Midfield surprise this weekend? | Keeper #1 for Villa, who will it be?

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Keown blocking my cab

Keown blocking my cab


It’s Thursday, there’s a warm buzz in the air and it smells a little bit like FA CUP WEEKENDER.

I was lucky enough to get an invite down to Colney yesterday. I had a beautiful transport nightmare. St Albans is a ball ache to get to if you’re a f*cking idiot, I managed to get on the wrong train (because I listened to a Spurs supporting station helper) and nearly missed it all.

I landed just as Arsene finished his press conference.

What we learnt was Wenger likes Benteke.

“He’s a player who has a massive potential,”

“I think some of the bad fortune of Aston Villa this season was linked with the fact that Benteke was not there. When he came back into the team, he gave a lift to everybody and of course he has a fantastic leap, he’s an intelligent player as well and he can score goals with his feet. He’s fantastic in the air and can score headers against any team in the league.”

HE LOVES A LEAP. I like Benteke. I think he’d explode at the right club.

Picking up on light mutterings of the players (lie) is that one of the big talking points centred around the goalkeepers. Last season, Fabianski was the cup keeper, and he played the last game of the season as a warm up. Fact.


Chezzer did not start the last game. It was Ospina. Now, I’m not one for reading into things… but I think I’ve got proof that Ospina probably didn’t walk with Chezzer because Chezzer knew he wasn’t playing at the weekend.

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 09.03.58

Ospina at the back. Ostracised.

Look at that distance between the players. You could park a Arsenal styled Citroen DS4 with heated rear seats between that gap. Am I right?

Anyway, that’d be a bit of a slap in the ol’ face wouldn’t it? Deserved though. I don’t think too many at the club would be sorry to see him leave.

The other rumours, mainly bubbling around some of the journalists, was that Jack might start ahead of Coquelin. I’m not really game for that. It doesn’t make sense. I mean, if we were playing a bus parking team, I’d totally understand why you’d want a player starting who could burst through the lines. But taking Coquelin out the line up for Jack? Feels more suicide that genius.

Geoff (of Le Grove) thinks it’s all about pace this weekend:

What Walcott does, is bring us directness, he has a shot when he has a chance. A bit like Owen and Fowler used to.

Wenger shouldn’t be worrying about fitting Giroud in, he should be thinking about Theo as a starter, either centrally or out wide.

Neither Welbeck, Cazorla, Ramsey or Wilshere are wingers so should never start out wide.

He has Sanchez, Chamberlain, Gnabry or Walcott who can play wide.

He should play 11 from the squad and interchange when needed, not on 67 minutes. His times of substitutions are not tactical, they are obsessive, he has OCD and no one will say it.

So my team for the final.

Ospina (no room for sentiment, Chezzer has a disaster up his sleeve)

Bellarin BFG Kozzer Monreal

Coquelin Ramsey

Theo Ozil Sanchez


Cazorla, Wilshere, Chamberlain, Gabriel, Chezzer

Pace will beat them. So either the above, or drop Giroud and put Wilshere in from the start and flood the midfield. Cazorla doesn’t have the legs anymore, well not for a possible 120 minutes.

Wenger let us know that Danny Welbeck won’t be playing.

“Danny Welbeck will not be fit for us or England. That’s basically the only injury we have at the moment,”

He’s been a bit of an injury problem this season. Hopefully he has a nice chunk of rest this summer and has a good run at the starting 11 next season. One of the biggest disappointments of the season, yet one of the most satisfying buys at the same time? I love his attitude, he has plenty of power and aggression, he just needs to ramp up that finishing. Which really, I think you can teach yourself… Thierry did. He always said he wasn’t a natural finisher.

Also, mega bit of insider gossip… the taxi driver told me he had Per in his ride and he said that the Big Fucking German said we’d definitely win the cup.


I like that.

The team looked nice and relaxed ahead of the game. Lots of bantz going off in the warm up. Robert Pires turned up. You literally can’t shake our explayers away from the setup. Which is quite sweet really. Keeping a bit of that modern heritage about the place.

