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.


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. goonerDNA

    Romford, disagree Podolski doesn’t get those chances because he drops to deep and doesn’t understand playing the position anymore

  2. Guns of brixton


    Then why didnt he make a move to Chelc in the summer? 50m they put down and a player swap as well, Mourhino gave him a 2-day ultimatum to help ‘push’ the deal through, he never done it.

  3. Leedsgunner


    It’s not Rooney that that’s the problem — it’s his club that will not want to sell to us. If Rooney goes Man United will try their best to flog him to a club overseas.

  4. Romford Pele

    DNA, When do you ever see Poldi run in behind? He’s better coming onto the ball. Giroud frustrates me but at least he knows how to get into those positions. It’s not really a case of him not understanding the role, Poldi has never been a lone striker and never will be. He’s good as a support striker but we shouldn’t change formation to accommodate someone who isn’t that great.

  5. Aaron Lemon

    Knowing Wenger he’ll sign someone like Carlos Bacca who is kind of banging them in but nobody really knows of.

  6. Oh Theo Theo!

    Everyone debating Pod up front – he’s not a CF. He’s always played on the left/right as a one of 3 forwards in a 433 or LM of a 4231…

    He specialises in whipping the ball in and cutting in and shooting. Does exactly that for Germany. Very effective.

    Showed against WH how effective he is at that. He’s not equipped as a CF, as he doesn’t have much experience of it.

    WEnger should know that being paid £7m a year!

  7. Romford Pele

    As I said before, after the RVP saga, we won’t be seeing any trading between the top clubs for the foreseeable future. Mourinho wouldn’t even give us Demba Ba FFS lol

  8. Same Story

    Pogba “At Juventus I’m doing fine. I don’t hide the fact that as a child I dreamed of playing for Arsenal and FC Barcelona”

    Didn’t this guy say that he turned down several clubs(including us) because Juve was his dream.

  9. Aaron Lemon

    I may have to concede that after so many arguments in cyberspace, I may be wrong about Podolski being a CF candidate.

    Humility…it’s this new thing I’m trying.

    However, what I will say is this: 1) nobody can say for sure unless he gets a run of games. Giroud seemed to go an eternity before scoring for us and he’s had a horrible dry spell this season already. He is still a good CF though. 2) Podolski mate you actually have to make an effort when you play CF. I believe he can in terms of ability but when he looks like he can’t be arsed because he’s the man up top, it’s unsurprising he appears to flop in that role.

    Being in the middle shouldn’t mean lack of work rate and I think people are realising Giroud’s work rate when the compare to Podolski in the few occasions he’s been played in the middle.

    People talking about Berbatov – this is a guy who is famed for being lazy yet people want us to sign him and they think it will improve us?

    If there’s one thing you should all know by now, it’s that for Arsenal to look good, we need all 11 players playing well and making an effort. When one of our players is off the pace of not making an effort we almost always look rubbish!

    You really want a cranky, arrogant 30-something yr old lazybones to come in to ‘improve us’ ? Come on!! Berba of 3 years ago, maybe. Now? No thanks, I would rather have Bendtner, at least the seems to be trying when he gets on the pitch.

  10. Moray

    We have ONE STRIKER in our first team squad. And Bendtner, who will leave in June (and has been leaving for years). The least Wenger can do is add Berba to see us through to the summer. With his experience and ability, he will slot right in – this obsession with work ethic is what makes the England national side so poor. If you have enough ability and are surrounded by quality, then it doesn’t matter.

  11. gambon

    Dont think we were in the running for Pogba.

    He agreed to go juve while still under contract at UTD and wasnt even able to negotiate with UK clubs.

    Would love him, but hes no DM, so Wilshere/Ramsey would be in danger if we signed him.

    IMO hes gonna be the “new” Yaya Toure, similar game and immense potential.

  12. Romford Pele

    SS, you’re right. United was also his dream club at one point. Hugely talented player but you know he’ll come with baggage.

  13. Aaron Lemon

    Moray – that’s a theory that is virtually never proven correct, sorry. Average strikers do not get many goals and you certainly get nowhere in the prem without hard work.

    Berba has talent but he never shows it. Fulham have a very talented midfield yet they are struggling for goals because Berba only turns up for 10 mins a week.

    There are so many more viable options.

  14. Leedsgunner

    People who deride Poldi as a poor striker should have another look at the German team in the past five years. Poldi works naturally very well with a tall physical striker… and he was a natural foil to Klose. I for one, am confounded why we couldn’t try a 442 formation when Oliver is back fit… Oliver is mobile brings others into play, with finishing his weakness. Poldi is a good finisher with 46 goals for the national team. Surely worth a go?

  15. Bade

    Yeh, but I can but think he was a tad harsh

    Yaya like to be premadonna, but he can also dig hard against top teams

    I think it’s also down to Fernandinho not offering the right cover, just like Flammy did with Cesc back in the day

  16. Romford Pele

    Leeds, we have 587,000 midfielders. Where do we play all of them if we go 442? 442 has its uses but there is nothing wrong with our current formation. Just that personnel could be better in certain areas.

  17. Romford Pele

    Bade – did you see Yaya against Bayern at the Etihad? He looked like a lost kid in a jungle. That game was one of the very reasons you don’t play 442 at the highest level. If you’re gonna play two in midfield, neither can shirk their defensive duties. Yaya is a great player, but positionally he’s suspect – interestingly it’s the same criticism I have of Rambo.

