Merry Christmas!

by .

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Just a quick one from me today, because IT’S CHRISTMAS!

Big game tomorrow at Southampton (0745, bit mean on the away fans). I’ll do more of a preview tomorrow.

I wanted to say Merry Christmas from Le Grove.

Another year has passed. Loads of change has happened at the club and for me personally. The one constant is writing for you lot everyday and at this stage of the year… I always give my thanks for your readership. Having this crazy little community to write for is a huge honour and it means more to me than you’ll ever know. \

Thank you.

On that note, I’m just about to grab another beer, so have the best evening ever and here’s to three points tomorrow!

Big love x

98 Responses to “Merry Christmas!”

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  1. jwl

    Merry Christmas Pedro and everyone else at le grove.

    I have had delightful morning of peace and quiet but now on my way to see niece and nephew and then drive somewhere else to see whole family and chaos. It is inverted Christmas where morning is quiet but afternoon and evening are crazy family time.

    Dont know what to expect from tomorrow’s game – Arsenal seem to be performing well against top teams this season but lose focus when we play lesser teams.

  2. Paddywhack

    Happy Christmas to Pedro and everyone on Le Grove. 3 points tomorrow, JC to score twice, it is Christmas and he has the right initials.

  3. Mr B

    The more I think about it, the more Pato looks like a Wenger signing.

    He scored 26 and assisted 11 in 58 appearances (no major fitness issue) last season in Brazil which recently ended.

    The quality of his play can be judged from the highlights. I think he might agree to be a squad player to play in the UCL again.

  4. Mr GT

    Well done Pedro. keeping this website going 24/7 365 is an amazing feat, almost “49, 49, undefeated. 49, 49, I say. 49, 49, undeafeated, playing football the arsenal way. COYGs.

  5. gonsterous

    Christmas is overrated.. Santa is over rated.. and presents are over rated.. leave me alone this festive season…

  6. MidwestGun

    Happy Christmas!
    Even you Red, ya miserable bastard.
    Thanks Pedro…..appreciate the daily effort, even thru adversity.
    Immense Mental Strength and cohesion on your part.

  7. Wengaball

    Merry Christmas everyone.

    Mr. B. , in most of the situations in the video Pato seems to have a lot of time and space on the ball, and headers are almost free.

    He won’t have a fraction of that in the PL. Can he adapt?

  8. B.T

    Merry Christmas all, is their anyone else who thinks this transfer window is absolutely vital, amongst all the positivity at the moment i still have a horrible feeling that if we dont strengthen it could be the same old same old, how long can we keep expecting Giroud to carry on scoring and Flamini to be an adequate DM, must strengthen, we have a genuine chance if we do.

  9. bennydevito

    Merry Christmas Pedro and merry Christmas Grovers! Here’s to maximum points over the Christmas period going into the new year. Hopefully a few more laughs at utd before LVG finally gets the bullet and Leicester slipping up at Anfield would be nice too.

  10. bennydevito

    I find it interesting Wenger coming out and defending LVG and criticising the press for speculating on his job and pulling names out for his replacement… also criticising Guardiola for announcing his leaving Bayern saying it destabilises the players at Bayern and also destabilises players at clubs he’s being linked to…. Reading between the lines I think Wenger’s preprogramming the press to not speculate on his impending retirement as it could destabilise out title charge and he’s also indirectly telling Pep to shut the fuck up if he wants his job at the end of the season …

  11. Sam

    We are linked with 17 years old Nigerian wonderkid Victor Osimhen.
    Well whoever signs him should play him in the first team

    Doesn’t look n play like 17 years old for sure

  12. Ces1ne

    Happy Xmas from NY to all the Grovers……

    Thanks Pedrinho for the daily dose (I know u missed a few days this year, but you get a pass bc I know what NYC nights/mornings can do to a persons daily routine) of greatness that is LeGrove, the only AFC blog worth a toss (ACLF is solid, but doesn’t have the “characters” we have over here)

  13. Niall McGonagle

    Congratulations! You managed to get an article without slagging off the manager. Hopefully you are finally coming to your faculties. Merry Christmas.

