’t like it.

    Finally your comment about the 50 wins. Of course there will be people who are unhappy if we don’t win our next 50 games, but we are all different. A lot of the bad publicity the fans get is because of the lack of noise in the Emirates. I am sure that something could be done by reallocating season tickets to provide noisy season tickets. There is an area to the left of the North bank, lower tier, where the fans are very noisy and tend to stand for most of the match. I am pretty sure Kev is familiar with it? Kev I know you are out there.. it would probably help if they introduced limited areas of terracing to allow fans who prefer to stand to do their thing.

    I think a more pertinent question which will divide support is, are we happy with 4 th place? This of course opens up a myriad of other questions about oil, financial fair play, Mourinho and his tactic etc etc.

    Having had one near miss in the champions league in 20 years and having got used to qualifying for and exiting at the last sixteen round, it is almost a pleasant change to play in the Europa cup. It certainly relieves the pressure. It’s been useful in improving my geographical knowledge as well, although I am sure some of the names are made up.

  • Not to be negative, but these boring weeks leave time to worry about our current players contract situations. Regardless of whether Ozil-Mourinho rumors are true, they make perfect sense, because we know they are admirers of each other.

    I would not be too upset to see Ozil leave. I’d rather keep him. What really bothers is to see him leave on a free to a rival, at the same time losing Sanchez, who I really dont want to lose at all, also on a free.

    I know that our current performance in matches is what really counts. But the way the club is run obviously has a lot to do with our future performance. So if we love the team, we care about decisions that will affect us further down the road. Every day that passes, it becomes less likely that we will recoup anything for 2 superstar talents. We see hopeful stories about swaps in January, etc. When do swaps of players ever happen? Also bids for Alexis in January. Why would anyone not wait just a few short months, for a huge player(and agent) payday? Or a club not wait to get a star player for no transfer fee, at least a huge discount ?

    Even if we go on to play better as a team without them, there’s still no excuse to let assets go away for nothing. The financial loss hurts down the line.

    What a stupid situation the braintrust have left us in. Downright embarassing. In any other business, management would be held to account, as they should be.

  • Retsub1, of course, no one is happy with not coming top of the table (notice I avoided using your allusion to 4th place. Will get to that later); not the players. Not the board and certainly, not Wenger. The thing that most fail to see is how much the level of competition has gone up with more money available to all the clubs while a few clubs are bankrolled in a manner akin to financial doping.

    To give an idea, there was a time Wenger will qualify us for champions league each year, with players like Johan Djorou, Bendtner, Denilson, Chamakh, Eboue, Squillacci, Senderos, Almunia, Szczesny, Theo and Flamini (no disrespect for these lads intended) but today, when we have the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Cech, we failed to make top 4, for the first time under Wenger. That was because Spurs have stepped up while mid-table teams hold no fear for the big sides, these days. Then, we know how our operating model is one of self financing by the business as against hand outs from the owner. However, despite these, we give it a go each year and we always start with hope till some exit from the CL brings us right back to earth. That’s not going to be the case this time around, as you pointed out so, we can expect a different outcome. Who knows?

    Now, to this 4th place narrative. I feel it is intended to make us think Arsenal never gets beyond the 4th position (something which started when the manager said, and rightly too, that getting 4th place was now like a trophy, on its own). Taking the records from 2009/2010 season, Arsenal have finished 2nd once; 3rd thrice and 4th thrice, before coming 5th last season. So, the recent history disproves that “Arsenal only fight for 4th place” narrative. I know the argument sounds trite because we should be talking about 1st place only, but I just dislike that narrative.

  • Jnyc, I wouldn’t give much attention to these rumours because it is player agents at work, kind of like testing the waters or to set off a bidding war because their clients will be better served if they leave us for bigger clubs. Frankly, one part of me wishes for the Ozil to United rumours to come true. I would like to see how the “he is lazy” comments will quickly change to “he has a free role at united because Mourinho has the perfect platform for him in Matic and Pogba doing the defensive work”, or something along those lines. It won’t happen though because while Ozil respects Jose, he doesn’t like him that much or he would have left Madrid to join him at Chelsea, rather than call up Arsene himself to keep his word to him.

    As for our player contracts situation, I agree it could have been handled better. I also feel the media attention was unhelpful, really (Agents at work again) because the EPL reportedly has over 107 players entering the final year of their contracts but do we hear of them? United has 10 such players but the media isn’t reporting whether they’ve been offered new contracts or not. That’s the part of it we need to deal with it.

  • Thanks Eris, you’re right, and I always assume agents are behind rumors, whether true or false. There are plenty of rumors that I hope turn out to be true, though I dont get my hopes up. And like I said, i don’t feel too bad about Ozil leaving, even to a rival. What bothers me is losing him for nothing. Likely with Alexis. We were played as suckers, because it’s been amateur hour at Arsenal f.c. for over 2 years now. That really bothers me the most.

