(Me Sick) Ozil? (I Run) Ramsey? Can Arsenal Afford Both Players? Plus Other Questions as Arsene-L Gives Way to a New era at the Emery-ates.  

Please weigh in and give us your thoughts?  Here are a few of mine, or at least a few questions I’ve been pondering.

mesut-ozil-unai-emery-aaron-ramsey-arsenal-gfx_1fe7nqjsqqaay1087jnx10o5im (1).jpg

What’s the deal with Unai and these two players? 

It’s only been a few matches, but they’ve only played together for some 54 minutes (the opening ones vs ManCity).  The take-me-out-of-the-starting-11-makes-me-sick rumors are a worry, as is the continuing silence on Ramsey and a new contract.  Frankly, I doubt that the management junta will offer Rambo that Ozil-money he (supposedly) seeks.  Let’s see what happens on Sunday as Ramsey returns to his boyhood club (Cardiff City).  It was a while back, but he got a hat-trick on (his) one (and only?) trip there in Arsenal colors, as I recall.  Is Mesut only “well enough” for a bench seat or could we see them paired again?  It sure looked weird, IMO, Rambo pressing from a #9 position in the Opener.

Playing Style?  Who’s In and Who’s Out?  And Who’s Got Better Hair?

My take is that Emery seems very keen to change what we know from all those years watching Arsenal under Wenger.  Press from the front, play out of the back and send long (and wide) balls to open guys–from the deep lying mids–rather than into a pack of players (and from the keeper).  Sorry Sam, we shan’t indulge in El Futbol Ingles (route one, punt and pray, keep it down their end, call it what you will), the pragmatics of the situation notwithstanding.  Thus far it seems VERY MUCH a work in progress.

We looked hardly on the same page vs City (Cech’s near own-goal the emblematic moment), quite fortunate to get back level at half-time at Stamford Bridge before subbing to hold that result and then blowing it, and (maybe) even more fortunate to come away with full points vs West Ham last Saturday.  An injury to Arnautovic, a wildly caromed own-goal, and a couple of thread-the-nutmeg Bellerin crosses made the difference and we vaulted from 17th to 9th in the table.  At least the trajectory there is good…

Instead of Wenger’s (pointless?) possession and passing and pressing the opponent back, (back, back) with the ball (and walking it into the net).  Emery–like Pep at City and Klopp at the Kop–hardly needs the ball–or wants to play “protagonist” with or without it–to force mistakes and pounce.  If we can get the ball back high up the pitch, direct would be the way and Aubamayang would be the guy to get those Theo, er, through-balls, into the net.  He’s still on the bagel; and his would-be replacement, Lacazette, has yet to score either; that blast off the WHU defender’s chest only counts as an assist, I’m pretty sure.  Instead, it’s guys like Iwobi, Mkhitaryan and Danny Welbeck getting the early season goals, players that many a Gooner thought might be gone or at least playing bit parts this season, with he who-cannot-defend-and-should-be-sold (along with his man-bun) Bellerin perhaps looking our MVP(!!)  (On the question of Ramsey and/or Ozil, does Emery’s style even allow for both on the pitch at the same time?  If Wenger wanted #10s all over the pitch, does Emery want even one?…)

Indeed, what’s up is down and what’s down is up (thus far) at the Emery-ates.  What do you guys think of the new coaches playing style (philosophy) and it’s execution.

What About the Choices Made by the New Coach, Starting 11s and Subs?

The back line is bare-bones.  Kos is back running but Chambers was run off to Fulham.  AMN and Kolasinac are out hurt so–with the Greek philosopher’s help (Question: if a tree falls in the forest, is it always Mustafi’s fault?…)–it’s a rearguard that picks itself, with only one CB Holding down a bench seat.  With the fullbacks encouraged to run wide (and wild) and forward, it’s been Nacho and Bells even if many enjoyed the extreme non-neutrality of the Swiss guy, Lichtsteiner, when he came on in the City match.  And then there’s Cech (who gives what we expect) vs Leno and what might be a trial by fire in the rough and tumble (and much faster paced) PL.

My bet is that–early on at least–the PL will not be for BL (Leno) and that we’ll have to see him do his sweeper-keeper thing in the Europa League and League Cup matches, games which will surely also see changes in the deeper part of midfield, the true crux of Emery’s team.  Thus far he’s gone with (Matteo) Guendouzi and Granit (Xhaka) and it’s been far from poetry, IMO. Thus far, the smaller man (but bigger signing…) Torreira has only been used as a sub.  At Stamford Bridge (when he replaced Xhaka) our offense stuttered and the Uruguayan wasn’t able to track the guy (Alonso) who broke the deadlock and gave Chelsea the points.  Versus West Ham (and this time paired with Xhaka), The little guy looked much better in creating pressure on the opponents by keeping possession and passing through the lines.  Still, mistakes were made and our DMs were still witnessed chasing the Hammers on the break.  Luckily, our net never bulged, and we were able to grab the points.  Who starts in Wales and how will this most interesting part of the team evolve as the season moves on?

