Arsene’s Dilemma: Perez or Giroud… or ‘Peroud’?

 

Vardy is 5ft 10ins. Perez is 5ft 11 1/2ins. Vardy is right footed. Perez is left foot. Vardy is at his best motoring the left channel. Perez is at his best motoring the right channel. Discount these mirror differences and you couldn’t tell one from the other in terms of playing style. Same pharmacokinetic data, different trade names. To Wenger, Perez is what the doctor ordered. He tried to sign Vardy but it did not work out. No hay problema as he crossed over to Spain and bought Lucas Perez.

What does it all tell us. Well, well, well…..Wenger’s mind is very crafty and we might all still miss his point, but to my inquisitive mind he seems to want his team to be the king of the quick transition, like his teams of the invincible era. Giving more credence to this belief is the fact that he has installed in deep midfield a bloke called Xhaka who pings accurate 30yds plus passes several times per match. In the Bundesliga he was second to Xavi Alonso in long accurate passes last season.

To fortify this belief even further we have to remember that already in the team is a Mesut Ozil, the best through ball provider in Europe. Apart from Perez, Òzil also has the trickery and pace of Sanchez as well as the exquisite off the ball runs in blistering pace of Walcott, all to feed.

All these, however, is hearing one side of the story only. If we don’t hear the other side, our logic would land us in dreamland.

Last season there was a disproportionate number of matches in the EPL that ended in favour of teams with less possession than should normally be expected. Leicester City won the league with 44.80% possession sitting at the 18th position on the possession table. Epl teams have learnt how to sit deep, frustrate and counter. I really wonder if our Invincibles wouldn’t have found the proposition a lot tougher now.

Do we begin to sit deep? Sitting deep is essentially a tactics fashioned for neutralizing superior fire power. Arsenal is a highly technical team, one of the best in the league. It stands to reason that its philosophy must be hinged on the utilization of its superior weapons i.e. to attack and dominate games, of course without prejudice to being committed to defending as a team.

With our superiority, it is inevitable that we would dominate most of our matches. That means that most of the teams would pack buses against us. With teams parking buses when they play us, where would we find the spaces for the quick transition machine that we have assembled? Where do we find the spaces for the fleet-footed anchor legs, except when we are countering the opponents’ counter?

Countering the counter, equipped with this machine that he has diligently contrived, must be making Monsieur Wenger salivate. But expect them to come few and far between. We, however, should not forget that there are teams and situations where toe to toe would be inevitable. Xhaka, Òzil, Sanchez, Walcott, Perez…….that’s awesome. Something tells me that a great number of such teams would live to regret. Still there remains this big task of the unrelenting parked buses teams. Stubborn, dogged, unyielding, well organized.

Giroud is a denizen of the box, both ends. His mailing address is ‘The Box’ and the boxes are where the goal posts are. Got that? In the box Giroud enjoys air supremacy. He’s got wonderful box flicks and box knockdowns. His box positioning is second to none. He is a right box bully. Ask defenders. A bulldozer for the buses.

Herein lies Wenger’s dilemma. Giroud the box bulldozer versus Perez the fleet-footed anchor leg. We wait to see what the wily old fox will do. I will give you a tip. He might do all. Giroud now, Perez then, Giroud and Perez also.

An exciting season awaits us. Bring it on!

By Pony Eye

Holding/Koz, Xhaka/Santi, Perez/Giroud/Theo to Start v Saints: Predicted Arsenal Line-Up

I guess the one good thing about the international break is that we look even more forward to the weekend Arsenal game than normal. Add to this the fact that Mustafi and Perez have been training with the team this week, and with that prompting rumours of them both starting, and we are even more excited about our home game against the Saints.

I watched Southampton against MU a few weeks ago and was very impressed with their style of football. They had plenty of half-chances but lacked the quality up front to hurt the Mancs. For a long time the Saints were in the game but then fellow Dutchman, Jordie Clasie, gave away a very bad, unforced penalty and the game was lost. Let’s hope they are as generous with mistakes on Saturday as they were then.

The Saints pass the ball round well and will give us a game in midfield: a battle we must win if we want to take three points from this encounter. So it is important to get the double DM pivot right. I am tempted to play Elneny next to either Xhaka or Coq as he is brilliant in terms of making himself available for a pass and then not losing the ball. For me this will be key.