  18. reality check


    One game up front and we write him off?
    Abit premature, not saying hes the answer but…. Henry didnt hit the ground running when he first came. Giroud has had one and a half seasons playing virtually every game including cups… yet still hasn’t convinced.

    This is what theo is moaning about. Give me a few games in a row. Bendtner has also been given enough games to prove his worth up top.

    Im not saying theo or pod are the answer, but before we say giroud or bendtner are better, at least wait until they have bern given a fair go..

    Imagine…. although pod doesn’t hold the ball or bring players in as much, he instead scores goals himself, creates chances for himself and finishes chances created by others more often.

    If this was the case who cares if he does’ t hold the ball up and pass it to walcott who then passes it to sagna who then crosses it for pod ozil wilshere (on the left).

    Its like dzeko holds the ball up better than aguero but ageuro scores more goals than dzeko. .. who would you prefer?

  19. Jake

    reality check

    It’s like 5 games up front where he’s played like that. I wish he played on the left for us every game because he’s so effective but his performance up front definitely wasn’t a one-off.

  20. Romford Pele

    Reality check – Poldi has had ample opportunities up top and has flattered to deceive pretty much everytime. I’d much rather Bendtner upfront than him.

  21. Bade


    I don’t know why people cancelled playing 3 midfielders in a 442?

    We used to do it for ages with Parlour, Freddie etc

    Back in the day we had 2 holding midfielders on the middle, another one tricky (Pires) in the left flank & another battler on the right & two strikers

    It worked magic for us

  22. Moray

    Aaron, we need someone who can break down a parked defence, like we saw yesterday. A bit of magic and a clinical finish.

    He’s not a long term solution by any means

    Also I’m not sure there are many viable solutions around in Jan. If we land a Benteke or a Remy then we are stuck with them and Giroud as our point strikers for the next few years. Wenger will not buy again in that position. And the world class players are highly unlikely to move particularly 6 months ahead of a world cup. Expect a 6 month loan deal for someone – just hope they have the motivation we need as every game counts now.

  23. Bero

    We’re being linked with Barbatov.. God help us!

    Remy I keep saying is not a bad shout but how does this work with the loan situation? Can we force a recall from QPR or does it not work like that? Can the player force it through? He would surely bite someone to join us… That makes him as good as sure right?

    On poldi… I love him as a player, I got him on the back of my shirt last year. But a CF he is not. Great direct LW player, terrible CF. And for anyone saying it’s because he’s not fit that’s rubbish. He plays the same way every time we stick him up top.

  24. Romford Pele

    RC, Also comparing Aguero with Dzeko is silly. Aguero may be short, but he is strong, stocky, a good finisher, decent dribbler etc. You see he has many facets to his game which means playing him up top isn’t a risk. Poldi doesn’t really bring anything to the table up top by himself.

  25. Aaron Lemon

    @Reality Check

    This is it, he hasn’t had a run. He needs a run of games there and to be allowed to grow into the role, he hasn’t had a run as a CF for a long long time. But he also has to try and he looks like he isn’t when Wenger puts him there. A good run and a lot of effort could reap nice results, but will we ever know? Doubt it.

  26. Romford Pele


    The game has changed compared to 10 years ago mate. It’s all about dominating the midfield. You give yourself a great chance of winning the game if you succeed there. It’s why hardly any top side plays 442 anymore, especially in big games. I’m not saying that 442 doesn’t have its uses but people prefer to play with a playmaker rather than have a second striker these days. Rightly so in my opinion.

  27. Moray

    June should be interesting anyway. We could say goodbye to Rosicky, Diaby, Vermaelen…it would be nice to bring in some natural width instead of these CM clones.

  28. Romford Pele

    I remember there was one game last season where we countering and Poldi was the 5th most advanced player on the pitch despite being the striker. He wasn’t even busting a gut to get into the box either. He’s really not a good reference to play from.

  29. Romford Pele

    Moray – maybe mate, who can predict the future? But for now, playing three in midfield is definitely the best way to go. Also, when you have a striker who is so good, it feels like he is basically two players anyway.

  30. Guns of brixton

    Poldoski was a never a CF, he used to with Klose in the national team, but he would (if you watch the old reels) kinda drift of into poistion to the left of klose, playing behind him, leaving klose like a lone striker.
    i dnt kmw how it worked for him in bayern or koln, but he was NEVER really considered as a CF.

  31. gambon

    4-4-2 and the Sacchi way of playing is a thing of the past.

    Its an efficient formation that covers a lot of the pitch, but its a not as sophisticated as 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 which is a formation for specialists.

    The next change will be to a 3 man defence IMO, something like 3-4-3

  32. runble_in_da_jungle

    Anyone knows if d BFG had been a gunner before joining us. His energy n enthusiasm to see d team succeed speaks.vvolume. Someone @ d game yesterday said per while going off @ d end of d game was asked by 2 German fans why his goals didn’t come off n he replied dt he was saving dem for munich. Dts a legend in d making

  33. Bero

    Can anyone answer how the loan situation works with Remy?

    Can the player force a move? Can QPR force a recall with the purpose of selling on? Can Newcastle be forced to let him go?

    For possible available strikers that are premiership proven he’s the best for me. Ba or lukaku would work too but we know that ain’t happening…

  34. Guns of brixton

    Alrite, thats new, apparently, a friend of mine told me this btw, that with a loan player, if the parent club is offered enough money, they can terminate the loan deal, and sell the player.

