What has our scouting tool done for us lately?

by .


Howdy there neighours, how’s it going? I think I’ve picked up some strain of ebola from the Hull fans at the weekend. Not good.

Anyway, what was that all about? Alex, my season ticket pals and I deliberated post game about what exactly you could bring to the table with regards to that game. It was flat, it was boring and it was pretty expected.

Sure, I can take on board the tired legs angle. You’ve got players like Alexis landing on the Friday. But come on, Hull also had internationals. It’s just simply not good enough to be looking for positives with a draw against Hull City.

But hey, because it’s Monday and you’ve possibly just had me sneeze on your shoulder, we’re going to look at some of the positives.


When you look at the problems Mario is having over at Liverpool, you have to be thankful we landed the Englishman. I think people are bagging on Mario with a little too much relish. He’ll come good, I just don’t know when. As for Danny, he’s a strange old player. He has it all. Brilliant physique, great attitude, a questionable touch at times with blistering pace. He causes problems. He doesn’t have the culture of Thierry, but he’s only young. He’s a great addition and his goal was excellent. We’ll ignore some of the easier chances he missed. He certainly has elements of Adebayor on his game, which is no bad thing.


Jumps off a plane on Friday, on the pitch acting a boss on the Saturday. He’s an absolute warrior. He hustles, he irritates, he whistles past you… he has it all. His two contributions were world class. He’s our Suarez this season. You can’t predict what he’s going to do and worst of all for a full  backs, he can do it all. He’s a nightmare. He has so much grit in his game.


I know it was only Hull but the young right was up for the fight. He made some timely interceptions, his pace is frightening and he loves a slide tackle. He’s more than made up for the loss of Jenks and he’s deputising smartly in the absence of any seniority.

Joel Campbell

I love him. Wenger doesn’t. Whaddya gown do? He came on, he worked his balls off, he opened Hull up and he showed a few moments of magic that got the crowd on their feet. Why he doesn’t get more game time is beyond me. He might be rough round the edges, but he’s a fighter and sometimes, you need that to shake up a game.

Things that weren’t quite working for me?

Well, we play the same way every week. I keep on banging the drum about it, but there’s no plan out there. There’s no real vision for the style of play. I read a G.Nev interview at the weekend and he said that Jose was a man not tied down by philosophies when it came to set up in football. He’s a pragmatist. Wenger is chained to an old ideal that this current batch of players don’t seem to understand. Where are the innovations. Where is the surprise in our set up?

The other thing that didn’t work for me is the way we folded. First 20 we were great, Hull couldn’t deal with us. Then we started to fade, then Hull levelled and we lost our heads. The whole team dropped, like they always do under Wenger. Second half we allowed them in so early it was unbelievable. The reaction was weak. Instead of tearing Hull a new one, we started feeling aggrieved. Things got petulant pretty quickly and we didn’t really spark into action until the last 10 minutes. No plan. No change of direction. No 3 points.

Also, let’s talk about the keeper again. I know it’s not fashionable to bag on Chezzer because he hates Spurs and loves a selfie, but when are people going to wake up to his distinctly average keeping? I don’t know what his shots to saves ratio is, but my oh my, does he ever bail us out of a hole? You watch Chelsea’s new number one and he makes the most outrageous saves. He’s a real contributor to the points total. Our keeper, well, I’d be hard pushed to tell you when he made a great save last?

The first goal we conceded he wasn’t off his line quick enough, quite often a weakness of his. The positioning isn’t the best. The second goal, though a good header, really wasn’t that powerful, he got a hand to it and didn’t keep it out. He’s a bit like Almunia in his early days, he never makes a mistake bad enough to get dropped (well, sometimes he does), but you sense that with a world class keeper with a world class understanding of positioning, we’d be keeping more out. Even against Chelsea for the Costa goal he was in no-mans-land. Leicester for the header. Not that he can help it, being coached by Gerry Peyton can’t be the best. Why Wenger doesn’t have a Jens or a Dave Seaman with the first team is beyond me. Two of the best in the business. Jens especially, scary bastard would kick our number one into shape.

