Fixture fear: Overcome your insecurities right now

by .

WHAT AM I DOING HERE

Happy good morning my pretties.

Slumped out of bed this morning and tweaked my hamstring. Nothing says, ‘you fat bastard get down the gym’ quite like needing a warm up to support your own body weight.

Also had passport dramas this morning. I need two passports. TWO. Double the workload and I failed first time. But fear not, my dad delivered me to the airport 20mins early and didn’t even lose his temper at my flapping.

So we have some time to Le Grove and chill.

Arsenal are in good shape. Sitting pretty at the top of the league. Focus has now switched to our tough run in. I know there are some beastly games in there on paper, but I think when you look at them with this seasons fresh ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING’ eyes, they’re not that bad.

We’re all worried about Liverpool away. Heading to the Kop. Playing against the charismatic German we’d all have liked to have had stroking our Arsenal curls in a post Wenger era. But look, as a side, they’ve been utter shite under him bar one result against Southampton (ok, ok, and City). Nothing has really changed, crap results, underwhelming individual performances and no semblance of a vision yet.

I think the worrying game for me is the Stoke one. There’s no better case study for money in the league than those boys. Power, pace, organization, brutality and some absolute class. Stokelona as they call them on the continent (pretty sure they don’t, actually). They are going to be a problem, mainly because they are a mental block that now has real quality. The on-story of that game is if we lose, we then have Chelsea at home.

Now, Chelsea on paper have been shite this season. We have been great. Is there any reason this pattern should fail to continue? They should fear us. Creaking defence, fragile confidence and general sluggish play. This shouldn’t be tough, but we know it’ll be a ‘show us you’re champs’ game. But look, Hiddink has been a mega failure in his last 4 jobs, he looks like he should be reading storybooks to kids in Victorian films about the meaning of Christmas. I don’t fear Chelsea under him. Well, not right now.

February for me looks pretty good. Rest assured, Leicester will be dead and buried and I reckon Claudio will be under job pressure. Southampton at home will be revenge for us and look, if we’re having issues with Bournemouth away, then what’s the fucking point? We have a tricky game against Barcelona and possibly a rematch with a Mourinho United as our last game.

I see maybe a couple of draws in there, but I’m pretty confident. We just need to pray we don’t pick up anymore injuries and we have to hope there’s no more news of the dreaded ‘setback’ that we seem to get every other injury.

The run in is all about freshness. Who has it. Who doesn’t. Who managed fitness the best? Great news for us is the way we manage mid season freshness is breaking our players early on. The old ‘NoVenger’ 3 week hamstring rest has proven quite the strategy over the past few seasons. Coq, Ramsey, Chambo, Theo and Sanchez should be flying! They’ve had their midseason break.

So basically, I don’t have the fear like many others. My main fear is the switch off. The lack of drive kicking us over the line. Wenger not having it in him to motivate his players to the end.

… this for me is where leaders used to take over. Who is our Adams? Who is our Sol Campbell kicking Paddy up the arse? Who is willing to slam Chambo up against the wall when he makes a dunce mistake? Who is there, ready and willing to make the dressing room a scary place to be when someone steps out of line?

We’ll find out in due course… but hey, isn’t it exciting! (And marvelous that Spurs dropped two points. The dark horses this season.)

I’m about to hit my flight back to NYC. Can’t wait to spend the next two months pretending I get Super Bowl! See you on the other side!

Xx

644 Responses to “Fixture fear: Overcome your insecurities right now”

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  1. Berg

    I really don’t rate grissman that highly having watched him play quite a few times. Than I don’t rate kevin de bruyne that highly but he his stats speak for themselves

  2. Marko

    If people don’t like him, think he just scores tap ins that is absolutely fine, the guy has 8 assists and 27 goals, you can try and explain that away if you want but, good luck.

    Exactly CA. Even saying stuff like he’s exactly like Theo but with tap in’s is ridiculous. Guy can legitimately lead the line and score different types of goals to Theo and he’s got the pace Giroud doesn’t. Not to say that when we used Theo as a ST he wasn’t bad but consistent and a long term option he ain’t that

  3. WengerEagle

    Krycowiak deserves a better team than Sevilla for sure.

    The shit that they have served up this season is astonishing considering that Bacca and Aleix Vidal were the only real departures that they suffered in the summer.

    I actually mentioned liking the look of Krychowiak on here a couple of years ago when he was still at Reims. Mad to think that he was sold for less than £5 million.

  4. Nasri's Mouth

    Wenger Eagle: So overall, we’ve bought quite well in recent years actually.

    If we replicate the same QUALITY of signing whilst increasing the QUANTITY of signings we’d be on a winner.

  5. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    I do agree. The EPL is the strongest league in the world, there isn’t really one game you can relax and just think, this is three points. Not like in La Liga where seeing Barcelona win 4 or 5-0 isn’t really a shock.

    But I do also think a lot of teams have been poor this year, I still think neither us or City have really performed to the best of our abilities, certainly not consistently.

    I think that is best evidenced in Spurs being near the top, the most consistent side in the EPL if really rather unspectacular, bar a couple of results.

    But yeah, you look at Stoke’s front line and just think, that isn’t out of place in the UCL. For me it is a combination of the two, bit of a weak showing from the top sides and a strengthening of the mid-table sides.

  6. Romford Ozil Pele

    Kos has been Wenger’s smart buy, slowly followed my Monreal in the last five years. Generally speaking the signings have been OK although there have been a fair share of disappointments too, Poldi being the main one for me.

    I think a lot of this also centres around our opinions of certain players. Wenger thinks most are world class, the majority of the fan base would disagree. My ideal Arsenal team looks like this:

    Cech
    Bellerin Gab Kos
    Playmaking DM Ramsey
    Draxler/Fekir MÖ Alexis
    Batshuayi

    Tbh even that team isn’t perfect. At 25 I’m expecting Ramsey to be very mature but he does make a lot of immature mistakes in search of personal gain. That said, I think he gives us more dynamism and power through the middle.

    I still love Ox although his lack of self-confidence is staggering on the pitch for someone who comes across so well off it. Still worth persevering with IMO. Chambers really impressed me the other night against Bournemouth so was upset Wenger didn’t continue with him against Newcastle, especially as Flamini ends up becoming a 3rd CB when expected to cover large spaces

  7. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    Going with 10 men? Ballsy 😉

    Agree on Ramsey, he isn’t showing any maturity or discipline right now.

  8. Emiratesstroller

    What seems to be missed far too often is that Arsenal spent £42 million on Ozil
    in 2013 Summer Transfer Window and then £35 million on Sanchez in 2014
    Summer Transfer Window. These were respectively the most expensive and
    second most expensive signings by any English club for those two seasons.

    Personally I think that those two signings have proven excellent buys when you see how some other clubs have spent their money.

    The only other club who have spent well in recent times are Manchester City,
    but as I have pointed out they can buy three or four £30 million plus players
    in a transfer window so that it does not matter to them if one or two are duds.
    Last Summer they bought De Bruyne and Sterling and I think that they were
    probably the best major deals made by any club in EPL.