  14. Vince

    Sam. Had the conversation with someone a while back positing that the guy was good enough to be in the first team or at least the fringes. it was only a haunch from just watching him at the U-17 world cup. But some weeks ago he went straight from th U-17 team to the U-23 Olympic team, even started in the final which Nigeria won, and he absolutely didn’t look out of place.

  15. Golikethis

    Happy Xmas Pedro
    Keep on rolling out the daily A-fix
    Let´s hope we´ll see the back of AW in the summer – don´t mind if he leaves with a PL-Trophy.

  16. Pyles

    Niall, there’s plenty of contributors on here starting to well and truly shit themselves that their last few years posting on here have been wasted as, in the event we do go on and win the league, they’ll have to find something else to whinge the fuck about. When the Mancs or Chelks used to win a match they didn’t deserve to it was presented as “that’s the sign of champions, grinding out a result”. When we do it, apparently it’s a sign of our weaknesses, “sooner or later we won’t be able to do that and we’ll drop points ‘cos we’re shit”.

    Still, Merry Christmas to one and all whichever side of the fence you occupy.

    Toodle pip, kisses, Pyles. X

  17. boy dio

    merry xmas le grove!
    I’m late but that only matters if you’re East of the meridian.

    The papers have plenty gifts lined up for us in january…Lord give me strength.

    Javier Hernandez for 14mil (laughing at the reported fee)
    That Nigerian lad (we don’t sign Africans anymore unless they want to play for someone in Europe)
    Elnany (most likely of the lot but it’s been reported too early to be real, that aside he’s Egyptian and would be involved in the afcon which seems counter intuitive to me, but then again we did sign kim k with a broken back)
    Rabiot (6 month loan deal, can’t see psg letting him go with their title aspirations)
    Josep Guardiola (for the new season or when arsene’s contract expires, dark horse rumour doing the rounds)

    I’m just gonna avoid the papers, or i’ll end up stabbing something when feb 2nd arrives and arsene has done what i expect him to do and signed no one.

  18. boy dio

    Tomorrow’s game tells me whether or not we have the focus to win the league.
    That being said i am expecting a negative result for us, that being anything that isn’t a win, cause it’s just what we do after putting away a big side

  19. Drey

    Merry Christmas Le-Grovers from Lagos….
    Most especially Merry Christmas to you, Pedro. I discovered this site in 2013 after having withdrawal symptoms due to Goal pulling the plug on George Ankers’ “What we learnt this week” articles.. I don’t know what I love more, the intelligent comments or the humorous way you write your posts…
    Have fun kind sire. You deserve it

  20. qna

    What I like about Osimhen is that he led the Nigerian U17 to a world title with 10 goals. That is not nothing and some of his goals were very classy. Its still a mile away from knowing if he will be ready to step up to the Arsenal first team. More importantly we need to have a development strategy that will enable him to play games in a highly competitive environment. I just dont see the development pathways at Arsenal. We really need to look at this. What has happened to Gnabry and Oxlaide is a worry.

    On today’s game, I am very much looking forward to see if Cambpell can build on his recent performances and start to take games on his own shoulders. You feel that he has the ability to do it at times and I think he has built up to the stage where he will make a huge leap forward. If he doesnt, then I think we do need to bring in somebody on that right side that can balance the wide attacker role, with tracking back and providing defensive support. Not sure if Mahrez fits that role or not. I really dont think Theo does in a front four of Sanchez-Giroud-Walcott in front of Ozil. So Campbell really can cement himself a starting spot if he can contribute to our attacking flair while also providing that defensive balance.

    Just want to get three points and no injuries tonight. Just need to get through the next month without adding injuries and bring back our other guys for the run in. I dont think we will be adding any signings. We need somebody now, less than we have in any of the past 3 or 4 transfer windows where we have not added anybody, so cant see us doing it this time.

  21. freddylekgunner

    I’ll be excited by Osimhen, he plays more than his age but the boy looks really young. I have no doubt he can start for Arsenal Afterall Messi was starting for Barcelona at that age.

  22. North Bank Helsinki

    As a daily reader of your blog, Pedro(even back to the old Geoff days) – can’t say enough how appreciative I and so many others are at your daily writing, so thanks for keeping it all goin.

