Arsenal: The cost of generosity | Gaps in the squad that need filling | Tiny winger a target

by .

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How’s it going people? You good? You totally pumped? I hope so…

I’m not sure how much news there is today. I feel like the news outlets don’t have much to work with, so they’ve started taking calls from agents looking to push on their clients.

Giovinco, of Juventus notoriety has hit the radar… the 26 year old attacker has been mooted as a possible option to replace Theo in the short term. He’s 5 foot 5, so I can’t imagine he’d be a striking option, but out wide, his ‘low centre of gravity’ could help us. I can’t say I’ve watched him that much over the years. I can tell you he’s played hardly at all this year. It’s a hard gig at Juve at the moment, they’re loaded with attacking talent. Last season, he made 33 appearances, racking up 16 goals and 6 assists.

What I have deciphered from some serious Grimantubing is that he’s a hustler, he’s like a footballing ferret, he’s a tough player for someone so small… obviously he comes with Italian perfection on the technique front and he’s very good with the ball at his feet… he can also go round players from a standing start… something Theo isn’t exactly gifted at doing. I think, from my three minute assessment, he’d fit out style. I’m guessing the lust for leaking his availability to the press is that he’ll want to go to the World Cup. Taking on an talented player with a massive point to prove isn’t the worst idea…

… at least someone could ask Viviano why he keeps crying at training.

It is interesting reading around the web. There’s a certain section of the fanbase that like to justify inaction in the transfer market. One person latches onto a concept or an idea. Asprilla to Newcastle killing their title chase is a favourite being peddled at the moment. Now, I don’t want Arsenal to head into a massive mistake and sign someone with fascist ideals who might upset the tone of the squad. However, what is clear is that the squad is creaking. The idea that we can wing it for another 6 months is fanciful. If we’re suffering fatigue related injuries in December, that won’t let up if we don’t add more players to the mix.

We’ve lost Theo Walcott, we don’t really have a back up for him. Gnabry is a talent, but he’s 18 years old. Chambo is also a talent, but he’s not proved anything at the highest level. He doesn’t have goals in his game as it stands and he doesn’t have the ‘clinical assists’ potion in his locker. That’s not to say it won’t happen, but it’s a gamble.

Up front, Nik B wasn’t the solution despite being fit for the last three months. Now Wenger is saying he is? Now, I have no doubt that Nik B could be as effective as Giroud if he put his mind to it. If Wenger believes that, we have a solution… but if he’s just bluffing, then we’ll have a broken Giroud who is fatigued physically, but worse, mentally as we saw in the West Ham. So tired he couldn’t think.

The squad is creaking, inaction in this window doesn’t mean we can’t win the league… but it opens us up to failure because legs will lack freshness in the second part of the year. City and Chelsea have players in abundance… they’re not suffering the same problems we are at the moment.

We’ll see though. It’s all to play for, it’d just be nice for once if Arsene stocked the squad so he can comfortably compete till the end of the season. An experienced wide player and a striker would greatly help the cause.

It’s also amazing that fans were digging other fans out for backing the Bayern fan gesture. It really does show you that some people argue points, not because of the topic, but because of who is delivering the news (redzone being a prime example of this). It doesn’t matter that Bayern haven’t paid for their stadium. We pay £17m a year for The Emirates and it generates nearly double the revenue of Highbury. We’ve just announced new deals and Ivan has spent the last 2 years telling us Bayern are the benchmark when it comes to football clubs. He says that because they’re a business juggernaut, but not just that, they embody all the values Arsenal want to have as a club…  as well lots of the values we do have.

Now, the club did give fans a voucher for Christmas, and they give us lots of access to information other clubs, like United don’t. However, the one thing that sticks in the throats of fans is the ticket pricing. Now, I don’t care what my ticket costs when I’m getting value like this year. In fact, as much as I bitch, I don’t really care at all because Arsenal is such a massive part of my life and always has been. However, I’m not everyone. I’m fortunate enough not to have kids and all the cost associated with them. I have a London job yahda yahda…

However, we have to accept certain things with Arsenal. We’ll never lower season ticket prices. Too many people want them in the richest City in UK. The best we can hope for is a price freeze.

Back to the Germans. Bayern spent £90,000 reducing the price of their season tickets for 3,000 people. Just say, for arguments sake, Arsenal did something similar.

Say there are 25 away games a year loosely. If Arsenal said, we’ll reduce away tickets by £15 across the board. For an away fan, that’s a £375 saving straight off the bat. Big money. That’d be 38% of the cost of my home season ticket. For 3,000 fans, that’d cost Arsenal £45k a game. Over the season, that would cost £1.1m. The equivalent of a £20k a week player. Like, say, Yaya Sanogo. It’s a pittance in the grand scheme of things, but it’s a big deal to Arsenal fans. It’s rewarding loyalty. It encourages away support. It’d be ground breaking in the UK.

We are the reason the Premier League rights go for so much (well, a big chunk of the reason). Our unwavering support and passion for the game. Why not give something back?

Food for thought. But all this bollocks about Bayern’s generosity being geared around a free stadium is total nonsense. I know some people have a online remit to defend everything Arsenal, but football isn’t a normal business, so sanctioning something like this should be easily doable.

Final bit of today… data and football. Some of you find it boring, some of you don’t believe in it, some of you would like to know more. Here is a great piece about how it’s changing the game. A must read. Remember, Arsenal are playing catch up on this. We have a lot of the capabilities, we just don’t utilise it all in the way other clubs do. This quote from Harry Redknapp at Southampton made me laugh, because it’s exactly the sort of luddite attitude that pervades football.

He was nervous about overloading the players with information.” Southampton lost 3-2. On the team bus, Redknapp turned to Wilson and said, “I’ll tell you what, next week, why don’t we get your computer to play against their computer and see who wins?”

Anyway, that’s your gift for today. Cherish is and make sure you write me a proper thank you note in the comments section.

Have a ripping day, and hey, remember, it’s Friday.. turn to the person sitting next to you, put your hand on their leg, look intensely into their eyes, well up a bit… then turn away and crack on with your e-mails.

Never, ever tell them why you did that.

 

738 Responses to “Arsenal: The cost of generosity | Gaps in the squad that need filling | Tiny winger a target”

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  1. shad

    Hey RP! Happy Friday to you and the rest!

