The importance of a world class fitness coach

by .

CaptureINSTAT

Oh yeah, it’s Wednesday when it should be Tuesday.

Soak that up for a second.

… and we’re in!

There’s not too much going on in the world of football at the moment.

I did read an interesting article by Rapha Honigstein on Bayern and Dortmund. Take a read here.

Two threads I found interesting. Firstly that Bayern at the moment don’t have many attacking players. So instead of playing the way Pep likes to play, he’s having to resort to playing without the ball. Kind of Stoke like.

What I like here is that he’s accepted the team he has in front of him, and he’s practicing and playing a style that suits them. I think Bayern had 50% percent possession against Dortmund. A total turnaround. That ability to sacrifice style for substance is such a positive trait. Must be a tough one for the players to execute as well.

The other interesting snippet was about Dortmund since they lost Oliver Bartlett. He’s the fitness coach who gave them the energy to play that hard pressing game when they were winning. Since he left, Dortmund have become an injury machine and lost their edge.

Bartlett is quite a fascinating character. He went over to Redbull when they’d had a bit of a slump. They finished 5 points off the top. A season after he came in, made them physical beasts, they finished 18 points clear. You can read more about his approach here.

This, again, is an example of why fitness is so important in the game. It’s most likely why English clubs struggle in the Champions League. Our teams are way fitter on average, way more intense and we play more games and don’t have a break. It all adds up at the end of a season.

Oliver Bartlett was a London raised Aussie as well. Hard to believe Arsenal didn’t speak to him before he went to Levurkusen as their assistant coach. He’s the best in the world. Doubt Arsene would have given him that position, but it’s amazing the power these specialists have nowadays. At the highest level, it’s very difficult to split out teams on technical ability… a major differentiator is fitness. The best clubs are realising that.

That’s why the signing of Shad was so important. It looks like something is happening now… but the real test will be whether he can do it from the start of the season. Because what happened at the start of the last season was a joke. Tony Colbert still being about wouldn’t have helped. Probably still doesn’t.

Thing is, for a great fitness coach to have an impact, you need a manager to buy into the approach and cede control. For that, you need a force of personality in the person coming in. Hopefully Shad is that guy.

Redbull and Dortmund are brilliant case studies for fitness being king… Barca under Pep are another. That intensity was incredible. Arsenal don’t play like that, but we’re building a crop of players who have the power to do so… I mean, we’re getting Ozil through 90minutes these days. Which is a massive win!

Right, that’s your lot today!

 

427 Responses to “The importance of a world class fitness coach”

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  1. Ozy

    Who has actually said Coquelin is shit/world class, though? Aside from probably one very deluded individual, I’ve yet to see anybody describe Coquelin that extremely so it is odd that an entire day was devoted to that.

    Some of you take yourselves way too seriously sometimes. That’s why I like Kwik. Guy sounds like he seriously enjoys life ..

  2. Ozy

    Keyser, that was the old me, man. I now devote half a day’s comments to racial issues, not an entire day. Progress.

    Anyway, didn’t you say you were no longer that interested in coming back on here? Because even after being banned, you still came back and argue day in and day out. But hey, you do you.

    “If I argued with definites’ I’d probably annihilate any argument you made, I’d then let you switch sides and annihilate you again. How definite is that ?”

    Lololol

  3. Dan Ahern

    “Yeah you know that player who still has a contract, remember it next time you start bitching about Diaby still having a contract.”

    Who are you talking to and what is your point?

  4. Arsene's Nurse

    Lee
    April 8, 2015 19:44:52

    Arsenes nurse

    No
    It was the “I’d sell wilshire” post
    After I’d been argueing to keep him….
    ———————————————
    Ta. I scrolled up a bit to look at your post. I agree with keeping an ethos and core to the club otherwise we become Man City mark II and I don’t think it’s a good model.

    Wilshere is an enigma for me. He had that breakthrough season in 2010/11 where he made 44 starts and 5 subs and also featured for England in that season too, which was way too much for his body considering he was 19 at the time.

    For me it’s more a question of attitude with him now. He made that huge leap, but was overplayed and got injured, then he got the (£80k?) contract which was part of the English/Welsh core contracts for Jenkinson, Ramsey, Oxo and Gibbs in December 2012.

    Since then he hasn’t performed so well. For me he holds onto the ball too long at the detriment of the team and his fitness. I’m not sure where he fits. I put him as a box-to-box player above but unless he changes his game I can’t see him playing that role.

  5. Keyser

    “Who are you talking to and what is your point?”

    You and the value of a contract seems to escape you when it suits your argument.

  6. Ozy

    Haha Keyser. I shouldn’t be allowed to know what race I am? What does that even mean? Hahaha.

    Why are you so angry, Keyser? Who has wronged you so? Did your mother not hug you enough?

  7. Keyser

    Lol I’m actually pissing myself laughing, Le Groves answer to Malcolm X wonders why people take themselves a little too seriously.

  8. kwik fit

    Coq didn’t survive his first game the 8/2 against united. Wenger took a head stagger after that game and culled a number of players including coq and bought 5 players before the next game . Basically coq got the chop, painful I know but he has cum back bigger and stronger and FFS is into the next round of masterchef. Although I’m not sure how I feel about that if I’m honest.

  9. kwik fit

    N5 I would thoroughly recommend it 😉 It would be an opportunity to seriously fuck off Redtruth 🙂

  10. N5

    Ha ha Kwik or as we’ll now call you Malcolm seX, if it meant she’d be silent for a night it’ll be worth it.

    Can someone give me a lift down to Staines please?

  11. Ozy

    You’re deflecting, Keyser. This is a safe zone. Was it your dad? Your big brother?

    Hahaha, I shouldnt know what my race is. Oh Keyser..

  12. Arsene's Nurse

    MidwestGun
    April 8, 2015 19:59:26

    Nurse –
    Hahaha. Proof my memory is shit.
    ————————————–
    I think you are being a bit harsh on yourself. You’d have to be the gooner version of Rainman to be able to remember individual injuries.

    Can you imagine Dustin Hoffman in an Arsenal scarf and beanie hovering behind Claude and Ty on Arsenal TV!

    Rainman: 82, 82, 82
    Arsenal TV: 82 what?
    Rainman: Passes.
    Arsenal TV: There were a lot more than 82 passes, Ray
    Rainman: Completed passes. Must go to Asda. Get my boxer shorts from Asda in Highgate Station.

