Strongest squad in 12 years?

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Arsenal vs Bayern

Arsenal vs Bayern

Tony Adams has gone on the Arsenal offensive again, seems he’s desperate for attention of sorts… maybe it’s a new job, maybe it’s the precursor for his official Twitter launch. Who knows. What we can ascertain is that he’s not happy about TV5 leaving…

“I’m slightly saddened by the news Vermaelen’s leaving. I personally believe that you need three central defenders to win the championship.

“It seems kind of too easy to say, ‘I’m not playing – off I go’. It seems like it’s far too easy to let these people walk out the door.

Well, I can’t disagree with the sentiment there, we do need three centre backs. If you were Arsene you might argue Calum is number 3, hopefully that’ll be rectified and we have 4 centre backs. That’s where I think we need to be. We’ll be blessed if we pass this season without a serious injury to Per or Laurent.

Not quite sure I agree with ‘easy to walk’… If you’re in your prime and you’re expensive, you should have the right to go. This is the free market. Keeping people to their contracts if they’re not important isn’t really on for me. It’s a bit old school and it’s not really fair. It’s £6.5m in wages you can stick somewhere else.

As for the not making top 4 he alluded to, well, not quite sure even the most miserable fan could back that idea. I think we’ll comfortably make Champions League this season. Just a hunch. We have one of the fastest front lines in the league this year.

I read a headline somewhere earlier asking if we have the strongest squad since the invincibles. I think this sort of headline generally forgets that we’ve had some pretty amazing squads over the last few years. 2011 was really strong, 2008 was a fantastic set up. This year we’ve got brilliant players all over the park, I’m just not sure we’ve got the right sort of depth in certain places. I think we have problems at left back, Kieran Gibbs has to up his game this season… he seems to go missing with injury for a lot of the major games and Monreal is just a very standard December.

Right back we seem to be well stocked, we certainly need a 4th centre back. Goalkeeper is covered.

In midfield, we have a lot of bodies, but we’re still missing that killer piece of the jigsaw. We need someone with youth on their side bulked with pace and power to give us that edge. Having pace up front is a massive gain this summer, but not having any in the middle is a worry. We have lots of players with similar attributes. It’d be nice if we had a fit version of Diaby. Carvahlo looks good (The boys at @MessiMinutes have done some digging here for more info), but he doesn’t blow me away, Khedira feels like and expensive luxury… outside that, I can’t hear too many names bubbling to the top. I really think Wenger might not sign anyone there. He might see if Jack can do it… who knows. Problem with that option is he’s not fast over 5 metres. Jordan Henderson is so fast over that distance you get barely any time on the ball. Flamini has a bit of what we need. Arteta has totally lost it. We just lack a real engine in the middle who can take care of the dirty work.

Up top, we have options galore. When Theo is back in the mix, we’ll have at least 6 speed demons in Sanchez, Theo, Gnabry, Chamberlain, Sanogo and Joel Campbell. We have Liverpool like explosiveness. We might not have the craft we had for the Invincibles, but with pace loaded in the front line like that, well, you’re going to create chances, kill teams with exhaustion and you’re to win games.

You also win games before you play them… fear is a beautiful thing. We have that this season.

Ultimately, our title aspirations come down to preparation. If we keep our players fresher, stronger and more attuned, we’ll be in a far better position by December than we ever have before. If we introduce more pregame preparation, well, that’s where we can really make a difference in the big games. I’m just not sure where that side of things comes from. I don’t feel like Wenger has ever been a student of the game in that sense. He plays once game, his game… but surely his backroom team can help? The way we make headway this season is to toss aside artistic preciousness in the name of practicality.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens…

981 Responses to “Strongest squad in 12 years?”

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  1. Moray

    @qna:”Ronaldo, Bale, James and Benzema are valued at £260m”

    Anyone who doesn;t get a slight stifening in the pants area at the though of a front four like that is a) impotent b) lying or 3) not a football fan

  2. Wallace


    nope. Sterling’s fabulous, but i think they’ll struggle without Suarez. think City will struggle to get up for the battle again after winning it last year, and fancy Pochettino to work well at Spurs.

