Yes Coq? No Coq?

by .

Morning folks. Apologies for the late post, but things have gone apoplectic at work and my boss has turned into a swearier Malcolm Tucker. The show must go on however – I have my priorities right, I know which way my bread is buttered.

The general consensus amongst large sections of the media, along with much of our fan base, is that a central midfield addition should be at the top of Arsene Wenger’s shopping list this summer, along with the mystical – and mythical – world class front man, a packet of hob knobs and a fresh set of string vests. I am very much of the view that we will not be signing a midfielder this summer, but this made me consider whether we need one at all?

Francis Coquelin has been lauded for his performances in 2015, with his introduction coinciding with our upturn in form. The populist view from the non-existent straw-poll I conducted seems to point to a player to play with Coquelin, or to cover him. Whilst this is understandable, given both his performances and the paucity of proper cover in our squad, I can’t help but feel we would be causing far more concern to the likes of Chelsea if we were to make a ‘first XI’ signing at the expense of Coquelin.

To revert to my initial statement that I can’t see us signing a midfielder, this comes down to how Arsene views our midfield – does he look at our options qualitatively, or quantitatively. Wenger often mentions ‘numbers’ in a position as he did only yesterday, referencing his wide options. In terms of quantity, there is no debate – Coquelin, Arteta, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere, Santi and Chamberlain are all vying for a midfield role; with my fear being that the manager will see the number of players he has covering two positions and be happy with his lot.

Aligned with this, Arsene has often tended to view midfielders as a homogenous ‘one’, without pocket holing players into a nuanced role. This can be positive, as it engenders versatile players and flexible systems, but equally we have suffered as a result of lacking someone more specialised in the holding midfield role in particular. For all his deficiencies, which I will touch on, Coquelin highlighted what a player of his ilk can offer, with our upturn in results being testament to that.

I can’t imagine this will be a popular stance, but an upgrade on Coquelin is required if we are to truly push on next season. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of his ability as a player per se, but more a misalignment between his skillset and the way Arsenal – and our rivals – set out to play. The much feted midfield destroyer is a dead-duck if you have serious ambitions about winning the big trophies – think Xabi Alonso, not Lee Cattermole. If you were to analyse the teams that have won the major prizes throughout Europe over the last couple of years, I struggle to recall one who plays with a ‘destroyer’ in the conventional sense. Busquets, Alonso, Schweinsteiger, Matic – first and foremost they are ball players – distributors from deep. They all possess tackling ability and immaculate positioning, but they perform a far greater function for their sides than protecting the back four without the ball – they protect them with the ball too. They provide a constant, safe out-ball for defenders under pressure; with these players’ ability to receive the ball under pressure crucial to easing periods of sustained strain.

This is where Coquelin falls short. For all his defensive capability – which is considerable – his unwillingness to receive the ball under pressure is hugely restrictive and can prove costly in big games. The match that highlighted his deficiencies most brutally was at White Hart Lane; where we were under heavy swathes of pressure and defending exceptionally deep. The pressure was exacerbated by the lack of cool head to receive the ball from the back four and dictate play from deep – be that driving forwards or slowing the game to halt Tottenham’s momentum. This game, more than any, was where we missed Arteta. Despite proclamations of his legs being ‘gone’ – where exactly to, I don’t know – his skillset remains hugely important to Arsenal’s midfield.

Coquelin isn’t a bad passer – at times, when he’s given space he is very good indeed – see the FA Cup final. The dichotomy is that when the team are under severe pressure, he is both our most valuable and most ineffective asset. His energy and ability to snap into tackles, along with the discipline to remain the most deep-lying midfielder is important, but his inability or unwillingness to be the main outlet from defence remains a critical blockage to our chances of competing at the highest level.

In recognition of Coquelin’s weaknesses, Wenger took drastic action, with the net result playing Santi Cazorla in a deep lying midfield role. Whilst he performed magnificently, it robbed us of our best central midfielder – Aaron Ramsey. Santi had to utilise his unsurpassed ability to receive the ball under pressure and mitigate for Coquelin’s inability to do so, but the manifestations of this move are far reaching. For instance, were Ozil to get injured or need resting, Santi is our only convincing deputy for the number 10 role. Shifting Santi further forward would then leave us with an unbalanced midfield partnership of Coquelin and Ramsey.

Furthermore, it is no coincidence that Arsenal’s most dominant period in some time was with a Ramsey-Arteta pivot. This illustrates the blueprint we should be adopting, which would allow Ramsey to also play in his best position.

Beyond this, Coquelin can’t play every game and given Arteta’s increasingly paternal cheerleader role and Flamini’s ever-increasing gut, someone else needs to be able to perform that role.

In light if this, a 25 year old Mikel Arteta would be the best signing Arsenal could make this summer – a ball playing, deep-lying midfielder who can receive the ball under pressure, whilst offering the requisite protection to the back four and one who doesn’t need babysitting by Santi Cazorla. Sadly those players aren’t widely available and those who are tend to be in high demand. In terms of names, the most similar to the one I’ve described above is probably Ilkay Gundogan, who possesses the right skillset. The concerns with him are his injury record, his rotund backside and his new contract at Dortmund.

