Wenger sets aggressive targets and shuts down big name signing

by & filed under News Review.

via @Arsenal instagram

via @Arsenal instagram

Here we go, beers at the ready, football is kicking off on a Friday night this year which is super f*cking weird in my opinion, but hey ho, what can you do. It’s only annoying for people outside of the UK. If I were in London, I’d be amped to the max about Friday night beers then a bit of Emirates to cap off a warm summer evening.

Leicester come to town having been slapped down by the realities of the league last year. They lost a manager, flirted with an unceremonious drop, then steadied the ship after they rightly sacked said legendary manager.

This summer, they’ve done some nice business. Iheanacho coming in at £28m could prove shrewd business. Harry Maguire at the back injects a bit of fresh legs in their back four, and a Spanish defensive midfielder ups their technical ability in the centre of the park (such a casual pass about a player I’ve never heard of).

Difficult to know what to expect from the exChampions. They found their team spirit after Ranieri left last year, they showed some of that grit and fight that won them the league. Can Craig Shakespeare keep that going this season? Very doubtful, but it’s safe to say the game won’t be easy. Mahrez and Vardy are a lethal combo if they fancy it, and their new City signing has bags of pace and a lot to prove this season.

Arsenal will likely line up the same as they did for the Community Shield. Maybe we’ll see Ozil out on the right? I mean, if Leicester sit back and wait for the counter, it makes sense to have players that can unpick a tightly compact midfield and defence, but we’ll see. There should be no reason a fresh Community Shield side wouldn’t beat Leicester at home.

Wenger continued to crash through the communications challenge around what went wrong last season, whilst being sure of what’s going right this season, regarding the issue of unsigned contracts.

‘I created, with me not deciding, a lack of clarity in the dressing room and there is nothing worse than that in the dressing room.

‘When you are not completely in or the players feel you are not completely in, it is difficult to tell them we go (out to win).’

Make of it what you will, but I do find it amusing that he thought last seasons failure was because of his shenanigans, but this seasons success can be found in having six versions of the same scenario in the match day squad. The manager also spoke about his interest in Mahrez, which sounds less than firm.

“We were never close.

“I rate him as a player but we have similar types with Alex Iwobi, Jack Wilshere back, Mesut Ozil – we have plenty of the same type of players.”

The notion of Jack Wilshere being in the mix is interesting, that either says he’s staying because he wants to play him, or we can’t sell him because he’s not an attractive proposition on £100k a week. I love Mahrez, but our team spirit is wafer thin, adding his attitude to the unrest we’ll already be dealing with sounds like a disaster in the making.

The manager had good words and simple math for his most expensive signing of all time.

“With Lacazette, it’s simple. He is an intelligent player. We have a game backed on mobility and technique and I think he can integrate that well.

“After that, we get the efficiency. His record in France is to score one in 80 minutes. If he can maintain that record that would be ideal for us. As a game is in 90 that would guarantee you a goal.”

I love the numbers. If Lacazette drops digits like that, we’ll be on fire this season. I like that Wenger is talking about mobility because we’ve suffered from a lack of it up top for years. It still baffles me that the things that won Wenger the big trophies back in the day were dropped >>> power & pace. Seems we’re trying to get back in there. I just wish we’d beef up the middle of the park with a bit more power, finesse and fitness reliablity.

The game will be fun. There’s no second chances now. We need to win from the start because the run we have is very mean and we’re playing a bunch of teams who have things to prove with necks on the line.

Lets’ see how this pans out.

P.S. I spoke to the good people over at The Filbert Way about today. Read it and love it.

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661 Responses to “Wenger sets aggressive targets and shuts down big name signing”

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  1. Leedsgunner

    “you know that Mustafi played pretty much every minute of Germany’s Confederation Cup triumph this summer, yeah? the final was on July 2nd, so five weeks ago. you think he should have been rushed back?”

    Why don’t we turn this around and say Wenger then had all summer since the 2nd July to bring in another EPL experienced defender hasn’t he? Why hasn’t he? If Gabriel doesn’t have his confidence why not shift him out and bring in a replacement?

    Both Nathan Ake and Michael Keane were available for £20m.

  2. Emiratesstroller

    I find it extraordinary that Mustafi who has been training two weeks is considered not ready to play in first team. There is no logic if he is picked for bench.

    The only reason that Chambers is not playing is that Wenger clearly wants to
    shift him out of club.

    What we are seeing with Wenger as always is experimentation. That may be
    okay up front, but you want to see a stable and solid defence.