  35. stay dench

    romford pele

    Your point about modern football and the rise of midfield dominance and thus having no time 2 strikers is a reasonable one. I would have most certainly agreed with it last season.

    But if you look at football this season the strike partnerships are well and truly back, yes they may be modified but they are still back, rvp rooney, aguero negredo and of course sturridge and suarez, ibra and cavani.

    The only top team in the premier league not to is Chelsea

  36. Aaron Lemon

    If we sign Berba, I hope to God he pushes himself every game. Then it would be a good signing.

    It probably rules out Costa though. I can just picture it now – Costa stays, signs a new deal at AM and then his price is suddenly £50m not £32 or whatever it is. That would most likely rule us out. Surely if we want him, we have to sign him this January?

  37. MarbleHall

    Podolski’s natural position is as a centre forward and not out on the left wing.

    He scored 18 goals for a relegated cologne side playing centre forward

    Wenger said of podolski that he is the best finisher at the club.

    No striker will find consistency if he is not given a run of games in his favoured position or is continually shifted out wide.

  38. stay dench

    Part of the reason and a big part of the reason PODOLSKI FLOPPED at Bayern was because they played him at CF.

    He needs to be our first choice winger.

    He may not be the best dribbler and his not a tricky winger but in someways his better (as often tricky wingers like nani lamela ect are all show and no delivery), his efficient he cuts all the bullshit and does things that look simple but are actually difficult to pull of, Instead of dribbling past his man he loops in a beautiful cross into the box from which was score from.

    His crossing is actually incredible good and he seems to work well with Giroud and Walcott. He also adds a goal a threat which santi recently hasn’t been one.

  39. gambon

    Didnt costa sign a new contract a few months back with a £32m clause?

    Hes not gonna sign another one straight after.

    Berbatov isnt someone i thought we would ever sign, and hes no long term solution, but whos gonna sell us a top player in January?

    I want us to get a big name in the summer, but we wont get one now.

    Also, i think in the short term Berbatov would be a lot more “risk free” than Costa.

    He knows the PL, no need to acclimatise, no need to move house, and he can play in the CL.

    Bendtner and Park will go in the summer so that would mean Giroud and Berbatov would play second and third fiddle to a top CF. (If Arsene is remotely sane)

  40. Jake


    No, he didn’t. I don’t understand people’s infatuation with just making stuff up to fit their argument.

  41. Romford Pele

    Dench – PSG play 4-3-3, Cavani plays to the right. Not a strike partnership mate.

    United – Yes they both play when fit but their inadequecies in midfield have shown them up. Also, of they play 442 against a big side in Europe, they’re heading straight out.

    Liverpool – Yes. But they play once a week. Also, when SAS play together, it’s a 3-5-2 not a 442. They’re not outnumbered in midfield, which was my main point initially.

    City – They can afford to because they’re midfield is ridiculously good. Still, in big games like Chelsea and L’Pool they played 1 upfront. They played 442 against Bayern and had their their butts whooped.

  42. stay dench

    Marble Hall

    The problem is we don’t have the time to experiment.

    We lose one match and we can lose any chance of the title.

    WE nearly didn’t win yesterday if Pod was kept on as CF we likely wouldn’t have.

    Thanks to Bendtner we got a result, I would say Podolski should be given another chance as CF but only if we are winning a game 3-4-0.

  43. gambon

    Yeah for me it should be Theo OR Podolski, and while i prefer Podolski, Wenger clearly doesnt.

    I could actually see Podolski going in the summer to a team like Dortmund/Shalke.

  44. Cesc Appeal

    I can just imagine the skid marks up the road if we sign Berbatov…ohhh an ex Spurs player…ohhhh

    No use telling them, haven’t you got Adebayor? Didn’t you sign Bentley? Etc etc because their caveman brains don’t work like that.

  45. gambon

    “Wenger has often said podolski is the best forward at the club.”

    Lol, i can absolutely guarantee you Wenger has NEVER said this.

  46. Dream10

    Romford Pele

    Didi Hamann made the point of Toure’s lack of discipline in positioning against Swansea. If City start with Nasri/Toure/Fernandinho/Silva in MF against Barcelona, don’t bother watching the second leg.

  47. stay dench


    Mate you always talk about fluidity and interchangeable positions…

    Can you not see thats exactly what the new strike partnerships are about,

    case point

    Man city’s Negredo often drops deep and helps build up play

    Same for Rooney.

    The strike parternship is thriving this season and its making for brilliant football!

    (PS I think most teams would get wooped by Bayern so I wouldn’t read to much into that, otherwise I could say well lone strikers don’t work look at how Barcelona got humiliated)

    Man City lost the match because of poor defense firstly, if they had sorted out there defense and played a counter attacking game with a strike partnership…. well the end result could have been different.

  48. g0tch34ted

    Why not play a 3-5-2 against the lower teams? Or in the cup?

    A 352 of

    Kos, Mert, TV5
    Sagna, Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta, Gibbs
    Walcott, Giroud

    Can always revert to a 4231 if it’s not working

  49. Cesc Appeal


    Quite a few people on here have said, £20 Million and Podolski for Draxler.

    I like Podolski though. Our system means his traits work better in that LAM/LW slot, drifting behind to pick up the ball from the ST.

