It’s time to call it what it is. A fully fledged Arsenal title challenge 🏆⚽️

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Pretty sharpish post today because I’m about to go trick or treating.

So the trick was turning in a great result after a terrible one in midweek, the treat was we did exactly that.

The end.

The Swansea encounter was pretty major. Chelsea had lost in quite spectacular fashion before us. So there was an opportunity to push 14 points clear of them after 12 games. A quite unbelievable gap.

It was also one of those games that we’ve grown accustomed to losing. Gary Monk and his boys stole the whole 6 points last season. So it was a chance to show we’ve grown as a team and it was a chance to rack up points with a squad that people had questions around.

So, things we learned.

1. Petr Cech is very much key to us winning the league

He came in with some blinding saves once again. He’s making it all look so damn easy. I thought the way he stood his ground for the Gomis chance early on was so baked in experience. He just does everything so well with so much thought. He was a star again.

2. Bellerin is monster

He put in another towering performance. The amount of ground he covered to block Gomis in the first half was unbelievable, the pace that he did that at was incredible. He never gives up. There was a similar moment in the second half where he raced across goal to deny a chance (that was offside). His resolve is unquestionable and I honestly don’t think there’s a right back I’d prefer right now. However, it does have to be said, Montero was getting a bit too much freedom in the first half.

3. Ozil peppers class

He’s probably the most important player in our team. He wasn’t really there in the first half, but even when he’s not at his best, he drops in with decisive moments that change a game. He’ll never be a bombastic player, but I think if you bake the right players around him, others can take care of that for him. He was crucial to the win today and he’s so important to our title challenge.

4. Lots of goals

Well, for me, a 1-0 win would have kept me happy. To go to Swansea and score three is pretty spectacular. The first was a simple header from Giroud, who seems to be feeling his way back into the game. The second was a bit controversial. Flappyianski came for a looping ball, he kind of missed in a clunky way and Laurent Kos slipped the ball into the empty net. On replay, it was just a massive hash from the keeper. The third goal came from Joel Campbell. I was glad he dropped in with that goal because outside running around a lot, he didn’t look great.

Point here is we’re picking up lots of goals. The even bigger point, we’re not conceding. Another clean sheet. You gotta love that.

5. Is this for real?

It’s starting to feel like we’re onto something special. The team is gelling, we’re dealing with the problems we’re facing and we’re racking up a steady flow of points.

Could this be a title challenge?

Well, it has to be. My concerns are where they always are under Wenger. The squad isn’t very deep. We’re not really rotating that much and the manager seems allergic to resting players when a game is done. Why didn’t he take off Sanchez who was having a shocker?

I also think another big test we’ll face is what happens when it goes wrong? How are we going to deal with a freak loss in the league? How are we going to deal with a Bayern who can now press us safe in the knowledge there’s not a lot of pace in the forward line?

Fitness, for me, is the key to this all. If we keep out players healthy, we’ll be up there come the end of the season. This is the first full season with a Shad Forsythe. If he’s allowed to do his job properly and we get the right sort of luck, maybe we’ll be rewarded with something special at the end of the year.

Anyway, lots of questions, but for now, you can only beat what’s in front of you… and we’re doing that with relative ease.

We have a big game coming up next week. Arsenal vs Spurs. How excited are we for that?

Anyway, enjoy your weekend and I’ll see you in the comments.

P.S. Big congratulations to the Kiwis on their world cup win.

444 Responses to “It’s time to call it what it is. A fully fledged Arsenal title challenge 🏆⚽️”

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  1. tom

    Agree that Graham’s defense provided a critical continuity for AW.
    Beyond that, to a man, they rehabilitated and excelled, when, as you rightly say, they had looked mostly washed up in George’s last season.
    Exceptional foundation for Arsene to build on and their British spirit and AFC ethic was clearly part of AW’s immediate success.
    He would be the first to credit them.

  2. tom

    Bergkamp was a God.

    No arguments.

    Just see an echo of him in Ozil.

    My favourite players were Charlie George, Liam Brady and David Rocastle.
    Those three would make many Gooner’s top ten but few would put them as number one.
    For me it was Charlie who was superseded by Brady who lost his spot to Rocky.
    Then I got a bit older and couldn’t love as pure, if you know what I mean.

    Dennis Bergkamp is up there in the clouds though as are Vieira and Fabregas, Geordie Armstrong and MacDonald.
    You know, Legends.

  3. Redtruth

    tom

    They didn’t excel as footballers that is pure myth what they did have was Vieira and Petit as protection and an Arsenal team on the front foot for most games.

  4. tom

    Ruth,
    Adams added a dimension to his game under Wenger. Exceptional defender and iconic Captain.
    The rest dovetailed perfectly with Wenger’s new midfield and added the experience the team needed.
    As we agreed, Arsene was brilliant to recognize their value and coach them to new hights.

  5. Bamford10

    Mesut Ozil isn’t even close to the level of Dennis Bergkamp. Not even close. Dennis Bergkamp scored goals for both club and country that will still be remembered and re-played 100 years from now. Ozil, in contrast, will be more or less forgotten within ten years of his retirement.

    Bergkamp was a God. Ozil is only a very good player.

  6. TheBayingMob

    I had a mate once who had a mentally ill cousin; it was really sad, his favourite part of the day was his strawberry jam sandwiches; he was happy to do the same thing day after day after day and never got bored of it, basically because he was tragically mentally re t @ rd3d. I wonder if he was a Chelsea fan as well? Probably ….

