Ch-ch-chaaaanges: Are they there?

by .


All the talk this morning sits around ‘winning ugly’ or just winning, because that’s what we have to to against Besiktas this week in our massive Champions League.

Now, winning ugly is always good. It generally means you won playing badly. What you have to do though, is combine that with winning sublimely. Arsenal did a lot of winning ugly in the first half of the season last season, which the came back to bite us in the second half of the year when wining ugly switched into truly getting found out.

I’m not saying that’s where Arsenal are this season, but some of the early warning signs are there. A midfield clunking around without clicking because of pace and inept performances you’d hope certain players had grown out of. A striker that’s out of his depth… These problems generally don’t disappear in 3 months unless you face them head on. We’ve needed a world class striker for 3 years and we’ve needed a modern defensive midfield player since Alex Song departed. The approach, the half time team talk, the tactics… how much can or really has changed?

Again, this is why phase two is so interesting, because my bet is not much is different. There’s a Cribs (with Sonic Youth) song with a poem I like… a couple of lines about change really resonate.

You can change your clothes
Change your hairstyle, your friends, cities, continents
But sooner or later your own self will always catch up
Always it waits in the wings

Change clothes to backroom team, change friends to players… I just wonder how far introspection goes when you hit a certain success level? Harry Redknapp said something a few seasons ago after Spurs lost a whole batch of games and he tried a new formation.

‘All the papers we giving me grief for not changing things up, so I did, and that’s what happened’

… was the loose interpretation of what he said. I wonder if that’ll be what happens again this season to us. Will there be sufficient change delivered over the summers reflection for us the mount a proper challenge? Could happen. We could be incredible this year. I’m just not sure that real change is coming.

… but hey, favourite this post and retweet it next May when we’re European Cup /Premiership winners. I won’t care. I like trophies too much. I LIKE THEM TOO MUCH TO CARE.

Back to reality. We haven’t qualified for the Champions League yet and o > m to the geeee… we have an injury pile up going off as we speak. Kieran Gibbs is broken again, typically, just before a really important game. He really is very weak. Laurent also has a foot injury that means we might have to bring Per back in a game early. Always a worry bringing someone back into the fold early who is generally quite slow. I was with some West Ham pals at the weekend and they were telling me that Winston Reid is a very good player and that when he plays with Adrian, West Ham keep many clean sheets. I have no idea of the veracity in this offering, but he’s young, he’s big and he’s experienced in the league. Wouldn’t surprise me especially with his contract issues.

Issue here is that we’re relying very heavily on Calum Chambers. He’s very talented, but he’s young and inexperienced. We need to find a 4th centre back sharpish because Per and Laurent played the best part of the all the game last year. They’re both due a big injury unless they’re looked after this year.

Big game tomorrow. Let’s see what Wenger offers up. Pretty confident we’ll take down Besiktas, hopefully with no further set backs… because Everton at the weekend is massive for us!


662 Responses to “Ch-ch-chaaaanges: Are they there?”

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  1. MidwestGun

    Leeds –
    I wouldn’t be upset if Flamini played Besiktas. And as usual 2 more signings and clear some of the deadwood and I feel good about things. I’m starting to think Wenger doesn’t care about my happiness. 😀

  2. luke

    Jesus we need a CF. There just don’t seem to be many out there…

    Cavani – never going to happen
    Balo – Head Case, poor work rate
    Jackson Martinez – not that good
    Benzema – not going anywhere
    Muller – Not really a CF, not going anywhere

    I can’t think of any other top CFs really…

  3. Sensible old man

    Looks like we have another batch of deadwood (like In the denilson/bentner era) which will continue to get games and stay at the club – ultimately holding us back yet again. Arteta, diaby, sanogo, giroud, wilshere, monreal are all a complete waste of space. I think by January we’ll be adding rosicky, cazorla and Campbell to that list.

  4. Joe


    Even Everton and totten*am are spending 30 million on individual players. Football today has moved on to big money. Whether it’s good or not is a different story in itself. When you get 30 million from CL, how ever much from the PL tv money every season. Arsenal are ok to spend much more. I think with wenger being such a cheap cu^ t the last 9 seasons we are blown away by a 30 m signing. Where other teams have been doing the same for years. It’s sad it’s come to this but it’s where the transfer market is. Big money for quality players. No money for wanna be postal boys or l’oreal models

    Sanchez is a great player. 30 m is a great signing. But we need au least 2 more first 11 signings.

