Thursday is Judgement Day For These Two British Gunners

In the previous blog, AB wrote:

Rambo is the really interesting transfer conundrum for this summer, of our current squad. He looks the obvious player to sell if we need cash. I think he’s top class when fit. But he’s sure to be out for a spell each season. Do we stick or twist? Personally I’d stick. And focus what money we can spend on the defence. Jack looks a certainty to leave now in my view. I suspect that Wenger going takes with him the last prospect of an improved contract. I’m not sure I can see Jack take a competitive contract, for all his (genuine I believe) affection for the club. If both Jack and Rambo do go then we will have to buy more in the middle of the park. And how much would we need to spend to find equivalent quality? Unless we took a new manager and accepted a couple of years of transition building up around the kids. I don’t see it, however, as there would be even more noise from the “fan base” about that!


I was thinking along similar lines, but for me our game on Thursday is likely to become the pivotal test for both talents.

When you have been with Arsenal for so long as Jack and Aaron have been, there comes a time when you have to reach the summit; when you become more than a player on the pitch that does their job and start to lead the team instead. If you can get a few own-grown players to become top players, you can be in a very strong position for years to come. Arsene has done everything to get there with the Welshman and the Englishman, but it is fair to say that they both have let him down. There have been moments of greatness from both but we have not had a consistent level of domination on the pitch from either of them… as yet.

I have always felt that Jack is the more natural leader, but he is held back by his physical issues a lot. In the last few months, he has played somewhat below his normal level and this can only be caused by fitness/health issues. Is he holding back to remain fit for the WC and to get a new contract – he really cannot afford to get injured now, can he?! Or is he simply struggling fitness-wise? You tell me. On Thursday, we could see the Jack we (almost) all love: gunning on all cylinders and finding those beautiful passes and crosses against the strongest of defences we all know he is capable of. I thought he played v well and mature against Atletico last week, producing a peach of an assist and a couple of through-balls that deserved better finishes/anticipation by his teammates. Jack and the team need a great game on 3 May; it is time to (re)announce himself again.

The same goes for Aaron Ramsey. Once AR08 gets going, he is a brilliant force on the pitch. One of the best B2B midfielders in Europe imho. But he gets injured so often and then it takes ages for him to get going once more. At 27 he should now be leading the team, in the way Lampard and Gerrard used to do. Gerrard was not even 25 when he took on Milan on his own and won the CL for his team. How much longer do we have to wait to see Aaron reach his full potential?

Looking at Lampard, there is still hope for Aaron. The Chelsea ex-midfielder also had good years in his mid to late twenties, but it was in his early thirties when he really peaked by helping his team to win the CL.

Still, with just one year left and a new manager joining the club imminently, Ramsey has a great, and perhaps last, opportunity to have a Gerrardesque performance and help his team beat Atletico and reach the final of the UEFA Cup.

For both Jack and Aaron, this is the week to stand up and become Men in Full. Their own and the club’s destiny will be in their hands to a large extent. If they fail, I can see them both leave this summer; but if, together with the rest of the team, they succeed on Thursday, and then hopefully in the final too, I can see them both staying for the longer term.

By TotalArsenal.


87 thoughts on “Thursday is Judgement Day For These Two British Gunners

  • As usual, I’m going to offer an alternative perspective.
    Why is it that right now? With Arsene Wenger stepping down– before his contract is up– by way of (mostly) pressure of the supporters and fans (and media)? That those supporters and fans believe the BoD are obligated to hire a big-name manager– now? To spend large amounts of money on transfers– immediately?

    Wenger leaving this soon was not the plan. But– and in all honesty (from a devoted fan of the man)– he didn’t do well enough to stave off the hordes. Top-4. A combo of cups. Perhaps might have been enough for him to remain though next Summer. Remain through to seeing this crop of youth replenish the squad strength. Remain through one full transfer window with SIR (Sven/Ivan/Raul) to hand off the baton. Remain during a World Cup Summer– that will — to some degree short-circuit the next manager’s prepping the team next Fall.

    Alas. Here we be.
    And supporters and fans are going to get what the BoD thinks best– in the short-term. Because the new big-name manager candidates that are available? IMHO? Do not fill the bill as completely, as required, for the situation, the team is in.

