10 point Christmas plan complete | Player troubles ahead of Spurs | Arsenal injury news

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rainy emirates

Let’s just start by saying it was cold. It was wet. It was fiercely windy. Anyone bitching about the atmosphere from the comfort of Twitter should take their laptop outside in the garden when it next monsoons. The noise levels were fine considering the game on offer was bland, everyone was hungover and the conditions were disgusting.

Onto the game. Wenger was forced to make mad changes to the starting lineup. Giroud has damaged his leg, Ozil, Rambo, Gibbs were all on the treatment table and plenty of others were also carrying knocks. It was a massive game. If they boys succeeded, we’d remain top of the league for a week and a half or so until the Villa game.

We controlled the opening stages. Cardiff hadn’t come with any sort of adventurous game plan. Defend, hold on for dear life and pinch a goal if possible seemed to be the thinking. We just needed the three points.

Jack played a nice call over the top to Theo early on, he could only slice into the side netting. We were creating half openings but there was a quite casual nature to the game if I’m honest.

Why Arsene started Podolski through the middle is beyond me. He let’s grudges get in the way of logic. Nik B was fit, sharp and he’s not too dissimilar to Giroud in style. Important when the team has played with Giroud 99% of they season. Instead, he opts for Podolski who has barely played a game, doesn’t boast the physicality needed to be a loan striker and does not have the ability to hold the ball up.

This decision resulted in Arsenal opting for long balls over the top. A view of what the world would look like with Theo as the main striker. Due to this tactic, we lost width down the right and effectively ruled Sagna out of the game.

We did create chances though. Wilshere had a shout for a penalty when he was bundled over in the box. Theo shot wide from 10 yards when fed in by Santi.

Down our end, Mutch took a free run at our goal and had a shot well blocked by Chezzer. Defending was a touch casual from Koscielny. There was also a shout for handball when Monreal had the ball rifled at his digits. Never. You have to pick the ball up to get a penalty these days.

Outside that, the collapse of the gutter on the roof was about as interesting as it got. The poor buggers below got totally drenched.

The second half wasn’t particularly interesting until about 60 minutes. By this time, I’d been introduced to something called ‘Bovril’… an interesting drink I can tell you.

Jack Wilshere weaved his way into the box and fired off a shot that rattled the woodwork. I have to be honest, it was right in my line of sight and it looked to me like the keeper touched it onto the post. Needless to say, no damn corner.

Arsene decided to make his subs relatively early. He took off Flamini and the woeful Podolski and he brought on Rosicky and Nik Bendtner. Both made an immediate impact. Straight away we had shape in the forward line. Width was restored (kind of)  and we had a target man. Rosicky came pounding on with energy and zip, despite barely being able to go outside in the training session the day before the game.

The man who nearly had the biggest impact was Per Mertesacker. Clearly believing no one would notice him acting as a striker because he looks a little like Bendtner when wet. He nipped in at the back post and glanced two headers wide in exactly the same fashion. At that point, wet and sodden, you started to think, ‘is this going to be one of those days?’… and I did wish the cameras would stop pointing at Vincent Tan and his smug face.

Our moment came though, Sagna latched onto a ball into the box, his downward header was parried by Marshall, Nik B read the possible parry and nipped in to slam home emphatically! What a relief! So much man love went off in my row. We all totally lost the plot! Incredible relief.

Theo Walcott still had time to finish off the game with a goal. He was slipped through after some great pass exchanges between Rosicky and Wilshere, he floated his shot over the keeper with a lovely chipped effort.

The game was closed out, we’d taken the three points and delivered on the 10 point Christmas plan. Excellent work from the boys.

Concluding Points

Rotation worked

I said before the game, if Wenger made heavy rotations and we’d drawn, he’d have been reluctant to do the same moving forward if he had key players available. You heard him say before the Newcastle game that he’d have played Ozil if he was fit. The manager can’t resist going all out. Hopefully, he’ll see that if he trusts the fringe players, they can do a job. He’s not damned if he does damned if he doesn’t, this season, like all Premiership seasons will be won and lost on how fresh managers can keep their players. ‘Play your best side’ mentality died out about 10 years ago. It’s not possible anymore. You have a highly paid squad so you can play them. Players like Monreal, who was excellent yesterday, need more games. They need to have match sharpness. Same with Gnabry. He’s more than capable, so give him a run out every now and then, so if Theo picks up a knock, we have some pace and form ready to inject into the side.

Everyone wants to play striker

Look, at the game yesterday, I thought Theo was one of our best players. He was a part of everything. He battled, he took shots, he made himself available. But when you watch the game back, he was trying to do the job of Podolski. He wants to play centrally and he makes a beeline when he can to prove he can do it. That restricted us down the right and ruled Sagna out of the overlap. On Lukas, can we all stop pushing him as a central striking option. He’s not technical enough to play with his back to goal, he’s not physical enough and his running off the ball leaves a lot to be desired at the highest level. He’s brilliant out wide. That’s where he should play. Nik B, for me, when he plays like that, can be just as effective as Giroud. Yesterday he ran the channels, he looked for the ball, he brought players into the game and he posed a real threat. Take away the hugely bad press he gets for being an egomaniac and you have a pretty decent player there. It was great that he got a goal, his third if you include the legit goal he scored against City… nice to see the crowd chant his name. Such a shame he picked up a knock.

