2nd best keeper in the world is… | Arsenal, are we flunking or chasing?

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HAPPY GOOD MORNING TO YOU.

I write morning, but actually it’s my night. I’m just giving the UK the respect it deserves for inventing Arsenal.

Anyway, what do we have today?

We have cold weather. It’s f*cking freezing. I went walking in Central Park not believing that the cold could get me, now I’m ill. So much weakness to my cold-adaptability game.

But what about football?

Well, Stan Kroenke is borrowing a cool billion dollars to fund his move from St. Louis over to Inglewood. What is interesting is that Stan is a Missouri native, he apparently told the city he’d no interest in moving the Rams, they put $720m towards a 30 year loan, now Stan is leaving 9 years short of the loan completion and lumping that debt for an empty stadium on his home state.

Gross eh?

I think so.

Fancy that, we haven’t been able to spend money on players for years, again avoiding doing so this summer, yet he can go all lahdy dah spunking out a reported $2.2b on a new fancy dan stadium (who was fancy Dan btw?).

Billionaires, what are they like?

Anyway, in other news, there’s talk about Sanchez being excited about linking up with Guardiola again. Not a problem, because Arsenal are going to land Pep, right? Probably wrong. But here’s the thing, I thought Pep didn’t rate Sanchez because he gives the ball away so much? Not pure tika-taka is he?

Tony Evans raised and interesting point in The Standard, one that we’ve touched on… that if Arsene wants to be a true legend, maybe he should think about handing the baton over to Pep, rather than wait for someone substandard to take over and fail like Fergie did.

For shame Sir Alex.

Trouble with men in power is they never know when to let go… Arsene will go on until the milk turns sour and lumpy I’d imagine.

BUT, it’s not sour right now. It could be by the end of next month, but let’s not go negativo just yet.

The interesting thing is going to be whether players coming back to fitness are going to boost our game. Or whether they’ll come back and choke it up like has happened before. We’ve flunked out a few times over the years in pretty strong positions… 2007-08 5 points off the top at the end of Feb (we didn’t by a CB or a striker), 10/11 4 points off the top by the end of Feb (think we needed a keeper that season) and 2 points off the top at the start of Feb two seasons ago (didn’t sign a striker or a body that wasn’t semi broken).

I mean, we have had some GOOD chances. In the years we’ve been at the top, we fall behind, the years we’re massively behind, we summon the courage and surge forward.

This year, it’s different. Why? Because it just f*cking is, ok Dan?

I mean, on the face of it, it’s quite similar, we have a weaknesses in our squad, we have players out of form and we’re suffering injuries.

On the positive side of things, we have some very special talent, we have a good defence, a good keeper and a world-class wideman coming back into contention.

I’m totally torn about what’s going to happen… this league is just so messed up, it’s really hard to call it.

No doubt in my mind that this is one of the toughest leagues ever, so less of the nay-saying that it’s a weak league this year. It’s a strong league this year, it’s just stronger across the board, rather than the focus being on two teams like it is in other countries.

HERE IS A SUGGESTION: Petr Cech is the best keeper in the Premiership this season. Second best in the world now. Behind Neuer? Let me know what you think…

HERE IS SOMETHING INTERESTING: Brendan Rodgers said he had no say on the players that were signed for Liverpool.

Crazy that this can be the case. Happy that you have a committee of people that help make a decision, but surely the manager makes the decision, or at least leads it? Madness. I wonder if Klopp is going to take that kind of nonsense… I mean, he’s going after Shane Long. WHAT IS THIS COMMITTEE DOING.

Anyway, enough from me, enjoy your morning and I’ll see you a bit later on… hopefully not ravaged by New York manflu.

x

1,001 Responses to “2nd best keeper in the world is… | Arsenal, are we flunking or chasing?”

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  1. MuddyGooner

    Why do our long term injured players suddenly become close to fitness, when it’s close to the transfer deadline day ?
    Hmmmm

    I’m gonna put a tenner on for Welbeck & Wilshire to suffer a recurrence on the 1st Feb !!!!!!!

  2. #WAHT

    Romford – I know it’s about time we started doing that and helping our clubs.

    Still, even playing Saturday would have been nice. Or Sunday Wednesday like Chelsea? Ridiculous.

  3. Louis Almeida

    Alexis has been out for two months. In that time we’ve played 10, won 7, drawn 2 and lost just 1. We’ve also been without Cazorla and Coquelin too so we haven’t struggled as much as people thought we would. He should be recharged now because he’s never had a period of being out that long. I think it was needed though. An injury was the only way Alexis would ever rest.

  4. Nasri's Mouth

    Sounds like the Pato deal to Chelsea isn’t as done as was believed

    HEY PARDEW!!! hear that ? You can add Pato to your list of stupid players to sign!