    He did it brilliantly against Fulham where he played his best game for us, then after 4 months out he did it again against West Ham.

    He’s got a wicked shot and a decent cross with that left peg, way, way up top he’s wasted. Because those traits don’t count for a lot.

  50. Romford Pele

    Dream10 – Exactly.

    It’s the same problem Ramsey has. Ramsey is a great tackler and great at retrieving the ball but positionally he can be a bit suspect at times. He’s 22 though and has time to improve on it – hopefully he does too.

    Pellegrini is a smart manager – I think he’ll go one upfront against Barca.

  51. sylvain

    Pellegrini say he don’t fear Barcelona.
    I think he’s right, barcelona is far less impressive since one or two seasons now.

  52. Romford Pele

    Yes Dench – Negredo and Rooney can drop deep but in the biggest games I’d rather a playmaker there.

    Also City didn’t lose to Bayern, they got raped. They spent all day chasing the ball, it was embarrassing. You can brilliant football with one striker up too.

  53. stay dench

    romford pele

    Romford PeleJanuary 2, 2014 14:10:23
    Can’t be playing Poldi and Theo in the same team. We go back to the problems we had last season.”

    Huh? I just remeber Poldi and Theo having a blinder together… That was probably the best part of the season, one where we scored the most goals.. and both players were thriving with Giroud.

    If anything Giroud was scoring more because of Podolski’s type of game suited him more, what with his pin point crosses.

    Also Podolski worked well on the other wing giving walcott most space no coincidence Theo picked up the bulk of his goals with podolski in the team

    Podolski was actually having a great run of games practically scoring or assisting in every match then Wenger benched him for ages…

    I think people massively underestimate Podolski because his no NANi and Lamela type doing countless pointless stepovers.

    Podolski is an efficient machine whilst cazorla is an inefficient skillful type.

  54. Romford Pele

    Ah post deleted.

    Dench, Yes Negredo and Rooney can drop deep but they don’t have the nous a midfielder has and in the big games that costs you because it places more pressure on the two in midfield.

    City didn’t just get beat by Bayern, they got annihilated. 1-3 doesn’t tell the whole story, it was so much more one-sided than that. They spent the whole game chasing the ball. Interestingly, their goal came when they took off Aguero and played wth just Negredo up top. They got more control in the middle.

    You talk about brilliant football but you can easily do that with one up top as well.

  55. Simon

    Draxler – now that’s someone who plays mostly on the wing who could be a centre forward… Unlike Podolski.

    Berbatov would be a fine sticking plaster in January.

  56. Romford Pele

    Lol Dench – we scored loads in a few fixtures last season. There were a couple 5-2s, coupled with a 7-3. That massively skewed our stats because most of the time we were turgid going forward. It’s no coincidence that we started winning games and shooting up the league when Rosicky was brought back into the side and Poldi was dropped.

    The problem with Poldi, Theo and Giroud is that they are all finishers. If you negate their supply, which happened a few times when Cazorla was marked out of games, they were rendered useless. The aforementioned three are all great goalscorers but struggle when there isn’t space to play. It’s not a surprise really that we had 6 0-0s at the Emirates last season.

  57. gambon

    We wont be signing Draxler, so i wouldnt entertain that one.

    £20m + Reus, well you never know.

    Would be good for us, and if he wants the move that would be a good deal for both the player and Dortmund.

  58. Dream10

    Romford Pele

    I actually like Ramsey as a creative player in our squad. We could play a 4-4-2 if we had two box to box athletes in the middle with Aaron as a third CM on the right and Ozil not fixed on the left. In order for that formation to be top class, we would need an
    Ozil-Witsel-Fernando-Ramsey midfield with a Costa-Podolski/Walcott upfront. I really like fast physical athletic teams who can compete. I like the 4-4-2, you just gotta make sure you are competent defensively.

  59. Romford Pele

    Dream10 – that’s fair enough. I’m not sure I’d move Ramsey out of position. Same with Ozil. I love 4-2-3-1 but everyone has their favoured formation and personnel.

  60. gambon

    “The problem with Poldi, Theo and Giroud is that they are all finishers.”

    This is why i was going on about Eden Hazard for years.

    hes like the perfect combo of creativity and finishing. He can play as a playmaker, but also play in behind and be more direct.

    Hes like Cazorla and Theo rolled into one.

  61. Romford Pele

    Gambon – I agree. As I said before, Hazard should be talked about as one of the top 5 players in the league such is his talent. He needs to be more consistent, still young though so he has time on his hands.

  62. Cesc Appeal


    No but in the summer. I’d lay money on Wenger actively pursuing Draxler…I think we’ll net him. Wenger likes Draxler, Draxler has given us the come to bed eyes with that interview at Wembley where he banged on about talking to Ozil, Podolski and Mertesacker.

    Berbatov might be sensible, despite the flak we’d get from the Spuds.

    I wonder how much he’d cost?

  63. Romford Pele

    I hope we do nab Draxler, you can tell he has a thing for us. In that interview that Cesc alludes to, he was waxing lyrical snout Wilshere and Ramsey too.

  64. Byo

    Pedro, thanks again for a great synopsis, and providing a forum here.

    My take on Berbatov-
    I really have some misgiving on him fitting in the team, considering our desired speed of play, and his defensive liabilities. I want to believe that is why he had problems at ManU.

