More Jack Wilshere carry on | How do we make up the Chelsea gap?

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The furore around Jack Wilshere and his song continued yesterday. I can’t believe how much coverage it’s landed, especially when you consider he did exactly the same thing last  year.

The press do similar personality assassinations with politicians. They complain they’re boring and there’s no personality or connection one day… the next, they’re chastising them for stepping out of line. It’s thoroughly boring the fun police have to come out in full riot gear, especially when it’s off the back of something so minor it barely registered with most Arsenal fans on the day.

The most important thing here is the fans. When Jack sparked up a fag in Vegas last year, that was disappointing, the same had to be said when he did it a few months later. However, when he’s on his holidays, post FA Cup final win, he’s perfectly entitled to get shit faced and sing anti-Spurs songs.

He might not be my favourite player, but I can’t help but love him a bit for that little performance at the weekend. It’ll be an iconic memory… surely captured in some sort of internet meme when you’ve embarrassed yourself at work after a night out on it.

Anyway. Time to move on. Time to stop saying things that don’t make sense, like…

‘He has to stop doing things like this and concentrate on his football career’

… like when he wakes up in the morning, there’s a choice between form or hanging out of an open top bus with a beer in hand.

Honestly, I wonder what these bitching journos got up to in their spare time when they were young?

Anyway, enough griping.

I think one area of critique that has been levelled fairly is that these parades needs to centre around a league win. It’s fantastic that we’ve finished the season on a high, but really, we need to see progress converting into a sustained challenge next season.

When you look at the points this season, we were 4 short of what we achieved last season. That sounds like we fell massively short, but if you don’t have the context of the worst start of 32 years, well, you don’t have the full picture. Our start was horrendous. Cataclysmic you could say.

Progress came in other areas. We had a massive improvement in our defensive record. We trimmed five goals off last season tally, taking us down to 36 goals. That’s pretty damn good going considering it wasn’t too long ago we were leaking 49 in a season.

That progress can be put down to a number of things. Koscielny has been superb after a shaky start, Monreal has really stepped up his game. We have a new superstar coming through at right back. Per Mertesacker found his form after losing interest and motivation after a tough world cup.

The main change for me was bringing Coquelin into the team. Having a destroyer willing to sit in front of the back four has been a massive progress point. We’re also defending as a team now. We’re a collective rather than a smooth running Ferrari moving forward and not a lot else at the back. I also think there’s a lot to be said about having pace in the front line. This year, the high press that worked so well against us last season hasn’t worked at all… because you daren’t give Sanchez half a yard, because he’d kill you.

Moving forward, we added 3 goals, which isn’t amazing and could be worked on, especially when you consider Manchester City banged in 12 more than us.

That said, it’s still not that sorry a stat. All the pundits talk about the need to have a world class striker in your starting 11, Chelsea supposedly did and they only managed 2 more goals than us. We have a team of goal scorers, if we did have a world class striker, we’d be more clinical in the big games for sure, but I don’t think that position is as key as we’re led to believe. I feel it might be more of a Sky Sports stat because strikers sell subscriptions.

I think the biggest improvement we could make is in goal. I think if we had a world class keeper, that really could elevate our game. But even there, that’s only based on what I see with my eyes. Ospina had really impressive statistics this season. Amongst the best.

We have to make up 12 points next season. That’s quite a jump. That’s 4 extra wins, and a point to surpass Chelsea. That’s a better start, that’s a better keeper, that’s being more clinical in a major games.

It’s not outrageous surgery, but it’s improvements all the same.

What do you think we need to do to catch Chelsea? Join the comments below!

513 Responses to “More Jack Wilshere carry on | How do we make up the Chelsea gap?”

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  1. WengerEagle


    We could get gambon to tattoo ‘In Arsene we thrust” on his left one were that to come to fruition.

    Bamford might be game too, Bamford you there?

  2. Cesc Appeal


    Any game Gibbs plays just watch him, watch the space on the left he leaves, it’s not about an individual clanger, not a terrible back pass or stupid fouls or anything, it’s his suicidal defending, go look at his positioning in some of the massive defeats last season, he’s on the half way line for some of the goals.

    Really poor defender. And as I say, 26 in September, plays like an 18 year old learning his craft. On form, good going forward, never good at the basics of defending though.

  3. Bamford10


    Well of course I always watch him when he plays. I guess I’ve never seen him way out of his position. He does like to get forward, something he’s clearly encouraged to do by Wenger. I’d have to see some of the goals in question.