  5. jwl

    Hope Pedro is ok, bad things happen in threes, he’s done his ankle and now flu, maybe he’s done something to his arm or fingers and cant type.

  6. Nasri's Mouth

    @Dan

    Is he going to release a statement too?

    Oh, and if he knows a decent tax advisor, I can recommend one.

    (though I doubt she knows much about US tax though)

  7. Wallace

    Louis

    yeah, that’s an impressive record since Coquelin, Cazorla & Alexis went down. I know it was a fairly friendly fixture list, but the two big games – Man City & Olympiakos – we rose to the challenge. hopeful we won’t have to see Flamini anchoring the midfield again, but he’s done a solid job.

  8. Wallace

    I really don’t see Alexis’s return being bad news for Campbell. Surely Walcott just moves back inside and contests the striker slot with Giroud…?

  9. Dan Ahern

    NM — When asked for a statement he unleashed a delirious string of expletives and rambled about an “Uncle SCAM” wanting “HIS” money. It was all very traumatic. I think he’s going to solitary.

  10. Paulinho

    “We’ve also been without Cazorla and Coquelin too so we haven’t struggled as much as people thought we would”

    Said at the time the injuries wouldn’t make much difference. We lose something with Cazorla but then gain something else with Ramsey. Same with Coquelin and Flamini ; Flamini doesn’t get a nosebleed in the opposition’s final third and is not as rigid in his thinking as Coquelin.

    Sanchez away Olympiakos would’ve spend the entire match cutting in and shooting and getting shots blocked, when as we saw, team work and subtlety was the order of the day with Olympiakos so hyped up.

  11. Nasri's Mouth

    @Dan

    Unlike the UK where HMRC will take owed monies from your bank acc. in the States they remove it from your person…

    …mechanically

  12. jwl

    kwik fit – I asked Pedro other week to bring back photo of three lovely ladies in beer garden that he use to post, but no joy as of yet. But that photo was of their bosoms, not bottoms, so who knows.

  13. Cesc Appeal

    If Pedro’s crocked his ankle, and with Wenger throwing terms like ‘deadly’ and ‘world class’ around as if they are meaningless…no…its not possible is it?

  14. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Bad

    Saw the film last week on ch 4

    Superb
    Her ol man comes across as a right twat tho ….

    Hand on heart was not keen on her when alive then seeing she had a humble back ground I admire her ..

  15. SomeRandomGunner

    @WE I was one of those who thought Theo could score 20-25 goals. After all he scored 21 goals in a season. But this season is the worst Theo has been. His finishing has been absolutely awful even compared to his own standards .

    If he was performing as well as he was doing 2 seasons before he would have been easily in double digits. He missed some 6 or 7 absolute sitters .

    Another thing about Walcott these days is he is playing too defensively. He is seen a lot at fullback position. He is not going to be a danger from there.

    Walcott’s main strengths were his runs , he seemed to do it ok when he was playing as striker. After he moved to wings he is not making many runs he seems to be stuck in defensive positions.

    His finishing used to be decent to good. Now it is really awful .

    In the recent games his touches have been pretty bad too. The difference between Iwobi and Walcott was significant.

    Overall Theo is among the worst performers of the squad may be just above Oxlade Chamberlain.

  16. kwik fit

    jwl

    If the mountain won’t come to muhammad 😉

    blob:https%3A//twitter.com/98b1c616-5fcb-458c-a635-6f242f081ebb

  17. SomeRandomGunner

    Also Oxlade is the most overrated english player in our squad. He has lot more sympathisers for his contribution of 6 goals in 96 or so PL games.

    If you count the number of own goals and the goals which are direct result of his stupidity it will account for the number of goals he scored or more. Still he gets awful lot of support for his supposed “talent”.

    Wilshere is a talent he showed up at least over a season . Ox’s talent has been much much less useful. Pretty sure Bendtner at his age from right wing had more productive contribution.

  18. Dissenter

    Nasri’s mouth
    Lol
    How will the IRS do that.
    They’ll remove the money before it gets to your account, that’s how they do it here.

  19. SomeRandomGunner

    Wenger did not talk anything about Wilshere ? He could probably the most dangerous player we can have from bench.

    Looks like it is going to be season over for him. He was supposed to train before Welbeck.

  20. Cesc Appeal

    Would imagine Coq and Rosicky will be in the line up for Burnley, really good news as we have another home fixture that weekend so an give them a few minutes before reintroducing Coq back into the starting line up.

    At least when Sanchez, Coq, Rosicky and Welbeck are back over the 2-3 weeks we will start to have genuine selection options.

    Serious questions over bench places though, wonder who will miss out, you’d think Arteta and Chambers will be gone, maybe Oxlade too?

  21. bacaryisgod

    Here’s my theory on Elneny’s signing.