Players dead

Don’t expect a magical team against Spurs this weekend. Apparently the reason he played Flamini and Arteta yesterday wasn’t tactical, it was because he had no other options. Players are totally washed out. We’re not just talking ‘redzone’ here, we’re talking about players carrying minor knocks as well. So this weekend, he won’t be rotating, he’ll be preventing serious injuries. The underlying problems of rest still haunt Arsenal, we’re getting away with it at the moment, but I’d imagine we were probably the only team in the league that had the players in all over the Christmas period. Not good for the body, and in quite a lot of cases, for players with young families, not good for the mind. I do worry our campaign will come undone in the end because of our approach to player welfare.

However, the current batch of knocks is just a short term issue…

Injury news

Giroud will be back from his injury for the Villa game. He should be joined by Ozil, which is great news. Chambo starts full training next week, so he could make a bench appearance for the Villa game. Massive news as that gives us a very good option in midfield and outwide. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can offer us in the second half of the season.

Even better news is that Rambo should be back in the side for the Fulham game. He’ll be rested and ready for the run in. That’s also another thing I wanted to point out, the odd 8 day break here and there isn’t enough to bring a player back to full health. It’s quite frightening how many people make sarcastic comments to me about the ‘red zone’ online. I don’t have access to databases, but I think it’s quite apparent as injuries pile up that the squad isn’t in great shape at the moment. There are plenty of places to find info around this sort of stuff if you’re still of the mindset that fitness isn’t one of the most important aspects of taking  the league crown.

Striker

Sadly, there’s no Nik B for at least a couple of weeks. So the urgency for signing a striker just kicked up a gear. I have no idea who we’re chasing. I just hope there’s a plan. I’d imagine there’s probably quite a lot of appeal when it comes to joining Arsenal. Massive wages, title contending side, being supplied by some of the most in form players around. The stumbling blocks are going to be clubs who are competing won’t want to sell in January and players who are in the sort of form we need them to be in to join us won’t want heading into a world cup. Form can be a temperamental thing…

Next up…

Spurs. It’s always a massive game. They’ll have a manager desperate to make a mark on that job, so he’ll be going all out against us. I think it’s going to be a very tough game for us to win. So let’s see what happens!

P.S. Delaware took incompetence to new levels yesterday. They ran out of food. Nothing quite like cold kids being made to queue up for 15 minutes to be told that. Embarrassing lack of planning from a company that clearly don’t care about anything other than raking in the cash they’re driving from the 25 year contract they were awarded. Arsenal should opt for independents next time.

523 Responses to “10 point Christmas plan complete | Player troubles ahead of Spurs | Arsenal injury news”

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  1. Romford Pele

    I was coming back from a messy one in Manchester so gave my ticket to a friend for the game. Most important thing was that we won. Hopefully we can get some bodies back ASAP. Shame Nik B got injured, could’ve done with a run in the side.

  2. andy1886

    When is Sanogo due back exactly? (I say ‘back’ although I’m not sure he was ever ‘here’ in the first place).

  3. Romford Pele

    Berbatov doesn’t really do it for me, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m also interested to hear when Diaby’s treatment room buddy is back.

  4. goonerDNA

    2 mil Berbatov in this creative side would be a good piece of business plus he’s getting on meaning he won’t be the permanent solution to our problem which won’t be addressed in Jan anyway.

    Case closed!!! get the lazy Bulgarian and lets get on with it.

  5. salman

    Could be a good short term solution but Fulham’s form this season suggests otherwise. To be honest I haven’t seen much of him lately. Will be hard to get someone like Costa at this point of the season.

  6. Mark S

    I don’t think that Berbatov would be a terrible option. I kind of wonder if he would be like how Adebarndoor is right now ie change of scenery=rejuvenated player. We could have him for 6 months and then buy in the summer. He knows the league, and he is a talented player. He also has experience in winning the EPL.

  7. Liquor & Poker

    Massive 3 points yesterday. We simply cannot afford to drop points in those games. I still feel that we need maximum points against any team that isn’t in the top 4 as I simply feel we still have it in our makeup to implode against a Chelsea or a City. I’m not sure when I last felt confident we could turn up and score 3 or 4 against a top side. Not that we need to of course, I will happily take 1-0’s. Great end and start to the year points wise, we now need another striker as a minimum to ensure all the hard work up until now isn’t wasted.

    Interested to know people’s thoughts on who that could realistically be?

  8. Romford Pele

    I also wonder if Berbatov would be a detriment on the good team ethic we’ve built up.

    To be honest, I have no real idea who we could get.

  9. kofieghan4

    Important win and great start to the new year
    Hopefully all these “scrappy”,”go 1 nil up and see the game out” a la Newcastle wins make us champions come May……
    Striker or no striker lets all stay positive till may.lets all put our personal dislikes for whoever aside and support our team till the season is over.
    If the team fucks up,which i sincerely hope not,then we’ll all have earned the right to have a good go at whoever we choose to.
    First time poster from Ghana.
    Hope you guys are nice to me
    Happy new year Pedro n thanks for this wonderful platform u provide us overseas fans.been reading for a year now.cracking place.

  10. Jim

    Sam – how was Berba a flop at United? He was the PL top scorer the season before Fergie decided to drop him!

    It does reek of a quick fix, but would be an asset to the squad.