  65. Romford Pele

    I really do want Gnabry to get more games. I think Kos was talking about how good he is the other day too. Wenger play him!!

  66. Guns of brixton

    HAH! LOL! i renember that interview, he thought ramsey was english , and pedro came out with ‘Fifty shades of julian’ ha lol!

  67. Aaron Lemon

    What does everyone think about the game this weekend?

    Now that we’re at the top of the table, are people really bothered about our cup runs this year? I would prefer to see us have a good transfer window and try and take the league than worry about the FA Cup or CL. I never saw us sitting top at any point this season, let alone for the amount of time we have, and certainly not going into 2014 – surely we should be making the most of this and going for it?

  68. gambon

    Would be shocked if we signed Draxler.

    He sees himself as a number 10, and recently moaned that hes not playing at #10.

    We have a £42m number 10 and arent paying £40m for a backup. We also arent gonna spend £40m on a succession plan 5 years before we need it.

  69. Cesc Appeal


    I’d give Gnabry a run out against the Spuds this weekend.

    Young lad, should get his blood up, chance to make a name for himself with the Arsenal fans.

    You know Sherwood will field his strongest possible eleven. But with Adebayor out, he might have to revert back to a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1.

    Unless he sticks Defoe up there or something.

  70. Romford Pele

    Lemon – It’s Spurs mate so strongest team out. And with the injuries we have, we don’t really have much of a choice. Plus, after that game, we have an eight day break before we play Villa so it’s a chance to get some bodies back.

  71. Romford Pele

    Cesc – I’d be tempted to start him too. It’s a risk but why not. I like the lad – he’s fearless, much like Ox when he broke through. Two-footed, tricky, pacy, scores goals and can see a pass too. We’ve moaned about a lack of a dynamic at times this season so it’d be nice to try something new.

    I just saw that Ade will be fit, it was only cramp he suffered yesterday.

  72. Cesc Appeal

    Giroud said he was hopeful he’d make Spurs.

    I still think we’ll see him play.

    I’d go with, Schez, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Wilshere, Gnabry, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud

    Give Walcott a rest as he was carrying a knock before the Cardiff game I read…bring him on if we need him.

    If Giroud doesn’t make it…would have to rethink.

  73. Rhys Jaggar

    The sums on rotation:

    Arsenal have only used 14 players to start more than 10 of the 30 competitive games to date this season. Fourteen. Increase that number to 17 if you add the three defenders who have started more than five (Jenkinson, Monreal and Vermaelen).

    Of those 14, 5 have started 25 or more: you don’t need to be Einstein to guess their names – Scezceny, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Ramsey and Giroud.

    3 more have started over 20 (Sagna, Gibbs and Ozil) and another 4 have started 15 or more (Flamini, Arteta, Wilshere and Cazorla).

    The players who have really not been used much at all to date are:

    Fabianski and Viviano;
    Jenkinson, Monreal and Vermaelen;
    AOC, Podolski, Gnabry and Bendtner.

    All the other people who have donned a first team shirt, either on the pitch or one the bench are really just fringe players.

  74. Cesc Appeal


    That’s true…just I can’t remember the last time in recent memory where we are all so confident about our defence…makes you lament to touch it and change it…but suppose you have to.

    So yes, perhaps we’ll see Vermaelen start. Don’t know why he’s still technically Captain as well…just name Mertesacker as club Captain…surely?

  75. Dissenter

    There are lots of Arsenal fans who are way too sentimental.
    Poldy failed big-time at CF in a home game against the team ranked 19th on the table. It’s not the first time he’s showed he cant lead the line.
    He has a great shot and brings so many other things to the team but CF is not one of them. No speed, no movement off the ball, no hold-up play, no closing up of the goal keeper who was time wasting. His positional play in front was dismal. He brought to energy to the position.
    Yet there are still some who are asking to give him “time to grow into the position”.
    Wenger needs to be ruthless, if we are to win anything. We dont have the time for experiments when you’re one point at the top of the table.
    Bendtner in 5 minutes hightlighted everything Poldi was not able to do. Podolski has never been a CF. He not going to acquire those key required attributes oin his late twenties.

  76. Savage

    Just noticed that we’re back to having the best defence in the league. Who would have imagined that a season or two ago?

    Take away the City game and we’ve conceded 12 in 19.

  77. Savage

    Enjoyed reading Phil Mcnulty’s league predictions again:

    Basically missed the following important points:
    – the form of Ramsey
    – the form of Suarez
    – the lack of form of RVP
    – signing of Ozil

    My view was always that we would continue the form we had from last season. I hadn’t counted on our rivals dropping as many points as they did though.

  78. gambon

    Our defence is encouraging and more than likely significantly down to Steve Bould.

    I dont want to see us change this style of play as its a lot more balanced than it used to be.

    The challenge now IMO is to find better players in certain positions that will allow us to improve the quality of our football without sacrificing defensive stability.

  79. Aaron Lemon

    Have to say, Dissenter, I think I agree with you. My opinion on Podolski is changing.

    He has looked great on the left this season, occasionally popping up in the hole too. Let’s leave it at that and buy a striker to see us over the line and hopefully win the league.

  80. Aaron Lemon


    Very true! Imagine being knocked out by Spurs…that’s not worth thinking about. And as I was typing I was actually thinking the same thing about injuries, I think Wenger’s hand is largely going to be forced when choosing the squad.