It may seem I have been harsh on Coquelin, who has performed admirably over the last six months. He has an important role in our squad and would certainly get plenty of game time, but his limitations restrict Arsenal going forwards and backwards. I fear he will continue to do so, unless we find that 1989 Arteta.

Until next time x

Give me a follow on Twitter @James_Willson2

381 Responses to “Yes Coq? No Coq?”

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  1. Carts

    Coq is a good payer that has shown a lot of ability in the last half of the season.

    However, I just can’t see how any rational person thinks Coq is ready made for DM duties; even those who James mentioned don’t have the ability. The double pivot mention showed a few signs of working, but we’re talking about over the course of a long competitive season, not the likes of relegation fodder, ffs.

  2. Marko

    In response to Vicky I highly doubt Lewandowski us available. Which is a terrible shame as I think he’s arguably the most perfect striker out there

  3. Alfie

    “Its worrying when Charlie Austin is a better finisher than any of our out and out strikers.”

    Kinda demerits anything you have written.

  4. karim

    DM
    Come on man, he apparently used it for 5 minutes, got off the train and the zealous train woman called a few police officers that happened to be on the platform repeating it was criminal behaviour…

    FFS !

  5. gambon

    “It ‘s ironic that their self entitled fans give City hell for buying their titles.”

    The reason UTD fans hate City is that they have worked hard for their financial muscle, City have just got a rich guy at the helm.

    But youre right, unless we really do something special we will fall behind UTD, its inevitable.

    We arent doing enough on or off the pitch to close the gap.

  6. Biggus

    I’m excited to see Coq in the new season. If we can’t get another DMF, it’s not the end of the world as we could try to play two players deep in that position for top teams.

    Most times , like someone mentioned here, we can get away with having a box to box midfielder like Ramsey or Wilshere play alongside Coq for teams that love to sit back.

  7. daz

    “We arent doing enough on or off the pitch to close the gap.”

    Which gap is that then? Last time I checked we finished above them

  8. London gunner

    Ozy

    It’s less based on the last 6 months more based on the years I have rated coquelin.

    I always though he had something special about him, so this “sudden” form he is showing is less a suprise and more an expectation.

  9. DM

    karim

    yes it’s clearly a bit ridiculous, but the fact remains that he was arrested for his behaviour towards a police officer, not because of the charger. If he would’ve just said “oh right sorry about that” there would be no issue.

  10. Willow Wilson

    Gooddawg
    “Everyone here knows Wenger will overplay him to the point he breaks down and is unable to continue doggedly running around chasing and harrying. He will be in the red zone by december”

    Ignorant Rubbish.

    Rinse. Recycle. Repeat.

    Did you see the stats produced that prove the ground breaking news that the best players play the most games? Chelsea had Ivanovic, Terry and Hazard play every single Premier League game. Cesc played 35. Matic 33 (would have played every game without the ban). Suarez in his last season for Liverpool played 33 games, despite a ban. These all seem fine.

    Why didn’t Jose Mourinho take the ‘experts’ advice on here and rest his best players? Difficult to understand how these top Managers don’t understand football like the Grovers.

    In fact, Santi Cazorla played 37 league games for us, he looked fine and he’s 30. In fact, he was man of the match in the last game of the season, the FA Cup Final, despite being ‘overplayed’

    Only on LG do we have this constant crap about Wenger injuring our own players. This narrative is boring bollocks.

  11. Relieable sauce

    -Rice to Arsenal, not Reus.

    They’ve just ordered dinner in Singapore and The Metro got the wrong end of the stick.

  12. useroz

    Relying on Coq alone shows little ambition.

    Does anyone know if Christophe Lollichon, Cech’s. GK coach, also joined?? No point spending on an iPhone and use crappy chargers…..

  13. karim

    DM

    Fair enough, I might be too much of a rebel without a cause myself sometimes, so I will leave it there.
    Thanks for replying anyway and congratulations for that trophy of yours btw.

  14. DM

    karim

    no worries. I’m sure many people are outraged by it, it just annoys me when media (and anyone for that matter) try to make something out of nothing. Cheers for the congrats 🙂 lol

  15. gambon

    “Which gap is that then? Last time I checked we finished above them”

    Irrelevant, last time I checked they finsihed infront of us 8 out of the last 10 times.

    You cant stay ahead of a team that has a £150m revenue, £50m wage and £100m per season spend more than you.

    I assume you were certain that Bayern would never overtake Dortmund a few years back, or Atletico were destined to reign supreme in Spain after 2013/14?

  16. Goondawg

    We will see Willow. But the last ten years the injury narrative has been pretty much bang on when all things Wenger is concerned

  17. gambon

    “Only on LG do we have this constant crap about Wenger injuring our own players. This narrative is boring bollocks.”