… who is our number one on Wednesday? Martinez. OHHHHEEEHHHHHHGGGEEEEEE.

In other news, our centre back catastrophe continues. Per looks tired and Monreal doesn’t look like a centre back to me. Fans give him a hard time, but for me, he’s a better player out left than Gibbs. Another player who is beyond reproach who has terrible positioning and questionable contribution going forward. I thought Monreal deputised well at the weekend. He looks like Neville, which is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t cloud how you judge him.

The summer farce really does look awful when you look at what’s going on now. Kostas Manolas is playing for Roma under Rudi Garcia and he’s looked a steal so far. He cost them £10m. He’s slipped in, replaced a top, top centre back with ease and Roma are absolutely flying. How did we let him slip through our grip? Who led that decision that we’d be better off with nobody than someone who is holding his own at Roma under a great manager?

Then look around at other players. Why didn’t we go hard for Winston Reid? He’s 23, he’s West Ham’s captain. He’s big, he’s powerful, he was part of a defence that kept as many clean sheets as us last  year and he’s a contract rebel. Surely £10m would have moved him to us? Surely we should have pushed hard for him? Again, when is complete inaction ever a better solution? It’s like being lost out in the jungle for 12 days, finding a Steve’s Tasty Fried Chicken and refusing the food because you’re against transfats. Again, what the hell is Steve Rowley doing? Again, what is our £2m scouting system adding if it can’t identify players we can sign?

Same has to be said of the CDM. Where is he? How did our chief scout bomb out that badly? What’s going on behind the scenes that means we consistently miss out on the best talent? Something is broken, that’s for sure, because other managers in the game are addressing their squad issues.

Look at Ronald Koeman. A smart manager used to working on a budget in a smart way. He’s absolutely smashing it at Southampton. Tadic is brilliant, Pele is smashing them in. The only player they’re apparently missing is Lovren. It’s smart but obvious management. Lose players, replace them with better ones. What do they have, that we don’t? Bar better planning and a more taking a intelligent distributed approach to power and responsibility? I reckon so.

I tell you what is interesting at the moment, the man everyone is touting for Arsenal, Jurgen Klopp, is being found out big time in Germany. He’s looking every inch the one trick pony at the moment. His pressing game has been exposed. I think he lost again yesterday. When his players press, smart young managers are realising that if you play your way out of it, you have loads of space. He’s also suffering Arsene Wenger like injuries because he’s probably taking that intensity into training with a small squad.

I’d be looking at managers like Rudi Garcia, who is still doing great things at Roma. That really is going to be Ivan’s crowning moment.

What’s the plan… who are you going to pick? Because I’m looking at what’s going on at the moment with Arsene and I’m wondering whether he’s going to last the three years. He’s looking more and more clueless as time passes. I don’t think he’ll see it out. He can’t even deal with a few tough but fair questions from Jaqui Oatley. He looks a dead man walking. He’s just lucky Spurs are having a disaster under Pochettino and United are not firing under Louis Van Gaal. We’re lucky we’re just 4 points off top 4.

Anyway, more as the week goes on.

Alex Fynn is speaking at the AST Meeting tonight, come down if you’re about, it’ll be interesting as always. Hopefully we can sort out a podcast soon. Buy his new book here

695 Responses to “What has our scouting tool done for us lately?”

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  1. Cesc Appeal

    “Adjustments at half time…”

    You’re allowed to do that?? Surely there are rules barring such blasphemy!!

  2. Keyser

    Midwest – Better spaced ? Lol, fuck me, I give you about 10 examples, you say ‘Ooh, well that’s a little better spaced’, all it takes for all your argument to fall apart is for one player to drop a little or for players to have a little better communication, they haven’t had that, because we keep changing personnel, that’s all.