  7. grooveydaddy

    Rambo^2

    nice goal for sure, but doesn’t hold a candle to DB10’s Newcastle goal or the one against Argentina

  8. Emiratesstroller

    I find it laughable that anyone can take RT and Bamford seriously when they write consistently drivel and negative posts all day long.

    Bergkamp is an entirely different player to Ozil. The former was throughout his career a striker albeit in the latter stages playing a SS role.

    Ozil on the other hand is a midfielder who creates goals and has statistically an outstanding record of assists.

    For once let’s stop criticising every player in the team and denigrating their
    performance, because at the moment they are playing very well.

    We have lost two games in EPL and drawn just one. That is a pretty decent
    record so far considering many of our games were played against “form teams”.

    We started badly in Champions League. Let’s judge Arsenal after they have played Bayern on Wednesday. That will tell us how good or bad the team really are because they were acknowledged at start of this season amongst the best in Europe.

  9. tunnygriffboy

    Emirates

    It’s quite possible we will lose v Bayern. If we’re honest a lot of good teams could go there and get a spanking. We f.cked the CL up by playing too week a side in Zagreb and being over confident v Olympiacos.

    My real concern is spurs. We have no players available who could rotate the front 6 and they will have played 3 tough games in a week. At least the game is on a Sunday. The importance of getting Ramsey, Walcott, Ox , Wlishere and Welbeck back asap can’t be stressed enough.

    If we can get through the spurs game then we have 2 weeks to get them fit then playWBA, Norwich, Sunderland and Villa before we face man city. Plus we play two CL games. We really need bodies back.

  10. Emiratesstroller

    RT

    You know you are a “real know all”. As I have suggested on a number of occasions
    I doubt that you have ever seen a live game of football either at Emirates or
    Highbury.

    The only thing that you manage to do is to rubbish the club and its players.

    For the record I can tell you now that Ozil is probably the only player in current team who would get into an “all time starting eleven” of the club based on
    players that I have seen in last 60 years. He is certainly the best player of his
    type that I have seen.

    Sanchez and Cech would be good candidates, but unlike Ozil they would have
    had competition.

  11. Emiratesstroller

    Tunnygriffboy

    I expressed similar views to you three days ago.

    The three games were/are exceedingly demanding particularly in view of our long injury list.

    Personally I thought that Swansea was an excellent result considering that they did the double against us last season.

    On paper Bayern should beat us, but as I said let’s see how we perform against them this week.

    The Spurs game will be very tough, because they are very difficult to beat having lost one game sofar this season. However, my gut feeling is that they will
    come to play at Emirates for a draw.

  12. tunnygriffboy

    Emirates

    I don’t think the Bayern necessarily tells us how good we are. We’ll be going there without Walcott, Ox Ramsey Wilshere, Welbeck. It limits the way we may want to play and our very good options on the bench.

    I seriouslyworry for the health of Ozil, Alexis. They do an incredible amount of running but atm we have no playrrs available who can give either a rest. Getting through this week unscathed is vital so we get bodies back post international break

    I’d be inclined to go into the market in january simply because too many of our players are injury prone. If we are to pushfor the league the amount of injuries we have will limit this.

  13. Wallace

    I think Ozil’s now operating at a level close to Bergkamp at his best.

    not expecting anything out of the game in Munich. woud even consider resting any players that are on the edge, but i guess with a draw being so valuable to us Wenger will have to go for it. but like tunny said, Spurs on Sunday is the real big game.

  14. Emiratesstroller

    Tunnygriffboy

    The one matter that I have overlooked is that Spurs have a very tough schedule this week as well.

    They play Aston Villa tonight, followed by Anderlecht on Thursday and us on
    Sunday. Whilst the first two fixtures are not exactly the most demanding they will want nevertheless to win them so that it is unlikely that they will rotate
    too much.

    Three games in six days is a very big ask.

  15. tunnygriffboy

    Wallace

    Any sort of result v Bayern will be excellent. Means they will have to win their last two games to top the group so they’ll have to play a strong team in those fixtures

    We have no one to give Ozil or Alexis a rest in the next two games even for 20 minutes. We have iwobi. Ramsey and Ox should be back for the WBA game, Theo the week after.

  16. tunnygriffboy

    Emirates is the Anderlecht game away ?

    I hope Ozil can get a good rest in the international break as Germany have qualified. Not sure where Sanchez is jetting off to. Would love a player to come in in January that is good ennough to give Alexis a break on the left.

  17. Emiratesstroller

    Tunnygriffboy

    No it is at home, but it is still two games that Spurs will want to win before meeting us.

    I made similar points about Arsenal needing to buy at least one midfielder in
    January. We cannot afford to go through the second half of season and gamble with so many injury prone players.

    At the end of the season Wenger needs for once to make a serious assessment
    of the club’s resources, because we have far too many injury prone players on
    books. The real problem is that apart from Rosicky and Arteta most are British and Home Grown. If they were overseas players the decision would be very
    easy to make.

  18. Wallace

    Chances created in the Premier League this season:

    Mesut Ozil & Santi Cazorla = 81
    Manchester United’s entire squad = 81

  19. tunnygriffboy

    Emirates

    Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky should be allowed to leave with our thanks. I would bring in two midfielders to replace them as the three won’t play more than thirty games between them. I would say bring in one midfielder but with Wilshere and Ramsey being so injury prone I think we need two, one of which has to cover/compete with Coquelin.