    The overall standard of defending in EPL is pretty awful. What infuriates me is
    that we employ Steve Bould as Assistant manager. He was a pretty decent defender when he played as was Martin Keown who works also at club.

    Yet we produce a team which leaks goals like a sieve and has for years persisted with zonal marking which costs us far too many goals from free kicks and corners.

    You would have thought that by now someone would have worked out how to
    improve our defence.

  3. Emiratesstroller

    There are 19 days before transfer window closes. I would suggest that Mr Wenger should focus on three positions which need strengthening along spine.
    Specifically GK, CB and CMF.

    He is not going to fill all three but he should at least solve one. If he wants to offload Chambers why not part exchange him for Van Dijk?

    Southampton are clearly pissed off with Liverpool for tapping up the player,
    but in the current impasse might be more prepared to sell him to us.

  4. Cesc Appeal

    Pedro

    Xhaka is frustrating, some moments be finds great balls, great releases and provides an outlet for defenders. There were some long forward balls where it was like having Fabregas back in the team.

    But then the other half of the game he is so poor, when pressured it is like 50/50 whether he will play it straight to an opposition player, and he is just so slow.

    Take aways from that game were that Oxlade has to play RWB, Holding cannot be banked on despite the fact he could be a top CB and we desperately need a CDM/CM.

    If Wenger wants to play Ramsey then he can battle Ozil for an attacking midfield spot. Elneny is decent but that is his ceiling, decent.

  5. Redtruth

    Pierre
    “Bold substitutes”…..lol

    Wenger has always thrown caution to the wind or should i say resorted to desperate measures when chasing a game..

  6. TR7

    Why are people talking so much about our defense?? Once Koss and Mertesacker are back, we will be just fine. It’s our midfield which is the real concern.

  7. Leedsgunner

    Plus Why is that professional footballers are physically OK to play 7 games in a month long tournament but they are unfit to play a game of football after 5 weeks holiday? Are their bodies not up to it?

    If Mustafi was unfit to play then why did Bellerin play? Wasn’t he also involved in a tournament that all the way to the final? Why did we play Ainsley Maitland Niles and Reiss Nelson in friendlies after they played for the England youth sides in tournaments?

    It’s more about finding excuses for Wenger.

  8. Cesc Appeal

    If we cannot get rid of enough deadwood to land an attacker and Sanchez is staying, yeah, might be better to make one more big money move for Van Dijk using Chambers (who was not even selected yesterday) and then get a bargain deal for Matuidi done.

  9. Ishola70

    Pedders:
    “CA, our midfield really is looking weak. Really like elements of what Xhaka brings, but he made another terrible mistake tonight, two if you give him credit for not getting close for their first.”

    He gave the ball away very cheaply in midfield for their first goal as well that led to them having that passage of play where they scored when he was outjumped for that goal.

    For a man of his physique I have never seen such a weakling on the field.

    Vardy knocked him to the ground and was physically bullying him early in the match.

    Make no mistake opposing teams will be targeting him.

    Wenger purely brought him for his offensive capabilities which is not really good enough playing in that position.

    Another example of Wenger dismissing defensive discipline and capabilities in favour of offensive ones.

  10. Wallace

    Leeds

    “Why don’t we turn this around and say Wenger then had all summer since the 2nd July to bring in another EPL experienced defender hasn’t he? Why hasn’t he? If Gabriel doesn’t have his confidence why not shift him out and bring in a replacement?”

    Gabriel is injured. and you’re suggesting buying another defender because Mustafi was always likely to be short for the opener? how many CBs do you want us to have in the squad? 8…10?

  11. Wallace

    “Plus Why is that professional footballers are physically OK to play 7 games in a month long tournament but they are unfit to play a game of football after 5 weeks holiday? Are their bodies not up to it?”

    no, basically. at least that’s the medical opinion.

  12. Redtruth

    Merstesacker was running on adrenaline which sparked an inspired one off performance in the Cup Final.

    History has shown that he’s incapable of holding it together over a course of a season.

  13. Emiratesstroller

    Wallace

    Realistically we have two centre backs who are good enough to play regularly in
    first team. Holding is good enough to play fourth string provided that he is well
    supported.

    Mertesacker’s contract should not have been renewed. A player announcing his retirement one year in advance to move into coaching is not a player that
    I want to play unless it is last resort.

    Gabriel is not good enough as we saw often last season and clearly Chambers
    is not in Wenger’s plans.