    I hope wenger proves me wrong.

  5. luke

    How about this:

    Cavani on loan
    CB – the greek lad



  6. Cesc Appeal


    For tomorrow I’d change it up a bit I think:

    Debuchy, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal
    Ramsey, Arteta
    Campbell, Rosicky, Oxlade

    I’m just so fed up with our totally lacklustre strikers, give Sanchez a go up there, pace on the flanks as well and the forward drives of Rosicky with a speedy striker.

  7. Cesc Appeal

    There may not be any superstar strikers we can sign, but remember the benchmark is Giroud and Sanogo right now. If Arsenal as a club can’t find better than that in Europe then we need to ask question of our scouting set up.

    Worries me that Wenger says we have too much choice there, we really don’t. Walcott isn’t a ST, neither is Podolski (when he has played there he’s looked dire), gambling on Sanchez being able to do it is a risk.

    Firstly I want to see the CDM and CB issue sorted. But I wouldn’t mind a striker buy. An Eduardo sort of striker buy, well scouted, decent price and a nice surprise package.

    Doesn’t need to be a massive name or a massive price. Just needs to be a striker with the attributes that mean he’ll take advantage of the service he’ll get at Arsenal. Look at Giroud’s conversion rate and you’ll see just how many chances a ST playing for Arsenal gets. He’s not great yet still chalks up a fair few goals.

  8. MidwestGun

    Cesc –
    Ya, I think eventually if we aren’t gonna get a CF or Cdm. Not looking promising. Maybe something like you posted will have to do. Maybe, start the experiment now.
    Maybe, eventually.
    Debuchy, Mert, Kos, Gibbs
    Chambers, Rambo
    Ox, Ozil, Sanchez
    I don’t know. It’s frustrating that we don’t have a set starting 11 that you can say that’s our best team.

  9. MidwestGun

    Hahaha ya our CF situation is just …. truly truly baffling. There is literally no other top team that considers themselves Title contendors that would start Sanogo or Giroud on a regular basis. But Wenger said we have numerous Box to Box options too. Not really. Rambo, And then a whole host of options that aren’t good. Which is why when Rambo went down last year we struggled badly. Remember the Flamini, Arteta pairing? So not sure what Wenger is seeing when he talks about positional depth. Being able to play the position isn’t the same as being good at it. Wenger stubborness. 🙁
    ah well….. call it naive but I’m actually not worried about tomorrow if we show up with energy no matter what the lineup.

  10. Joe

    When is the last time a team won a title without a top top striker.


    How wenger thinks he can with the pl or compete in the CL with the two we have is beyond me

  11. Dark Hei


    Bayern Munich (Mandzukic and Gomez)

    Real Madrid (Depending on your view of Benzema)

    United (When CR was still on board, Rooney took the back seat)

  12. Joe

    Gomez and mandzukic and benzema are heads and shoulders and another head above anything we have. I would take benzema in a heartbeat. Even bayerns strikers

  13. Bankz

    Dark Hei

    I Know Many On Here Think Mandzukic & Dzeko Are Like Giroud But They Are So Much Better Than Giroud That it isn’t even a debate.
    Better finishing, Better pace & for what it’s worth, I’d Say Even Better in putting on a shift, not just rolling on the floor each time They Try to beat a marker & get pushed off the ball.

    Mario Gomez Was One Of The most lethal strikers in Europe the Year Chelsea beat Bayern in the final Though very one dimensional.
    I think he chalked in almost 30+ goals in all competitions.

    I will take those 3 over Giroud any day. Watch us in the big games this season & see where Giroud/SANOGO gets us.
    Those 2 won’t put doubts in any Top Defender’s head.

    We So Need a Centre Forward& it isn’t even funny anymore.

  14. Dark Hei

    I am stuck defending Giroud again.