    ( Ramsey has played 17 games this season already. With the running he does in a game it’s no wonder he pulls things. He needs to be rotated more . However with the injuries we have Wenger continues to play him )

    I’d also like a wide forward/midfielder who is world class to cover for Alexis and play on the right allowing Ramsey back into the centre. Santi is 32 and will need looking after. I say WC wide man as I’m not sure there will be a top striker available.

  20. tunnygriffboy

    Wallace

    Think Santi and Ozil love playing together. When the interlink with their short passing on our left hand side it’s joyous. Throw in Alexis and Monreal and it’s not fair on the opposition. If only wwe had a full fit squad. If we can stay in touch until everyones back then who knows.

    We have spurs, city and Southampton to play before the new year. We also havw WBA, Norwich, Sunderland, Villa, Bournemouth and Newcastle.

  21. I am arsene

    Bamford

    I agree regarding bergkamp but messi and Ronaldo apart, none of today’s footballers can really be compared to the players of 90s and early 00s.
    It was a golden age wherein players like del piero, Robbie fowler, rivaldo, djorkaeff, henry and gazza weren’t guaranteed a place in their national squads.
    Each of them would now walk into their respective national sides.
    The level of top quality competition back then was far higher than it is now and I can only agree with Wenger that there aren’t as many top draw players around as there were then. More due to mentality than ability in a lot of cases

  22. Vince

    Wallace.
    I think Ozil’s now operating at a level close to Bergkamp at his best.not expecting anything out of the game in Munich. woud even consider resting any players that are on the edge, but i guess with a draw being so valuable to us Wenger will have to go for it. but like tunny said, Spurs on Sunday is the real big game.

    Please stop it before you show us more of your bias or ignorance. have you ever watched Dennis play?

  23. Emiratesstroller

    Most of the remaining games before New Year are against teams in bottom half of Division. For a start we have yet to play four of the bottom 5.

    The key fixtures are against Spurs, Southampton and Manchester City.

    Perhaps the most interesting statistic sofar is that we seem to play better and score more freely in our away games. Presumably that is because most teams coming to Emirates play more defensively with intention of not losing the game.

    Looking at Wenger’s most recent injury report it would seem that Ramsey,
    Walcott and Arteta will be available immediately after the international break
    with Ox coming back the following week. Messrs Wilshire,Welbeck and Rosicky are due back in New Year.

    Clearly players who have been out for half a season are not going to be up and
    running for most of this season.

    With all these players plus Gibbs injury track record it is imperative that we
    recruit at least one midfielder at beginning of January. Whether Wenger is
    willing to do so is debatable.

    Perhaps the one position where he should consider buying is a backup for Coquelin and Cazorla. Realistically there is noone in our squad apart from perhaps Wilshire who can play those roles.

    I understand Wenger’s reluctance to buy someone who is better or will compete with Coquelin. For that reason I would take a look at Samper of Barcelona
    who is not playing in their first team squad and is by all accounts a very good
    player.

    Barcelona will be anxious to reinvest in their first team squad over next two transfer windows and by all accounts are not flush with money. For this reason
    they might be willing to offload fringe players for realistic prices.

  24. Wallace

    Vince

    “Please stop it before you show us more of your bias or ignorance. have you ever watched Dennis play?”

    yes, I’ve been following Arsenal for 30+ years. Ozil’s recent form is close to Bergkamp level. I loved Bergkamp, but I prefered pre-injury Pires, and always thought he had a better understanding with TH14 than Bergkamp did.

  25. Vince

    ET.
    For the record I can tell you now that Ozil is probably the only player in current team who would get into an “all time starting eleven” of the club based on
    players that I have seen in last 60 years. He is certainly the best player of his
    type that I have seen.

    lol lol lol. This is derisive and blasphemous. Ozil is a number 10 and without even thinking of the competition he doesn’t stand a chance. If you consider Fabregas alone, who singlehandedly carried us at times with one leg Ozil isn’t close. When you include Bergkamp whom I believe was more or less our playmaket/support striker then you’ll realize how far off your assumptions are. Waiting for you to come tell me that in a ‘midfield’ of Viera, Edu, Petit, Bergkamp, Parlour et al Bergkamp didn’t look like our number 10 even though that team never played with a defined playmaker. If you decide it was Vieira then you’ll realize Ozil is so far off still.
    And ultimately these were players that did it for years and won everything except the UCL, while Ozil has barely had an amazing 2 months in Arsenal. Your assumption is tantamount to considering Benteke to be better than Owen.

  26. Vince

    Wallace.
    Now I can see its pure bias. Bergkamp was scoring and assisting for fun. There was a season I watched the best 10 goals of the first 10 weeks of the season and Bergkamp had 5 of them. And he wasn’t even our top scorer. I’m not even sure Ozil is more productive than Coutinho. will you consider Coutinho worthy of lacing Bergkamp’s boot?

  27. tunnygriffboy

    Why can’t Wilshere and Welbeck comeback and hit the ground running ? When Jack came backat the end of last season after a long lay off he was electric. He’d got his burst of pace back and looked really good. These two coming back fresh and eager in the new year can give the squad a real fiilip.

    Would love us to bring in a defensively minded midfielder to help Coquelin so we can start easing Flameta out.

  28. Wallace

    Vince

    Bergkamp was a secondary striker, Ozil’s an attacking midfielder. lots of overlap, but still, different roles. I’m comparing them as creators.

  29. tunnygriffboy

    Vince

    Bergkamp was the Don. Different sort of player to Ozil though. Don’t forget he was playing in a much better team than Ozil. You have to consider that.

    Comparing coutinho to Ozil is a bit of a joke though.