    No matter how hard I try, you’re going to stick to the same shitty like positional map and refuse to admit there might be more to it.

    Seriously watch the first 15 minutes.

  3. london gunner

    Cesc Appeal

    Well its obvious doherty

    His got rotting brown teeth… smells…is dirty… has a terrible drug addiction.. can barely string a sentence together his so battered…. hmmm

    Yeah whats his appeal again Homeless Chic

  4. salparadisenyc

    Agree N5/Mid

    Dare I say United looking rather expansive in this half, sans red card Wazza.
    Van G sorts that defense who knows.

    It is nice to see that Fergie gave Van Gaal Dean’s personal line.

  5. N5

    Eagle, you’re a man who knows about most players, how is Rojo doing at Manure? I was really interested to see him in England, but Falcao’s signing seemed to overshadow all of their other transfers, even Di-Maria.

    I understand Blind is settling well, but Rojo I’ve heard nothing about?

  6. london gunner

    RVP hits the post lol

    His absolutely world class in the box but his lost his mobility/legs

    He could extend his career and play like a rud Van nisteroy

    But Man United need the midfield to dominate the field in order to have a luxury poacher

  7. WengerEagle


    I have to say I don’t really know, he’s only played 4 matches because he had a work permit problem at the start of the season so haven’t seen much of him. He looked a decent player in the World Cup for Argentina so it’ll be interesting to see how he adapts to the BPL.

    He was however a part of United’s embarrassing 5-3 defeat at Leicester.

  8. N5

    Cheers Eagle, I thought the same about him during the WC, but haven’t seen him at all since joining. I’m interested to see his adaption to the Premiership.

    Bloody Blind.

  9. salparadisenyc

    Thats United and Liverpool ahead of us on the table.
    United a different kettle of fish without Di Maria on the pitch, dude is such a menace.

    “You fast typing Golden God.”

    You’ve obviously been dulled from you’re tour de chubbs.

  10. Dissenter

    ManU will most likely get 3rd place ahead of Liverpool and Arsenal.
    They will strengthen their defense in the January window and will get better under Van Gaal.

  11. Jeff

    What wonderful match to see. West Brom played some really good stuff. I wonder if Van Gaal is going to get longer than Moyes and if he does get the sack as well, how many managers will they go through before they find one they like?

  12. MidwestGun

    Keyser –
    Ok… I’ll rewatch first 15 minutes. But what’s that gonna prove? That 4-1-4-1 can work for 15 minutes against Hull? Ok… great. Never said the formation never works, ever. It doesn’t help too much tho.

  13. WengerEagle

    I think that we’ll be duking it out with United for 3rd.

    1) Chelsea
    2) City
    3) Arsenal/United
    4) Arsenal/United

    Liverpool were hugely helped last season by Luis Suarez who was a monster for them and the fact that they only had to play once a week.

    Spuds and Everton will come up short like they do every year.

    Southampton atm could be the outside bet for 5th.

  14. Carts

    Actually wanted Utd to win that.

    Januzaj hasn’t really pushed on like I thought he would. His touch, crossing and runs were shite.

    I like the look of Rojo though.

    Blind is a nice player as well.

  15. salparadisenyc


    IPA not my cup o tea.

    Give me a lager, preferably German. Was forced into some double IPA called Heady Toppper this weekend, all the rage.

    Can still taste the shit.. ooooof.

  16. WengerEagle


    Yeah agree.

    Said from the get-go that Chelsea would win the league, they weren’t far off last year and replaced David Luiz, Ba, Lukaku, Torres and an ageing Cole+Lampard with Costa, Cesc, Filipe Luis, Courtois, Remy and Drogba.

    Excellent business.

  17. MidwestGun

    I had:
    Man U.

    Might be off. But still think we finish 4th unless we end up with no fit players and only a crocked defender brought in on loan in January. Still a possibility. Lol.

