Arsenal, the long journey to elite

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FRIDAY.

I went out last night, had a proper respectable night out and found out my Uber rating is a pretty solid 4.7.

You can’t argue numbers like that.

How about the election?

I feel like Ed Milliband’s campaign was a bit like the time Spurs went out and spunked £100m on players and claimed they could win the title.

‘Oh, look at me, I’ve got Russell Brand backing me, aren’t I fancy’

Ed, my dear, you should know that the internet isn’t always the best platform for getting things done. Have the backing of Youtubers only works if you’re selling makeup or computer games!

I’ve no idea how a conservative Government affects football in this country, so I guess that’s where the chat on that subject stops!

Ok, so I’ve given you some politics… how about the biggest LOL since Spurs tried to sign Rivaldo?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 09.18.43

 

Can you imagine the banter?

Tony, rocking up, kicking Tom Fox out and demanding access rights to the social media accounts. It’d be hilarious. It’d make the farce at QPR look sensible.

‘Adams has approached City investors with the aim of raising funds to buy the Premier League club, which has been up for sale publicly for a year.’

Can you imagine the state of that presentation deck?

Screen Shot 2015-05-08 at 09.29.13

 

What else do we have?

Well, Danny WELBZ is still not back in training though he is in the process of recovery.

Wenger gave the full story on Coquelin.

“I explained to him that what I liked most was his ball-winning potential rather than his playmaking potential, so I sent him out on loan to France for experience,” Wenger explained. “He played without being convincing in the box-to-box role.

“He then went to Charlton and I sent somebody to watch him. The reports were positive and I called him back after five weeks, and he wasn’t happy. I said to him, ‘why are you not happy?’ and he said, ‘I was playing regularly for Charlton and you called me back just to cover and not to play me’.

“We went into the first game and I didn’t start him. Then we went to West Ham United and I started him. He was surprised because we played at home against QPR and I didn’t play him, but I did away at West Ham.

This is my favourite part of the story.

“Since then, he has not moved out of the team because he sticks to what he is strong at – winning the ball and using it well. What is also surprising is that he’s very good in the air because he has a very good leap.”

Classic Wenger terminology there. Thomas Vermaelen also had a tremendous leap.

My favourite thing about Coquelin, bar him being a total star, is that he looked at the side, worked out where it was weak and plugged that gap.

He has no desire to be Ozil. He doesn’t have dreams of being a Steven Gerrard. He just sticks to his role and totally owns it. One of the best stories this season by an absolute mile. An inspiration to kids coming through.

Something that inspired me? The state of those Champions League semi-finals. Quite incredible how good the football was. Barcelona were just so unbelievably amazing. Pep playing it like Arsene, opting to push hard for the away goal and killed it for himself. The game was a tactical master class, the only shame of it was the injury list Bayern had.

English clubs have some way to go before they hit those heights. Trouble for our league is there’s so much competition. You can’t hoover up all the players here and you don’t have the luxury of very weak league to practice your craft week in week out.

Teams have to get better though. The bar was set so high this week. Inspirational stuff.

Right, I must crack on, have a great Friday!

 

376 Responses to “Arsenal, the long journey to elite”

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  1. Cesc Appeal

    I just tend to throw things at women as a signal of my intention to copulate with them…mixed reviews

  2. MadeToLoveMagic

    haha cesc we are all descended from monkeys so I wouldnt worry to much..

    NM

    No man understands women , that’s because to “understand” something implies the deep knowledge of the workings and LOGIC of a given system. Note the word logic there. To understand something it implies there is something logical to understand. A little bit like quantum mechanics. We just accept certain rules , they are not intuitive to the way we see nature but we have to accept them because that is the reality of life on a quantum scale. This is just like the woman. We have to learn to accept their ways even if we never understand them fully or intrinsically

  3. MadeToLoveMagic

    Mid

    Good article cheers mate. ………….. SCIENCE RULES!!… sorry

    Its all zeros and ones though innit.

    you may enjoy this , its quite short but very informative . Its about the science behind the theory of the universe being a computer simulation

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOxDb_BbXzU

    The quantum world is obs very non intuitive . Theories like many worlds interpretation , to me don’t make any intuitive sense. Why just because the particle’s wave function exists in an infinite superposition of states does it mean that all of them actually have to be a physical reality over lapping with it’s own? its a heeeeed bake

    The holographic theory i dont really understand at all either. I know its something to do with information, essentially zeros and ones being stored on the surface of a black hole. So we may live in a 3 dimensional projection of a two dimensional space, or something…..

  4. MidwestGun

    http://www.upi.com/Science_News/2015/04/27/Is-the-universe-3-D-Or-just-a-hologram/3901430155121/

    Magic –
    Ha ha it’s all a bit of a mind freak. Here’s a basic explanation of the holographic theory. It seems a lot of the principles of the universe work better in a two dimensional setting. And as we can’t see the ends of the universe, or wether it wraps back on itself we may never know, plus the scales we are talking about are mind blowing. I love the discoveries we are making thru improved telescopes and digital technology tho. Fascinates me.