    As AB mentioned? Thinking that we ‘do take a new (short-term) manager’ and ‘do build up with the kids’– for at least a year. The ‘fanbase’ now will need to afford patience traversing the new route down which– the club has been directed.


  • Hi TA, Good post and always a good idea, IMO, to bring AB’s (always) wise words to the fore…the blog is a better place when that guy is contributing…

    And, of course, the anticipation for Thursday night’s return leg is ‘UGE… If we could get through and then win in Lyon, it would cast the recruitment season (the summer transfer window) in a new light as CL football, I think, could be a deciding factor for some players, all other things being equal…

    They aren’t (equal, that is)…and, in my view, decisions about player recruitment–and retention–are made in a VERY different manner than you suggest, on both sides of the equation. Money (over time) is what contracts are about, while money (and one time payments) are how transfers happen. What happens in a single match matters very (very) little, again, IMO…

    A classic example is the Ox playing (woefully) up at Anfield in our last match of the last summer window. Did it affect his transfer value (or the size of his contract)?… Not a whit, I’m guessing. If he’d done an Arshavin (and we’d drawn 4-4 instead of losing 4-nil) would we have pulled out the stops to keep him–raised his contract offer AND the fee Pool might’ve needed to pay to get him? Perhaps…but only by just a hair…

    So, likewise, if AR8 or JW10 go for four in Madrid, MAYBE things change…As it is, I think the club has a valuation for each player (firmly) in mind as does the player and his agent(s)…

    Back to the Ox, or lack thereof at the World Cup… His injury–if it allows Jack back into the England scheme and the latter gets some meaningful minutes in Russia–could improve his value in the free agent market. TV money is out there and Jack could look good for a mid-table team (who have to play a lot of games in the Saturday at 1500 slot…) and who need bums in seats. If I were his agent, I’d say sign da ting and stay at Arsenal so you can retire a legend. The goodwill shown to him by Gooners is at a level I’ve never seen for a single player in all the time I’ve watched. From the bench, or starting when healthy and everybody else is hurt (like perhaps on Thursday…) and good things (like his assist last Thursday) can happen. Will he? I doubt it, the money on offer is “an insult,” etc., etc, blah, blah, blah and a bit more from elsewhere (plus assured playing time) will likely be a good lure. Also, I agree with AB, I think Wenger sentiment has gotten Jack further than he might’ve on his own…

    Rambo is a very different story as he score goals–and despite the horror injury–has a decent fitness record–or at least one that could be manipulated to suggest he can be available at important times during the season. IMO, he’s FAR more likely to become a hero in these Ropy league games AND he’s got a year left on his contract so the back-page drama could be a lot higher. Given the way he’s divided opinion during his Arsenal career (read as: received unreal and hateful spite from a loud group of fans, see Piers Morgan for example…) I don’t see why he’d any particular loyalty to the club. That said, there’s no World Cup for him, however and he’ll likely receive an offer (maybe double Jack’s of 150-180K/wk? perhaps…) that only the clubs above us could match. He could also command a decent fee (harder to predict but maybe around 40 million)… He (and his agents) will “want” CL football, so, if things don’t pan out on Thursday (or in Lyon) I could also see him willing to go outside of England (like his countryman Bale…) where perhaps different dynamics apply. Again, it’s back to the guys with the green eye shades (accountants) and their managers, Sven in particular, I think… A younger MF from elsewhere could be a LOT cheaper and bring plenty more upside… Then again, supposedly we were willing to spend 70 million on Thomas Lemar last September…

    Let’s see what happens on Thursday. In the end, I think the brass (SIR who work for Kronke…) must predict that we go out in Madrid (meaning no CL football) so that the easiest way to keep Ramsey (or Jack) around by way of giving the biggest contract offer… If they (either side) can find better (players or contracts) they go. If they can’t, they stay…simple as that, I fear… As fans we get pumped up for games and heroes and all that sort of stuff–and we read all the news that we fancy (as in supports our emotion-based views…), but, romance is as romance does, and I think it’s smarter to stay cynical (i.e., watch the money) if we’re really trying to predict what happens in the world of entertainment, er, sports, er, football…

  • “it’s smarter to stay cynical” 😀

    I think you categorically underestimate the importance for Arsenal and these two players of our game on Thursday, HT. The comparison with Ox and the Pool game is a poor one imo. Go through on Thursday and the club and players make a big statement; whimper out and it all looks quite different.