  13. MidwestGun

    Nurse-
    Haha….Ya.. maybe. I did remember it was like a sports hernia tho.
    My rainman skillz are weak. I didn’t want to go with Diaby… too obvious.

    Mignolet saved Pool’s bacon.

  14. Howard

    Diaby should not get a new contract. As soon as he gets a new deal he will be off once more, injured.

    He is working hard to get a renewed contract instead of thinking of retiring. The club has paid him enough and cannot offer another charity payments to him.

  15. kwik fit

    Imagine if Diaby came on in the last twenty at Wembley and kicked Gerard right in the nut. I’d give him a new contract!

  16. Arsene's Nurse

    kwik fit
    April 8, 2015 20:41:05

    Imagine if Diaby came on in the last twenty at Wembley and kicked Gerard right in the nut. I’d give him a new contract!
    ———————————————
    I don’t know about a new contract but a testimonial would be fitting. Unfortunately Diaby wouldn’t be fit for the game!

  17. N5

    Ha ha or Pay as you splay…..Gerard the scouse cunt!! Bonus points if he kicks a ball into the commentary box and decapitates that monotone dwarf who keeps saying Wellbeck is better than Ozil.

  18. igbo Amadi-Obi

    This is off the topic, but I’m just wondering if there’s any truth to it, and if it doesn’t say our team has really not improved on last season?

    @arsenalfantv: Arsenal in April 2014:
    P31
    W19
    D6
    L6
    Pts 63
    Out of CL
    In FA Cup

    Arsenal in April 2015:
    P31
    W19
    D6
    L6
    Pts 63
    Out of CL
    In FA Cup

  19. bob

    what has that lttle prick wilshere done to deserve £150 aweek? for club 108games 6goal for engand 26games 0goals 0goal asst. how crap is this ittle boy

  20. MidwestGun

    Igbo –
    Far as i know its true. Difference for me is last year we started out gangbusters, due to easier schedule perhaps and we finished by limping in.
    This season we started out terrible, worst in forever. Now we are on a winning streak. So as Pedro said yesterday it remains to be seen depending on rest of season and over the summer whether it will be significant improvement, but signs are there, imo.

  21. Swissguns

    Goal difference is better this year as well.
    We are also doing better against the top sides this season I believe.

  22. bob

    wilshere can be world class at bolton but not at arsenal. have arsenal missed the little dick head in any way??

  23. mysticleaves

    “If I argued with definites’ I’d probably annihilate
    any argument you made, I’d then let you switch
    sides and annihilate you again. How definite is
    that ?”

    Keyser, you like to big up yourself. That’s very good. Do you I like to think myself also as the master of variables.

    That’s why we can’t argue honestly. It will be a borefest for people and no one will ever win. So I will pass…

  24. Keyser

    “Keyser is like Mayweather. He counter-punches, but not with definites. He counter-punches with variables. He leaves it wide open for assumptions. To me that’s a cowardly way of making arguments.”

    Lol this is what you wrote, I don’t like to big myself up, I’m just amazed at how ignorant people are, and how little you actually want to change that.

    Last season we had a full pre-season, and no real injuries to start the year. Hence we started quick and faded as the year went on.

    This year half the squad went to the World Cup, several missed pre-season almost completely, we bought 5 new players and have blooded an under-21 player.

    Debuchy who we bought to replace Sagna, has barely played, Giroud missed half the season and Koscielny who’s been almost ever present the year before had to be rested over persistent achilles problems, you might remember us using Monreal and Debuchy at centre-back.

    We have the same amount of points at this point as we did last year, but we have a deeper squad now, Sanchez should be over his fatigue problems and almost everyone is back from injury.

    How much more do you need to draw conclusions ? See I could keep repeating this and say you can draw definitive conclusions but you don’t really seem like you want to listen, you want to make silly references to Mayweather, this seems to be a trend on here.

    I think it’s Willow Wilson on the other page who made a similar post.

  25. Keyser

    Oh there’s Ramsey aswell, last year he was in a ridiculous vein of form then was out with injury, much like this year except to start the year his form dropped off a cliff.

    Ramsey’s continuence of form from last year would’ve had a pretty significant effect.

  26. mysticleaves

    Yea keyser that’s the key. I don’t really want to listen cos you are slippery.

    I saw how you dovetailed from discussing Monreal and Gibbs with N5 to discussing Santi playing deeper. There was no conclusions on.

    I bring in variables that make me win my arguments and not change the bone of contention

  27. Keyser

    What are you doing right now, you’ve offered nothing of worth, but decided to not only pass judgement but also continue with this charade.

    Cazorla plays within the same team, I’m not even sure what post you’re referring to.

    You haven’t entered an argument, you’re umm, well, just ‘bigging yourself up’, difference is I didn’t make some fallacious boxing analogy to gain attention.

  28. Redtruth

    As i have explained countless times before, Ramsey’s rich vein of form as you put it made not one jot of difference to Arsenal’s results. When the player got injured, they were still rolling over the small teams and losing to the top teams in exactly the same manner as when he was in the side.

  29. karim

    Mid
    Hi, just saw Messi and Neymar’s goals, not bad, not bad.
    I watched the French cup semi final, Psg ( 3 goals for big Z ) walked over St Etienne 4/1.

  30. tunnygriffboy

    Just watched a highlights package of last years fa cup run. Brought tears to my eyes

    Gnabry. What an assist for Santi’s goal. He’s a talent, where is he ?

    Sanogo has got an fa cup winners medal wtf ?

    We sold the wrong keeper

    Most of that cup run done with following players. Fabianski, Jenkinson, Sagna, Vermalen, Flamini, Arteta, Theo, Rosicky, Podolski. We’ve a completely new team this season ! ! ! ! !

  31. qna

    City are going to massively rebuild. I expect that they are going to have to again flout the FFP rules, in which case home grown players would become even more crucial to them if the sanctions are maintained or even increased. Arsenal are one club with good quality HG players and a proven record of selling to City. I don’t actually mind us doing it again if we add a wicked premium to the value and then reinvest that wisely. I don’t think the new home grown rules will be passed, so it is important that we keep our HG list of 8 reasonably strong because squad depth is important. For most players from our HG list there are players out there that I would be happy to bring in as replacements. These could be brought in on the same or less salary for the fee that City would give us. However, I would still have some players on a “hands off” list. Having said that, we must make sure that the “better” replacement player is available and willing to come before we sell. For example, if we can bring in Jose Gaya, then and only then could we agree to sell them Gibbs. Here are my thoughts on how I would be willing to sell our HG players and for which replacements.