A word here for my avatar guy, who has yet to play a single minute of football, Mohamed Elneny.  Consider me concerned.  (Doubly so, given that I prefer Mo’s dreadlocks to Kenny, er, Matteo, G’s curls…)  Is he off in order to free up money for a mega-offer to Ramsey?  I hope not.  (And I think the accounting here is a farce).

Elneny, IMO, will run all day and show for the ball, something I believe Wenger valued a lot more in his deeper lying midfielders.  I’m picturing Mikel Arteta here, and, later, Santi Cazorla, even if those guys also had the big passes that Granit with his left and Guendo with his right foot, seem to possess.  Elneny can hit an accurate and quick pass, but doesn’t have that sort of range.  His skill-set however, just might not fit Emery’s system.

What’s different, to my eye, is the spacing.  If the keeper and CBs are expected to push and play the ball forward and wide–the FBs moving well upfield into the opponents half–so too are the DMs.  Do G & G have the strength to hold off defenders?  The skills to turn them inside out before launching their big passes?  Torreira, tiny as he is, gets to balls (and spaces) quickly but also relies on going to ground when he feels contact.  That works in South America and Italy.  I wonder about in front of (keep-play-going) English refs.  I think Elneny could play a role in this regard.  If’s he’s not gone by tomorrow (the Euro transfer deadline) maybe we’ll see what he can do in the Europa League as we ease into that competition.  He could always be sold in January (just as Ramsey could sign on for the longer haul). Your thoughts?

And, finally, coming full circle, onto the (big) point(s).

What do you think of the Emery-Era so far?  In truth we could call it the Gazidis and his guys (GAG?) era–as opposed to the decades under Wenger.  Sven’s been recruiting (is Dortmund to Arsenal, the quickest ticket/shortest route to London?), Unai then takes the (round?) pegs and plugs them in the (square?) holes, while others (Raul, Huss) work to sort out the money issues.  Let’s not forget that Wenger watches (from afar) while still on the Arsenal dole.  Hmmm, maybe we can afford to pay Rambo his (Ozil–or should we say Arsene?) money–next summer when Wenger’s wages drop from the books.  (Whoa, that might not have been Gazidis’ best work, at least from a pound and penny perspective…) What do my fine fellow Gooners think of the club under the new man (or men)?

As those who know me will guess, I believe we’re sacrificing more than (Wenger) money and that results (and entertainment value) will suffer too, but maybe that’s all OK if it’s in the name of change.  After our first three games does anybody (seriously) believe we can challenge for the title?  (And wasn’t that always the standard to which AW was held?)  Who knows, stranger (or more Leicester-er) things have happened, I guess.  Maybe next year there won’t be any forest fires out here in California and the skiing will be nothing but dry powder from October through May in my mountains above Lake Tahoe… Next thing you know, we’ll all get along and support the president, just like you guys in Britain do with your Euro (and non-native) friends.  I could go on and on, but this isn’t the venue (or so I’ve been told).

Before I run away, I ask for your predictions.

Frankly, when it comes to the BIG GOAL of the season, getting up for the much-derided 4th place trophy, I think Emery’s ideas need to create better performances sooner than later, i.e., we can’t keep riding our luck.  There’s always the back door (winning the Europa League) but let’s not forget that a few strong CL teams will be parachuting into that competition when they can’t make it out of their groups.  (See Atletico Madrid, a year ago.)  Gooners are loving the early season troubles at MouroonedChester United, but that’s juxtaposed against strong starts for Chelsea and Spurs.  We’ve got a nice run of games all the way through until November, but–after our stuttering start–we NEED to keep making three points per match AND showing improvement in settling the squad and playing better football.  I wonder.  Some are saying 21 points from these next seven matches will come our way.  I’d be more than satisfied with 15 and think a dozen is (far) more likely.  That’s my prediction, though I’ll hope it’s a baker’s dozen (13)…

What say you?

If a point total is all you can give, go on and give it.  If you’d care to weigh in on the more touchy-feely elements I’m trying to describe, even better.  On the internet, all truths are relative and all opinions equal.  Or maybe, since we can’t look one another in the eye, the beholder can scream as loudly as he (or she) likes, enhancing their truths–or at least the truth-iness–of those shouts.  Or something.  Regardless, please weigh in and share your thoughts.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

36 thoughts on “(Me Sick) Ozil? (I Run) Ramsey? Can Arsenal Afford Both Players? Plus Other Questions as Arsene-L Gives Way to a New era at the Emery-ates.  

  • To me there’s only one solution to the Ozil-Ramsey situation. That’s a 4-2-2-2. Torreira and Xhaka as a midfield duo, and that allows Xhaka’s freedom as mentioned earlier. And also, with an attacking midfield of Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey. This frees Ozil to be the assist-king we all know and love. And Ramsey can continue being a Unai Emery #10. The only problems with this are it exposes Arsenal out wide defensively, and it also isn’t a Unai Emery set-up, not to mention one of Arsenal’s fab 4 players, Henrick Mhkitaryan would be left on the bench.