  30. Wallace

    Vince

    “And ultimately these were players that did it for years and won everything except the UCL, while Ozil has barely had an amazing 2 months in Arsenal.”

    true, but he’s done okay pre-Arsenal, and at international level…right?

  31. Emiratesstroller

    Vince

    If you read what I have written previously I pointed out that Bergkamp was
    a striker playing also second striker in the latter stages of his career. His main function for most of his career was to score goals.

    Ozil is a midfielder and a provider. Yes he should score more goals than he does but that is not his primary function.

    I have watched both players during their entire career at Arsenal. Both were
    outstanding and I have avoided making a comparison between the two because they are not like for like players.

    However, Ozil has in some respects had a more successful career. He played
    for an outstanding Real Madrid Team and Ronaldo following his departure was extremely annoyed that he was sold and of course he was the star for
    Germany until the last two seasons and has played for their World Cup winning team.

  32. Bamford10

    Emirates

    Please do not lump me in with Marble. I may be critical, negative and pessimistic, and I may have views that differ from yours, but I do not deal in nonsense.

    Your point re Bergkamp and Ozil is a truism: no one was claiming — I hope — that they are/were the same kind of player. They are/were not.

    However, one can still talk about their overall quality as footballers, where each might rank in the history of football. My point was simply that Ozil is nowhere near Bergkamp in this respect. I think most objective folks here would agree with this.

    As for “drivel,” I’d say it is you who have given us a bit of this, with your bit about Wenger needing to do a real accounting of our player resources this coming summer. Right, because the same guy who extended the contracts of Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini this summer, who didn’t sign a single outfield player this summer and who has signed the likes of Sanogo and Kallstrom can be counted on to do such a thing. No he cannot.

    A subtler form of nonsense than Marble offers up, but nonsense nonetheless.

  33. Vince

    Rambo Ramsey.
    Phillipe Coutinho. 8 appearances 3 goals 2 assists

    Messy Ozil: 10 appearances 1 goal 9 assists.

    One plays for the most attacking team in epl and the other a makeshift team whose strikers have been misfiring for the better part of the season. You’re free to tell me 1 gold isn’t worth 10 silvers but please leave me out of your petty hole-related abuses, it’s the stuff I’ll catch kids peddling and they get spanked.
    And where was Mesut Ozil when Coutinho was running the show against us in August?

  34. naijagunner

    Bergkamp was Bergkamp.

    For once i have to agree with Bamford, there really is no basis for comparison with Ozil. Bergkamp had more skill, scored more goes and more importantly had more stomach for the fight than Ozil.

    Having said all that , Ozil will not be forgotten after 10 years of his retirement, he is still playing but already academies in Germany use his style of play as a blueprint for training future number 10’s . He is a supremely gifted footballer.

  35. Bamford10

    Vince

    I like your work. And I too like Coutinho. His two goals Saturday were both excellent. If Ozil did that kind of thing from time to time, I’d no doubt be a member of “Team Ozil”.

    Cheers. 😉

  36. Louis Almeida

    “One plays for the most attacking team in epl and the other a makeshift team whose strikers have been misfiring for the better part of the season”

    At least Coutinho has good strikers to work with!

  37. Bamford10

    Mertesacker said in interview that Cech gives the team sincere belief that they can contend for the title.

    A very good signing. If only we had made a couple more.

  38. Vince

    Tunnygrif.
    VinceBergkamp was the Don. Different sort of player to Ozil though. Don’t forget he was playing in a much better team than Ozil. You have to consider that.Comparing coutinho to Ozil is a bit of a joke though.

    The comparison is not worse a joke than that of Oil to Bergkamp.
    Ozil 2015:2015: 22 appearances 4 goals. Coutinho: 35 appearances 5 goals.

    and you realize Coutinho plays in a Liverpool team that’s far worse than arsenal too right?

  39. Bamford10

    A round of applause, by the way, for Hector Bellerin: not only is he playing well game in, game out at the tender age of 20, not only is he pacy and polished (and pretty), he is a battler, is tough, gives his everything for the team. His goal-saving block on the line against Swansea is case in point. Ended up smashing his ribs into the post, but took that collision like a soldier.

    Really like this kid.

  40. Vince

    Wallace.
    VinceBergkamp was a secondary striker, Ozil’s an attacking midfielder. lots of overlap, but still, different roles. I’m comparing them as creators.

    Maybe you should compare them as goalscorer too. Or let’s just go back to the question who was playmaker for the invincibles?

  41. Wallace

    Vince

    that Arsenal side of Edu, Vieira, Pires, Henry…Ozil would have been closing in on 50 assists a season playing with those guys.

  42. tunnygriffboy

    Vince

    Think of the influence Coutinho and Ozil have on their teams ? Ozil is one of the main reasons why we are the most attacking team. He creates chance after chance and the main player that retains the ball and is vital when we counter attack

    Coutinho is a very good player and I like him but if you consider what he has achieved in the game compared to Ozil there is a huge gap.

  43. SRG#FreeN5

    Coutinho –> 3 goals 2 assists and 10 chances created.
    Ozil –> 1 goal 9 assists 47 chances created .

    There is no fking comparison between Coutinho . Coutinho’s 2 goals in last game makes his stats appear decent before that he had like 1 goal in 40 shots .

  44. Vince

    Louis Almelda.
    “One plays for the most attacking team in epl and the other a makeshift team whose strikers have been misfiring for the better part of the season”At least Coutinho has good strikers to work with!