    I’ll take your word for it, but clearly he has not been the only player of ours who has been out of position (too high up the field) in certain key games, e.g., Anderlecht, Monaco.

  4. MidwestGun

    I think we could hold Pool to the fire a little bit. They are gonna be a bit desperate. No need to throw in Gibbs, imo. However, i don’t sense Arsenal negotiating team is exactly ruthless. Lol. So most likely they will make one offer and say take it or leave it +£1. So it’s all probably moot.

  5. Cesc Appeal


    Oh no. I’m not laying certain defeats at Gibb’s feet, just saying, he’s quite a ‘thick’ player…never learns.

    He was on my ‘to upgrade’ list last summer and is anything, far from get off it he’s become an even more glaring weakness this season. Always injured, never develops, stupid defender.

    Monreal is solid, get a Kurzawa in to take over in a season or so time.

  6. MidwestGun

    Eagle –
    Ya… well I consider myself a fuckwit, hahaha. . But not sure how he justifies a site notorious for being anti-Wenger (French manager) also part of the French Mafia plus as anyone knows Giroud and Sanago are the most criticized players on here. Anyhow, Rhys does like bizarre conspiracy theories.

  7. MidwestGun

    Speaking of nationalities. … again I feel like it is a very good day for world football. … and hopefully some kind of reform comes out of it.
    Hopefully, some day it’s about the football and not a political agenda to get paid. Probably naive, but it’s the best game on the planet it deserves better.

  8. mysticleaves

    I don’t believe Gibbs is a “shit defender” at all. Yes he gets found “out of position” most times but also always recovers with his pace. And he’s a very good man to man tackler.

    When the fans have it in for you, there’s no escaping the “shit tag”. Gibbs is not indispensable but not Armand Traore as well. He’s good, but has to stay fit.

    Also THAT NUFC where we managed to win 2-1 after Chambers was supposedly “destroyed”? Rewatch the clip again and see how badly Monreal played. I counted at least 3times he was dribbled, got past or was non existent. Yet no one says negative things when you are flavor of the month

  9. Dark Hei

    “Gibbs is also shit at defending set pieces. Not holding his post, not marking anyone etc.”

    You know we wouldn’t be getting that FA Cup trophy last season if a certain Gibbs wasn’t alert enough to clear the ball off the line.

  10. mysticleaves

    Good point dark hei. Gibbs have also saved us countless time with his recovery pace and tackles…

  11. Dark Hei

    GK – We need a great GK and those stats Ospina have…..they do not include mistakes where we were not penalised.

    Defence – I like our defence. It is settled and shouldn’t be shaken.

    Midfield – Don’t get fooled by Coquelin’s distribution during the Aston Villa game. It is good only because they are rubbish. The only problem is that given Coquelin and Carzola’s excellence, who the heck wants to come in? And if a squad player is what we need, we have one in the form of Arteta already. Tough. I know that the club is still out for a deep lying passer but if I am Schneiderlin, I just need to look at United and their $$ and know I am a guaranteed starter there while getting rich.

    Attack – A lot depends on Walcott. Whether he stays or he goes. I don’t forsee any movement until this part is settled.

  12. mysticleaves

    But if Wenger is serious about playing Wally as a CF from next season, that frees up a space for a winger. Can I have me some Reus please?

    If we got only Reus this season TW, I won’t complain. With our defense remaining stable, Almunia would be great as our GK.

  13. nasri's mouth

    What’s the Gibbs witch hunt for?

    Not the best in the world, definitely 2nd choice to Monreal at the moment, but the idea he’s shit is weird.

  14. qna

    “You know we wouldn’t be getting that FA Cup trophy last season if a certain Gibbs wasn’t alert enough to clear the ball off the line.”

    What about all that we might have achieved without Gibbs many mistakes, in positioning and skills. The best thing about Gibbs is that he is injured most of the time, so we dont have play him.

    But I wouldnt swap Walcott for Sterling – straight, let alone put another player in. Sterling is good, but Wally is a goal scorer. Plus we have Oxlaide in the same squad position as Sterling. We have put so much effort into Walcott and he was finally showing it just before his injury at Spurs. We need to see this one through. Since that injury, he has not had a chance to show and when he finally did he showed something. I admit, I may regret those words, but for now I want to see the Wally project through to the end.

    If Liverpool want Gibbs then make them pay through the nose for him, then we can reinvest in players we need. If Liverpool want Gibbs then they need to pay us whatever it costs to sign either Jose Gaya or Ricardo Rodriguez. Liverpool are so arrogant towards Arsenal we should never deal with them on an equal footing. I would rather sell to Chelsea, City or United to be honest. They are becoming my most hated club listening to their ex-players, not to mention the 40m+1 deal.