  • J-Dub… You’re awfully dug in about your views on the new manager… And I agree, 100%… Though I do think things–or at least the perception of things–flips (just a bit) if we get up for CL football, when more romantic notions–like the topic at hand–could be argued…

    But, assuming it’s another go round in Ropy-town… It’s really all about what SIR have in the pipeline–in terms of transfers AND in terms of the new manager, who, I agree with TA, has already been selected. Big money transfers are titillating but it’s more likely that we should look at younger players who are winding down their contracts and could come to our club (or stay with us…again, the topic at hand). Follow the example of Kolasinac. While not even first 11 (and likely injured now) he’s pulling our 5th highest salary, even though he came in on a free…

    The new manager will have a measure of good will that AW lacked and will also be able to get a very large pay raise (rise, I think, they say in England), so what’s not to like? (And, ANYBODY, looking at our team will believe 6th is the worst he could do…) Can we attract the very best (like Pochettino…) or those who might bring really fine (young) players with them? I doubt it. Does it really matter? The new guy will be given a team (by SIR Kronke) and then be tasked with some (minor) coaching duties, plus setting out the team and telling them the tactics…which, as we know, any old person with a keyboard can do… With that good-will factor (if not complete “support”) all signs point to (relative) success…

    Sorry, but I’m starting the week with cynicism, hoping to be revived by romance towards the end of it (Thursday mid-afternoon, my time, to be precise)… 😀

    Happy Monday…

  • OK TA, I hope you’re right… Or at least that we go through on Thursday… 😀

    That said, if we don’t, then maybe (my long-winded, as always) commentary isn’t so off track?…

  • Arsenal are the Borussia Dortmund of the Premier League, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea are the three Bayern’s and thus, because of their financial muscle, Borussia Arsenal are always going to be vulnerable to a big bid.

    Aaron Ramsey is the next in a long line, be it Fabregas or Nasri or Van Persie or Alexis or any number and the contract situation could see the Welshman leave.
    He is, after all, a Wenger man, his loyalty is to Arsene and as it’s obvious that Arsenal are not going to be in a position to win the top prizes, the lure of a United or a City or a Chelsea or perish the thought a Liverpool, could be too much for him to resist if the financial package isn’t up to the level somewhere between Mkhitaryan and Ozil.

    This summer is make or break, its when our new contract team put down another marker post Ozil and I haven’t a clue how it will go with Ramsey, but going into his last year a la Sanchez isn’t a realistic option.

    I love Jack, he has the personality to be an Arsenal captain, you get the feeling that he knows what it means to be a Gooner, to wear the shirt, but does his body match his desire to succeed in an Arsenal shirt?
    I have my doubts and anyway, until the new man has his feet under the table we’ll not really know what direction the team will go or the type of players we’ll need to us get there?

  • Lucas Perez, now what do we do with him in the summer?

    Sell him, despite his value having dropped like the Confederate dollar?

    Loan him out again to get most of his wages off of our books for another year?
    Deportivo la Corunna won’t take him again as they’ve been relegated.

    Or do we welcome him back into the fold, encouraged by a new manager?

  • HT–
    I’m not of the mind that the manager ‘has already been selected’ yet. I’ve made my opinion clear on what I think may happen– but the ‘why’ of them not signing a big-name as I’d expressed– is a separate idea. One tidbit of information I’ve come across? Leads me to believe that SIR/Kroenke still have their antennae ‘up’. Another is the EL-to-CL possibility. It does open up more possibilities, more candidates. We’re rapidly approaching the end-of-season when the manager carousel fills, then stops. Few clubs are in the vise (as AFC is) of having to wait until their current manager ‘steps down’. If Arsenal make it to Lyon.? The carousel may have already stopped by May 16th. Some of the names-in-waiting having made their choices. Names are about to begin dropping off the list.

    The tidbit I mentioned? Was a report that Gazidis had assembled the club’s staff of 200 employees the Monday after (Apr 23). One of the major reasons, was to express the lengths the club expects to go to ‘in a global search’ for the new manager. I’ve always found that when a executive makes a statement in this context? It’s generally not to be found to have been blowing smoke up the collective arses of his staff– like 3 weeks later. Whoever the new manager is– it’ll be apparent as to when he was first contacted, then selected.

