Wenger says he was right on squad choices. Is he speaking to early?

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How you feeling today people?

I’m actually pretty good. A pure beer kind of affair. No mixing for me.

I’m getting to that point of the festive drinking season when my face hurts. All of that fitness nonsense I’d baked in pre-UK return is going to shite…. and there are yet more days to contend with.

But hey, tis’ but once a year. Am I right? Yeah I’m right.

I hope you all had a sweet day.

The players won’t have had such an amazing day. They’ll have spent time together yesterday in preparation for what is likely to be a tough game this evening.

The 0745 kick off… a real bitch on Boxing Day, but whatever. If we get three points, I’ll be over the moon.

It’ll be interesting to see how Arsene plays this one. Will he be shooting for a full line up again, or will he take the chance to rotate in some fresh legs?

Chamberlain hasn’t had a start in a while, but I guess Joel Campbell has been making the most of his chances. Chatting to some Arsenal pals last night, i think there’s a real mixed view on the Costa Rican. Some like him, some think he’s terrible… I think he’s doing well. I think he’s a scrappy player, his technique isn’t where you’d want it to be, but he works his socks off and he’s contributed positively during his run.

Is he the level we need long term? Well, as a back up, he’s not that bad. If he improves his decision-making and gets sharper in front of goal, he could be an able body as a reserve.

Arsene Wenger has been justifying his actions in the summer market. Right now, you have to say he was right if you’re looking at the face of things.

> We’re second in the league

> The squad is beating City with 3 first team players crocked

> We qualified for the Champions League

However, as many managers have pointed out, the league isn’t won in December and some of Wenger’s comments are still cause for concern.

“We also had Theo Walcott, Alexis Sanchez and Danny Welbeck who are world-class strikers.

I’m sorry, but outside Alexis, you’d be hard pushed to call the others world-class. Theo and Giroud are very good, but not that extra bit of special you need to be world-class… and WELBZ? Love him, but come on… we don’t even know where his best position is!

“If a player is number 26 in the team, he needs three players to die before he has a real chance to play. That has an impact when he comes in the morning.

“He is down and he takes something away from the team. When the number is too short he thinks ‘no matter how I am I play’ and that is not good as well. I felt we have the right number.”

I think what he misses here is that if the squad number is the same for the everyone in the league. That hasn’t changed. The numbers are rarely the issue, the issue usually stacks around the quality of that number. Right now, we’re doing ok. But we have players like Arteta, Campbell and Flamini who are integral parts of the squad, that really, aren’t up to the level you need to win titles.

Also, with regards to competition, for a player like JC to get a game, players do have to die! Same with Coquelin last season. He was never really part of the squad until it broke. Wenger’s rotation policy is usually geared around injuries over trust.

I also find it quite hard for Wenger to crow right now about having the right quality in the squad when we’ve lost 3 games in the Champions League and exited the League Cup. I’d love to think we’re going to win the league, but our ability to lapse still has me worried… but, when you’re in the league of lapses, the team that lapses the least will be king.

So the thing for me this year, is, are Arsenal capable of keeping up this consistency… and are we confident City won’t kick into Champions mode? I’m excited to see what happens.

The big plus we have is that we always get injuries and we never handle them. We’ve had an injury crisis and we’ve mastered it. The injury crisis means a mid-season rest for Alexis, Wilshere, Theo, Welbz and Ramsey. So we should have a fresh squad for the run in because we broke our players so early.

So if we’re traditionally better in the second half of the year, and we can find that consistency again, then we’re in with a chance.

I also think we’re the best ‘team’ in the league. We have to use that squad stability to make it happen. Just like we did against City.

Then it’s all about attitude. Do we have the grit and the nastiness to stay on top for the full length of the season? Can our leaders step forward when we’re under pressure? Can this team grab destiny by the throat and control it?

Maybe. Just maybe.

So a big game today. A perfect moment to switch off… or stand up and make three points count!

Have a good one!

P.S. This is Arsenal’s only signing according to John Cross. 2 things here. At least it’ll be done early, which is massive progress. 2. I think Arsenal’s scouting is a lot sharper and I think more considerations are met before signing now… so hopefully he’s been well researched and he isn’t just a Steve Rowley gut feel project.

1,232 Responses to “Wenger says he was right on squad choices. Is he speaking to early?”

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  1. TheBayingMob

    Still no comment from Pedro, feeling rightly em amassed at Wenger sucking him into another round of false hope …

  2. daz


    Yeah its different at club level as he is our asset, do we allow his contract to expire and let him go for nothing? or extend the contract in the hope he gets over his injury problems? Which would either give us a sellable asset/good player. The club have to decide which way to go for the best we tried the latter with diaby didn’t work.
    With the national team though they are not obligated to pick him and shouldn’t as he hasn’t played all season.

