Filling the blanks and shifting the Arsh somewhere else.

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Morning Grovers!

The topic of today is Andre Arshavin.

Since arriving on the scene he has entertained us with his dazzling skills and his endless quotable newspaper talk. Half comediene, half footballing genius… half misogynist… yes, I did the math and it all works out.

The tough question facing Arsene Wenger this summer is what to do with him. The Russian likes to play centrally, it’s where he plays the best and where he is used to playing. Being the centre of attention is how he likes it to be and he’s made that vocally clear. This isn’t a Hleb or Rosicky situation here, this is a truly world class performer requesting he is moved into the middle. So what does this mean for the team?

Well, the way I see it… it means that we are going to be seeing a lot more 4-5-1 next season. I know, I know… it pains us all. However, for me, I don’t see it as a bad thing. A 4-5-1 with the players we have going forward could be a fantastic set up… if we addressed defensive frailties this summer.

If you look at our squad, we seem to be top heavy with creative midfielders. We have Nasri, Vela, Wilshere, Rambo, Cesc, Arshavin, Rosicky, Walcott, Lansbury, Diaby… there is no way we can accommodate all of them unless we play with a 4-5-1… Arsene has been using it most of this season and watching Barca the other night made me think we could be operating in a similar fashion.We have lots of small technically gifted footballer who keep the ball really well… we’ve now added a goal threat into the mix and we have Rosicky coming back into the fold slowly but surely. We’ve lacked a striker with enough nous to play in that system, but I see no reason why Eduardo couldn’t play in the Eto’o role next season?

Robin Van Persie can play outwide or in the hole… Nik B can play in the tougher more physical games… and we have at least 3 other players who can move up top if they have to.

This is how I see us lining up regularly next year… obviously personnel can be interchanged…


Sagna Blank Gallas Clichy


Walcott   Cesc   Nasri



The only issue I see there is defence. There are two possible blanks in the first team next year.

Firstly, there is no question that we need a great centre back to partner Gallas. Kolo is a bit like that old family pet dog everyone loves… he’s stinking the place out… but we love him… so there is no chance we’re going to black-bag-river-thames him… but we’d be happy to keep him outside, letting him in occasionally to make a gust appearance.

The second more contentious issue is the holding role. I think the long term plan for Song is central defence. He’s done better in the second half of the season, but he’s not top class and he doesn’t really have the pace required to make that position his own… which leaves Denilson.

Denilson has great stats, the 16th best player in the league this year… the 5th best midfielder. If actim are to be believed, he must be doing something right… however, according to the same stats, Berbatov has performed better than Torres by 50 odd places… Ryan Shawcross is a more polished performer than Rio Ferdinand (Maybe he can take Kolo’s place?)… and Dirk Kuyt has done more for his team than Ronaldo. Basically, take the stats with a pinch of salt or a smattering of grey…

Denilson is compact, a good tackler, an ok reader of the game and he’s got a good work engine. Does he live to shield the defence? Probably not… Does he have the physical presence to deal with ‘in your face teams’… not at the moment. Could he become great in the next 3 months? The jury is out…

The fact is, Arsenal need a great centre mid to win the league. Someone who can dominate with technical ability and power. Someone who can compete in the air. Someone the opposition fear… someone on the verge of greatness NOW.

You see, great players don’t need statistics to prove their value. Their skills are there for all to see… if you rely on statistics to justify your existence, chances are you’re probably not that great. Can Denilson make the jump to superstar in 3 months? If not, can Wenger sign a defensive midfielder in the same quality bracket as Arshavin because the fact is, one of those two situations has to occur for us to stand a chance of doing any damage in the title race next year.

Wenger can’t afford to make mistakes this transfer window… players wont hang around forever, their careers are too short to constantly live for next year. Thierry winning the European Cup was probably a bad thing… it proved that their can be life after Arsenal and if we continue to play for plaudits instead of silverwarwe I fear we could see others head in that direction.

I had two e-mails and a few messages from people saying that RvP told numerous people at the end of season dinner he was going to wait until he saw Arsenal’s moves in the transfer window before signing up this year. No one is asking for £40mill signings… we’re just after signings that signal our intent… I’m sure Robin feels the same.

Oh, and that singer I was talking about in my post the other day was Pixie Lott if you were interested!

So, tough decisions lie ahead for Wenger this summer… he’s going to have to kill someone’s career temporarily…  but if he makes the right choice, next season could be a very exciting!

Keep em’ crossed Grovers and make sure you e-mail in if you’re interested in season tickets!