    Whoever comes in? Isn’t going to have a lot of say over personnel. SIR have a plan. Their plan. So as far as Jack and Aaron? Both very confident people by all accounts. Both smart enough to know that uprooting themselves to go elsewhere– carries far more risk– than staying at Arsenal. Regardless of whom is signed as the new manager.


  • Hey Kev… It seems like you and I are about on the same page re: Jack and Aaron… But maybe, as TA suggests, it comes down more to how we feel about Thursday (the final) and the impact of CL football next season…

    Every now and then I try to check in with press-timations of Arsenal salaries… Here’s one of the most recent…

    Nothing seems very accurate as all the salaries are (very) round numbers…except Kolasinac, who somehow comes in at 500 pounds per week less than both Mkhi and Lacazette who (they say) are (both) on 120K/week…

    Anyhow, there’s a LOT of room between those guys and Ozil (reported at 300K/wk) with only PEA in that area (at 180…)

    The question about Perez is interesting… I’d sure LOVE him on the bench for Thursday….

  • Kev, I don’t think we did too badly out of going into the last season with Alexis Sanchez. In the end we got Mkhi in exchange and he turned out rather well. I can see us do the same with Ramsey if he holds us to ransom. Having said that 19 PL goals in four seasons (104 games) is not making me feel too worried to lose him. This was the season to break through and he hasn’t …. but there is still time to make it all alright! 🙂

    I am a bit wary of you believing we are second to MC, MU and Chavs re attracting and keeping hold of players. We pay the wages and play in London, and we are going places next season. After Ozil, Mkhi and Auba (and Laca of course) I am positive we will be able to attract further top talent going forward.

  • Does Kolasinac deserve a sidelong glance– because HE’S getting the extra cash and not Schalke or an agent? Same really with Ozil– even if it’s an extraordinary number (you pay for talent!). So here, I think Ramsey’s best indicator is Auba’s £180k/pw. Is Ramsey worth that? Easily if you compare to what it would take to bring in a player of like ability. Beyond the ability? Is the sheer number of clutch goals Ramsey scores. You can’t buy that.


  • Perez is a good player to have in the squad. I’ll have him back in a heartbeat: experienced, committed, works hard and scores goals.

  • I think Klopp and his predecessor, and of course Leicester a few years back as well, have shown us again that a good manager and scouting system can go a long way in putting a quality squad together. It is not just about money but also about cleverness. I reckon we have a lot of that at Arsenal now.

  • Kev, would you be interested in doing player ratings on tonight’s performances. Just a score and one or two sentences would suffice….? 🙂

  • Total, it’s just where I see us in the food chain, the other three can throw more resources at team building than us. Or maybe they choose to throw more resources…

    We can still compete, but it’s now 14 seasons since Arsenal won the league, how many more years before it become institutional in our psyche?

    But yes, you are correct, we did really well out of the Alexis/Mkhitaryan deal, not that I think it was planned mate, I did hear that Martial was our No.1 pick from ManU….

  • I reckon we are spending the same now as the Chavs year on year and they managed to win the league again recently, Kev. Pool are getting closer too, but yes MC and MU are throwing massive resources at it and it is paying off for the blue side at the moment. It was a big coup for them to get Guardiola ahead of their neighbours…

  • Arsenal are struggling to retain possession in midfield, Burton misses Smith…

  • I like the discussion here…and maybe a couple of folks are around while watching the youth cup match…

    The thing about it not being Wenger (and it being SIR instead…) is that we shouldn’t have the narrative about dithering or trying to save a few quid. (Note, I didn’t say shekels…) Or, my favorite, it’s his degree in economics… Though, of course, when the “support” turns on the player, it’ll be, “…AND he cost XXX number of pounds (or is on XX/wk)–but at least no, “fecking Wenger” as they slam down their pint…

    Everybody has a right to a moan, of course, and I’ve certainly done more than my fair share, esp. lately…