  9. Cesc Appeal

    ——————-Cech
    Bellerin, Gabriel, Kozz, Monreal
    —————-Coq, Xhaka
    ———–Fekir, Ozil, Sanchez
    ————-Aubameyang

    That does it for me, you’d say doable as well, obviously have to wait and see on Fekir, but there are options out there, as you say Draxler, you’ve got Isco and Shaktar’s Teixeria who seems to post some great numbers.

  10. Romford Ozil Pele

    CA, yes for sure I do think the top teams will look at themselves and think they should’ve done better. At some point I’m still expecting City and us to pull away. The season is a slog and eventually some teams will fall away.

    RE our NL rivals, have to give them so much credit. Pochettino has assembled a very strong and young squad with a lot of dynamism. It’s actually the way I wanted us to go. And he’s got Lamela playing to his potential which no manager had done before. I still expect them to stumble though.
    1) They’re Spurs and their position is rightfully below us. 2) Young players and teams are always prone to periods of inconsistency and bad form. And you have to wonder what happens if Kane gets injured for a prolonged period. Ugh can’t believe I said that.

    RE City, they have the best squad by far so either the players or managers need to be blamed. Probably a combo of both. Even both their title wins have come on the last day so there’s definitely an element of them not getting the most out of what they have.

  11. gambon

    Romford

    I really dont think we are seeing a levelling of the playing field….its just a freak season.

    Sure money is increasing…but the big clubs are pulling further away financially.

    Man Utd financial power in the next few seasons is going to be staggering.

  12. WengerEagle

    I don’t know, I’m not blown away by Batshuayi tbh.

    Looks like a talented kid alright but he doesn’t scream world class potential to me in the way that Dybala does.

    French League is a hard one to assess a player’s ability on given the poor state of the league.

    PSG have completely crushed the competition.

  13. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    Agree on Spurs.

    Waiting to see what a few injuries do to them or a really bad result, bit of bad form etc

    Certainly a side to watch for the future though, Alli looks a really great buy.

  14. Romford Ozil Pele

    Lol CA, you know what I mean.

    Yeah the double pivot is also a good shout because I don’t trust Ramsey in there at the moment. He needs to understand that he can’t bomb forward at every opportunity and considering he plays next to Flamini he needs to be doing some dictating of play too. Coq-Xhaka would be quite a good combo.

    Yeah need to wait on Fekir but he’s literally about 70% of that Lyon team. If he comes back fit and firing he’ll get bought straight away because his talent is outrageous. And I’ve always had a personal thing for Draxler. Two footed attacking midfielder who can play in all the attacking positions and even as a false 9

  15. Berg

    I think most of is will agree our signings lately have been good. It’s just that there ain’t been enough. If we have had added 3 more top signings alongside cech, sanzhez and ozil in last couple years we would be waking the league

  16. Berg

    Draxler is certainly talented and the price he went for was certainly worth the risk as was Dyabala. Those are the sort of signings we should be making alongside top bracket like ozil and sanchez

  17. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    Really hope Ramsey matures a bit soon, was hoping he’d take this chance.

    Certainly need to sort that area for the future, Elneny may be the start of that, but we still need a physical CM distributor type, would mean we’d have Ramsey, Xhaka, Coq and Elneny as central midfield options.

    Yeah, fingers crossed on Fekir.

  18. Romford Ozil Pele

    Gambon – for sure, which is why as I said to CA I still expect the big clubs to pull away eventually. Money is great of course but no use pissing it all up the wall and not having a cohesive team for it. No amount of money has stopped Real Madrd getting bitch-slapped each time they take on Barca.

    It’s why Dortmund’s chief exec was right when he said there’s more money than sense in the PL. Teams have so much money that they’ve lost track of how to create good cohesive teams.

    CA – agree on Alli, looks a great prospect. But I wanna judge him over a period of time. Wilshere as an 18 year old won YPOTS and has pretty much been AWOL for the last three years. Longevity often ends up being a problem with young talented English guys.

  19. gambon

    Not sure on Xhaka.

    Think he will make a great signing for someone but maybe just below our level….a la Kante, Tadic or Shaqiri.

    Saul Niguez or Rabiot are a bit young but destined for the top.

  20. WengerEagle

    Have to agree with gambon on the strength of the league.

    Think that it is more of a freak season than a shift in the strength of the top teams in particular.

    Chelsea’s output this season is unprecedented and is unlikely to ever be repeated by defending BPL champions.

    United are a sleeping giant, it’s only a matter of time before they shitcan LVG and get in a proper gaffer like Pep that will get them back to where they were at under Fergie for so long. If not winning the league then at least competing every season for it.

    Klopp is currently working with Brendan’s squad, half of the squad are simply not good enough to even remotely challenge for the league. Fully expect major squad surgery over there within the next few transfer windows so will be interesting to see how well he buys.

    City are clearly massively under performing and have done for years now. Limping over the line the two seasons that they did win the BPL (and they were fortunate both United and Liverpool choked) and not getting close to the title winners last season or in 2013 despite having the best squad in the league for the last 4 years.

    A manager like Pep again would take them to the next level you feel. No way he can’t get more out of this squad than Pellegrini is getting.

  21. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, that’s fair enough, I’ve seen a lot of Batshuayi since Standard Liege and he’s very similar to Sturridge. 6ft but with a great turn of pace and skill to boot. Not sure it’s fair to judge him based on PSG who are as ridiculously talented team.

    I’m still unsure about Dybala as a leading the line striker. He has Mandzukic and Morata to work off at Juve.

  22. underrated Coq

    I don’t get this obsession over ‘smart-buys’.

    What people forget is signings like those come with a bigger risk. If they work, great, if not, well..another thing for certain fans to moan about. Which is why you find more of these at lesser clubs. Bigger clubs with more financial capabilities go for proven players.

    Lets not forget, Arsenal went through that phase in the last decade, trying to get on with promising youngsters and other low budget players, trying to find smart value in the market they could fish in. Back then you had the fans exasperated and crying out for experienced players who have proven themselves at a high level. And this is what Wenger did. Once we no longer had to hope to luck into smart signings,we started spending only on the type the fans asked for- Proven international caliber experienced pros( majority atleast ) . But now the same fans are moaning about not making risky signings. Weird.

    And for those who criticize Arsenal’s recent lack of smart signings, can you point me to smart signings that United have made? Or City? Or Chelsea? Face it, Its not the way big clubs roll. Mind you, I’m not saying that Arsenal always behave like a big club in transfer windows but this criticism for not being able to seal ‘smart-signings’ is a bit lame.

  23. Romford Ozil Pele

    I actually do feel like Ramsey has it in him to be one of the best B2B midfielders around but he needs to remember the other nuances of a midfielder, most notably playmaking.

    Isn’t El Neny a distributor? Everything I’ve seen of reminds me of a deep lying midfielder who likes to get shots off. Seems mult-functional so interested to see how we use him.

  24. WengerEagle

    Disagree on Xhaka, the lad is mustard and is destined for one of the best clubs in Europe.

    Bayern were sniffing around him last summer but he’s been loyal to Borussia Monchengladbach who helped turn his career around.

    Only a matter of time before he makes the step up though, still only 23.

    Love what I’ve seen of Saul Niguez too.

    Atletico just keep churning out the young talent season after season.

