my lay of the arsenal land
- this post is meant to provide an answer to PB’s brilliant one, but the first thing i have to put out of the way is that … i agree with his main point, ie our passing’s not nearly good enough. i don’t mean only the key passes that he did a great job studying: the number of times we gave the ball away during the final was a nerve-wracking source of frustration to me – and for anyone still living under wengerball’s spell, i guess – although, to be fair, now that i am calmer, I’ve started wondering if this profligacy was not part of mick’s plan, i actually think now he might be demanding from the lads that every single pass be a risk taken, and its consequences accepted whatever they might be.
- now, what’s the “lay …” of the title??
we’ve acquired certainties in the past two months, hierarchy being one of them. provided everyone were fit, i think suggesting the following one (in mick’s favored 3-4-2-1) is not erring too much:
on loan: mavropanos
in the wings: okonkwo, hein, swanson, coyle, clarke, olayinka
in limbo: özil, guendouzi
almost gone: elneny, mkhitaryan
Which gives us for the start of next season, taking the injuries into account (mustafi, mari, chambers, martinelli):
on loan: mavropanos
in the wings: okonkwo, hein,
in limbo: özil, guendouzi
almost gone: elneny, mkhitaryan
- what can this squad (not) achieve?
SPOILER: we won’t be champions next year!!!!!!!
- a) we ended up with 56 points, and ever since 16-17, a team needs 97,5 points on average to be champions (85,3 points from 10-11 to 15-16). that would mean nearly doubling our total; this just won’t happen
SPOILER (2) we won’t be champions any time soon!!!!!
we can’t – nobody can, even ‘pool – compete with oil-state funded citeh, we just can’t, won’t be able to, and actually i don’t want us to…
- a) they got a venue that cost ‘em next to nothing, while ours might well have bankrupted us, had it not been for The Great Man’s genius, who took us into the champions’ league year in, year out, with squads that most other managers would have been very happy not to go down with
- b) they have an extra -ordinary squad, coached by an extra -ordinary manager
- c) they can splash out whatever money they feel like splashing out; the sheer numbers of what they spent on defenders only are just mind-blowing (all the more so since eventually, they end up benching players like stones, otamendi, …); we won’t ever be able to do that (i don’t want us too …) – we have to be imaginative/creative
- d) they have just been allowed by fifa /SAT to bend the rules as they see fit (i don’t want us to, ever), nobody will stop them now from doing whatever they want to, whenever they want to
- e) ‘pool have been playing like a f…..g extra -ordinary attacking machine for the last two years, under the command of an extra -ordinary manager.
as much as i’d like to do so, let’s not dream on: there’s no way we’ll have caught up with them within ten months; they’ll be ahead of us too – again
(sorry kev, i did read about your story with them)
BUT WE HAVE TO PLAY CHAMPIONS’ LEAGUE FOOTBALL ASAP; SO WHAT????????
(WARNING: no buy – unless the below-mentioned sales are completed)
- a) finishing fourth should be our goal.
as compared to 10-11 to 15-16, the number of points needed to do so has actually gone down (10-11 to 15 -16: 71; 16-17 to 19-20: 66).
THAT we can do, without changing anything to the squad, because you know what?:
- b) arsenal have an excellent squad (see the A/B/C teams above … let’s keep in mind what these lads’ve just achieved), coached by an extra -ordinary manager
… while chelsea/m.ud/tottenham/leicester have only very good/excellent squads, coached by very good/excellent managers
(welcome back to the wenger years’ situation!!!)
- c) we can win the europa league – if the “restart” period (and our semi-final, in particular) has proved anything, it was that on one or two-tie games, we are now able to kickass any top-level team out of any cup.
- d) we should be following ‘pool’s example, i agree with that point (which wasn’t made by pb, but is made by many) but i don’t agree with WHAT should be followed (ie, spending money – THEY didn’t, actually):
d1) klopp was “sworn in” in 2015, he won his first title in 2019, that’s what i call trusting a process – by the way, winning the champions’ league before the PL speaks volumes imo, about how difficult it has become, to end up ahead of the city cheats, in a league contest
d2) what “next-to-zero pound, hard-working players” have brought to them has been played down way too much; their successes may be brought down to salah/firmino/mané/van dijk/alisson by many; i, for one, choose to bring them down to alexanderarnold-robertson-henderson also
d3) keita-fabinho in midfield are just excellent midfielders, nothing more; alongside van dijk no solution (lovren/matip/gomez) has been totally satisfactory … and you know what? they just live with it, they don’t spend their time making a fuss about it, and their fans don’t go to anfield in order to abuse these “weaker links”.
d4) if we chose to be obsessed by the money they supposedly spent on buys, we’d be trailing them again, because they’ve already gone to the next step, and guess what? trusting’s the academy’s the one.
