Emery Just Can’t Stop Buying, but There Is a Plan!

“Hey farmer! When you gonna fix that leakin’ roof?
Ah stranger, when it’s a rainin’ it’s too wet to fix it and when it’s dry it’s just as good as any mans house.” Michelle Shocked

Unai Emery is a man with a plan. With Lacazette, Aubameyang and Mkhi, Arsenal had added high profile, quality players in the previous season, but this summer it has been all about purchases of less-known players. The conclusion must have been that Arsenal is a fine house with all the mod-cons but the roof is leakin’ if and when it rains, and Emery has used this wonderfully hot and dry summer to fix it before the rain and wind return.

Lichtsteiner will fix the hole in the roof over the garage on the right side. Bellerin needed back up and competition, so Emery went for an experienced Swiss ‘rock’ who will provide the perfect cover (if not more).

The back of the house has been leaking goals like no tomorrow last season, so we should not be surprised that Emery added both an experienced CB and a very keen keeper who will want to be our nr.1. Leno will provide direct competition for Cech and is likely to start more games than veteran Cech; Sokratis will add his wisdom and experienced to our porous back four and is likely to start in most of our games. These are great additions and let’s hope they will stop the goal-leaking at the back.

With Wilshere and Cazorla gone and a collective belief that we needed to strengthen the defensive side of our midfield anyway, Emery went for a defensive midfielder with discipline, great ball winning and interception skills, as to plug the holes in our DM-pivot. I am pretty sure that Torre11ra will be paired with Xhaka in a deep-DM-two-midfield in front of the defence. For Uruguay, Lucas played a very disciplined, defensive role but there is more to him: he can go forward and put in through balls and long balls ala Cazorla. I expect him and Xhaka to form a formidable partnership in which either of them can go forward or stay behind. Together they will keep it watertight in midfield.

We also bought a young and promising midfielder from Lorient, Matteo Guendouzi, who may get some PL starts this season if we are to believe Emery. So more competition and cover in midfield for the likes of Xhaka and Elneny (and of course Maitland-Niles), which is of course great news. The key to success for Arsenal is sorting the DM midfield position(s) out and it looks like Emery has just done that.

The key question for me is what is going to happen with Aaron Ramsey? Will he still be playing in the B2B role, and therefore be a competitor for the deep-DM positions, or will he be moved into the hole position? I reckon it is the latter but we need to wait and see what will happen during pre-season and beyond (when Torreira returns from his summer break).

I reckon our first team will look something like this:

submit football lineup

In all areas we will have quality players pushing the 11/13 players above, and that is a good thing. Kola, Chambers, Holding and Koz (when fully fit again) will do that at the back; Elneny, AMN and Guendouzi in the double DM pivot; Iwobi and Guendouzi (?) for the pivotal attacking midfielder in the hole position, and; Perez, Welbeck and Eddie for the attacking positions. Add a couple of youngsters to the mix, as per Kev’s excellent post, and we are ready, baby!

Bring on the new season; the roof has been fixed!

By TotalArsenal.

49 thoughts on “Emery Just Can’t Stop Buying, but There Is a Plan!

  • Shard–
    You are correct IMO regarding vegan diet and top-flight athletes.
    We had a fine NFL running back here in Houston named Arian Foster. Brilliant Pro Bowl performer. Following his third season, he went to a vegan diet, and began suffering minor injuries he’d never had issues with previously. Sure, an NFL RB’s career is short notice 3-4 yrs on average. But Foster was an elusive type who didn’t take big hits. Mostly muscle strains and hamstring issues. One of those I was certain would have a much longer career (4 productive years, 6 total I believe).

    Anyway, as one who follows an organic/gluten-free regimen, and for several months years back adhered to a vegan one– there is a corollary to loss of muscle mass doing so long-term.


  • commiserations to my fellow English bloggers 🙂

    Croatia just a bit more experienced and sharper up-front. This young team will grow further though and the future looks bright… almost orange! 😀

  • Thanks T A just lack some creativity in midfield methinks. Well done boys

  • Agreed Retsub, I am a fan of structure in midfield and winning the game there first. Gradually the Croats won the midfield and from there they started to change things round. Bringing on Jack in the second half could have helped a lot with keeping shape in midfield and produce cleverer attacking options. But that is just me. I reckon Southgate did well with the team and much more is to come. Euros in just 23 months!!

  • Nerve racking encounter. Croatia is a very experienced team but I must say they were rattled by that early goal. That first 30mins was England’s chance to finish them off. Yes TA, keep this England team together and they’ll keep growing.