    I also moved stateside relatively recently, so totally get where you’re coming from with the weird and quirky American observations…so cheers, and Merry Chrimbo from Seattle(aka the PNW)!!!

  23. Sam

    I am not sure Arsenal need to sign Victor Osimhen or any new wonderkid at the moment.
    We should buy now mature players
    We already have enough super talents who are not far from first team
    Bielik, Donyell Malen, Reine Adelaide, Yassin Fortune and Vlad Dragomir and If add loanees plus Alex Iwobi We have the biggest youth squad in the premiership

  24. Sam

    People think the biggest talent now is Adelaide

    nope, it’s Donyell Malen

    Chuba Apkom risks losing his place to this boy

  25. Sam

    Pato is following Arsenal and Santos on twitter, not sure what that means
    I still hope we sign him n I believe he’s gonna prove doubters wrong n will shine bcoz of Ozil and Sanchez

  26. Obie

    Merry Christmas LeGrove, from Lagos! Well done Pedro, I really appreciate your efforts as my day is hardly complete without a glance at your post. Since 2009!

    Cheers to the Double!

  27. boy dio

    I’ll wait to see malen given a first team cameo before i get excited about him, bright talent though.
    Lots of young strikers at the club now

  28. useroz

    “….I am not sure Arsenal need to sign Victor Osimhen or any new wonderkid at the moment.
    We should buy now mature players
    We already have enough super talents who are not far from first team”

    Quite right. Wenger indulges in wonder kids, or crack back unfortunately.

    We need a couple of good (not top top) players ready to play.

    Wenger started his anti campign to buy is the solution… Cohesion, he says, is underrated just. Like coq I suppose. But. Cohesion is the sick room aint going to help, nor can come off the bench (akaa aarteta) and turn a game. If u r out of bodies,it’s straight to kamara times. Not sure that works.

    Buy to put us in better position to grab the long awaited PL title, I say.

  29. qna

    Malen looked good when we took him. I said at the time there are a few in his ajax youth team that can play. I just hope he keeps on the same development path. If so he should be playing league cup next season and potentially a couple of league games as well. No reason we could bot also add Osimhen. No reason we shouldnt be excited by the prospect of all Iwobi, Adelaide, Malen and Osimhen all being great finds. This is not to be confused with buying forst team ready players which is also needed. We had a very poor youth team at the end of last season and the club have gone out and strengthened it. I applaud that.

    I only question whether we can take a Malen and develop him into an Arsenal level player within the framework of our current youth system. Its arguably not competative enough. Michael owen describes the dilemma very well as comparing nowadays to his days.

  30. AFC SWED

    John Cross @johncrossmirror
    Exclusive: Arsenal agree fee with Basel for Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny ahead of January move

  31. Emiratesstroller

    Seasons Greetings to all.

    The next two fixtures starting with Southampton game tonight will be tough on our SMALL squad of fit players particularly in midfield.

    These are on paper not our strongest opponents BUT the TV scheduling has not been particularly helpful with the fixture against Man City last Monday followed by tonights game against Southampton and then on Monday against
    Bournemouth. That is three games in 7 days.

    There is at moment no clear indication when key squad players out injured will return with Coquelin,Cazorla and Sanchez who are usually all starters out
    as well as some of the players you would expect to be sitting on bench e.g. Wilshire and Welbeck.

    That is for all intents and purpose 5 of the 18 players if fit who you would have
    expected to be playing at some point this holiday.

    Realistically Arsenal are not going to make major changes to their squad, but
    I would like to think that we would buy in January at least one quality player
    specifically in midfield.

    Each day there are different opinions as to whom Arsenal would/could buy.
    Once again the latest opinion is that we might go after Krychowiak at the astronomic transfer fee of £33 million. He may be a good player, but is he worth
    that sum of money and more importantly could you see Wenger spending it
    on a player who is not creative or goalscoring?

    Let’s be clear Wenger will not buy a perceived upgrade on Coquelin in DMF.
    Coquelin is our regular starting X1 player in that position and has served the
    team very well since January. He is young with many years before him as an improving player.