    No he doesn’t. See the chances Benteke missed against us. Those should be assists for him. And Benteke has 4 goals and I think he’s their highest scoring striker. Ground alone has 6 in the end.

  45. Louis Almeida

    If you’re talking about chances missed Ozil would already have minimum 15 assists if the strikers were more clinical. He averages more than 5 chances created per game which is more than anyone else in the league. He’s a big reason why we’re the most creative team in the league. Coutinho has a fantastic shot and is a good goal scorer but he hasn’t learnt how to playmake like Ozil.

    Plus Coutinho is very inefficient. He averages 1 chance created a game and scores like one in every 40 shots.

  46. SRG#FreeN5

    Coutinho makes 36 passes per 90 mins at 80% pass completion while creating one chance per 90 mins.

    Ozil makes 57 passes per 90 mins at 89 % completion while creating 5 chances per 90 mins.

  47. tunnygriffboy

    Vince

    Look at stat above. Coutinho created 10 chances so far. Ozil 47. That is a massive difference. I’m not saying that Coutinho is a bad player. I rate him but Ozil is at a higher level. It’s not just his assists it’s his movement, ball retention and the way he makes things run smoothly.

  48. Ben

    The Coutinho comparisons are back? He has been quite poor this season save for the Chelsea game.
    There was a stat I read before the weekend which stated that Monreal had the same number of assists, had more key passes and created more chances this season than Coutinho. And this is the guy you are comparing to Özil?

  49. Louis Almeida

    “The Coutinho comparisons are back? He has been quite poor this season save for the Chelsea game.
    There was a stat I read before the weekend which stated that Monreal had the same number of assists, had more key passes and created more chances this season than Coutinho. And this is the guy you are comparing to Özil?”

    Exactly, apart from the Chelsea game, Coutinho has been poor this season. Both Bellerin and Monreal have created more than him and have more assists. Yet you want to compare him to Ozil because he scored a couple from range. He doesn’t have anywhere near the level of influence. He may reach there as he’s young but he’s done nothing of note in his career to be compared to Ozil.

  50. Emiratesstroller

    I go back to what I have already written about Ozil.

    He was for several years “the star and most influential player” in a very good German side and incidentally scored quite a few goals early on in his career.

    At Real Madrid he was the player who made them tick and Ronaldo acknowledged that he played a major part in his goalscoring spree.

    I made the point that Ozil would walk into an Arsenal Team of “greats”,because we have not produced in midfield any other player apart from Vieira of equivalent calibre and that player was a box to box player.

    The only reason that some posters are critical about Ozil is because he did not
    play particularly well in his first season for us. Frankly there were I suspect
    very good reasons for that not least a major “fallout” with his father.

    Last season he played poorly in first few games no doubt due to burnout following long season and World Cup and subsequent injury. However, he played very well when he returned. and has been unquestionably outstanding this
    season.

    Some posters have a problem seeing through their personal agenda in finding
    fault with players. We see that all the time with Giroud who is a much better
    player than he is given credit for and equally so Mertesacker who played after
    all 100+ games for Germany. If he was as bad as some people suggest he would
    not play a game for them.

    I accept one point that Bamford 10 has made which is that Wenger’s transfer
    policy can be suspect. Noone including myself was happy with the decision to
    buy not a single “outfield” player last summer.

    Hopefully that is a decision which will not come to haunt us in next six weeks.
    What I do know is that Wenger needs to buy at least one midfielder early in
    January. That should be a possibility whilst looking for top grade strikers/wingers is unlikely in view of shortage in market and inflated prices, which would be demanded.

  51. Emiratesstroller

    On a different point of discussion it will be interesting to see whether FA take
    further action against Costa for kicking Skrtel.

    When you think about it is no different to the incident involving Gabriel when
    we played Chelsea. However, whilst the FA rescinded the automatic suspension for that offence the original sending off almost certainly cost us the game.

    In other the club and player were punished quite rightly for offence.

  52. SRG#FreeN5

    @ES
    Costa is a complete liability this season . Last season he was the best goal scorer in the league (excluding penalties Aguero had plenty of penalties) . This season he has 2 goals from 788 mins .

    Giroud has 6 from 532 mins (he wont sustain this level for sure ). On top of that Costa is regularly getting himself banned. That Skrtel incident was totally unnecessary .

    He was/is no Suarez to get banned for 8 games and come back score 31 goals .

  53. gary

    Bamford a bit pathetic naming a couple of dud buys that AW has brought..U could name in this current squad players he has brought for fuck all who have seriously just got better and better and are now top players

  54. tunnygriffboy

    SRG

    Agree with a lot of your post. But to be pedantic Giroud does manage to get himself booked and sent off for petty offences 🙂 🙂

    Re his goal scoring this season. Couple of reasons for this. He’s fresh. He has competition for his place and the manager has shown he won’t automatically walk into the side. This sharpens attitude and performance

    If you remember after he returned from his leg break last season his scoring tecord for 6 or 7 weeks was ridiculous. The trouble with Giroud has been that hehas always had to play every game for two seasons and he does become fatigued and his pperformance level dips unsurprisingly. When he is fresh he isa handful for ddefenders. I hope Theo is back from his injury asap as this allows Giroud to rest and remain fresh. Welbeck will also help this in the new year.

  55. Leedsgunner

    Watched back the highlights back from the Swansea game and I have to commend Özil — he makes everything happen doesn’t he?

    Thanks Flappy for doing what you do best and well done to Kos and Campbell for their opportunistic goals…

    Bellerin for me is the undisputed man of the match though in this game, love the lad and his commitment… blistering pace doesn’t hurt either.