Having said that, I reckon we could start with Santi as we are playing at home, as long as he is prepared to stay deep when required. Getting this balance right will be vital. I am going to go with both Xhaka and Santi as they add so much to our attacking play and I am hoping we will be able to press Southampton well back into their own half for most of the time. This would suit the three football geniuses Granit, Santi and Mesut very, very well.

I have a feeling that Alexis will be on the bench for this one. After such a long flight it would be wise to rest the Chilean firecracker as we have a massive CL game in midweek. This should allow Arsene to give Perez a debut, and I reckon it will be on the left, with Giroud as our CF and Theo on the other flank. Wenger may start with the Ox on the left and then give Perez a chance later on, but I somehow feel he will opt for the newly acquired Spaniard.

submit football lineup

At the back I reckon Wenger will stick with Holding and Koz for this one. Young Holding has been doing very well and I think Wenger will want to ease Mustafi in. I guess it will also be a nice confidence boost for Holding if he is not taken out of the starting eleven straightaway.

So there you have my predicted starting eleven for Saturday’s game. Of course we will find out more about fitness levels and injuries of our players during tomorrow’s press conference, which may change my predictions, but for now this is what I am going for.

How would you line up the team?

By TotalArsenal.

Arsenal have Excellent new Signings but these two Spanish Bullfighters are Invaluable in 2016-17

Whilst Arsenal have strengthened almost every other area in the team during the last twelve months or so, the full backs were left standing. And quite rightly so, as we have some of the finest full backs in the country and they fit nicely into the style of play of the team.

Full backs at Arsenal are really more wing backs than anything else. They have a massive responsibility within the team both in defence, midfield and attack. On the left we have the energetic and tenacious Nacho Monreal, and on the right we have speed machine and excellent recoverer, Bellerin. As back up we have the loyal and ‘safe pair of hands’ Gibbs and the experienced Debuchy, and Jenkinson is also getting closer to a return to the team.

Image result for hector bellerin images

We all know about the defensive responsibilities of a full back but Arsenal now also rely on them heavily to provide width and penetration from the wings. The traditional winger seems to be a dying breed as more and more teams prefer a hybrid between a midfielder and attacker to play close to the nr10 and CF. Good wing backs are hard to find as the total package requires a lot of skills.

With Bellerin we probably have the most talented wing back in the country and I am pleased the club were able to hold on to him this season. There is no doubt that he can still learn a few things, but he has the rare ability to combine very fast running and close ball control with a cool head both when he attacks and defends. He reads the game very well for such a young player and therefore is often in the right place at the right time.

With Nacho we have a player who gets better the more he plays, a bit like Ramsey in a way. Once he gets properly going Monreal is awesome and a very important player for the team. He has great drive and determination to win and usually finds a very good balance between defending and attacking. It is fair to say that Nacho has also been part of our recent failure to secure our left side of the defence, which was so cruelly exposed against Pool during the season’s opener for example. But I reckon that the team will get this right and Monreal will play a key part in doing so.

Image result for Nacho Monreal images

The one area that needs a step improvement is the final ball into the box by our full backs. Not that they do badly. Monreal and Bellerin both played 36 PL games (!!!) and the former had a total of three assists and averages 0.8 key passes per PL game, whilst the latter had five assists and 0.7 key passes per game, and he also managed to score once. Debuchy did not play last season so no stats available for him, but Kieran had 15 PL games (only three starts), had no assists and only 0.1 key passes per game, but he did manage to score a goal for us in the PL last season (as well as in the CL).

It is pretty amazing that Bellerin, who will be ‘only’ 21 till March next year, managed to play so many games in such a physically and mentally demanding position last season. And the same goes for Nacho who is slowly entering the autumn years of his football career but still managed to play 36 PL games.

I love these Spanish bullfighters and let’s hope they can play a key role in our season once again. And if they can get the final ball into the box just that little bit sharper, we should see even more key passes, assists and goals from our full backs. If we want to win the title than this is one of the key improvements required, and I reckon they can deliver it.

Bring it on!

By TotalArsenal.

 

Arsenal don’t Need a Super CF: Giroud, Alexis and Perez can score 50 PL goals and win us the Title

“Behind what hills does happiness hide, to lurk and plot its return?” Andrew Greig.

