Dreaming that Arsenal can win the league

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Morning folks – James with a match report for your enjoyment – feels like ages since I last did one, so apologies for depriving you.

Yesterday saw yet another hard-fought win on the road, this time swatting aside Burnley, who are seemingly managed by an ageing Stone Cold Steve Austin – the thought of him giving Arsene a Stone Cold Stunner on the sidelines conjures quite the picture. Sean Dyche is an odd man in so many ways – his pointy sideburns, his little beard, his tie that’s far too short and a voice that sounds as if he guzzles a cocktail of razor blades and stinging nettles every morning.

Nonetheless, I always felt this would be a tough test, given they beat City at their place, whilst holding Tottenham and Utd; and so it proved. As has been our wont in similar fixtures recently, we took an early lead, this time through the Welsh Jesus in the twelfth minute.

The move began with some jiggery-pokery from Sanchez on the edge of Burnley’s box, jinking his way passed defenders before having a shot blocked, which cannoned off to Mesut Ozil. His shot was well struck and forced a good save from Heaton at his near post, before it ricocheted out to Cazorla and finally to Ramsey. His shot whistled into the roof of the net and was a superb finish under pressure and with a couple of defenders on the line.

Burnley responded well to going behind, with Ospina saving well from Trippier’s free kick, having previously done well to deny Vokes who roasted Per for pace down the flank. Per’s a cracking centre half, but clearly his weakness is when he gets isolated out wide. As well as Bellerin has done so far, he can leave Per slightly exposed and it highlights how good a defender Sagna was, in spite of his offensive deficiencies, that he protected Per so well. The half continued at a decent pace but was punctuated by persistent fouls given away by Burnley.

Football fans – particularly it seems those of average northern teams – seem to love getting irate when a foul is given against their team, despite it being completely blatant. They seem to think because they’re tough northerners playing some southern fairies their right to shithousery is sacrosanct – sorry, but that doesn’t butter any parsnips with me.

At half time I saw a flurry of tweets saying we ‘desperately need a second goal’; or ‘this has 1-1 written all over it’. I didn’t see it myself and felt, for once, we looked comfortable at one nil. Even in the second half, Burnley had plenty of huff and puff but they never looked like blowing our house down. This was predominantly down to a lack of any real quality up front for the home side – even Danny Ings made little impact on the game and I sense he’s been over-hyped somewhat this season.

The only real heart in mouth moment came courtesy of Kris Boyd – the rattiest of all ratty players – who fluffed his attempted volley after Ben Mee had done well to evade Bellerin and deliver a decent cross. From our point of view, genuine chances were few and far between. Ozil picked out Ramsey with stunning accuracy, only for the Welshman’s shot to be well blocked. Ozil’s nonchalant flick also created space for Alexis to shoot from range, with Heaton saving well.

I wasn’t able to go to the game but watched it with some friends and we all got the distinct impression Arsenal were always comfortable at 1-0 and were content to retain the ball and mop up any threats before they could become dangerous. Mopper-upper-in-chief was the magnificent Coq, who was hard, penetrating and, well, magnificent. He was, I believe, awarded Man of the Match, which was richly deserved. He reads the play so well, highlighted by his 11 interceptions today but also allies that with superb physical attributes. He’s very quick across the ground and seems to have a good engine. His passing is also incisive and what I like about him is he is willing to take responsibility and always looks to go forwards when in possession. His rise has been truly astronomical and I doubt anyone, Arsene included, foresaw his rise to prominence. I still feel we’ll need another midfielder this summer, particularly if Santi leaves, but the thought of playing a Coq and Schneiderlin (for example) combination in a tough away fixture is tantalising.

We managed to see out the remainder of the game with the minimum of fuss, with WELBZ having a chance towards the end, however the pass from Ozil was over hit and took him too wide. Not to worry – three points, a clean sheet and pressure put on Chelsea above us and the Manchester teams below us who meet tomorrow.

Additional thoughts on the game itself, from a tactical viewpoint would focus on Ramsey playing from the right again. It worked a treat against Liverpool last week and many commented that this was a one-off tactical masterstroke; however I believe Arsene is making a concerted effort to allow Ramsey to exercise his attacking prowess at the sharp end of the pitch where he’s most effective; which could make his presence out wide a more regular occurrence. Doubtless he is a cracking central midfielder, but when Santi and Coq have formed such a good partnership it makes sense to utilise Ramsey’s ability to break away from defenders, along with his capacity to contribute to our pressing game.