    Our HG list for 2015/2016:

    1. Oxlade-Chamberlain (NOT FOR SALE)
    2. Ramsey (NFS)
    3. Coquelin (NFS)
    4. Szczesny -> Bernd Leno (release clause €18m)
    5. Gibbs -> Jose Gaya (reportedly €20m)
    6. Wilshere -> Verratti (€60m)/Calhogllu (€30m)/Fekir (€10m)
    7. Walcott -> Reus (€60m)/Dybala (€40m)/Draxler(€40m)
    8. Welbeck -> Dybala (€40m)/Cavani(€50m)
    9. Jenkinson -> Just sell, our RB position is already three deep.
    10. Zelalem (Still U21) (NFS)
    11. Chambers (Still U21) (NFS)
    12. Bellerin (Still U21) (NFS)
    13. Gnabry (Still U21) (NFS unless reqd. for Reus)
    14. Akpom (Still U21) (NFS)

    I would also be looking to do a swap deal plus cash with PSG for Verrati and/or Cavani. They had a strong interest in Debuchy. I would hate to see him leave, but I would be willing to let him go, since he is no longer our No 1 in my eyes and due to his age mostly. I have named Jenks here and not as basically already sold in case such a deal were possible.

    We would only be able to sell at most 6 of these names to maintain our long term quota of 8 good quality HG players, although we have other names coming through, like Isaac Haydens but I dont see him as top 4 quality players.

  32. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Great list of really good players. However there’s no way we are going to sell 5 or 6 players and replace them. Continuity is really important. We’ve had hell of a lot of chamges since last seaon and with the lack of proper pre season and the litany of injuries has meant it’s only now we’re seeing the team gel and working to their potential. That many players in would disrupt and we start from zero again

    Another thing is that this group is pretty tight with the experienced heads helping the youngsters settle. Team spirit and togetherness counts for a lot. The likes of Sanchez, Ozil, Welbeck, Coquelin etc have started to settle and our patterns of play are developing. I don’t think Wenger needs to rip it up and start again

    I think we’ll see two , probably three signings to fill positions we are light or need an upgrade. In order to do this we need to off load players who are no longer needed. We have to create space for the newcomers.

  33. qna

    TGB. Yeah. I agree that we wont sell 5 or 6. I am saying that we could sell up to that many. There are a few non HG players that must be sold first, including Podolski, Flamini, Diaby, Arteta, as well we should sell Campbell, Sonogo, Ryo before any of those on the HG list.

    I also agree with you on continuity. BUT, I dont think any of the players that I have suggested to sell except for Welbeck are close to the first team. I think we could easily clear out the 7 I just named and say Jenkinson and Schezeny as well and it would not affect our continuity too much.

    I also think that right now Walcott and Wilshere could actually upset the balance as they come into the team. So bringing in new players into the squad – not the first team – in place of these two as well would not be a major difference. But I agree at most, we could add 3 outfield players plus a keeper to the first team.

    I think we could easily manage: Leno, Reus and Verrati to the first team.

    In addition to these players, I think we could also add Gaya, Dybala and one of Calhogllu or Fekir to the squad.

    I think Cavani might upset the balance and unity of the squad, but I think its worth the risk and the competition would improve both him and Giroud. So, I think Cavani could be a potential 4th first team player that we could add, but in that case Dybala would not be added to the squad.

    I think people in here, for example EmiratesStroller, are overly cautious with how many players can be cycled in a season. I understand his reasoning, but I think the balance needs to be maintained in the 1st team, while it can be more drastic in the actual squad. Look at the number of players we have cycled in the last 2 summers. By the end of each year, our first teams naturally changed. This year’s team is much better than last and it is significantly different.

  34. Wallace

    9 players brought in/developed since the summer of 2013 – Ospina, Debuchy, Bellerin, Gabriel, Chambers, Ozil, Coquelin, Sanchez & Welbeck – and all in and around the first team. that’s a lot of new bodies. if Szcz & Theo stay i’d expect a maximum of 2 new signings, although think it’ll just be a midfielder.

  35. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Yes the team is different but the majority of players have been at Arsenal for a while and know how we play. Gibbs, Wilshere and Walcott are all players more than capable of holding a first team berth and excellent options on the bench. I wouldn’t sell any of them. I agree about phasing the deadwood out but I agree with Emirates the we now have a strong squad when everyone is fit ( sic ). I would expect a top quality midfielder/wide playmaker and possibly a goalie. Anymore and it could be disruptive

    Re Verratti, great player but Psg won’t sell and Reus just signed a long term deal.

  36. qna

    Wallace: 9 players brought in/developed since the summer of 2013 – Ospina, Debuchy, Bellerin, Gabriel, Chambers, Ozil, Coquelin, Sanchez & Welbeck

    You have just named 8 first choice players in the space of 2 years. All have quickly adjusted to our style and we are a stromger team for it. But we are still a round of 16 team in the CL. Our win-loss-points total is the same as last year after the same no games. For those that think we have reached the top of the mountain, I strongly disagree. I would like to see the same degree of improvements in the next 2 years and I think we will win the PL and be capable of progressing through the CL knockouts against any team.

    TGB: Yes the team is different but the majority of players have been at Arsenal for a while and know how we play. Gibbs, Wilshere and Walcott are all players more than capable of holding a first team berth and excellent options on the bench.

    But look at the point above. All these players have been surpassed by almost all thr signings we have brought in and we have improved as a result. Maybe these guys were simply never good enough and are still holding us back. I dont see that they would start at any top team in the world. Do why keep them if we can replace them with a younger guy who can actually improve in time and be 1st team players in 2-3 years. Eg. Hakan C, Fekir and Dybala? These three already offer as much ad Welbeck, Walcott, Wilshere, but also have the potential to improve significantly. Cant say the same is true for the others. Similar with Gaya and Gibbs.