  • Nice post17 ht and welcome back. You have covered so many points it’s difficult to know where to start. I will start by making my self very unpopular with Ozil fans. in my opinion Ozil has been offered a contract where he is vastly overpaid. I read somewhere that towards the end of last season and this season he has missed 7 games through sickness? I don’t think the concept of loyal footballers (David O’Leary etc) exists anymore and I don’t blame Rambo for trying to get an inflated contract . Personally I would give him a decent but not excessive contract. I would really hate for him to leave, but we need this sorted and soon.

    I like Emery’s management style. Maybe he will be successful maybe not, but at least he has got the balls to change things around when they are not working. Sadly in his latter period Wenger just picked what he thought was his best team and made a substitution in the 69th minute. So good luck to him, no player is bigger than the club.

    I am confident that Aubamayang will come good and challenge for the golden boot.
    Bellerin is looking good going forward but is pretty clueless at the back. I think he is slowing down a little as well. No way is he a M V P in my book.

    I really like Guendouzi, sure he is inexperienced and will learn things as he goes along. He is however fearless and not afraid to let his thoughts be known to team mates. Most of the other players we have purchased are pretty much ‘ as said on the tin’. I really do think this boy could go all the way and be a huge star. I like Torreira as well.

    I don’t expect to win anything this season, but I am enjoying the change in approach. If nothing else it’s different. I don’t think anyone is going to score 6 goals against us or more as we have seen in the past against us and am hopeful we will have a united team approach. I would be delighted if we could finish aboveSpurs this year, but suspect we would need to challenge for the title to do that.

    I still hope Mustafi can come good, I think there is a player there somewhere.

    I would also play Leno. Sure he may make the occasional mistake to begin with, but he is the future and the future is now.

    18 from 21 points.

    I am sure I havent covered all of your questions, but I am hopefulfor a decent season. Let’s give the guy a chance anyway.

  • Hey Retsub… Thanks (big-time) for the well written and detailed response… Your longest post ever here on the BK, maybe?–and you’re not even in full on rant mode… My hunch is that Emery will get you there… 😉 … 18 points from these next 7 matches, for example(?!)… Nonetheless, I’m glad you’re enjoying the change of scene… 🙂

    Thanks again!

  • 17HT h
    Just a mute point but does ‘ Emery will get you there’ suggest you are not part of it?
    I hope you haven’t deserted the ship. I don’t see why you shouldn’t suffer with the rest of us.

  • Just want to agree with writer about MVP Bellerin. His supposed defensive weakness is about the guy playing in front of him not ever tracking back… raise your hand Mikhi..
    Odd how every game so far the youngsters perform much better than the seniors.

  • Crispen you may well be right about his cover. I have only seen the highlights. But on at least two occasions, Bellerin was a yard behind the rest of the defence playing West Ham players onside. The good news is he can be repaired m which is why I suspect Liechsteiner was recruited.

  • Welcome back HT. you have been missed. Although you have been driven to despair on occasion over the last year or so, it has always felt like an empassioned form of support rather than anything less. And we need empassioned support in most of its forms to give sport its meaning.

    I’m feeling in a strange place at the moment. Or rather my club feels a bit like a stranger to me at the moment. I’ve never felt that before with managerial changes, but this time I feel strangely detached. I’m never going to support any other club, but the sense of value and emotional connection with each game feels rather diminished for me at the moment. I’m sure it willl pass soon enough. But it’s a bit odd at the moment. I don’t really warm to UE yet. I’m in no way against him. But he’s a bit like a suddenly arrived new step-mum; what’s to be made of him!? He’s probably great and you can see why he is there. He just feels a bit incongruous at the moment.

    My answer to many of your questions is it’s just too soon to say. I like the willingness to use subs and the sense that any player can be taken off if they aren’t performing. I believe that is as it should be, though some people need more careful handling than others. Beyond the press and the playing out I don’t yet have any real sense of team shape and preferred players. I don’t really get why Elneny hasn’t been tried out given the high press model being operated. I’m really pleased for Danny that he got his goal as I think there is a valuable squad player there. I agree with Retsub also on Musti. I think we need to persist with him. Ozil and Rambo are both worries. If either of them shows form then they will galvanise the team around them, in attack at least. But the signs are not encouraging. I think I’m with you on the likely points tally over the next 7 games. 12 points bad at all, though like everyone I’m hoping that we can win the next and then just build up some momentum. We have the talent in the squad to be a force. But only once the system and confidence are both established. For the moment inconsistency has to be expected. And a few losses and draws in the mix seem pretty plausible.

    End of season goal. I don’t think we are really likely to be in it for the title. That would be a huge achievement given where we have come from and the level of new investment made. I doubt we will make the top 4 either sadly. But I’d like us to be more competitive and give away fewer goals than last year. We aren’t there yet, and I’m not sure I agree with Retsub’s view that we won’t take a big beating this season under UE – we’ve looked pretty porous at times already and could have been pusnished for it. I think when the team settles we will have a good run. But it could take a while to get there.