    Arsene doesn’t really intend to use him that much this season but wants him to ultimately replace Ramsey, who will be off to Barca in the summer. All the signs are there. Ramsey has indicated he wants to go to Spain soon and was also unhappy that he was not first-choice central midfield ahead of Santi. Now we’re hearing the usual rumblings coming out of the Spanish media. Additionally, Arsene has already spoken about Wilshere being a special case in that he grew up within the academy and is a young English player. He’s also talked about Ox having a future in central midfield.

    I think Wenger will likely let Arteta and Rosicky go this summer, but because of his decent form and close relationship with Mesut, Flamini will stay on for one more season. We’ll have 6 players competing for the two central midfield spots behind Ozil (Coquelin, Elneny, Cazorla, Flamini, Wilshere, Ox) and will have Chambers as deep cover.

  22. kwik fit

    CA

    If history is anything to go by then we’ll pick up some additionally injuries to nullify the effect of those coming back so the bench will be , as usual, picked from the only players available.

  23. Brooklyn

    SRG,
    Like I said yesterday…Walcott has to work in his stamina issue….previously defensive team carried him for his ability to get behind defence….now he should make himself more uselful to team and continue getting in behind defence….So he should be able to track back as well as be able to find space in between or beyond opposition defence…..If he improves his stamina and subsequently playing intensity for defensive as well as offensive end then he still can be worth 100k+ he is earning at Arsenal….he will get into goal scoring positions regularly if he has stamina in his tank….so he should be able to work hard enough to get into those scoring position more and more so even if he misses a lot he will also score 15-20+ goals a season…
    Pure hypothetics from me this one.

  24. Cesc Appeal

    Kwik

    That is very true.

    We do have a revolving door of injuries, injury prone players begin season injured, non-injury prone players get played into ground and injured, just in time for injury prone players to return, when the injured non-injury prone players return injury prone players get injured.

    I’m not really putting any stock in Caz or particularly Wilshere coming back. Very surprised Coq is this early to be honest.

    I like though that in Sanchez and Welbeck we’ve got a lot of energy and physicality coming into the side for the second half of the season, Rosicky is usually strong for us in the second half of a season as well (usually because he hasn’t played the first half) and also might perk up the slouches like Walcott who usually comes to life for a few games when playing for a contract or place.

  25. Nasri's Mouth

    bacaryisgod: Arsene doesn’t really intend to use him that much this season but wants him to ultimately replace Ramsey

    Unlikely. The chance of us selling Ramsey is pretty bloody small unless he really agitates for a move.

  26. Nasri's Mouth

    Cesc Appeal: Serious questions over bench places though, wonder who will miss out, you’d think Arteta and Chambers will be gone, maybe Oxlade too?

    Chambers as RB cover maybe ?

    Or Gibbs as LB cover, and then Monreal to move across. Never really a fan of that though

  27. VJoe.

    Ox doesn’t a fesrve a place on the bench the way he’s played the last couple seasons

    No improvement whatsoever.

    Liability with the ball. Can’t even string a pass together when feeding guys in

    Perfect example was when JC was breaking in and had to slow down to collect a pass from Ox. All Ox had to do was lead him in and he was clear. Vs stoke I believe or Liverpool

  28. Cesc Appeal

    NM

    Maybe Gabriel for that role?

    Be interesting, we all know Wenger has his favourites, Arteta is one of them, but surely should be nowhere near the bench once those players are back and every place is being fought for. Oxlade, potential but not much effect.

    We will see though, as Kwik says, usually at Arsenal it is one back and then one or two out.

  29. Nasri's Mouth

    @Cesc Appeal

    Prefer to have a full back in a full back position, and Bellerin is our more attacking FB, so sticking a CB in there wouldn’t be the best idea.

    Still, IF we get lots of players back WITHOUT losing lots more, it’ll be a nice problem for Wenger to have

  30. Cesc Appeal

    NM

    Do you count Chambers as a RB?

    I think its arguably the place he’s performed worse for Arsenal. Definite CB for me if he is going to carve a position at Arsenal,

    Just on the subs bench though, if Bellerin pulls up, you would only need Gabriel to play that one game for however many minutes, in the long term Chambers could play there if you wanted him to…not a fan though at all.

  31. VJoe.

    I agree with Gambon when he said the 32m on wellbeck and chambers was wasted when we could of spent that so much more wisely

    When the AKBs are crying poor and how can we compete and we make decisions to make those purchases, it’s doesn’t give them
    Much to stand o

  32. VJoe.

    NM

    Have you seen Gabriel play RB? No

    Have you seen chambers play RB? Yes and he was terrible.

    Gabriel can not be worse. It’s almost impossible to be worse. Unless you put Santos at RB

  33. jwl

    RSPC Arsenal

    I haven’t watched Amy documentary but I do know two families who have heroin addict within. Tough situation for their families, don’t know what to do or how to help. Filmmakers with a point of view are not entire story.