    We need another CF. Reus wont happen this summer. Benzema might happen if Rafa but nobody really knows what Rafa is thinking so its too early to tell. Cavani wont happen. Dybala is gone. Jackson Martinez is too old and not good enough. Lacazette has only one season under him, but perhaps a good option given their are so few of them. I would prefer Benteke though.

    We definitely need a baller in CM. Khederia and Gundagon now gone. Verratti should be our marquee, but PSG dont seem stupid. Pogba has been definitively ruled out. I think the best realistic option is Kongdogbia.

    We do need a goal keeper, but looks like we will not be getting one. Schezeny is adamant he is staying and Wenger is not rutheless enough to push him out. Wonder if he would force through a loan though. Cech would be a dream signing. I cant see why Spurs would not consider a swap for Lloris involving Welbeck plus cash. If Lloris is moving on anyway, they could do worse than Welbeck and were trying for him last summer.

    Optimistic predictions: Cech, Kongdogbia, Benzema
    Pessimistic predictions: Schneiderlin, Jackson Martinez

  15. Wallace


    “Not the best in the world, definitely 2nd choice to Monreal at the moment, but the idea he’s shit is weird.”

    ja, at his best he’s very impressive. certainly has everything you need. hoping losing his place to Monreal motivates him to up his game.

  16. Dream10


    – I’m with you on keeping Walcott instead of buying Sterling.

    – Gibbs is not a top LB, but he is under contract till ’17 or ’18. We won’t address
    either fullback position until 2016. We have more pressing needs.

    – I’m not convinced on Kondogbia as an option for CM. I would rather have one of Imbula (better technique than Kondogbia, a Vieira lite) or Xhaka (good passer). Also, Tielemans of Anderlecht is an excellent prospect. Touted be a future star CM. So, I would like us to sign Imbula/Xhaka and Tielemans.

    – Don’t think we’ll sign a GK. I feel AW will continue with Ospina as the #1 and allow Szczensy to find form (he rates the Pole as the better player)

    – Can see us signing a wide forward if AW can’t get Benzema. Pedro is the most likely as he experienced, available and affordable.

    If we don’t sign a #9, we may need to play Ramsey higher up the pitch to increase our goal tally.

  17. nasri's mouth

    Qna: the best thing about Gibbs is he is injured mos of the time so we dont have to play him

    Lol, idiotic comment

  18. Wallace

    “I’ve tried, and mostly succeeded, in avoiding fast women.”

    – Myles Palmer

    he is hilarious. although i think london gunner and his library of Ayn Rand first editions will soon be giving him a run for his money.

  19. Leedsgunner

    Gibbs is a decent defender.

    My only beef with him is his fragile fitness record… he seems to pick up injuries far too easily and far too often. In this he’s like Wilshere, he has a good game once in a while but they are amongst too many indifferent ones because he spends too many games trying to rebuild fitness he’s lost. It’s a vicious cycle — he gets injured, spends time coming back to fitness, and because he’s coming back fitness he’s open to more injuries.

    I think for the money we could probably get someone who was as skillful but far more dependable fitness wise.

  20. Wallace


    yeah, Tielemans is a fascinating prospect. i was impressed with a few of those Anderlecht players, but he was definitely the stand out.

  21. Nasri's Mouth


    Yeah, his fitness has been too much of an issue. When he’s fit he’s decent, but we’ve missed too many performances from him because he’s been on the physio’s couch.

    On the plus side, he’s been much better over the last 2 seasons, though having Monreal in the side, means he hasn’t had to be rushed back too early.

  22. Leedsgunner

    “If we don’t sign a #9, we may need to play Ramsey higher up the pitch to increase our goal tally”

    Although I think goals from Ramsey should be an extra — this past year he lost form because he was trying too hard to be an all action hero.

    With the best engine in the side his surging runs are invaluable in causing opposition defences all sorts of problems… it’s clear to everyone though his best position is in the centre — none of this on the wing rubbish.

  23. Nasri's Mouth


    Playing Ramsey wide instead of in the middle seems bonkers, until you say 1 word


    I don’t think I’d play Ramsey over Cazorla, esp. if the DM is Coq, so the next question is do you play him right or leave him on the bench.

    He’s too good to bench, so playing him on the right is the next best option. He’s actually pretty effective there, and I’d imagine Wenger will be working on it in pre-season to improve it.