  37. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Gibbs, Walcott and Wilshere are hardly ancient. They’re really good players. Yes they have perhaps been usurped and may not automatically be first picks but they are more than capable of holding down a first team place when playing well.

    Gibbs has shared the season with Monreal, Wilshere was playing well before he got injured. He got hell of a lot of stick when we were playing poorly. Most of that time we had no Kos, Debuchy ( two rookies at RB and Bellerin wasn’t playing as he is now ), Ozil, Ramsey and Giroud. Walcott still recovering from injury

    Jack is a 30 million pound player, Walcott similar especially if Sterlings price is 50 million. I don’t see the need to sell, they know how we play and are integral parts of the squad

    As important as getting 2 or 3 players in is keeping the squad fit. We now have a group of players who are able to play in different ways for different challenges.

  38. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    I know we haven’t reached the top of the mountain. However it was our worse start for I don’t know how long. No pre season, players back from the WC and horrific injury list again.

    As our players started to come back our performances have started to get stronger. Wins against City and manu have been positive. I feel as optimistic re the club as I have in ages

    Bringing 6 to 8 players in could result in a slow start again and we could be playing catch up again. It could also fracture team unity.

  39. qna

    TGB: Gibbs, Walcott and Wilshere are hardly ancient.

    Dont get me wrong. I really rate Walcott and Wilshere in terms of their potenial. But I dont agree that Wilshere was playing well before his injury. Apart from his wonder goal, he was a liability giving the ball away in dangerous positions. But I think the Wilshere that we saw a couple of years ago, was a top player. He just hasnt developed – he has in fact regressed. If we got rid of him, it would be a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. But I am not saying do it willy-nilly. I am saying do it, but bring it a potential star like Calhogllu or Fekir. The latter, I dont think is at Wilshere’s level now and may never be, but Calhogllu is already there. He is also on the up.

    With Gibbs, I dont rate him as a top 4 side’s LB. I have never rated the boy, but he has improved in the last couple of seasons. He doesnt have the skills or the football intelligence needed. He is a flat track bully. But he is still better than most LBs. So he is an excellent player to keep in the squad as back up. Add to that he is HG and he has a very important role. But my point is a guy like Gaya comes along who is possibly Real Madrid/Barcalona standard and you snap him up if he is available.

    The reality is Arsenal have been a 4th place team for some time and deservedly so. We have always made it out of the CL group stage, but rarely further. Again deservedly so. This is not terrible, but it is not the excellence that I personally desire either. So it stands to reason that the players that have been with us during this period are players of that level. We have added players above that level – and now our quality of play has actually lifted. If we keep adding better players we will keep improving, but this means we have to cycle out the players that didnt let us reach the levels we wanted.

  40. qna

    TGB: I know we haven’t reached the top of the mountain. However it was our worse start for I don’t know how long. No pre season, players back from the WC and horrific injury list again.

    There are always excuses. Havent we heard them every year. We will have injuries next year as well. All teams have them, and if we have more than most, then that might be our own fault. The season is long. Chelsea will be saying the same thing about their start of this season as you are saying about ours at the beginning. In my opinion this is really a naive thing that Arsenal fans say. Its like the world cup – like it had a greater effect on us than other clubs. This is really a strange thing that AW is trying to suggest and makes me wonder if he jumped of a bridge how many fans would jump off too.

    By the way TGB I am not saying I havent been impressed with our play this year. But you have to keep it in perspective. We are going through a good period of form. The same way Chelsea did at the beginning of the year. United are now looking like they have hit there strides for the rest of this season. This is the nature of football. But when all is said and done and we look at the overall team and squad, we have only made a marginal improvement. I am happy for this. But I dont expect us to win the PL next season or even progress further in the CL with the current squad, or even with 1 or 2 additions.

  41. Wallace

    qna

    “But I dont expect us to win the PL next season or even progress further in the CL with the current squad, or even with 1 or 2 additions.”

    since the beginning of December when we got Ozil, Kos & Giroud back from injury and Coquelin was given a chance we’ve been the best team in the league. not sure how you can so easily discount us from the title race next season.

  42. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    I see where you’re coming from wanting a title winning side. Personally I think we have as good a squad as we have in ages. Watching last seasons highlights of the fa cup the personel used is hugely different to the current team. We are much stronger this season

    Will be interesting if we can keep this run going and get results v man u and chelsea. Season before last we had a great run at the end of the season clinching 4th place last game v Newcastle. The following season we started well. Be great to take momentum into next season

    We need to off load players like Myachi, Flamini, Campbell, Podolski etc. We add 2 or 3 quality first teamers to the squd meaning that there’s huge competition for places and also perhaps Wenger will be more happy to rotate with this depth. A bench of Gibbs, Gabriel, Bellerin, Chambers, Wilshere, Ramsey, Welbeck, Walcott is seriously strong.

  43. qna

    Wallace. We have looked the best team in the league in a number of past seasons. Even last season after Ozil came in we were top of the league remember? Three weeks ago, Liverpool was the best side in the league according to many (not me) because they had the best record since December or something.

    Wallace ultimately there are usually a number of big tests that seperate the top sides from the rest of the pack. We did beat City. Away. It was incredible. But did we dominate them? We did a job and that was fantastic. But are you really going to tell me that this is a top City side. We also won the FA cup at United. This was also a fantastic win. I don’t want to take anything away from the win. But how well did United play on the day. Did we have a red hot match, with two awesome sides going head to head and we won the day? Or did we again do a job against a United side that didnt have the best day. Liverpool. Did that prove to you that we are one of the best teams in the world? How was that team that we beat really? A win is a win and you can only play whats in front of you. But keep it in perspective.

    Now our main test of the year comes every year in the CL knockout matches. We usually always pass our first test – the knockout qualifiers. This is really an excellent thing. This is huge pressure and hugely important. But the sides we play are not even mid table PL quality usually. In my opinon anyway. Next comes the real test. Barcalona. Bayern Munich. AC Milan. Monaco. I think we lost all of those matches in the first leg from memory. And the loss against Monaco was this year with your so called – title race winning side. How can you even make a statement like that Wallace when the matches you are talking about have had hardly a big test in them and when we actually had a big test we failed. And lets be honest, Monaco are not even that good a side.