    You may want to ask Jack Wilshere, Keiron Gibbs, Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby if its bollocks.

    Oh and Cesc, who your hero played with a broken leg.

  18. Samesong

    “Which gap is that then? Last time I checked we finished above them”

    When did we last beat Man Utd in the league?

  19. Redtruth

    Dreading the blunders our new keeper is going to make next season.

    Wise after the event muppets who were previously in favour of the jittery keeper will no doubt broadcast their chagrin of the car crash unfolding before them.

  20. Willow Wilson

    gambon
    ““We arent doing enough on or off the pitch to close the gap.”

    Lol, more predictions……………………..

    gambon Sept 1st 2014: “….and its a big if…Man Utd sign Falcao, we have no chance of top 4. Man City have spent money but what UTD are doing is mental.”

    and

    gambon: “Rogers has literally looked at Arsene, and done everything opposite. Great strikers, pace, counter attacking, not scared to buy players”.

    Lol.

    Your Bookmaker must love having you as a client gambon.

  21. Goondawg

    He even admitted in january that Sanchez was in the red zone, and then promptly played him against Brighton three days later. Followed by a spat of games that came in thick and fast. You can’t make it up

  22. karim

    Useroz

    Lollichon talked about it, he said he would be surprised if Chelsea let him go away with Petr, so I don’t think so.

    Re crappy chargers, I absolutely agree but that wasn’t my point, was it ?

  23. steve

    @Willow

    “gambon Sept 1st 2014: “….and its a big if…Man Utd sign Falcao, we have no chance of top 4. Man City have spent money but what UTD are doing is mental.”

    You already posted that one. Why post it again?

  24. daz

    “When did we last beat Man Utd in the league?”

    Does not matter finished above them last 2 yrs and 2 trophies on top

  25. karim

    Talking about zealous people, I can’t even smoke a fag in the park or at the beach anymore without being a criminal while binge-drinking is ok every single day of the week.

  26. Carts

    Willow,

    The point being made is that we’ve struggled to manage our player’s fitness collectively, where as Mourinho has somehow perfected it.

    There’s clearly an isolated issue with the way certain players in our squad train, rest and recover in comparison to, say, Santi – whom as you pointed out played 37 games.

  27. Willow Wilson

    gambon

    I thought Abu Diaby was essentially put out of the game by Dan Smith of Sunderland, unless that was Arsene Wenger launching that tackle? Jack Wilshere last season was put into hospital by a late Paddy McNair tackle. Thomas Vermaelen has missed an entire season at Barcelona.

    Mind you, as Wenger has no ambition and wants to lose games, perhaps you are right?!

    You are clueless.

    By the way, although managers do indeed pick the team, they rely on the fitness coaches to access the fitness of the players.

    As I said, Santi Cazorla played a lot of games last season and was outstanding in the FA Cup Final.

    So, trying to blame Wenger for every injury a player suffers is very immature, as well as being pretty stupid. All Managers will have been guilty of playing players when perhaps they should be rested. It comes with the territory. Was starting John Terry at his age in every PL game wise? Ivanovic? Hazard, arguably their best player? But as it’s Jose, it’s all cool.

    Boring narrative about Wenger injuring our players, its about as Yesterday as a Beatles song.

  28. VP

    Rewind one year, and it’s the same usual bullocks:

    -Talk of how Wilshere, Ox and Theo our going to be the saviors.
    – The usual cockteasing and mind games that our manager loves to put the fans through to cover up the fact that there is no plan, due to the lack of an independent post-review of last season taking place

    …….as we still await upgrades on Per, Arteta and Giroud.

    How many years will need to go by before we can actually enter a season with a realistic chance of challenging for the Prem and Champions League. It most certainly isn’t going to be this year. There’s too much to do for the people that are charged with the responsibility of doing so.

    This baby step and organic growth nonsense is nothing more than a cover up for the incompetence that we see before us, both on the pitch and to even more worrying levels, off it.

    Wenger was as close as walking out of the door as he’s ever been, and then two back to back FA Cups after there’s talk of him even staying on past this contract.
    Standards are slipping to shameful levels.

    The problem is that a vast majority of the faithful don’t know what good for them until they told what’s good for them. There are a few who would still have not conceded that Ospina is not a worthy Number 1 if Czech wasn’t purchased. I think that the same logic applies with Coq. Like I said there are some people who need to be told what’s good for them, where it’s only good if it’s one of the senior club officials doing the telling.

    I genuinely believe that the best thing that can happen this season is for us to buy no one and let the pressure build to the levels of a couple years ago.

  29. underrated Coq

    I can’t see how anyone can defend the manager/ the club when it comes to the fitness management.

    Yes, I know some of those injuries were accidental and impossible to predict/avoid, but injuries have plagued us for so many years straight that one really needs to question the fitness management in the club. Why is it that its usually always been Arsenal at the top of the injury table for years ?

    Really hope the injury nightmares are behind us and we can keep our players fit next season.