    We know also that Koscielny has an achilles problem and therefore will struggle to play more than one game per week.

  14. Ishola70

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  15. Wallace

    ES

    I disagree. Mertesacker can easily play that role in the middle of the back 3. and Holding just needs a more experienced defender alongside him and he’ll be back to looking like he did last season.

  16. Pierre

    ES
    sorry to repeat myself but there was no point bringing mustafi on in the 2nd half as we were chasing the game…i have no doubt, if we were in front then the substitutions would have been different.

    Re xhaka… The impression I get is that he benefits the team more by just sitting in front of the defence . Yesterday, with elneny alongside him he tends to go into areas that he is not comfortable and gets drawn out of position. I feel he likes the responsibility of marshalling that area. with someone like Ramsey or maybe cazorla if/when fit he can play just behind them, allowing them to support the attack while xhaka, in theory, dictates the play from the Base of midfield as he is excellent at playing the pass between the lines.. Not so good if he receives the ball under pressure with his back to goal..

  17. Redtruth

    Wallace
    “I disagree. Mertesacker can easily play that role in the middle of the back 3. and Holding just needs a more experienced defender alongside him and he’ll be back to looking like he did last season.”

    We finished 5th last season…doughnut

  18. Sanmi

    Wenger purely brought him for his offensive capabilities which is not really good enough playing in that position.

    This is bullshit

  19. Ishola70

    There is no need to buy another CB.

    There are plenty at the club.

    Arsenal have three CBs out at the moment.

    The main problem last night in that back three was that Monreal should never play centre of the three again and ideally young Holding should not play right of the three.

    And most of the problems came down Arsenal’s right side where Bellerin didn’t have a clue in how to play the wingback position. Not doing anything of note offensively and not bothering to track back to help out young Holding defensively.

    Add to that wasteful give away distribution at times from Xhaka.

  20. Sanmi

    Redtruth

    Holding has the highest win ratio when he played last season something like 15 in 18. Simply because he played with experienced heads

  21. Ishola70

    Sanmi:
    “This is bullshit”

    Would you care to elaborate Sanmi?

    What defensive capabilities has Xhaka shown us since he has joined the club?

    Are you one of those that are quite happy to have a luxury DM/CM in the side who can’t defend properly and struggles with the physical nature of the EPL.

    It’s a typical Roy Of The Rovers signing from Wenger.

  22. Ishola70

    I’m quite fascinated btw how so many fans really look to defend Xhaka and make excuses for him.

    Take for example Arsenal Mania. More than enough posts on that site defending Xhaka all the time and telling other posters to put a sock in it if they dare to criticise him. Some of the posts there you would think they are Xhaka family members.

    I think it may have to do with the fact that Xhaka is a permanent fixture in the side. Harder for some to criticise a player they know is going to be picked every week by Wenger come what may. So much easier to criticise players who they know are not guaranteed to be in first XI every week,

  23. Redtruth

    Sanmi
    “Holding has the highest win ratio when he played last season something like 15 in 18. Simply because he played with experienced heads”

    He was obviously not used against the top 7 because we had a shit record against those clubs.

  24. Pierre

    I don’t suppose anyone is interested in talking about the superb attacking performance last night.. Some of our football was sublime around the box, lacazette and ozil will be a joy to watch this season.. To have 27 shots against a team who played with 2 banks of 4 who’s main tactic was to win the ball and hit it to vardy or use the old stoke tactic of the long throw though I have to say, pretty effective tactics..

    Lets not forget that the supposedly “irreplaceable” sanchez wasn’t playing.. Did we miss him last night, not really….

  25. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre/Wallace

    We have got SIX specialist Centre Backs on books, but we managed to put out just one yesterday relying on two left backs to complete defensive lineup.

    We played also in left wing back position two Right Backs!!

    That tells you everything you need to know about how we lined up yesterday
    and the reliability of our resources.

    Mertesacker has managed just one full game last season and we are relying
    upon him to play in our back line. Gabriel is not good enough and Chambers
    is on way out.

    That tells me that Wenger has absolutely no plan to improve back line of
    team.

    However, the real concern is how our defence is led and is organised. You do
    not need “exceptional” players to have a solid defence. You need players who
    are properly drilled to create a solid defence.

    Over the 21 years that Wenger has managed the team we have managed to
    find one outstanding Centre Back and that was Campbell who came to us on
    Bosman. Wenger has never invested properly in his defence.