    I understand there is a need to be optimistic, excited, happy, support the team, bring a level of confidence with whatever group you have. Because the best team on paper doesnt always win. This is something else. I am talking plainly just using my own logic without emotion as much as I can. This tells me that with our current squad, over the course of 10 months of football next season, we will not with the PL, or progress further in the CL.

  44. SomeRandomGunner

    QNA i doubt the home grown rules work the way you have described.

    You can only have 17 non home grown > 21 olds.
    If we replace all the 5 players you have specified i am pretty sure we will cross the 17 limit.

    And U21 players do not count in the squad number.

  45. qna

    TGB: Personally I think we have as good a squad as we have in ages. Watching last seasons highlights of the fa cup the personel used is hugely different to the current team.

    I agree. I am just so excited by what I am seeing. I have watched the Liverpool game in parts and the whole 90 minutes so many times now its getting boring. I just love that match. We really bullyed them. I am even feeling sorry now for Toure the poor fella. The more I watch it, the poorer they were. Lucas was rusty. Defenders were just poor. Sturriage was not himself. But hey, other sides take advantage of us on an off day and the fact that we did was great. Should have been 6-1 at least.

  46. qna

    SRG. Of course, you have to manage the list of 17. I was merely pointing out what could be done with HGs moving forward, and as I also noted we have about 9 players that need to be got rid of first including Flamini, Diaby, Podolski, Arteta, which takes three from the current 17. Also, if you were adding all the players I named, you could even remove Roskicky. But I personally want to keep him. In part for the continuity that we all agree on. I think Rosicky can be our Lampard. He is still so good in my opinion.

  47. Wallace

    qna

    “How can you even make a statement like that Wallace when the matches you are talking about have had hardly a big test in them and when we actually had a big test we failed.”

    so when we beat a big side it’s only because they’re having an off day, but when we lose a big game it’s because we’re just not that good? can’t we have an off day, too?

  48. Blsany

    It has to be said, Liverpool’s FA Cup run has not been one to set pulses racing – seven goals scored across six matches, including two 0-0 draws at home against lower league opposition. It looks as though the stars are aligning for them, it doesn’t matter how poorly they play, they still find a way through.

    I really hope Benteke has one of his unstoppable days in the semi, otherwise it’s all set for Liverpool to screw us over in a repeat of the 2001 final, to complete the least deserved Cup win since that 2001 final.Fuck Joe allen.Brodges secret lovechild.

  49. Leedsgunner

    Wilshere to Man City? A simple answer… no, unless they are willing to make him their record signing… which means they will have to pay more than the £38m they shelled out for Aguero. I’m tired of strengthening our domestic rivals.

  50. qna

    Wallace. Is that what you beleive or are you asking my a hypothetical for the sake of it.

    In any case Yes. It could be that we had an off day. Or were unlucky with player availability. Liverpool were unlucky with that but even if they had there best side I think we would have beaten them. But I cany be sure. But a campaign lasts for 10 months and I dont think this squad can win the PL next year even if you add Schnederlin and Cech. Thats what I am saying. Chelsea at the beginning of the season were better than we are now and they deserve the trophy as much as I hate them. Fabregas has had more impact on the league than Ozil or Cazorla even though right now our guys are playing better.

  51. qna

    Blsany. But since the PL is out of reach all we have left are our big games to really look forward to and savour. We have Chelsea and United. Wouldnt it be brilliant to meet Liverpool in the final. Bad luck aside, I think we can beat them. It will also be good for our players to win a big trophy against a big opppsition. It means more and we will remember it more strongly for longer. I cant even remember last years final really. The Spurs game is more memorable for me.

  52. Blsany

    Qna
    Yeah silly of me to think we won’t turn them over.2 big teams in final is going to be more memorable than last years final.If we are going to start games like we do recently we should not fear anyone.Hopefully will deny Stevie another trophy.

  53. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Keep our squad fit 2 or 3 really good signings and good pre season and there is no reason why we can’t challenge next season. As I said earlier this is the best squad we’ve had in a long time

    Fitness is the key. Last season we were stuffed with injuries, this season it was the beginning after the world cup. Keep everyone fit and we can rotate out of choice not due to injury

    A lot of our team is either coming into their prime or are there already. Sprinkle in a few experienced heads and youngsters and we have a well balanced squad

  54. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal have on their books a very large squad of players if you factor in those
    who are currently out on loan.

    I am pretty sure that most of the loanees apart from Akpom and Martinez will
    not be retained.

    The only question mark will be Jenkinson. He has played well this season and his family are long term Arsenal Supporters [including father who is by all accounts a season ticket holder]. The fact that he is home grown might convince
    Arsenal to hold onto him in view of new regulations in 2016.

    Our squad has performed quite well since January and you need to weigh up
    making ‘improvements’ with ‘stability’. It is always a good thing to bring in at
    least three new faces to freshen up squad and keep players on toes.

    Looking at squad the question is what positions are still weak and could be
    improved. Personally I think that our squad players [12-25] are better than most other major contenders in EPL. However, our 1st X1 does not compare
    with our main competitors in a few positions.

    I don’t think that Ospina or Szczesny compare favourably this season with goalkeepers at Chelsea [Courtois and Cech], Man City [Hart], Man Utd [De Gea] or Spurs [Lloris]. Clearly this is one position which could be improved.

    In defence one might argue that we could do still with upgrade in left full back
    position. On the other hand I don’t see Wenger offloading Gibbs and Monreal
    has performed okay in recent games.

    The defensive midfield is a corundum. We need an additional player to replace Arteta and Flamini. Neither is good enough to keep on playing for a
    Title Challenging Team. The question is do we bring in a squad or First X1
    player who will will replace Coquelin in starting lineup?

    In Central Midfield you could argue that Rosicky [aged 35] and Diaby should
    leave. Will Wenger be inclined to force them out. Cazorla is now playing in
    a deeper central role so there is probably no necessity to buy a new player
    when you have also on books Wilshere and Ramsey.

    Ozil is our attacking midfielder and both Cazorla and Oxlade-Chamberlain can
    also cover that position. So there is frankly no need to buy a player there.

    On the Wing we have a large number of options with Sanchez,Walcott,Ox,
    Welbeck and Gnabry. Some like myself would not be opposed in offloading
    Walcott, but if you do so who would you consider an upgrade. Walcott’s main
    asset for me is his ‘home grown’ status and not his goals [fairly limited value]
    or pace where we have plenty of other options.