    But, getting back to the topic at hand…though maybe more generally than talking about AR and JW and Thurs. specifically… I’m curious what folks think the REAL effect of making the CL is… You get an extra 40-50 million for the telly stuff (I think, can’t be arsed to look it up…) so maybe you can spread that around for a signing or three (including a new manager, if the person has yet to be selected or terms agreed upon–plus their contracts…) which maybe you have to do anyhow because they’re of a (slightly) higher caliber (or profile)…

    Beyond that, I see little or no difference in terms of recruiting (or retaining) players. (J-Dub, I’m pretty sure agents get their fee when the contracts get signed with the clubs, not so much for brokering the deals between them…i.e., they always win…) Money shouts loudest, I fear, and romantic (and even very rational) notions (including the advantages of retiring a club legend rather than a turncoat, etc., etc., etc) only sell papers…or get hits on the interweb…

    (Warning, another 17ht moan is coming… Please ignore if you’ve had enough…)

    I wish I were wrong, and that people (and football clubs) valued, you know, values… but, if that were the case, we’d still have one of the greatest managers in the history of football at the helm… Instead, we’re slaves to the audience…who didn’t walk out due to our spot in the table, nor our runs in the trophy comps…but merely due to boredom… 😦 (In my opinion…and apologies to those who worship at the house of Wenger Out and Arsenal is Great Again… which could be acronymed as WOah-Ah-GA)

    Keep those folks happy (bums in seats–i.e., money for the elder Kronke’s bottom line) and all is good…

    In truth, (if you buy my thoughts about money…get it, “buy”…) if we’re REALLY interested in the future at Arsenal, psycho-babble on the relationship of the Kroenke’s, elder and junior, is probably (for worse or better…) a valid topic… 😦

    If JOSH gets (or has access to) the CASH…and wants to take his place at the table with the other princes and emirs, it could be… 😀 😀 😀 …

    If JOSH gets the KOSH…probably less so… 😦

  • CL footie is important for the club: extra money, better sponsor deals, easier to attract and hold on to quality players, competing at the highest levels which means the players develop as best they can.

    I actually prefer us to play in the UEFA league from a footballing perspective at the moment. I have watched some good and meaningful games this season and we actually have a chance to win it.

  • 17tino/Total, I think that Jody Morris has out thought Kwame Ampadu, our lads have struggled against Chelsea’s 3 at the back, the midfield log jam has stifled Smith Rowe

  • I reckon Arsenal have to push up and have more players in the centre of midfield. They are giving them too much space to pass the ball round. Playing a bit better now, though.

  • That’s it, Arsenal’s defenders couldn’t clear it, game over…

    I hope our lads keep their heads up.

  • Smith-Rowe is a gem of a player, Kev, and with a better attack ahead of him he can really hurt teams. I love his vision and quick thinking – best player on the pitch.

  • I like the way Virginia gets the ball and tries to get us going quickly unfortunately our forwards aren’t on his wavelength

  • I think Smith-Rowe has that ability to run with the ball from deep and make things happen. But yes a bit higher up the pitch would make sense. I just think the attackers are not at the required level to hurt the very organised Chavs’ defence.

  • Yep, some of their decision making left a lot to be desired, we’ve had enough chances to score a couple. Balogun is our top scorer and we’ve missed him, not sure if he’s 100%

  • Seems we do agree TA– on the current level of the club– and the Europa League. We have most of the personnel to aim higher– just not the requisite depth in the squad– yet. What I see next season? Is SIR completing the makeover.


  • This sounds a bit, er, lopsided… But I’d still love a match report and thoughts about the young guns, Kev…

    And, I’d love a tactical analysis, if you want to throw it in… Having not seen any of it, however, means (in this case…) I’d only listen… 😉

    I’d REALLY love to hear a similar analysis of yesterday’s match at OT… Did the Moo-man wear down our kids and get lucky at the end? Both teams seemed so keen to retreat and re-group and I thought our guys did awfully well and could have done even better had Xhaka had somebody (like Elneny…but more usually Jack, Rambo and/or Ozil) to help settle possession and slip in some through balls. Somebody (besides PEA…) had to get forward and in the end, it was Xhaka who got the ball to Mkhi in a (kinda) forward position (with PEA occupying others elsewhere) for our goal… It was just soooo different from the Atletico 1st leg and from the usual way we’ve lost all those other (2-1) matches on the road this (half) season… Of course, it was also Xhaka who was “at fault” for both United goals… So maybe the (easy) answer is (that he follows Wenger) “out the door.” 😦