    I hope the silence from Arsenal means we are furiously close to getting in someone…pleeeease!

  2. Romford Pele

    Morning Shad, I wouldn’t bank on it. Wenger sounded pretty content this morning, he may just be playing his cards close to his chest though. Very hard to second guess him. I don’t want Giovinco though.

  3. Charlie Boy

    Wenger on TalkSport

    Wenger said: “Nothing has changed. We are open to a possible situation and it could be a loan.

    “We have no shortage unless we have other big injuries. The transfer market is a distraction and not welcome.

    “I have enough players everywhere else.”

  4. Jatz

    Thanks Pedro . You seem in a good mood must be fri . You are right about the 1m pounds great gesture and easily affordable

  5. bazza

    Just heard from an Arsenal insider that in addition to Theo’s ACL injury, he has some cartilage damage as well, which is often the case with this sort of injury. Recovery time will be at least 6 months, could be 9-12 months.

  6. Romford Pele

    “Does Romford ever sleep?”

    Sleep is for the weak!

    In all seriousness, i’m just very good at multitasking. More than enough time in the day to get stuff done. Just need to prioritise and structure your day accordingly.

  7. azed

    Wenger won’t get anybody and if he did, what’s the point in not getting the person first week so that he’ll have January to bed-in(sp)

  8. Nasri's Mouth

    I’m moving more and more towards the idea that we wont sign anyone other than a short term Berbatov

    and that’s unlikely

  9. Gunnershabz

    Villa are going to use the same tactics when they beat us

    Physical and play on counter

    They did rough up wilshire and the ox that day

  10. Romford Pele

    We weren’t great against Villa on the first day but the ref was tripe. We should be able to beat Villa if we can negate their threat on the counter. They aren’t great. They’re becoming a tad annoying to play against though.

  11. Charlie Boy

    I get the impression that Mr Wenger already knows what he’s doing with regard to Summer purchases, so any January business will be done purely on a loan basis.

    I’m sure if Morata wants to come he’ll come and all this crap about Ancelotti wanting to keep him is just a smokescreen. It’s obvious he’d benefit hugely from 5 months at Arsenal.

  12. andy1886

    “We have no shortage”?????

    Next we’ll be hearing how Arsene always planned to go to a 4-6-0 formation at some point this season….

  13. Nasri's Mouth

    It’ll be a different game against Villa.

    We had neither Arteta or Flamini against Villa when we lost and basically everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

  14. shad

    The Morata loan deal looks the surest. He needs play time and we need a back up on a short term basis. End of season we can all take stock and bolster the squad with long term additions in the needful departments. Wenger is penny pinching as usual but given the real quality additions may not even want to move mid-season, what choice do we have? I’m sure though the knives will be out given how he handled the summer transfer..

  15. Nasri's Mouth

    @andy1886

    He’s basically right when he says we have no shortage. With Bendtner looking ‘up for it’ now we have enough bodies, we just don’t have the quality.

    And he’s never going to say that is he?

  16. andy1886

    Charlie – depends on what Wenger’s plans for the lad are (assuming this happens of course). If he’s pencilled in to be third choice behind OG and Nik B then a few months on the Arsenal bench isn’t going to do him much good at all. Realistically AW needs to sign someone good enough to start, and I’m not sure that Morata is of that standard yet.

  17. andy1886

    Nasri – bodies yes, speacialists no. With OG and NikB out we had to make do, not ideal. Good job we didn’t have to play anyone half decent….

  18. Romford Pele

    Numbers wise we are actually fine, like NM says, it’s all about upgrading quality in certain areas. For example, we could play the following against Villa:

    Szcz
    Sagna Mert Kos Monreal
    Flamini Arteta
    Rosicky Ozil Poldi
    Giroud

    Bench
    Fabianski
    Jenkinson
    Gibbs
    Wilshere
    Ox
    Gnabry
    Santi

    That’s not a bad bench considering you’re also missing Theo, Bendtner and Vermaelen too. Obviously we want strengthening in certain areas like DM, 4th choice CB and ST, but overall we’re not lacking numbers. Like Fergie said, Arsenal’s squad is probably a lot stronger than people think. That’s not to say it’s perfect, but it is relatively strong, especially in midfield.

  19. Uche

    Wondering if i’m the only person that thinks that

    1. Because City have a bigger squad than us, doesn’t mean they have a better team.
    2. You don’t need a 30m striker coming off your bench to beat Fulham, Crystal Palace, Sunderland, etc
    3. Just because City, or Chelsea’s squad cost more than ours doesn’t make it harder for us to beat the other 17 teams in the league.

    ‘I can on and on . My point is, Beyond a certain point of squad depth, diminishing returns starts to set in. I think Arsenals squad is good enough to accumulate enough points to win the league. That City have a bigger squad doesn’t in any way decrease our ability to beat the other teams in the league.

    All this rubbish about Arsenal aren’t deep enough because they don’t have Jovetic playing in their reserves, or Micah Richards playing ping pong in the training room during games, is just that, rubbish.

    Pundits who can’t be bothered to analyse a game, or a team just come up with the easiest 5 second explanation they can think of and toy fans run with it.

  20. Dissenter

    Morning y’all,
    Villa only have the counter they are very vulnerable to the counter so start the game with Gnabry.
    Someone needs to teach Wilshere the art of accentuating fouls against him instead of seeking revenge. He should watch videos of Lampard; fall down, rub your head and hold the ball. Wilshere has to be one of the most fouled players, problem us this fouls don’t get called.

  21. Wallace

    Giroud, Ozil & Rambo will all have had a bit of a breather by the time we kick off against Villa. only leaves Sagna and Mert as the key players who could probably do with a rest.

  22. Nasri's Mouth

    @andy1886

    Not quite sure what you mean by specialist, but as I said we could obviously do with better players up front, but Wenger would be pretty stupid to say something like that in a press conference.

  23. Romford Pele

    Jatz – It gives us a solid base to build from. If the three attacking players in front are in sync then it could work very well (Napoli [h]). When Ramsey is full fit you’d guess he’d slot back in there. I’d like to see Gnabry given another run out but I think Wenger will plump for Poldi’s experience in the hope that he can address the goals/assists we’ll lose from Theo’s absence.