A quick word too for Nacho Monreal, who has proved a lot of people wrong this season. Clearly his stint at centre half has brought his game on and as far as left backs go in the league, defensively at least, you’d be hard pressed to find many better than him. Every game he plays he seems to have the measure of his winger and whilst he isn’t especially eye catching going forwards, he still supports the attack, often acting as a decoy runner for Alexis or Ozil. Big props to him and long may it continue.

On a more macro level, yesterday was our eighth win in a row, making us the first side to achieve that this season in the Premier League and the first time we’ve done it since the Invincible season in 2003-04. This underlines not only the quality in the team and depth of squad we have, but also the growing cohesion, trust and understanding that appears to have developed over the course of the season.

In terms of how to assess our season so far, it is hard to give a conclusive evaluation. Whilst there is – rightly – frustration that we started so poorly, I do think our form in 2015 gives reason for encouragement. Finishing second would represent big progress for Arsenal as a club – we haven’t achieved it since 2005/04 (I believe). Couple that with; hopefully, another FA Cup and this can be viewed as a good season.

The acid test for Wenger is next season. He will have momentum, a full pre-season, a well-balanced squad full of talent and cash to burn. If he gets the summer right and finally overcomes the injury issues that have hamstrung us for years, we simply have to challenge for the title. If we don’t, then I think that is evidence Wenger has reached his optimum and he himself will consider whether he can continue to take us forward.

I believe you have to judge seasons in their entirety and thus far, the poor start will make me severely err from saying Wenger has proved the doubters wrong, however progress should never be sneered at. Next season is the one and he has to get it right.

Talk of the title this season? Don’t do it to yourselves people. It’s all about the FA Cup again. The thought of a scabby handball goal to deny Gerrard his special day at Wembley is utterly delicious…the thought of a Gerrard screamer to win it far more pooey-panty.

Anyway, enjoy your Sundays – this will be a long week in the build up to Wembley. Personally, I can’t wait – as far as dreams go; the FA Cup isn’t a bad consolation prize. Until next time x

Give me a follow @James_Willson2

275 Responses to “Dreaming that Arsenal can win the league”

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  1. Joe

    GGs back 4 was there. Bergkamp was coming. Who says it wouldn’t of got better.

    Where would wenger be without GGs back 4 and Dennis. He probably wouldn’t of made it through the first season.

  2. Joe

    Cesc just sealed the trophy for Chelsea.
    Just like rvp sealed the trophy for united a few years ago

    Great decisions wenger.

  3. kofi

    although I never thought we would win the league it is really disappointing that goal keepers keep gifting chelsea the league. it’s annoying

    if they had drawn today they would have been under great pressure next week against united. now they can easily lose there and would still be in the driving seat for the title 🙁

  4. Jay

    City really should be begging someone to take toure off their hands he’s been so poor this season.getting dominated by fellaini ffs

  5. TheBayingMob

    Resuls not going our way this afternoon … I would have sacked Pelligrini weeks ago, but then in saying that, I would have sacked Wenger too on various occasions. Really pooor though. Rob Green as well, what a useless turd of a goalkeeper he is, he only ever plays well against us, the fucking cunt …

  6. tunnygriffboy

    Need to get Debuchy fit before we go to Old Trafford. Wouldn’t play Hector v Fellaini again

    It’s quite possible we could finish 4th or 2nd. Big games to come. Last week of season man u (a), Sunderland (h), West Brom (h)

    Need city to get a draw 2nd half to keep them both at arms length

    Yaya is a disgrace. Lazy lazy git

  7. Northbanker

    I got back from lunch today and informed my 10 year old son as i switched the ipad on that I bet Chelsea had nicked a 1- 0 win in the dying minutes of the game. He now thinks I’m an awesome guru on the beautiful game; sadly it’s just that I’ve been following it for too long and seen this sooo often

    Ah well, the very remote hope we could win the title is going as quickly as it came

    Utd beating City may not be too bad – if we slip against Chavs or Manure then keeping some distance from City means a top 3 place and instant ECL league status more likely. That could be helpful if we’re serious about buying Cech this Summer

  8. Nasri's Mouth

    Mangala cost over 30 million pounds

    Thirty million plus

    30,000,000+

    And he can’t even hold a defensive line

    Scary stuff

  9. freddylekgunner

    They will probably get fourth this season, but next season i dont think so. Manure are seriously on our trail.