  5. MadeToLoveMagic

    I know mate, when the James Webb telescope goes up its gonna be exciting!!

    What I really love about science, cosmology and physics in particular, is that it is so closely linked to philosophy. It was learning about special relativity that got me into it from a brian greene documentary. Soon got bored of science docs and started reading about it instead and watching lectures and talks online. All those tv docs are the same like some deep booming American dude going* “welcome to the weird woorld of quan’um mechanics,, where everything you thought you knew about reality…….. is wroong”

  6. MidwestGun

    Magic –
    Ya…it is closely related to philosophy. I almost went to school for physics, being a child of the Apollo generation. Always fascinated by space exploration. However long story short i graduated with a degree in Marketing and Management because of a girl. To bring it full circle
    . But I try and keep up with new discoveries in the universe.

  7. MidwestGun

    Magic –
    Yes and no. Less money for human exploration and spacecraft. But more money in satellites and probes. And of course in military applications of that. So a lot of the budget is hidden in military spending and research.

  8. Bamford10

    Wenger says Arsenal were never interested in Depay: “I like him but we have 7 or 8 players who can play wide.”

  9. Bamford10

    Re Depay, still a work in progress, but both a better dribbler and a better striker of the ball than Walcott. Way better.

    Equal dribbler to Ox, though a bit more direct, I think. Better striker of the ball than Ox as well.

    Equal dribbler to Welbeck. Ten times the goalscorer.

    See video below. Aside from first clip, kid looks like he could be quite good.

  10. qna

    Arsene” “I’m proud of consistency because it’s not easy to produce quality every year, every day,” he continued. “For years we had to do it with less resources than people thought we had.

    Arsene: “People forget about that but we had to sell our best players for years to stay at the top. Today I think we have gone over that hurdle and we can have higher ambitions again but for years it was difficult.”

    This are very important words to me. This is what I had expected to be the case. Because I found it hard to see how he could from what he was 15 years ago, to what he became, buying players like Arteta and Gervinho.

    I always maintain he is a brilliant manager. I have joined the #WengerOut team because he consistently buys substandard talent that no manger – even Mourinho or Pep – would be successful with. I still have my strong doubts about his list management skills because he very recently bought Welbeck, a player that any top manager (that is not impaired by national pride) should know is not a world class player and will likely never be. I also can’t understand why he did not replace Vermaelen or did not buy a DM last September.

    But, with his recent words now starting to align with logic and common sense, he is less and less looking like he has lost the plot and drowned in his own self-arrogance. I for one will be judging him going forward mainly on his transfer dealings. A massive clearout of players is needed and quality players need to come in. If he is as smart as I think he is, and if he really does have cash to burn, then I think I will be happy with this summers dealings.

  11. tunnygriffboy

    Trying to work out our squad and where Wenger will buy in summer at the same time being realistic

    Gk (3) Ospina, Schezzer, Martinez

    Defenders (8). Debuchy, Bellerin, Per, Kos, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Monreal

    CM (5) Coquelin, A.N.Other, Santi, Wilshere, Ramsey

    RM/Wing (3) Walcott, Ox Gnabry

    LM/W (1) Sanchez A. N. Other

    CF (2) Giroud Welbeck

    The above including a new CM and LM/W leaves 22 players. It doesn’t include the following

    Jenkinson, Arteta, Diaby, Flamini, Rosicky, Campbell, Podolski, Akpom and Wellington.

    If he is ruthless and culls most of those he may get another striker or midfielder as well.

  12. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    He still has to be smart in his transfer dealings like say one established star and some hot prospects. It’s not always the cost of a player is important but how he fits into the team both in terms of style of play and attitude. We have a pretty tight group at the moment many have grown together and Ozil and Sanchez seem humble guys. We don’t need some ‘Billy Big Bollox ‘ in the changing room upsetting things.

    I think we’ll have at least a couple of signings this window and as Wenger says they have to be top class

  13. Wallace

    Depay might be a better fit for LVGs philosophy, but i think di Maria and Januzaj are far better players, so not too bothered.

  14. qna

    TGB. Like I said I will judge him on his signings. I agree with what he says, about who is available. But I feel Arsenal are amongst the slowest to react to player availability. I feel he is too respectful to other clubs. This is why, he should actually not be given the responsibility of transfer dealings. He should give a list of players he wants in priority order, even if they are available or not.

    If he goes into this season without a top quality forward to either play alongside Sanchez and Giroud, or possibly to start in front of Giroud, then I feel he will have failed. Because Arsenal are not a financially battling club. We should be going into next season with a genuine chance before a ball is kicked. If he does not strengthen, then we are virtually certain to fall short – as we have in each of the last 10 years. His only possible excuse for failure over the last 10 years is lack of funds, that we the fans are not aware of. He is alluding to this and it may be the truth, he may be exaggerating.