  25. gambon

    We are probably in a position now where we can bring in some top class young talent as we have a very mature squad unlike where we were 5 years ago.

    A GK, CB, LB and CM would make a lot of sense.

    Anyone know whats going on with Monreal contract? Starting to look like we are gonna lose him and no way un hell Gibbs is good enough.

  26. Cesc Appeal

    I remember seeing that Jimenez, I think that was his name, a while ago, CB for Ateltico, liked the look of him at the time but not sure how he’s getting on.

  27. Romford Ozil Pele

    It’ll be interesting to see if Wenger goes after another midfielder because in the summer it’ll look like this:

    Wilshere, Ramsey, Coq, El Neny.

    I think if he goes after another (talk of Rabiot) then he definitely has doubts over Wilshere’s long-term fitness. Like many I’m a big fan of Rabiot

  28. WengerEagle

    It’s not even just that really IMO, the days of making smart under the radar signings for peanuts have been virtually ended by the communications technology explosion.

    Nothing is a secret anymore, if a player blows up with an impressive 10-15 match streak then they get the social media treatment. You have stat databases like Whoscored.com as well that make any player in the top 5 leagues and further afield in Europe visible and easy to track.

    Even the likes of Scoutnation are probably making proper scout’s lives more difficult.

  29. Cesc Appeal

    Hope not, I think Monreal has been one of our most consistent performers, certainly don’t want Gibbs, never rated him, injury prone and a defensive liability.

  30. Marko

    WE he’s got decent numbers at Marseilles and prior to that has been highly regarded for a long time. Someonewill snatch him up and then in two years time we’ll be having a similar discussion as to why we never went in for him

  31. Romford Ozil Pele

    Gambon, with Cech not looking like tiring any time soon may just make sense to promote someone like Martinez because Cech will play 90% of games fitness permitting.

    Monreal has been solid af the last two seasons but now he’s turning 30 next month we’ll have to look at signing someone unless we renew. It’s a precious situation. Gibbs even though he’s useless will be kept as a squad player for HG reasons.

    Think Wenger is happy with his CB options. Needs to start playing Gabriel more though.

  32. WengerEagle

    ‘liked the look of him at the time but not sure how he’s getting on.’

    He’s been a rock.

    Displaced an at the time world class CB in Miranda out of the starting line-up by 19 years of age, practically unheard of for a CB.

    He’s a big part of the most solid defensive backline in Europe.

    The fact that he’s also Uruguayan (Godin) clearly helps too. Who better to learn from than a world class 29 year old fellow countryman in Godin?

  33. qna

    WE.

    Xhaka or Rabiot?
    Aubameyang or Dybala?
    Fekir or Greizzmann or Reus?

    I prefer:

    ——————-Cech
    Bellerin, Gabriel, Kozz, Monreal
    —————-Elneny, Rabiot
    ———–Fekir, Ozil, Sanchez
    ————-Dybala

    Switch Coquelin for Elneny away from home.

  34. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, pretty much agree on smart signings. Wenger monopolised the French market at the turn of the century. Harder for him now although with so much French talent around now it’s a surprise he hasn’t dipped back into that pool. That said in Flamini, Coq, Kos, Debuchy and L’Oreal we still have quite a few.

  35. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    That’s what I mean, I just don’t see Wilshere as an option, he’s a wreck. A new deal should be a tiny basic wage (well for a footballer) and then bumped up on weeks he’s available for selection.

    Yeah, like Rabiot as well, would like Xhaka, but if Wenger went Elneny and Rabiot I wouldn’t complain really knowing we have Ramsey and Coq already.

    Spurs are showing how good a young midfield can be, Alli and Dier in the centre have been impressive, much prefer the look of Alli in CM as opposed to further up the pitch. Nice to see an English pairing doing so well as well. Would consider it for the Euros.

  36. gambon

    RoP

    Think we need a quality young CB to take over from Mertesacker.

    If you look st our squad we basically need a RW as well as sucession plans for Mertesacker,Cazorla, Giroud.

    Naturally these successors neef to be higher calibre if we are gonna take a step forward.

    Due to our inactivity last summer we can outspend almost anyone this summer….we should be targetting the best players in the world.

  37. Cesc Appeal

    WE

    Good to hear, I liked the look of him when I saw him in the UCL, very solid type CB, powerful looking.

  38. Romford Ozil Pele

    CA, yeah it’s sad but at this stage we can’t really be relying on Jack Wilshere. The last few years he’s shown that he’s not reliable from a fitness perspective. I think Wenger will do a Diaby though and persist in the hope he can remain fit and force his way in but we shouldn’t rely on him.

    Yeah Dier and Alli have been great. I’m still not sure about it at the highest level yet but their energy seems to get them through most games.

  39. WengerEagle

    Romford

    I’ll take your word on it because I haven’t seen much of him to be honest.

    In the matches I watched him in (admittedly only 7-8) last season he didn’t really stand out at all.

    I hear that he’s been better this season, 11 goals in the league or something.

    I’m not even using PSG’s dominance as a reason to discredit him, the French league in general has always been poor IMO hence you have players such as Gignac, Gradel, Moussa Sow, Cabella, Belhanda, Gervinho, etc looking like world beaters but where are any of those players now?

    Even Aliadiere was semi-prolific for a season over there a few years ago and he couldn’t shoot fish in a barrel over here.

    The only players in the last 7 odd years in Ligue 1 that have really excited me have been Benzema and Eden Hazard.

  40. Marko

    Atletico are definitely built for the future.Saul, Jimenez, Oliver Torres, Vietto, Correa, Oblak, Griezmann and now this young guy Thomas they’re absolutely full of young talent. To be fair they’ve mostly bought that. Pretty sure Saul and Thomas and Torres came through the academy

  41. Romford Ozil Pele

    Gambon, we have Gabriel and Chambers who are young so I don’t see Wenger dipping in. Generally speaking I don’t like Mertesacker because he hinders our ability to play a high line. That said he’s never been reliant on pace so he’s not gonna decline any time soon. He’s fantastic at reading the game and plays best when we defend with a low block so he’s still a great squad player to have about.

    If Ramsey can improve his form and learn to be a better all round B2B then Santi will likely have to settle for a squad place or leave. Agree on L’Oreal though. Either keep him as back up or sell and upgrade.

  42. qna

    Coq: Elneny hasn’t even played a single minute for Arsenal and he already makes your best 11? Lol

    Fair. hahah. Basically, I am hoping for a completely new and powerful central midfeild partnership – which requires a pair of players we dont yet possess. I am hoping Elneny fits the bill. But your right, have no idea of his quality.

    UC I agree that the COQ was once highly underrated. But now I fear, he is overrated. 🙂

  43. Marko

    Think we need a quality young CB to take over from Mertesacker.

    Pretty sure Gabriel is the guy for that job. Rugani maybe he’s supposed to be highly regarded. Infuriating maybe? In terms of other young centre backs though Laporte but he’ll likely go to Barca otherwise I’d maybe think Terrence Kongolo. He’s gonna be the dogs

  44. Josip Skoblar

    Wenger should go for Rabiot. Every time he’s played for PSG, he was excellent: great passing, physical when he has too and with better technical skills than Coq.