  10. Arsene's Nurse

    City collapsing. None of their players has looked to put a shift in today. Would love to see them out the top for. Not as much as I’d like to see Man U out though.

  11. Marc

    What would happen to City’s finances if they finish outside top 4?

    Might sound an irrelevant question but if they do it might turn a couple of top managers off if the promise of mega money isn’t quite so available.

  12. Nasri's Mouth

    Marc: What would happen to City’s finances if they finish outside top 4?

    They’ll lose the best part of £30m.

    They might save some wages if everyone has a top 4 finish bonus.

    They’ll have to spend a few million paying off Pellegrini, (depending on the terms of his contract of course)

    They’ll struggle to sign top players

  13. underrated Coq

    “Are we underestimating United? They are playing really well…”

    I think its more of a case of City being absolutely embarrassing defensively. This’ll make next weekend’s game at Stamford Bridge very interesting.

    Expect a slugfest and Chelsea to somehow get a dodgy victory yet again.

    Anyway, I digress. I think its fair to say Fellaini and Young have been instrumental for United in the last few weeks. It just makes you appreciate what Bellerin and Coquelin, our upcoming stars, have brought to the team. They nullified the threat of Young and Fellaini superbly. Coquelin especially, with a broken nose for his troubles, took Fellaini completely out of the game.

    Lets hope they can do it again, cause we may need to beat United if we want to finish second.

  14. Marc

    Coq

    That’s the problem everyone’s been going on about ManU’s amazing results but the Spud’s were shocking, Liverpool worse and Man City have a team of mercenaries who have decided that they don’t like a war. It’s really hard to really judge ManU personally I look at that team and think what a poor squad. They need something like 4 or 5 first team players for next season.

  15. Nasri's Mouth

    ManU are playing pretty well and have been for quite a few games now. Even when we beat them they had upped their game a fair bit.

    ManC have been a little unlucky with the decisions, but they’re far too open in the middle with Toure trotting around.

  16. Marc

    Nasri

    I meant the further implications of FFP, they’ve already got a suspended fine and that team really needs revamping. Would Pep go there if the transfer budget was restricted to say £50 – £60 million?

  17. Nasri's Mouth

    @Marc

    If they’re going to meet FFP, they’ll have less money to spend.

    I wouldn’t want to guess how much they can spend, but if they finish outside top 4, it would be less than us.

  18. Marc

    Nasri

    Yeah I’d sort of got that far myself. They certainly shouldn’t be able to start putting £50 odd million bids in for the likes of Sterling etc.

  19. kwik fit

    This must be the only fixture were the home fans have a 250 mile trip home and away fans fans only have a brisk walk

  20. Nasri's Mouth

    @Marc

    Well, if ManC don’t finish top 4, Sterling wont want to go there

    Just looking at Southamptons fixtures and wondering… 😀

  21. tunnygriffboy

    Well. The run in is going to be tough. Man u will be right up for it. City have an easy run in which is not good for us. Man u got chelsea (a), Everton (a), Palace (a), West Brom (a) and us at their place

    Re city. They have a team of aging players a lot of who will have to be replaced. Be intersting how they do it. They will have to shift on players on huge wages and because they are desperate will have to play top dollar for replacements. We are actually in a better position than them going forward.

    Still not convinced we have an easy run for second. We’ll have to play really well.

  22. Nasri's Mouth

    blsany: Not worried about manure in the slightest

    Hmm, I am, I think it’ll be a really tough game. Harder than the Chelsea game IMO

  23. Marc

    I’d like the clown at the FA who allowed our cup semi to be scheduled at the same time as Chelsea ManU to explain how this was a good idea and promotes the FA Cup globally.

  24. gunnergetyou

    It’s gonna be an interesting race for 2nd. Realistically the title is Chelsea’s so we actually need them to beat Utd.

    If we can avoid defeat at OT then 2nd shouldn’t be a problem as long as we can match or better their result against Chelsea. Big if though.

  25. El Tel 1

    Here we go again. Only on Le Grove.