  30. gambon

    Lol, Willow with his head firmly up Arsene Wengers arse as always.

    WHy are you talking about Jack Wilshere last season, what about when Wenger played him 50 times as an 18 year old, admitted he was in the red zone but carried on playing him?

    From Stuart Pearce

    “One thing’s for sure – Arsenal have not left him out of the side in the last six weeks of the season, even though the stats have said he’s in the red zone.”

  31. qna

    Anyone watched much of Ghoulam. I havent. I here that we might have nid for him (or are serious about doing so). I worry if defensively he is good enough. Just did a squaka compare of he and baba rahman. Baba seems better defensively but Ghoulam better offsenively. Having seen how this works with Gibbs and other full backs we have had thay cant defend it has me concerned. Hope we are not repeating the same mistakes. Baba Rahman seems the way to go if we are going for a LB.

  32. Carts

    I’ll be honest, I watched quite a bit of Serie A and Napoli last season and Ghoulam was definitely one of their most consistent performers. He can fucking cross the ball as well.

    I’m guessing him signing spells the end of Monreal?

  33. Jim Lahey

    —————- schneiderlin ———— schweinsteiger————–

    Depay—————————- Mata ————————–Di Maria

    ———————————– Cavani ————————————

    Pretty jealous of that to be honest…

  34. Marko

    jim LaheyJuly 14, 2015    13:51:16
    Has anyone seen the Liverpool petition to sign Reus?

    Doesn’t matter goondawg said he’s as good as ours.

    Also Red you buffoon you always dodge questions cause you know they’d make you look stupid

  35. Goondawg

    Willow.. Jack’s horrendous injury record wasnt born yesterday out of Paddy McNair’s awful challenge. He has been riddled with problems ever since he broke out into the first team as an 18 year old and was overplayed to the point his fragile ankles cant even cope for a string of games.

    For years Wenger has almost picked his side from survival of the fittest. Players kept dropping like flies, it can be down to poor rotation or training methods. There is no logical way the last decade can be just be put down to bad luck. No fucking way.

    The amount of games Ramsey, Ozil and Walcott were asked to play season before last was insane. These guys came back from lengthy lay-offs and then were played for how many 90 mins games in the space of a short amount of weeks? No wonder they broke down again. Also note, Mesut Ozil did not have single injury in the time he was at Real Madrid, yet once he joins Arsenal he has been out for over 150 days… Coincidence?

  36. Goondawg

    “Has anyone seen the Liverpool petition to sign Reus?

    Doesn’t matter goondawg said he’s as good as ours.”

    I am however basing this on Muzzy Ozcans periscope where he walks around London not saying a word, camera focusing on a bunch of Rolls Royce cars.

  37. Carts

    Lahey

    I wouldn’t lose any sleep if it were Gibbs.

    Di Maria off to PSG so Young will play wide left. Very strong team either way.

  38. Willow Wilson

    Carts
    “The point being made is that we’ve struggled to manage our player’s fitness collectively.”

    That’s a fair point. I agree with you that we had a problem within the fitness team. Hopefully this has been resolved with the changes that have been made with Shad.

    Where I disagree is with the sweeping statements some have tried to make, that state Wenger injures our players. He doesn’t.

  39. daz

    Jim

    LVG will play fellaini in almost every game as the long ball is the only way he can get his team to play

  40. Willow Wilson

    Goondawg
    “Also note, Mesut Ozil did not have single injury in the time he was at Real Madrid, yet once he joins Arsenal he has been out for over 150 days… Coincidence?”

    Ozil had a partial Ligament tear, which happened in the game with Chelsea in October. I doubt very much that Arsene Wenger did that to him.

    Unless you can prove otherwise?

  41. Goondawg

    I think Reus is more likelier than Benzema tbh. Having escaped relegation with Dortmund, he must be thinking about a move to a CL club by now. Good thing he is a dortmund local, that must eliminate Bayern as possible suitor.

  42. gonsterous

    Red truth

    Top 8 ? I think we beat most of the top 8 last season in both home and away games unless you can tell me the out come of each of those games.. And also who is the top 8 ?

  43. tunnygriffboy

    Jim

    Di Maria to PSG. Maybe Cavani the other way just been on the radio.

    Our injury record has been awfuil. However there were signs the club was getting it right last season. Far more emphasis on rest and individual programmes. Pllayers were coming back sooner than expected and looked really sharp. Shad and co may be having an important influence

  44. Goondawg

    The thing is willow, no one can prove anything about the science of how injuries come about or how to prevent them. But certain precautions can be taken, the common denominator is Wenger, and if he is publicly stating his players are in the red zone and then later playing them in five or six 90 mins games in the space of a 16 days, then something is not right… Would you agree?

    Wenger’s inability to properly rotate players and his lack of faith in the squad’s fringe players ultimately leads to our first teamers breaking down. Why should we have to play Ozil against the Coventries and Brightons, when we have a fit and raring to go Rosicky on the bench?