    Dzeko is a great marksmen, he is a true goal scorer, but he is not very adaptable, I think he struggles if the system is too fluid. He is either very hot or rubbish for City.

    Mandzukic greatest asset is his work rate. I watched our game against Bayern and he pressed us off the park. Like Giroud, he isn’t a prolific goal scorer.

    Giroud lacks pace. But people are dissing his technique. Remember that lay-off for Podolski’s half volley in their debut season? Or that same lay-off for Gibbs against Swansea in the FA Cup (I think). What about that turn and chip for Ozil’s header.

    Giroud can work in team that have plenty of goal scoring midfielders. Same as Mandzukic (who forces turnovers in advanced areas, deadly if you have Robben running at you from the wrong end).

    Ideally, we should have a striker that play facing goal, with pace and the ability to finish, as a variant of plan A. Personally I think Sanchez or Walcott can play that role well, as they are both very quick. But having someone like Jackson Martinez who is strong and fast would have been ideal. He looks like the grown up version of Sanogo, all lengthy limbs and all.

  15. qna

    For all of you fans that supported the clubs decision to pass on Fabregas. Each shit you clueless wankers.

    Its fucking rare (like never happens rare) that quality like Fabregas comes along and is available and wanting to join our club and at a price of just 25m – it is absolutely ridiculous that we passed on him.

    I said this at the time, and I plan on saying this again in the future. My only caveat was, IF arsenal had targeted spending that huge amount of cash on specific world class CF targets instead, then I would at least see their logic. But clearly there was no logic behind it. Just a matter of stubbornly sticking with past mistakes in the hope that you can prove some of them right.

    This club at present is incompetently managed and has completely lost touch with what it takes to compete with the worlds biggest clubs. Financially, it has the ability to compete, but it does not have the business sense or the football technical knowledge to utilize its financial resources.

    At best, Arsenal might actually sign the CF it needs in the final days of the window – however, this will only be due to a series of favourable events which make that player somehow available. Its a shocking mentality for a top English club to have.

    Go fuck yourself with arguments of having too many players – sell you dumb fucks. There is only 1 player who is in the same league as Fabregas and that is Ozil. And no you stupid wankers Ramsey isnt even close yet – and I doubt he ever will be.

  16. Jeff

    So basically the philosophy of the club (Wenger) appears to be this. Keep two substandard footballers and label them CF or Striker and hope that the mid-fielders can score goals. 😆

  17. Wallace


    “There is only 1 player who is in the same league as Fabregas and that is Ozil. And no you stupid wankers Ramsey isnt even close yet – and I doubt he ever will be.”

    bad night?

    Ramsey will score more than Fabregas, and won’t be too far behind in assists. Cesc has more talent, but Ramsey is just as effective. if both went on sale tomorrow i know who’d cost more.

  18. Thank you and goodnight


    Well said. It’s frustrating when everyone can see what’s needed, yet wenger and the board Bury their heads in the sand. It’s always reactive as opposed to pro active. He knew TV5 was off at the end of April and had admitted ad such… why no adequate replacement yet? Sagna was coming up to the wrong side of 30 this season, the majority of fans could see Jenkinson wasn’t the answer 2 years back, so why not of got a decent replacement 2 years back, which would of allowed us freedom to look for other areas team needed strengthening in…..rather than having to waste funds this year bringing in 2 RB ( Debuchy and Chamberlain). It really is piss poor management from board down to wenger. I mean how many ok midfielders does 1 team need for crying out loud. We could of fucked off Podolski, diaby, Rosicky and even cazorla and bought in a quality DM as well as Cesc and we would of still had Ox, wilshere, Theo, Sanchez, Gnabry, Ramsey etc. Look at Arteta, ironic that the team we bought him off got 4 points against us last season, and now way would of arteta been first team choice for them last year….Yet for a team with so called title aspirations, he’s the bloody captain. I really wish kroenke would fuck off and someone with balls to come in and put pressure on Wenger to perform.

  19. Dark Hei


    Somebody should have switched off the TV and told qna to go to bed gently at 1-0.

    Yeah guess it is the case of frustration leading to a bad night which leads to bad weather morning.