653 Responses to “Filling the blanks and shifting the Arsh somewhere else.”

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  1. Paulinho

    I think Barry and Fabregas might actually be a good partnership. Barry would provide the physical power and drive, and Fabregas would bring the intelligence to proceedings – something lacking in Barry to some extent.

    I agree with A in that Barry is not really top quality but I don’t think we should turn our noses up at him too much. He did play a big part in dominating our midfield back at the Emirates in October and for alot of the game at Villa Park.

    In conclusion, I would be receptive to his signing for around 7-8 million.

  2. A

    We don’t know that for a fact pat, there might be something in it, there might not. Dunno who i’d go for, i’m just saying wenger going for barry would shock me for a number of reasons!

    Coadsi wenger has only ever paid that sort of money for really top players, or young players who he could get the money back for, I really can’t see him changing his ways completely now.

    Yeah faceman – that’s the point – it would be not that far away from what we paid for arshavin, one of the best in the world! Wenger would spend the money on top top players, he wouldn’t on just decent/good players, or at least he never has, and I don’t see any indication that would change.

  3. patthegooner

    Well we do, the admission that he liked him was on and O’neill said it live on SSN that Pat Rice had called him to ask about his availability.

  4. Faceman

    villa wont let him walk on a free next year, thats crap… losing up to 10m for the sake of 10 months is crazy in the current economic climate.

    he could go for as little as 7m and would be a total bargain.

  5. A

    I’d agree with that paulinho, 8 million tops, which would be a couple more than he’s worth, but because of his premiership experience etc we’d be willing to spend that.

    However i’m not sure that villa would be willing to sell even for ten million, the quoted price was 12 million, which is far more than we’d pay imo, which is why i’m very doubtful.

    Unless as someone said that Barry has a gentlemans agreement with o’neil, but the noises coming from villa are that they’ll make him stay til the end of his contract unless they get an offer of silly money

  6. A

    pat anytime he’s asked about a specific player he ALWAYS says he’s a good player etc etc, it means nothing! As does the o’neil things, all managers and everyone in football is like a politician, you’ll never get the truth about things.

    7 million is something i’d be happy with faceman, if it could happen i’d like it to happen, not a bargain imo at all but a fair price for a good player.

  7. A

    also re the economic climate remember villa are bankrolled by randy lerner, so money isn’t a big problem for them

  8. patthegooner

    Normally I would agree with you ref Wenger and players, but that was the first time in my memory that carried the link and unless there was some genuine interest I feel they would have played it down.

    All I am saying is that Wenger is interested in signing him. I dont know if it will happen but personally I would be happy if was for anything 10m and under.

    Oh and I would like him at the club. End of the day he is better that what we have already got.

  9. Jay

    Groovers!!! its been a while..but i have been partying in the USA – LA VEGAS MIAMI NY. I am now in London staying in earls court – having a great time.
    today i went to stamford bridge….outta respect to my mates lol – we did a group tour..arrgh i nearly died but i survived..
    2morow i am on a tour @2pm AHOF – were i will whorishly purchase enough merchandise for 5 lol..
    anywhere good to go out 2morow nite 🙂 for 5 aussie blokes?

    help is appreciated – and good posts just no time to comment 🙁

    And if any 1 can offer any advice befor ei go to the tour 2morow @ 2pm much appreciated!

  10. A

    it’s just as likely that o’neil was trying to scare liverpool into upping the price for barry as it is there being any truth in it.

    They always carry stories like that when wenger is asked about specific players, it happened with kalou, alonso, and about a week ago chamah, it means nothing imo!

  11. patthegooner

    i would rate both under Barry Coadsi but I would take Parker as a Squad player.

    Right guys I am knackered, the sun has got to me. Catch you tomorrow for the most boring cup final in history.

  12. Coadsi

    his former manager even said barry should not join the pool due to the rotation system blah blah blah so i think we are in with a good shout

  13. A

    i take it back, wenger said he had no interest in given, because he had no interest in a keeper, that’s the only time when asked he’s said that though. richards is another example from january

  14. patthegooner

    And he did it with Arshavin as well….