    Sanchez looks dead on his feet… he sorely needs a rest or we’re risking him picking up a long term injury. We have to avoid this at all costs… otherwise the who team will suffer. Özil has lost Ramsey and Walcott who are natural outlets for his passes — he can’t lose Sanchez as well…

    Do we risk Sanchez for Germany, a game we are most likely to lose anyway? I don’t know. Considering how jaded he is, I would be tempted to keep him on the bench and only bring him on if we need to.

    We need Sanchez to be rested. Once he is, he’ll begin scoring again. I’m confident of it. I would love him to do so versus Tottenham.

    Well done lads.

  56. tunnygriffboy

    Leeds

    Yeah my worry is injury to Alexis and Ozil. With the injuries we have we have no one of ability to rotate them with. Two big games this week. Hopefully with the run of games after the international break and with Ramsey, Walnut and Ox coming back we may be able to give them a breather

    Germany have qualfied for the Euros so Wenger should pull Ozil so he has a forrtnight off. God knows what Chile’s programme is.

  57. Rambo Ramsey

    Vince, lad if you’re ready to give some you should expect to take some back too. however if my post came as too uncivil, you have my apologies.

    you said comparing ozil to bergkamp was a blasphemy. yet you compare ozil to coutinho? don’t see the hypocrisy?

    and since when goals scored become main factor for judging a no 10? what next? Coquelin getting judged by no of keypasses or summat?

  58. Leedsgunner

    Surely if Bellerin keeps his form up he has to be the favourite for the young player of the year of year gong?

    To be honest, he should have won it last year if it wasn’t for Kane…

  59. wenker-wanger

    Arsenal title challenge?… No !… Injuries to key players will no doubt frustrate us fans and we will all be saying “if only he strengthened the squad with a striker and holding midfielder”. Its a shame as with Chelsea in disarray and man UTC lacking goals we could never have had a better chance. My advice is to not get carried away… Enjoy the ride at the moment.

  60. tunnygriffboy

    Leeds

    Both our fullbacks have done really well this season. I like to give a bit of recognition to Monreal as Mr Consistency at a high level. Obviously he doesn’t catch the eye like Bellerin but is solid defensively but is underrated in the way he performs in and around the opposition penalty area.

    Is Bellerin in the Spanish squad ? He can’t be far off surely. If I was Roy Hodgson I’d be trying to get him on residency grounds for England. Very shortly we’ll have another WC player on our books.

    As it is this squad is exciting. 3 top players to come in for Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky and we will be set to challenge for a while. We now unquestionably have money so hopefully there’ll be exciting times ahead.

  61. Leedsgunner

    6very interesting interview with George Graham on Arsenal.com right now, definitely worth a read.

    Facing what we do during this week in Germany, the following passage caugght my eye… I would put it to you that we face a similar situation in against Bayern Munich… I know it’s not a cup final but the odds are definitely stacked against us!

    “We had no Ian Wright – suspended. Martin Keown failed a fitness test. Our midfield was Paul Davis with Ian Selley and Steve Morrow either side of him. And we were up against a Parma side with half the Italian national team and a front three of Gianfranco Zola, Tomas Brolin and Faustino Asprilla.
    But we defended brilliantly and scored a great winner. In fact, 21 years on, I still cannot praise my players highly enough.
    Three years previously we had lost 3-1 at home to Sven Goran-Eriksson’s Benfica in the European Cup. I learned so much that night – the seeds of our success in Copenhagen can be traced back to then.
    What I learned more than anything is that in Europe you cannot concede time and space in the midfield. If you do, you will be dominated. So from then on I would play 4-4-2 in the Premier League and switch
    to 4-3-3 in Europe in midweek.

    Paul Merson and Kevin Campbell, who could both play centre forward, would instead play on the wing and when we lost possession they would tuck in to defend the fullbacks and allow us to plug up the midfield.

    As I said before, English players do not get the credit they deserve tactically but my players were absolutely magnificent – especially as they had to change their formation from one game to the next. That night in the Parken Stadium typified it so much and I am so proud of them all.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/features/20151007/defining-moments-george-graham#gm7gHWgpTURQMxI7.99

  62. WengerEagle

    Coutinho is nowhere near Ozil.

    People getting giddy over his two goals vs the Chavs, he failed to score in his previous 40+ shots on goal.

    He may be a better striker of the ball than Ozil but when it comes to creating chances Ozil is miles ahead of him.

    Not even close.

  63. Leedsgunner

    tunny

    I agree with you on Monreal — he’s the sure winner of the Unsung hero award, not just this season but last season too. Apart from his first season when was getting used to the league he’s gone from strength to strength.

  64. Leedsgunner

    “People getting giddy over his two goals vs the Chavs, he failed to score in his previous 40+ shots on goal.”

    THIS.

    The grass is not always greener on the other side.

    In fact, often as in the case of Chelsea, it’s not real grass at all. It’s plastic and Astroturf. In the case of Liverpool, it’s just dead grass whinging about better days.

  65. BigCheese

    Before I start, I love Ozil. He’s a quality player, anyone who can’t see this has no idea about football.

    However he is no Bergkamp. No way. Bergkamp’s influence on this club was massive. Fans and pundits hail Wenger as the catalyst for change for Arsenal but for me it was when Rioch signed up Dennis.

    The guy changed the way we played almost single handedly and in a team that was defensively stable but technically lacking.

    At the age of 33 I have yet to see a player have that kind of impact on a club.

    Phenomenal player.