    We’ve talked a lot about Xhaka and his value. Marmite player he is. I think on balance him and Tor look the most complete pairing for our pivot. But I don’t think he is there yet for games against top opposition and I do think we need a more effective screening player for those games when we know we will be without the ball for the majority of the game. It’s a squad game, so I have no problem with that. It will be interesting to see how truly tactical our match selections turn out to be.

    Anyway, great to have you back and writing freely again HT. I hope you continue to stick around and offer your perspective on all things Arsenal, and even the odd political analogy from time to time!

  • Well I could talk of the just finished Athletics-Astros series and cheap HRs.
    But then, no one has missed that but me. 🙄

    Have to stay non-committal to predicting results– or possible points gleaned– so far ahead of many matches. I’ll watch and bitch and cheer and such– but it’s no longer the agony I went through in years past. Emery has to earn that. Though I sense it might be more widespread than just myself. How many times over the past several years were we admonished by TA– to take OGAAT! Yet here we are– embracing change– like some new fad. 😉

    So it’s Cardiff at 5:30am PDT on Sunday izzit?
    Cardiff with no goals scored yet; giving 2-in-three matches.
    Newcastle and Huddersfield each going a man down– both drawing 0-0.
    I’ll allow myself to predict an Arsenal win. 1-0, maybe 2-0.
    So that’s 3pts we’ll get over the next 1 game.

    Think I’ll do this again in two weeks time.


  • HT ….. back with a bang. I like your post. No sweeping of the dirt under the carpet.

    Ozil/ Ramsey ….. for balance the team should accomodate one of them max at a time. In a big team which we are supposed to be, it’s no big deal “big” players sitting on the bench. Emery should lay down that marker early. i know that the dressing room is part of the consideration and that is why games would be arranged to go round enough to assuage the big player (big egos). I suspect the dressing room is why Cech is the No. 1. Emery wants him on his side for personnel management (breaking up cliques).

    Playing style? I think we are overhyping that word revolution. Revolution suggests the destruction of the old for building anew. That’s not only possible it is not necessary. Mkhi got it so right when he said that the the old and the new are the same apart from some additions. That’s the best way to see it. Emery should be standing on the shoulders off the giant Wenger. If he can shore up our defending by greater energy and intensity when we don’t have the ball (winning the ball early), then he rides on the Wengerball when in possession. It should be as simple as that.

    We must remember that changing managers is never that much of a big deal. In the last decade, apart from us, every other team has changed managers some several times over: Real Madrid. Barca. Man U. Man C, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Dortmond, Liv, every team and in many of them there was not as much as a ripple. One of our rivals Chlsea has a new man Sarri but they have not filled the air waves with chants of revolution yet Sarri’s philosophy is a bigger departure from Conte’s as Emery’s is from Wenger’s. 22 years of not being rocked the boat is causing over reaction from us.

  • Predictions?

    First of all we have left things terribly loose by the often voiced ” Emery has to be given time. We have to be patient with Emery”. Fair enough but there should be time frames and reasonable targets specified.

    We need to be more specific. Never give anybody a blank cheque. Would we stay patient if we find ourselves relegated? No, hell would be let loose. I believe the vast majority would accomodate a 6th position or a 70 pts finishing.. Anything below that 6th and patience would have been stretched to the limit for many.

    The next 7 games made up of winnable games should give us mom of 17 or 18 pts ie 5 wins and two draws or 6 wins and an unfortunate loss. That would give 20 or 21 pts for our first 10 matches which translates to 76-80 pts for the season. Not impossible.

    Am expecting the Emery signing(s) this January. We held back in our signings this summer to give the new coach an opportunity to have a first hand feel off the team first before the big signing(s). I’d say we are far more methodical than Man U who are only throwing money about.

  • PE, once the lads gets used to Emery’s vision of high press and tweaking the leaky midfield we should be aiming for more points. I would give Emery one season to do this. It is only fair that we expect that.

    We also need to bring in or promote a couple of youngsters so that the squad can compete for all competitions. Last season our squad fell shockingly thin, to the point that he required players to play out of position.

    Back to 17ht. The answer to your Ozil or Rambo question is to keep both. If we really have to discard one, then keep Rambo.

  • I have read your post twice 17tino, it’s quite long mate, and I’ll probably read it again, but as far as the minimum requirement being competing for the Premier League title is concerned, that is probably the fans talking, typing, dreaming, for Enos it’s top four and what Enos says, goes…

    Earlier this summer Total did a post (it could have been PE) asking our predictions etc and I opined that we’d finish 5th, nothing I’ve seen so far has changed my mind 17’o.
    A really good friend of mine who didn’t renew his season ticket this summer (he’s been a regular since the early 1960’s) believes that Arsenal will finish 7th. Now that could be viewed two ways, pessimistic or realistic, because we are going through a huge change after years of treading water and allowing the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool to overtake us whilst we are now anxiously looking over our shoulder at Everton.