  3. Cesc Appeal


    This might be the second season, I think, in Wilshere’s short career that he will have missed a whole season.

    Look at Wenger’s statement, February, ‘but honestly I don’t know.’ If…if…we see him again it will be late in the season, April sort of time. So yet again during the summer ‘well Wilshere is a new signing, if he can sort his fitness out’ blah blah.

    Wilshere is a hindrance as long as we keep talking about him as a genuine squad option.

    I said it in the summer, exactly like this: ‘Wilshere…will…not…be…fit.’

    I don’t get why people struggle with it, or seem to think he’s some Messi like talent, he’s decent on his day, his days are few and far between and the days he actually plays are even fewer.

    Not hindsight, said as soon as he turned in those two great England displays with City in the hunt for English talent we should have put him on the market.

    Only surprise yesterday was that usually Wenger would lie all January about it.

  4. Emiratesstroller


    Sky published recently a list of top 100 players in Europe and this included 6
    Arsenal players. They were Koscielny,Monreal, Cazorla, Coquelin, Ozil,Ramsey
    and Sanchez all of whom ranked in top 35.

    You can add to that list Cech who would rate as one of ten best goalkeepers.

    This leaves 3 spaces in our starting eleven who are not ranked at same level.

    In my view Bellerin an emerging talent merits a starting eleven place and whilst many posters may disagree with me Giroud is one of the better strikers
    current playing in EPL and unless you are willing to pay £50 million+ in transfer market you are unlikely to find an improvement there.

    This means that Arsenal have on paper one hole to fill in the current starting eleven, which would be a centre back to replace Mertesacker, although I do
    think that we are short of a top class winger. Messrs Campbell, Ox nor Walcott
    are on current evidence good enough for our first choice starting X1.

    This brings us to the overall depth of our squad and specifically bench. On paper we have some very good options with the likes of Ospina, Debuchy,Mertesacker Gabriel, Gibbs, Wilshire, Ox, Walcott and Welbeck.

    We have as I said on paper 20 players on paper good enough if fit and in form
    to play in team. The trouble is that we have continuously six to eight players
    out injured and a further two who wish to leave and are therefore not playing
    up to the standard required to play in first team.

    Therefore we have at any one time only perhaps ten to twelve players fit enough and in form to play in team or on bench.

    There is no question that 5 players will be offloaded in January or summer transfer windows. Apart from Arteta,Flamini and Rosicky I would expect that
    Ospina and Debuchy will leave as well. Also I don’t feel that Chambers or Campbell are realistically good enough for our squad. So that we are discussing potentially seven departures.

    This brings me to the discussion about the future of Wilshire and possibly Ox
    and Welbeck as well. Can we rely on players who are constantly out injured?

    For all intents and purpose we have just 15 members of our current squad who
    are good enough to play in team, although I cannot visualise Wenger going out in next two transfer windows and buying ten new players. If we are lucky
    he will recruit perhaps 4.

    Looking at other players currently out on loan or in U21 squad there are no
    more than two or three who could be brought in namely perhaps Szczesny or
    Martinez in goal, Jenkinson at right back and perhaps Reine-Adelaide if he
    fulfils his promise, but none of these are realistically an improvement on what we have got.

  5. Red&White4life

    You can imagine bournemouth’s players reaction to our last result :

    “OMG, not good at all for us, we are going to play ZE specialists in bouncing back on their ground!! Pray for us!!” lol

  6. qna

    RSPCA: I disagree about welbeck Remember he has proven on an international stage…

    How exactly has Welbeck proved himself on the international stage? Has England won something that I am not aware of? Ali Dae from Iran has proven himself on the international stage – why didnt Arsenal sign him as well?

    daz: Also when you look at the wages Bayern have to pay players I believe that it would be the prestige factor of playing for such a club that would mean a player is willing to accept less, this is why a club like city have to pay way over the odds as they have no prestige.

    Dont accept that. Its the project more than the prestige. Bayern are hungry and full of talented players. Same with Barca. Even Juventus. This attracts other players to want to play with them and do great things. If prestige was the factor then United would be attracting these players. Or AC Milan. Arsenal dont have an interesting project really. It was a few years ago, culminating when we made the UCL final. We were able to attract talent like Rosicky, Nasri, etc.

    Now the problem is, do players really want to come here and play with Giroud, Walcott, Arteta, Flamini. I think Ozil and Sanchez have definately swung that. But we are talking about spending a huge chunk of our limited budget on British players. How many of these players are guys that other players will be attracted to playing along side – in addition to the prestige that Arsenal has in its own rite. Same situation now at Manchester United – the prestige is there, but the project is a shambles – pass on that if you have better options.