With Lucas Perez Arsenal have added a very interesting player. This is a bit of a Wenger gamble but if Lucas can add similar league goals (17) and assists (8) per game as he did in Spain, he could make the difference this season… and the difference is not finishing second but first.

We missed about 10 goals last season to clinch the title, and although I am aware that every season has its own dynamics, I feel we will go one higher if we keep our defence as tight as last season, or ideally a bit tighter, and score about a dozen more goals.

Wenger can now mix and match his attack per game if he so wishes, only to get to a regular strongest three up front eventually. Will it be Alexis – Perez – Theo, or Perez – Alexis – Theo, or will it be Perez – Giroud – Alexis?

It is also quite possible that the likes of Iwobi, Welbeck (once he is back), Akpom, the Ox or even Willock will play themselves in to the starting three up front. And then regular blogger Shard will, quite rightly so, point out that we also have Sanogo who seems to be good cover for Giroud’s holding/enabling CF role.

I know some wanted a super CF up front but I am really happy with the options we have in attack now. For sure, Wenger will change the starting three sometimes to deal with the tactics and strengths of the opposition and to keep everybody happy, but he will also be keen to combine the strongest three as much as possible. I reckon that would have to be Alexis, Ollie and Perez, and if together they can get 45-50 PL goals we will win the league this season. The rest will come from the other attackers, midfielders and defenders.

Although this firepower up front has the mouth water running, I am just as excited about the service they will be receiving from four super midfielders: Xhaka, Cazorla, Rambo and Ozil.

Normally only three of these four midfield maestros will play, unless Wenger opts to play one of them on the wing in tight games against strong opponents. With these midfielders anything is possible, and Coquelin and Elneny will add the necessary steel and composure if and when required.

Xhaka can turn the game from defence to counter attack with one diagonal long distance pass from deep. Rambo and/or Santi can add the integrate play to dominate the midfield and creatively find the gaps and passes to launch deadly attacks. Furthermore, Rambo adds his engine to connect the defence with midfield, and midfield with the attack. And Mesut is our third dimension of finding space and time to instigate the winning attacking formula time and again. Which other team has such a talented group of creative, visionary midfielders that add a number of dimensions to our attacking play?

Of course we will have to see how this will work out in practice now. But I reckon our options up front and in midfield are now very strong and will make us very unpredictable and thus hard to play against. Rather than a predictable, one-dimensional feed the super striker game like they prefer in Manchester, we will go for the title by spreading the goals amongst three or four attackers and feeding them from all angles.

Whether it will work out remains to be seen, but that is what the seasonal football journey is all about! 😉

By TotalArsenal

Jack to the Cherries, Gnabry Auf Wiedersehn, Who else is Going: Gibbs, Zelalem, Ospina?

Join us on the blog for Transfer Deadline Day Developments!!

This has been the best final deadline day for a long time.

No stress or desperation because we have already brought in extra defenders, an extra midfielder, and an extra attacker is in the bag. On top of this, we are not being linked with a potential departure of a star player and are getting some cash back by selling Gnabry and loaning out a few players who need to develop in order to make it eventually in the first team at Arsenal… or not.

I would have kept Jack but enough has been said about his imminent loan move already. According to the BBC the Cherries have the best chance of ‘loan-signing’ Wilshere and that would not be a bad place for him to play himself into form. I really like Eddie Howe: he likes his team to play passing football and survived easily in the PL last season by doing so. Jack will get a proper chance to shine there and then he can come back to join the mighty red and white in January or next season if must be.

It looks like Gnabry is not too unhappy to leave the Gunners behind and has signed for Werder Bremen. I guess Arsenal cannot keep all the youngsters and have to get some return on our investment in the youth academy, but I hope we will not come to regret this in a Pogbaesque way 😀

From what I saw of the young German at the Olympics, I don’t think he was ready to play in the first team regularly despite his impressive goal tally of six, but it would have been nice to see him play and develop in a red and white shirt. Ah well, at least the Ox-believers get to see him for another season at least 😉

It should also open space for the likes of Willock and Akpom to make the squad this season and they are easily as talented as Gnabry.