    Whatever anyone thinks of Emery, and I’m not totally au fait with all that he’s done so far, nothing will change my mind that we needed change, because the alternative was more stagnation.
    Emery may not be the answer long term, he might be a genius, we don’t know yet, keeping our nerve are the watchwords for me, but if Unai can’t crack it under the spendthrift hand of Enos, then someone else will come in, its life….

  • A line in the sand has to be drawn, no serious football club can allow agents to ride roughshod over its salary policy.

    Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil both won vastly inflated salaries because the management at the time failed to address those issues when they should have been addressed. That’s why the club now employ a guy to deal with contracts and we’ve therefore seen quite a few players this summer put of long term deals, therefore protecting their value if we decide to sell. It’s what organised clubs do rather than the fly by wire approach of recent times.

    Personally the whole Ramsey affair bores me, is he a £200k/£250k/£300k (take your pick?) game changer, I don’t think so? To me his agent has overplayed his hand and could be in for a rude shock, whether it’s Aaron and his dodgy hamstrings being sold this January or him going on a Bosman next summer.

    As for Mesut Ozil, I’m beginning to worry that he may have a mental issue, he has after all had quite an emotional last few weeks, from being bombed out of the World Cup to being referred to as a goat shagger – or words to that effect, by people high up in German football and then retiring and suffering more abuse. Personally it wouldn’t surprise me if he hasn’t left Arsenal within the next two seasons, possibly to go and play in Turkey, where he is a hero. And who could blame him…

    I’m not sure, in conclusion, that Arsenal can afford to play both Ozil and Ramsey in a team that is trying to change and trying to press, to do an effective press you need 11 players buying into it, not 9 or 8, because that’s when it breaks down.

  • Kev–
    I’ve looked at Ozil through that lens as well. I don’t think the description rises to the term ‘mental issue’ (and all that connotes). But a very good player has had important facets in his life tumble-down around him. Ozil and Alexis Sanchez (you could not find two more different personalities) have both, within a years’ time gone through similar disappointments. Arguably, Ozil is on the precipice Sanchez stood on at this point last Summer. Except he signed a whopping contract and stayed here. Sanchez was off to City– till fate intervened. And I’ll go as far as stating, said intervention has gone in Arsenal’s and the PL’s favor on that one. Where we stand on Mesut? He’s still a very good player who is going to require support. And self-motivation. Both in large doses, to reclaim trajectory on a last-chance path to becoming– a great player.

    Ozil is much brighter than Sanchez IMHO. More sensitive too. He’s at a crossroads personally. We are about to see whether he can muster steely resolve and press-on. Or give up and give in like Sanchez. Having made his payday; now dialing it back by degrees.


  • Off topic.
    And the Europa League group stage draws in full… (be right back much later)

    Group A
    Bayer Leverkusen
    FC Zurich
    AEK Larnaca

    Group B
    Red Bull Salzburg
    RB Leipzig

    Group C
    Zenit St Petersburg
    FC Copenhagen
    Slavia Prague

    Group D
    Dinamo Zagreb
    Spartak Tranava

    Group E
    FC Vorskla

    Group F
    Real Betis

    Group G
    Rapid Vienna
    Spartak Moscow

    Group H
    Apollon Limassol

    Group I

    Group J
    Standard Liege

    Group K
    Dynamo Kiev
    FC Astana

    Group L
    BATE Borisov
    Vidi FC

  • I heard of Qarabag but Vorskla is an unknown. Sporting Lisbon is a good club so we should not under estimate all of them.

  • Wonderful writing, Seventeenho, with some fine descriptions and observations. V busy at the moment, but here are a few quick answers:
    Rambo can go – I had enough of him and don’t think he is able to carry or lift the team. Ozil needs to buckle up and work with Emery – two passionate and intelligent football geniuses… sort it out boys.

    Every three points is a bonus – every away draw is also good. OGAAT this season more than ever. We are on the road to nowhere.

    My biggest wish is for Emery giving Arsenal their midfield back as soon as reasonably possible. Then the results will come and we will be going ….. somewhere warm and lush.

    Enjoy Cardiff, Kev. It is a great city and make sure you visit the castle, if you haven’t yet. Shout for all of us at BK and bring us back the three points! Diolch 🙂

  • Hey fellas… Just catching up… Thanks for the responses…

    With Wenger gone, I think I’m feeling the sort of emotional detachment that AB describes (so well) and he (and others) are right to say that it’s just too soon to tell what the real story with the new manager and the team are all about, including in terms of playing style (as PE, paraphrasing Mkhi) notes.