    Of course, I can also see the desire to move on from yesterday’s game and towards Thursday (or bigger–and IMO more complex–questions at the club)…

    TA, aren’t our sponsorships long-term contracts? CL football sooner than later seems important but expectations (and thus life…) could be easier under the new regime w/o it in the very near term, it seems to me… The Arsenal brand is a good one… (I won’t say who I think should bear responsibility for that…but his name starts with a W and ends with e-n-g-e-r…) so improvement, while remaining a bit of an underdog (i.e., another season in the Ropy league) seems not so bad…

    W(TF) do I know, of course…

  • So, J-Dub, a one-year plan if we make the CL, 2 if we don’t?… I just don’t see it (happening in the first place, nor it being such a big deal)… Again, that’s the money I hear (screaming)…

  • So, J-Dub, time for your first post… What do we know about Arsenal’s next signing (Meyer)…


  • Smith-Rowe was Arsenal’s major threat, our best player in the 1st leg 17tino.
    So I think Chelsea’s tactical switch to 3 5 2 just flooded the areas where he operated, snuffed out his threat and we had no one else creative enough to damage the Chelsea defence.

    When we did get it up to our forwards their decision making and composure was found wanting, we did have opportunities but our forwards lacked the required intelligence to really hurt Chelsea.

    Burton was pretty much our only midfielder with any match sense and he was also outnumbered and negated,

    Virginia, despite the goals, did well again, but most of our players need a lot more maturing and coaching to improve.

    By contrast the Chelsea players all looked at the Reiss Nelson level – and we missed him for sure.

  • The Chelsea wing backs stopped our full backs getting forward so everything came through the middle and that suited Chelsea..

    Ballard worked hard, but he looked stretched for most of the game, I actually thought that Olowu did ok.
    Amaechi was our best forward in the 1st leg but he didn’t get a sniff tonight, Saka is only 17 and it showed, he actually had some good moments but got excited and messed up.
    I didn’t think much of a John-Jules in the 1st leg and didn’t think much of him tonight.
    I would have liked to have seen more of Balogun.

  • Olayinka played center-mid and looked enthusiastic in a Kolo Toure kind of way, I didn’t think much of him in the 1st leg and although he’s a bit wild, all arms and legs, there’s something about him, I think he could be a rough diamond.

    Trae Coyle looks fairly average to me.
    Medley will have better days, but he’s a big lad and as a club we’ve not got many defenders like him.

  • Chelsea looked stronger, fitter, more aggressive and were technically superior.

    Now some of that is down to talent but a lot of it is down to coaching and mentality.
    When Burton got stuck in we, as a team, began to compete more physically, but by then it was too late. If you allow teams like Chelsea to dominate you then that’s exactly what will happen.

    I’ll be surprised if 5 or 6 of the Chelsea lads don’t make it into their senior squad.

    Not sure about us, other than Smith-Rowe.

  • I don’t think there is an argument against CL football being very important for the club. Of course we will survive without it, but sooner or later it will hurt the club in a number of ways.

  • Impressed with the way that Jody Morris spoke at the end of the game, there is a winning mentality throughout that club, we really need to close the gap on that.

  • Excellent report, Kev… I know I said I’d just listen… 😀 …but…

    …I have to think that pulling guys like Nelson, Willock, Mavropanos and even maybe AMN and Iwobi into the first team has got to hurt for these matches the youngsters have just completed… Like you said, just a small adjustment to mark one guy out (Smith-Rowe) and the others need to take advantage of the extra space and time they’ve got…

    Anyhow, I appreciate the enthusiasm for the kids, but like someone (TA, I think) said, it’s such a huge jump to games like Sunday’s at OT…

    I didn’t see the game, but, if 5 or 6 of those guys make it to their first team (anytime soon) it will have to mean that Abramovic is turning off the gas, er, flow of rubles… Which, of course, improves our chances of getting back to CL football (next year, the old fashioned way)… But maybe I’m remembering a few years back when they had 25 (or some other crazy number of) guys out on loan, which tends to be a make-or-break final step before really making it with your club, right?