    He wasn’t world class though. Needed to shine at a world cup or in Europe. His fear of flying hamstrung him in that sense.

  66. Marko

    Big fan of Coutinho’s but no way is he close to Mesut. Take the last game away and his form and stats are patchy at best whereas Ozil if we’re completely honest with ourselves seems to be getting better and better with his production. Could end up the best AM statistically with Silva being injured. Let’s be honest those two are the standouts

  67. BigCheese

    Called it at the time Re: Ozil.

    His was a psychological issue. He liked to play in the shadows of players like Ronaldo and he doesn’t really like the attention or adulation from fans. Small fish big bowl if you like.

    I remember the first season he came in and a game at home he went over to take a corner and all the fans we chanting his name. He looked so nervous I thought he’d be sick!

    Fair play to Wenger he’s managed to eek him out of his shell and he looks like a player who can influence games. For all Wenger’s faults that is one of his best qualities.

    The flip side of it this though – If Ozil carries on like this and say we win the PL then you more or less guarantee that we’d be flogging him off to Bayern to replace Alonso next summer!!!

  68. DUIFG

    in terms of importance coutinho is liverpools most important player, im loving how involved ozil is getting in games now, no more phantom stuff, seeing tangible product, been waiting 2 years for this!

  69. Marko

    The flip side of it this though – If Ozil carries on like this and say we win the PL then you more or less guarantee that we’d be flogging him off to Bayern to replace Alonso next summer!!!

    Not only do they not play the same position but they’re not the same type of player. They want him they can give up Gotze

  70. Steveyg87

    We should start worrying once Wilshere returns to the fold, while useful at dm in international matches, does not pull his weight when defending at club level. does not track back with enough urgency, if he upped his work rate, he would be in the team ahead of ramsey

  71. Leedsgunner

    Steve87

    Although would you have Gotze for Wilshere? I would. It is clear that Jack has potential in abundance but he’s rarely fit enough to realise his potential into reality. Very sad for the club.

  72. tunnygriffboy

    Big cheese

    If we have a successful season and bring 3 top quality players into replace Flamini, Arteta, Rosicky we become a really attractive option to any player. We have the money to do it.

    We can’t spend £150 million every window but we have the basis of a very good squad in terms of ability and age range. Add 3 quality players to it and we become a handful. £100 million on those 3 players then our squad is set and we have enough money to keep topping it up every season.

  73. DUIFG

    I know the league cup was diabolical but iwobi was a brightspark, he actually looked liked he could create for himsef and shoot. like the guys frame as well. lets give sanchez sixty this week and bring iwobi on

  74. tunnygriffboy

    Duifg

    As well as Iwobi we have Jeff Rene-Adelaide available. Tbh I’m not expecting anything from the Bayern game and I’d be gobsmacked and delighted if we got a point. Spurs is the big one then hopefully we’ll have two or three players back for WBA, Norwich, Sunderland and Villa before we face city.

  75. DUIFG

    DuifgAs well as Iwobi we have Jeff Rene-Adelaide available. Tbh I’m not expecting anything from the Bayern game and I’d be gobsmacked and delighted if we got a point. Spurs is the big one then hopefully we’ll have two or three players back for WBA, Norwich, Sunderland and Villa before we face city.

    would be a hgell of a step up for jeff, still settling into the club, iwobi is built like a man and been around the place a lot longer.

    i still want the inside track on what went wrong with gnabry, he lookes to be cemented as the 4th choixce winger and now is getting slammedd by pulis, all very odd.

  76. Marko

    You’re not expecting anything from the Bayern game tunny? Come on you gotta be at least expecting the smug I told you so twats who’ll be gleefully on here after we lose. We should lose tbh most teams who go to Bayern should lose. Won’t change the fact we’re on a good run and should beat Spurs on Sunday

  77. Mr B

    Wilshere has missed 122 games in the same time but much of it is to do with ineffective rehabilitation.

    Gotze could turn into an other Wilshere with us. He would get much more of a kicking in the PL than the Bundesliga. I have no doubt that much of our injury problems have to do with the officiating in the PL.

    Swansea gave us a good kicking in the first half. It would only cause 2-3 tackles like that to cause an injury. Places like the knee and ankle sustain 400 times ones body weight in stress as it is, if the are kicked hard in such a condition, you will pop something sooner or later.

    Players like, Eduardo, Ramsey, Diaby, Wilshere etc. have been exposed to that sort of kicking week in week out.

  78. Leedsgunner

    “We can’t spend £150 million every window but we have the basis of a very good squad in terms of ability and age range. Add 3 quality players to it and we become a handful. ”

    I don’t think there’s genuine Gooner out there who is expect the club to embark on that type of expenditure in EVERY single season.

    However we should be able to spend I would suggest £30m-£50m every season on a quality player (if needed) every season. Really I would rather hope the manager would gradually overhaul the squad over two or three seasons rather than carry out a whole raft over changes in one season.

    As it happens along with the replacements for Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky we need to start to look now for like for like replacements for Mertesacker, Kos and Cazorla who are all 29/30 and who will gradually slow down. (In Mert’s case, he’ll probably become an inert gas… :))

    Rosicky I would retire and promote him to a scout/coach… a very good player who has been a top professional with a brilliant attitude.

  79. Leedsgunner

    Won’t JRA need R & R time from international duty after playing in the U17 WC?

    As much as I would like to see him play, I don’t want him to start his own vicious circle of brokenness that our British Core find themselves trapped in.

  80. SRG#FreeN5

    I am optimistic against Bayern we may not win but we will be very hard to beat. Our defence has been very very good. Even Bayern will find it hard to break our bus.