It’ll be interesting to see who packs their bags at the end of the season. Declan Lynch, one of the league’s finest physios is off to Bath rugby (Rugby, do what son?). You saw how valued he was at the weekend with Theo and Jack having a love in with him. We might see Arteta leave, possibly Flamini, maybe Jenkinson… certainly the keeper. Could be a lot of goodbyes.

We really need a massive win to get everyone excited about next season. We also need some sunshine. The weather was sweet yesterday, a bit of that at the weekend would be incredible.Right, that’s me done.

Right, that’s me done. A massive thanks to the Arsenal team for having me down and looking after me with all the coffee.

Have a good one!



486 Responses to “Midfield surprise this weekend? | Keeper #1 for Villa, who will it be?”

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  1. nasri's mouth

    Gabriel is probably our least ball playing CB, but the other 3 are all very good at threading through forward balls.

    I say probably because I haven’t seen enough yet

  2. Wallace


    “Speaking of Gabriel, I find it a bit weird how people (Gooners) are writing him off already, same with Calum Chambers.”

    agreed. this gradual integration is probably close to ideal, but for some it seems to be out of sight, out of mind.

  3. Marko

    This idea that us bringing in another striker would be the death of Welbeck is nonsense really. He’s not good enough to be a striker or at least a number one but he works his socks off and has done well when played out wide. That’ll be his position in the future. Not a guaranteed starter but like when Fergie played him in the big games cause he’d put in a shift.

  4. Marko

    Let’s not debate Gabriel. Already rock solid and his potential is fantastic. Learn the language and bulk up a bit more and he’ll be linked to Madrid and Barcelona and Bayern in no time

  5. Dimitri

    I don’t give two shits if my CB’s have an eye for a pass. Just want them to stop the other team scoring goals and then give it to someone who can do something with it.

  6. Wallace


    re Ki vs Schneiderlin – my post from earlier…


    not on his own, but i could see why Wenger might be interested. currently he’s got Coquelin covering the defensive side of things, and Cazorla bringing the control/dictating the tempo. so two players doing what Arteta – at his absolute best – could do on his own. a player like Ki who can also do both jobs would free up the options, for example you could bring Ramsey back into the centre(alongside Ki). an option Wenger won’t entertain while Coquelin starts.”

    for me Coquelin’s emergence makes the pursuit of another DM unlikely. my guess is Wenger’s looking for an Arteta replacement now.

  7. salparadisenyc

    Gabriel reminds me a bit of Keown, with those thunderous tackles and pace. Both very athletic. Yet to be determined if the Brazilian has the footballing brain of Keown, whom was so good at reading the game.

    Or perhaps its just the grin?

    Either way he’s going to prove a quality signing, as Marko said one for the future.. roll on Barca.

  8. Marko

    His tackling is accurate and his reading of the game is already top tier stuff. if that doesn’t represent a good football brain then i dunno. Gabriel will soon be replacing Merte in the team for sure

  9. Cesc Appeal

    Gabriel’s reading of the game sees decent enough, at St James’ Park there was something very Kozz about the way he reads play and nips in ahead of his forward to steal the ball.

    Really, need a GK and then a young LB buy to take over from Monreal in the near future and defensively we’re pretty sound.

    That central midfield needs properly reinforcing and then we need a forward.

  10. Marko

    What about those Ricardo Rodriguez links CA? Absolutely super left back. Be amazing if he replaced Gibbs but perhaps there’s some truth in Bilbao and Atletico wanting Monreal. Wouldn’t be surprised if that was on cause say what you like about Wenger Andre Santos aside he doesn’t mess about with his full backs. We’ve had some ridiculously solid ones in the past. He’s never been afraid of recruiting quality in that area

  11. Marko

    Gaya has been amazing this season. His pace his quality of crosses everything about his game has been so good. Be disposing Alba in the not too distant future. Him Kurzawa and Ricardo Rodriguez are outstanding prospects

  12. WengerEagle

    I actually think that Jordi Alba is a fantastic little player, so underrated. His stamina is phenomenal and he’s so good on the ball.

    Only second to Alaba for attacking LB’s in Europe IMO.