    The more likely scenario is that Wenger will bring in a longterm replacement
    for one of Central Midfield Positions with impending departure of Flamini,Arteta and Rosicky. That means a player who can complement Coquelin and/or Cazorla in a deep position.

    Cazorla is out for season and whilst he is still a great player he is not getting
    any younger. For me the likelihood is that Wenger is more likely to go for a
    technically gifted, but more defensive disciplined player than Wilshere or
    Ramsey. The question is whether Krychowiak is such a player?

    As usual there is discussion about bringing in another forward. Somehow I
    don’t see that happening. Why would we want to do it when we have got already 3 players in Sanchez, Giroud and Walcott in squad who can score regularly goals plus backup of Welbeck and Campbell.

    Personally I don’t see it happening in the foreseeable future unless a decision
    is taken to offload Welbeck or Campbell and that does not appear to be likely
    until at least the summer at earliest.

    When you read Wenger’s most recent comments on the Arsenal website there is a reluctance to bring in someone new just for the sake of it. His view
    is that stability in squad is more important.

    I don’t disagree with that point of view so long as it does not result in depletion
    of squad, which is certainly the case now.

  32. Romford Ozil Pele

    Looks like we’re about to make our first Jan signing in Mohammed Elneny. In typical Wenger fashion, it’s a DM nobody spoke about. I knew loads about Monreal and Gabriel before we signed them. Any Swiss guys on here who can profile this dude? Good info on him so far is that he’s young at 23 and has helped Basel to the top of theSwiss league at the moment. Right now beggars can’t be choosers and it’s not a major risk at £5m so if it doesn’t work I’m sure we’ll go back in the market again. The guy seems to be known for his energy and work rate which is good.

  33. Romford Ozil Pele

    Bit more on him; seems to have decent height for a midfielder which is definitely s positive considering how small our team is! Plays in a range of positions. Likes to pick up the ball primarily from deep and dictate (tick). Loves a long shot!! Has very good link-up play. Hope it bodes well.

  34. Spanishdave

    Wenger will continue to fiddle about and loose the opportunity again.
    There is nobody at the club to push him since David Dein , that’s the problem for the past ten years.

  35. Emiratesstroller

    Romford Ozil Pele

    Elneny might well be a more likely option than Krychowiak if you are going out and buying a specialist DMF to understudy for Coquelin.

    However, my question is would Arsenal bring in a player who is clearly no better than a ‘bench warmer’ when everyone is fit?

    We play at moment a 4-2-3-1 formation with Coquelin and Cazorla our preferred option in 2. Coquelin is likely to return in mid February, but Cazorla is
    likely to be out almost entire second half of season and at 32 is not getting any
    younger.

    My view is that Arsenal should be attempting to buy a technically gifted but
    defensively solid player who is likely to be a long term replacement for Cazorla but if required can also play DMF role. It seems to me that the player Arsenal would prefer is Rabiot who would fit that role well.

  36. useroz

    Cohesion, stability etc are all fine so long as we have enough regularly playing bodies in first team to meet the demand of PL, CL and cup games. I think people aren’t asking to buy for the sake of it.

    It’s a reality we simply don’t have the right fit and quality that last the distance; what’s more, it’s proven year in year out. Of coursen 15/16 could be an exception and we got lucky…. Do we pay Wenger to bet our trophies on luck? Hasn’t wenger done enough of that in last 10 years??

    Rosicky returning feb….sounds familiar?

  37. Romford Ozil Pele

    Emirates, who knows. At this stage all we can do is speculate. Wenger didn’t buy Kyrchowiak when he was just £4m so now he costs above £30m you can guarantee that deal won’t happen. And didn’t the Pole say he doesn’t want to come to England because it’s too cold?!

    Nobody really knows how good or not good Elneny is so it’d be unfair to speculate. So assuming we sign the Egyptian he may end up being better than a benchwarmers. We never thought Coquelin would end up being this important so let’s see.

    Cazorla will be slowly phased out and it’ll be Ramsey and Wilshere battling for that B2B spot next to the DM.

  38. Romford Ozil Pele

    Emirates, heard Rabiot saying he wanted to leave but then he also signed a new deal so won’t be cheap. He’s not really a DM anyway, he’s more of an #8 like Wilshere or Ramsey so that’s who he’d be in direct competition with.