    Bluntly we don’t need another right wing, because all those I listed are natural
    players on right side of field. If we are going to buy someone to replace Walcott then it should be someone who is left sided. Dybala has been mentioned
    and of course Reus. Both are double digit goalscorers which is also something
    to consider.

    On the other hand Wenger might feel that losing Walcott is only worthwhile
    if he finds another English [or Home Grown] player to replace him in squad.
    At the moment there are very few such players floating around market apart
    from Sterling and we know that Liverpool will only let him go for an inflated
    price and most probably not to their main competitors.

    You could argue that we could still do with additional striker, because Welbeck does not score enough goals. On the other hand I don’t se Arsenal buying
    a headliner in that position who will replace Giroud. At the end of day I think that Wenger will stick with two options currently on books.

    To conclude I think that Arsenal will spend modestly in this transfer window
    with a modest budget not exceeding £50-60 million. Frankly we don’t need to spend more.

  55. Dark Hei

    Well Pedro is right. It is not about how many Dybalas we buy. All we need to do is to keep Ox, “Hazard-fit” and we are on our way to matching Chelsea toe-to-toe. I think we have enough talent as it is. Just let Shad work his magic.

  56. Dark Hei

    I don’t think a big name star would want to come and play 2nd-fiddle to Sanchez. So there won’t be a left sided player coming in. Ox, Ozil, Rosicky and Akpom can play on the left as well. So we have good cover there.

    Word on Newsnow is that Diaby is going to get a pay-as-you-play deal. Up to him if he wants to accept it. But if he is loyal, he should sign on. He has potential upside but with big risks; a contract like this pass the risks to the player and allow us to tap into whatever upside that comes out of it.

    As for the centre midfield player, I think we will go for a deep lying play maker. For that is, is anyone’s guess.

  57. tunnygriffboy

    Emirates

    Spot on as usual. CM does present a problem. Do we buy another destroyer like Coquelin or do you buy an Arteta type of player who is good defensivel but not getting the stats Coquelin gets but can really pass the ball igniting attacks eg Schneiderlin

    The left wing is also an issue. Alexis has said he prefers to play there as opposed to the right. On the right we have Ox and Walcott, even Ramsey in certain games like last Saturday. We also have Gnabry. I was watching highlights of last years fa cup run and he had a few bright points including a good assist for Santi. I also remember he had a good game against Swansea last season as well. He has talent. What is to become of him ?

    Cech is a no brainer if possible.

  58. Kane

    Some good points re whether we have made progress this season.

    Personally, it feels like we have made progress – there is a sense of calm around the club, the like of which I haven’t felt for many years.

    We are playing with freedom, confidence and belief, the team is being set up tactically and the changes to our behind the scenes set up (i.e. fitness / training) are giving positive results.

    Our squad looks powerful, with goals able to come from multiple sources – we can set up in a number of ways and we have enough different types of player to cope with various threats.

    I am definitely a 1 game at a time kind of supporter so won’t get lofty headed about “next season” – but it does feel something has changed.

    People say the test is Chelsea – but did anyone go into this season thinking we were the best team in the country? I didn’t – so if we can end the season as the 2nd best team in the country, then that is huge progress on seasons gone before.

    Is it where I want us to be? No of course not – I, like you, want us to be the best, but I am balanced enough to see this season as solid progress and will hope it continues into next season and we can push on and realistically compete for the title.

    Even if Chelsea lose 2 game (including to us) I think they will win the league… but I would hope that every gooner will look at the team this season and can see real progress has been made.

  59. qna

    Emirates. Your logic is sound in all of your assessments of our players and positions.

    Emirates: “Frankly we don’t need to spend more.”

    But didnt you say the same thing last summer? I think you overvalue the quality level of some of our squad players – in particular the English contingent. You are basing this mostly on our form over the last couple of months. But the campaign lasts for 10 months. No team will go without losing players to injury. All teams have had excellent runs of form this season. I am interested, do you think our current run of form is better than Chelsea’s at the beginning of the season. I don’t. When Costa was banging in goals and Fabregas was making most of his 16 assists (only in the league).

    So why then are we a better side? Because at the time of writing this we are in rare form? What happens when Coq starts losing confidence. Some of those tackles are just a bit late and he picks up two yellows. Or he gets too tight and gets turned. He dives in and misses the ball. When Ozil’s form dips again for a while. Which Jack Wilshere will turn up to play in his place.

    Its the same story every year. Yeah we are better this year. But only marginally, and we started from a long way off the level we needed to be at.

    United, City and Chelsea are going to invest hard this summer. If we stand still we would have lost the ground that we gained this year.

  60. Blsany

    “… but I would hope that every gooner will look at the team this season and can see real progress has been made.”

    Inadvertently though.No credit to Wenger imo.

  61. Kane

    Leedsgunner April 9, 2015 08:53:27

    Wilshere to Man City? A simple answer… no, unless they are willing to make him their record signing… which means they will have to pay more than the £38m they shelled out for Aguero. I’m tired of strengthening our domestic rivals.

    – – – –

    Based on Wilshere’s injury record and form – would his signing actually strengthen them? I love Jack and want him to be amazing for us – but he has consistently been a weak link – or a disruptive cog – when the team is set up around him it usually means it is more disjointed and less fluid.

    That may be due to him rarely being fully fit so missing the sharpness he needs to be effective, but then I look at his goals record and think he just isn’t that special to us anymore.

  62. @snoekrats

    Blsany

    Its a bit odd not to give credit to Wenger.

    How is that possible? Or are you just fishing?

    I mean clearly he has done something right?

    If a person can’t credit where credit is due his opinions becomes irrelevant in my opinion.

    I mean Coq might have have happened inadvertently but the rest? Magic?

  63. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    You’re a little bit glass half empty in your assessment of us and other sides form.
    It’s not just Coquelin that could make a mistake. Players from other teams will also drop howlers eg Matic v Burnley. Ozil may lose form, of course he might. Fabregas has had a real dip in form atm, it happens to all players. Our bad patch came at the beginning of the season when Debuchy, Kos, Ramsey, Ozil, Giroud and others were out with injuries. Any side missing that amount of players would lose form

    Yes the clubs around us will strengthen but after the last two summers with Ozil and Alexis is there any reason to believe we won’t strengthen as well ?