  45. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, he’s been first choice this season. Last season Biesla preferred Gignac (why I don’t know) but Batshuayi is everything we’re crying out for in a CF. And at the moment he’s still relatively cheap too so I’d go for him over most options tbh.

    Ligue 1 is also quite a hard league for attackers to flourish because while it’s not the best, teams are defensively astute and hard to score against so you have to be special to stand out. Normally you pick up a lot of DMs and CBs from there but there are some good flair players too. Fekir was Young player of the season last term and even Lyon’s chairman said that they’d have qualified from their CL group had he been fit. Don’t forget the talented Grenier too who got injured at the Emirates Cup.

  46. WengerEagle

    Marko

    Maybe.

    He scored a goal every other game in Belgium though, not exactly a stunning record.

    Perisic was prolific in Belgium, Matias Suarez used to smash up defenders over there and I remember people on here were calling for him.

    Mitrovic looked great in Belgium and has looked anything but for Newcastle.

    Lukaku was the top scorer over there when he was 16/17, makes a bit of a mockery of the league.

    Speaking of Lukaku, he’s the same age as Batshuayi.

  47. gambon

    Gabriel may take over from Mertesacker but who will take over from Gabriel.

    Chambers is way off the pace at this point and was not a good signing.

    He should have spent his first few seasons on loan.

  48. Romford Ozil Pele

    Reus is world class, nobody will debate that but if I supported Dortmund or City, I’d be annoyed at the rate at which he and Aguero get injured. Reus especially can be out for 6/7 weeks at a time which is ridiculous.

  49. qna

    WE: Reus over Fekir and Griezmann hands down

    Yeah. True. I went with Fekir because of his age and the fact that he is better from the right and we already have Santi (and Theo) who are better on the left.

  50. Marko

    Honestly struggling at the moment but still liked by simeone it seems. It honestly looks like they can’t decide if him, Vietto, Correa or Torres (probably feels like he has to give him game time) are the number one guy with Griezmann. For theprice I still think he could of done a job for us.

    Sticking out a mile though giving the lack of spending last summer and potential cheap moves in the midfield area that we’re keeping our significant purchase for a striker. Whether it’s Pierre or Icardi (who we were reported to have moved late for last summer) or Michy who knows. Only hope we do something this month while we have the chance of something big

  51. WengerEagle

    Romford

    He must have a bit about him if he’s impressed you to the point that you’d happily buy him. I’ll keep any eye out for him.

    Was so disappointing how Bielsa left after looking so promising the season before. Started the season like a house on fire only to burn out by Christmas. For my money they played better football than either Lyon or PSG did up until that point.

    Not sure I agree on the French League being harder to score in. So few top players play over there during their prime that it’s difficult to tell how they’d fare in it. Only PSG with Ibrahimovic and Cavani are a precedent for it and the former has dominated the league since he joined in 2012.

    Cavani has been shunted out wide to accommodate Ibra and in the time he has been given as the CF he has looked out of sorts.

    Gignac, a really bang average striker scored goals for fun in France.
    Giroud comfortably broke the 20 goal barrier.
    Moussa Sow scored a shed-load for Lille over there.
    Gradel last season scored 17 in the league and he’s not even a striker.

    Even going a bit further back, Djibril Cisse used to smash up the French League and was bang average over here.

  52. WengerEagle

    Lol, remember people lauded Wenger’s loyalty for staying with us in his ‘prime’ and resisting the temptation to manage the likes of Real Madrid?

    He knows fully well that he wouldn’t have last 6 months under Perez.

  53. Hitman

    Feels like a three horse race.
    Shame to see the Spuds doing so well. But it won’t last. But blimey they are certainly the physically strongest and fittest team in the league by miles. I felt sorry for Everton yesterday. Looked like they were going to get pressed and pounded to death.
    City will always be a threat but they don’t seem motivated. Good.
    That leaves the door open.
    We can discount any of the perma crocks contributing to the run in. Apart from Elneny I don’t think he will buy anyone else. With Coq returing, that might be enough to patch up CM….just.
    Alexis will be like a new signing.
    Have to accept some points will be lost due to poor tactics and motivation, sorry I mean due to handbrake problems.
    I doubt there is a cohesive master plan to win the league. He don’t plan for anything.

    We just have to hope we lose less than the other two. It won’t be pretty.
    Ultimately I think it will go down to Tweedledee and Tweedledum missing less sitters in front of goal. It they can both get on a goal scoring run together that might be enough to get over the line.

  54. Nasri's Mouth

    Emiratesstroller: The only other club who have spent well in recent times are Manchester City,

    Errr…. dunno if that’s true,

    De Bruyne and Sterling have looked very good, but they really ought to be for £50m. Mangala looks like he’s Stepanovs levels, Otamendi has been ok, but for £30m+ you’d expect more than just ok. Bony has struggled, Jovetic didn’t really work out at all for them, they lucked out by selling Negredo, Navas has been really poor.

  55. Nasri's Mouth

    Josip Skoblar: Wenger should go for Rabiot.

    PSG have been pretty vocal about not wanting to sell him though, so it’d be hard.

    Added to that he sounds like hard work, and his mum sounds even harder work

  56. Sam

    You are still bashing Chambers? He’s learning his new role n still 20years. He’ll graduate soon, I believe very soon as he’s doing well so far
    And I don’t think Wenger still sees him as Cb

  57. Relieable Sauce

    Someone will move for Batshuayi soon you would think, currently 2nd top goalscorer in French league in his 1st season playing upfront.

  58. tunnygriffboy

    Well. Benitez sacked. Zidane takes over. Interesting.

    Zidane loves Hazard so he’s on his way. Chelsea possibly no CL next year mmmmmm. . . . . .

    Watch for the fire sale in the summer. Cheque books at the ready please Arsene.
    I think Isco will stay under Zidane unfortunately and no one will leave this window

    Keep an eye out for Kroos, Modric, James, Bale and possibly CR7 on the move. Interesting times

  59. Pedro

    Bamford, hardly vintage Chelsea.

    … and Liverpool? They’ve been shite mate. A couple of good games, that’s about it. Really not worried about them at all.

  60. Sam

    I like Aubameyang but £42M is too much
    Better pay 40 or £50 plus Welbeck for Lukaku.
    The latter already has 4years premiership experience n plays for Belgium not Congo so we won’t be losing him for African nation cups

  61. Nasri's Mouth

    I was disappointed that he didn’t keep the DM role against Newcastle. Maybe Wenger wanted someone with a bit more ‘sticking the boot in’ savvy, hence Flamini.

    Depending on Debuchy, good chance Chambers will get the DM role in the FA Cup though.

    Positionally, and in possession he looked better than Flamini.

    (Big caveat, it was only one game etc.)

  62. Berg

    I think i need to go to specsavers as cant see anything in Ramsay’s game to suggest he could be the best box to box player in the league. He cant tackle, is fairly weak and goal scoring record is poor

  63. Berg

    I don’t think Isco will be sold by Madrid with ZZ in charge. Would have been ideal replacement for Santi eventually

  64. gambon

    Ramsey is a very good tackler….its just he wants to be Alexis Sanchez and wenger doesnt seem to have the balls tol tell him to stop going forward.