  39. vicky

    ROP

    Yeah like you, I have read about him and watched his videos

    – Apparently he is an absolute workhorse like Ramsey and Ramires

    – Has got good skills on the ball, so can deputize as a CM as well, primarily a DM.

    – Can shoot well from a distance, I watched a video of him playing in Egyptian league in which he scored some wonderful goals from long distance

    – And as you say, he is available at a very low price. If at the very least, he can share the job with Flamini until the return of Le Coq, that would be a job well done. If he turns out to be very good, then it would be a great piece of business for 5M. So, no downside risk at all.

  40. Romford Ozil Pele

    LG, yes Xhaka is a very good player although that’s a summer deal because Wolfsburg won’t sell in Jan. Wenger has never paid big bucks for a DM anyway so I doubt he’d start now. The only time he pays big bucks is for offensive players. Coquelin and Elneny doesn’t sound the most intimidating but as long as they do a job for the team and fit well into the dynamic that’s all that matters. Comes back to Wenger finding the player that fits the needs of the team.

  41. Romford Ozil Pele

    Vicky, yeah the fact he won’t cost more than £5m means it’s not a risk. John Cross of The Mirror seems to think that Wanyama is Wenger’s number 1 target and he’ll pursue him heavily in the summer. I doubt it though tbh. If Elneny turns out to be any good then Wenger will go with him and Coq and won’t advocate spending £20m+ on Wanyama.

  42. vicky

    Rumors of Chambers going out on loan would make more sense if the rumors regarding Elneny were true. Although I still believe we should keep Chambers here at Arsenal as we are very short in terms of bodies available to play for us.

  43. tunnygriffboy

    Romford

    Was just about to post that the analyics system we have may have identified him. Obviously we will have watched him as well. Mahrez was identified by Leicester through their data system.

    Bit unfair to say he’s only a bench warmer without never seeing him play. Surely we should give him a chance. Obviously he’s been a key member of Basle side that wins it’s league and does ok in Europe. Be interesting to see him play. Him and Wanyama replace Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky.

    Same team as v City for me today. Next two games we’ll have to see likes of Gabriel, Gibbs and Ox get a run out. Also the possibility of JRA or Iwobi. We ok for defensive rotation and we can just about juggle the forward line. But CM ? 3 games in 7 days is a lot.

    Even if Jack is back soon and stays fit we still need a midfielder. Huge amount of pressure on Flamini and Ramsey to stay fit.

    Arteta to be given coaching role at club when contract runs out next season

  44. Emiratesstroller

    Romford Ozil Pele

    My instinct is that Wenger will not buy a second conventional DMF, because
    he does not want to replace Coquelin in his starting X1.

    What he should be looking for is someone to replace within next 12 months
    Cazorla. Obviously Wilshire would be an option for that position if he could
    maintain fitness, but we know that is simply not the case. Frankly I don’t see
    Ramsey as an option except as a ‘last resort’. He lacks the discipline required
    to play in defensive positions.

    Ideally Arsenal need to be buying a technically gifted and physically strong
    player who is upgrade on Arteta or for that matter Cazorla both of who can
    be steamrollered when we are under cosh.

  45. qna

    Elneny must have been told that he is 2nd choice when Coq is fit. For £5m if he can do a job as a squad player and be happy with that then that is good. It will be the right type of pressure on Coquelin as well who has only had 12 months of good form really behind him.

    Great news if this is true. I would be disapointed if we bought this guy as oulr starting DM, but happy if he is just for the squad.

    But we still do need to add a long term replacement for Cazorla who is not going to have the legs for his current role for much longer. But now is not the ideal time for that anyway.

    Welcome to Arsenal Elneny.

  46. tunnygriffboy

    London

    Of course loads on here said Coquelin wasn’t good enough. He started well last season and just got better and better. Interesting that he’s so high in those rankings. Well done that lad.