  24. Dissenter

    @Uche,
    City have the best team and squad because they have specialist players that really tick all the boxes.
    Arsene’s approach (probably due to financial constraints) has been to get players that are adaptable to do other things. City won’t use Jack like we do,they’ll always play him in his favored role or get rid of him.
    Any team that can keep banging goals like city in spite of Aguero’s absence beggars belief IMO.

  25. Mr T

    Concluding lines are just sick!! Lolllll mental. I haven’t been as happy with arsenal as I have recently been in a long while. I just hope we sign someone to fill the gap in front and I see us smiling at the end of the season. I really hope my dream of twitting our EPL trophy at RVP comes true. I believe this is our year and it is ours to lose. If we sign just two players the most important being a striker then it is finished 🙂

  26. samsensible

    IF we go with Flamteta + Ozil in the middle the only remaining question is who you play on the opposing wing to Santi: Gnabry, Pod or Jack.

    Will be a massive indication of Wenger’s faith and plans for this month if he picks Gnabry ahead of Pod and Jack. It would suggest that he doesn’t intend to buy a winger (in my view).

  27. Norfolk

    Pedro

    Love the idea of reducing the price of a ticket for away supporters.
    I will add that to my list right above cheaper beer & decent pies.
    Sadly it will never happen I’d say.
    The focus at AFC is getting 10 people very rich not the supporters.

  28. Leedsgunner

    Up front, Nik B wasn’t the solution despite being fit for the last three months. Now Wenger is saying he is?

    “We have no shortage…?” (Wenger)

    Why believe anything the man says? He may say with his mouth there are no shortages but I doubt it if he means it. Otherwise, why would he even need to say it in the first place?

    Pedro has got it spot on. Everybody can see we have shortages in RB, CB and in striking positions.

    This is why I find Wenger so frustrating. He stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the obvious and feeds the fans continually meaningless phrases that few believe. If you want to play your cards close to your chest, fine. Do that. Better to say nothing, than to say things which are untrue.

    On one hand, he says he’s not afraid to sign super super quality players, if they become available. Then with the next breath he says we need to show patience for our youngsters to come through and develop. These two sentiments are contradictory. Either our players are super super quality who are ready to go and contribute — or they are developing players who we need to wait for. I would argue if we have to wait for them to contribute, as long as we have for some, they weren’t super super quality in the first place.

    Having shipped out one class injury prone striker in RvP, it seems that we’ve acquired another one in Walcott… 🙁 Nevertheless Theo, get better soon!

  29. Nasri's Mouth

    With a solid defence behind them, it should allow Poldolski to operate more as a second striker which is more his forte

  30. Simon

    Uche

    Mate I think that’s seriously short sighted! We are 1 point ahead. We just lost last seasons lead goal scorer and assist maker, we have one misfiring striker, Rambos off the boil ( inevitably). Chelsea and City can rotate quality. We seem to rotate injuries. Very, very worrying. Pride comes before a fall and all that.

  31. andy1886

    Good overall Romford, but from that line up and bench who goes to CF is Giroud gets a knock after 10 minutes? We’re almost universally agreed that Poldi there doesn’t really work so who would it be?

  32. gambon

    Uche

    “‘I can on and on . My point is, Beyond a certain point of squad depth, diminishing returns starts to set in. I think Arsenals squad is good enough to accumulate enough points to win the league. That City have a bigger squad doesn’t in any way decrease our ability to beat the other teams in the league.”

    Your theory completely falls apart if teams like City are as capable as us against the smaller teams.

    You make out like we will always be superior to the City/Chelseas & Utds of this world when it comes to the smaller teams.

    Bollocks IMO.

    The fact that so many Arsenal fans are now advocating a strategy that involves picking up all our points against smaller teams while folding against the big teams is embarrassing.

    Its no different to an average boxer winning the world title then dodging big fights over and over.

  33. Uche

    @Dissenter

    City have an amazing squad no doubt. What I object to is when people use City’s squad as a reason why we can’t win the league, or as a reason why we need to buy more players.

    When we play Villa on Monday, City’s squad depth isn’t going to have an effect on the game, neither will it on 17 of our remaining 18 games. We have to evaluate our squad on its own merits, and not in comparison to Citys. We don’t need 2, and 20m pound players on our bench to beat Fulham, do we? I’m pretty sure the players we already have are good enough to get it done.

    We have a better squad then 17 of the 19 other teams in the league. The other two we’re good enough to compete with and it’ll be decided on the day. We shouldn’t rush into the market and buy players just because City have more expensive players than we do.

    We should focus on getting the best out of the players that we currently have, and strategically adding to the time at the right times. Not looking to buy a new striker because Bendtner is injured for 3 weeks.

  34. Norfolk

    Leedsgunner

    I couldn’t agree more.

    I believe all the Agents know what we are doing and therefore the other teams know, supporters of other teams couldn’t care less. Neither could the media, they will attend the opening of an envelope if they can write about it and sell the story.
    So I conclude that the public statements are solely designed to keep the supporters happy / in the dark & confused.

  35. Wallace

    samsensible

    i think he’ll go with Gnabry. his willingness to track back has been excellent in his displays thus far, and should swing it for him ahead of Podolski.

  36. andy1886

    Uche, even AW admitted we are short up front. NikB is a neccesity because we have no alternative, not a preferred option. Arsene was happy to let him go in the summer right up until Maureen pulled the Ba shaped rug from under his feet. Suarez wouldn’t have been competing with NB52, rather replacing him. So yes, regardless of how much effort NikB puts in even AW knows he is not the answer. So we do need a striker.

  37. Uche

    @Simon, azed

    The whole point is City’s squad doesn’t affect our results against other teams, and while they may have better players, it doesn’t matter to us until we play them.

    Our squad as it is, is good enough to compete at the highest levels against the other teams in the league. Could we be better, yes. Should we spend money in January on overpriced not-ideal players just because City have ‘Specialists’ (Whatever that means) on their bench, NO!

    City have had the same squad all season and we’ve bested them through 20 games. Our squad, while not as expensive or as big as City’s is good enough to win the league. That should be our focus, not trying to buy a bigger squad so it looks as pretty on paper as City’s.

  38. Norfolk

    Nasri’s MouthJanuary 10, 2014 11:43:03
    @andy1886Would you prefer a fit and focused Bendtner or Demba Ba?