    His form in late 2012/13 and 2013/14 was brilliant then he let the adulation go to his head.

  65. Berg

    I must be watching a different game as more often than not Ramsay is caught on wrong side to make a meaningful challenge. And he isnt the most athletic or strongest of players

  66. Samir

    #‎Arsenal‬ have agreed to scrap Serge Gnabry’s loan deal at West Bromwich Albion and exercised a recall option.

    Gnabry will have his season-long loan cut short by Arsenal after a difficult spell at the Hawthorns under head coach Tony Pulis.

    The winger has only played 12 minutes of Premier League football since signing in August and will be sent out on loan again by Arsenal, with a string of Championship clubs, including Brighton, likely to be interested. (The Telegraph)

  67. salparadisenyc

    Incredible to cut shot of Carlo, sign Rafa and move onto ZZ after 4 months.
    Definitely last throw of dice for Perez.

    Isco is a baller, eventual Caz replacement whom can occupy our right side with immediate effect. Think he stays with Rafa’s sacking though, ZZ will utilize that talent.

  68. Dissenter

    So we paid 16 million for a player that Wenger is still trying to find a position for.
    For Chamber’s sake, I hope he runs as far away from Wenger as possible.
    He’s not going to grow in our system and needs to go somewhere, maybe on loan to play as CB week in-week out.

  69. Pedro

    Amen Gambon. He’s playing for that Barca move… except his greed hasn’t really paid off since that purple patch he had a few years back.

  70. Cesc Appeal

    I’ve always though that was an issue with Wenger, he just never seems able, or rarely I should say, to give players instructions, remember Song always doing what he wanted, Ramsey does, Gibbs always did, Bellerin does now, Wilshere still has no idea what his job is.

    Seems the players are self-governing in a way.

  71. Santos

    “When the big clubs are involved, Arsene politely moves aside and waits for someone like El Neny to become available”.

    Hahaha Gambon.

    Real Madrid should have kept Ancelotti in the first place. He would have taken the team to another level. They were unlucky last season where they had near misses.
    Redtruth, be serious! Isco is a world class player, who everybody wants. He directs the play of the game.

  72. tunnygriffboy

    Chambers RB on Saturday. Arteta and Elneny in midfield and one of the youngsters up front. What you reckon ? ? ? ? ?

    Anyone know anything about Brozovic ? Appears him, Elneny, Rabiot and Aubemayang appear to be the hot tips this window.

  73. Cesc Appeal

    I think if we’re playing Chambers CDM then keep playing him CDM, we need to stop pushing him all over the place and just give him a role.

    I might just play Bellerin, don’t trust Debuchy and I know we have Liverpool shortly after but often with Arsenal players get time off and then still look disjointed, tired and crap when they come back.

    I’d give Elneny a game beside Chambers, if he’s actually here by then, this is an Arsenal transfer.

    Then maybe Oxlade in CAM, Adelaide one side, Campbell the other and Walcott up top…really scraping together a team here though.

    Be interesting to see Wenger’s line up, if he goes really strong it might be a suggestion that he doesn’t wholly believe what he says about our squad strength and title chances.

  74. Marko

    Yeah I don’t see the fact that Zidane takes over that all of a sudden Isco gets more of a role. Who’s being dropped? Ronaldo, Bale Benzema? Yeah he’ll still be behind those 3 and James

  75. karim

    Eagle

    Lol ! Why is it so hard to admit ( or understand ) that even though ligue 1 has been average more often than not for the last 10/15 years, it still produces great talent.

    The fact the Bournemouths of this world can buy half the league’s personnel each and every year ( and they do ! ) may explain the instability 80 % of the French teams face, resulting in disastrous results in Europe and generally making it very hard to play well.

    You’re saying only Benzema or Hazard have been exciting these last 7/8 years ?
    Then what about Payet, Fekir, Matuidi ( almost any Psg player to be honest ), Ayew, Ochoa, Lisandro, Lucho Gonzales, Aubameyang, Gomis, Pjanic, Mahrez ( only played in ligue 2 )
    And that’s just who I’m thinking of right now, the list can be extended easily.

    Funny how anything that’s coming from France kind of stinks for ya ?
    Weird really ? Is it that damn handball rearing its ugly head again ??

    In other news, yes, Bielsa’s Marseille was brilliant until Christmas last season but then so was Lyon in the 2nd half, maybe even better. Their game v psg highlights my point.
    Just ask Ozy, who was very complimentary at some stage, but then he did make the effort to watch them !

    Onto Gignac :
    This player was very good at Lorient and Toulouse, Domenech almost picked him up for France when he was really unknown.
    Being from Marseille, pressure may have been too hard for him and as a result, he got fatter and lost himself for 2 seasons, getting stick from the stands on a regular basis, and I’m talking about the Marseille stands !
    Deschamps and Bielsa changed that.
    From an average striker, he turned into a prolific and quite good finisher, just have a look at his goals v psg couple of seasons ago ( 2/2 ) or his production last season, or his superb header v Germany on that terrible November night !
    You’ll see what I’m talking about.
    Far better than Michy, only natural Bielsa picked Gignac all the way through.
    Batshuayi has huge potential but still has Sanogo moments and can be more donkey-like than OG, trust me on that !

    Gradel was bang average, may have scored 17 goals ( not 30 btw ), but didn’t show much part from that, and was really selfish.

    Djibril Cissé was better than what you’re implying and still won the Champions league, after 2 leg breaks into the bargain !

    Rabiot
    He’s no bad boy, he’s from posh Versailles ffs ! May be cheeky from him to ask for more game time, given his young age and the talent surrounding him but one can easily understand he’s going to win the bench d’or now that Pastore and Verratti are finally back in business. Plus Deschamps is watching him, so I agree with him although he’s been very ackward to express it that way.

    We need to get him and I think we have a chance.

    Psg are also taking a lot of risks with Marquinhos by letting him rot on the bench but Luiz and Silva are bankable players… ( Silva is a freaking beast again btw ).

    Moussa Sow was as good for Lille as OG is right now for us. Nobody believed in him and he went for Turkey, where he scored more goals than Rvp or Podolski will ever score ! Mamadou Niang as well was excellent !

    Gignac must be 31 or stg and nobody would splash the cash for him so he went for a mega-bucks deal in Mexico ( I know ) and is already a legend over there, just ask Mid, I’m sure he’s heard of him now.

    I think Belhanda just signed for Schalke ( not 100 % sure though ).

    Rant over, couldn’t be bothered in the past though I’ve always meant to answer your outrageous allegations ( joking ).

  76. tunnygriffboy

    Cesc

    If it wasn’t for the injury deja vu, then we could rotate a load of players for Saturday and I’d be confident of winning

    Wenger haas said JRA and Iwobi are good enough but lack the experience with the importance of the games we’ve been playing . ? ?

    With the resorces we currently have available it’s a bit damned if we do, damned if we don’t. People want Wenger to rotate. If he does and we lose then criticism. Play a strong team and win but pick up another injury and he’s criticised.

    Thing is we were always light in DM quality but with the injuries we are seriously light elsewhere.

    God, get Elneny in asap and get some injured players back asap.