    But the squad that you have named, unless your A.N. Other are of the caliber of Reus and Pogba/Verratti, I believe will definitely fall short of the league. I beleive the betting markets will reflect this. The predictions of who will win the league next season by the hundreds of paid football journalists will reflect this, and ultimately next seasons results will bear this out. Even with Reus and Pogba signed, we might be short if our GK and CBs cant maintain the form they have shown in the past 4 months.

    TGB I would be for one absolutely thrilled if we started the summer by culling the list of players you have excluded from our list (either through selling or by loan). I am not even certain that Arsene will be ambitious enough to make that decision. I for one am savouring the day that we finally cut Arteta, Gibbs and Welbeck. I will be adding Schnederlin to my list shortly I feel, but for now it remains at three. Bang average players who do more harm than good when they play for us.

  15. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Yes I thought the AN Other would be very good players. Can’t see us getting Pogba tbh. Too expensive and the really big players will be after him. Read somewhere Monaco in trouble due to Ffp. Kondogbia may be worth a punt.

    I don’t share your view on Welbeck and Gibbs. Both good squad players and I think wellbeck will improve. You need players like that in a squad.

    I see a midfielder and left sided player coming this summer unless a unexpected player comes on the market. Next year will be a CB and striker. Things are looking optimistic.

  16. nasri's mouth

    I doubt we were in for Depay, but either way Wenger wouldn’t admit it for the same reason Rodgers didn’t and the same reason LvG got upset about having to sign him early. It demotivates players.

  17. qna

    TGB: Yes I thought the AN Other would be very good players. Can’t see us getting Pogba tbh. Too expensive and the really big players will be after him. Read somewhere Monaco in trouble due to Ffp. Kondogbia may be worth a punt.

    Of course, I dont think we will get Pogba either. I am merely saying that, this is how far behind “genuinely/realistically” competing I think we are. In my opinion we are miles away as it stands. People are giving too much weight to this run of form without taking its context. We had the right players available for an extended period of time. Key players found form at the right time. The pressure of winning the title was off. Only the pressure of making the top 4 was on, and Arsenal are experienced now at being able to perform under this type of pressure. Circumstances at City, Liverpool, Spurs and United this season helped us. etc etc.

    But next season, we will have new injury concerns again – this is part of football, players like Coq and Ospina even Monreal may not continue their level of form into next season. Arsene may decide to play players that could actually upset our team performance – eg. Wilshere, Gibbs, Walcott.

    At the end of the day, if we do lose to United, which I think is more likely than not, we will have spent 100m and we will have not gained a single point from last season. The reasons as to why – like our losses in the first 8 games, injuries to key players etc – are likely to manifest themselves in one way or another next season as well.

    We have improved from 12 months ago – but so have United and Chelsea. I expect to see a different City next season and a much stronger United. Chelsea will probably buy as much quality as we are planning to buy – if not more. So exactly how can we catch them by buying Schneiderlin and Fekir or Lacazette. I just dont see it.

  18. tunnygriffboy

    NM

    Looks like man u will be chucking millions about again this summer. Big rumours though DiMaria off to Psg

    Where do you think we’ll strengthen? This run we’re on is not just the 10 games people go on about. Since the 7th game of the season we’ve earned 1 less point than Chelsea. It includes periods where we had key players out, Chambers playing game after game, blooding Bellerin and Monreal at CB

    Next season we have to keep our squad fit. Mustn’t forget it looks like Ozil has settled, Alexis will be in his second year and understanding is starting to improve. Also the likes of Ramsey are maturing and gaining experience all the time

    Two or 3 players, if right, and we will challenge

  19. Wallace

    “For me, decision number one, Petr will stay. After that, second point to go but not in England. The option I don’t want is for him to go to an English club. But, I repeat, I am just the manager and he means so much for this club and what he did in this club I think he deserves everything. If the club decision is different to mine I will accept it.”

    – Mourinho on Cech’s future.

    i think if Szczesny leaves Lloris is more likely than Cech.

  20. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    The fitness issue is full

    You say certain players may not show the form they’ve shown this season. That could be seen as a glass half empty outlook. If you looked at the glass half full you could think players have gained confidence and may improve further. That situation is the same for all clubs and players

    The run we’ve been on since the 7th game has seen us keep head to head with Chelsea including a tough period with injuries. Since our most influential players have returned our performances have started to improve and combinations and understanding is improving

    If we got Schneiderlin, Fekir and Lacazzette I’d wet my pants but that is unrealistic.

  21. nasri's mouth

    @Wallace

    You think that Levy is going to sell a player on a long contract to us for anything less than massive money?

  22. Wallace

    tunny

    ” This run we’re on is not just the 10 games people go on about. Since the 7th game of the season we’ve earned 1 less point than Chelsea.”

    since losing 2-1 at home to Utd on November 22nd we’ve –

    pl – 31
    won – 25
    drawn – 2
    lost – 4

    that’s all competitions. in the PL it’s –

    pl – 22
    won – 17
    drawn – 2
    lost – 3

    so yeah, almost 6mths and 31 games, to call it ‘a run’ is a bit misleading.