  • Btw, one shot on target. But Wilshere wasn’t needed.
    Everyone in media will be saying how brave and over-achieving England were. Who did they beat in the easiest bracket in history? The 5th best team in south America; Colombia, without their best player, by far – James.
    And they barely scraped by them. Team full of over-rated spurs.
    Now let’s get behind our friend, Olivier Giroud.

  • Agreed. They lacked a metronome. Somebody who can orchestrate the tempo of their play. When Croatia equalized they lost their flow and virtually started employing route one. Experience is to be able to keep at it.

  • Well fought semi-final but England were a bit disappointing in the way allowed the set up of the opponents cause them to resort to long balls; it may have been on instruction as all the talk had been about muscling that midfield dynamism of the Croats (Modric andRakitic). Croatia were very patient when they needed to be and played with belief; a team that knew the game wasn’t over till the last whistle and that the chances would come. Had England been more clinical at the start, different outcome.

    England has a bright future with this side and some additions from the U-20 world champions; not to speak of those from the U-17 world champions side. Good base to build on.

    With some of the fringe players to be given a chance in the third place match, there may still be some pride to play for.

  • Shame Trippier’s bolt didn’t hold up.
    Were a pair of Citizens though (Walker, then Stone) who gave Mandzukic’s winner away cheaply.

    Bittersweet– to see the ride come to an end today.
    The team advanced a couple of rounds further than most expected.
    Felt Southgate did an admirable job considering.


  • Midfield Eris, England lost it there, how many times did England players have to go back to the goalkeeper, for him to punt it long and then it’s a possession lottery.
    Dele Alli was anonymous to me, Henderson is limited in a creative sense and that’s it, no goals from Sterling and only one from Lingard, it’s not enough, even so, in the 1st half a bit more composure and England could have gone in 2-0 at half-time and you have a different game.

  • I’m not sure that Wilshere would have made that much difference tbh Total, the team could have done with Oxlade-Chamberlain and why not give Welbeck a run instead of Vardy?

    All the same, it was fun, England exceeded expectations and played some good stuff at times.
    The bar has been set now, Southgate need to learn from this as much as the players.

    Good luck Croatia, but I fear a mauling at the hands of Les Blues…

  • Simply put, playing a team with a considerable amount of spuds will not win. Look at how they relied on the defense and had no intention of pressing Croatia for long periods.

    So its Croatia vs France. A good match and looking forward to it.

  • Kev–
    Ya know? Often thought the last couple of seasons– if I were to select a player to start a team? It’s always Kevin DeBruyne I take first. Though– if it were he or a 26-year-old Luka Modric? Tough choice.

    So now, on Sunday– with three days in the whirlpool? You add in Rakitic, a scoring MF like Perisic– and an opportunistic Mandzukic up front? While I do feel France should win– I’m not counting Croatia out. Those guys are hard-nosed, wily, and now battle-tested. Should be good.

    So, what does Southgate do in the 3rd-place match?
    Play guys who haven’t– or is all-out for the bronze?


  • Jw1, too soon for the first teamers to play on Saturday noon. It is a second string side made up of mostly other clubs to play in the 3rd place. And the unwanted spud record continues.. always missing out in the end.

    That is what you get when you play Welbs sparingly.

  • TA

    About the post and WC, I’ll try to keep it all tied together..

    Well, first, sorry about England … it’s what you get for avoiding Brazil 🙂 … I reckon Kante and Pogba were a lot of what do it for France in the other bracket. So effective in that back two DM-ish area they really shrink the field opposition has to play in… my take as a fan of Les Diables Rouges.

    On to the post. I like the Torreira signing! All I read and saw says Kante type…I don’t like your putting Ozil in front of Hector.. Too dynamic going forward if you get my drift. I like Ozil playing the fewer more forward De Bruyne type role.

    Rest is all good. I have a greater sense of hope/confidence than in awhile and that’s about quality depth perhaps as much as other things..

    Cheers from way downunder — jgc

  • TA, … that’s a lovely post. In a nutshell you’re saying we are ready and i think we are.

    The truth is that the project is a two window rebuild. Winter and Summer. Auba, Mkhi, Leno, Lichst, Papa, Torreira, Matteo. Seven new player makes it a totally different team. Icing on the cake, a reconstituted coaching crew. Expecting a wave of exits that commenced in the winter.

    I like your team with a little tweak. Auba always up top for me.