    Cech
    Bellerin Per Gabriel Gibbs
    Chambers Arteta
    JRA Ox Campbell
    Walcott

    Fat Sam will ring the changes though. He has form for it and is already moaning about having to play 3 games in 7 days after the hectic Christmas schedule and boy do they need PL points

    As an after thought. Why a round of PL games midweek after the FA Cup a week after a crammed Christmas schedule ? He does have a point.

  77. augie

    “a tricky game against Barcelona”………..what constitutes “tricky” pedro ? If you mean a game that we are going to get our arses handed to us, then I agree it will be a “tricky game” lol

  78. Josip Skoblar

    “Increasingly, Zidane involved himself in day-to-day training, which led to divorce with Mourinho in September 2012. The Special One wanted another mouthpiece; someone to criticise referees and take part in his “verbal wars”, as daily paper Sport wrote. Zidane wanted to coach.” Lol.

  79. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Conor Henderson joins Crawley

    Another great youth player …..

    Meanwhile Spurs signing another quality English youngster

    We will be far behind them soon

    In league and in structure

  80. Leedsgunner

    Rafa and Maureen to battle it out to be the next United manager? Stranger things have happened in football…

    It would be comedy gold if for instance if United appointed Rafa then De Gea was then foiled again from moving to Real Madrid this summer. You know, revenge is a dish best served cold and all that…

    Although to be honest the most likely scenerio is that he’ll take over from Gary Neville if he flops over at his old club Valencia…

    If I was a fringe Real Madrid player I probably would want to move more rather than less. No doubt Zizou will want to make his mark by bringing his own charges from the “B” side slowly but surely as well as going into the market for the latest edition of Galactocos…

    Isco would be brill if he was available but if Man City are sniffing around chances are Wenger will retreat crying loudly that he tried to sign him… although if Jesé was still wanting out we should start working the phones!!!

  81. WengerEagle

    karim

    Lol can’t say that I didn’t see this coming. 😉 I knew what I was signing myself up for with the criticism of Ligue 1, I’ll jut say my piece.

    People regularly shit-talk Serie A on here despite it being a better league than Ligue 1 (my opinion).

    ‘Why is it so hard to admit ( or understand ) that even though ligue 1 has been average more often than not for the last 10/15 years, it still produces great talent.’

    I’m not denying that top players come from Ligue 1, some of Europe’s best players over the last decade have come from Ligue 1. Benzema and Hazard being two of the most high-profile players.

    Pjanic is another player that you earmarked and I forgot, a great example of a top class player that learned his trade in France.

    The difference between these top players and some of the players that have question marks over them in my mind is that, they proved their ability at the highest level in the UCL. Benzema in particular was outstanding in the UCL before Madrid swooped in for him, Pjanic was impressive in Europe as well as was Essien for Lyon in previous years. Same goes for Lisandro Lopez, Michel Bastos, Juninho, Niang for Marseille, etc.

    The players that I listed were totally unproven at any level above Ligue 1. Just look at Lacazette and how much he has struggled this season.

    ‘The fact the Bournemouths of this world can buy half the league’s personnel each and every year ( and they do ! ) may explain the instability 80 % of the French teams face, resulting in disastrous results in Europe and generally making it very hard to play well.’

    Not denying this, the likes of Valbeuna, Gignac and Belhanda jumping ship from the top French teams to play abroad in Ukraine and Mexico proves the battle that Ligue 1 clubs face to hold on to their best players.

    ‘You’re saying only Benzema or Hazard have been exciting these last 7/8 years ?’

    To be fair this was a silly statement, what I meant to have said was that these were the only two players to have come out of France in the last 7-8 years IMO that went on to become truly world class players. (This season aside from Hazard of course)

    I admired most of Lyon’s sides throughout the mid-late noughties, loved Lisandro Lopez, Bastos, Pjanic, Toulalan,etc. I liked Marseille’s title winning side in 2009-10 with Niang, Lucho Gonzalez, Taiwo, Mandana, Valbeuna, Ben Arfa, etc. Lille in 2010/11 were exciting to watch and had a top team which included Hazard, Gervinho, Cabaye, Debuchy, Sow, etc.

    As much as I rated the above players, only Hazard and Benzema from his Lyon days went on to become world class players IMO. Pjanic is right up there too and looks to be getting even better so his name will be up there sooner rather than later if he can keep fit.

    Would any of the rest of those players get into the starting XI of any of the best teams around Europe? I don’t think that they would.

    ‘( almost any Psg player to be honest )’

    Ibra, Cavani, Verratti,Thiago Silva, Motta, Lavezzi, Pastore, Marquinhos were all bought from Italy,

    Di Maria and Luiz from England, Trapp from Germany, Lucas from Brazil, Maxwell from Spain which only really leaves Matuidi (brilliant player), Rabiot (looks very promising but still extremely raw) and Aurier from the first team squad.

    ‘Funny how anything that’s coming from France kind of stinks for ya ?
    Weird really ? Is it that damn handball rearing its ugly head again ??’

    Lol, not at all mate, I just call it as I see it.
    Henry is my favourite footballer of all time, was my idol as a kid. Have never expressed any vitriol towards the France NT, if you noticed a few weeks back I had them and I still do have them as joint favourites to win Euro 2016 along with Germany.

    ‘but then so was Lyon in the 2nd half, maybe even better.’

    Fully agree, Lyon were much better in the second half of the season and really should have gone on to win the title.

    Listen, I rate Gignac like I do Mario Gomez and Huntelaar as an excellent finisher and penalty box striker. He’s proved himself to be a decent goalscorer over the years but my point was more, what does it say about the quality of the league if he is one of the best strikers in it?

    6 NT goals for France and he never looked convincing in the Champions League for Marseille. Ultimately couldn’t hack it at a higher level than Ligue 1 football.

    ‘Gradel was bang average, may have scored 17 goals ( not 30 btw ), but didn’t show much part from that, and was really selfish.’

    Gradel smashing up the league kind of proves my point a little though, doesn’t it? He scored more goals than any other player did in Ligue 1 from December to May last season.

    ‘Djibril Cissé was better than what you’re implying and still won the Champions league, after 2 leg breaks into the bargain !’

    Was he though? No-one is doubting his courage and resilience to come back from 2 leg breaks but even at his very best over in England, he was a 1 goal every 3 matches striker, pretty bang average. Djimi Traore and Milan Baros also won the UCL…

    ‘Moussa Sow was as good for Lille as OG is right now for us. Nobody believed in him and he went for Turkey, where he scored more goals than Rvp or Podolski will ever score ! Mamadou Niang as well was excellent !’

    Niang was a quality player, really intelligent CF that could operate out wide as opposed to just through the middle. Sow had that one great season in France for Lille but did little else after that.

    He didn’t have a great scoring record in Turkey for Fenerbahce and RE Turkey, come on. Absolutely shite league for which I won’t apologise for. Hugo f***ing Rodallega and a 34-35 year old Samuel Eto’o are among the top scorers over there this season.

    ‘I think Belhanda just signed for Schalke ( not 100 % sure though ).’

    Has he?
    He’s been shocking over in Ukraine for Kiev so would be surprised if Schalke want to take a punt on him. Wasn’t his attitude questionable just before he left Montpellier?