  23. tunnygriffboy

    NM

    Do you think we’re after a keeper ? Certainly don’t think Wenger would spend 20 million on one. The price of players in the PL is going to sky rocket. All that TV money will go on player sales and increased salary. It will be the same as before but the costs just increase.

  24. Wallace

    NM

    i think we could make a big offer and see what happens. i certainly think Lloris would be keen.

    also, with Cazorla staying i’m struggling to see where a new CM fits in. Cazorla, Coquelin, Ramsey and Jack…that’s a guy in his prime and three others about to enter theirs in the battle for 2 places.

  25. tunnygriffboy

    Wallace

    That was my point. And that ‘ run ‘ also coincided with injuries and for parts a Marx Brothers defence

    Keeping majority fit especially key players is as important as new signings next season. Rotate through choice not necessity

    The lazy narrative is that we do what we always do. Very rarely have the early season injuries been mentioned or that we had our worse start in 32 years. To progress like we have from there and possibly end in second is very encouraging. We are 2 or 3 players short for next season

  26. qna

    Wallace/TGB/NM

    We are still not proven under pressure. The big test of the season was against Monaco in the 2 legs. We finally got the break that we were hoping for and got a beatable team. We did exactly the same as before. Our big conquest of the season was beating City 2-0. Yet the same people on here who say that we were so great in doing that, are the same people saying we are better than City, look what City did with their money, they bought shit players, they have to rebuild the whole squad. So are City good or bad? If so, was beating City this season the same as if we would have beat them last season when they were firing. We had another test against United in the FA cup. Perfect. We did the job. Did we out play them? Did we put on a show and dominate them at home? Or did we capitalize on a mistake. Lot of teams have gone to United and got a result. They are still not a top team yet, but they are on the way up. A convincing win away next week is an absolute must.

    Next, to keep the league alive. We had Chelsea park the bus at the Emirates. We didnt even look like breaking them down. Chelsea didn’t come to play football, I agree. But so what. We still needed to show more than we did. Even United who lost against Chelsea the week before, dominated the match convincingly unlike we did.

    At the end of the day, you can’t sneak a premier league. You may be able to do that for a cup. But not the league. Chelsea have played the league table. They accelerate and slow down to get jobs done. If they need three points, they will go and play for them. But if they feel a point is enough in the scale of how others have peformed, then they will do the pragmatic thing.

    You cant give Chelsea a massive lead and then match them point for point for the rest of the season and say we are just as good. You don’t understand football if you think this way. And if you don’t understand you cannot overcome.

  27. nasri's mouth

    @tunnygriffboy

    IMO I don’t think Wenger has made a decision yet.

    Ospina was put in the team because of Szczesny being an idiot / having a shit game. Since then he’s not made any obvious howlers (he hasn’t made any WOW saves either though) so Wenger has had no reason to drop him. Wenger sees how good he is in training so maybe he’s happy with him, and Szczesny hasnt had the run of cockups that Hart or Mignolet have had who were both kept and are now both seen as first choice.
    There was a telling moment in a press conference a couple weeks back where he was asked about keepers and he didn’t have a quick answer to hand, it suggested strongly he’s still considering.
    I suspect that he’ll decide in the summer whether he thinks Szczesny is damaged goods (he’s looked nervous in the FA Cup games, not his usual self) and he needs to replace him, but even then it’s unlikely there’ll be too many options. I can’t see Chelsea selling us Cech unless he’s on a downward slide, and I can’t see Levy selling us Lloris unless we offer twice his worth. How many more potential top keepers are there out there available?

  28. tunnygriffboy

    Wallace

    Yeah, mentioned earlier that CM next year are Coquelin, Santi, Ramsey Wilshere. However if one of those gets crocked, which knowing history, is likely then I think we could do with another one. Also with so many fixtures 5 would be good for rotation and perhaps a defensive minded player could come in to cover for Coquelin ( interesting that Santi said Coquelin is a really good player and that he gives him confidence in knowing that if he loses the ball Coquelin will cover for him )

    Also depends on what he does with Arteta and Rosicky. As much as I like both ofthem I’d prefer a younger player in particular for Arteta.

  29. nasri's mouth

    @qna

    Man city have a very good set of players.

    But only if they wanted to win the league now.

    If you want to be challenging for the league in the next 4-5 years and thats what football is all about, planning and focusing on the future, they have a pretty poor squad.

    They’ve bought very good players (by and large) but theyve bought them at the wrong point of their career path.

    That’s what I mean when I said they have bought badly.