  3. Moray

    Liverpool haven;t got a shot this year.

    They were so reliant on Suarez last year (quite rightly as he was fabulous), they have more games to play than usual, grandpa wonder is a year older and they have resorted to type and bought shabbily.

    Man Utd may take another year to get up to our level and for the manager to adjust.

    I think we will finish third. Maybe even higher should we make a good couple of signings in the right positions (we all know which). However I wouldn;’t bank on that happening.

    It could also prove a tough season for the spuds too, all things considered.

    Man City
    The Good Guys
    Man Utd

  4. Moray

    Jesus, is 4th really the best we are hoping for? What has Wenger done to the club? At least aim one position above what you think we could realistically attain. Don;t let the cold clammy (another gay word) hand of reality grab your balls till February.

  5. MarbleHall

    So according to le grove posters another failed season under Wenger beckons.
    Finishing the season with no title means no progress has been made under Wenger.

  6. Ben


    Liverpool destroyed Dortmund. Do you really think they will finish below us? Can’t see it. Many people are underestimating them. Think they will easily finish ahead us. Their firepower will ensure that. Sterling and Sturidge along with Coutinho and Henderson will only continue to improve. They have quality defence now with Lovren and Moreno coming in. They have depth this year and better squad than us.

  7. Gregg

    I see we’re now linked with Check Tiote. That worries me if it’s true.

    It says we can’t get who we wanted and are settling for him or we are not prepared to spend to get the top player we need.

  8. ranxzy

    Ben are you having a laugh. Liverpool will struggle without their goal machine and actually having champions league for once will stretch them.

    Their defence was shoddy at best last season which won’t be suddenly air tight with a few new signings. The whole team needs to learn the concept of defending Lovren will not be able to do it on his own. The whole we’ll just score more than you will be suspect without Suarez.

  9. ranxzy

    By the way Dortmund are a spent force. Reus basically admitted Bayern will walk to the title which is true but players are at least supposed to be able to pretend they stand a chance.

  10. N5

    Ben, Dortmund were missing 5 or so key players, it was a friendly and they we’re not fully fit. Don’t be conned into thinking that Liverpool are suddenly one of the best teams in our league.

    We beat Citeh 3-0 who are a better team than Dortmund, so using the friendlies as examples still puts us firmly above, no?

  11. N5

    Morning Gregg, I think until Balo walks through our door as he agreed terms according to Caught Offside, I would ignore anything from that lie factory.

    I think they also said we’d agreed to take Cesc back as well didn’t they?

    I’m almost certain that nothing has ever been correct from Caught Offside and that their name is very apt for such moronic journalism.

  12. Cheese

    Kike Marin who Pedro cites quite a lot and seems to be in the ‘know’ just tweeted:

    “Pending what happens with Di Maria and # PSG , the # Arsenal does not rule out signing Cavani. Wenger wants a 9 as the Uruguayan.”

    Surely not?!

  13. Leedsgunner

    Tiote and Manolas are the names being linked with us this morning. Although they would fill a need in the squad — on the face of it I am underwhelmed. I think it is just newspapers throwing out names though. Perhaps its a smokescreen to hide us from the real target — akin to how we conducted the Chambers negotiations. Efficient quiet and quick — virtually no one saw it coming. Only if all our transfer negotiations were conducted thus! To be fair to the squad they’ve done a whole lot better this summer than in the past five!

    I hope we are actually going for like Benedict Howedes. The £15m that we spent on Vermalaen would probably be enough to capture him. A strong versatile leader who can play across the back four… yes please!

    I can only hope AFC is furiously working on the Carvalho negotiations behind the scenes… hence the reason for the radio silence… the same for Balotelli. 😉

  14. N5

    Leeds, Nasri posted some information about Manolas last night and he does seem to be impressing.

    I know nothing about him at all, but others have suggested he would be a good get.