    So, now I need an even bigger post on the changes in the youth development system (at Arsenal and other big clubs) and how it all interacts with FFP and all that other stuff…

    Thanks in advance… 😉

  • Thanks Total, I just say it as I see it, I’m not that great on tactics, but then I’m not a Dutchman 😉

    We still have some fantastic young players with 3 or 4 of them pushing for regular senior squad inclusion and a few more in the wings.
    Overall I’m quite impressed with what we’ve seen in our youth team against an outstanding Chelsea. Many of the lads we saw play tonight could be in the competition next season, a year older, bigger and stronger, so there’s still time for many of them.

    Technical ability can only take you so far, Dennis Bergkamp had it in spades, he was also as hard as nails as was Patrick Vieira as was Manu Petit, as was Thierry Henry, and I feel as a club that we’ve lost that edge across all our teams.

    A change in culture is maybe what’ll make us truly competitive again, we already have the talent.

  • I thought it was too good to last 17tino….. 😉

    Chelsea have spent an absolute fortune on their academy, but with a manager like Mourinho, forget it.
    The guy they’ve got now is more inclined to give the Chelsea youth a chance, but as you say it could have something to do with the owner, thus they’re going in a different direction, good luck to them on that, maybe they’ll be more like a proper football club?

  • Rashford and Martial are wasting their time at Old Trafford, they’ll never get given a fair crack with the Sociopath in charge.

  • …Martial are wasting their time at Old Trafford…

    Why I am (like TA) very pleased with the outcome of Alexit. We might have been hard-pressed to get Mkhi here without him being pushed. Have a feeling Martial would rather be at a club without Moomoo. Love to see him in our red&white.


  • JW I understand that Mourinho put the block on Martial being part of the Alexis deal, even though he really has little intention of using him.

    I’d imagine that Mourinho didn’t think that Mkhitariyan would have begun his Arsenal career so well, he’s probably quite upset and that is good…

  • Watching the basketball…but looking to chime in…as per usual

    Indeed, Kev… Sorry for the lack of silence… 😀 That said, I’m looking forward to your analysis of how youth player development works these days… Re: MooU and youth, He (I capitalize because He’s special…) has gotten Jesse Lingard into the line-up. I think that guy is pretty good… Haha… I just looked him up and he’s 25!!! Quite the baby-face and maybe one of those (Ox-type as JW has suggested…) late developers… He’s about as close to a #10 as Moo allows, now that Mata doesn’t play… (And a key guy, I think for England in Russia, if they want to get out of their group…)

    Speaking of the guy from ‘ouston (J-Dub)… I don’t think Alexis is quite done yet and I do think he’ll score a lot of cheap goals on the break with MooU next season… I also think he’ll be a bit more of a team player–out of necessity–because Matic and Pogba are better at deep possession than any of our guys… You’d better take that back-pass rather than dribble yourself into trouble, Al…

    Having him turn on us–and place responsibility for the failures of the team outside of himself–was a very bad thing and Arsenal, I think, dealt with it pretty about as well as possible given the “bigger” situation.. A new manager LAST summer (with the attendant lowered expectations) and ditching him at that time, was probably–in hindsight–the better solution. Instead, it’s all on Wenger, of course, while Alexis skates on… Still, I found his standing around watching Sevilla romp on them in the round of 16 very (very) pleasing… (TA, at times the Champions League, IS worth watching, IMO… 😀 …)

    I apologize for my ongoing defense of the dead man (walking)…and, folks will certainly point to all those away losses as evidence that it was him… Like JW says, these makeovers take time…and now, at least, there’s (maybe?) patience for it to happen under a new guy… We shall see…

    Sleep well…

  • Every couple months– I’ve brought up the application of video-driven data analysis in sports. Here’s how my hometown baseball team have further adapted long-employed digital methods– when working with youth players (known in baseball parlance as ‘minor leaguers’). The story in the New York Times, is well-written, and worth the read.

    If you don’t get hung up on the baseball jargon? It’s nearly applicable to football — in how even at the lower levels of the sport– it’s possible to analyse and improve how and what players do. Like never before.