  11. gazzap

    We want a sparky, busy striker like suarez (not him but that kind of energy). We don’t want a lazy kind of striker. Hard work is all important these days. What a good modern striker does is keeps the goals against figure down too, but it’s not something people think about very much.

  12. gambon

    Dont expect us to sign a player, despite Wenger saying he would be.

    We NEVER seem to sign any players from a position of strength.

    Pretty much all our signings in recent years have been made as a reaction to an issue or a full blown crisis.

    We never go out and strengthen, so i dont expect it now.

    Berbatov? Think he could be inspired, and an outstanding signing.

  13. goonerDNA

    “Stop using giroud as scapegoat to big up shit players.”

    Those are simple facts

    And I don’t give a fuck who you played for

  14. Romford Pele

    Gazzap, you make a good point there. The overall contribution has to be there. I don’t know if Berbatov brings enough of that.

  15. Simon

    Hi Sam
    which proper striker did you have in mind that wants to leave their club and that their club is prepared to sell midway through a season?

  16. Romford Pele

    What’s that, 5 in 5 for Welbeck now?! I like. As I said, play him up top and you see his contribution. RVP isn’t getting younger either so it’s a good chance for Danny to stake his claim.

  17. eric

    No matter how difficult it seems or wenger make it seem, there’re always abundant and competent strikers who will jump at the opportunity of playing for us. It’s just wenger’s ‘incompetence’ that is the stumbling block. As obvious as it seems that the team needs a much better finisher, he see’s it the other way round.

  18. Sam

    Anyway, Sanogo is almost fit
    I am not sure why we are discussing a new striker.
    He’s looking strong with ze mental strength to play for us
    What’s his first name again? Wtf

  19. Charlie Boy

    Great post Pedders!

    As with a few fellow posters, I too think Berbatov would be a good addition to the side. And let’s not forget the quality of service he’s gonna get from our lads – should be a no-brainer until Summer when we can hopefully get a WC striker.

    Regarding the game, I thought most of the lads played pretty well despite the horrid conditions. As usual though, lots of chances not converted (yes Per, you’re one of the culprits) and left to a last few minutes nail-biter!

  20. gambon

    Cant understand why anyone would be against Berbatov.

    He would be an extremely experienced, high quality, very short term option.

    I would never want him as a strategic addition, but Wenger fucked up this summer by not buying anyone at CF.

    Berbatov this week, then in the summer:

    – Costa
    – Pogba
    – Ginter
    – A goalkeeper

  21. Sam

    Simon,

    If wenger signs berbatov we should rush him out of the door
    The guy now has obsession with tall shit pointless strikers,

    Giroud, bendtner, sanogo now add berbatov

    Oh my GOd!

  22. ZARgooner

    Gambon couldnt agree more… Berba would be excellent piece of business, ala Larsson to United…

    If Wenger had balls he would buy Balotelli…

    On a side note, Mourinho has said Mata is free to leave… Surely there is always space in any squad for Mata

  23. Mo

    I’d take the mercurial Bulgarian like a shot. When he feels like he might have something to prove, he is one dangerous player.

  24. Bade

    The last 3 games showed we have a basis for a title winning team. At least mentally

    We played without our full strength team on all three occasions. Two away games with 3 days separating them.

    One where we were trailing in the 2nd half & managed to turn it on its face

    Second away against a very tough in form side, that was looking to get even on us thrashing them last Christmas 7-3 & we managed to win 1-0 when we created very little

    & a home game against an inferior side that came to park the bus & the luck was at their side most of the game. We needed to thaw Nikki B to get us out of jail. Totally mental stuff

    If we get the right additions this January, this could end up as a very special season for us

  25. Romford Pele

    Swansea only signed Bony in the summer, he’s going nowhere anytime soon. Very good striker though and a real sharp shooter.

  26. Romford Pele

    Pogba is about to sign a new contract so unless we wanna break our transfer record again, I don’t see it happening.

    As for Ginter, when we were linked with him in the summer, most people turned their noses up. Now Bayern and Dortmund are interested, some have decided he’s good enough.

  27. Romford Pele

    Ginter can play CB and DM so would be very useful. He’s a big talent though so I’m not sure he’d be coming to be a squad player, especially as he’s trying to force his way into the national side.

  28. nuudles

    Fantastic fight in the second half from the team, you could see that we really wanted the win despite the horrid conditions.

    No Berbatov for me. Giroud gets a lot of chances because he works hard to get into the right positions. Dont get me wrong, Berba is a fantastic finisher, but you need more than that. There is a reason why he plays for Fulham… I am sure there are tons of gettable better CF options out there.

    Big props to NikB, he was shunned because of his massive ego and poor behaviour. One can see he is working hard and it shows that if you perform on the pitch the fans will get behind you! We have always known he has the ability…

  29. Savage

    I’m all for signing a great striker, but Giroud and NB picking up two-week knocks doesn’t require a new signing on a 3/4-year contract, particularly if the striker is no better than those two. That’s why you don’t put the general panic-stricken public in charge of a football transfer policy.

    I think we would have seen more rotation and substitutions had we been winning games earlier. I’m struggling to remember a game this season that was out of sight by 60 minutes – can you?

  30. Oh Theo Theo!

    Berbatov? Well only if it’s a 6 month deal – as when season’s over we don’t want him hanging around drawing big money and not playing.

    But he could do a job if motivated. Big if. If Fergie couldn’t motivate him, not sure how Wenger will….