    I’d say Ba every time.
    I think NB has crossed a line with some of the things he’s said about never playing for us again etc I’d never ever play him again.
    A bit of an Eddie McGoldrick.

  39. Rhys Jaggar

    Germany and free stadia:

    I think you need to look at that in global terms and ask what model Germany has chosen for its football industry.

    So far as I can judge, it goes like this:

    1. We want football to be a unifying aspect of our whole society, so we want to price it for all.
    2. As a result of that, we have to charge serious megabucks for premium seats/corporate boxes etc.
    3. We also charge an absolute arm and a leg for corporate sponsorship.
    4. To keep the prices cheap, we have to cough up for stadia through generalised taxation (and the way they did it was to host two world cups 30 years apart) and affordable rents. We are looking to get our money back through sponsorship deals (note Allianz, Signal Iduna, AOL etc).

    So, overall, the Germans have a much more ‘socialist’ model if you will. Bayern get the same revenues on match day as Arsenal, but distribute the costs differently. They get far more than Arsenal commercially because they have focussed on it for far longer.

    I think you should go take a visit to Bavaria, Pedro, if you want to go on about how ‘rich’ London is as a city. Sure, there are the ueber rich and the upper middle class in London, but there’s also absolutely enormous amounts of poverty. You go to Bavaria and you see far more widely distributed affluence, far less ghettoes and rather better transport infrastructure if truth be told.

    In London, we have global house price speculators on the move. That’s why they want to ship all these traditional London people out: Brits don’t do living 16 to a room, so all you London employees who want your floors cleaned at night demand immigrants on sub-minimum-wage who get up at 4.30am to do your bidding. Many would say that if everyone over £40k took a little pay cut to give those at the bottom a measurable level of dignity, the world would be a better place. Many would say that the £100bn tax avoidance arranged by big corporate lobbyists getting conniving politicians to change the rules should be rescinded, then we wouldn’t have a debt black hole and people at the bottom could live with a modicum of dignity. It’s all a choice and it appears that the London rich folks rather enjoy watching people lose their dignity at the bottom. It’s a choice which shows fundamental values and has long-term consequences.

    The Germans haven’t gone that way yet. The so called ‘elite’ would like to smash them to bits to ensure that they are forced to.To date, they’ve not succeeded.

    Arsenal FC had better decide where they sit on this highly topical fence because where they sit will define, to a very significant degree, the true values that underpin the daily propaganda sheet that is the wrapping on the daily media present.

    They had also better decide where they sit on electronic surveillance. Do it to players and that’s between them and the players, so long as it was in the contracts of employment. If it’s not, they are organised criminal mafia. Do it to season ticket holders and you have another level of malignant malevolence entirely. I’m sure the principled club that Arsenal are will be truthful in revealing all in that sphere…….for the life of me, I never read anything like that in the Club Level agreement I signed in 2006 and didn’t renew in 2011, so I’m 100% sure they aren’t doing it to me……any more than my freedom to seek employment wherever I wish to is not impacted on in any way by the Arsenal manager, who has never been my employer, agent or concentration camp Kommandant.

    Far simpler to say in 2006: ‘we don’t want you as part of our club, we are not obliged to provide any reasons’. Who would shell out £6500 not to be welcome, eh??

    Couldn’t happen at the Arsenal, last bastion of British values, could it??

    Could it????

  40. Dream10

    Romford Pele

    Your XI you listed above. No Cazorla? Hope he’s not injured.
    Not comfortable with Rosicky on the right. Always liked him on the LW or as LCM, so he can cut in and use the outside of his right to compensate for lack of left

  41. @brdgunner

    Fantastic article. Some excellent points, personally I am bored of the soap opera that is transfers. Fuck anyone that is not a Gooner, until they are a Gooner. Until then – COME ON THE GUNNERS –

    Also, thanks for pointing out the data-article. Truey excellent. I am a data geek (it must be a marketing thing).

    COME ON THE GUNNERS – I think I said that.

  42. andy1886

    Nasri, that wasn’t the point as I’m sure you know.

    Uche suggested we didn’t need to buy just because NikB was injured for three weeks, my response is that NikB was never meant to be our #2 forward option as shown by AW’s actions and comments in the summer. So yes we do need a striker. Simple.

  43. Dream10

    Gambon

    I am with you on that one. We have a major inferiority complex against City, Chelsea and Utd. And that is down to AW. We got beat at the Etihad and Old Trafford. The biggest problem is we look very afraid in both 1st halves.

  44. andy1886

    And if you want an answer to the question then neither is going to win us the title. NikB is an okay second option if you’re still happy to just qualify for the CL, should that be the height of our ambitions?

  45. Romford Pele

    “Your XI you listed above. No Cazorla? Hope he’s not injured.
    Not comfortable with Rosicky on the right. Always liked him on the LW or as LCM, so he can cut in and use the outside of his right to compensate for lack of left”

    Dream,

    Cazorla/Rosicky, I don’t think it matters too much, they can play anywhere in those attacking three positions. I just like Rosicky’s energy. That said, moving Cazorla over to the right might work more. He may link up better with Ozil there as the German likes to drift over to the right hand side. We may look to change our approach and start building up down the right, then hopefully find that out ball to Poldi who is hopefully supporting Giroud. Just speculating of course.

  46. Uche

    @gambon

    City, and Chelsea are just as capable against the rest of the league as we are, no doubt. But their capability doesn’t diminish our ability.

    They’re good, but so are we. The squad that we have has proven that we can dominate in this league, we’ve been on top of the table since gameweek 5.

    My whole point is, saying we need to buy more players just because City or Chelsea have good (Read ‘Expensive’) players is silly. We need to focus on getting the best out of what we have. Play our games our way, and not look to spend money just because City have 25m pound players in their reserves.

    If the right type of players are available, pull the trigger. But not on Jackson Giovinco, Benteke, or a 20year old on loan who’s not good enough yet to get a look at Madrid.

  47. Simon

    Urge

    Firstly, we have to beat some of the top teams to win the league.

    Secondly, there is No room to slip up against anyone else and we won’t win all the games.

    Thirdly, I am not at all certain our side is strong enough to beat all the other teams game after game at all. We might have numbers we don’t have strength in depth other than a few positions. Most importantly we have no one senior with real pace on the wings and no striking options at all. We we’re already winging it in a few positions – right back comes to mind, striker obviously, central defence too if a little less so.