    It’s hard to paint a picture without a bit of hyperbole (using words like “revolution,” for example) and one thing I do feel is that the cat is out of the bag when it comes to the “new” media. Maybe it’s the same at all clubs everywhere, but I’ve read (somewhere) that Arsenal have more fan-blogs than any other club. It certainly feels that way to me, just as it feels like the division of support due to Wenger’s longevity is something that just can’t ever be put right. I’m sure it’s not all Gooners, but it feels (to me) like we’re perpetually in a “wait and see” sort of mode, and, no matter how great things might go, nit-picking (if not more extreme forms of blame-gaming) will (forever) lead the narrative. If there was ever a time to unite and put past differences aside, now would be it. Again, maybe it’s just me, but that’s NOT the feeling I’m getting…

    I’m open, however, to catching a better wave of (collective) sentiment, so OGAAT (combined with low expectations) feels right. These next couple of months are a huge opportunity–to gather points AND to get a feeling for the greater depth of the squad as the cup competitions get started. We’ll have 5 matches beyond the league games (unless we lose our opener in the League Cup) before we play Liverpool on the 3rd of November. While I understand that many like Emery’s more radical line-ups and subs, I found a lot of comfort in the predictability of Wenger’s teams and patterns. I’ve said it many times before, but one thing we fantasy managers NEVER worry about is the confidence (or any other human element) in our players. Consider me concerned that Emery might not be as in tune with these elements as I think he ought to be…

    That makes me a “coddler,” I guess, but so it goes. As such–esp. given that his contract has already been inked–I’d make a LOT of emotional space to accommodate Ozil and let him do his thing (make those passes, but also create pitch space for his teammates). Ramsey’s running (and almost exact opposite body language from MO10s–pushing hard and never giving up until the final whistle) is probably what we need in the short term just to stay in the mix for the CL spots. Longer view, in terms of our aspirations to be a really top club (playing really watchable football), for me, Ozil is the guy. My hope is that management can work the situation to the club’s advantage rather than a larger and larger part of the fan base feeling like our best players (and their agents) are gaming the club solely for their individual gain. So, for the moment, I’d love to see Running Rambo showing us that we should never give up even if he eats up all those acres I see (visionary) Ozil making for him and others. Among those others, Mkhi–sorry Crispen, covering for Bellerin’s forward play isn’t what I expect of him–feels like a happy surprise in the making and I still have hopes that he will be one who khnits together our attack–both side to side and front to back.

    But maybe I’m just longing for what I remember from Wenger-ball… Don’t call it a revolution but Emery seems like he’s got ideas he takes quite seriously and we’ve yet to see any sustained periods of players looking really free to just play…

    No matter how we get there, the forwards have GOT to start getting the goals, even if a first clean sheet might be an ever greater priority. Consider me worried about our size (and the newness in the league of many players) at set pieces (and in conceding them…), another reason why it feels early to put Cech on the bench. Like I said, I actually believe we’ve had quite a bit of fortune in the early matches, dennis forbid if it should turn against us in the matches so many expect us to win (and keep winning)…

    Enough, Like the post itself, this has turned into quite a ramble… Thanks (again) for reading…

  • Fine article, 17ht and well written in your breezy, sometimes esoteric style, full of puns and innuendoes only men who’ve walked long with you can work out. Welcome back, my man!
    It’s hard to address each of your mini topics directly, so I’ll just have my say on the big items. Of course, Ramsey and Ozil can play together (they did severally, fitness allowing, under Wenger), but we will have to pick and choose the games for now, being a new era and system and all that. Ozil looks ‘down in the dumps’ at the moment, but with his quality, it is only a matter of time before he hits form again. We need him as much for the brand as for his in-game contributions, despite the media branding him ‘lazy’ . It is also a fallacy that he cannot press because he pressed when we decimated United 3-0 at the Emirates and when we did same to Chelsea not long ago (remember how he made a fool of Ngolo Kante before turning to lay a wonderful pass for Theo to run onto and score brilliantly). As for Rambo, I said it before that if he doesn’t sign up soon enough, he will be sold in the January window. For this Sunday in Cardiff, he will start over Ozil, yet again, to set the tabloids in a spin.

    Welbeck, Leno, Holding, Lichtsteiner, Pleguezuelo and Jenkinson will start to become active as we start to play in the cups, along with Willock, Eddie and Smith Rowe (all of whom are active with the U-23s). A couple of them will find their way into 1st 11 reckoning, like Lichtsteiner, Welbeck and Leno, as the season chugs along because they will show their quality eventually.

    Emery will soon have a standard 11 to 14 players he will start to rely on for the big games and it won’t be too far from what we’ve seen so far. I feel he understands he has to settle for a Xhaka-Torreira base for the midfield and is only making his decision a gradual one; let’s not forget Torreira doesn’t speak a word of English (or French) and this is a consideration for any Manager, so he has a lot of learning to do on the catch phrases in use at Arsenal to alert players to opportunities and threats. I fancy both to start this Sunday. Mustafi and Sokratis will be a formidable paring and I see only a serious injury giving Kos a sniff back, when he is fit, much as I like him; but I am long in the tooth (in the context of observing the game, that is) enough to know coaches avoid changing the CB and keeper positions too readily (unless you are Mourinho and see where that got him).