  • Hi all.. Longtime no see..
    Krosia have Kolinda Kitarovic.. She make the team win.. hehehehe..

    Nice post TA.. Emery did his job very well indeed.. Its impressed me a lot..
    Four new players already.. and will He bring another player or will it be enough..??
    Do we count Guendozi as our five new players.. or he just another youngster..?? Cause we know as usual.. we always bring some new youngster every season..

    Now.. he have more than enough Midfielders like Xhaka, Torreira, Elneny, Ramsey, Ozil, Mhiki, AMN.. so I think if we play with 4 man in the middle, it will be great for us according to our recent players we have.. But let’s assume that nothing change in formation.. we will play 4-2-3-1 scheme.
    I personaly don’t like to see Ozil as our Winger.. I think he didn’t have the speed to do that.. Ramsey is faster than Ozil.. And we have Mhiki also.. Why put Ramsey in the middle..??
    So I insist that Ozil must be in the middle, as Modric do for Kroasia.. in front of Brozovic and Rakitic. He is our #10 now.. just like Modric..

    So.. My team will be :
    Monreal – Mustafi – Sokratis – Bellerin
    Torreira – Xhaka
    Auba – Ozil – Mhiki

    Go Gunners.. VCC

  • Kev, Ox would have been more of the same but Jack would have centred the attacks from midfield, with a proper passing game and not such a strong focus on trying to get the ball high into the box from the wings. For me that was missing especially in the second half when Modric and Rakatic ruled the midfield which led gradually to England’s demise. That’s why football is not coming home (even though I agree with you that had England scored a second in the first half, Croatia would probably not have turned it around as they eventually did).

  • I checked out our prediction post on 14 June and…. nobody got more than one semi-finalist right. Kudos to Eris for predicting Belgium would make it to the last four. Only Shard and yours truly are still in a position to have picked the winner…. France. Quite a clever fellow that Shard, just a shame he mixes up his lefts and rights 😀

  • My second team :
    Kolasinac – Chambers – Mavropanos – Lichsteiner
    Elneny – Niles
    Perez – Iwobi – Ramsey

  • Hi Geoff, Ozil has started a lot of games on the right in attack with a licence to roam. Maybe Emery sees it differently and starts playing him in the hole again (figuratively speaking 🙂 ). I would be happy to see Rambo play on the right in attack too – it would work for me both ways. I believe that inverted wingers are the future and both Mkhi and Ozil are very good at this and working with their full backs too. For me Ozil- Licht combo is very, very exciting. TBC.

  • Cheers PE 🙂

    I am happy with Auba as CF too. I just liked the way he can be predator as well as selfless provider and I have no doubt that he and Laca would interchange a lot. It is a partnership I am very, very excited about.

  • Cheers hehehe 🙂

    Ramsey in the hole as our ‘B2B’ with both Xhaka and Torreira/Elneny behind him just works best for me. Ramsey can support midfield and attack with his engine and great runs and he has a good eye for goal. Ozil needs to focus on creating chances for Auba, Laca, Ramsey etc and for that I prefer him in a free role on ‘the wing’. Cooperation with an effective full back is very important and I am hoping that Ozil and Licht will be combined to make us very strong on both wings.

  • Hehehe, that is a fine ‘second’ team but you are also getting your wings mixed up. Licht on the left and Kola on the right…. unless I am missing something!

  • No TA.. I mean Kolasinac in the left.. Lichtenier on the right.. Should start from striker first.. hehehe.. A bit confusing..??

    Ramsey is for RW.. or he can be our first team also for DM for Xhaka position..
    Or maybe we could play 4-1-2-3 with one DM (Torriera) and two AM, Ozil and Ramsey..

    Can wait to start the season..
    And still waiting for surprises to happened like Ronaldo to Juve.. hehehe..

  • TA, on your post, it is good to see the players coming in, and as we are short in depth last season, this season we look like we are going to have 2 perfect teams to fight for the title and the europa league.

    I forsee more players coming in, and the roof might be fixed, is it patched up properly? Or is it just a plaster to cover the hole in the roof?

    It remains to be seen if more players are coming in, but for me the new players need to settle in to Emery’s style of play. They look like they can play the Arsenal way, so it is good to see youngsters being brought in and the current academy lads can expect challenges for them in order for them to make the step up.

    For the first game we need to rely on Rambo as Torreira will not be ready. After that he will be fighting against Ozil for the spot in the hole. Am counting out Iwobi thoroughly as he did not convince me that he can play well. Not even during the world cup.