    Wenger’s playing style involves a lot of quick passing and movement, where we are pushed around and pressed, inciting many ill-challenges. If you are mentally slow that day or fatigued from not having inadequate rest, you will be caught at some point in the game by poor tackles. Opponents in the league are also told to kick their ankles and “rough” them up. It’s the norm when we play our system.

    Even when we play this system of quick passing and explosive movement, we are asking our players to work with their legs a lot, when they are changing direction or bursting into a sprint. These type of players are more prone to injuries, as they are pushing their muscles in their legs more. When asked to do this several times in 90 mins, over the space of two or three games per week. It doesnt take a genius to realise someone is going to break down.

    So yeah to summarise, I do think Wenger is partly the problem to our injury woes in the last decade. The style has become less faster now, than before, and with that their has been a decline in injuries. Look at what happened to Dortmund this season, their style of play has left them hovering over relegation for large parts of the season

  45. gazzap

    I think wenger’s attitude now is if he can’t get the top players he is targeting then he won’t buy anyone.
    Possibly Draxler and Benzema are the ones he wants. He is putting all his eggs in those baskets and if they don’t come off we’ll only sign Cech this summer.

  46. gambon

    “I think wenger’s attitude now is if he can’t get the top players he is targeting then he won’t buy anyone.”

    “Possibly Draxler and Benzema are the ones he wants.”

    These 2 statements dont make sense….see why?

  47. Mohap99

    Its Amazing when I read people respond to redtruths words, I mean this guy is delusional….unto more positive things, Have we signed Benzema yet???
    Also as regards injuries sometimes players are just injury prone, no blame on anyone, might just be the body.. it happens a lot

  48. qna

    Gonsterous. Last season against top 8 sides our record was W3, D5, L6. This is 14 points out of 42. That is 28 dropped points.

    We got 61 out of a possible 72 against the rest.

  49. Mohap99

    Why should we have to play Ozil against the Coventries and Brightons, when we have a fit and raring to go Rosicky on the bench?

    IF rosicky plays and we lose those matches, then we hear ”why didnt he play Ozil..who cares about fatigue and all that”..all these things tend to happen.. Lets just hope we are lucky with injuries this season

    No offence Goondawg

  50. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    @Gonterous
    vs Chelsea – H – drew A – Lost
    vs Man City – H – drew A – Won
    vs Man U – H – Lost – A – Drew
    vs Tottenham – H – Drew – A – Lost
    vs Liverpool – H – Won – A – Drew
    vs Southampton – H – Won – A – Lost
    vs Swansea – H – Lost – A – Lost
    So thats 14 games played against the rest of the top 8. Won 3, Drew 5, lost 6. Pretty poor if you ask me

  51. gambon

    Yep, we are big game bottlers, no doubt at all.

    Not only worth looking at the games against the top 8, but also look at the embarrassment against Monaco.

  52. Goondawg

    Mohap99

    Then why have Rosicky in the squad in the first place? If he cant handle the Coventries and Brightons..

    This is what I mean by Wenger’s lack of faith in his squad, which leads to his first teamers having to overcompensate which in turns leads to injuries. Then this battle royale style will have inadequate replacements that aren’t fit enough to do job, having to fill in.

    It’s madness. These players that Wenger overlooks and never plays, may as well be replaced by players Wenger feels is more trustworthy to play.

  53. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    Basically – You don’t win the league or even realistically challenge unless you can beat the teams who are up there with you. Sanchez aside, we have no-one who strikes fear into opponents. Chelsea have multiple players who do that as do Man City and now Man U. It’ll be a battle for 4th spot again this season…. and the next….. and the next etc etc etc

  54. qna

    We should be playing our squad against the coventries. And if they fail we shouldnt be saying, we should havr played ozil. Not at all. But also we should be asking questions. Why are our squad players not good enough to get that job done. Because if we need them to step up they should be ready and waiting. And hungry.

  55. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    @Gonsterous
    What?? That’s who was in the top 8 fella. The whole question was about results against the top 8. Shall we throw Barnet in there? We beat them in a preseason friendly last year.

  56. Samesong

    Last year there were a few games where we didn’t even register a shot on goal all game.

    Arsenal have won just 2 of their last 13 league clashes with Chelsea (D3 L8).

    Chelsea have kept 5 clean sheets in a row against Arsenal in all competitions.

    Arsenal have gone 8 hours and 2 minutes without scoring against Chelsea (all

    Arsenal recorded 1 shot on target in their 2 league fixtures combined against
    Chelsea this season.
    This stalemate ended a run of 15 Arsenal league games without a draw.

    The Gunners’ previous goalless draw was in February 2014, against Manchester United.

    Three of Arsenal’s last 8 goalless draws in the league have come against Chelsea.

    Chelsea’s last 3 league games have produced 3 of their 6 lowest passing accuracy figures of the season.

    Jose Mourinho has never lost as an opposition coach against Arsene Wenger in any competition (W7 D6 L0).

    Mesut Ozil had the most touches (107) and created the most chances (4) in this game.