  15. Jeff

    Even with all of our signings and recent trophy successes, still none of the neutral news outlets and pundits give us a cat’s chance in hell of winning the Premier League. We have an enormous amount to prove. In my estimation we are but a couple of key signings away from seriously challenging for the big ones but I think overall (though I hate to say it), fourth is probably in the bag if we stay as we are but domestic cups are very doable I think.

  16. Jeff


    The reference to the Fields Medal must come from the film “Good Will Hunting” with Robin Williams who passed away. Am I right?

  17. Ben

    Excellent signing by United Rojo is quality. I would have like him here as he is better than both out left backs.

  18. Cheese

    Jim, no need to brag about your Maths skills! We can’t all be human calculators! I know the chances are low but it’s been a long week and it’s only Wednesday!

  19. Jim Lahey

    @Jeff – I had actually foegotten that it was mentioned in Good WIll Hunting! I just have a particular interest in mathematics 🙂

    Also the medal itself was awarded to a female the other day!

  20. Leedsgunner

    “Cavani’s agent confirmed that both Arsenal and Liverpool had approached him…”

    I would just laugh my arse off if Edison Cavani snubbed Liverpool in favour of us… after we are the bigger club 😉

    As I said a few days ago — despite Suarez’s recommendations — Cavani would be mad to go to Liverpool after Suarez’s departure. He would under pressure right away to perform — either to match Suarez prolific scoring form or exceed it.

    On paper, AFC would be a much more attractive proposition. Edison would be played through the middle rather than on the wing (as he has been at PSG), he would be among a cadre of new arrivals from South America, and London is one unbeatable city to live in if you have money to burn. Cavani — now that would be a statement of intent. Like Jeff though, I can’t see it happening! (I would love it if it did!).

    After Cavani we could also go nick Eto… you know just for depth — and to piss Maureen off!

  21. N5

    Leeds, the Liverpool loving journalists are already getting their excuses in, stating Cavani has said that he doesn’t care about money or club size, he just wants to be happy, playing football.

  22. Alfie

    “Also the medal itself was awarded to a female the other day!”

    Ha ha – As if that would ever happen! Women don’t get medals. They make meals. Am I right?!

  23. N5

    “Ha ha – As if that would ever happen! Women don’t get medals. They make meals. Am I right?!”

    Ha ha, yeah how can she be doing math, unless she’s counting how many pork chops she’s putting on my plate.

  24. gambon

    Cavani would be a game changer, really would.

    Thats probably why it wont happen.

    The club are more than likely happy to take 4th place again.

    Like Neville said, Alexis is a great bit of business, but we arent a league winning squad.

    Cavani, a DM and a CB and we are……but theres also the pressure that I think Wenger will be looking to avoid in his last 3 years.

  25. Alfie

    “@Alfie – Nope, first time since the medal was first awarded back in the 1930s.”

    It must be a medal for netball or pillow fights I guess.

  26. Leedsgunner

    N5 @1021

    Let them make excuses. That’s what they do best.

    I really hate the media infatuation with Liverpool.

    A small town club, even with smaller minded people who think they are God’s gift to football when they are really the footballing equivalent of a top of the range 1980s Sony Walkman. Good during its hey day but now a strange out of place relic… with the most dreary anthem known to man.

    If it was a choice between Liverpool and Everton, I much prefer Everton as a club. A down to earth club, who has a good manager who uses his squad sensibly, develops young talent and spends wisely.

  27. N5

    Good point Azed. He’d only join somewhere that’s going to put him back central as he’s not enjoying it out on the wing. Although he’s still done well.

  28. MarbleHall

    Best stay clear of Cavani who has done a Torres and shot his bolt.
    Watched Cavani’s displays in the World Cup and his performances were wooden and incompetent reflecting his season.

  29. gambon


    Cavani has 94 league goals from 122 starts

    94 goals from 500 shots, so 1 in 5

    Im sorry but that is as good as it gets for a CF.

  30. gambon


    25 goals from the wing is absolutely astonishing for an orthodox number 9.

    Lets compare him to Giroud…

    Giroud scored 22 from 51 playing as lone CF
    Cavani scored 25 from 43 playing on the wing in support of Ibra

    So hes a better goalscorer from the wing than our main man is in the #9 role

    If you cant see the enormous upgrade that would take place you are insane.