  64. Wallace

    qna

    “United, City and Chelsea are going to invest hard this summer. If we stand still we would have lost the ground that we gained this year.”

    i think the age range of our group and the fact they’ve been playing together for such a short period of time means they’ll improve next season just by continuing to play together.

    and surely the lesson of the last few years – Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd, and Man City to an extent – is that spending 100-200m in the summer does not guarantee you a better side. only Chelsea with Matic, Fabregas and Costa have been efficient in that regard. and in each of those cases they were adressing glaring weaknesses.

  65. OnlyCameToSeeEboue

    Thomas I dont get it. You feel Wilshere is worth £30m yet you will also look to replace him with a £30m player I suspect. Wheres the logic?

  66. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: I am interested, do you think our current run of form is better than Chelsea’s at the beginning of the season. I don’t.

    Chelsea first 15 PL games

    36 points, goal difference 21

    Arsenal last 15 PL games

    37 points goal difference 24

  67. qna

    TGB: Players from other teams will also drop howlers ….

    Of course. That is what I am saying. How can you come to the conclusion that we will win the PL next year then. How are we a better side than any other. It just makes no sense. Right now we are in good form and not making mistakes. Earlier Chelsea were in good form and now they are making mistakes. But overall, they were the better side for longer and so how do you conclude that we will win the PL next season.

    Wallace: I think the age range of our group and the fact they’ve been playing together for such a short period of time means they’ll improve next season just by continuing to play together.

    Every team in the world could argue this. In fact the players in our team that have been playing longest together are the players that arent in our first choice team. Go figure.

    Wallace: and surely the lesson of the last few years – Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd, and Man City to an extent – is that spending 100-200m in the summer does not guarantee you a better side. only Chelsea with Matic, Fabregas and Costa have been efficient in that regard. and in each of those cases they were adressing glaring weaknesses.

    No. Wrong. Spending money has proven to be effective. City, United and now Chelsea have all won big trophies in the past few years.

    Spurs and Liverpool are different situations because in both cases they arguably didnt buy top quality players and they funded these by selling two top quality players. I am not suggesting we do this. I am suggesting we go for quality players that all the big clubs agree are top quality – which in turn means that they will cost a lot of money.

    I mean I have never ever suggested we buy any player that Liverpool or Spurs have bought except for Lloris , Vertongen and Balotelli – who I did want us to buy. That is the gods honest truth. I have never wanted Erikson or Lallana or Henderson or any other player that they bought for big money and I stand by that to this day.

  68. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    No I did not say the same last summer.

    Last summer I expressed the view that we needed to replace Sagna, buy an additional centre back if Vermaelen left, a defensive midfielder and a striker to
    complement Giroud.

    When the Summer transfer window closed I was critical that Arsenal had sold
    Vermaelen without adequate replacement and failed to bring in DMF.

    My view this summer is that the two or three new faces to be brought in are
    for purposes of ‘freshening’ up squad and upgrade in certain positions.

    We have a strong and balanced squad, but shifting out some players who are
    past their best or over duplication makes sense.

    My instinct is that Wenger will make one headline signing to satisfy sponsors
    and the other purchases will be to replace players offloaded. My personal
    instinct is that Arsenal may well do a deal with Liverpool which involves both
    Sterling and Walcott.

    Walcott is going to struggle to get a regular place in team and I think that Sterling will refuse to sign new contract with Liverpool. Liverpool for all their rhetoric will not hold onto an unhappy player.

    Liverpool are going to lose Gerrard who will need replacing and without money from Champions League they are going to be short of funds. Liverpool have
    one of the smallest cash reserves in EPL.

  69. Bamford10

    Those above who say that we really don’t need to spend money this summer are a complete mystery to me. How could someone possibly reach this conclusion?

    Is this squad as good as it gets? Are all these players the best in the world — or equal to the best in the world — at their position? Will this be the best squad in England next season? Will we be competing for both the EPL and CL titles?

    The answer to every one of these q’s is ‘no’.

    A few specific points:

    1. Ospina has done a job, but he isn’t even close to top class. Not even close. Why would anyone be satisfied with him as our starter?

    2. Coquelin has been excellent, but he remains rough around the edges, a work in progress. His form could dip, he could get injured. No way we turn to Arteta. For me there is no question we should sign the best CDM available in order to compete with and/or rotate with Coquelin. If said CDM beats out Coquelin, so be it; that means we are better as a team.

    3. Ramsey hasn’t been convincing this season at all. He has looked OK at times, but Cazorla at his best at CM has been far better than Ramsey. So next year? Will Ramsey be the CM to lead us to the title? Will Cazorla? I don’t see it. Will Jack? I doubt anyone here sees that. Thus for me, if we really want to be best in England or in the world we ultimately need to improve at CM as well.

    4. Giroud is in great form, but he remains a limited player and far from one of the best CFs in the world. He turns 29 in September and there’s no guarantee he’ll maintain this level much less excel in the biggest games against the best teams next year. If we want to be the best in England or the world, we need better than Giroud.

    To be continued.

  70. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: No. Wrong. Spending money has proven to be effective. City, United and now Chelsea have all won big trophies in the past few years.

    There’s a definite correlation between spending money and success, (though the last Utd win was more down to managerial input than financial input) because money buys you quality and quality will come good at some point.

    The important thing is to spend it wisely.

    Chelsea have only recently spent wisely, for several years after Roman took over they were throwing money around wastefully.

    ManC have spent for short term success, and while they’ve put some effort into controlling their spend, (better contracts for players) they’re in a situation now where their squad is pretty scarily old.

    Over the last 10-15 years we’ve spent both well (on signings) and poorly (on wages). The trick now that we have more cash to throw around is to spend it more wisely than the clubs we”re now competing against again.

  71. Leedsgunner

    Re Wilshere

    As much as I find Wilshere frustrating he has frightening potential. We have to factor that potential into the asking price. No doubt as soon as he left the club, under another training regime he might improve his fitness and start ripping it up. (Although that didn’t happen with RvP). Wilshere is a gamble which ever way you go — keep him he remains a permacrock under Arsene or if we sell him, he suddenly improves because of the reasons above — if it was up to me I would sell him for £30m overseas but I doubt there would be any buyers nor I doubt Wilshere would want Togo unless it was Barça, RM or Bayern.