    Fourthly, some of our key players have gone off the boil – Ramsey and Giroud most worryingly.

    Fifthly, we will get more injuries as the season goes on.

  48. TheBayingMob

    Isn’t Bayerns gesture more to do with the fact that, in general, Germans are used to paying far far less for their football? £62-64 for a ticket is unthinkable in their footy culture and they (rightly) are bemused and upset as to why they should have to pay a massive premium to come over and hand our arses back to us (again). Arsenal doing the same in the PL or otherwise is the stuff of fantasies whether it’s doable or not. More likely my wife is going to come home with two 19 year old Ukrainian whores and fuck them all night with me as her willing accomplice!! If anything when we go to Bayern arsenal should make us pay more to keep it even!! Lol! Due to game categorisation we get hammered everywhere we go, it isn’t going to change. All that will happen is the march towards the game being financially elitist to watch live ( the NFL model!) will continue unabated, this is the end game after all. They don’t want us there anyway , they want the millions of poor scum paying out for digital access eventually. At that point, I will hang up my away day boots make sure Arsenal never get another penny off me, but we ‘re not quite there, yet …

  49. andy1886

    Norfolk, Rhys, agreed. 99% of the UK feed the greed of the other 1%. These people would never willingly allow that to change.

  50. Simon

    Uche

    Sorry urge is how my auto-correct does your name….

    We should be really concerned. I really hope all goes swimmingly, a few players step up, our defenders don’t get injured, Giroud hits form, Ozil and the rest if the midfield, we get no more injuries etc etc. but I really doubt it. Hope I turn out to be completely wrong!

  51. Leedsgunner

    “City have had the same squad all season and we’ve bested them through 20 games. Our squad, while not as expensive or as big as City’s is good enough to win the league. That should be our focus, not trying to buy a bigger squad so it looks as pretty on paper as City’s.”

    People aren’t asking for a bigger squad just so we can look as beautiful as City’s. People are asking for a bigger squad because we still have 18 games in the leagues possibly four(?) more games in the FA CUP (not counting replays) plus possibly another seven in the Champion’s League (hopefully!).

    Yes, against mid and lower table teams we have done very well. But against our traditional rivals we have struggled to beat them and if we are serious about winning the league we’re going to have eventually beat them. Why? That’s Champions’ do! Or do we just gloss over the fact that we continually drop points to Man United, Chelsea and Man City?

    People that hope AFC will seriously strengthen in the summer have more faith in the club than me. It’s a World Cup year and we will all be in for the same players. As previous years have shown, when faced with competition, Wenger chickens out. When faced with fighting for the best proven performers or a relatively unknown cheaper option, he goes for the latter. We need to spend and bring in players now. Why? To win trophies this season.

    Otherwise, the good young core of players we have will again be picked off by those who do. Haven’t we had enough of that? I sure have.

  52. Nasri's Mouth

    @andy1886

    You used the example of Ba as someone who made the difference between Bendtner staying and going, but I get your point. Still the fact remains that there’s a big difference between a fit fully focused Bendtner and the one that we had at the beginning of the season.
    Bendtner and Giroud is most definitely not ideal, but it’s better than just Giroud

  53. Simon

    Baying

    My german family marvel at the season ticket prices in the uk. They think £300 a year is much to much for something they think of as a utility like water… Very different. They also love the prem and are fascinated,and a little proud, that arsenal have all these German players.

  54. karim

    i saw morata play vs PSG the other day

    1 disallowed goal and an assist …
    jese is even better, Zidane insisted that he should not be sold or loaned at the beginning of the season despite Florentino’s view

    re former players turning into great coaches, it can only work if you have leadership qualities imo, irrespective of your coaching qualities or knowledge of the game at top level, Simeone par exemple

  55. Uche

    @Dream10

    My point was saying that because City have Dzeko, or Jovetic on their bench means that Nik B or Podolski isn’t good enough for ours is wrong, and lazy analysis.

    We should buy when the right options are available, or when we have an absolute need. Nik B being injured for 3 weeks does not justify spending 32m on Jackson Martinez with a 4 year contract attached.

    Personally, I think our squad as it is, is good enough to win it this season (We’ve been top of the league since week 5). I can see why some people disagree, but pointing to City’s squad as a reason for us to buy is silly for all the reasons I’ve listed above.

  56. bazza

    @ Rhys

    Your post about German ticket prices started promisingly and then turned into a socialist rant e.g. “it appears that the London rich folks rather enjoy watching people lose their dignity at the bottom.”
    Bayern subsidising their fans is not about a politically driven redistribution of wealth as you seem to suggest. It’s about keeping customers happy. Unlike our lot at the Emirates, they understand that allowing “real” fans to afford tickets means their support is better at both home and away games which is probably worth 6 points at least per season and it also makes sure that fans will support the club through thick and thin (How many Arsenal fans would abandon the club if we became a mid-table team?). It also ensures that the next generation of true fans will grow up loving and supporting their club.
    Subsidising tickets is a sound and progressive business decision which our club should learn from.

  57. GoonPharm

    Afternoon all.

    Looking forward to Villa game and to watch Poldoski get a run out. With no Theo he really needs to up his game and Wenger will probably “trust” him more now through necessity more than anything else.

    Theos injury is a massive blow but it’s times like this where another player can step up. I’ve always rated Lucas but felt with him and Theo on the flanks we not stable defensively.

    Both want to play striker so naturally drift in centrally and their defensive shifts, or lack of, leaves Gibbs and Sagna exposed.

    I can see Lucas on the left and probably Rosicky on the right. Id think the gaffer will go for a Wilshere and one of Mikel or Flam. Santi playing behind Giroud or the tea lady…

    Ozil fitness is paramount for us if we are to win anything. Wrap him in cotton, silk, titanium whatever. We need him.fresh for February/March….

  58. Simon

    Bazza

    My German footsie friends just won’t come at full price though they’d love too. Always dropping hints about tickets as presents and of course staying on the couch…It might be an even simpler calculation by Bayern. Miserable away support without subsidy maybe.

  59. andy1886

    Bazza, then I think we could sum it up as sound business decision contrasts with naked greed. I spend a fair amount of time in Germany and around Europe and the PL is a reflection of the greed culture in the UK that simply isn’t the case in the vast majority of European states.