  • TA

    I may be clever, but if that World Cup prediction game some of us here have been playing is any indication, football is way above my intelligence. Which is why I enjoy it 🙂

    The losers final will probably see all change in the squads. Croatia have a chance with that midfield and the never say die spirit of Mandzukic and Perisic. But then you consider the French midfield, backline, and options in attack and it just seems inevitable that France will win. They will also have learned some lessons from allowing an inferior team (Portugal) to beat them in the Euros two years ago.

    On Arsenal. I think we’ll be playing a 4141 of sorts. Emery’s referenced that as a good, proactive pressing formation, as opposed to a more defensive 442. I think the 2 wide men in the 4 will play in the half spaces, with the FBs providing the width. I am almost certain of this because we do not have any out and out wingers. Ozil, Miki, Iwobi,are all more comfortable towards the centre. What I’ll be interested in seeing as we take to the field would be whether it will be Xhaka who plays as the deep midfielder, or Torreira/Elneny. My guess is it will be Xhaka. With the high energy game of Elneny and Ramsey ahead of him. Torreira and AMN also have a high energy game. And Guendouzi though young, also possesses the long passes like Xhaka, so I presume he will be Xhaka’s replacement. I wonder what this means for the likes of Willock and Zelalem. Personally I think Willock needs to go on loan, and I hope Zelalem gets a chance as one of the AMs, provided he’s got the engine to do the defensive work. His vision was always fantastic and he’s bulked up so strength should not be an issue. But then there’s Jeff and Nelson, as well as Perez and Nketiah so, who knows? Which makes it such an intriguing, exciting pre-season.

  • I’ve got a feeling we’ll go quite close to the 433 system Emery played with PSG. I’d imagine we’ll see the line up you suggest (although my worry is no natural LCB who likes to cover from that side even if right footed).

  • Hi JK..
    Why Torriera won’t be ready.. 11th August is still a month to go..
    He only need to rest for two or three weeks.. and he already had a week rest.. hehehe..

  • I just watched some Guendouzi youtubes. Impressive vision and passing range, quick decisions. Also carries and protects the ball with his body really well. I can’t wait to see him play for us now. I actually like him better than Adli, the similar player that we were linked to.

  • JK.. I have some news for you.. dailycannon.com/2018/07/torreira-confirms-july-30th-return-to-arsenal

  • Smile Gooners! 🙂

    It was 20 years ago today;
    “12 July 1998 Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira (along with Thierry Henry and Robert Pires who did not play in the final but were in the squad) became the first Arsenal players to win the World Cup; Petit the first Arsenal player to score in a WC final. Dennis Bergkamp won World Cup Goal of the Tournament.”

    (Courtesy: ‘The History of Arsenal’ website)


  • TA, it did cross my mind that it will be interesting to recall our predictions for final 4 and eventual WC champions, even before we were sure of who plays who. Just tells you it’s a hard job putting a team out, expecting a win each game. I did add somewhere that a Balkan side could win it too, so..😜.

    I am not sure Emery will tweak with too much so early, in terms of our team structure and balance, beyond the back 4. So, Ozil will likely remain the creative force with a fluid positioning but working a lot from the right wing as he’s done most clubs he’s been at. As soon as he achieves momentum and has stamped his style fully, then we can start to see more tweaking with approach, style and personnel.

    Oh, and Henrychan, no way Ramsey is “faster than Ozil”; stronger, maybe. More tenacious, certainly. But quicker? I don’t think so. Speed isn’t one of Rambo’s known attributes. Just thought I should clear that.

  • Nice bit of Arsenal history there, jw1. Good to know. Goes to emphasize how hard it is to be a World Cup winner; and why it’s valuable to have Ozil in our camp, now Per has retired. Most don’t remember Shkodran Mustafi as a 2014 World Cup winner. If only we still had Giroud (still see him as ours, though); or went for Perisic when he was hot property.

  • Shard, 4-1-4-1 is a good shout. Xhaka between the two fours would also make sense. I just feel that it will be Xhaka-Torre11ra in a 4-2-1-3 and I would prefer that, but we just have to see what it will be, both short and long term.

  • From yesterday’s presser–

    Koscielny (Emery mentioned as ‘current captain’)
    Mkhi (currently, of Armenia)
    Lichtsteiner (currently, of Switzerland)
    Ramsey (formerly, of Wales)
    Xhaka (formerly, of Borussia Mönchengladbach)

    Think we’re good then. 😉


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