  13. Marko

    I agree WE but honestly Gaya’s so Alba like already you could put him in the Spain team now and they wouldn’t skip a beat. And at 19 his potential is incredible. Been so impressed by him this season. And Valencia churning out him Bernat and Alba in the last few years has been outstanding work there

  14. Cesc Appeal

    I think we do need a LB to be honest, Gibbs really is poor, injury prone and 25. Monreal is doing great, but he’s 29 years old and I don’t see anything coming through Bellerin style on that left side.

    Guy like Kurzawa, 22, season of bedding in then takes over from Monreal, ship Gibbs of to some midtable club.


    Hadn’t hard those links, not a player I’ve really had a look at aside from internationals, but I’d like to think we’re looking at that left full back slot. Really do not rate Gibbs.

  15. Marko

    He’s had a great season apparently with Wolfsburg. Stats are pretty excellent and his delivery of the ball is top notch. We also figure we better get in there before someone else does and then we could struggle to find a decent left back. I haven’t seen much of Rodriguez this season but he’s argubly the most in demand left back after probably Alaba (Alba aint leaving Barca) and then Gaya and Kurzawa are the next up and coming ones.

  16. salparadisenyc

    I’m with Cesc there… Gibbs isn’t really ever going to be the player we need. Keep Monreal whose coming off his best season and start to find our Bellerin for the left side. Again tad bit harsh but the reality.

  17. Dan Ahern

    LB would be an interesting position to pursue, but if we did it’d almost certainly be a young (teenage) prospect. Can’t see us signing someone better than Monreal this summer. Surely we’d be after his heir, not his replacement (which is what the players you’ve mentioned amount to).

  18. WengerEagle

    Forgot Marcelo, as suspect as he is defensively he blows every other LB out of the water going forward.

    Dominates that left flank for Real Madrid.

    Haven’t seen enough of Gaya to compare him with Alba Marko but I’ll take your word for it.

    He’s being raved about over in Spain with Real supposedly circling.

  19. Emiratesstroller

    On this occasion I think that Wenger has been absolutely right in persisting
    with the Centre Back combination of Mertesacker and Koscielny as well as
    preferring full backs of Bellerin and Monreal.

    The proof of the pudding is our defensive record in 2015. We have conceded
    just 13 goals in 19 EPL games.

    Gabriel may have good potential, but the art of good defence is having a back line who understand each other’s game, which is why Arsenal had the meanest defence when Winterburn,Adams,Bould/Keown and Dixon played.

    The other consideration with Gabriel is of course his language skills. Once he
    has mastered these I am sure that he will become a serious contender for a
    regular CB place next season.

    At the moment I am less convinced about Chambers. He cost a lot of money,
    but is he really a better player than Jenkinson?

  20. BacaryisGone

    Here’s the line-up for Saturday. Tried and tested. Wilshere and Walcott to come on as the Villa legs get tired.

    Ospina, Bellerin, Monreal, Mertesacker, Koscielny , Coquelin, Cazorla, Ramsey, Alexis, Ozil, Giroud

    Szczesny, Gabriel, Gibbs, Flamini, Ox, Wilshere, Walcott

  21. Wallace

    so Benteke’s got a release clause, rumoured to be 32.5m.

    and Man City are willing to pay Milner 165k pw to convince him to stay. kinda sobering to think they can afford to pay a valued squad member more than we pay our two big stars. and not forgetting Sagna warming up the bench collecting his 120k pw.

  22. Sukky

    Morning guys
    On the left back discussion, if Gibbs has prove anything this season, it’s that he’s not good enough for a top club. He’s 26,cant defend well, cant attack well, injury prone but we all gave up on monreal at this stage of last season, see what happened this season. Maybe Gibbs should be given one more year to prove his Worth.

  23. N5

    Wallace if that’s true what they are offering Milner a week, it’s like their not learning any lessons. Paying older guys upwards of 150k sounds mental to me.

    Also, I know he’s a work horse, but 165k really? what do they see other than him being homegrown?

  24. roaaary

    With milner i think its a case they know theyre going to lose him. He wants more action and city cant promise him that. They also know he is a really handy squad player so rather than let him leave, throw cash at him and hope it persuades him

  25. Dark Hei


    Sczh has the potential that Ospina will never have. But it is too risky to play him in the final. Hack it is risky to play Ospina too since he has been making mistakes lately.