    We win 8 on the bounce and 16/18 and yet the Mancscums record is more impressive.

    Dear O Dear.

    Is there just no pleasing some people.

  26. Goondawg

    City have lost 6 out of their last 8. Shocking form.

    Pretty pathetic they have to turn to a 36 yo ex Chelsea geriatric when the going gets tough

  27. tunnygriffboy

    NM

    Yeah the man u game will be tough. Could do with them dropping a few points before we go there. City’s run in is good for them. I have a sense of dread we’ll end up 4th again sadly

  28. Wallace

    “That is the most pleasant memory – you have seen the arousal of the fans.”

    – LVG obviously spent some of the game with his back to the pitch.

  29. Wengerites Be Damned !

    Unfortunately, I can’t see Chelsea dropping sooooo many points. But even if this happens, then Arsenal will feel the pressure and crumble as always. So, ManU or City will have a better chance anyway. Arsenal, 4th place.

  30. Nasri's Mouth

    @blsany

    I doubt swopping Mertesacker for Gabriel would make much difference. Nothing much wrong with how ze German is playing right now.

    Dunno about Carrick, I’d like to hope if he plays we press him and stop him from getting his head up and spreading passes about.

  31. Nasri's Mouth

    @Joe

    “With the major honors set to elude Arsenal again…”

    Apparently they can see into the future and know we’re not going to win the FA Cup

  32. alex cutter

    “We win 8 on the bounce…”

    Here’s your eight:

    Burnley, Liverpool, Newcastle United, West Ham United, Queens Park Rangers, Everton, Crystal Palace, Leicester City.

    Don’t sprain your wrist jerking off to that list of powerhouses.

  33. gazzap

    I just hope we beat chelsea, secure at least top 3 in the coming weeks and then it doesn’t matter what we do at OT really. If we win everything else but lose there, we will finish 2nd. The title isn’t on, unless the chavs collapse after we beat them.
    For me it’s about securing top 3 and winning the FA cup. That is a realistic minimum, everything else is a bonus.

  34. blsany

    Nm
    Yeah but i would play him see if he can handle Fellaini in the air.I’d love to see that part of his game and its time to try Koz and Gab in “big”Game.

  35. Nasri's Mouth

    @blsany

    I don’t think we need to start experimenting more than we need to, and I’d prefer Coq to be on Fellaini and Mertesacker to clear up the second ball

  36. WengerEagle

    Right that’s it then, title over, Chelsea new BPL champions, congrats to them *cough, pigfuckers the lot of them, cough*

    The race for 2nd is on though, Citeh bottling it big time and could yet finish 5th if Liverpool get their shit together.

  37. Nasri's Mouth

    @Joe

    Absolutely. When we win it, I go mental. If we get to the final and lose it, I will go mental too.

    It’s not as big as the CL or PL, but it’s still a major honoUr (yes I’m English unlike the Daily Telegraph apparently) but it’s much bigger than the Carling Cup or the Charity Shield

  38. Nasri's Mouth

    WengerEagle: The race for 2nd is on though, Citeh bottling it big time and could yet finish 5th if Liverpool get their shit together.

    Southampton 4th, Liverpool 5th, City 6th 😀

  39. Cesc Appeal

    Shame City couldn’t have managed some sort of end of season revival, potentially keeping Pellegrini in a job, no way he doesn’t get the sack now as their collapse continues.

    Curious who they might get next year.

  40. Joe

    Only the Pl and CL are major trophies.

    The FA cup is a trophy, but can’t be considered a major success for a top club if that’s all they win

  41. Nasri's Mouth

    @joe

    Then we disagree.

    I also think the use of the word ‘elude’ is a bit naff really. It’s as though they somehow managed to squirm out of our grip, when the reality is we’ve been big outsiders for both the PL and the CL for quite a while and had we won either it would have been a big shock and a big win at the bookies.

  42. northern gooner

    I would take 9 years of winning the fa cup over 9 years of winning nothing.
    Regardless of whether its major or not. Winning is winning.

  43. Wallace

    NM

    “when the reality is we’ve been big outsiders for both the PL and the CL for quite a while”

    have we ever even started a season as clear favourites, heck, even just favourites, to win the league? it baffles me the level of expectation of some on here.