  20. Wallace

    ” Final judgments must naturally wait but, after the first weekend of this new Premier League season, you have to wonder if Arsenal actually knew rather more about Chambers and his capabilities than Koeman. Arsene Wenger said on Saturday that he is literally being forced to revise his view of Chambers by the hour following his contribution on the training ground and then centre-back performances against Manchester City and Crystal Palace that were striking in their elegant maturity….Wenger is known for his haggling in the transfer market and can frustrate even his biggest supporters with a fairly frequent reluctance to meet the asking price of a selling club. Yet with Chambers there was no messing around, no hesitation, no instinct to strike a cheaper deal. Arsenal simply paid the £16 million and the deal was almost instantly done. It did seem a lot of money but, if Chambers develops as his performances at this admittedly nascent stage of the season suggests, the fee will become a bargain.”

    – Jeremy Wilson(Telegraph)

  21. Baba

    Moan,moan and moan,thats all what most posters do on here,all of a sudden DM and CB which are our main priorities have been forgotten just because Costa had a good game for Chelsea,if we have a plan shouldnt we stick to the plan first and stop looking at what rivals do?Giroud and Sanogo are not good enough we all know,they just convert those chances yeah its well recorded,but imagine that our AM and CB are beef up that we lock the back firmly so that if and when Giroud and Sanogo waste our chances as they normally do then we are sure that we wont conceed at the back cos we sorted the problem there.Imagine if we had played our rivals goaless in all those whiping of last season imagine how the table wil have been.Please guys let stick to plan first,lets not be carried away CDM and CB then CF later

  22. Thank you and goodnight

    Chambers (fingers crossed) will become an Arsenal/England great. We all criticise wenger when he gets it wrong so credit where it’s due…..Brilliant by wenger on stealing the lad from under noses of other clubs.

  23. Baba

    Chambers might be our own Javi Martinez in the future,i know technically he might not get there but atleast he has good footballing head

  24. docnuges

    Letting cesc go to Chelsea was a ginormous mistake and I think we might have given Chelsea the league,the same way we gave it to united when we let robin go to them.

  25. qna

    Ramsey is a decent player. But you are simply blind to think that he is at the level of Fabregas. I dont want to waste breath arguing this point again. I really like Ramsey. I only made the point that he is not on the level of Ozil and Fabregas. Fabregas didnt get a chance to shine in Barca because they had Iniesta and Xavi playing his position – two top 10 players in the world. Even now Barca players are saying they wish Fabregas hadnt been sold.

    @Ben all players go quiet for a time. If you go quiet at Barca you go to the bench and get booed because they have a bench full of the worlds top players. Not the same at Arsenal or even Chelsea.

    Fabregas will be the best midfielder in the EPL this year in central midfield. He and Matic will boss the league – their only peers will be at City. Ramsey will be the best player at Arsenal, a mediocre team that gets fourth place but is not even close to winning the title. Because of the popularity of Arsenal, the media and Arsenal fans will try to equate Ramseys brilliance in an odinary team, with the brilliance of top players in world class teams and say oh they are quite similar – but they are not. Ramsey is the great white hope, where in this case white = British, which is why his good deeds are amplified. But all that wont equal trophies and at the end of his career people will scratch their heads and say, I cant believe he didnt win anything. For the same reason people scratch their heads and say, with all the GREAT English players over the years, I cant believe England don’t make any finals or win any cups.

  26. qna

    @docnuges your exactly right and I said it at the time. It was incredible incompetence and proves that the Arsenal board and management has absolutely no accountability at all.

  27. Ben

    Fabregas better than Yaya? hahahahahaha

    Chlesea are good competition but but City will easily win it if their players are fit.

    Costa Drogba Torres will fail them against Aguero Dzeko Jovetic Negredo

  28. docnuges

    I know as a fan u should support ur club,but that doesn’t mean u ignore the mistakes being made by the manager and the club as a whole,it also doesn’t mean u should accept mediocrity,our present squad simply can’t compete with city and Chelsea this year,I’m afraid we’ll get horribly found out in big matches again this season,arteta is not a CDM at a big club,giroud is not d main striker at a big club,the way things r going,it’s becoming increasingly hard to see us as a big club anymore,it’s hard to accept,but the truth is bitter,our most important signing is one we can’t make for another 3 years;a forward thinking,dynamic,tactically sound and ruthless manager……..just my opinion

  29. Ben


    Arsenal didn’t gave any team the league. Wenger hasn’t won the league in a decade and never will again. The guy is finished as a manager. Even with said player being Arsenal wouldn’t have won the league due to his incompetence.