    Surely just draw out the £50m from a cash point and go get a decent striker – Spanish team’s are broke – just go get the best striker in spain outside the top 2. Not really very hard.

  31. nuudles

    We should buy Mata through another club who would loan him to us immediately with the option to “buy” in the summer (probably not allowed…). Fantastic player, cannot believe he is being treated that way. Seems as if Jose picks someone to pick on (Kaka at RM), what a class act Jose is (sarcasm).

  32. Oh Theo Theo!

    Remy’s the only one we should be looking at. Hernandez isn’t all that and just discussed Berba. Too risky.

    Remy can finish is approaching his peak and could give us 2-3 good seasons and would get a hatful of goals with this midfield. And 12-15m isn’t a lot. Although I think there’s a rule about being registered for 3 clubs in one season, so may not be a goer.

  33. Bamford13

    Sam

    Berbatov may be a bit lazy, and he may have played for hated rivals, but he is anything but “shit”. He’s a very talented player. Not sure what you’re so angry about.

    gambon

    I see your point re how Wenger only moves out of weakness, but how are we not in a position of weakness at moment? B/c we’re top of the table? B/c we could still play Podolski (!) or Theo (!) up top?

    To me we look like we have a serious problem on our hands. No?

  34. gambon

    So funny seeing people turning their nose up at Berbatov, who is 3x the player Giroud is.

    Last 2 seasons:

    Giroud: 19 goals from 170 shots
    Berbatov: 19 goals from 109 shots

    Lets not talk bollocks like “Giroud gets a lot of chances because he works hard to get into the right positions.” – This is just a plain lie, Girouds goals are almost all from 5 yards out, very easy finishes.

    When he gets a chance thats remotely difficult he utterly flounders, as you may remember in the Everton, Chelsea, West Ham and Newcastle games.

    Berbatov isnt the world class CF we need, but hes able to come in and fit immediately within the team.

  35. Sam

    It’s a waste of time

    I know that this season Is for Giroud, I really doubt wenger will buy someone better to bench him. That’s why players like Akpom are still banished from the first team.
    Akpom did outplay giroud in pre-season n disappeared, not even one minute of football all season. Bendtner fit the bill the role because he’s shit, less likely to display speed, dribble and accurate shots so he cannot bench giroud.

    IMO wenger doesn’t want anyone better than giroud, at least till summer.

  36. gambon

    Dream10

    Witsel?

    Top top player, huge Arsenal fan.

    Not worth discussing though, he would cost a fortune and have huge wages. We wont be after him.

    I can just about believe Wenger may spend big of a CF, but he wont on a CM.

    I still think theres a 50% chance Ozil was a one off to placate fans for the next 5 years.

  37. The Poldi Prince

    Berba would be fine for a stop gap. Nothing world beating is out there. He will only need to play 5 games. And with service, he is a much better finiser than giz could ever hope to be.

    Giz has his place, and good on bendtner for taking his chance again. Is actually a pretty good all around player when fit. His mid range passing is well above average.

    I wonder how many he would’ve had if he was fit and motivated and played the games giz has. Reckon giroud has missed ten sitters and probably another 10-20 excellent chances.

  38. g0tch34ted

    I don’t think Giroud deserves the bashing he gets from some of you but we do need someone. To be fair Berba would be a great shout on the cheap and think he’d be happy to go back to the top.

    As for the “best in Spain”, we won’t be getting Costa in January, if at all. So that leaves Javi Guerra … who aside from this season has done nothing before. I’d rather not bother.

  39. Romford Pele

    I may be wrong but I generally don’t think Wenger wants Remy. It’s like a similar case to Gourcuff. Been linked with the player for years. I just don’t think Wenger is particularly interested and neither am I really. While he’s a decent finisher, other aspects of his game are lacking. He has the first touch of a rapist too. Kos shut him down so easily the other day. When the space in behind is nullified, he’s pretty useless.

  40. gambon

    “Akpom did outplay giroud in pre-season n disappeared, not even one minute of football all season”

    There is no one who likes Giroud as a player less than me here, but this is complete and utter bollocks.

    You are obsessed with kids, its ridiculous. Wouldnt you be happier on “young Guns” or some other pathetic site that wants Yennaris as the first team captain?

    Giroud was on fire in pre-season, and to compare a kid thats just turned 18 and cant even sustain a good run of form at reserve level to a 27 year old thats going to the world cup is ridiculous.

  41. Romford Pele

    I don’t think Ozil would’ve signed unless he thought we were heading in the right direction and would be competitive for years to come. Wenger sold him a dream and he has to stick to that. If he’s lying then Ozil could pack his bags quickly and get a new club if he wanted.

  42. Dan T

    “Akpom did outplay giroud in pre-season n disappeared”

    I don’t think Giroud is the answer to all our problems, but he had a brilliant pre-season. Better than Akpom.

  43. Romford Pele

    I do kind of feel sorry for Akpom. He’s been marginalised at reserve level after Afobe’s return. They’re playing the dude out on the left FFS! That said, Akpom will have to work extremely hard to make it here, which I don’t think he will, despite how much I like him.

  44. nuudles

    Gambon, I disagree, yes Giroud scores most of his goals from close range but in many of those he also had a hand in creating the goal, like a give and go or a good run to lose his man (he also does this very often to create space for others and pull the opposition apart). Yes Berbatov is by far the most gifted of the two and some of his goals are sublime, but his work rate is just way too low and there is a reason why Fergie let him go… If he was not good enough for ManU back then, he is surely not good enough for us now. That said some players do get a second wind when they want to prove their earlier managers wrong.