    Given that Cazorla is getting on, long term I think we’ll see Ramsey move back into the middle though, esp. if we sign a DM with more creativity than Coq

  24. Wallace

    ach, Gündogan in talks with Barcelona. if they do sign him for 20m or so it’ll highlight the lack of value in the PL, where a player like Schneiderlin will set you back 25m.

  25. Dream10


    Agreed. I would like us to start with Coquelin/Arteta and Cazorla/CM with Ramsey in front of them. Similar to how Chelsea set up with Makelele, Essien and Lampard. Ozil can start on the right and cut in.
    This reduces the defensive role of Ramsey and allows him to link more regularly w/ Ozil,Sanchez and Giroud/Walcott.


    Tielemans is the type of player we need to sign now. If he goes to a second tier club like a Dortmund/Schalke/Liverpool/Spurs/Atletico/Juve and performs regularly to a high standard, he’s on the conveyor belt to move to an elite club (in terms of salary) Real/Bayern/Barca/Utd/PSG/City.
    Modric,Bale,Costa,Pogba are examples.

  26. Rocky Pires

    LeedsgunnerJune 3, 2015 07:04:35
    “If we don’t sign a #9, we may need to play Ramsey higher up the pitch to increase our goal tally”Although I think goals from Ramsey should be an extra — this past year he lost form because he was trying too hard to be an all action hero. With the best engine in the side his surging runs are invaluable in causing opposition defences all sorts of problems… it’s clear to everyone though his best position is in the centre — none of this on the wing rubbish.


    See this is where Santi excels as he skips past challenges and release the ball at speed to Ozil and Sanchez, Ramsey for all his great traits tries to run at opposition and gets crowded out.
    For me its like this

    Santi in CM
    – 2 footed – Quick ball release
    – Long Range pass
    – dictates tempo of game
    – tidies up loose balls
    – Bring calm and assured presence to CM

    – Lung Bursting runs
    – Energy
    – For every attempted dribble will loose one or two and get caught out up field
    – One footed
    – Needs space to operate
    – Final ball not as good as Santi
    – Gets caught ahead of the ball alot

    So for me Santi give better distribution, link play and dictates the tempo whereas Ramsey is travelling at 100 mph all the time which is fine and well but it suffocates us further up the field .

    Santi allows Sanchez and Ozil to work on the counter whereas Ramsey gets too far forward and is caught ahead of the ball.

    That said Ramsey is a great player but for this particular role to bring the best out of the rest of the team I would play Santi CM and Ramsey RW or CM in 4-4-2

  27. Thank you and goodnight

    I’m with Cesc and a few others in regards to gibbs. Poor manager, mid table team player I’m afraid. If we get good moolah for him I’d gladly see back of him. We could and should do better than gibbs.

  28. Wallace


    he’s just signed a new contract. probably just Anderlecht protecting their investment. at 18 i think it’s smart of him to ensure another year of regular playing time, but like you say, those clubs just beneath the elite are sniffing around. he was certainly very impresive against us. i’m sure Wenger’s very aware of him.

  29. Emiratesstroller

    As usual there are a huge number of transfer rumours circulating at moment
    most of which are frankly bu….it.

    At weekend we were advised that Monreal is leaving. Yesterday he announces that he does not wish to leave and wants to extend contract. Szczesny has said the same thing.

    Then we are told that Liverpool are willing to exchange Sterling for Walcott and Gibbs. Who came up with that story? Frankly I cannot see Arsenal being
    interested in such a project. They have built up a group of English/Home Grown players. Why dismantle it for a player who is not at this time significantly better than what we have got on our books?

    Sterling may be a good player, but he is not significantly better than for example Oxlade-Chamberlain who would compete with him for a place in team even if Walcott were to leave. Also we have on our books Welbeck and Gnabry who will be vying for same position.

    The reality is that Sterling will leave Liverpool this summer and they will need
    the money from the sale because they are not exactly flush with funds. In view
    of the Suarez business two years ago I would not be inclined to do Liverpool any favours. Let them stew.

    Arsenal’s priorities at moment are along spine with central/defensive midfield,goalkeeper and striker. There are probably a range of good players for
    first option but less so for other two positions.

    We have a limited budget and I hope and expect Arsenal to focus what we need. By now I am sure that Arsenal will have prepared a small list of players
    and probably had already preliminary discussions with agents if not clubs to
    see if they are available.

    Let’s be also clear no player will arrive at Arsenal before 1st July when transfer
    window opens and Arsenal’s recent track record more likely at the end of
    month at earliest.

  30. Rocky Pires

    There is no chance he will let Gibbs and Theo join Liverfools.