  30. Wallace


    Ramsey’s Welsh, Welsh people can’t play for England, so he can’t really be the great white hope. last time i looked Cesc was white, too.

    and people aren’t saying he’s as talented as Cesc. they’re saying he’s just as effective. over the last 18mths maybe more so.

  31. Dark Hei

    “Fabregas will be the best midfielder in the EPL this year in central midfield. ”

    Yeah, on account of 1 game, against Burnley.

    BTW, Toure is right, nobody gives him a shit, not even a cake.

  32. Wallace

    “it’s becoming increasingly hard to see us as a big club anymore”

    Christ, we’ve signed 3 WC players in my time as an Arsenal fan – Bergkamp, Ozil & Sanchez. two of those have arrived in the last 12mths. not sure you can really push the ‘club in decline’ line.

  33. Ben

    Agree the club isn’t in decline but held back by a washed up manager. With a right manager we should be competing with the best.

  34. docnuges

    That’s 3 WC players in over 15 years,and that qualifies u as a big club? If our youth set up was churning out world class talent regularly I’d understand ur point but unfortunately it’s not,big clubs buy WC players on the regular,it’s the norm for them not the exception

  35. docnuges

    A ruthless manager would have brought cesc into the squad,let wilshere go out on loan,shipped diaby and arteta out and gotten a beast of a CDM for starters

  36. qna

    @Wallace – I said white=British in this case.

    I am talking Great White Hope as in: Owen, Beckham, Bale – all overvalued players in terms of Price vs Football ability, but who make that difference up in marketability – because they are British. Those of you who have an instinct to go on about Bale are proof of the point. He has nowhere near justified his price being close to Ronaldo. Even if his transfer fee was half of what it was, he still would not have justified it yet. When he does something other than run up and down the field in straight lines or bags 35+ goals a year, lets talk.

    @Ben, yes Fabregas will be better than Yaya if he leads Chelsea to the title. Just like Yaya EARNT the title of best midfielder last year for leading City to theirs last year.

  37. peanuts&monkeys

    Get a striker who can shoot. FFS start shooting at the goal without waiting for a one-on-one situation. This is a strange philosophy Wenger drills into the players: “dont shoot, dont shoot, dont shoot unless you are 95% sure that you got only the goalie at your mercy. Start shooting from 20 and 30 years.

    Just get a striker who can shoot from anywhere within 30 yards and still keep it within the frame. The only other criteria should be he should be tall beyond 6.4…there are too many sub-6ft players in the AM space playing for us.

  38. peanuts&monkeys

    It was so painful as an Arsenal fan to find Cesc fit in so well into the Chelsea side. The wage parity thing is the most potent weapon Wenger wields to take teh club even more downhill.

    Fuck it for Gods Sake. Get some quality in Wenger. Get Khedira in now. Or, you go out!!!

  39. Leedsgunner

    Have some pride people!

    This same Fabregas that people are fawning over was very happy to shaft us to Barça. Imagine how much more we could have gotten if he was on the open market at the time of his departure but we sold him at a massive undervalue to Barça all for the sake of “helping” one of Wenger’s protégés. (Why we needed it to help him in the first place I could never understand).

    He betrayed us. Forget him.

  40. Wallace


    “That’s 3 WC players in over 15 years,and that qualifies u as a big club?”

    the £400m new stadium makes us a big club. paying for the £400m stadium explains why it’s only in the last 12mths we’ve started acquiring world class players.

  41. Dark Hei

    “A ruthless manager …..shipped diaby”

    No players will want to come if we have a reputation for shifting out the walking wounded. It is not as if Wenger is relying on Diaby in the squad for the last and current season.

    How many years did United stood by for Fletcher and Hargreaves? Did City shaft Richards out while he was injured? Which club will dare to sign Diaby anyway?