    All said, if it was a choice between Berba for 6 months or no strijer coming in I would choose him, I would also choose him over many other CFs, but I hope our aspirations are higher than that.

  45. Dream10

    gambon

    Witsel is a tremendous player. He gas that athleticism that Arteta and Flamini do not posess.
    The PSG chairman is sniffing around Paul Pogba, so I think he is gone.
    I think Axel would be cheaper than Pogba as well, as he is playing in Russia.

    Ozil is a brilliant talent. But I feel we need more athletes in the team. I would have have signed a DM and a CM for 42-45million. Fernando from Porto and Witsel would have made us more robust.

    The pretty players will shine when physically robust players give them a platform to star. Four Cazorlas or Ozils ain’t gonna nothing for you when the going gets tough

  46. karim

    so many people bashing the team after City, expecting a loss vs Chelsea ( hi gambon )

    no one mentions the 3 VITAL wins without key players !

    well done arsenal !

  47. Guns of brixton

    Someone mentioned Remy, he isnt avaliable this window. hes season- long loan contract doesnt allow him too.

    Draxler (summer target) has a fucking 40m buyout clause. who the fuck is gona trigger that!?

  48. Emiratesstroller

    Good solid article. Agree with you entirely about conditions. Anyone going to the match would have encountered similar conditions to those played in the
    game. It was not a match to play pretty football.

    Podolski is not a striker. Frankly he is now a ‘luxury’ player best used to come off bench when teams are tired. This is when he finds space and scores goals.

    We have few striker options on Saturday. Bluntly I would play Walcott up front with Gnabry out wide.

    Flamini and Arteta are NOT a good central midfield combination, but as suggested the options were limited yesterday. Let us hope that by Aston Villa match Ozil is match fit, because we need his composure, invention and fluidity in team.

    SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS [JANUARY TRANSFER WINDOW]

    We need to find a striker, but preferably someone on loan or who will cost a
    minimum transfer fee. We must not waste a lot of money on an expensive option who is unlikely to be a long term solution.

    I would also like to see Arsenal invest in a talented right footed centre back. I
    am nervous that we have only three players on our books.

    LONG TERM SOLUTIONS [JULY OR EARLIER]

    We need to tie up Sagna, because there are other positions in team which need strengthening rather than right back. Giving him a new contract is cheapest option.

    We need a second string goalkeeper who will compete with Szczesny. Fabianski and Viviano are unlikely to be at club beyond June.

    The club needs to bring in a quality defensive midfield player. Personally I don’t think that Arteta or Flamini are good enough regular first team players.

    A top quality striker is a must. This should be our major investment next season. That will cost serious money.

    Anyone who believes that Arsenal are going to spend £70 million on transfers
    in next two transfer windows is deluding themselves. We have spent already
    net £30 million in this tax year. At most Wenger will spend £10-15 million in
    January.

    Arsenal will not be spending big money in Summer, because we have few players in our squad that he is likely to wish to offload apart from those whose
    contracts expire then and likely to leave on bosman.My guess is that at most
    we will have a budget of perhaps £50 million including perhaps £10-12 million
    from sales included in that figure.

  49. gambon

    nuudles

    Im not sure what youre expecting?

    We’re not signing Costa, or Lewandowski, or Lukaku, or Benzema in January.

    We need someone that can come in, push Giroud, play when needed, and offer goals from the bench.

    If we can spend £2m, and get a 32 year old with 8 years PL experience who has scored 100 PL goals and 50 international goals then its a no brainer!

    I agree we need better, but I would love to be able to throw Berbatov in against Aston Villa in 2 weeks, or even as a sub next season.

  50. gambon

    Dream

    I agree we need more athletes.

    For me we need one in midfield and one up front.

    Pogba and Costa for example would be outstanding.

    Agree Pogba is more than likely never going to happen, but we could do with something similar.

  51. nuudles

    Before you say I value Giroud too highly, there are many many strikers I would have rather than him, he is probably just barely in the top 10 in the league for pure CF play, not to mention the wider Europe…

  52. Romford Pele

    An athletic DM and ST are both needed but this is nothing new. We’re gonna have to get stop gaps until then.

  53. jasongms

    berbatov should be an absolute last option . for me personally he has that cringe factor about him ( playing for both spurs and united ) . That being said he could easily come in and do a job for us , the same way Benayoun did .
    Again last resort………..we should have our targets already in place NOW ,irrespective of bendtners/giroud injuries .

    I some what disagree with you gambon … Sure Arsene has mainly bought recently when we were in deep crisis . yet he has also bought quality in this window ie Reyes and Arshavin . So it wouldn’t be a great surprise to see him bring in quality .

  54. TitsMcgee

    Berbatov would be welcome by me. Not least because he’s somebody that can score half chances. He doesn’t live off of tap-ins .

    He’s not the Suarez, Costa kinda player we ideally need but as someone said earlier Wenger fcukkked up the summer so beggars can’t be choosers.

    Completely avoidable situation if it weren’t for cheapness.

    Regarding Bony, I admit I didn’t like him coming from the Dutch league he looked like he scuffed a lot of his shots but he certainly has hit the ground running here.