  26. Pierre

    8 wins on the bounce and counting…

    Not bad for a team that plays “crab football” that can’t defend with a weak midfield and shit attack…and the manager, nothing left to be said is there…

  27. Wallace

    injured – Mertesacker, Gabriel
    suspended – Koscielny
    not match fit – Mustafi

    take out Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Dier & whoever their fourth CB is and tell me Spurs look just as solid

  28. Pierre

    anyone have any stats of maybe the last 5/6 seasons to show if our defending really is as bad as the media and Le grovellers say it is…. I presume we are somewhere about mid table for goals conceded… Will be interesting to find out if the stats confirm this or is just another made up media brainwashing theory

  29. ThePuma9

    Guns

    ‘Shit. It’s the Welsh, Hagi. And the french Baguette, Giroud. Goals a coming’

    Honestly don’t know why people comment during games. 9 times out of 10 they always end up making a cunt of themselves.

  30. Wallace

    ThePuma9

    Shit. It’s the Welsh, Hagi. And the french Baguette, Giroud. Goals a coming’

    that’s a beauty :)

    I don’t bother checking in during the game any more.

  31. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre/Wallace

    I am an Arsenal Supporter and I am also a season ticket holder.

    Everyone in the stadium bar the manager and coach could see what was going
    on last night. It was shambolic and yet they did not react. We finished the game with two left backs playing centre back and Bellerin playing left back.!

    Our good fortune is that Leicester were not particularly strong at back either,
    but if you play last night’s team against Stoke on Saturday Hughes will play
    Crouch and every other six footer in his squad against us and pump the ball into our area as Schmeicel attempted to do at end of game yesterday.

    It does not matter how good your offensive resources are we are not going to
    score four goals in every match to compensate for the three we are conceding.

  32. Don

    I was blocked
    Wtf is going on?
    I didn’t offend anyone? My last post was in relation to being positive about the game and not to worry about finances

  33. Don

    Anyway
    Hahahaha
    I was nearly right

    2-1 I said
    Lacazette to open the scoring in the first half and giroud or Theo to nick the winner!!

    Should have put a bet down

  34. Ishola70

    As some pundits noted that was a great header from Giroud that won the match.

    The cross had no real great pace on it but Giroud still managed to generate power in the header.

    Also completely bullied the Leicester CB to get in the position to score the goal.

  35. Pierre

    ES
    We allowed them what was it 6/7 shots at goal, 3 on target….
    I will be having a look at the stats from the rest of the fixtures this weekend and see if anyone else allows the opposition less than 6 attempts at goal

    I have a feeling that it will show that I’m right about the doom mongers on here..

  36. Pierre

    ES
    “We finished the game with two left backs playing centre back and Bellerin playing left back.!”

    And how many times did Leicester get through our defence to have a shot at goal in the last 15 minutes…. None… So obviously the manager got it right.. He gambled and won…

  37. Don

    Look we won
    We were without 4 centre halves
    We have goals I. The locker
    Xakha came up with two assists and I thought he looked good last night
    He does need protection and he needs to find a way to get more mobile but everything good we did last night went through him
    He takes the pressure off of Ozil who I thought completely slowed our counter attacks last night
    He’s holding onto the ball too long so he can turn inside
    It pisses me off.
    Oxlade was our best wing back
    Bellerin looked total shit
    He just seems to be in no man’s land far too often at both ends and on the ball he seems to have massively regressed too
    I do t know how pro footballer cannot cross
    They play football every day
    I can fucking cross and I’m a 32 year old that hasn’t played in 4 years
    Give me the ball and I will pop that ball in, why can’t bellerin?

  38. Dissenter

    It’s “AKB” happy hour
    What are you folks sipping on?

    The display was shambolic
    You’re chest-thumping because Leicester fu**ed up, right?
    Wenger played HALF the team out of position and we barely scaped by.
    Last season he did the same and a better team beat us in the opening day.
    He hasn’t learned a thing, has he?

    Emirates is no WOB. He was in the stadium and is telling you the obvious truths.

  39. Dissenter

    Ishola
    I agree with you 100% regarding Ozil
    Total weakling that strips the team of identity. He has to have 150% offensive game to negate the 50% defensive effort he puts in.

    That’s why I absolutely detest Mahrez
    The posters that have been beating his drum here should get some time out.

    Ozil should be the last of his type we sign at Arsenal. He’s a half player. The scouts should use him as the prototype of the type of player you never recommend; Excellent when the system around him is working perfectly but otherwise average/shit when others are struggling.