  42. peanuts&monkeys

    another ‘help’ to Fergie as a parting year gift from Wenger has been screwing Arsenal fans’ happiness for teh last three years. No strikers in a team which fuckin boasts of a 500 million pound stadium. How fucking funny is that!!!!

    Fuck you wenger!!!

  43. Biggles

    My line-up for the Besiktas game:


  44. Bankz

    Diaby Is A Feeling To Me’.

    Diaby Has Been Consistently Injured For Over 5 Seasons now & Someone Thinks It’s Wise business keeping Diaby Around To Play House With the physios?

    Richards Is A Part Of The City Squad Because He’s Classed As Homegrown.
    Is There a provision For a French quota?
    If yes then I’d understand why Diaby Has Become a 8yrs Arsenal player despite playing just a handful of games

    Fletcher & Hargreaves didn’t spend half the time Diaby Gas spent in the medicals. I remember Hargreaves playing his life out & helping United to a European cup…that didn’t make Them renew his contract after they found out how injury prone he’s become.

    I can’t even believe I am Writing so much on Abou Vassiriki Diaby. How can anyone in his right senses even justify his still being a Arsenal Player?

    No wonder some don’t see anything wrong in SANOGO leading our attack.
    And we wonder why no one thinks we are capable of winning the EPL or anything in Europe’.

  45. Thank you and goodnight


    It wouldn’t be half as bad if diaby was any good, then I could understand it. But 2 stand out games against Liverpool and fenerbache hardly make him WC or reason to have renewed his contract a few years back.

  46. Dark Hei


    I do not understand. You mean you have a way to unilaterally nullify a contract? How else do you propose the club move on Diaby? He has another year, he is injured, no club wants to sign him, so…..????

    Cancel the contract and pay up his wages at 1 go?

  47. Dark Hei

    Diaby’s renewal was a gamble which Wenger lost. Together with Denilson, Bendter and co. The club lost a lot of $$, stagnated and you can put that on Wenger.

    But to spit on Diaby merely for being injured is bad taste. He is injured because Dan Smith broke his ankle and he suffers from bio mechanical issues ever since. The right thing to do for the club is pay his medical bills as it is the club’s obligations.

    The day the club stops caring for its players, nobody will come.

  48. gunnergetyou

    Ramsey imo doesnt have Cesc’s vision or killer pass (though still impressive enough), but what he has over Cesc, is his mobility, strength and stamina. He has that British grit about him, never drops his head and is very disciplined off the ball. They share the same goal scoring ability and both will get many assists.

    What he also has on his side is age. Cesc has now reached his peak at 28, but how good will Ramsey be by the time he reaches that age? if he continues to improve his all round game.

    Sorry but Ramsey beats Cesc in most of the key factors.

  49. Bankz

    I remember us cancelling Dennilson & Santos contracts.
    Trust me it can be done’.
    Nothing is impossible and I’m a lawyer, I know all about contracts.

    There is a new post by the way.
    I’m outtt!

  50. gunnergetyou


    Ramsey imo doesnt have Cesc’s vision or killer pass (though still impressive enough), but what he has over Cesc, is his mobility, strength and stamina. He has that British grit about him, never drops his head and is very disciplined off the ball. They share the same goal scoring ability and both will get many assists.

    What he also has on his side is age. Cesc has now reached his peak at 28, but how good will Ramsey be by the time he reaches that age? if he continues to improve his all round game.

    Sorry but Ramsey beats Cesc in most of the key factors.

  51. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal has found adequate replacements for Sagna and Fabianski in Debuchy and Ospina. I suspect also that he will buy a comparable standard cb for Vermaelen as well.

    Chambers and Sanchez are also two high quality players for defence and wide positions, which will strengthen squad.

    However, my main concern as ever remains the same. Wenger has failed to
    strengthen the spine by replacing Song and Van Persie. Messrs Arteta and Giroud are okay as squad players, but unless we improve in these positions the team will not be good enough to challenge for title.

    For the record I think that Chelsea will be title winners this season. They have
    the best balance in first X1 with also strength in depth in squad.

    I am still of the opinion that Man City will not be good enough this season to
    win title.