I have a feeling that we will still see somebody else leave the club before midnight. It could be Debuchy who will want to play more regularly, even though I can see Wenger not wanting to let him go until Jenkinson is fully fit again.

It could also be Ospina or Zelalem, although the latter might be encouraged to stay now that Jack is going out on loan… and Ospina may be forced to stay as we need a safe pair of hands on the bench in case Cech gets injured. Gibbs is  being linked with a move to Liverpool and again I don’t think we can let him go as an obvious replacement is not available from within the squad. Yet I feel there could be something in it somehow.

Let’s wait and see what happens in the most philosophical way possible. 🙂

Image result for Laid Back People

Join us on the blog for anymore note worthy developments!

By TotalArsenal.

 

Not Jack but the Ox should hit the Road

30 hours to go till the deadline of transfer deadline day and it looks like Arsenal have done very good business this summer. We did not spend a silly £90m on Pogba but got Holding, Xhaka, Mustafi and Perez instead which will turn out to be far better business for us on the field, which matters most to us of course. Okay the new German defender still needs to be confirmed but this should be a formality.

If you look at the last twelve months or so, Arsenal have added quality players in all four lines: GK Cech, Defenders Holding and Mustafi, Midfielders Elneny and Xhaka and attacker Perez.  We kept all our quality players until now and let’s hope we will survive the next 30 hours as well, and then we have a very, very strong squad (see also the previous post).

It is now time to allow a few players to go on loan or to be sold, as we need to make space for some very promising youngsters and create plenty of playing time for the new arrivals.

It appears that Arsenal are willing to loan out Jack Wilshere but I hope we will keep him. Jack needs to play of course, but he also needs to look after himself and at Arsenal he can get playing time without too much demand on him (as in having to play every game). I also want him to work hard and compete with the likes of Xhaka, Ozil and Cazorla to get into the team. He has the talent to make it. On the other hand, if he lands at a club with a good manager who will use him wisely he could also prosper.

It looks like Chambers will go out on loan and I reckon that is a wise decision. Any youngster who gets bought by Arsenal should go out and learn to stand on their own feet via a loan spell. I wished we had done the same with the likes of Theo and Ox. Chambers is a good player but he has not made enough impression for Wenger to believe he is ready to be a regular starter at Arsenal. So go out there Calum and work your socks off. And from what I saw of Middlesbrough, they try to play good football which should suit him.

The rumour that Gnabry could be sold to Bayern is not very good news. I don’t know the exact contract situation of Gnabry and the club might not have much choice in the matter, but I hope the German is not leaving because he does not feel he will get a proper opportunity to shine at Arsenal.

And that brings me to the Ox. It feels like he has been forever at Arsenal, yet he is still young and keeps threatening to break through. Alex has his moments and we are all in awe of his speed and close ball control, but when it comes to delivering the goods in terms of goals and assists it is just not happening for him. Once again this season, he has periods in which he plays well and is part of the team, but sooner or later  he will drop off and become invisible. He was easily our weakest player against Watford on Saturday and this has been the case too many times.

I have said for years here on Bergkampesque that the Ox should go on a season long loan and establish himself outside Arsenal, where he simply has been pampered and protected too much. He will then come back with confidence and will have learned to turn his talents into hard, bankable outcomes.

I now feel it may be too late and would not be surprised if he gets sold in the next 30 hours. With Perez, Alexis, Theo and Ramsey – the Welshman is not a natural winger but he offers extra defensive cover and a very decent goal threat when played out wide – we have four quality players to operate on the wings: and if they are all fit and in form, they should normally play. But as it stands, we also have youngsters like Iwobi, Gnabry and Willock knocking very hard on the door. I feel the Ox has had his chance and we need to create space in the team, so it is out on loan or cashing in time. Time to hit the road, not so much for Jack but definitely for the Ox.

By TotalArsenal

Strongest Arsenal 11 and Bench with Lucas Perez, Xhaka, Mustafi: A Squad for Silverware

Imagine everybody is fit in the squad: what would be your first team?

My first team would probably be this one:

submit football lineup

I would happily replace Ramsey with Elneny but I feel that the Welshman is a bit further in his development and deserves a place in the first 11 now. I would also be happy to play Alexis as our CF as Arsene has done recently. That would mean that Giroud would be on the bench and one of Theo, Iwobi or Ramsey (with Elneny or Santi taking his place) to take Alexis’ place on the wing.