  81. Aaron Lemon

    @Gambon I agree our style of play is great, we just need better players. I can’t help thinking that in terms of overall performance, there is a huge gulf between our forward play, and City and Liverpool’s attacking play…even if we are top of the league,

  82. Leedsgunner

    BBC reporting that Heitinga turned down a move to West Ham despite a transfer fee being agreed.

    Worth a punt, especially since we are a little light in that area? Don’t know what fee was agreed but I reckon £2m to £5m should do it…

  83. gambon

    Yeah, when you consider:

    – City have a far better attack
    – Chelsea will spend big £££ on a striker
    – Man Utd have considerabel money to spend and RVP will be back to himself

    We arent gonna get anywhere with Giroud and Bendtner as our options.

    Our best option at CF (Giroud) is worse than our rivals worst options.

    Even if we win the PL this year, I hope Wenger is under no illusion that we need to strengthen.

    Pogba & Benzema……i can definitely see Wenger going after them 2.

  84. GoonPharm

    Grow up Gambon. No need for the childlike comments. I was asking how you could be so sure. The agent comment was tongue in cheek. Maybe I should have added a “lol” for you.


    As for the wanting out of London it came from Rooneys missus in an interview. She claimed she wanted to further her fashion line ala Victoria Beckham. Now just for clarification I’m not saying I KNOW this as a fact but it’s what I read in the media through the summer.

    Is that clear for you?

  85. Romford Pele

    Vermaelen is struggling for game time as it is. It’s a WC year and Heitinga needs to play so what’s the point of us buying him? On top of all that, I think it’s rubbish.

    It’s gonna be interesting what Wenger does in the summer. It looks increasingly evident that Kos-Mert will be the first choice for the foreseeable future. How many CBs will be willing to come in and play second fiddle?

  86. zeus

    RVP IS already back to himself.

    I don’t see him staying injury free for the rest of the campaign. Little niggles here and there. this may well be his last WC, no way he is gonna kill himself for the Man Utd cause.

    As for Pogba, why would he leave Juventus? Not the greatest league (in any sense, attendance etc.) but they are a history making side.

  87. Romford Pele

    Pogba and Benzema? Really Gambon?

    Pogba I don’t see because he’s about to sign a new contract and will cost a bomb.

    RE Benzema; despite my fondness for him, it’s unlikely that Wenger will have France’s two best strikers battling it out for a single spot at club level. One of them will be left unhappy and it may affect morale.

  88. zeus

    Lol. I’ve never heard of this. Real Madrid and PSG are playing a mid-season friendly now. Madrid 1-0 up. This has to be the silliest thing I’ve ever heard. I hope they are playing in an empty stadium.

  89. Aaron Lemon


    That’s where our negotiating skills come in. We need to be good enough to sell the idea that anyone joining could actually displace either Kos or Per in time. You’re more likely to do this with a young player who’s been tipped for greatness than with an established player who doesn’t need to move. For example, Fabian Schar. Ok he is already an established player but at 22 he is a viable option for bigger clubs than Basel.

  90. gambon


    I think you are over stating how hard it is to buy a squad player.

    Every team in world football manages to do it.

    It doesnt help that Wenger is so terrified of rotation. He just leaves players to rot rather than giving them games here and there to keep them involved.

  91. Romford Pele

    Lemon – I’m by no means opposed to it. The reality is different though because there’s no need to fix something which isn’t broken. Vermaelen has literally been sitting on the bench all season. He’s a decent CB so what hope do others coming in have. Young players also have less patience. That said, I’d prefer a younger CB since Kos and Mert are both late 20s

  92. gambon

    ” it’s unlikely that Wenger will have France’s two best strikers battling it out for a single spot at club level”

    So Wengers gonna scupper Arsenals chances in order to keep one player happy?

    In what way is signing Benzema any different to signing Suarez?

    The fact they are both french is irrelevant. Either hes looking for a CF or he isnt.

    If he isnt hes mental, completely mental.

  93. naija+soccer

    KOZ and MERT havent lost a game they both started and finished in 2 years. That is serious form. It wasnt long ago that Gambon and some of his croonies on here thought both players are terrible.

    How is Gambon these days ? Happy new year buddy.

  94. Romford Pele

    Gambon – I do agree that Wenger should rotate more. That said, CB is probably the one area in the team that you want continuity in. I think Wenger got it right by going for squillaci, shame he turned out to be rubbish. Having a seasoned professional in the squad who doesn’t demand to play every week would be good.

  95. Aaron Lemon


    We’re not talking squad players such as the likes of what we’ve had in the past. We’re talking TOP squad players. City do it because they pay serious money, as do Chelsea. It’s what we need to start doing. There’s no point in shipping out the likes of Djourou only to go and sign someone just as shit as back up a year later. We need to improve the squad.

    Don’t forget Mertesacker’s ankle has exploded twice in the last few years and he is getting on. Natural squad progression never stops and there is no telling how much longer we’ll be able to rely on him and Kos. If Verm is unhappy then even if he stays, we need to have an eye on the future and need to start buying up the best young CBs we can.

  96. gambon

    Re Pogba

    There seems to be so much smoke that there must be fire? (Obviously he could be using the press to get his new contract sorted).

    But we know Wenger likes a dominant CM athlete (Vieira, Diaby) and the latter is probably going to retire from football.

    Thing is would Wenger spend such big money on a 20 year old? Maybe not.