    ‘Rant over, couldn’t be bothered in the past though I’ve always meant to answer your outrageous allegations ( joking ).’

    Look, you’re French and you watch Ligue 1 on a weekly basis, I respect that. I happen to think that it’s a league that’s sorely lacking in quality, PSG aside there’s nobody worth shaking a stick at. Just my two cents.

    What do I know, eh?

  82. Nasri's Mouth

    Leedsgunner: Rafa and Maureen to battle it out to be the next United manager? Stranger things have happened in football…

    Hmm, can’t think of too many 😀

  83. WengerEagle

    I couldn’t believe that Perez sacked Ancelotti in the summer for Rafa but to only give the guy 5 months??

    Makes you wonder how Mourinho was in charge for 3 years over there.

  84. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Sal

    When you break it down like that …
    Man it’s staggering ,…

    Another big name player who thinks he will automatically be a top class manager …

    Watch him promote his son …

  85. Leedsgunner

    With Zizou in charge now I would not be surprised if CR7 is signed by Man United… this summer, apparently Zizou told Cristiano that there’s only room for only one insufferable ego at Real Madrid… and it’s not him!

  86. karim

    Fair enough Eagle, well I mean for the biggest part.
    Thanks for replying anyway.

    Thing is I agree it’s a disappointing league and wouldn’t react if it was a one-off but you keep using weak arguments like the Gradel one to prove your point and I don’t think it’s fair.

    The PL has been heavily criticised of late, think it’s a shame so many ” great teams ” struggle v weak or average opposition, I mean Leicester has been something else this year but City, United or Chelsea shouldn’t waste so many points all over the country, don’t think it’s just a freak season, or whatever Gambon called it. European results have been far from good enough these last seasons too.

    I will be ready to agree with anything that’s been said about the French league ( the most toilet league in Europe, according to one of Pedro’s recent posts )
    when you guys start looking in the mirror.

    While I’m at it, why do you keep using stats all the time to illustrate your points when your football knowledge is far more interesting than numbers.

    Anyway, what do I know too ?

  87. Leedsgunner

    The key Q for me when assessing the strength of a league is this:

    If we had that particular league’s all star first XI would we be able to win the EPL with that squad?

    I think we would with Ligue 1 All Star XI IMO…

    If so… the league bears paying attention to. I’m not saying that Ligue Un is stronger or equal to the EPL… but based on my test I think they have enough sufficient quality for us to seriously look for their best players and their best prospects to strengthen our squad.

    Just my two pennies worth… 🙂

  88. WengerEagle

    karim

    I was just using Gradel as an example of a player who didn’t look cut for the BPL (Played in the Championship for Leeds well into his 20’s) and that was very effective in Ligue 1.

    To be fair to him he was injured very early into his Bournemouth career so we’ll have to wait and see if he really is cut out for it at this level or not.

    My scepticism towards players performing well in Ligue 1 is no different to the scepticism that people express towards players who play well in the Eredivise in the Netherlands or the Portuguese League.

    Countless quality players have emerged from both of these leagues, more even than Ligue 1 arguably.

    Nobody jumps to the defence of either of these leagues.

    I agree on the BPL, the top teams and especially Man City and Man United have been so inefficient it defies belief. With the money that both have spent, they should be duking it out for the league well above everybody else but instead they sit 3rd and 5th.

    I don’t need to look in the mirror, I fully accept that the BPL is no longer the strongest league in Europe.

    ‘While I’m at it, why do you keep using stats all the time to illustrate your points when your football knowledge is far more interesting than numbers.’

    As much as I love giving my take on footballers it’s all subjective, we could argue back and forth all day on the ability or potential of a certain player but it means fuck all unless it is backed by something substantive.

    That is where the stats come in.

    Stats are great unless they are misused.

  89. WengerEagle

    ‘I think we would with Ligue 1 All Star XI IMO…’

    Let’s be honest though, that team would pretty much be PSG with possibly Fekir.

    And the vast majority of PSG’s team are foreign purchases from Serie A.

  90. karim

    Eagle
    Fully agree with your last post, no worries.
    Stats bore me to be fair and as you said, most people use it to no end.

    Nice convo though !

  91. leon

    I still don’t understand why wenger did not at very least bring in dm player in the summer its very clear his current dm options are up to the task, allot of fans may not agree with this but I think teams needs a world cb a leader a toney adams type defender it would cost but I think it would be worth every penny this team has good defenders but they need a leader, I would sell Mertesacker and pay out 25-30 million on a world cb but I cant see that happening.

    This Elneny doesnt seem to be a bad signing he young althletic very dynamic something niether flamani or arteter has even at the best of times arteter was never that kind of player even in the last game this had no real protection at all and I think this young man and couqulin could have competition for that osition

  92. Leedsgunner

    Obviously my test is not without exceptions but just a very broad measure to gauge a general strength of a league. Safe to say that IMO EPL is one of three best leagues in the world.

  93. somerandomperson

    Better way to gauge the strength of the league is to find out how the teams from 4-10 compare in each league . That is probably league’s strength will be not in the top 2 or the best players.

    Though big clubs in EPL will have more money , the extra money will certainly create a more level playing field. At the top end of football the effect of law of diminishing returns is very very high. Even though top 4 clubs will have much more money the extra money will not give them proportional advantage in the league.

    The extra TV money causes huge problems for top clubs in england , now
    –> On the lower end for squad players they have to compete with many more clubs for signings with more money. When money is same same players would want to play not sit on the bench.

    –> On the higher end they still have to compete with Barca / Real Madrid / Bayern/PSG’s . Here name matters as much as the money. These clubs still have more money and the brand name where every one falls over. They have to pay over odds to compete with big clubs.

  94. WengerEagle

    karim

    Cheers, didn’t mean to disrespect you, like I said France for my money are joint favourites for Euro 2016 and have produced just as many world class players as any other country in Europe with the exception of possibly Spain in the last couple of decades.

    I just don’t rate Ligue 1 as a league. Just as I don’t rate the Dutch League or the Portuguese League.

    We’re the biggest joke in Europe for national leagues (Airtricity League) so I wouldn’t worry about it! 🙂

  95. karim

    Ben Arfa ( Nice )
    N’tep ( Rennes )
    Fekir ( Lyon )
    Yeah, can’t think of many more outside Paris and Monaco.
    Still, I agree with Leeds, the instability I mentioned plus the general defensive mentality weakens the league year after year but I keep seeing potential Kantes or Mahrezs every week-end and that’s exciting in itself.

  96. gary

    Gambon not sure what ur on about..I stated why u would play Ramsey centre ..because he’s one of the best box to box players in the league..what the fuck had Alexis or Giroud got to do with that

  97. Cyrus the virus

    Zidane;I want to thank the club and you, president, for giving me the chance to coach this great team.
    Today is a very exciting day for me, even more so than when I signed as a player. I am going to give all my heart for this club.”
    We have the best team and the best supporters in the world. I will do everything possible to win something this season,”
    The most important thing is to be with the team tomorrow to start working.”

  98. karim

    Eagle
    Never thought you did. No problemo.