  30. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Thank you for being condescending again . Sheesh, we know nothing about football now. 🙂 :). C’mon mate we’re all looking for the same things but see things a little differently

    Don’t think anyone has said we’re better than Chelsea. We’re not a huge way away though. We have had some good results this season and a couple of poor performances. It can’t be argued that we’ve not been consistent for a long period of the season. A thirty game run where we’ve gained the same number of points as Chelsea is not to be ignored. We also can’t ignore the first 7 games where we lost the league.

    For the first time in years everytime we go into a PL game I think we have a chance of winning whoever we play

  31. qna

    TGB: ( interesting that Santi said Coquelin is a really good player and that he gives him confidence in knowing that if he loses the ball Coquelin will cover for him )

    It gives me confidence as well. Dont you feel that as a fan? I am a huge fan of Coquelin now. I rate him extremely highly, and right now, my biggest priority of last year, a DM, is now only my 3rd or 4th priority. In fact, unless we can get Verratti or Matuidi, I dont see many players around that improve our first team. Kongdobgia maybe. But Coquelin is probably a better defensive player, while Kongdogbia offers more creativity.

    I am sick of buying squad players. I would rather we keep Arteta as a back up DM than buy Schnederlin or Carvalho to sit on the bench – and you all know how mediocre I rate Arteta. But it would be even worse if we bought somebody equal to Arteta for the next 5 years, rather than a better player.

    I do think we could get a better box to box midfielder to sit along side Coquelin. But that player would have to be fucking awesome to keep Cazorla out of the team. But as good as Cazorla is, he doesnt help us to dominate the midfield the way Vidal and Pogba do, or Verratti and Matuidi. Win the ball in the middle and then quickly and creatively transition to a shot on goal. I think we need more steel plus skill there and Cazorla is purely skill. That is why Pogba (not happening I know I get it) or even Gundagon or Khedira would be interesting players to add. If we play 4-1-4-1, or 4-4-2, then Cazorla could even still get a game as well.

    I think we have to choose our CM in a specific circumstance, like who would we want to bring in to play Chelsea or Bayern away in a must WIN game.

  32. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Totally agree with your last post. Even Wenger said the same. We have a good squad now and any players we bring in has to be top class. We don’t need someone who sits on the bench. I’d like a top class midfielder who is able to rotate with Coquelin and also play with him in certain games giving us real defensive stability. It will be interesting.

  33. qna

    NM: That’s what I mean when I said they have bought badly.

    I wanst calling you out specifically. But to be clear. Were City a good team this year or a poor team this year? Are they going to be a threat for the title next year? More so or less so than us? And in light of your answers to the above, how telling was our 2-0 against them.

    TGB: Thank you for being condescending again . Sheesh, we know nothing about football now.

    Not really. I think you all realise that Mourinho does this. You are all conveniently ignoring this so you can put forward your arguments. Mourinho goes for a point when he thinks a point is enough, and his approach to a number of games would have been very different if Arsenal were matching Chelsea point for point from round 1.

  34. Wallace

    Wenger’s found a way for us to win with a formation that allows us to get Cazorla, Ozil & Sanchez on the pitch – in positions they’re comfortable in – at the same time. everything else stems from that. and i think it would take a special player to persuade Wenger to look at changing that.

  35. tunnygriffboy

    Wallace

    Who do you think we’ll go after then?. Santi has been a revelation in the midfield role. Would you go for a more physical player for certan games. I can’t see us not buying with the money we have

    Qna

    The ‘run’ we’re currently on is the best we’ve had in years. At one stage the pundits were sneering at us and tipped us to be way off the pace of even getting in the top four. Now the goalposts have moved and we’re miles off the title.

    Ithink we could be challenge next season if the fitness issues are sorted ( there appear to be improvements there ) and we add a bit of quality. I think if Pellegrini stays at city and they need homegrown players and Ffp hampers them then I think we can overtake them. Chelsea will be strong and man u will be a wildcard depending on how they spend their £150 million.

  36. Emiratesstroller

    The key considerations for Arsenal and Wenger must be how to build/improve our squad at end of season factoring in stability and team spirit, but at the same time making sure that it is also refreshed and where possible improved.

    My view has been since the start of the season that there are a number of midfielders in current squad who are not good enough for a title challenging team
    whether it be because of their age, performance level or injury track record.
    For that reason I would like to see at least three players shifted out of club from Flamini,Arteta,Diaby and Rosicky.

    We do not need creative or attacking midfielders, because there are a maximum of two positions in team at any one time available for such players and
    we have now plenty of players on our books who can deliver those requirements.

    We are short of hard working, physically strong and disciplined players in squad. Realistically we have only one player in squad who is fit for purpose who can fulfil that role either as a DMF or genuine Box to Box player and that
    is Coquelin. Players like Wilshire or Cazorla can of course play deeper, but
    neither is realistically someone who is able to fulfil that role against top teams
    particularly if they are playing against physically strong players.

    This must be our priority acquisition this summer and frankly we need to spend whatever it takes to bring in such a player.