  97. Aaron Lemon

    Maybe a more logical way of looking at the CB thing is to list those who are actually better than Vermaelen and then work out which we would sign.

    Because the better defender we get, the more likely it is that the magical defensive form can continue.

  98. Romford Pele

    Gambon – Not that I agree it, I’m just sure that’s Wenger’s thinking. In fact I have proof. He said last month that having Giroud and Benzema in the same squad is counterproductive. I think he’s looking for a CF, just don’t think it’s Benzema. And if Benzema was to sign, Giroud would go (unlikely, which is why this transfer won’t happen).

  99. Aaron Lemon


    I think there is something in the Pogba rumours but we may never know. I also do think Wenger would pay for him. His age is irrelevant, he is one of the best mids in Europe right now.

  100. Romford Pele

    Gambon – Yep an athlete next to Ramsey would be great. That would give us greater control in the middle, meaning our attacking players don’t have to come back as much; allowing us to play the game on our terms. We’ve been linked with Matic from Benfica, need to watch more of him. Bender is still my favourite though he’ll cost a bomb after recently signing his new contract.

  101. gambon

    You cant rotate 4 CBs of course.

    You can however rotate 3, such as we have with Mert, Kos and Vermaelen.

    Theres no reason why Vermaelen (or whoever replaces him – as i think he will demand a move this summer) cant play for example the 8 easiest games per PL season, a few CL games, and the cup games.

    That could amount to 15+ starts per season.

    Vermaelen has started 3 games this season, and you can be pretty sure he wont hang around next season, and the same will happen regardless of who we bring in.

  102. gambon

    Wenger is too obsessed with keeping players happy and wrapped in cotton wool.

    Look at Diaby.

    the last 3 years he is being paid £60k per week for literally nothing.

    He needs to start putting Arsenal first.

  103. Leedsgunner


    Fair enough about defenders.

    What happens if Kos/Mert suffers a long term injury and Vermy suffers another loss of form? Do we try to make do with Sagna as a makeshift CB then? Who then takes over as the regular RB? Jenkinson? I love the boy’s passion but he’s nowhere good enough to be a regular.

    Do we have anyone in the reserves who can step up? If not, what do we do recall Djourou? Excuse me while I shudder with fear…

  104. duvee

    Gambon, I remember you said a couple months ago that if we were at the top of the table after christmas you would believe…….well, still the same?

  105. vicky

    Would not mind Berbatov at all.

    The guy is a supremely talented player albeit lazy. He has the ability to convert half chances in to goals. He has got a silky touch and is good at link up play. If we can get him for 2-3 millions, it would be a good piece of business.

    The only reason he has not done well for Fulham because he could not care less and he does not get good supply.

    At Arsenal, he would thrive because he will get bucket loads of chances to score and the prospect of helping a side to win the EPL trophy may motivate him to put in a shift.

    Having Berbatov for 2m is far better than signing no one and relying solely on Giroud.

  106. Romford Pele

    Leeds, depends on how you want to shape your squad. I’m quite happy to have 3 senior CBs with a versatile player like Sagna who can also play there. You’re forgetting that Ramsey and Flamini can also fill in FB positions. It’s obviously not ideal but we’re talking worst case scenarios here. City have rotated Luiz, Cahill and Terry this season. Ivanovic would play there if there’s an injury crisis but it’s not something you talk about because it rarely happens.

  107. Simon

    Maybe, I dunno, but Wenger doesn’t rate some players to definitely win and so hates to rotate much in case we drop points.

    But I take all your points — he’s certainly fucked up the league so far this season!

    It would be do much easier to complain if we were winning eh?

  108. gambon


    Yes i think we can win the PL.

    I dont think we will, and when we look back it will be our struggles against top teams that will be to blame.

    But yes, i think we have a failry good chance.

    This team doesnt excite me nothing, theres nothing exceptional about it, its just efficient and has an excellent attitude.

    Until we bring some exceptional talent we wont get to that next level.

    This team reminds me of Utd c 2007-9 but without the brilliance from Ronaldo/Tevez/Rooney that made them a threat at all times.

    We have the same defensive stability, mental toughness however we dont have the match winning brilliance as instead of Ronaldo, Rooney & Tevez we have Waclott, Giroud and Bendtner…….quite a step down.

    We have a lot to build on but historically when that has been the case Wenger has sold one of our key players and ruined all his hard work.

    3 top players and a couple of good squad players, £100m spent, and we could win 3 PLs in a row as well as the CL.

    If we just assume this team is good enough, and dont add to it, we may sneak one PL title before disappearing again.

  109. Keyser

    vicky “The only reason he has not done well for Fulham because he could not care less and he does not get good supply.”

    Lol was that serious ? If that’s not enough I’d be worried that his legs are gone and wandering around trying to show a few silky touches every game is all he has left.

  110. Michu

    If our good defending is down to Bould was our bad defending down to Pat Rice?

    The Bouldy effect is a red herring. The constant over the years has been Wenger in the good times and the not so good times. We don’t need to make up bollocks.

  111. Leedsgunner


    Hope you’re right but our club seems to invite injury crisis because we try to do so much with such a small squad.

  112. gambon

    I think Wenger is terrified of rotating because theres always such a gulf in class between our first and second choice.

    It shouldnt be that way, you should rotate to both freshen things up, have fresh legs on the pitch, and to ensure players arent fatigued.