    Still wondering what ‘laptop managers’ do with laptops? 😉


  • Kevsky

    We had plenty of good players on last night but Chelsea were more organised and tactically disciplined than us. With young players it is great if you can let them play in a system and let them become all stronger as a result of it. I thought we played like a bunch of good players without being a machine like Chelsea. Furthermore, they were strong in the one to one’s – again through good training practices – and a few were simply further in their development, as we could see in the way they took their chances and defended at the back. Would love to see Arsene play Smith-Rowe in one or two PL games this season. That boy has a lot to offer.

  • A few weeks ago, I predicted a Roma v Bayern CL final. It is not looking like it at the moment but I still stick with it. I would watch the Roma v Pool game on Wednesday but it requires going to the pub… which I will do on Thursday already, and this 50+ cannot take two nights of pints anymore 😀 …

  • TA, good post. Am arriving late.

    Apart from the ATLTI match and a possible EL final all that there is to talk about is next season and the next and the next …. Rambo and Jack would they be still around?

    Our CM should have about 6nos in the squad. Currently we have Rambo, Jack, Xhaka, Elneny, AMN. Willock (I can’t think of any on loan that can brake into the ranks and I also wouldn’t bank on Santi’s return). I expect a max of 3 top purchases, a keeper, a defender (yes we need more) and obviously a holding mid. Looks like one of our current CM would have to go.

    To me, every thing is pointing at Jack. But he can sign dat tin now and then the market forces would decide.

    Those who might want to take the gamble on Jack might not be able to afford him. So he stays. We end up with 7 of them. Willock is sent on loan

  • Hi all.. Hi TA.. Nice though..

    But I don’t think Thursday game will be the judgement day as you said.. It’s all depend on themself and our new manager..
    Wilshere seem to know that Wenger will leave.. And he won’t have the privilege like Wenger gave him all this long.

    Last Thursday for surprised.. At least for me.. Wilshere did good.. More than good I think but still not great enough.. Hehehe..
    I hope it happen again..
    And We will see the same starters as last Thursday.. with Mikhi on the bench..
    If Wilshere didn’t have a good time then Mikhi come and Ozil move in the middle.. Hehehe..

    Ramsey on the other hand have a very promising career for us.. If he stay, he will become our next legend.. He can play almost every post in the middle..
    But he also a Wenger favorite guy.. I won’t surprise if he move to other club where Wenger will manage.. Rumor said about PSG..

    PE.. You must add JRA and Zelalem also.. I wonder what’s the progress of our loan players.. And if Meyer really comes.. Somebody will surely go.. Hehehe..

  • If Meyer comes, Iwobi must go. He should have done better at providing balls to the strikers, but his decision making at times is just absurd.

    Why Wenger’s playing him so regularly is mind boggling.

  • njk, you’d be surprised how the experts see Iwobi. First and foremost he is still young. Secondly and of vital importance is that he is the only real carrier of the ball that we have and have had since Rosicky left. When he matures some more which could be soon, he’d make the team play better aka Rosicky. By the way Rosicky never scored many goals.

    The experts know the potentials in him and know that to sell him at this point would fetch peanuts. They’ll keep him around until he’s great enough, or would fetch enough.

  • Thanks chaps. All good points.

    Fully agreed re Iwobi, PE. A star in the making who is still finding his feet. And that is ultimately the price to pay when you try and push through youngsters into the first team: it takes time and sometimes dropping points as they learn their trade (and that for me is a reason to consider scrapping the whole youth development thing as there are just too much competitors who only play players who have already made it to the top).

  • Its being reported that Jack has been offered an improved deal.

  • PE–
    Saw that last night per Jack– but it’s the Mirror reporting– and no one else.
    (Of course, today every other ‘paper of repute’ will pick it up and echo it– making it ‘true’!)
    Sounds kind of ‘click-bait-y’.

    Not earth-shattering. Supposedly a rise from £90k/pw to £100k/pw.


  • PE, my main critic of him is that his decision making needs work and the times that he made a bad decision right, that might lead to a goal.

    There weretimes that he made brilliant through balls, but that was like one in 5 opportunities?

    Second is that his lack of positioning awaremess in defense meant that he got bypassed very easily. Was it like once in the whole game against manu** that he got the ball in a defensive positoon?

  • jw, you might be right but I’d rather ìts true. I have a soft spot for him.

  • njk, I see some of these poor areas of his game but they are areas time and coaching can improve. Just take it that he’s still on the learning curve.

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