  47. Romford Ozil Pele

    Tunny, doubt Wenger will go after Wanyama if this dude does well. Doesn’t really make sense having three DMs in a squad, one will always be unhappy. And if you’re buying Wanyama for £20m+ he’s gonna expect to start. I think Wenger will stick with Coquelin and this dude will be back-up. Then again Elneny does look wuiter versatile, in the Ramsey/Ramires mouldy so could h used in a range of positions. What I like though is that he’s comfortable building attacks from deep, tailor made for Ramsey in that aspect.

    Yeah we probably won’t rotate today but we’re playing again on the 28th so that’s just a day’s rest, imperative to heavily rotate. It’s at home against Bournemouth. We couldn’t have asked for a kinder fixture though we shouldn’t underestimate them as they’ve beaten both United and Chelsea in recent weeks and have won three games on the bounce with a crazy injury crisis too.

    Not surprising to see Arteta joining the coaching staff. He already trains the U16s. Can tell Wenger rates his football intelligence a lot.

  48. tunnygriffboy

    Qna

    Why would Elneny be told that he is a number two ? Surely he will come in and fight for his place like all players. It appears he’s versatile and could play a couple of roles. Give the lad a chance 🙂 🙂

    Emirates

    Ramsey is a traditional b2b midfielder. Yes he needs to be disciplined in his defensive duties in certain games and situations but he did exactly this in the City games. He’s still relatively young but I think he is good enough to do this. If he is wandering the likes of Flamini and Per need to remind him on the field

  49. Emiratesstroller

    tunnygriffboy

    I accept your point of view, but I don’t believe that Wenger plans to buy an
    upgrade on Coquelin.

    He has more or less acknowledged that in statements made since January. I think that he will learn the lesson from Flamini’s first tour of duty at club when we lost the player to AC Milan.

    Wenger’s view is that Arsenal’s defence needs to be stable and he is reluctant
    to make changes unless absolutely necessary. Coquelin is for all intents and
    purposes part of the defence rather than our midfield/offence.

    Wenger gambled this summer on Coquelin staying fit with short term cover
    from Arteta or Flamini if he needed a short term break. Clearly neither is good
    enough as replacement when he is out 3 months.

  50. Romford Ozil Pele

    Ramsey turns 25 today, he ain’t no spring chicken anymore mate! Entering his prime. Let’s hope he smashes it up!

  51. Emiratesstroller

    Tunnygriffboy

    That may well have been the intention when playing Ramsey alongside Flamini, but having been at last two home games it was crystal clear to me that Ramsey lacks the defensive attributes to play the role.

    Firstly his passing skills are not always of the best and he has also got a tendency to lose the ball in critical phases of game. I need to be convinced that
    he can curb his natural attacking instincts when we need to defend. He cost
    us a goal in a recent game.

  52. tunnygriffboy

    Emirates

    Ramsey isn’t being asked to play purely defensively. Flamini is playing Coquelin role and Ramsey the cazorla role. He plays it differently to Santi. Santi plays from deep and controls our attacks through his passing. With Ramsey in the middle we are more dynamic and much more of a threat in the counter attack. Ramsey and Ozil are brilliant in this facet of the game.

    Santi plays deeper and ver rarely goes past our forwards. Ramsey’s strength is in those runs. Ramsey’s defensive stats v City were very good incidentally.

  53. Dissenter

    The 16 million we paid for Chambers was no doubt too much even when you add the English premium . I’m not so sure he’ll play that often at Southampton. He needs to go down to a team in the championship where he can play 20-30 games in the season.

  54. Dissenter

    No one had heard of Kante or Mahrez before Leicester bought them.

    There’s a new generation of African players that are going to sweep the European leagues. Get ready for it and be open minded.

  55. Dissenter

    Tunny,
    Agreed regarding Ramsey’s role
    I actually like his style better to Carzola’s
    Carzola’s style suits possession football
    Ramsey’s is high octane and more suited to attaching football.
    Ramsey needs to work on his decision making in the last third; he’s too selfish. His defensive errors, I think comes from his selfishness.
    Overall he’s playing the position better.

    Santiago Carzola had been slowly depreciating in performance before his injury.

  56. Arsene's Nurse

    Merry Christmas everyone. Santa just delivered another pressie – Stoke 1 – 0 Man Utd 20 mins.

    Love watching that lot get beaten.