    Wenger has left a good squad of players behind; Emery should be able to knock them into a better structured unit and never stop reminding them how good they are (as Wenger suggested in his “beautiful woman” quip, years ago). It’s not a good stat that they’ve conceded 6, just 3 games in, so a few clean sheets will help. All the team needs is the confidence a few wins brings and they will become unrecognizable from the rather ‘bumbling’ lot we have seen so far.

    As for predictions, I will stay with a minimum of 13 points, out of a possible 18, from the next 6 games; I also predict we will be in the top 5 by mid November and can start knocking on the door into the top 4, thereafter. I strongly feel we have been a bit more pragmatic with handling Wenger’s resignation/replacement than United were after Fergie’s retirement, so we deserve better luck than they are getting, after losing a long standing manager.

  • Having campaigned to see the back of Wenger for so long, the fan base responsible are now tumbling over themselves to point out (real or imaginary) changes/differences/improvements in the team when the visuals suggest we look worse than ever before, in terms of the aesthetics of the game. Make no mistake about it, Emery likes to play a confident passing game, from the back to front, as we’ve seen his team play at PSG and even the Europa conquering Sevilla sides. It goes to say that he cannot be satisfied with how easily we lose possession in games and how uncoordinated we appear.

    Having said that, the change has happened and I feel we made a fair enough choice in Emery, so we just need to support the team and see how they do when they grow to trust in one another (and the system) again. We all know these boys can play.

  • Meanwhile, some story is brewing about how Mkhitaryan may not be able to travel to or play against Quarabag, one of our Europa league group stage opponents, owing to security concerns about his safety in view of tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, his country. Turns out he once missed a game for Dortmund too for a similar reason in 2015; UEFA is discussing this matter with the parties concerned because that country is billed to host the finals of the Europa league cup as well. So, what happens if Arsenal get to that final?

  • “…and I feel we made a fair enough choice in Emery, so we just need to support the team and see how they do when they grow to trust in one another (and the system) again. We all know these boys can play.”

    This is– just where I find myself. Those of you who experienced the glory years– ‘hitting the heights’ with the club– have that to relate to. Myself (and 17HT– IIRC) boarded the Wenger Express in the year following the last silverware (until the 3 recent FA Cups). Still have the utmost admiration for how he did what he did. Having only ‘endured’ results since The Emirates move– it’s not as if I’m disengaged or ambivalent. But I have had a long-view about what’s come about– even before it came about.

    So I’m quite patient. Though I’ve canonized St Arsene? And felt Arteta the best Newman? I am happy to stand behind Unai Emery come-hell-or-high-water. I just cannot form expectations yet.

    A happy heretic then! 😉


  • Good post 17. I was talking with a Chelsea fan friend yesterday, who had seen our games, and he agreed with me, that we could have easily beaten or drawn with Chelsea, but on the other hand, we could have lost or drawn with West ham, if luck had been slightly different.
    …. I didn’t see too much to give me confidence that things are coming together yet. But I’m sure Auba and Laca and Ramsey will break out and start scoring bunches of goals.
    I disagree with people who say to let Ramsey go. The scoring threat and work rate is something very hard to find, and I think many teams would love to have him. I don’t worry about him fitting in any system because he works hard for the team as well as trying to grab goals.

    I must say after seeing Guendouzi and Torreira skills, I value El Neny less. Of all the players who have been branded short, sideways passers, he is a prime example. I think his value is in hard work and eating minutes in multiple competitions, I don’t see enough positive movement or incisive passing. I don’t think he should be in any discussion involving Santi Cazorla, but I like having him around as a defensive midfielder.

    I’m always trying to be optimistic, so regarding Ozil, I believe he will find his way with the new coach, because he’s a genius of a player, so it will come to him.

  • A great example that quality attracts quality – and the same goes for quantity 😀 : a quality post attracts quality responses. Thanks Seventeenho and regular BKers.

  • Here is what is likely to happen with Rambo…. He gradually starts playing better and by the time he hits his peak… he will do his hammy and we are back to square one. Sell in the winter.

  • It’s a curious measure of where we are that the sale of any player in our current squad does not seem to me to be either inconceivable nor intolerable. We don’t have a truly indispensable player in the team. All are waiting, by degree, to show their true worth. Our eventual midfield combinations are a mystery, but may lead to a situation where one of Rambo or Ozil are not even first choice players, possibly even both of them. It’s hard to feel able to predict much in such circumstances, beyond the seemingly inevitable rocky road period before some form or resolution will hopefully appear.

    I think my sense of attachment is going to need to be reforged, like some mythical sword, through the trials and endeavour of those involved while we work out what this new dawn will actually look and feel like. I will grow to share the sense of frustration as (some) players give their all to make it work. And I hope I will build a sense of respect as welll as confidence in the manager as he deals with failure as much as success showing the stature of one who is fit to lead a club of our standing.