    Airtricity league ?
    Is it some ecological thing or something ?
    Flamini may be interested.

    I’ll get my coat…

  99. Relieable Sauce

    “Stats are great”….unless they are gathered incorrectly…

    Obi Mikels 2 yellow card fouls werent even given as free kicks the other day and may even have been noted as “key tackles won”.

    Players get assists for misplaced passes/shots???
    A player who closes down and forces an error doesnt get recognised, even if it leads to a goal???

  100. WengerEagle

    ‘Airtricity league ?
    Is it some ecological thing or something ?
    Flamini may be interested.’

    Lol, with the tripe that they call football served up over here even Flamini with all his billions would struggle with a spring clean.

    Try watching Bray Wanderers vs Shelbourne on a nippy Friday night before you ever call Stoke or Bolton of old dull.

  101. Leedsgunner

    Upon reflection I think the Zizou thing is just another ego trip by the Real Madrid hierarchy to have their own version of Pep… in other words a club great who goes on to conquer everything before them.

    Does Zizou have it in him? I remain very skeptical but time will tell.

  102. WengerEagle

    Agree Sauce, stats aren’t everything of course.

    There will never be an assist stat attributed to Cesc for his unbelievable through ball to Nasri that set him on his way to set up Arshavin for the Barca winner.

    And in contrast, Busquets’ 2 yard pass lay-off to Messi near the halfway line before he went on to assault the entire Real Madrid defence single-handedly will technically go down as an assist.

    In the main stats tell you half the story though IMO.

    Tell Ozil fans that assists don’t matter. 😀

  103. WengerEagle

    ‘the Real Madrid hierarchy to have their own version of Pep’

    The difference being of course that Pep transformed the fortunes of Barcelona B’s who were in the 3rd division I think and ended up winning the Segunda division. He also ended up promoting the likes of Busquets and Pedro into the 1st team.

    Zizou didn’t really get up to much in charge of Castilla.

  104. Relieable Sauce

    WE

    Yeah good for absolutes such as goals/shots and shots/save ratios, to get a good understanding of a players fundamental qualities. Some of the varying stats from any league season cant be relied upon too much imo but they do a good job of highlighting players worthy of further investigation.

  105. Dissenter

    “If wenger had balls he would go for bale..
    60m plus his contract ….”

    Balderdash
    It was Zidane who spear headed Madrid’s drive to sign Bale.
    He will rather sell Ronaldo but to be fair that not his call.

  106. Emiratesstroller

    I made the point earlier today that I thought that Paris St Germain would struggle in future in securing top players apart from those who were nearing the end of their careers and were moving out of other leagues for ‘financial rather than playing’ reasons.

    When you take a look at the French Ligue you can see the problem now. There is a huge gulf between PSG and the rest of Clubs. It is frankly no longer a challenge.

    France still produces a lot of young talent, but those players are leaving fairly
    early in their careers as was case with Varane and Martial.

    RT keeps on referring to dip in standards of EPL. It is probably true that there is currently no outstanding team this season, which is why there is still uncertainty as to who will win title, but the overall strength in depth when compared
    with other European Leagues is much higher.

    The fact is that when you start talking about ‘high value players’ in transfer market few clubs in Europe can compete. Most clubs in Italy,France, Spain and even Germany are relying heavily on loans, swaps or low budget deals.

    The major problem in Europe as a whole and not just in England is that there
    are very few ‘world class players’ emerging of the stature of Ronaldo and Messi, but if you see them again I doubt that Real Madrid or Barcelona will be
    guaranteed a free run at buying them as in the past.

    Barcelona may have a large turnover, but there are concerns about their financial strength. Also there are material changes occurring in taxation and television rights in Spain. We saw recently the problems. which arose with the Neymar transfer and of course the ongoing claims being made against Messi over
    his tax affairs.

    That is why I believe that it will become more difficult for Spanish Clubs to
    compete at top level in transfer market.

  107. Bamford10

    “I remember when we were linked with Aubameyang in 2011/12, the reaction was typical Wenger trying to sign another French/African.”

    Irrelevant. All that matters is whether the player comes good, proves himself to be top quality. If this had happened with more Wenger signings over the past 8 years, if he had signed more players and they had come good, then all of us would have a different view of the man. As it is, he hasn’t been very good on this front.

  108. Godfather

    How can a lower league player like Dele Alli show so much more football intellect and discipline than a player like Aaron Ramsey that has spent so much time under Wengers tutelage and played with so many world class players.

    Shocking smh

  109. Joe

    Ramsey

    One of the best box to box in the league????

    On what Fucken planet you watching football on?

    He’s been bang average since his 6 month purple patch 4 years ago

  110. Bamford10

    Arda Turan was signed, by the way, for £9m by Atletico in 2011. Was then signed by Barcelona for £25m this past summer.

    I am not denying that we may need to sign this or that £30-40m player, however Arda Turan is an example of a player who could’ve improved us for much less.

    A few other examples include:
    – Lewandowski (£3m, 2010)
    – Pjanic (£8m, 2011)
    – Gundogan (£4m, 2011)
    – Krychowiak (£4m, 2014)
    – Coutinho (£8.5m, 2013)
    – Morata (£15m, 2014)
    – Reus (£13m, 2012)
    – Rakitic (£13m, 2014)
    – Nainggolan (£11m, 2014)
    – Verratti (£9m, 2012)
    – Aubameyang (£10m, 2013)

  111. Rambo Ramsey

    Joe if your gonna moan, at least do it right. Ramsey was great ever since he was moved back central in 12/13 and he was excellent for the whole of 13/14. so that’s more than six months and 2, not 4 years ago

  112. Bamford10

    Rambo

    Re-read my earlier posts. My point should be obvious. And no, you couldn’t name another 50 players like the above, i.e., players who would walk into our XI who were signed for £15m or less in past five years.

  113. Redtruth

    Wenger Home Record:

    Highbury

    Played: 265.
    Won: 186
    Drawn: 53
    Lost: 26
    For: 574
    Against: 218
    Win Rate: 70%

    Emirates

    Played: 266
    Won: 180
    Drawn: 55
    Lost:31
    For:563
    Against: 203
    Win Rate:68%

    Reason why stats should be binned

    Anyone who witnessed Arsenal play at Highbury knows that they were 10 times better than these current Emirates incumbents yet the stats suggest their is very little too choose between the teams!

    Arsenal were more dynamic, stylish and successful at Highbury yet stats would have us believe that the current team is almost on a par !!

  114. qna

    According to the not so reliable fichajes, Tony Kroos wants out of Madrid.

    If that is the case, we must go for this guy. His is a perfect player for Arsenal. Forget about Schniederlin, Kondogbia, Imubla, Krychowiak, Wanyama, Carvalho and all the other names people have said. The 26 year old world cup winner is the perfect holding midfielder for us.

    If we can add Kroos and Elneny this winter, then go back for Dybala and Fekir in the summer, we will have a fairly complete team. Cazorla will not have the legs for a complete campaign, but if he is supported by the squad depth of Ramsey, Elneny and Wilshere, then I like the look of this team:

    Cech
    Bellerin Gabriel Kosielny Monreal
    Kroos Coquelin
    Fekir Ozil Alexis
    Dybala