    Wait a minute….you are insane!

  31. qna

    Jim Lahey: Instead of either Arteta/Wilshere we could be starting Cesc and Ramsey with Ozil ahead of them

    Yeah Jim, I would have that as well
    Back 4
    Cesc Ramsey
    Walcott Ozil Sanchez

    Pretty good team to me. Cant believe we didnt sign him. Players like that dont become available very often, especially those guaranteed to succeed at your club.

  32. Ben

    Would like this team


  33. goonpharm

    MarbleHallAugust 13, 2014 10:48:53
    Best stay clear of Cavani who has done a Torres and shot his bolt.
    Watched Cavani’s displays in the World Cup and his performances were wooden and incompetent reflecting his season


    Normally ignore this fellas posts but this is comedy gold.

    Cavani is a monster of a CF who’s being shunted out on to the wing to play second fiddle to Ibra. His record for goal scoring in the French league maybe sniffed at but his Serie A record is crazy. If he can score that many goals in defensively minded legend like serie A the he’ll walk the premier league.

  34. gambon

    Yeah but Marble

    You also hate every player in the history of football, and every person in the history of the world….including yourself.

    Your opinion is akin to Frank Maloneys opinion on summer dresses….oh wait!

    I mean David Beckhams opinion on Einsteins Theory of General Relativity.

  35. gambon

    “Giroud was top scorer in the french league so stats really are spurious when it comes to judging a players worth.”

    Has Giroud scored 94 goals in his last 122 starts?

    Stats are worthless in the hands of morons, so I see why you dont like them.

  36. qna

    Gambon. Yeah seeing it on paper, I agree. But I would definately have taken cesc. I would even put Ramsey to the bench to have cesc with us. But we could have both in the side as well:

    Back 4
    DM Ramsey
    Sanchez Ozil Cesc

    Actually Walcott and Sanchez play in the same position. But could interchange them.

  37. gambon


    Back 4




    Now that would be a team.

  38. qna

    Cavani, 27yo, £50m
    Reus, 25yo, £30m

    I would prefer Reus. Extra 2 years of good football, not to mention 40% less. But, we need to replace Giroud in the starting line up if we are going to challenge for anything, so Cavani is what we need, but Reus is who I want.

  39. Dissenter

    Liverpool’s squad is better than our squad.
    They’ve elevated themselves to having two quality players almost very position.
    They only areas they are lacking is goal keeper, I still don’t rate Mignolet as top class.

    Raheem Sterling is going to terrorize defences. He’s the type of player who has everyone on the edge of their seats. He’ll create a lot of scoring penalties for Liverpool, he’s that good. They won’t miss Suarez as much as people think.

    Why did we let Vermalein leave without a replacement,? We might have to play Palace with Monreal and Chambers at the back. That’s unnecessary risk taking from Wenger.

  40. qna

    Gambon, it would be a hell of a team. I am not sure about Ozil on the right though. He seems to only be able to move the ball one way and that is with the outside of the foot. Or am I just imagining that.

    But yeah, one hell of a team. Front 4 Value: £50m+£40m+£40m+£32m = £162m. Getting close to RM territory now 🙂 Cesc is gone now, but we can still do this:

    Back 4
    Ramsey Carvalho
    Sanchez Ozil Reus

    Even better really. Just a mere £110m additional investment needed (£30m + £30m + £50m)

  41. qna

    Dissenter, I dont think Liverpool are as good as they were last year – they had probably the worlds best striker last year. However, its ridiculous that we are writing them off to not finish in front of us.

    I think it will be a 2 way battle for top (Chelsea/Man City) and an almightyl 3 way battle for 3rd and 4th place. The way our squad is at the moment (Giroud and Arteta as starters), I would be thrilled to make the top 4.

    It is true that this is our best transfer window in 7 or 8 years. But that is counter-balanced by the fact that this is the best group of top 5 teams competing for 4 spots in the same number of years.