    I think we have talent in our squad, potential in our youth team, and decent financial reserves to draw on. The ingredients are there, so I do expect both performance and results in due course. But I’m geared for a season of trying things out, making a fair few mistakes, and some significant departures over the next two TWs. I hope it all comes together soon, just like everyone else, but the journey, if it does prove to be longer, is what will strengthen the bond.

  • I must say that I’m am very happy and quite relieved that Reiss Nelson signed a long term contract, up till 2023, before he jetted off to Der Fatherland.

  • Some eye-popping contracts being handed out by KSE’s LA Rams:

    Aaron Donald, DT | 6 yrs, $135M | $87M
    Brandin Cooks, WR | 5 yrs, $81M | $50.5M
    Todd Gurley, RB | 4 yrs, $57.5M | $45M
    Rob Havenstein, OT | 4 yrs, $32.5M | $16.2M


  • That’s all our best young players signed up Jonnie, I’m looking forward to seeing Emile Smith Rowe in the Cups this season, apparently Emery blocked any loan deal for ESR because he obviously has him in his 1st team plans for this season.
    We could have Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Nelson in the 1st team by the end of next season?
    All young, energetic and perfect for the press.

    JW those are all eye watering contracts, they must have some serious agents.

  • Just wanna give another round of thanks to everybody here…Or at least those who made the effort to read my drivel, er, post, and gave back their own thoughts. I really appreciate those (like ‘Eris) who actually try and follow my attempts at being clever. I don’t know about multiple readings, Akev…A day on and everything always looks too clever by half, AND not clever enough by 50%…or something.

    So, let’s move on. There’s a grim, er, game, or grim-game coming in Wales tomorrow. From the sounds of it, it seems like Cardiff is trying to stay up the old fashioned way. On the plus side, their stinginess means their defenders/keeper are good buys in the fantasy league…

    In that world, I’d ask why we can’t be more like Liverpool. 7 halves of clean sheet football seems pretty solid and they look awfully comfortable defending a two goal lead in the sunny midlands this early morning. Alas, that’s Klopp’s (and Boston Red Sox ownership’s) team, not Emery’s (and Kronke Sports Enterprise’s)… Gooners elsewhere (I’ve heard) are taking solace that they (Pool) struggled in Klopp’s 1st season, as did Pep at ManCity. That was the season the team in Blue did their miracle thingee. Folks blame Wenger, but I remember that game where both Santi and Alexis got hurt as the beginning of the end.

    Hopefully there’s better luck on that front, though, as AB points out, it’s hard to really know who the coach/management team truly values (and maybe injuries will allow some surprise step-ups). I think Rambo will be given his chances, so, if he takes them (starting tomorrow…) AND stays fit, maybe he’ll win a contract like Kroenke’s (American) footballers that JW lists. I agree with TA, the drama will play out in January.

    Let’s just hope we’ve got something to play for when we get there. Our Europa league travels (with the exception of lovely Lisbon) will be loooong journeys, and I really do feel like those extra matches in the elims make trying to also compete in the domestic cups very difficult. I dunno. It all just feels like I don’t quite have the fortitude to truly face the long haul.

    So, Oh-Gaat it is… Over to the previewers… Thanks again…

    Whoa… Probably not the end of the world, but, to paraphrase Elvis Costello,… “Allison, that sh*te is (or will be…) killing you…”

  • Anybody watching any of the Saturday football?… One thing I will say… The pitches in English football have improved… Or maybe it’s just the nice weather helping them look better. Giroud gets an assist and it looks like it’ll be Chelsea and Pool with 12 (pts) from 12 to start the season.

  • Well, nobody around for company while trying to watch these Saturday matches. Chavs kept the clean sheet, Pool and ManCity ground out wins despite conceding, all three teams scoring two goals. Nothing too exciting… Can Arsenal keep pace tomorrow?… I wonder…

    And, alas, nobody really bit on some of the more subtle stuff I tried to put into my post, notably the (pretty extreme, IMO, if not disastrous) mismanagement of Wenger getting the new contract in Spring of 2017 then being eased out a year later, but still cashing paychecks from the club. My guess is that results will suffer as will the bottom line. But things feel “fresh” for most of the fan-base, I guess. Will seats go empty if we’re simply not competitive or must there be an element of protest, also? Kev’s friend saw the backside of Wenger but decided not to renew his season ticket. What will the new owner of his seat do?… I wonder. Is there patience to absorb mid-table(ish) results the rest of the calendar year, if there’s a suggestion of things looking better going into 2019?

    Additionally, beyond PE telling me that it’s not a revolution, there’s not too much discussion (or response to my assessment) about how we’re actually playing. Emery has hinted that Ozil might need some positional flexibility. Does that mean he starts out wide (as he often did in Wenger’s teams). Does that mean he and Rambo do start together (as early as tomorrow)? Again, I wonder. Maybe that match (against our first real park-the-bus team) will give us a fresh data point.

    Over to you guys…and off to enjoy the day…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s