    Look at Giroud for example. Hes been run into the ground cos Wenger doesnt trust anyone else to lead the line.

    When City have Negredo, Aguero AND Dzeko, how can we compete in the long term.

    Citys 3rd choice CF is better than our first choice.

    Imagine if we had similar depth…..by the time the big games against Munich etc come along, we would have a fresh striker who had sat on the bench numerous times.

    So for example when we sign a C F this summer Wenger will probably pick his favourite then play them relentlessly.

    What he should do is recognise that Giroud is shit against big teams, and terrible away from home, and play to his strengths (play him against the leagues weakest 10 teams at home),.

    This would mean our new CF would start 28 PL games rather than 38 and be much fresher when the run in comes.

  113. gazzap

    If everyone is fit I don’t see Podolski getting many games. Great inside left but I don’t think wenger would play Theo and Pod right and left unless he was chasing a game. He would want an extra creative player in there. So Pod only gets his chance if Theo is out.
    Pod may be able to play behind a striker but I don’t think many teams play that way – even Ozil tends to shift to left or right.
    Pod probably is the best finisher at the club but right now he looks to me like a super sub that certainly needs a proper CF playing with him.

    I don’t see a future for Bendtner at the club. His injury will probably means he stays until his contract runs down. I think Wenger will buy a striker in the summer but won’t buy anyone of note this January to play CF. If he does it’ll be a clear back up for Giroud. In other words if Giroud is fit between now and May, he plays.
    If this is the route he takes then I’d rather see one of our youth players step up as cover. They did incredibly well in pre-season.

  114. MarbleHall

    The Mirror May 3rd, 2013: Arsene Wenger claims Lukas Podolski is Arsenal’s deadliest striker. Wenger said ” I believe it is his best position maybe because on the flanks he needs to work so hard and he’s more a finisher than anyone else in the Team.”

  115. gambon

    Marble Hall

    Yes, i remember him saying that.

    But you said

    “Wenger has often said podolski is the best forward at the club.”

    So exactly where does Wenger say that?

  116. vicky


    Well, I do not understand which part of my statement is not “serious” and why ??

    Does he get enough chances to score ? No.

    Is he giving his 100 percent for Fulham ?? No.

  117. Sam

    You always an idiot, if I big up akpom N afobe am obsessed with kids but it’s ok for you to big up draxler n goetze, Barkley who also happened to be young.
    Because you only interested in clubs that spend big, players we already have n need first team football you dismiss them

  118. vicky

    What Wenger meant was that Poldi is a more clinical finisher than the likes of Giroud,Theo but that is by no means tantamount to saying Poldi is the best CF.

  119. Keyser

    Our style of play is balanced because it has to be to get the best out of the players we have, or it falls apart, it isn’t going to get us anywhere really. For us it’s completely the wrong way of going about things, we can’t just keep brining in new players when things don’t work out because our rivals are far ahead down the line in terms of trial and error.

    You could see a few years ago that against the top teams Toure gets absolutely shattered because as good a player as he is, he’s also massive, Citeh drew 0-0 at the Emirates a few years back, but he was done after about 60 minutes.

    For almost the first time, and why Pelligrini deserves credit, Citeh bought the Remieres type player Chelsea have and has been soo successful for them, rather than just spending countless millions on players they don’t need.

    Along with Navas, two players who might not stack up as World Class individuals, but alongside the talent Citeh already have they will be just as effective in giving them the sort of team fluidity they’ve missed. Negredo to a lesser extent.

    People single out numerous players for criticism in our team, you could pick almost any one of them and someone’s got a less than favourable critique or has simply called them shit.

    What’s got them top is that several have been here for a few seasons now, that we’ve managed to work a style that allows us right now to cling on to top spot, make no mistake we are clinging on.

    The players we buy can’t just be random big name stars, they have to count, does someone like Benzema really fit ? That’s not the problem, the problem for us is HE HAS to fit, we can’t pay that sort of money and have him produce what he did for Madrid, because it won’t be enough, just like a few weeks after we bought Ozil, people started to question his contribution.

    Citeh haven’t simply picked these strikers, they’ve absolutely flooded the team/squad with them, and these are the ones that fit after all the others dropped away, their striker count is ridiculous, we simply can’t do that.

  120. gambon

    Akpom = 18 years old, has never played a significant first team game. Fails to score regularly at youth and reserve level.

    Afobe = Has never played a significant first team game. Has a patchy record at reserve level, went on loan to the Championship where he struggled to get games.

    Draxler = 20 year old with 133 senior games, including 20 champions league games. Has scored over 30 senior goals including 13 last season as a 19 year old, and has 10 caps and 1 goal for an excellent German team.

    You see the difference?

    You are obsessed with kids, you constantly go on about our average kids like theyre world beaters.

  121. Sam

    All those chances giroud missed lately akpom would have score some, even afobe.

    Hey watch how quick sanogo will join the first team once he’s fit.
    If akpom was french he will be dubbed new anelka with already 20 games under his belt.

  122. Keyser

    vicky you said he ‘couldn’t care less’, fuck that mate, even Bendtner seems to be trying.

    He’s had that lackadaisical aspproach all his career, went to United didn’t seem to care there, or try any harder ? He’s 33 at the end of this transfer window, those reasons are bad enough, even at Fulham he should be showing something that stands out, Dempsey managed 20 odd goals, I wonder if worse it’s because he’s got little left in his legs.