  44. WengerEagle

    The F.A Cup most definitely IS a major trophy, the Spanish Cup, Italian Cup and the German Cup are all major hence Barca, Real and Bayern’s, etc focus on winning them and they have nowhere near as much history as the F.A Cup has.

    It’s nowhere near as important as the BPL or the UCL admittedly but it’s still a major trophy and I’ll be ecstatic if we go on to retain it.

  45. Nasri's Mouth

    @Wallace

    I might just be me being a bit picky, but when I find 3 things to annoy me in the first sentence… 😀

    Gazidis makes a good point overall though

  46. northern gooner

    RSPC

    Absolute shite. Not even a place.
    My mum backed the winner and had 2nd and 3rd in the sweep we did.
    My mrs picked 2 as well in the big race and they were crap aswell.

  47. TheBayingMob

    How bad were city!? Touré an utter disgrace…. I’d fucking sack him out of his contract for gross misconduct then wrap him up in litigation for the rest of his lazy cunt non playing days. Still beautiful to watch all those ex Arsenal mercenary cunts playing like shit … Esp cliché … Wanker

  48. Nasri's Mouth

    R.S.P.C. Arsenal: Makes you think what could gphave vp been tho if we did not drop silly point …..

    At least we’ll be in a stronger position next season than we have been for a long time.

    Hopefully we’ll have a better handle on the injuries and no alternative to the WC hangover, and possibly no qualifying for the CL

  49. Nasri's Mouth

    northern gooner: My mum backed the winner

    My other half had the winner. She spent half the time hoping it would win, the other half worrying one of the horses was going to break a leg on a fence and telling the jockeys not to hit too hard

  50. Arsenal 1886-2006

    Hello Northern

    Could be better, a bit up and down like Wigan. I spend more time watching the SL and NRL these day’s, I watch the Arsenal games and that is about it on the football front, getting sick of the shirt pulling, diving, rolling around and running after the ref, football is getting boring with all the theatrics.
    My love of the game is slowly dying, it is business first and foremost these day’s, the enjoyment is slowly ebbing away for me.

    I am turning into a miserable old bastard :-).

    How are thing’s with you?

  51. northern gooner

    NM

    i like having a flutter but i have never backed a national winner.
    My mrs is the same. She was out when the race was on.
    When she got in her 1st question was did i win.
    Her 2nd question was. Where all the horses okay.

  52. northern gooner

    1886

    Not to bad here. Just wrote war and peace twice. Both went into moderation. I didnt ise any bad lingo.
    Juat settling down to watch the golf but the mrs wants to watch Vera!
    Looks like im pinching one of the lads easter eggs and sitting off in the conservatory for some peace.

  53. David Smith

    The papers reporting Ivan Gazidis is not happy with the way the season has gone, though he did mention he was satisfied in the way the squad is developing. On the surface,Looks like Wenger may have been finally bought to heel, recent player interviews suggesting player power has over ruled wengers tactics, or lack of them, now the CEO saying he is unhappy the way the season has gone. Any AKB comments on Ivan’s words as are being reported at least?
    This is two seasons ,when the title was genuinely up for grabs, if wenger,had pushed the boat out, got out of his comfort zone, signed another defender in time, played a holding MF, moor once been proactive,done more to sort the injuries, we could have won the title this season or last.
    Wenger has failed over the season, he needs to go out on a high, this summer. If he did not, he would revert to type, the same naive gung-ho tactics would appear,next autumn killing our season as it begins. Arteta or Diaby will replace coq in some ridiculous formation, ozil,will be returned to a wide role.that is the future should wenger stay beyond this summer.

  54. Joe

    Remember all the scenes of the players and fans celebrating like we had just one the World Cup, CL and pL and the euros when we qualified for CL on the last day of the season before making fun of city for being in 4th.

    It was embarrassing then, as it is now.

  55. gnarleygeorge9

    I reckon Old Frenchie would have knicked a can of Woop Arse from Stone Cold’s eski & sipped on it after that effort.

  56. Swissguns

    Gazidis’ comments are pretty politic tbh, not wanting to show contentment with the status quo, hunger and desire etc.

  57. Thanos

    Glad wenger has been made to wake up. Not sure if we will challenge for the title next season unless he gets a top keeper and cb. Plus help for le coq.