  57. Carts

    Willow

    “Where I disagree is with the sweeping statements some have tried to make, that state Wenger injures our players. He doesn’t.”

    Scenario 1:

    Arteta fails to fully recover and is out till xmas. Flamini is already shite as we know. We have to put all our eggs in Coq’s basket resulting in him playing a shed load of minute. He gets injured for 4-6 weeks. January transfer window is still 5 weeks away…who is to blame for our lack of cover and essentially Coq’s injury?

  58. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    Oh and still not great
    Everton – A – Drew – H – Won
    Stoke – A – Lost – Home Won

  59. Carts

    qna

    I don’t know if it cos LB are in such short demand that teams know they come with a premium thus taking a more critical analysis, or if RB just get an easy ride, critically, by default. From what I’ve noticed, LBs are scrutinised far more than RBs. Just an observation.

    Ghoulam: kid is quick; help attackingly and defensively. Serie not renowned for rapid wingers or lots of crosses so hard to say what he truly like. Is her any worse than Gibbs defensively? no. Better attackingly? Yes. Better defensively than Monreal? 50/50 Better attacker than Monreal? Yes

  60. Carts

    “Also Rosicky is out for the next 5 weeks, misses the start of the season”

    Should’ve just let the lad go, ffs.

  61. steve

    gonsterous
    July 14, 2015 14:45:11

    Red truth

    Top 8 ? I think we beat most of the top 8 last season in both home and away games unless you can tell me the out come of each of those games.. And also who is the top 8 ?

    ______________

    How can you remember it as “beating most of the top 8” when we got 14 points out of 42? lololololol not even close.

  62. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    “Carvalho out for 3 months” – and there is Wengers get out clause right there. I can hear it now – “We were never interested in Schneiderlin and were focussing all our efforts on Carvalho”

  63. Micheal

    Weeks before the big kick-off and it is already clear that Arsenal’s ambition is to finish 4th, And that is going to be significantly harder this time round. The likely top three, in my humble opinion, have better squads than us and will probably finish higher in the table come next May.

    Chelsea ? A stable, better all-round “team” and a more tactically aware manager.

    ManUre ? Spent big and possess a very strong squad. Only doubt is whether they will play for LVG.

    ManCiteeh ? Ditto, Pellegrini.

    That leaves us fighting fourth with Spuds, Liverpool, Southampton, among others. Given our ample financial resources and the blindingly obvious gaps in the squad, this is total fucking madness.

  64. Willow Wilson

    Goondawg
    “The thing is willow, no one can prove anything about the science of how injuries come about or how to prevent them”

    True. But Grovers seem pretty certain they know.

    The narrative about Wenger injuring our players by over playing them, is absolute nonsense. I will not disagree that in the past we do seem to have had some issues with our fitness/medical team. However, all top teams employ specialists to care for the fitness of the players, that’s their job. Lets hope Shad makes improvements.

    As has been said so many times on here before, this constant clamour for rotation is actually daft. You play your best players whenever you can. Chelsea won the league with Terry, Ivanovic and Hazard playing every game. Overplayed?

    Barcelona did that and look what they did. Of the 60 games they played, did you know Messi played 57 games and Neymar 51…….?!

    Coming out with statements like “Coq will be overplayed and injured because Wenger overplays players” is just speculative crap. Its a narrative that suits a certain type of fan.

    So, of course I do not believe Wenger injures our players. Do I think he overplays players? Common sense would say he does – along with every other manager who wants his best team on the pitch.

  65. Naijagunner

    folks like willow can be a little bit too optimistic at times..but that’s perfectly understandable

    what is baffling though is that most people come on here daily to make fun of the club and its manager…a man i van assure u non of u on here is as smart as he is

  66. Leedsgunner

    “For years Wenger has almost picked his side from survival of the fittest. Players kept dropping like flies, it can be down to poor rotation or training methods. There is no logical way the last decade can be just be put down to bad luck. No fucking way.”

    This is how and why Coquelin was brought into the side last season, and the cupboard was bare and Wenger literally had no one to turn to.

    Although the revisionists will want us to believe it was all part of Wenger’s great plan to introduce him into the side in this way… as if he had some foreknowledge of Coquelin’s previous unseen promise…. the truth is Wenger was actually incredibly lucky and Coquelin was effectively a get out of jail free card.

    Funny how when things go right it’s all due to Wenger’s genius but when things go wrong it’s all down to “back luck.” Never ever Wenger’s fault is is it?

    The reality is Wenger has done good for the club in bringing us a new stadium, and keeping us as a top 4 club. Great. However a new stadium does not mean he should be free from scrutiny and criticism when deserved.

  67. Redtruth

    Willow

    Arsenal 14 points against the top 8
    Arsenal 61 points against the rest

    14 + 61= 75 points in total for last season.

    Why are Arsenal so lamentable against teams from the top half of the table.