here’s what klopp told the guardian a few weeks ago:
Jürgen Klopp backing youth to strengthen Liverpool’s squad; Manager admits financial fallout could pause transfer plans; Klopp believes academy talent can improve the champions; He … feels players such as Neco Williams, Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott can provide back-up for a team that demolished the competition this season
Klopp has always been keen to leave a pathway open for academy talent – Trent Alexander-Arnold being the prime example – and believes uncertainty in the market offers opportunity for more to follow
“And in football now we get confronted with how much do you want to spend? How much can you spend if you don’t know how much you can have?”; “What we want is to create our transfers internally”; “You have to be creative and we try to be creative. We try to find solutions internally”; “We have three or four players who can make big, big steps”
d5) the way they handled their recruitment was indeed brilliant – but they took their time (again), in order to make sure their buys fitted their very specific needs, and bought (salah-firmino-mané-vandijk-alisson) 24 to 26 (not 30+) yo players, for a mere £50m on average (not taking into account the approximate £120m they made out of selling coutinho to barça)
so much so that at the end of the day, they had bought themselves this quintet for £25m on average; THAT’s what I call doing business
d6) (by the way, as much as I love the two guys, I think we should be considering selling leno – now that emi’s come of age: kepa was worth £70m, don’t tell me we can’t make good money out of bernd’s sale; as well as … 32 yo auba!! he can fill up our coffers, but it’s now or never. i know that by doing so, I’m tinkering with my A/B/C team thing, but I could prove that laca, for example, has been – statistically – just as good as auba, over the past three years.
anyway, this post is far too long already – but these are the sales I alluded to up above)
- well, it’s high time i tackled pb’s “passing” problem
i’ll say it again: I agree with you completely, pb, the way we seem to be recklessly giving the ball away can often be unbelievably frustrating – but i do believe giving in to that frustration is just a case of seeing the half-empty glass, my friend:
- a) arteta implemented his successful system for the first time in southampton, barely 6 weeks ago; this is a work in progress if ever there was one, let’s trust the process
- b) the process has already born fruition, actually: our 18-pass move ending up with auba’s goal in the semi, is obviously what mick wants to achieve, but sustaining that level of excellence a whole season takes time, much time – again; let’s give it to mick and the boys
- c) our progress on that front will depend very much on dani:
HIM we have to buy – he’s a remarkable player indeed, but let’s remember he’s become that good ever since he scored his confidence-boosting winner against sheffield only – that was 5 weeks ago. the lad needs time too; i think he could be instrumental in solving the problem you pointed out, pb, if only he could provide the same vision, passing quality, 20 meters further up the pitch.
… he will, let’s give him time (chorus)
- d) pépé’s two assists for auba in the semi-final, then in the final were brilliant stuff – he’ll provide him/us with many more in the months ahead
- e) our best assist-provider has been bukayo, so far, but he hasn’t been picked lately – understandably so (mick has stopped picking him before he got overplayed, he must’ve had jack’s misfortune in mind)
now if my “september 12th, 2020” A-team were to read as follows:
we’d probably be much better off on that “passing” front, too … without wasting money over any joorabchian troll
- CONCLUSION: hale end vs. buying
- a) we have a dream generation in store; I expect not to be the only one who’s convinced of this
- b) this would be the worst time to favour buying over trusting them:
b1: we have made it to the europa league, eventually, which means that even though the more experienced A-team were to perform at the level they’ll be expected to in the PL (so they would start a majority of games), our younger B-team could be trusted with at least 12 full games at top-level: 8 in the Europa league (6 group stage + 2 round of 32); 2 carabao; 2 fa cup – not to mention the PL playing time they’re bound to be given, anyway (all the more so with the 5-change-rule).
becoming a first-choice first-team player at arsenal football club should be regarded as making it to the top of an eight-thousander, and some of our lads (joe, reiss, eddie, emil, …) need a few more games of this type to leave the very last lung-scorching meters behind: 2020-2021 presents them with a golden opportunity to do so
b2: trusting hale end is the clever long-term strategy, if we do keep aiming at attracting the very best young players: if we don’t trust this generation, which one will we, then? i have a feeling the next time we’ll knock at a talented young lad’s parents’ door, we might well be told to s.d off. if i were in one of these parents’ shoes, trust me, that’s what i’d do
right now, i’d very much like to know what abraham’s/hudson-odoi’s relatives and/or advisers are thinking about the ziyech-werner deals … and which (documented) rumours about lampard/chelsea they’re going to spread from now on.
b3: hale end is the solution to the “give-me-your-money-or-i-will-run-down-my-contract” blackmail that 28-29 yo well-performing players are now systematically pulling on us (and others).
as good as he may be, i resent any 32 yo player demanding a £75k-a-week pay rise along with a more-than-one-year contract extension. we should always have in store top-class youngsters (and be ready to play them), so we’d be in a position to make one – and only one – proposal (in auba’s case, £25k along with a one-year extension, seems very fair to me) to the experienced player – should he refuse it, he’d be sold, or benched ‘til his contract were run down.
i have nothing against auba, of course, but right now we have laca/eddie/martinelli/reiss/bukayo under contract, so much so that we shouldn’t give in to blackmail again (after mesut’s!!! – wasn’t that eye-opening enough??): if we do keep giving in, all players will know we are but weaklings, and this madness will never end (that’s what blackmail has always been all about).
that’s all folks, see you ‘round, congrats and thanks to all those who will have made it to this full stop.