It is fair to say that I don’t know much about Perez and Mustafi but I am assuming that Wenger has bought them to improve the first team rather than place them in the wider squad. Perez’s goals and assists stats are favourable compared to Theo, The Ox etc, so I think he will play in our strongest possible team, and most likely on the wing. I am also assuming that Wenger could only entice Mustafi to Arsenal with the promise that he will normally start rather than be on the bench. However, it could be that he needs time to settle in and both Holding and the BFG are very good alternatives to have.

So for me the above line up is about the strongest we could field IF everybody is fit.

And what would the bench look like?

Well wow, our bench would look awesome if Wenger could pick from the squad with a full health bill.

Ospina would be Cech’s cover. A good goalie with a lot of confidence. For central defensive cover we could put on our bench Holding, the BFG or Gabriel: all fine options if you ask me. For full back cover I would put Gibbs on the bench.

For midfield cover we can pick from Elneny, Jack, Coquelin and Santi. It would be really hard to leave any of these players out… In fact, I feel they should all play when fully fit… but there is no space for them.

For attack we can pick from Walcott, Welbeck, Iwobi, Gnabry, Ox and Akpom. Again it would be very hard to leave some of these players out.

We can only pick seven from the above mentioned players for the bench, and if I had to chose it would probably be: Ospina, BFG, Gibbs, Elneny, Jack, Santi, Welbeck.

What the above demonstrates is that we have a very strong squad now and I cannot wait to see them all in action this season. It is a squad with the depth, hunger and quality to win silverware.

What would be your strongest first team and strongest bench if everybody would be fit?

By TotalArsenal

 

Alexis out-stings the Hornets, Xhaka and Ozil pure Class, Holding Firm: 8 Positives

Watford 1 – 3 Arsenal

We desperately needed a win more than anything else today. But we also needed to play some very good football the Arsenal way’ to get the supporters properly excited again… and luckily we got both against the Hornets. On top of that we had verbal confirmation that two new players, Mustafi and Lucas Perez, will be added to the squad, so every reason for us Gooners to be happy. And if not you may want to give the Samaritans a call… 🙂

It was of course a game of two halves, to use the nr.1 cliché in football. Arsenal were full of life and brutally lethal in the first the half and we saw out the second half with a few bumps but nothing too drastic. It would have been great if the boys had continued in the second half with the same intent and tempo of the first half, but it was also important to not get more injuries. Therefore, taking the foot of the gas and making some timely tactical changes and substitutions in the second half, was just what the doctor ordered.

Eight positives from a vital win:

  1. Alexis was superb especially in the first half. I love the ‘second’, alternative away shirt the boys wore today and especially Sanchez looked like the mini-hulk in it. Our Chilean firecracker was unstoppable through his movement and aggression all over the pitch. Two assists and a goal are a fantastic return for his efforts but it was also his overall team play that impressed me a lot. Supported by Theo and the less effective Ox on the wings, he offered great movement and availability to which the Watford defenders had very little answer. We will need more end product from the Ox and Theo going forward as Wenger is playing Alexis not like a typical super CF but more of a mixture between Giroud and say Aguero – a combination between hold up play and speedy penetration. The signing of Perez makes a lot of sense therefore, as he will add goals (and assists) on a regular basis, which is needed to make the system a success;
  2. Mesut Ozil scored! He also had the ‘assist’ for the penalty given early in the first half: a superb ball aimed at the space in front of Alexis from which he surely would head the ball home. Alexis was hacked down before he could score and the referee awarded the penalty after some initial confusion on the pitch. Santi took it well and that was a relief to us all. We need more goals from midfield this season and Mesut made a Lampardesque run into the box to head home with venom and precision. Great stuff and let’s hope there will regular goals to come from our midfielders this season.
  3. Xhaka carved the hornets nest open without mercy. I reckon Wenger is building a team that can add a few dimensions to their football. As per my first ‘positive’, we need goals from a number of attackers rather than rely too much on the one super CF. But we also need key passes and assists from a number of players, and playing Xhaka, Cazorla AND Mesut clearly gave us that. Xhaka did this regularly from deep, allowing us to attack with speed and precision and not give the Watford defence a lot of time to regroup. Some of Granit’s through-balls and diagonal thunderbolts were sublime today, getting the balls into the pockets like the best snooker player…
  4. Arsenal played a very attack minded formation today. I cannot remember the last time we played with so many quality, attack-focussed players: Xhaka sat deep but was constantly feeding our attackers; Santi sat also deep(er) but was mainly focussed on attacking Watford, and then there were the foursome of Ozil, Ox, Theo and Alexis attacking relentlessly, whilst being supported from behind by the Spaniard and Swiss geniuses! On top of this the full backs, especially Bellerin, kept bombing forward to support the attack. As a result, we saw an awesome black and yellow attacking machine, especially in the first half. Theo played with aggression and intent and produced a peach of an assist for Alexis’ goal – the all important second goal for us.
  5. Good substitutions. Of course such an attacking formation only works well if the tempo is high and we manage to keep our opponents hemmed in in their own half. In the second half we dropped the tempo and discipline a bit and gradually we allowed them back into the game. We sat too deep and allowed them to have players in and around the box and this led to a number of half-chances for the Hornets. They scored a typical ‘lucky pinball goal’ for which I cannot blame the defence too much. But after that we allowed them more chances and looked a bit vulnerable at times. Luckily, Wenger had good options on the bench and gradually both Jack and Elneny were able to bring a bit more calm and control back in to our play. It was really good to see Jack back on the pitch and let’s hope we will gradually see more and more of him. Elneny was great – what a player!
  6. Cech was solid. He made some good instinctive saves and oozed confidence and calm in our defence. Nothing more to say about him.
  7. Holding and Koz had another good game and could have had a clean sheet if a little bit more lucky. Our young England CB looked in control throughout the game and his height and strength were great assets today. Wenger will have to decide whether to keep playing him for a while and then introduce Mustafi gradually or to establish the French-German CB pair asap. I am really pleased for Holding and I hope he will get twenty of game time this season.
  8. The final ‘positive’ is for Wenger. He has had to work hard to get the signings he wanted and he has succeeded. There was also a lot of pressure on him to win this away game and he delivered in style. I have said before that we should make the first proper analysis of our chances to win the league after ten games, and I now believe we have everything in place, bar a lot of bad luck on the injury front, to fight for three points in every game and push upwards in the table. Let’s see where we are in a few months time.

Happy Interdull! 🙂

By TotalArsenal.

Left Footer Lucas Perez the Perfect Partner for Giroud and Alexis

We know that we should not take the gossip re Arsenal signings too seriously, but if both the Guardian and the BBC report that we are interested in a player then I guess we are getting close.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/aug/25/arsenal-set-to-beat-everton-to-signing-of-lucas-perez

Lucas Pérez, centre, in action for Deportivo la Coruña against Eibar in La Liga last week

So who is this Lucas Perez playing for the beautifully named Deportivo la Coruna?

From the video below you can see he is not the tallest but neither is he small at 1.81m. The almost 28 year old seems very left footed which would suit us fine as he could play on the wing, supporting either Giroud or Alexis in attack. And Ozil seems to work best with fellow left-footed players.

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=lucas+perez+martinez+youtube&&view=detail&mid=33B2776F844E41922B1F33B2776F844E41922B1F&FORM=VRDGAR

He played 35 League games last season, with a total of 3141 minutes on the pitch. Lucas scored 17 league goals and produced an impressive eight assists. His pass success percentage is 79% and he produces two key passes per game on average. Those are the sort of stats that would suit Arsenal very well. I know that many a Gooner is dreaming of a super CF who scores 25+ PL goals a season, but I reckon Wenger has long ago decided he does not want to be too reliant on a single CF anymore. And it is about time that we follow suit…

Spreading the goals makes us less predictable and dependable on the form and fitness of one super player, and I am confident that between Alexis, Giroud, Theo, Danny and possibly now Lucas Perez we can score 50-60 PL goals per season. The rest will come from our midfielders and defenders, and our wider squad players in attack.