  40. kristoman

    Great win yesterday thanks to mahrez and lc coach.
    Mahrez was completely abysmal and the coach left him on, simpson had no help whatsoever from. In fact ozil and ox gang up on him over and over again and Mahrez is just ball watching. Well thank you leciester for the three point. You just save my coach from a backlash. thanks

  41. Pierre

    I don’t give a toss if emirates was in the stadium… Anyone could see our defence was struggling but despite that we only allowed Leicester 6 attempts at goal.. It’s not like they were having shot after shot.. Cech actually didn’t make a save in the game… As I said, let’s see how many teams have less than 6 shots against them this weekend…

  42. ThePuma9

    Wallace

    ‘I don’t bother checking in during the game any more.’

    Why would you? I never waste my time posting during a game. Imagine missing a goal or some more nuanced action due to some tedious back and forth with Bamfraud? It’s not exactly insightful and it’s frankly embarrassing some of the comments, you won’t learn anything here apart from how pathetic some Arsenal ‘supporters’ are. Before and after is always good for a laugh though.

    After the game reading through the comments when we were losing you could almost sense the glee of some posters it’s a sad state of affairs to be honest, it’s almost like they’re happier losing.

  43. Dissenter

    Wallace
    ““Plus Why is that professional footballers are physically OK to play 7 games in a month long tournament but they are unfit to play a game of football after 5 weeks holiday? Are their bodies not up to it?”no, basically. at least that’s the medical opinion.”

    Nope, not true my friend.
    It’s not settled medical opinion. IT’S WENGER DOCTRINE.

  44. kristoman

    Dissenter
    Why border yourself we won leciester ( thanks to them helping us on that front) and the akb are out celebrating after that defensive performance yesterday. That should really tell you so much about. Even emirates stroller saw things for its self but don’t worry everything Is fine. In fact the league is ours to lose. dumb set of human beings.a.

  45. ThePuma9

    dissenter

    ‘The display was shambolic
    You’re chest-thumping because Leicester fu**ed up, right?
    Wenger played HALF the team out of position and we barely scaped by.’

    You don’t really get this football thing do you?

    If you need someone to explain to you why people are happy coming from behind twice to win on the first day of he season and why the manger gambled with his formation and player positions by throwing the kitchen sink at Leicester for the last 10-15 mins then I can’t really help you.

    Isn’t there something more tedious on your level you can watch like rounders or baseball as you chaps call it?

  46. Dissenter

    Pierre
    You’re laughable mate. You can’t even wpself-correct when you’ll obviously wrong.
    Emirates is a middle of the road poster; read his most recent last posts today.
    Why does Wenger keep playing more than half his team out of position?
    Doesn’t that bother you?…and then we wonder why the likes of Oxlade won’t extend their contracts?
    Hats the point of playing three defenders people out of position, especially when he’s starting a rookie central defender?

    Wenger used to make football easy in the first eights years of his Arsenal stay, now he ALWAYS over-complicates things for the team.

  47. Dissenter

    Idiotic Puma is back to the typical soft American digs
    Oh you don’t really get it because you’re American blather
    You’re weak as usual. That’s the only line you have in your kitty. You’re not even original.

    I intentionally directed you die-hard AKBs to the Emirate comments because he’s one of the middle-of-the-road posters here. He called it as it is.

    Last year we did exactly the same to a better team. They held on for a 4-3 win. I bet you weren’t chest-thumping then.
    Thank Shakespear the Leicester coach for this win. He’s the reason we won.

    You really are one sorry thumb sucking moron of a football fan who thinks self-criticism is disloyal behavior.

    What moniker will you go by when Arsenal ditch Puma for Addidas or Nike?
    What an idiot. I don’t even know why I’m replying you.
    You’re essentially telling me that I can’t comment on Arsenal because I live in the states.

  48. ThePuma9

    dissenter

    ‘You’re essentially telling me that I can’t comment on Arsenal because I live in the states.’

    I’m telling you not to comment because you’re clueless.

  49. gonsterous

    I think Wenger will stick with 3 at the back.
    we were missing kos and mustafi. can’t blame the young defenders much. xhaka made a couple of mistakes but I still like his passing game. sanchez not going to stay after that shit show last night…

  50. HillWood

    Liverpool zonal markin just conceded from a corner
    Decoure walzed through and headed in virtually unchallenged
    Being static and having players run at you ain’t a good idea