  7. Red&White4life

    From Ben Snowball : “Yes, Arsenal has a problem. His mental fragility comes to the worst possible times, season after season. The Premier League is within reach of the Gunners, but they continue to struggle against themselves, against their wounds and against their nerves.”
    “When the time comes, when his supporters ahead at the turn, Arsenal seems unable to succeed. Any excellent result is inevitably followed by a disastrous performance. This is the case for too many years now.”

    Amen to that.

  8. Cesc Appeal

    We have the makings of a very good team, but there’s a lot of work to be done in the summer and we could do with spreading it out over January as well.

    Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky should all be allowed to go, Gibbs needs to be sold, Wilshere needs to be sold, Oxlade needs to go out on loan and then we need to make a difficult decision the ST issue, one of Giroud, Walcott or Welbeck need to be sold.

    We will have well over £100 Million to spend and could put together a really comprehensive squad, CB/LB, CDM, CM, RM and ST. To varying sort of degrees of value and quality.

    Lot to do, could get in a CDM/CM in January and potentially a RM.

  9. qna

    Emirates – first of all, I dont not agree with Sky’s list. It is very much biased toward the EPL, in spite of the EPL having performed terribly in Europe in recent years. While I also am extremely happy with the players that they have ranked in the top 35, I dont agree that they deserve such a high ranking.

    Nevertheless, yes, these guys can form the basis of a good team. But ask yourself this, that team, having 7 of the top 35 in the world, plus an adequate goal keeper. Why is it not able to play on an equal footing with Bayern, or even City? I mean go to to toe with, maintain 50% of possession (at least at home), generate 50% of the chances, etc. That ranking is predominantly made due to performances as flat track bully’s in the English league.

    We will see this again against Barca. We will not play that tie as equals. Rather we will play it as defensively tight as we can manage, trying to score on the counter. This is what we should be doing – because our quality is much lower than theirs. But this is the point – our quality is much lower than theirs. As it was in both legs against Bayern.

    By the way, I have a gut feeling that we are going to sneak past Barca. Crazy, I know, but I just think we are due. We will give up 70% possession in both legs, but I think we will get through. That is completely different to saying we have built a better team than Barca and I expect us to go through because we are better than them.

  10. daz


    Not not so sure utd couldn’t attract the best in the world if they chose to go for them, ac Milan don’t have the spending power anymore and their league is no longer the go to place for big players, I agree the project in place is important that’s something city use to attract players along with the massive wages but Bayern have the whole package at the moment the prestige the money and the project and I just feel these factors will allow them to get players cheaper than if they weren’t the complete package

  11. qna

    daz: Not not so sure utd couldn’t attract the best in the world if they chose to go for them

    If you are talking about spending over the odds to buy already established players like Mata or Di Maria, then that is not what we were discussing. I was talking about BUILDING a team at a similar cost to what Bayern or Juventus are able to do. It involves a number of qualities that Arsenal as a club dont seem to possess. But you raised the point of prestige – and I agree with that to a small extent, but it is more about the project. United dont have a good project at the moment, so they would have to pay over the odds to attract players. As do Arsenal.

  12. daz


    Yeah I agree utd would have to pay alot at the moment which again shows you need all the ingredients to do what Bayern do,

    Utd have the prestige and money but not a great project (at the moment) a few changes and they will be back on track, so they have to pay over the odds

    City and Chelsea have the project and money but no prestige so again pay over the odds

    Bayern and barca have prestige, money and a project so you will find players would be willing to go there for less money than a city or Chelsea

  13. Emiratesstroller


    I did not suggest that I agreed with the list but the 7 players listed are all very
    good players and as I said I would add both Cech and Bellerin to players who
    are good enough to play regularly in starting X1.

    Also I have no problem with most of those I mentioned as squad players apart
    from the fact that at least two would probably want to leave and I have also
    concerns about fitness/reliability of several of our English players.

    The real question is can Arsenal afford to go into each season with 6-8 unreliable injury prone players as we seem to do on a regular basis? We need to
    take a decision and cut our losses with some of these players.

    Whilst I don’t believe that Giroud matches talent level of some of the other
    players in my starting X1 he is a competent goalscorer and there are at the
    moment very few options who are either available or affordable and would
    prove an upgrade.

    Sometimes posters need to be realistic. Giroud is more than capable of scoring 25 goals a season and frankly there are very few other players floating around who scoring more than that whom we could buy. Vardy for example
    seems to be a talented boy, but he is 29 and has only shown his goalscoring
    potential this season at EPL level.

  14. qna

    daz. Yes. Also, Bayern and Barca dont line up Carl Jenksinson, Gibbs, Chambers, Oxlaide, Walcott and Wislhere for a photo shoot and say to the world this is our fucking project. 🙂

  15. Samesong

    Getting ripped apart on Sky sports 1 and rightly so.