  • J… This is something you’ve been on about in the past and, of course, it’s fine for people to have their own opinions and conclusions. Last time around, TA put it best by saying something along the lines of, “Every contract must be signed by two parties.”

    Naturally, I said (more or less) the same thing, but a bit less succinctly… As I will do again given that I want to wait for the sun to warm up the air so I can take the dog out…

    A player (and his advisers) choose to run down their contracts for a variety of reasons (toxic environment, lack of appreciation, not getting the playing time–and thus exposure which might help get Int’l game opportunities, being played out of position, lack of chances to win trophies, etc., etc.) but the BIG ONE is money. If a player–and his advisers–think that he can be a lottery winner–and avoid injury while he’s doing so–why not? Alexis could be considered a top 10 or 20 player in world football and Ozil is widely considered one of the most creative at his position, though there is much discussion about the #10 position going the way of the dodo and players–even attackers–needing to be strong on both sides of the ball (i.e., defending too). Even the Ox, due to his combination of (relative) youth and experience (and skills and athleticism if not composure…) plus his being English, falls into the lottery-winner category.

    As players run down their contracts, the clubs need to make an assessment. How much will it cost to buy a “replacement,” what salary will that player require and, most importantly (and the reason I put “replacement” in quotation marks”) will that player be able to replace the on-pitch output of the departing player, how long will it take them to bed-in (or develop to the proper level), and (most critically) will he make the team better? Etc., etc., etc.

    Then there’s the public relations element–which is perhaps even MORE important (bums in seats and all that)… What does selling your best players say about the club?

    At the silly money clubs, change is (almost always) good or at least fun and exciting. Moreover, nobody’s counting the actual costs, so there are actually NO (dollars and cents, or pounds and farthings…) calculations being done. This can work to the advantage of the selling clubs–let’s say Monaco or Everton, for example–as they get absurd amounts of money with which to rebuild. How are those clubs fairing? Well, Monaco is a strong 2nd in France…

    Arsenal are caught between a rock and hard place. The vision of building a top squad (“to compete with Bayern…” as Gazidis famously said) was based on the idea that a strong salary ladder AND things like FFP (with real teeth) would get us there. Things, of course–or at least as I view them–have changed.

    So, are we a “top club” which doesn’t have to sell our best players, or are we (still or going back to being) a selling club? Arsenal appear to have calculated that we will be closer to a top club–or that it’s in our best short term interests–to let guys like Alexis and Ozil play out their contracts even if we recoup nothing. After watching Tomas Lemar (whose game seems more Ozil than Alexis-esque) just a bit, my assessment was that he’s got a ways to go before he’s at the level of either of them. I still think it would have been a good final day deal–Alexis plus approx 20-30 mil pounds in exchange for Lemar–but I also think it would take at least a couple of years before the latter would have been able to help the team as Alexis will for us this season. And I’m saying that as someone who thinks Alexis–as a team player, or one who helps his team win things–is highly overrated.

    So, what to do? If Lemar is our target, sell Ozil (and Alexis) in January and get him (and somebody else) in? Would that help us in the 2nd half of the season? Probably not. Would it be a good investment, long term. That’s above my pay-grade, as they say… Is it even a possible deal? Would it enrage or placate the fans? That’s probably easier to judge, but my guess is that the “supporters” who despise Ozil would probably also despise letting the Moo-man get his hooves on him…

    Finally, even if you can balance all of THAT stuff out it’s not just about (net) transfer fees. Salaries and lengths of contracts (and the contribution each player will make vs the total cost of the contract) to consider. Also, what about the (much ballyhooed) idea of “strengthening” our rivals? Can we put a price on that concept? How much less should we take if we sell to a team outside the PL, for example? Don’t we (try to, at least) compete with the top continental clubs too?…

    I could go on and on, but my point is that (I think) it’s much (much, much…) more complicated than just saying that Arsenal’s finance guys are idiots and that they should be held accountable. (“You’re Fired,” as the reality tv star would say…) Our guys have probably made some mistakes, even some ‘uge ones, but are we really positioned to say what those have been?…

    Just my opinion–as always–and (WTF) do I know?…

    OK, warming up outside… Dog play time…

  • Jnyc, I believe 17ht has pretty much addressed the underlying scenarios for transfers and the possible situation with Arsenal in the matter of your concern. There’s not much more to add.

    The age-old idea that the ONLY way to deal with a player who isn’t signing during the “protected period” of his contract is to SELL, may not always be the right move. It is fair to say having been referred to as a “selling club” for long, the media and pundits cannot live with the fact we took a position to forgo the money, for a change and are now spinning the “poor financial management” narrative. I will rather believe the club took a stand not to sell, just as the manager stated. When City came on the last day with good money, those looking at finances may have advised we consider; those on the footballing side may have agreed, subject to us getting a replacement. We didn’t so we stayed with the original decision.