  18. london gunner


    Think he will be sentenced to 6 years (don’t think he will do the whole six..get out a year early for good time)

    Prosecutors asking for 10 years

    Defence lawyers asking for 3 years house arrest

    Judge will find a middle ground.

  19. WengerEagle

    London Gunner

    Southampton have been great so far and credit to Koeman for rebuilding them into an even better side but they don’t have the strength in depth to challenge for a Champions League spot.

    They’ll inevitably fade away like Everton did last season.

  20. london gunner

    I think Southampton will finish above us

    They have a world class attacking mid in Tadic and the most in form striker after costa aguero in Pelle

    There team is so solidly well balanced

    You got Schneiderlin, wanyama strength and consistency in mid

    You have clyne (seriously good) Tadic (bloody good right side)

    Pelle whose a gifted striker

    a very solid back 4

    But above all a WC manager.. I think southampton can finally achieve something now the overrated pinocchio is gone

  21. london gunner


    Yeah but they have less football! Also Everton is an injury prone bunch.

    If you look at how many injuries we have in a season we will probably actually have a comparable squad size to Southampton..

    Southampton are a hardy bunch and I have a feeling koeman will have a few tricks up his sleeve to keep them fresh.

    Would be thrilled if Southampton got into the top 4 (with us as well not at are expense obviously)

  22. MidwestGun

    London –
    Lol…… can you fit… I told you so………in your avatar space? Kind of your motto lately. Seriously tho, Still think you should go with Szczesny. 😀

  23. salparadisenyc

    Today been a funny one, Klopp out and Koeman in, Soho to finish above us, tactics and personal mean little.. missing anything?

  24. N5

    American dad taught me that transfats make food delicious, without transfats we would all become suicidal.

    Cartoons = Truth *open your eyes.

  25. Dan Ahern

    Nothing wrong with a nice IPA. Love the crisp bite and extra alcohol. That said, I’ve noticed a hops fetish recently as a brewing trend. Making your beer with 50 times as much hops as you should doesn’t often make it good. It usually just makes it bitter beyond the point of enjoyment. Or prevents you from enjoying more than one.

  26. salparadisenyc

    Fucking hell how could I forget pre Cambrian Bale and Collean’s penchant for taking it up the council.

    All time that one.

    Bet the new Mrs Romford Pele knows her way around rope. God bless em all!

  27. tunnygriffboy

    Man u had an unbelievable run of fixtures to start the season. One of their fans was on the radio after the game tonight crying into his beer saying with the fixtures they’ve had he expected them to be close to the top of the league especially after spending 200 million in the last year.

  28. wenker-wanger

    Southampton could easily finish in the top 6… They will fall away as the season progresses, but they have a very strong core of players and an astute manager. Chelsea and city are nailed on as 1 and 2… The next 6 are anyones guess. I would take a punt on the saints to finish 4th…. Much to the annoyance of wengers love for that position.

  29. Arsene's Vet

    Adding my voice to the handsome/ugly gist, why are you people surprised girls find Bale attractive? The rule is simple: if you are a woman be a beautiful one, if you are a man be a strong one. For men, strength=fine/attractive, whatever.

  30. Bamford13

    Was just watching highlights of United-West Brom. To me the two West Brom goals were scored in part because United are playing a very high line. I wonder if LVG will stick this. Seems a risk.

    Fellaini’s goal was absolute class. Would be amusing if he were to come good after how poor he has been this past year.

    Question for the day: What will Wenger do in January?

  31. leprofessorknowsbest

    “Question for the day: What will Wenger do in January?”

    Leave the club ??

    It could be some kind of “christmas miracle”…

    Good morning by the way.

  32. Bamford13

    Wenger leaving the club would make for the best Christmas in years. Parades, parties and festivities to celebrate the re-birth of life at Arsenal. Christmas on earth, as the poet said. I would wear bells and be happy for weeks.

    Unfortunately I think the only news in Jan will be the re-signing of Kallstrom.