  60. Dream10

    Karim

    Simeone has been absolutely tremendous. He was a hothead as player and remembered in the UK for getting Beckham. But he was top MF in Spain and Italy.

    He is emotional, but has done very well so far with tactics thus far.

    I would not want somebody such as Henry as a manager. He has encyclopedic knowledge of the game, but as a player, he struggled with criticism. He takes things personal. And the press will shit on your head daily. We on LeGrove tear AW to pieces daily. IMO Henry is very reactionary. More suited to be a talent evaluator or a skills developer for attacking players

    Bergkamp on the hand is very cerebral and calculated. There is a great coach in him

  61. Bamford13

    “a 20year old on loan who’s not good enough yet to get a look at Madrid.”

    Morata has played plenty. He just hasn’t unseated Benzema, which would be difficult for a 20-y-o to do.

    The real questions are: Would he improve our striking corps? Is he better than Giroud? Would he be affordable?

    If the answers to those questions are yes, then it makes sense to sign the play and improve the squad.

    Uche’s attitude seems to be always, we’re good enough, because we’ve been good enough so far.

    “Good enough,” however, is not good enough. Some of us would like to be great.

    None of which is to say that Morata is a good idea, but signing no one because we can probably “get by” isn’t a good idea either.

  62. bazza

    andy1886
    Like the French who are motivated by money to the exclusion of everything else with massive and increasing unemployment or maybe you mean Spain where about 40% of the kids are unemployed or perhaps it’s really Italy that you’re referring too whose social security system has effectively collapsed.

  63. Simon

    Uche

    My point was saying that because City have Dzeko, or Jovetic on their bench means that Nik B or Podolski isn’t good enough for ours is wrong, and lazy analysis.

    I just can’t grasp your argument! I keep rereading your email and it seems to prove the exact opposite. Nik b and Podolski isn’t good enough. Nik b is injured. Podolski has just come back. We have 1 average striker – City have three superb strikers plus Jovetic.

    We are falling apart at the seams mate. If we had two great strikers and an out an out speedy winger fit I’d say we might wing it. We are not far off beating any team with a fit first 11 but we are not getting that anytime soon…

  64. karim

    Leeds

    he meant this window generally distracts players, as soon as they re benched twice their agents start the dirty work..

    + crap teams like man u able to spend millions could overcome us before May

    how fair is that ?

  65. GoonPharm

    Fuck the January window. It’s too late now. We should.have got that striker last summer and given him a proper preseason.

    If we are looking for an impact then January is the worst time to buy. Before anyone chimes in with Arshavin as an example please remind me how many teams were in for him? Rumours were he took a paycut and paid for his flight here to sign.

    Doesn’t sound like he had many other choices did he?

    I say keep the money for the summer. Start the ball rolling now ready for the summer. Why risk 2 mill on Berbatov? Offer it to Costa as a signing on fee before he goes to Brazil.

    No loans either please. Smacks of small.club syndrome when we beg for loanees from other clubs. Hate it.

  66. bazza

    The objective of all companies is to do their best for the shareholders including maximisation of profit. Anyone that thinks differently needs to grow up. German companies are just as greedy as UK ones, but this is what you get in a capitalist society. Appealing to Arsenal’s better nature will get you nowhere, my argument is that inflated ticket prices is a poor business decision for the reasons i set out earlier.

  67. Uche

    The Bayern ticket subsidy has to be taken in perspective, and not as an all convincing reason why Arsenal should reduce their ticket prices.

    For Bayern, its a one off 90k expense. Its not like they said they’ll subsidize any away ticket costs above x amount as some are suggesting Arsenal should.

    Some of the comments being made on the subject are just silly and misinformed. AFC is a business and not a sports charity program for people who live in London.

    I do think our prices are high, but using the Bayern thing (A one off 90k expense) as a justification to rant and say Arsenal should cut prices across the board is nonsensical.

  68. Al

    I really don’t get the infatuation with beating city, Chelsea and United. Just beating those 3 does not define whether we will win the league or make us a great team.

    If we lose to those 3 but win the other 15 games we have what do you think that will most likely mean……..that we will be the league champions.

    It just seems that certain People here always want to find a reason to have a pop at the club

  69. Dream10

    Bamford3

    I feel we can’t go wrong with either Jackson Martinez or Morata.

    Jackson Martinez is an athletic goalscorer who will thrive on the service of Ozil and Cazorla. 25-30m and he will hit the ground running. He can win us the league and score 20 PL per season for the next 3 yrs

    Morata has the look of a young Torres about him. May take him time to find his feet. But by 24 or 25, big teams will think 45m is a bargain

  70. Leedsgunner

    karim

    I see his point but he needs to work with the system he’s got rather than continually complaining or making excuses.

    He needs to work with the system he’s got to the club’s advantage rather than pointing fingers at transfer windows, unfair oil money, referees, how the sugar plum fairy is a Man city fan. Please just shut up Arsene and get on with the job. I’m not interested in your pontifications about life, the universe and everything.

  71. gambon

    Uche

    My point is that we cant rely on our rivals being unfocussed against the smaller teams, its not a good way to plan your season.

    Wenger “Guys, dont worry about winning the games against Chelsea, UTD or City. I am hopeful they will slip up more than us against the smaller teams”.

    We dont have a better record vs these teams than the other big teams, well we do over a whole 20 game sample size this season.

    We need to compete in the big games.

    Look at the table now. 2 point seperate the top 3.

    Its very feasible that the league will be decided by what happens in the Arsenal vs City, Arsenal vs Chelsea and Chelsea vs City games.

    Constantly being beaten by the top teams leaves you too little wriggle room against the big teams.

  72. karim

    dream 10

    agree, wouldn t fancy vavavoom either.

    reminds me of my days as a french assistant in an Islington secondary school where kids kept on asking me what was the french for vavavoom ?

    great times

  73. GoonPharm

    City have the best combination of frontmen in European football right now.

    Opposition plays a high line? Unleash Aguero. Devastating player.

    You want a target man? Step forward Dzeko.

    You want pace and power? Hello Mr. Negredo. May become the next Drogba the way he’s playing at the moment.

    Either of the those two can unlock deep sitting teams.

    The scary thought for me is that Jovetic hasn’t played yet. This kid will be huge.next year. Has a higher ceiling in terms of potential than RvP. He’s still young.