    We can point fingers at some errors being made but remember, there’s nothing that happens with us that doesn’t happen at most other clubs.

  • 17, Eris, thanks for the responses. 17, I remember especially explaining to me in the past his view, and I remember it in detail, because I respect your opinion, and I learn a lot from reading your work in general… but obviously, I’m not convinced.

    I have a simple question. What big club in England has let 1 star player run down a contract ? Let alone 2 most saleable assets in the same year? If there is a comparable example, refresh my memory. ( I’m not being sarcastic, I really might be forgetting a case).

    I can only think of the Lewandowski case, but that happens with Bayern in Germany, and that’s a very special situation. I think Bayern does that regularly and takes advantage of smaller clubs since they dont like to overpay. They are doing it with Goretzka this season, from what I hear.

  • Fernandinho, Yaya (City); Mata, Ibra, Herrera, Blind, Fellaini, Young (United); Ross Barkley (Everton); Cabaye (Palace). Arsenal got a few players on a free too, though from other leagues; however, Sol Campbell was snatched from Spurs on a free.

    I share Wenger’s view that these things will begin to happen a lot more unless the matter of spiralling fees is addressed.

  • Hi J… Back from doggie stuff but need to get some work done this afternoon… So no more big ones… 😀

    What I believe is that the current situation has morphed sufficiently that we cannot achieve Gazidis’ idea that we can compete with the likes of Bayern or the other “top” clubs, although it could be argued that Bayern can’t either (Alexis’ wage demands, supposedly, put him out of reach this summer, for example…) We’re entering a crazy new era where the “national” teams, i.e., those that dominated their country or their region (i.e., Bayern, Juve–now that AC Milan are no longer bankrolled by the all too corrupt PM–Barca and R. Madrid, the former wishing to become it’s own country…) are being steamrolled by the Oily-Garchs–City, PSG and (to a lesser extent) Chelsea. ManU are an interesting case–Big stadium, shirts sold etc., means more revenue but I also think their American owners aren’t watching the books so closely given the bubble-icious way the value of football clubs has gone. Their investment has done just fine, silly purchases, pricey coaches, finishing out of the CL places, etc. notwithstanding…

    So, in the end, we’re left with–as Eris points out–“narratives” from which to choose. For me, given that I rate the Ox not fit for a first 11 spot on our team, THAT was some outstanding business (though it leaves us hoping even more than usual we don’t win the injury table)… Alexis+25 thousand for Lemar would have been good business but surely would have hurt us on the pitch, IMO. It’s possible that Wenger over-rates his own players but he NEEDS success now so I see it as the leopard being able to change his spots (a good thing…) and that getting some 10s of millions is less important (and is offset by savings on what would have been absurd new salaries)… Let’s not forget that players like Walker cost 50 million and Coutinho was supposed to go for closer to 100. Pool, in the end also decided to keep him; Spurs, maybe are still a bit more of a selling club. Kane and Dele are still there, however, though maybe they’ll have to be the next Bale and Modric…

    Unfortunately, these are the sorts of decisions I think the “next” three English teams–Spurs, Pool and Arsenal–will be making over the near future. Can any of these teams really compete in the CL? It’s a tournament, so upsets can happen, but–if we look hard at the situation–going out in the quarterfinals would be overachieving. IMO For better or worse, we’re NOT up there with the three top English clubs (with owners willing to flush it down the drain) who might, over time, give themselves a real go at winning the big-eared cup…Or a league/CL double…

    So, in order, I’d fire Kroenke first (assuming we could get a Daddy-Warbucks, ideally without too much murder/forced labor/etc. in his background). Then I’d fire Gazidis–if only for his line about Bayern. Then there’s Wenger who actually takes responsibility for it all and is the overwhelming popular choice… But then you’d actually have to pay out the rest of his (and Gazidis’?…) contracts which would cost something… Or we could fire Alexis, Ozil and the Ox, but when to do so and how much compensation can we get?

    Heads must roll, it seems, but mine is just spinning…

    (In the end, it’d probably have been wiser to just say, “Let’s agree to disagree…”)

    Told you I’d keep it short… 😀

  • Sorry BAJ, but Arsenal are very shrewdly managed financially. Ozil and Alexis are staying to get us back up in the CL and maybe even win the title this season. That is a strategic business decision. They cannot force them to sign a new contract but they can retain their services for another season. Wenger banked this season £50-100m player fund and he will have the same again next season (by selling dumb Ox and a few others). He can choose to get them to sign another contract or replace them with plenty of money to splash. To me it all makes sense from a business planning perspective, and I would have done the same in their shoes.

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