  55. Guns of brixton

    We should of signed David Villa last year or 2 years ago, whenever he was avaliable, would have been immense for us.

  56. ArsenalJoe

    Funny to see Gambon leaving out the assist statistics for his comparison of Giroud and Berbatov. which are vital in my opinion.

    You really think Berba would be the better option in our team? Mental. Completely different strikers, do you think our midfielders/wingers would score half the goals they do with Berbatov playing up front? Great touch but lazy as fuck. So much of our play goes through Giroud which is what people fail to understand. The team is set up for him.

    Also brings me on to a quick comment about the post. You’re right Pedro, it seemed the team weren’t used to playing with a pacy man up front who can’t play with his back towards goal. (Podolski) but isn’t that who we’d be trying to sign in January/the summer? Albeit someone who can play the role properly. Podolski should be left on the wing.

  57. nuudles

    Balotelli is surely worth a punt? Yes he is a character (putting it mildly), but he is also quite fantastic when he wants to be. Having him in the team will also not mean Giroud is relegated to the bench permanently. I think we finally have a good team leadership structure such that the more mature players will not allow him to destabilise the team too much.

  58. Dream10

    RomfordPele

    I have not watched Akpom play at youth level. Is he capable of making an impact at a Crystal Palace, Norwich, Cardiff or a promotion chasing side?

  59. g0tch34ted

    Fabianski and Viviano are unlikely to be at club beyond June.

    ——-
    See this is what I thought. Was surprised to see Viviano is on the 2014 calendar … in October nonetheless.

  60. Romford Pele

    Nuudles – nobody likes Balotelli more than me and he has the potential to be the best in the world. That said, it’s an incredibly risky signing due to his nutty personality. Stranger things have happened and it’d be a true master stroke if Wenger could tame him. A physical monster like him is what I want. Temperament, attitude and work rate are to be questioned though.

  61. TitsMcgee

    An athletic DM and ST are both needed but this is nothing new. We’re gonna have to get stop gaps until then.”

    The irony of this just makes me shake my head at Wenger.

    Both were needed in summer and he did nothing.

  62. Dissenter

    Injuries are pretty common this time of the year. Playing so many games on wet and cold days will hurt no matter what. These injuries aren’t unique to us.

    The game on Saturday feels more like a distraction to me. We don’t have the squad size to handle this. Wish it weren’t spuds though cos we can’t afford to lose to the newbie coach.

  63. Leedsgunner

    Gambon is right — since 2006, Wenger has never negotiated from position of strength but he has always acted in response to a crisis. Although I would love the team to keep this winning run going, the hierarchy at AFC are counting on us winning against the lesser sides of the Premiership to fade the memories of how we were exposed as lacking against Man City, Man United and to a lesser extent Chelsea. The sad thing is, if Wenger had signed a decent striker in the summer, we could have had won against Man United and Chelsea… and we were five minutes from drawing with Cardiff yesterday, an opportunistic strike by Bendtner doesn’t change that fact.

    Don’t get me wrong, I want us to win every game. However, if we do this month, it’ll most likely mean our club will hide behind the good results and not sign anyone. The Ozil signing was a statement of intent, but it was also a response to the crushing loss to Villa. Wenger was acting to save his skin.

    Then when we face our traditional rivals in February and March, the squad will revert to form and will probably crumble. Obviously, I hope not, but bitter experience tells me otherwise. By then it will be too late to anything… and Kronke Jr and Sr will be blissfully counting their cash.

    If we want to win against Man United, City and Chelsea, we need to strengthen and we need to do it now. If we want to have a chance against Bayern Munich and progress in the Champions’ League we need to strength and we need to do it now. We have a good chance of doing something great, but we need to strengthen and do it now. No use saying at the end of the saying, “If only.” The time to strengthen is now… not the summer.

  64. Romford Pele

    Dream10, Akpom has a lot of good attributes. A loan is definitely what he need right now so we can assess where he’s at. I was a bit disappointed with the Sanogo signing as it cockblocked Akpom. Akpom impressed in pre-season and showed a lot of good things. He’s 18 and still has time on his hands. Hopefully a promotion chasing side will come in for him.

  65. Gunnershabz

    Just finished watching premier league years

    Anelka was a beast of a striker am sure he was only like 18/19

    Great finishing and pace, love to have a player like him now

    Nwankwo Kanu was just brilliant best close control on a player I’ve seen in those days that ball stuck like glue on him and that goal against spuds flick over young and drilled it

  66. Guns of brixton

    Keep an eye on Manduzukic he looks on the way out (probably summer tbh) especially if Lewandowski to bayern is true.
    Juve have been flirting with him since summer.

  67. Charlie Boy

    My formation for the Spuds game:

    Shezza

    Sagna – BFG – Kozza – Monreal

    Flamini (sub: Arteta)

    Cazza – Jack (sub: Rosicky)

    Gnabry – Poldi (sub: Gibbs)

    Theo

  68. GoonPharm

    Rumours doing the rounds that PSG lining up a MASSIVE bid for Leo Messi.

    They have Naymer now and Messi has dodgy hammies. Could be sold I reckon as Barca need some rebuilding to do…

  69. Dream10

    Berbatov velvet touch and intelligence will benefit Ramsey’s and Walcott’s runs.
    Our only objective should be to win the Premier League Title. Utd, Chelsea will upgrade next summer. Big chance for us.