    But it is harder to see us countering without Theo and Ramsey in the side. They both are very important for counter attack.

    My prediction will be 0-0 .

  81. Emiratesstroller

    Leedsgunner

    In my view Arsenal need to spend at least £20 million in the January transfer window if only to justify Puma sponsorship expenditure AND avoid paying a
    sizeable Corporation Tax Bill.

    The only explanation for not spending money this summer may be the investment on new facilities at our Training Ground and also at Hale End Academy.

    However, from my point of view Arsenal should be buying at least 2-3 new first team players each year to refurbish squad.

    Leaving aside injuries I am at a loss to understand why we renewed contracts
    of Arteta and Rosicky.

  82. Leedsgunner

    Mr B

    I get what you’re saying but so did Wilshere when he broke through to the first team. I think Wenger played him 41 times that season? Hindsight’s always perfect, but he was completely overplayed probably and his body’s suffering for it now…

  83. Leedsgunner

    “The only explanation for not spending money this summer may be the investment on new facilities at our Training Ground and also at Hale End Academy.”

    Agreed, ES.

    Did the AGM outline what the money was spent on? Anyone know? Any investment in scouting set up?

  84. tunnygriffboy

    Marko

    As you say everyone should lose to Bayern away. Still the naysayers will come on saying we’re useless and not up to much. As you say some will be smug saying I told you so. Others will have genuine glee in us getting beaten and claim objectivity because for them slagging our club and players constantly and bigging up other teams players after one good game is being objective.

    Don’t understand what enjoyment the get out of supporting us when all they do is denigrate anything positive and jump on joyfully anything that goes wrong for us.

  85. Mr B

    Iwobi has moobs. It doesn’t seem to be doing any gym work or cardio. I wonder if its the same for all our youngsters.

  86. tunnygriffboy

    Leeds

    I was thinking of two midfielders and a wide forward to come in replacing Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky. One of the midfielders should be defensive as cover/competition for Coquelin, the otherto be replacing Santi eventually. If we get a wide forward Ramsey could go back to thecentre giving Santi a breather as well.

    I think defensively we should be ok for another season and priority should be the one’s I’ve mentioned. Mert won’t lose his pace 🙂 and Kos, Gabriel and Chambers will suffice. The window after we should be looking reinforce the defence. I wouldlet Debuchy go though and bring jenkinson back.

  87. Leedsgunner

    Win lose or draw, what I want from the Bayern Munich trip is NO MORE INJURIES. 🙂 In a way, there’s no pressure on the lads…. if we win, they’ll rightfully get the plaudits, and if we lose, well, they can always rest on the home win as a comfort blanket. When the pressures is off, we tend to play well.

    A draw without injuries would be a good result. A win without injuries would be better but I suspect very unlikely.

    THe reason why we won at home is because our boys raised their game and Bayern Munich took us completely for granted. They won’t make that mistake again.

  88. Leedsgunner

    tunny

    Would you keep Debuchy as emergency CB (like we did for Sagna?)

    Or do you think Bielik will be good enough next reason to step up? I agree about Jenks… it will be interesting to see how he has matured and whether he’ll be able to dislodge Bellerin from the starting RB position. In any case it’s good that we have healthy competition for that position… it will keep both Carl and Hector sharp!

  89. tunnygriffboy

    Frank mc

    Of course they’ll love it. They haven’t been on for a while but will jump back on here as soon as we have a hiccup.

    Weren’t Jacks last three injuries caused by bad tackles or impact. Agger with a bad tackle when he was playing for England, McNair with a bad tackle v man u then the Archangel kicking him in training.

  90. Leedsgunner

    “We’re bottom of the group because of Wenger’s unprofessionalism and lack of preparation.”

    In this Red is right. We should have never underestimated D. Zagreb and Olympiakos in the way we did… it was disrespectful to the fans and to opposition. Had we won our opening three games we could rest our star players from a position of strength…

    Annoying that Arteta and Rosicky are counted among the playing staff when in reality they should have been convinced to join the coaching staff and replacements brought in. Having players like Wilshere, Arteta and Rosicky give the illusion of depth without the benefits.

  91. SRG#FreeN5

    @Highbury4ever
    “Even Bayern will find it hard to break our bus.”
    Surely, just like Sheffield…

    Or may be a better comparison can be say Bayern who did not score against us in the last match ?

    The comparison is better because you know , it is comparing Bayern vs Bayern . Rather than Bayern vs Shiffield Wednesday .

  92. I am arsene

    Leeds

    How were they disrespected? They caught us off guard. Not great preparation but not disrespectful either.

  93. Leedsgunner

    I am

    You answered your own question my friend, you prepare properly for the opponents you respect, I submit to you.

    The games weren’t a surprise, the fixtures are all known way in advance before… they shouldn’t have caught us off guard. Our quality even in the 2nd XI should have been enough to dispatch them but we went into those games with a complacent attitude thinking that the game was won before the opening whistle was blown.

    We can have a difference of opinion, in any case, and that’s ok. 🙂

  94. Socrates

    Well I know he just only signed for Sampdoria but the more I look at Fernando the more impressed I am. Would probably have been worth a punt as a deputy to Coq. His range of passing is quite good, mobile and very disciplined as far as I have seen.

  95. DUIFG

    the lack of keeper purtchase over the last 10 years is pretty inexcusable, it would have improved us immesurably for not a great deal of money.

    chech is a monster! that save on sat was brilliant, stood tall for so long it freaked gomis out