    There is a case to bring in another goalscoring forward who can play either
    on wing or as a striker, but we should buy only someone who is good enough
    to be automatic first choice to play in starting X1 and not merely to bring in
    someone who is no better than let’s say Welbeck or Walcott who are probably
    okay as squad players, but not in my view for starting eleven.

    Finally a decision must be taken on Goalkeeper. Is Ospina a player to play on
    a regular basis in first team or just a very good squad player? Is Szczesny a
    player who can progress and regain his first team spot and if not will he accept
    being just second string as he is now?

    My personal view is that Szczesny needs to be offloaded, because I don’t see him changing even with maturity. He lacks good decision making and makes too many mistakes. Also I don’t feel that the defence plays particularly well when he is in team.

    The real problem is that I don’t think that Chelsea will sell Cech to us. Mourinho and Abramovich are unlikely to agree to sell to a team who are now probably their main rivals leaving aside personal relationships which are not particularly good between both clubs and managers.

    The questions which is seldom answered on Le Grove is who else would be good enough as a 1st X1 goalkeeper? The number of GKs with world class status is very limited and they are probably unbuyable. Even one or two like Lloris who are just below that level are also unlikely to come to us.

    The best option may be to find a Goalkeeper of a similar standard to Ospina, but with maybe a bigger physical presence.

    One final question is would you keep Jenkinson? Personally I would, because
    I do think that he will be a better long term option to Debuchy who will be turning 30 shortly and there is no certainty also that Bellerin might not in next two or three years leave us if Barcelona or Real Madrid come calling.

  37. qna

    TGB: The ‘run’ we’re currently on is the best we’ve had in years. At one stage the pundits were sneering at us and tipped us to be way off the pace of even getting in the top four. Now the goalposts have moved and we’re miles off the title.

    Well. I argued this with you the other day. The goal posts have moved, but in our favour. Liverpool, and City have gone backwards. We will likely finish the season on the same number of points and with another FA cup. To repeat the FA cup is not something that I am snearing at. This is in fact hard to do (if we can do it). But we will likely finish again on 79 points. So how exactly have we improved. By the points tally, we have not moved. So if we finish 2nd or 3rd, an improvement, the goal posts have moved, in our favour – even though we have not moved.

    Unless we bring in players of an order of magnitude better than what we have, I dont see that we will move again next season. If we dont pick up the points we did this season against City and Chelsea, then we may even move backwards.

  38. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    We have improved whatever the points score, because we have brought in
    Sanchez and in players like Welbeck, Debuchy,Gabriel and Ospina we have better players in squad than last year compared with what was offloaded.

    We have more goalscoring options available than last season and our defence
    is conceding now fewer goals particularly against the top teams. We have not
    been mullered by any team and certainly not since beginning of January.

    Finally we are beginning to beat those teams against whom we were competing for top 4 places. The only blockage remaining is Chelsea.

  39. qna

    ES: There is a case to bring in another goalscoring forward who can play either on wing or as a striker, but we should buy only someone who is good enough to be automatic first choice to play in starting X1 and not merely to bring in someone who is no better than let’s say Welbeck or Walcott who are probably okay as squad players, but not in my view for starting eleven.

    I agree with you. But I am also for us buying Dybala, who is not necessarily someone who will be able to start ahead of Welbeck or Walcott. He will take time to adjust to the PL and he is still a developing player. But, the thought is that he will be as good as Aguero, in which case, we wont get another chance to buy him, if we dont act in the next 10 days. But my preference is if we offer GBP 50m for Reus. He is as good as Sanchez and I confident each of them can score 25 goals next season. Of course there will be no Reus and Dybala, so if I had to pick one, its him. This is also the season Reus needs to move. He is going to be 27 next season, so if he wants to stamp his mark on his next club (career wise), he needs to move this summer. I have a feeling Dortmund may realise they need to rebuild this season without CL football and may let Hummels, Gundagon and Reus all go and reinvest in the next generation.

  40. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    It’s the half glass empty again. Why can’t we get the same points against city, Chelsea and man u ? Why can’t we improve on our results ? Why do we have to be worse ?

    The points thing is a difficult one . Last year we were the 4th best team in the league. This season we have the chance of being the 2nd best team. I think we are in a better position than city going forward. As for man u, who knows how their spending will work out ? £240 million in 2 years and they could be looking at 4th this season

  41. qna

    ES: We have improved whatever the points score, because we have brought in Sanchez and in players like Welbeck, Debuchy,Gabriel and Ospina we have better players in squad than last year compared with what was offloaded.

    By that definition, virtually every club improves, every season (unless it is being forced to sell, or selling as part of its business model). A club will only ship out its poor players and naturally the new players will be better. But that doesnt mean the net result of this will be better. We could continue on buying players that improve aging/underperforming players ad infinitum and nothing will change. Improvement for us, can be measured in no uncertain terms as winning or challenging for the league and/or other trophies. The bar was set at maximum last season fro Fa cup. But this season, we wont have progressed in the league at 79 points. We will have marginally improved at 80 or 82, which are also possible. This season we went backward in the CL. Again we failed to win the group, and when we were given a tactical lesson in football by a team with players of lower cailber, less pay and less experience in this situation. We have not measurably improved I am sorry to disagree with you.