  70. azed

    Gambon
    The problem with Berbatov is Wenger. If we sign Berbatov, we can kiss good bye to buying a striker in the Summer.

  71. GoonPharm

    Kanus ridiculous hat trick vs the Chavs was his best AFC moment. His third goal where he finished from the byline was sublime. Still remember Bergkamp running onto the pitch and polishing kanus boot as a celebration. Awesome times.

  72. TitsMcgee

    “They have Naymer now and Messi has dodgy hammies. Could be sold I reckon as Barca need some rebuilding to do…”

    That would be massively idiotic.

    He is worth much more to them on the roster than a transfer fee.

  73. jasongms

    Leedsgunner

    Totally agree .. the league is ours for the taking , but we need to strengthen NOW . Go out and get that striker , whether it be Costa or Balotelli .Cause you just know that’s exactly what chelski is going to do ! If Costa goes to Chelski just like mata and hazard did !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  74. David Bolo

    That loss at Old Trafford gets more annoying when you see the stats. ManU have only won once against teams in the top 8 and that was against us.

  75. Dissenter

    Perfect scenario will be for Sanogo to come back from his physio vacation the third week of January and score a scrappy goal against Fulham.
    Arsene Wenger will use that to validate his decision not to buy. Sanogo will then do a Diaby in February till the end of May.

  76. Gunnershabz

    Am sure anelka was with us for two seasons bought him for £500k when he was 17 but 2 seasons he gone but what a striker he was

  77. Leedsgunner

    If Wenger can’t trust Akpom and Afobe to make the step up when the first team regulars are out, they really shouldn’t be at the club. If the club seriously isn’t going to rush into the market for the striker we need, we really have no alternative except for those lads to show us what they are made of. I would have loved to have seen Akpom have a run out against both West Ham and Cardiff… because even as a reserve player they should be good enough to compete against the likes of Cardiff and West Ham. Would have given us more option than Miyachi… the new Inamoto as far as I’m concerned. What a waste of place on the bench… feel sorry for him really.

  78. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s be realistic Wenger will not spend in summer transfer window more than £30-40 million on a single player. If he does spend that amount on a striker then I am pretty sure that he will not have more than £10-12 million to strengthen other positions in team unless he is making sales.

    The only sales which Wenger might make are Vermaelen, Monreal,Podolski
    and Cazorla. None of these players are likely to realise serious money, because of their age.

    If he sells any of these players then he will need additional replacements to
    those I listed.

  79. GoonPharm

    Berbatov? Fuck no. He’s never been a team player even when he was younger. I don’t give a fuck how many goals he’s scored for Fulham. The reason we’re clicking this year is because of solid work ethic and solid teamwork – two things Berbatov wouldn’t now what they were even if it belted him in the face.

    The man is a selfish cunt of the highest order. There was a reason why Fergie froze him out in his last two seasons at united even though his stats were on par with rooney and tevez.

    Bentdner and Ground are out for a 2-4 weeks. In that time we have games that we should be able to win without them. If we can’t then we don’t deserve to win anything. ManU last year at one point had to play Carrick as a centre back because of injuries yet they won the league COMFORTABLY.

  80. Aaron Lemon

    Happy new year everyone!
    Really happy with the results recently, congratulations to the team and the manager. Unbelievable that we’re top of the league really. Let’s hope, to use Usmanov’s adage, that the club fully equips the manager/he fully equips himself to go and win the league now. To be top on New Year’s Day and spend nothing in January to try and keep us there is a sackable offence in the eyes of many and certainly my eyes. We may be top but as the last few blog posts have shown, that is under serious threat. We need a defender, a striker and probably even a midfielder.

    I would love to see Park leave. I would also love to never hear the name Sanogo mentioned in serious consideration as a squad member.

    We’re rumoured to be chasing some random players as usual…January should be an exciting window for us. Our biggest problem is the world cup. For me, you take your best players regardless of form (what I mean is, this seems to happen, rather than that’s how I think it should be) but even so, players are reluctant to risk their spot on the plane by moving in Jan and upsetting their season. Let’s hope we offer a top striker enough golden nuggets to take the risk. I almost don’t care who, but I would really prefer it NOT to be someone from Ligue 1. That really is a criminally average league where the average defence performs like a mid-table Championship side.

    ESPN released an interesting article not long ago about players who come from Spain and get better when they join the prem. Negredo is a fantastic example. Considered as average by many, not good enough for us/ not the person we need by most…clearly the guy just needed to be in a better team.

    With that in mind I’d love for us to go to the best teams in Spain and try and sign truly world class players. If Diego Costa is the man who can win us the league then the price should barely be a factor. I hope that we see this window as an opportunity and I have to admit I am relieved that there is now maximum pressure to sign a striker.

  81. Leedsgunner

    Don’t worry lads, I’m sure Wenger is dithering over our signings even as we speak… prove me wrong Arsene, I dare you!

  82. gambon

    “Funny to see Gambon leaving out the assist statistics for his comparison of Giroud and Berbatov. which are vital in my opinion.”

    Well if you want to include assists.

    Giorud – 8
    Berbatov – 4

    And assists are as important to a striker as goals are to a midfielder. Not the be all and end all.

    Infact have you noticed people only even bring assists, or hilariously the phrase “hold up/link up play” into a conversation about a striker, if said striker is a useless finisher. No one used to talk about Henry or RVPs “link up play”.

    Now Giroud has been playing for Arsenal with the likes of Walcott, Podolski, Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilshere.