  68. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    @Naijagunner

    It’s all well and good you coming on here and having an opinion, the problem is you’re not really saying very much of substance are you?!
    I assume your remarks were aimed at the larger audience but I’ll take one for the team here and confront you.

    I made a comment “You don’t win the league or even realistically challenge unless you can beat the teams who are up there with you.” – Agree or disagree?
    If you disagree I would like a full explanation on why. If you agree then you too can see that we aren’t beating the teams up there.

    I also stated the following “Sanchez aside, we have no-one who strikes fear into opponents. Chelsea have multiple players who do that as do Man City and now Man U.” Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree please enlighten us all. If you agree then you must surely see we are in no position to challenge for the title.
    Over to you princess

  69. Mickey G

    I agree with Pedro in that I can’t see Wenger buying another midfielder. While I would like another DM, for once I don’t blame Wenger for passing. It doesn’t seem smart to spend upwards of 20/30 million on a player who will likely sit on the bench. Ok Sweinsteiger would have been an improvement but the age profile was wrong and the wages were likely way too high anyway. We have money but I’d rather see us spend big again if we get a chance to do another Ozil/Sanchez type buy. I’d rather that than doing a spurs or liverpool on it, spend 100 million on what turn out average squad players and end up in exactly the same place as before the spurge (only without the cash). I don’t think we’d be significantly better off with Scneiderlin. In moneyball terminology he was too much of a reach, cost was too high compared to his value. If a top striker or centre half becomes available I’d spend it there instead. Metersacker for me is the weak link in our first 11. Squad wise I don’t think we have too many others. A top steiker would be the cherry on the cake. Top ball playing teams don use destroyers in midfield as a first option anyway. It kills the fluency. See Mascherano at Barca, playing centre half, not midfield. And if we are chasing a goal Coq was and will be the first player pulled in favour of a more atacking player. WilShere could be developed there, Arteta is fine there against any outside the top 6. Wenger believes defence is a collective responsibility and will expect the midfield unit as a whole to do the work. The difference now is that we have genuine competition for places so hopefully that will help with the lazy defensive attitude!

  70. Willow Wilson

    Naija
    “folks like willow can be a little bit too optimistic at times..but that’s perfectly understandable”

    You have to be overly positive to battle against the overly negative Gooner and the mischievious rival fans on here.

    On a serious note, we have a great squad of players and I cannot wait for the new season. I have a feeling this team is going to shut a lot of people up. And that wil take some doing!!

  71. Naijagunner

    @ Steve ..

    Your first point : i can remember a season when Man Utd won the league and came bottom of the the top four head to head table. Besides the manager has already talked about the need to improve the results against the top sides, so its not like no one has noticed

    Second point:

    what exactly is fear?….is that the determining factor in winning football matches ?

  72. ADKB

    Wakey wakey Willow Wilson 🙂 This current squad only has a Cech upgrade. Even his addition doesn’t mean we can successfully rival the big boys around us. It’s going to be the same old story.

    At Arsenal, there’s no present or future, only the past happening over and over again.

  73. daz

    Steve Boulds velvet gloveJuly 14, 2015 15:55:00
    @NaijagunnerIt’s all well and good you coming on here and having an opinion, the problem is you’re not really saying very much of substance are you?!
    I assume your remarks were aimed at the larger audience but I’ll take one for the team here and confront you.I made a comment “You don’t win the league or even realistically challenge unless you can beat the teams who are up there with you.” – Agree or disagree?
    If you disagree I would like a full explanation on why. If you agree then you too can see that we aren’t beating the teams up there.I also stated the following “Sanchez aside, we have no-one who strikes fear into opponents. Chelsea have multiple players who do that as do Man City and now Man U.” Do you agree or disagree? If you disagree please enlighten us all. If you agree then you must surely see we are in no position to challenge for the title.
    Over to you princess

    If I didn’t know any better I would say you are bamford it reads so familiar

  74. Willow Wilson

    AKDB
    “Do you feel we’ve got the players and we’re ready to win the EPL this season then?”

    Yes I do.

    Firstly, we have stability. This is very important for any successful team. We aren’t selling players and having to integrate new players, we are good to go.

    Secondly, we have a lot of players returning who have been unfit, some of these will be like new signings. Arteta, Debuchy, Theo. All quality players. Add Gabriel who has hardly played but has been gently eased into the squad. Jack and the Ox too will be available for selection.

    So that’s four to six excellent players who really didn’t feature much, if at all, for us.

    Cech gives us something extra defensively, that was a key buy. You need a safe pair of hands and an experienced head players will look up to. We have a lot of young players, so that was a smart signing.

    The only area I would improve would be up front, my preference would be Benzema. But other than that, we have a very good squad. I really fancy us. I have no idea why some people are unable (or unwilling) to see positives.

  75. Willow Wilson

    daz
    “If I didn’t know any better I would say you are bamford it reads so familiar”

    Definitely him, I spotted that too: What gave it away was the arrogance when he said: “If you disagree I would like a full explanation on why”.

    This is so Bamford, text book.