    Err, although Barça loves former Gooner crocks they are under a transfer embargo and I can’t see BM or RM coming for him.

  72. qna

    Nasri’s Mouth. Chelsea had their streak when the league was up for grabs didnt they. We always seem to play better when the pressure is off. That is what the media says. and its a legitimate question. As I have said, we are playing great football now and I am happy. But Chelsea are going to win the league and you are all talking like we are better than them. They have also clearly picked up 10 extra points than us during our streak (assuming they win their game in hand) – that is not nothing.

    You can skew the facts which ever way you like it. I am sure you have been doing it for the last 10 years. But its not going to win you the PL.

    We have improved this year. But like I said before: United, City and Chelsea are going to invest hard this summer. If we stand still we would have lost the ground that we gained this year.

  73. Lee

    Qna

    United and City invested this year and we are still the second best team in the country.
    The only thing keeping us off that top spot now, or at least competing for it is our fitness levels.

  74. qna

    ES: No I did not say the same last summer.

    Well I am pretty sure we had an argument about us needing to go and force a move for Reus and possibly another CF as well. But I can’t say that you or any fan on here didnt want us to at least add a replacement for TV5 and a new DM.

    ES: My view this summer is that the two or three new faces to be brought in are for purposes of ‘freshening’ up squad and upgrade in certain positions.

    Are you saying that if we do this we will win the league? Or will you just be a happy camper, say like an Everton or Newcastle fan if their club did that? What about if United goes and buys Cavani and Bale. Or if Chelsea adds 200m in players to make sure we dont get as close as this year. Are you saying top quality 40m plus new faces? Or will a Schnederlin and some 20m guy from the French league do.

    I agree that we need to keep the balance of the team when we spend. But I dont agree that we are presently any closer to winning the PL than we have been this year. Liverpool are close Spurs are close. We are slightly closer. But none of us are going to take home that trophy. It is a 10 month campaign fighting on 4 fronts where we need to progress at least to the CL QFs. We wont have our first choice 11 at all times and relying on Welbeck, Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs, Schezeny, Chambers, to get the job done when its their turn to be the main man. I cant see it.

  75. qna

    Lee: United and City invested this year and we are still the second best team in the country.

    Hahaha. Funny. Do you want a prize for that? You missed the point. They both have won the PL recently. City are the holders. That doesnt mean that spending money doenst work. Chelsea also spent big money and they won it. Its also a bit early to start engraving your name into your 2nd place trophy.

  76. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: But Chelsea are going to win the league and you are all talking like we are better than them.

    Not at all, all I’m doing is pointing our that our recent form has been just as good as Chelsea’s initial form.

    Over the course of the season, we’ve not been as good as Chelsea because the table very rarely lies. If we finish 1st,2nd,3rd,4th,5th…etc. that will where we deserve to finish.

    But, what the players and the manager need to focus on is how to maintain what we currently have, because this current form IS PL winning form. That means keeping the players fit, keeping them properly motivated, giving them the right tactics to win games from the start of next season, rather than waiting for it all to click around January time.

    Does that mean we shouldn’t buy in the summer ? Of course not. If we have money we should spend, BUT we should also be mindful of how we spend it.

    One obvious example is Giroud. Currently playing very well indeed. Hardly any strikers playing better in Europe at the moment. Wenger and the club see the player in training, pore over his performances in games, have access to lots more statistical data than we do, and from that they can decide whether they think he’ll improve, plateau or decline next season. Spending £35m+ on a striker to replace him would make little sense IF he continues his current form.

  77. Blsany

    Lee
    “The only thing keeping us off that top spot now, or at least competing for it is our fitness levels.”

    Mate you spelt Arsene Wenger wrong.

  78. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: City are the holders. That doesn’t mean that spending money doesn’t work. . Chelsea also spent big money and they won it.

    Conversely, when ManC won it, Chelsea DIDN’T win it despite spending lots of money.

    I know that’s being picky, but now we’re spending similar amounts to ManC and Chelsea, (and ManU are outspending everyone) we will still have considerably more chance of not winning the league next season than winning it.

  79. Paulinho

    We’ve displayed title winning form quite a few times in the race for the Fourth Place Cup.

    It’s a completely different pressure when you’re top and being chased. We looked like we couldn’t cope with that against Everton at home last season – in December – nevermind in the spring months.

    Still too many question marks in the squad to think we can just go again at the start of next season off a solid base. Giroud physically is still too up and down – and when he’s off the pace the whole thing falls apart – and Cazorla at 31/2 is not a long term central midfield option.

    Progress has been made in terms of off the ball pressure. Bellerin, Coquelin, Sanchez, Welbeck have made a difference. So we’re a more dynamic team in that regard. Bellerin also finally gives us a full back that suits the way Wenger wants his team to play. Sagna playing there for the last five years or so was eye-gouging stuff. Monreal as well is a step up from Gibbs.

  80. WengerEagle

    Sanchez has already played 43 matches this season, quite incredible when you consider that he was off the back of a World Cup and playing in his first season at a new club.

    With 8 or possibly 9 matches left in the season he will fingers-crossed exceed 50 matches and hopefully 25 goals, he’s on 20 atm.

  81. qna

    NM : Conversely, when ManC won it, Chelsea DIDN’T win it despite spending lots of money.

    The argument only makes sense when a team that didnt spend wins. Otherwise there is no valid argument that says we shouldnt invest heavily if we are to win the PL/CL.

    It does happen. Take Athletico. But its rare. We need to spend as much as we can to compete and we have been withholding up to £200m in cash reserves thay could have potrntially be spent on players.

  82. WengerEagle

    Also agree about Sagna, he was a fantastic servant at the club and in his prime the best defensive RB in the BPL but he was always barring his very first season absolutely atrocious going forward.

    I was sad to see him leave but knew that we were getting a better player in Debuchy when he signed tbh.

  83. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    We don’t need to make wholesale changes to our squad to be in contention for league title.

    Last year Chelsea finished three points ahead of us in league. They brought in three good acquisitions in Courtois,Fabregas and Costa, but I feel that if we make one major key signing this season and a couple additions to improve our
    squad we will be in contention.

    The main improvements this season and next are the balance of the team, how
    we play and resolution of our injury problem.

    There is evidence that we have been making progress there.