    Berbatov has been playing with who exactly?

    “You really think Berba would be the better option in our team? Mental.”

    Yeah, lets not overcomplicate this. Berbatov is just better. Very simple.

    “Completely different strikers, do you think our midfielders/wingers would score half the goals they do with Berbatov playing up front?”

    Yes

    “So much of our play goes through Giroud which is what people fail to understand. The team is set up for him. ”

    Dont give me all that “people fail to understand” bollocks, implying you have some expert insight into football and Arsenal that others dont.

    Giroud passes the ball 30 times per game, with terrible passing completion stats. He touches the ball less that anyone in our team apart from Walcott, so dont talk such bollocks when you say “so much of our play goes through Giroud”

    Very clearly it doesnt.

    It goes through Sagna & Gibbs more than Giroud. It goes through Flamini and Ramsey far more than it does Giroud.

  83. Bamford13

    I guess we have no choice but to play Lukas up top on Saturday. Theo can’t hold the ball up, so that’s not an option.

    And unless Rosicky can start out wide — allowing Cazorla to come inside with Jack —then it looks like we’re set to start just as we did yesterday.

    That’s dispiriting.

    Or we could combine Lukas and Theo up top and switch to a 4-4-2:

    _____________Shz______________
    Sag_____Mer_____Kos____Mon
    _____________Art______________
    Gnab_________Jack_______Cazor
    ________Theo______Podol______

    That might be the best use of what we’ve got. If Podolski shows to the ball, and Walcott makes runs in behind, it combines their strengths (and covers over their weaknesses) into a single striker. Both can finish, too.

    What do you think, Arsene?

  84. Max85

    Can’t see Messi ever leaving Barca, the whole club seems to be built around him. But hypothetically if PSG did get him for an exorbitant sum, that might free up Cavani, my absolute favourite striker about who has the full skillset. Unlikely in pretty much every scenario you can think of, but my dream signing nonetheless!

  85. GoonPharm

    ManU are in rocking the moment. But a 25-30million bid in for Rooney in the summer. He’s in his last two years of his contract and he despises Moyes especially since he came out and said Rooney was back up for RvP.

    Forget Costa, Muriel etc. The guy is a beast. He would take us to the next level definitely.

    With him ;
    – we’ll have the core of the English national team; wilshere, theo, gibbs, chambo. They can only improve with Rooney in the team.
    – proven premier league and world class
    – he’s a massive Ozil fan; he begged Fergie to sign him.
    – he’s openly said he wants to play as the sole frontman; moyes keeps playing as a number 10 or attacking midefielder. Exactly what we want and need
    – he will be adored at AFC.

    We can comfortably afford his wages. If Wenger can talk Ozil into signing for us then Rooney should be no problem.

  86. Bamford13

    gambon

    Would you mind sharing where you go to get all of your statistics/data? You make a lot of good stats-driven arguments, but I don’t know where to go to get such data.

    Many thanks.

  87. Jake

    The quality of the player is irrelevant, what matters is if they improve the team. Berbatov does not do that, he’s like Podolski but less and we’ve seen how that works up front enough times.

  88. gambon

    Man Utd would never sell Rooney to us.

    I would love him. He gets a lot of stick but hes truly world class. He has everything.

    Will never be an Arsenal player unfortunately.

  89. goonerDNA

    I never said Berbatov was the permanent solution to our striker problem but for 2 mil and not being CL tied he’s a very good option till the summer.

    And I stick by my guns Berbatov would score more goals than Giroud given the same chances

  90. Bamford13

    Goonpharm

    Rooney as our central striker would be fantastic. Somehow it’s hard to envision though because it feels like he’ll always be a United player (and therefore the enemy).

    Fantastic player, though. Would give us a chance to beat any team in the world.

  91. Leedsgunner

    GoonPharm

    Nothing wrong with your arguments re Rooney… except one thing. Man United will never sell one of their marquee players to us… especially after we sold them RvP and his goals on them the EPL. Moyes would be afraid of gifting us the EPL in the same way.

  92. GoonPharm

    Gambon do you have inside information re: Rooneys mindset? Are you his agent?

    How can you say with such conviction that it’ll never happen?

    Rooney wants to play in London. His missus wants out from Manchester. I can see Rooney pushing it through in my opinion.

    Make no mistake the.signing of RvP has put his nose out of place. IF united drop out of the top 4 then we should bid for him straight away.

  93. Romford Pele

    Giroud gets chances because he moves very well off the ball. Poldi, despite being a great finisher is a very static player, hence why he hardly gets any chances.

  94. Romford Pele

    Lol GoonPharm, United won’t sell to us because they’re not stupid. Why would they directly strengthen a rival? It makes no sense. The same reason we have no chance of getting Mata despite people constantly harping on about it.

  95. gambon

    “Gambon do you have inside information re: Rooneys mindset? Are you his agent?

    How can you say with such conviction that it’ll never happen?

    Rooney wants to play in London. His missus wants out from Manchester. I can see Rooney pushing it through in my opinion. ”

    Lol so you question me for saying Rooney would never be allowed to join Arsenal, then go on to reveal that you KNOW he wants to play in London, and oh yeah….his wife wants to leave Manchester.

    Pathetic.

    Just cos you want it to happen doesnt mean it will, no matter how many times you close your eyes and wish.

    What are you 12 years old?