    How we can compare these to Giroud and er Bendtner is laughable.

  74. gambon

    “If we lose to those 3 but win the other 15 games we have what do you think that will most likely mean……..that we will be the league champions.”

    So go and put a bet on us to win all other 15 games?

    I bet you dont, and i bet the reason is you dont think we will win them.

    Stop trying to stifle conversation that isnt 100% an Arsene love-in.

  75. bazza

    @Karim
    No I’m not referring to the new 75% tax rate (which is totally daft as it raises tiny amounts of revenue but is leading to a French brain drain) I mean the French being the prostitutes of Europe. I won’t go on as this has little to do with football.

  76. GoonPharm

    City have the best combination of frontmen in football right now.

    Opposition plays a high line? Unleash Aguero. Devastating player.

    You want a target man? Step forward Dzeko.

    You want pace and power? Hello Mr. Negredo. May become the next Drogba the way he’s playing at the moment.

    Either of the those two can unlock deep sitting teams.

    The scary thought for me is that Jovetic hasn’t played yet. This kid will be huge.next year. Has a higher ceiling in terms of potential than RvP. He’s still young.

    How we can compare these to Giroud and er Bendtner is laughable.

  77. Romford Pele

    “The scary thought for me is that Jovetic hasn’t played yet.”

    Trust me, outrageously good. Needs to get over his injuries though. He’ll be 25 soon and needs to justify why I give him the great hype 😀

  78. bazza

    @Karim
    Didn’t mean to insult you as I suspect you’re French. Some of my best friends are French, including my wife!

  79. Uche

    @Bamford

    My attitude is we ARE good enough, but if there are REAL opportunities for us to improve we should.

    An inexperienced Morata on loan does not improve us, it improve Madrid.

    IMO, players like Jackson Martinez, Benteke, Balotelli, are not what we need to get to the next level. We should stash our loot for now, and get the most out of our ‘Good enough’ squad until we can improve it (Most likely in the summer).

    If players like Costa, Reus, Gundogan, Pogba were available, then lets bring them in but they’re NOT!

    Spending big money on sub par players won’t make us great.

  80. JamesH

    For every 60 pound ticket for an ‘a’ game theres a 25 pound ticket for a ‘b’ game. Whats the big deal? And those who go weekin will know they cant fill the young guns at a tenner a game.

  81. karim

    bazza

    ah ah ah is all I can say sadly !

    french brain drain is a myth carried by french bashing papers like newsweek

  82. Simon

    Dream

    It’s because you don’t actually win the title if you don’t beat at least a few of the top teams.

    We are not going to beat all the others. Chelsea and Man City have hit form and were basically level on points. If we lose to both of the top teams we will give them the title.

  83. sanmi

    lol… want some piece of negativity in ur life? LEGROVE is the place… pessimists abound a plenty.
    Do we want to acquire players or do we want to win the league? my guess is the former. Man utd won the league with a vastly inferior players to the top 4 clubs, yet dey won the league.. wake up u media-following fans..
    Giroud is good enuf to win u the league as much as aguero is, reason being a team wins the league not a player. C.ronaldo and bale will not win the league.. Montpellier won d league with a giroud and a crap captain while a fully loaded PSG crashed. if u think Man city squad is the ultimate, u just wait till yaya toure gets injured, den u will see ow crappy of a team dey are

  84. Leedsgunner

    “My attitude is we ARE good enough, but if there are REAL opportunities for us to improve we should.”

    Good enough for what? To come 4th again? Just for once, could people aim higher for the club? Have some ambition!

    This has been Wenger’s transfer mantra for the past eight years… is the trophy cabinet better for it?

    Nope.

    NEXT.

  85. Nasri's Mouth

    Dream10: 25-30m and he will hit the ground running

    Depending on the terms on his release clause he could possibly cost double that

  86. GoonPharm

    Question;

    If in Wengers position right now would you risk fucking up PL season by not signing anyone now in the hope of getting your big name targets in the summer? (Disclaimer – ASSUMING he’s got targets…)

  87. Simon

    Sanmi

    My 5 year old daughter is learning to read phonetically too. But when it comes to writing rather that sounding, she uses the actual words.

  88. gambon

    “Depending on the terms on his release clause he could possibly cost double that”

    Dont quite understand this. I saw this a few days ago regarding the costa deal?

  89. telarse

    I hope Rosicky, Ozil, Gnabry, Arteta and Podolski start against Villa.
    I don’t really thing Cazorla and Ozil should be in the same team in the EPL.

    Too lightweight with both in the team.

    I love Ozil but don’t think he was the ideal player to spend £40+ million on as we already had Cazorla, excellent AM , but no decent striker!

    Now we have 2 excellent AMs, 1 of which is wasted a lot of time on the left wing, and, more often than I’d like, a headless chicken called Jack!

    If fit, I still think Gibbs gives us more in front of Montreal than Santo or Pod.

    Gnabry on the right rather than Rambo, Ox, Rosicky or Bendtner.

    Ozil or Cazorla with Rosicky in the middle and Arteta in front of back 4.

    Fuck, this is easy!

    Oh, and Torres up front, GET IN !!!!!!

  90. GoonPharm

    Romford follow Italian footy a lot and was gutted we didn’t get him last summer mate.

    Thing is his injuries are “niggly” and are due to muscle imbalance. In modern sports medicine its a minor thing that can be sorted out easily through altering his training regime and diet.

    Milan were the masters of this.

  91. Simon

    Leeds

    While we might disagree about the last 8 years, and we ain’t getting no elite strikers, I agree with you here.

    Not getting players through the door now would be completely irresponsible.

  92. bazza

    @Karim
    You need to get out more.
    You don’t need to be a genius to work out that high earners will leave if the highest rate of tax in France is 75% (50% in the UK). It’s already happening,mainly Frogs going to Belgium but also a lot are coming to the UK. French footballers are not exempt (except for Monaco) and threatened strike action last year. Expect a mass exodus next summer.

  93. Uche

    @leedsgunner

    Don’t be a dope. We’re all talking about winning the league.

    There are other ways to improve a team besides buying players. We need to focus on getting the most out of what we have, and not trying to match up with City’s squad depth on paper.

    We lost to City and Man u AWAY. I think our current squad can win both reverse fixtures at home.