    Someone said the other day that they could sense after 10 mins we were going to lose. Merse just said the same thing.

  16. daz

    daz. Yes. Also, Bayern and Barca dont line up Carl Jenksinson, Gibbs, Chambers, Oxlaide, Walcott and Wislhere for a photo shoot and say to the world this is our fucking project. 🙂

    Very true, but that goes towards my point Bayern have no real competition for players based in Germany who want to stay in Germany, if they want them not much is going to stand in their way.

    Barca have it similar obviously real Madrid share the top Spanish based players with them, turan leaves athletico and where to? Barca for a good chunk of money but if city wanted him I reckon they would of had to pay a fair bit more

    So this leaves arsenal, we have to compete with three clubs who are better placed to get the players they want so its not going to be easy to emulate a Bayern or barca model

  17. Red&White4life

    “Carl Jenksinson, Gibbs, Chambers, Oxlaide, Walcott and Wislhere for a photo shoot and say to the world this is our fucking project.”

    Didn’t know we had a project.

  18. Dissenter

    Point of correction!
    Wenger didn’t actually say Jack was returning in February.
    “He will not be back before February, that’s for sure,” he said. “I said February but honestly I don’t know. I let him do his recovery. It’s going slowly.

    “Once he goes again, goes outside to train, once he is back again into sharp, hard work physically, you count five or six weeks, so at the moment he is not there yet”

    For all we know he might not return this season..

  19. Dissenter

    I didn’t know a hairline fracture that was surgically repaired would take this long to heal in a health young man.
    There’s got to be more going on.

  20. Micheal

    I would take a chance on the youngster Iwobi tonight. Nohing to lose. Campbell is a moderate player with no real future at the club., the Ox is totally out of touch and …….there is no one else !

    This way, son, Please come and rescue our season.

  21. qna

    Dissenter: I didn’t know a hairline fracture that was surgically repaired would take this long to heal in a health young man. There’s got to be more going on.

    In any case, I am not sure the way Wilshere plays is suited to the EPL. He takes every possession to the edge and with the reckless nature of the EPL, he is going to get caught. These constant knocks to the feet and ankles of any player will take its toll and eventually result in major injuries.

    People criticize Ozil for shirking and I think there is a valid point to that. But I much prefer he self-preserve our most valuable asset rather than put it on the line all the time. At times Wilshere drives me crazy diving into a 50-50 contests where even if he wins that ball it will not provide/stop a goal scoring opportunity.

  22. qna

    Michael – there is a lot to lose tonight actually. If we dont get the three points tonight, there will be a melt-down of Chernobyl proportions. We cant afford to drop a single point tonight.

    Not saying I disagree with you, but this is the issue that Arsenal and all top clubs face now. Every game is a loss away from Crisis. Its one of the reasons why the EPL is not a good incubator to develop 18-21 year olds through to become elite level players (I am paraphrasing the hated Michael Owen). There are few exceptions to the rule, who actually perform and win a first team place (Like Bellerin), but for those that dont perform instantly when they get their chance they dont getting the minutes needed to develop.

  23. Red&White4life

    “Arsene Wenger believes the officials have to take as much blame as Arsenal’s players for the 4-0 defeat by Southampton.”

    FFS arsène, you never ashamed of yourself ??

  24. Paulinho

    “I didn’t know a hairline fracture that was surgically repaired would take this long to heal in a health young man.
    There’s got to be more going on.”

    Of course there is more going on.

    I remember a few weeks back someone tried to claim that this injury was a separate issue and had nothing to do with his overall weakness in that area.

    Ridiculous. He’s completely ruined in the ankle area and would be surprised if he ever played again to any meaningful extent.

  25. rollen

    “Arsene Wenger believes the officials have to take as much blame as Arsenal’s players for the 4-0 defeat by Southampton.”

    Really strange he is not getting ridiculed by media.

  26. Goondawg

    This Wilshere situation is depressing but people need to understand Wenger is basically saying once he recovers he’ll need 5 or 6 weeks to get back to match fitness and he hasn’t recovered yet so he won’t play in January. Which is fair enough.

    People keep asking for improvements in our injury situation. They don’t realize that this is it. You don’t want Wilshere to be constantly plagued by injuries? Then let him recover fully, and perhaps Wenger can pick up the art of rotation somewhere along the line and not beast him to crock mode along the way.

    Also this was a broken left leg, a freak training incident, which is completely different to the frequently damaged right ankle injuries he has suffered in the past. But rushing him back early means his left leg will be weaker, which means more stress on his right leg, which means…you guessed it, more right ankle injuries! So it may be a case of finding that right balance before Wenger opts to risk him, I would rather Jack forego the Euros even, and concentrate on recovering fully. Wenger held back Walcott for a long time after his cruciate ligament injury and it seems to be working.