    I guess we will find out on September the 1st then A, when Wenger (After signing no one) says that he expects Rosicky back in a few weeks and he is like a new signing as are Merida and Randall after being promoted from the youth 🙂

    Right that really is me, good night

  15. A

    rosicky actually will be like a new signing pat, as will eduardo, and arshavin! So we’re already starting the season with 3 new signings, and I count vela and wilshere as new signings too! 5 new signings already 🙂


  16. A

    Oh yeah senderos as well – even without any signings then we will genuinly actually have 4/5 more players than last season in the squad

  17. ethangunner

    but there is no reason AA cannot play as the 2nd striker .. in a 4-4-2 … no need to change ANY FORMATION ! ..
    said it even prior to him joining when everyone told me there is no chance of him playing any other position other than the wing ..

    he has already made his feelings felt and if anyone watched him play for zenit or russia they would see he plays in an advanced central role ..
    2nd striker to RVP would be ideal ..

    that is providing RVP stays …
    i was also 1st in saying i dont think he will stay.
    i think RVP is just as disillusioned as the fans currently , and if i was 25 i would want to be in a silverware winning team at that stage of my life also !

  18. ethangunner

    KM frm WALES

    ade was great last year ……..

    hmmmmm i fucking dont think so ! in 2008 he scored 5 goals in 5 months in the epl ,(07/08)
    you were talking about a 4 month stint in 2007 !
    where he scored 19 goals in 4 months ..

    then the prick stopped trying !
    ade has been shit for over 18 months !
    not only is he shit he disrupts the team on the pitch and off of it !

    the sooner that twat is sold off the better !

  19. Stu

    I completely agree Ethan. I always felt that Ade was shit from around january on….since Rosicly got injured onwards. Without amazing midfield creativity Adebayorn is average at best. He needs others to do the work and even after that he MIGHT score.
    Sell the fucker!!!!!

  20. LAzer

    Really, Ade needs to go. We are linked with Pandev now. Sell Ade and replace him Wenger. He was, is and always will be too wasteful.

  21. Geoff

    Cartman although excited at that prospect, we don’t have a right back back up option, so this article makes no sense, as for Gallas, he’s only 32.

  22. Geoff

    I don’t think either of them will but if they do and the replacements are Chelleini and Glen Johnson I’ll be more than happy.

  23. gnarleygeorge9

    By Frank Wiechula

    The worrying spectre of Barcelona has loomed over Cesc Fabregas again with the Arsenal skipper admitting it would be a dream to play for the new Champions League victors.

    Fabregas, who left the Catalans to join the Gunners aged 16 in 2003 and has been continually linked with a return, revealed his admiration for his old club after their European dethroning of Manchester United.

    Midfielder Fabregas, when asked if he would like to move back to the club, said: “Which player would not like to play for a team like that?

    “They are the best team I’ve ever seen play and a lot of friends there tell me great things.

    “Of course, you feel envy due to the way they play football. Everyone’s dream is to play in a team like that.”

  24. gnarleygeorge9

    ……………but it took a dodgy referee against Chelski to get them to Rome. Barcelona were lucky to even be there, plain & simple.

  25. Geoff

    Barca were okay, if Cesc wanted to go there he’d be on the bench like Hleb.

    I didn’t think Barca were that great, I thought the Mancs were just shit, if Barca were in the EPL I doubt they’d be a top 4 team.

  26. LAzer

    Guys. Geoff/Pedro you all know am relatively new here and just wanted to throw out a shout out for running this place so well and with a lot of class. Am thankful for LG’s existence I have come to realize and that wouldn’t be without you all dedicating so much time to it. So in short, thanks.

  27. LAzer

    Don’t buy the Eboue gossip, who’s gonna be stupid enough to take HIM of our hands and we wouldn’t find a replacement for all of the commanding transfer money we would get for him, 0.

  28. LAzer

    I think we may have already been linked with 15-20 players PRIOR to June 1st. Remarkable, but I suppose there’s a bad economy out there and the struggling newspapers need to sell copies and generate more Ad revenue from “gossip” news websites.

  29. tonyadamsisgod

    Morning all….

    I hope the Gallas rumours aren’t true. We need to keep him and release Toure (that was hard to say)!! But I guess you never know, maybe we would see the Toure of old return….he’s still young enough to find his way again.

    But it is looking more and more likely that my prediction of us needing to buy 2 CB’s is edging closer. Lets say Hangeland is the first….who would the second be? I’d settle for a cheap Taylor or Bassong from Newcastle perhaps? Or maybe the same with Wheater from ‘brough?

    Anyone think of any other talented CB’s that would be happy to be 3rd choice CB?

  30. tonyadamsisgod

    Lazer – I hope that wasn’t a reply to my question! I’d take him at 4th at a push but you have to remember the ACN!!

  31. kelsey

    I was going to give my thoughts,but i am fed up with always being the last post before it says NEW POST 🙂