    Sigh … haters will hate.

  94. GoonPharm

    Would like to see Torres at Arsenal. I feel like the guy still has a lot to give and would do well for us.

    Yes he’s the lost the pace but he’s still got the strength and power and he just needs to adjust his game to become a more complete forward much like the way RvP did.

    I think that’s what Maureen is trying with him but its quite obvious Torres doesn’t want to be there.

    Entirely irrelevant post anyway as the classless chavs wouldn’t sell as gonorrhea let alone Torres.

  95. Al

    gambonJanuary 10, 2014 12:45:20
    “If we lose to those 3 but win the other 15 games we have what do you think that will most likely mean……..that we will be the league champions.”So go and put a bet on us to win all other 15 games?I bet you dont, and i bet the reason is you dont think we will win them.Stop trying to stifle conversation that isnt 100% an Arsene love-in.
    ======================

    Lets put it in a simpler term for you
    We have played 20 games so far….We have been hammered by city, lost to United without a fight, drew to chelsea at home..

    And where do we sit after failing to beat those MUST WIN games that PROVE how good we are, that will DEFINE are season as you keep boringly mentioning every day….

    Please tell me where we sit in the table after miserably failing in the most important games?

  96. Simon

    Bazza

    London is already France’s 6th largest city.

    Our top rate falls to 45% in 3 months.

    Long may the French support the British economy!

  97. bazza

    @Al
    “Please tell me where we sit in the table after miserably failing in the most important games?”

    I’ll tell you – we’re top

  98. Nasri's Mouth

    @Gambon

    It depends on the terms on his clause, (which none of us know) but possibly if the club refuse to sell, then the player can use the terms in the contract to force a break in his contract. But it’s the player that has to pay the money. Obviously Arsenal would pay him the money, but it then counts as income, and he’d have to pay tax on it…

  99. samsensible

    Chelsea will be much much better next season.

    There is every reason to believe that City will not lose away at Sunderland and Cardiff next season and no reason to believe their home form will not remain very strong next year.

    The need for genuine World Class players will be huge next season and buying decent players this month on long term contracts will not helps us next year; say we buy a Giovinco (spelling?)…are we really going to buy Draxler as well in the summer? Probably not.

    I think we need to be realistic about what is acceptable this season. People are talking like the Title is bare minimum for Arsenal this year. These same people completely wrote this same bunch of players off in the summer and after the Villa game. The title would be a major major shock. Bigger than Blackburn winning it in my view as we are up against more than one side with Financial power that has dwarfed ours for 10 years +.

    So getting in a load of 7-out-of-10 players in January in the hope we win the title may hamper us in the future. Let’s not kill ourselves trying to win it, the club has been building (frustratingly slowly) but we are looking to buy the best players now, not Gervinhos.

  100. gambon

    Al

    You do realise that there are NO PRIZES for being top on Jan 10th?

    You understand that right?

    Secondly, you understand that what happens in the first 20 games doesnt replicate itself in the next 18 games?

    You probably dont, as you strike me as being of very limited intelligence.

  101. telarse

    Mr T at 11:16

    You hit the nail on the head!

    It’s not a case of us winning the league , we’re top, it’s now a case of us losing it!!!!

    (Suppose some cunt’s gonna come on now and post about abusing nails!)

  102. Simon

    A1

    We sit 1 point ahead. 3 points separate the top 3.

    We have to last the course and if you conceed we can’t beat our rivals why do you think we are going to do better than them against everyone else?

    Only United have ever won the league to my knowledge with a bad record against the top teams. And if I am not wrong they did better than we have in recent years even then. And it was once. I really do not see the argument here. You wouldn’t put money on it. You certainly wouldn’t plan for it.

  103. Uche

    @Goonpharms

    Yes, if the options available in January were incredibly overpriced and wouldn’t add much more than what I already had between and the summer window (when I can actually sign quality players)

    #8m for Jackson Martinez, really? Half the tremendously inlated price of Gareth Bale. 4m less than a elite player like Ozil. Stay off the idiot pundit crack bro.

  104. bazza

    @Simon
    By 2015 I predict London will be the biggest French city in the world with Paris demoted to a small village. PSG will relocate and change its name to LSG (London Saint-Germain) – JUST WAIT AND SEE

  105. Leedsgunner

    GoonPharm @1255

    Great question.

    I would buy now, with out a doubt. We have the money, all we lack is the ambition.

    I would have had my targets planned and scouted before the window opened. If I was Wenger I would have had three targets ready for each position I wanted to strengthen.

    Then as soon as transfer window opened I would have made contact with the club and start negotiation with a realistic price — and not just a piss take designed to win people up and not take you seriously. (Plus one multiple positions at the same time…)

    I would sell the city, our wonderful stadium, our great history and committed fans, our modern training ground and our future ambition. Then having done that I would speak clearly and carefully about how the player could add to our success and why the player concern was critical to that success. I would talk about what I would add to their career and why my training methods were ideal for them. They would have a clear idea of why Arsenal would be the only club for them after meeting with me. Depending on the nationality of the player, I would get the club’s existing staff on to it too.

    Arsenal is still an attractive club for the talented professional. But every transfer window, we seem to bumble along rather than have a coherent plan. No company I know would approach their takeover targets like that… why do we?

  106. samsensible

    Uche, I agree with most of what you say but loan signings do no harm to us.

    What is the cost to us? that we hold back Nik B? I’ll live with that.

  107. gambon

    Nasris

    Not if its classed as a loan.

    No reason at all why Arsenal cant:

    A- Set up a subsidiary that provides loans to players
    B- Do the above through Rothschild, who are our financial advisors

    It wouldnt even go that far.

    The player would just have to show the club that the intent is there to do that and they would accept the offer rather than go through all that bollocks.

  108. Uche

    @Goonpharms

    Yes, if the options available in January were incredibly overpriced and wouldn’t add much more than what I already had between now and the summer window (when I can actually sign quality players)

    38m for Jackson Martinez, really? Half the tremendously inflated price of Gareth Bale. 4m less than an elite player like Ozil. Stay off the idiot pundit crack bro.

  109. Simon

    Leeds

    I imagine Wenger has three targets for every position he wants to strengthen. I suspect it’s a lot more sophisticated than that too. Why don’t you think he has. I think that a bit odd!