  58. qna

    Chelsea vs United
    Arsenal vs Chelsea
    United vs Arsenal

    Arsenal need to match or exceed united in points after these three fixtures to hold on to 2nd.

  59. qna

    Apparently Verratti is available this summer, but his preference is to go to Juventus. Come on Madrid., get Pogba and come on Arsene, get Verratti.

  60. TheBayingMob

    Wenger out!! I mean let’s face it … Whatever happens he’s a pensioner… Regardless … And a fucking rich one at that. I know the average AKB has this Wenger Eternal Life fantasy where the old scrote never dies and manages us into the 23rd century and beyond but the rest of us who live in the real world and have done for the past 8 years know its time to move on … What’s really different from last season? Pretty much the same in reverse as pleasing as it is. If we fuck Chelsea over I might believe things are changing. Until then, -#wenger out. Alex C keep it up. Creasing me up!!

  61. Ivan

    And who will replace Wenger next season? If Ancelotti retains job at Real i dont see any possible upgrade on him. Lets face it, hes no perfect, but theres no plethora of better managers out there! Lets have some perspective ffs…

  62. Thank you and goodnight

    An fa cup win will gladly be celebrated by me…..if we win of course, Don’t want to jinx it. But as for progress, well yes 2nd is obviously better than 4th, but still not utterly convinced. We always seem to do well in the league at some stage of a season……usually when there’s nothing but 4th place to play for. So yes IF we get 2nd this season and fa cup it will be very nice. But even if we get a few signings next year I’m still not convinced we’ll be any nearer to winning EPL as we are very good at shooting ourselves in the foot.

  63. Jeff

    Last season after 32 games we were on 64 points and 4th. This year, after 32 games we are on 66 points and 2nd. I would suggest that our position is more to do with how shit our immediate rivals have been rather than how good we are.

  64. Ivan

    Bar lpool other were in shambles last season too. Mou shot himself and chelsky in the foot at the very end. City was far from convincing and ManU was hilarious. And to be honest all of them bitchslapped us. Most of last season felt more like damage control than competing. Now we at least have some depth, and look more solid through all positions. I have some weird feeling that next season will give a lot of answers in wich direction we go as a club….

  65. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal’s priorities to the end of the season must now be as follows:

    1. Keep on focussing on each game coming up and winning them.
    2. Beating both Chelsea and Man Utd which will demonstrate that we are the
    best team in second half of season.
    3. Finishing runner up in league. We are not going to win it this season.
    4. Win the FA Cup in consecutive seasons.

    Then plan forward for next season.

    1. Offload those players in our squad or out on loan who are surplus to requirements or not good enough to play in first team.
    2. Recruit one major star who will be an upgrade on what we have got in team
    and maintain impetus.
    3. Fill holes in squad. We must not go into next season as we did in in 2014/15
    with gaps in squad such as no CB or DMF cover. It was our first dozen games
    of the season which has cost us league title.
    4.Continue to improve club’s fitness levels.

  66. qna

    Emirates. Ok, so there is your Manifesto. What is it you expect to achieve next season with this? Be logical, and assume that City, United and Chelsea will add at least one major star, likely more. How do you justify that we will win the PL or improve in the CL. The impetus is more on us than any of these three because all three of them have been successful in the past decade, unlike Arsenal.

    At the pace of change your demanding, Arsenal will slip further below these other big clubs, not to mention our competitors in the CL.

  67. Nasri's Mouth

    @qna

    Is it true that the big teams will all improve at a greater rate though ?

    If the top teams are improving season in season out why does the amount of points needed to win the league stay approximately the same?

    Does it mean every team in the league is improving at approximately the same rate? No because PL sides aren’t being more successful against European sides than they were a decade ago, so the status quo seems to be pretty static

    More likely, as some teams improve, others decline.

    Last season Liverpool had a Suarez / Sturridge induced blip. This season they’re back to their average position.
    Last season ManU had a ‘lets fuck up the succession’ blip. This season they’re back to their ‘lets over- spend massively’ average position.
    Last season Chelsea underachieved, this season they’re where they should be
    This season it looks like it’s ManC that have decided to fall apart.

    Next season who knows, but to presume all the top teams will improve is backed up by history really

  68. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    One major world class signing plus a couple of upgrades in other positions.

    Buying for the sake of it does not make sense when you have already got the
    nucleus of a strong squad.