Lucas Perez had an average of 126 minutes between goals and assists in the league last season, and this is better than for example Alexis who needed 144 minutes between goals and assists in the previous PL season, and a lot better than any of our other options on the wing or in the CF position. I have a feeling that Wenger could play all of Perez – Giroud – Alexis, with the Spaniard and Chilean on either wing and interchanging regularly, in some of our games. Alternatively, he could rest any of these three and give the likes of Ox, Iwobi, Gnabry, Theo and Akpom a chance to shine.

Wenger is also likely to continue with Alexis in the middle during a number of games, and then play Lucas Perez and one of Ox, Theo or Iwobi on the wings. I don’t know about you but that gets me quite excited too.

By all means, Lucas Perez could also play as our CF as he reportedly is good at hold up play, which could mean he could be a good direct replacement for Giroud in certain games. However, I cannot tell from the footage I have seen whether the holding CF role would fit our apparent transfer target.

I have a feeling that this signing will go ahead, as it totally makes sense from Arsene’s perspective. Of course it could also be a typical Arsenal decoy for another signing in attack the club is hoping to make.

Let’s wait and see. 🙂

By TotalArsenal

One Day every Gooner Will Realise that Arsene Wenger is a Saint

So we gained a point in hard battle against the Foxes and also got our first clean sheet of the season. After a false start against Pool, I reckon an away point against the Champions is not a bad return. We all wanted more as we needed to bounce back straightaway, but we will have to wait for it. I can live with that – many fellow supporters, it seems, cannot.

It is a natural law that when Arsenal are not performing to expectations the fans will get out their personal theories, pet hates and simple solutions to solve all our problems once and for all. Furthermore, speak to any supporter of any club and they usually tell you that their team are two players short to become a super team, especially if they are not top of the league.

I have some of these theories, pet hates and simple solutions myself, but never do I believe that I actually know more than Wenger. Yet when you read the blogs and comments there are thousands of key board heroes who reckon Arsene is a fool and they could do much better.

Making suggestions on how to do things different and better for the purpose  of discussion is of course absolutely fine: where would blogs be without it? But the lack of humility and delusions of grandeur by so many fellow supporters is at best frustrating and at worst depressing…. especially if the comments and posts are full of derogatory terms about Wenger’s age, intentions, capabilities etc.

I can tell everyone that a manager who won the FA Cup twice and finished second last season in the last three years, deserves respect and support on its own. But for some reason, this does not seem enough for so many fellow supporters. With or without Wenger we may not win the league again for the next twenty years or so: this is a strong possibility as the PL has become so much more competitive over the last ten years – a period in which the BoD and Arsene invested in the long term future of the club  through building a big, modern stadium that will bring in the necessary revenue to compete with the national and European elite clubs for decades to come – and this is likely to become more challenging rather than easier. It makes the PL such an exciting league compared to the monopolies of Germany (Bayern), Italy (Juventus) and duopolies of Spain and the Netherlands.

I can live with the knowledge that it will be tough to win the league again, let alone regularly in the next ten to twenty years. The only thing I can hope for is that the club can fight for the title with a realistic chance of winning it, every season. And that we do/ will do without any doubt.

I hope that we will keep doing this through building the team with a long term philosophy and strategy, rather than trying to buy and let go lots of players every season. I like us to be great through a set of values and principles the Club, and all its 599 employees, will treat as holy.

I want us to continue to develop our own from the youth teams and from those bought around 16-20 years old from other clubs, home and abroad. I also like us to add experienced players to fill first team or back-up gaps, and I like us to add real, top-gem quality when possible. And that is exactly what the club is doing.

I have no doubt that we will bounce back soon and that Wenger will get the team to compete for the title once more this season, with or without adding the magic ‘two players’. This does not mean that I am convinced we will win the title, but we will have a decent chance to do so.

But what I also feel really, really good about is that the club is now well positioned to compete at the top year in year out, and as soon as Wenger decides enough is enough there is a good structure in place to continue our philosophy and strategy for years to come, which will be very attractive to whoever will succeed the great Arsene.

One day there will not be a single mentally well-functioning Gooner left who does not believe that Wenger was the best thing that ever happened to the club, and that him dedicating such a large part of his football management career to the club is why we are now always fighting for the top prizes. One day every Gooner will realise that Arsene was, and is, a Saint.

By TotalArsenal 

This post was inspired by Terry Mancini’s Hair Transplant’s superb post on ArsenalArsenal:

Transfers? Leave it to Arsene