    I also “feel” that we have improved. I am “happy” with the combination of players: Ospina, Koscielny, Bellerin, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez, Giroud.

    But I am objective enough to know, that having a feeling, or giving the current team a performance rating out of 10 on the back of a napkin doesn’t mean ANYTHING in the real world.

  42. tunnygriffboy

    The squad is also evolving. Ozil and Sanchez are starting to dovetail with Santi. Monreal looks settled in the league and Bellerin and Coquelin have been a revelation. The likes of Ramsey will be a year older. We now have real pace in the squad. We are much stronger than this time last season.

  43. qna

    TGB: It’s the half glass empty again. Why can’t we get the same points against city, Chelsea and man u ? Why can’t we improve on our results ? Why do we have to be worse ?

    Actually, I see the glass as half full. I need us to add a bit more. As to your other questions, I am not giving guarantees that we wont. I am saying that the the likelihood is not in our favour. Athletico Madrid did it, Dortmund did it. We could do it. I hope we make moves in the summer that can make those scenarios more likely for us than they are now.

  44. tunnygriffboy

    We are nowhere near the superclubs in Europe, Barca, Madrid and Bayern. We currently don’t have their money, pulling power or their WC talent.

    Our aim should be to get to the top of the list of the clubs just under them. That will take some time as we are catching up and building our squad to their levels and will be helped with ffp taking effect.

    We should aim for

    * Regularly challenge for PL
    * Win the PL
    * Regularly look to get into CL quarter finals and the odd semi final
    * Look to progress to the CL final

    If we start that process, with our history, location and playing philosophy we willbecome an attractive pproposition for many players

  45. Nasri's Mouth

    qna: I wanst calling you out specifically. But to be clear. Were City a good team this year or a poor team this year? Are they going to be a threat for the title next year? More so or less so than us? And in light of your answers to the above, how telling was our 2-0 against them.

    I think they’ve underperformed this season. They have an ageing squad which is a big issue for them going forward, little re-sale value, players still on large salaries, but realistically they’ve been poor this season with the quality of players they have. They should have been 5-10 points better.
    They didn’t play their best against us either individually or collectively, but that shouldn’t detract too much from praising our performance. We played really well that day. ManC have only lost twice at home so far this season, and score an average of 3 goals a game.
    How successful they are next season and the ones after will depend on how hard they work, and how much they can push FFP boundaries.
    If they sack Pellegrini the new manager will have even less time to assess his squad and make the correct decisions. We saw when Moyes came in at ManU the issues there can be with a squad that has been allowed to age without a long term plan in place. ManC will have to work hard to avoid that. They don’t have the money ManU do, and they’ve been kicked in the balls when they tried to avoid FFP rules. Potentially they could still do well next season, but they’ve made things much harder than they needed to.

  46. Wallace

    tunny

    “Who do you think we’ll go after then?”

    no idea, really. we’re stronger in some areas than others, maybe, but i don’t think we have any obvious weaknesses. i like Dybala, and think he’d be worth spending serious money on, but sounds like he wants to stay in Italy.

  47. Bamford10

    Emirates

    Agree we don’t talk as much about keepers on here, which is why I asked about Tim Krul last week. Dutch National Team keeper, PL experience, big frame and playing for a terrible Newcastle outfit. Might he be good enough to improve us?
    I think so.

    People who know keepers better should put forward a list. This younger Schmeichel? Is he any good?

  48. Bamford10

    “i don’t think we have any obvious weaknesses”

    Relative to whom? Relative to what standard? If we want to win the title or make a deep run in the CL, all of the following are weaknesses:

    CF – Giroud
    CM – Ramsey
    RW – Welbeck

    I won’t say Ospina, because I think he has performed well, but I do think we will need better than him ultimately.

    Without improvements on the above, though, we’re winning nothing.

  49. qna

    Bamford: People who know keepers better should put forward a list. This younger Schmeichel? Is he any good?

    I would add a request to compare Bernd Leno in that list. Has a buyout of £13m or so. Plays for a top club in a top league. Is arguably equal to Ter Stegen as Germanys U21 keeper. Surely he is already the equal of Szchezeny with years to spend. When a 22 year old keeper is this good already his upside is massive.

  50. Wallace

    Bamford

    “Relative to whom? Relative to what standard? If we want to win the title or make a deep run in the CL, all of the following are weaknesses:

    CF – Giroud
    CM – Ramsey
    RW – Welbeck”

    well, for starters two of the players you mention don’t start in our best eleven. and as i’ve said previously, for a whole bunch of reasons, i think you’d struggle to find a striker who can bring more to this specific team than Giroud. not saying there aren’t better strikers, but for us with our talented and speedy midfield and wide players…

  51. tunnygriffboy

    Bamford

    Wouldn’t call Ramsey a weakness. He’ll get better and better as he matures. Carragher was gushing in his praise for him last Monday.