    No Manager would make wholesale changes to our current squad, because it
    would do more harm than improvement. Most of the top clubs like Bayern,
    Real Madrid,Barcelona and Chelsea will bring in perhaps a couple of key replacement players

    Our situation is very different to Man Utd and Man City. Man Utd need upgrade in forward line and defence. Man City need to do a major rebuild on
    basis of recent results and age of team.

  69. qna

    Nasri. Apart from last season the top 3 has been locked in for the past 10 years. They have taken turns in improving/declining within their own private group. Arsenal has been locked out and that has been the fact.

    Last season, there was an exception to the rule. United had a bad year, when they selected an piss poor Manager – who I am sure you will defend as being a good manager – to replace their legendary manger of 27 years. Understandable result. In the same year, Liverpool put together an unbelievable year, where they had the worlds third best striker score 31 goals in 33. To back that up, their second striker scored 21 goals. Finishing second was also an understandable result.

  70. qna

    Emirates: Buying for the sake of it does not make sense when you have already got the nucleus of a strong squad.

    Again. Just because I am suggesting investing heavily, does not mean I am buying for the sake of buying. Who says we have a nucleus of a squad that is strong enough to better our rivals. There is no history to suggest it. We have had this winning streak without the pressure of genuinely chasing or being chased. We know that we can perform in this case. Same thing happens in the CL knockout stages. When the pressure is on we get hammered. Then in the return leg when the pressure is off because expectation is that we will go out, we give a good account of ourself.

    This good run of form was actually achieved with a reasonably small number of our players playing in them. There is no evidence of this season that the squad members (that are now coming back to fitness) result in us playing good football.

    Without looking this up (that is, from memory) Schezeny, Gibbs, Arteta, Walcott, Wilshere, Gnabry, Debuchy were essentially absent from our period of good football. Who is to say then that they form a nucleus of a good squad.

    Chambers, Flamini have played very minor parts during our period of good form.

    I would say that of the above players only Debuchy could be added to what I think non-arsenal supporters would consider the nucleus of genuinely top side. I also think Oxlaide still has genuine potential and Gnabry has not yet been given sufficient opportunity. The rest have been given opportunity and one could arguably call them rank mediocre.

    Add to that our loan players who have not set the world on fire and we are actually well well short of having the nucleus of a squad fitting a world class football team. The 8th richest in the world by the way.

  71. Nasri's Mouth

    @qna

    That’s basically what I’m saying

    The 3 big spending clubs in the PL, ManU, Chelsea and ManC have good seasons and bad. At the moment, of the 3 of them only 1 is where they should be, Chelsea.

    Last season only ManC reached their level, Chelsea were a little poor while ManU collapsed.

    The season before that it was ManU, while ManC and Chelsea were miles behind

    The season before that we had 2 teams performing at their correct level (some would say ManU overachieved with that squad to get 89 points) while Chelsea fell apart in the league, (they were as bad as ManU were under Moyes, but the CL win masked it)

    In 2010/11 both Chelsea and ManC were somewhat below where you’d expect them to be.

    So the idea that all three top spending teams will improve isn’t really backed up.

  72. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: This good run of form was actually achieved with a reasonably small number of our players playing in them.

    That’s often the case with successful teams though.

    Mourinho hardly rotates his squad, unless they’re injured.

  73. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    I maintained from the end of the summer transfer window that we needed 2 additional players i.e. CB and DMF this season and so it proved. Had we brought in those players and had fewer injuries I am in no doubt that we would have been closer to Chelsea.

    My view is that Arsenal need a World Class upgrade forward to play specifically on left wing, an additional Defensive/Holding Midfield e.g. Schneiderlein
    and a top class Goalkeeper to replace Szczesny if he wants to leave.

    Otherwise I am quite happy with our squad. You have to factor in new HG requirements as well as being able to offer most of the players in your squad regular football without disrupting too often team.

    Arsenal are not going to spend every financial year £100 Million. There is absolutely not a necessity to do so and it will be counterproductive.Good teams will evolve.

  74. Redtruth

    My definition of being damn close is not 10 points behind the leaders and being dumped out of the firat phase of the knockout stages of the Champions league but losing the title on the last game of the season and losing on penalties in the Champions league Final.
    That to me means damn close.