  76. Willow Wilson

    Samesong (Chelsea Fan)
    “Remember Arsene has never beaten Mourinho lool”

    We all know your name is a word play of ‘Samsung’ and you’re a Chelsea fan. Luckily for you we have some silly Gooners who will join in with you and slag this club.

    Looking forward to taking your title next season.

  77. ADKB

    Go away Willow! Stating the obvious – no Wenger team has ever beaten a Mourinho one – isn’t slagging off the club in any shape or form.

  78. daz

    Willow

    “Definitely him, I spotted that too: What gave it away was the arrogance when he said: “If you disagree I would like a full explanation on why”.This is so Bamford, text book.”

    Lol I know he’s obsessed with “agree” “disagree”

  79. ADKB

    Willow:

    I’d be more than delighted to be proved wrong if as you say, we’re going/ready to win the league this season.

    You’ve got yourself a date outside the Armoury on Sun, 15th May 2016.

  80. Willow Wilson

    ADKB
    Next time you try to be a smart arse, it would make sense to actually engage the old grey matter. You gave yourself away earlier.

  81. ADKB

    @Willow: Hmm, how could I have given myself away when I wasn’t hiding my identity? Unless you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing, sir!

  82. Felix

    Great post. As usual, many who cannot understand the nuanced message are busy pillaring it. For all his quality, Makelele would not suit the modern DM position. In the recent history, Arsenal made the mistake of adopting a DM who was too much a play-maker. This cost the team massively. Cocqueline, is the anti-type. He has played exclusively as a conservative DM. This has acted as antidote for Arsenals main problem in MOST matches. However, at the top table, players in his role offer more. This is where we need to be. None of the teams at the top have a purely defensive DM ala Makelele or Coq. They have a player who combines both play-making and defensive duties. Barca with Busqets, Madrid with Tony Kroos, Bayern with Alonso, Bastien. Even ManU employed a Carrick. To be purely defensive in the modern game is to be limited. The role has evolved since the Makelele days. One has to shield the team when without the ball and when with the ball, to play-make. Just because we have many ball players, does not mean we can sacrifice one position in the team. This is especially so in the top games. You need all 11 to perform. This is why Theo found it difficult to get into the team. Although we need goals, we need him or players in his role to offer more than just goals.
    Where i differ is that i expect Coq to demonstrate this ability in the coming season. Remember, he started his football life in the OLD number 8 role. With the confidence and practice and Wenger’s abilities, i expect to see a more complete Coq from last year. Wenger wants to play with one DM and push Carzola further forward. This will be realized either by an improvement in Coq’s ball playing skills-which i believe are there- or a new player next season. The point is that for all the great work Coq has done for Arsenal and continues to do, the role requires more. To be too caught up in a love-in is causing us not to see the big picture. This role is not a choice between a Defensive player(Coq) and a playmaker, it requires both.

  83. daz

    Just started reading the amy Lawrence book amazing how all the ex-players talk of all the things Wenger introduced, yet so many talk like he has only just discovered things like video analysis

  84. Steve Boulds velvet glove

    Naijagunner-Yet again no substance to your comment. How long will you be happy for our abysmal results against the top 4/5/6 continue? I guarantee you that if we don’t try and keep up with the Jones’s we will continue to struggle against our “peers” and battle for 4th spot season in season out. There’s nothing more sheeplike than an AKB. As a infamous manager once said “are you an ostrich?”

  85. Redtruth

    Willow

    It must be extremely difficult for you to face the truth but no one will think any less of you.

    You are more than welcome to join the Arsenal family just remember we are here to help you.

  86. SomeRandomGunner

    @daz Exactly. From what I have seen in real life, people who accept new things they tend to stay ahead all the time even when they age.
    I know quite a few people who were not afraid of things when they were young and they still try to do new things even when they became old.

  87. Samesong

    Samesong (Chelsea Fan)
    “Remember Arsene has never beaten Mourinho lool”We all know your name is a word play of ‘Samsung’ and you’re a Chelsea fan. Luckily for you we have some silly Gooners who will join in with you and slag this club. Looking forward to taking your title next season.

    Willow how dare you call me a Chelsea fan.

    I hate the Chavs

    just goes to show how much you get wrong. I just pointed out that Wenger has never beaten Mourinho and that qualifies me a Chelsea fan.

    LMAO

  88. daz

    “It must be extremely difficult for you to face the truth but no one will think any less of you.”

    Red is that what you told yourself after the sex change

  89. Naijagunner

    @ Steve

    and your idea of keeping up with the Jones or whatever is buying a new first eleven every season?

    or should we all go crazy because man utd are spending the money we all expected them to ? …..and in effect conclude that the entire arsenal squad is full of rubbish players ?

  90. Samesong

    I’ve been called a lot of names over the years but the worst name I have ever been called is

    A Chelsea fan.

  91. steve

    Anyone that says anything critical of Arsenal = fan of [insert Chelsea, Man Utd or Tottenham here]

    Willow logic

    lol