    Welbeck is a great squad player. Will do a great job for the team if asked. He’s not a starter

    Giroud has his pro’s and cons and is important in the way we play. Would obviously love a Aguero but there are very few of those around and available. Does need upgrading but see it happening next season. Maybe a younger player with pace to be brought in who can play wide as well.

  52. Bamford10

    Wallace

    So Cazorla is your starting CM? He’s great, but relative to the best CMs, he’s a weakness.

    And, what, Ramsey or Ox are your starting RWs? Both decent but weaknesses?

    This is why your ilk can never be taken seriously. For you our first XI is always good enough to win anything, whereas in truth our first XI lags behind a Chelsea and the better European sides in far too many ways.

    The current XI will be lucky to finish second next year.

  53. Bamford10

    Tunny & Wallace

    Is the current XI good enough to win the EPL next season? Good enough to get to the semis of the CL?

    If not, who/what needs to be improved upon?

  54. tunnygriffboy

    Bamford

    It stands a chance of winning the PL. However all or key players need to remain fit. The run we have been on has been the best in years spanning 30 games. Also having our influential players all fit, settled and gaining understanding of one another will help us develop further. To be sure of challenging I think we need 2 or 3 new comers.

    CL semi final not likely unless we buy, don’t have injuries and have luck with the draw.

  55. Honest Bill

    I don’t see Giroud as a weakness. I see him as a strength. The only problem is that we don’t have another one of him. He’s arguably our most important player. I am aware of his weaknesses but having a player with his strengths is vital to the way we play. If he’s injured the team doesn’t function as it should.

    What we really lack in our starting eleven is another wing forward who can play on the right. Someone who can show good composure and intelligence in the final third and crucially, can finish his chances.

    Ox is very good, but he is not the finished article. I fear that Theo and Welbeck will never be good enough. I know nothing of Dybala but we need somebody who can play there.

    Ramsey is potentially a strength too. One just needs to remember last season. If he could just stop trying to be flashy, he would be great. If only someone would just give him a slap.

  56. Wallace

    Bamford

    “So Cazorla is your starting CM?”

    have you been watching Arsenal the last 6mths? who do you think’s been starting alongside Coquelin since December?

  57. Nasri's Mouth

    Bamford10: So Cazorla is your starting CM? He’s great, but relative to the best CMs, he’s a weakness.

    I’d say he’s performing that role as well as anyone else did in the PL last season. The way he dovetails with Coquelin has proved to be very effective indeed, and that’s likely to improve (albeit not by much) as their understanding of each other increases

    The issue with him is more about how long he can continue, given his age.

  58. Wallace

    Honest Bill

    “I don’t see Giroud as a weakness. I see him as a strength. The only problem is that we don’t have another one of him. He’s arguably our most important player. I am aware of his weaknesses but having a player with his strengths is vital to the way we play. If he’s injured the team doesn’t function as it should.”

    agreed.

  59. igbo Amadi-Obi

    @ he looked at the side, worked out where it was weak and plugged it. I would give Wenger some credit for that, rather than all Coquelin.

  60. Nasri's Mouth

    Honest Bill: If he’s injured the team doesn’t function as it should

    But that’s also about the lack of an alternate ‘Non-Giroud’ Strategy as much as it is about Girouds strengths

  61. Honest Bill

    Nasri’s Mouth.

    Fair enough, i see your point but i would say having that kind of player is essential to make the most of our strengths. With him in the side we can beat high-pressing opponents by getting the ball forward more directly and trusting him to bring the others in to play. It’s very important to bring some depth to our attack when needed. We can be more versatile with him in the side.

  62. WengerEagle

    Wallace

    Janujaz better than Depay?

    Come on mate, it’s one thing to say that he’s better than Welbeck but Depay looks a bit special.

    There’s no way that Janujaz would fetch over £20 million on the open market.

  63. kwik fit

    Paul Merson reckons if Sunderland win today it would really ‘ throw the pigeons amongst the cats’ lol I really fear for those poor cats

  64. nasri's mouth

    @HonestBill

    Yeah I agree that he brings a lot to the side and even recently when he’s had a quiet game he’s been occupying 2 defenders and therefore giving more space to others.
    But I also think we have the players to be more effective when he’s missing. I think that’s something to work on in the summer.

  65. Honest Bill

    Nasri’s Mouth.

    Yeah it never hurts to have more tricks up your sleeve. But if were up to me, i’d look at getting another target-man type of player to share the burden and another winger to provide that extra bit of quality we need in attack.

  66. tunnygriffboy

    Looooooool

    Soccer Saturday. The pundits who predicted begining of seaso we wouldn’t get in top 5 are now criticising us for not winning the league. Charlie Nicholas sticking us but le Tissier and Merson digging us out but Phil Thomson is just a bitter scouser. Cock !