    Talking about Anderlecht, I think Praet is a great player and could do worse than signing him and he learning from Santi before Santi leaves.
    He gives RM,LW and CM options.
    Perhaps the roles as set out for Ox but he is a very different player to Ox.

  31. qna


    Not sure why you dont rate Kongdogbia. He has always impressed me. Is Tielemans better than Rabiot? I think Rabiot is the young defensive CM to look out for. PSG are just stacked in CM its pretty unreal. They dont even need to go for Pogba. They have Matuidi, Verratti, Rabiot. Motta plays there as well, but he is past it now. Cabaye cant even get a look in. Xhaka is interesting as well. Have seen him play really well. Other times, he has been just.. meh… I dont think Imbula is at the level of Kongdogbia either. Kongdobia has got mad skills as well as having the beast in him. I think Imbula is a powerhouse for sure, but is his skills reallys up to the level of these other players we are talking about. His weight of passing doesn’t seem to be very subtle. But a beast like Imbula would make a huge difference to us in the middle.

    I would be quite happy if we could prise Rabiot away from PSG as our only CM addition this season. Would rather him than Schneiderlin for sure. But Verratti is still the dream for me in that position.

    Verratti -> Matuidi -> Kongdobgia -> Rabiot -> Imbula/Xhaka ->…….-> Coquelin -> Schneiderlin/Cabaye

    I also think we really missed a trick not signing Khedira or Gundagon this summer. Wenger always talks about not being able to find quality – well here was two quality players that we didnt sign when they were available.

  32. Rocky Pires

    would nt trust, I am just worried that Maureenio has told Cech to do him one last favor and string Arsenal along for the summer before signing for PSG.

    This will be one of the most contested transfer windows for GK I think with Leno,Adler,LLoris, De Gea, Casillas,Cech ,Begovic, Handanovic, Sirigiu and Chesney all involved in some transfer speculation.

  33. qna

    I know that all of the rumours that go around are complete bullshit. But somedays I look and see we are about to sign Schneiderlin for 25m and Sterling for 50m and I have to admit it pisses me of just a little.

    But today, the rumours are strongly sugguesting Cech, Benzema, Kongdobgia and Vietto (I will ignore the insulting 2 for 1 Liverpool rumour). That would be one hell of a summer. Especially if we kept Walcott as well. Welbeck to Chelsea anyone?

    Strikeforce: Benzema, Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott, Vietto
    AM: Ozil, Wilshere, Oxlaide, Rosicky
    CM: Cazorla, Kongdobgia, Ramsey, Coquelin,
    Defenders: Koscielny, Gabriel, Mertesacker, Monreal, Gibbs, Bellerin, Debuchy, Chambers
    GK: Cech, Ospina

  34. Willow Wilson

    “it’s clear to everyone though his best position is in the centre — none of this on the wing rubbish”.

    Ramsey doesn’t play on the wing. He plays on the right side of a midfield in a narrow position and has the freedom to come inside. Often Bellerin will be the one providing the width.

    The only real static positions are those played defensively including Le Coq and if we play with a one up top (Giroud). Santi has started to sit more deeper and more centrally, which give those in front more freedom to make their runs or interchange, as we saw on Saturday with Theo and Alexis. In fact, at times you have Ramsey, Santi, Alexis and Ozil all within 10 or 15 yards of each other on the edge of the opposition penalty area, with Monreal and Bellerin adding the width.

    Personally, I find Ramsey has a tendency to give the ball away to often when he plays centrally and that he needs to improve. With little Santi in their ahead of le Coq, we look much stronger. By the way, in my opinion SantiCazorla is the most under rated player in Europe.

    This is where competition for places is so important. Add to this the ability to change the structure of the team, we have a plan A, plan B and plan C . If we need more width or pace, we can bring on The Ox, Theo and play them as more traditional wide players. We can also bring in Jack and Ramsey to play centrally. For years we could all predict our best 11 and the way we will play. Now we have real options and are building a strong squad with competition for places.

  35. Redtruth

    Papers no nothing about Arsenal’s transfer targets and i know Arsenal will not be putting in bids for players that are constantly being banded about on legrove.

  36. qna

    Alfie: QNA –Any link to the Benz rumour?

    Alfie. Its not a solid rumour. I was just pointing out that today’s rumours have four that excite me in one day. Usually we are linked with players that are not better than what we have. Benzema rumour i think is Kike Marin on twitter and its in Spanish and its taken out of context I think as far as I think he was basically saying it will be a long summer saga on Benzema to Arsenal.