  34. Nasri's Mouth

    @Cesc Appeal

    Depends how Wenger sees him, but he must be close to Flamini by now, and he’s probably more versatile too.

    Anyway, it’s all moot because we’ll have another 5 new injuries come sunday 😀

  35. jwl

    I worry about Chambers, he going to be another Ox. My understanding of Wenger is that he doesnt micromanage players like other coaches do, he lets them do whatever they want within certain parameters, and our young players aren’t really developing, growing like we expect them to. Youth players still need coaching while Wenger believes harmony or togetherness is enough.

  36. Nasri's Mouth

    jwl: I worry about Chambers, he going to be another Ox. My understanding of Wenger is that he doesnt micromanage players like other coaches do

    Not sure that’s true. Maybe you’re thinking of actual games rather than training

  37. Bacaryisgod

    Agree that CB is the only viable long-term option for Chambers in the team, particularly with the window gently closing on Per’s time with us. Great news that Kozzer sees his future with us and Gabriel has mostly settled in well.

  38. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Jwl

    I hear you to many not an unusual story …
    I was more taken that she came from a Peabody back ground, as I had always assumed that she came from an affluent family in north London Gants Hill etc….

    Shame but as you say this goes on up an down the land …

  39. Cesc Appeal

    Xhaka keeps getting linked, would be a really smart transfer, we’ve got a hefty central midfield rebuild to complete over the summer and we don’t have a deep playmaker.

    Arteta will be gone, Flamini will be gone, Rosicky will be gone, Wilshere isn’t a viable option, got Elneny in but is unknown at this point, Caz is going to be 32 next season and not what we need physically or looking forward, leaves Ramsey and Coq who you can put some trust in, and even then, Ramsey is injury prone and can be a very up and down type player.

    Coq and Elneny to fight one place, Ramsey and Xhaka the other, in a 4-2-3-1, obviously could play more in a different set up, or with Ramsey at RM.

  40. Dissenter

    If Coquelin comes back before February, then there’s the game changer.
    We’ll have a squad full of “new” signing raring to go.

    Carzola, I don’t want back too fast. He’s only good for the possession game because he’s lost his spring.
    ,

  41. Cesc Appeal

    That Chelsea blog highlighting our middle, spot on really with their criticisms. Operation ‘run at Flamini.’

  42. daz

    bacary

    interesting read, i think i found steve in their comments section

    “Wenger with a title in the same year Jose got fired would make me physically ill”

    then again it might have been gambon lol

  43. kwik fit

    Pedro caught on camera earlier today somewhere in down town NYC. Looks like we won’t see a new post any-time soon 😉

  44. rollen

    Really good job from chelsea blogger

    Every Arsenal preview I write here begins with this paragraph on Arsenal’s inherent Arsenalness:

    Since the construction of the Emirates Stadium, there have been two kinds of Arsenal season. The first, which we will call Type A, sees them challenge for top spot in the Premier League until February or March, when a combination of injuries, bad luck and mental fragility leads to a complete collapse and an eventual fourth-placed finish. The second, Type B, sees a combination of injuries, bad luck and mental fragility lead to a complete collapse which means they are out of the title race by October. In the second half of the season, however, they have a sustained spell of good form which suggests their eventual fourth-placed finish will become a challenge for honours in the next campaign.

    2015-16 has seen the emergence of what looks like a Type C: a season in which every other regular title challenger is so bad, for whatever reason, that Arsenal win the league despite doing everything they normally do. Raft of injuries? Check. Bad luck? Check, although admittedly much more so in the Champions League than the Premier League. Mental fragility? Ditto, although there’s plenty of time. Just past the halfway stage, Arsenal are widely and correctly seen as the favourites in a two-horse race with Manchester City.

    The Season Ahead

    Two inevitable maulings at the hands of a preposterously dominant Barcelona aside, there’s no reason for Arsenal fans to look at the next few months with anything other than gleeful anticipation. Serial Twitter-poll-winner Alexis Sánchez will return from injury this weekend, Mesut Özil is at his absolute peak and Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud have found their shooting boots again.

    Arsène Wenger has even signed a defensive midfielder, Mohamed Elneny, which suggests that 1. Arsenal might not be as flimsy in the middle for much longer and 2. The Gunners manager may now do something about other long-term weaknesses in his team. Not that such weaknesses necessarily need to be addressed now: with Chelsea and Liverpool so bad, Man Utd and Man City so flaky and Leicester almost certain to drop off, a first title win since 2004 is definitely on the cards. Ooh to be a Gooner.

    Tactics

    The chief criticism of Arsenal has always been that their tactics are predictable, if they’ve even had tactics at all. Chelsea fans in particular have delighted in the sight of the Gunners turning up for big games, walking straight into the opposition’s counter-attacking trap and going home with nil points. Noted Louis Van Gaal fan Paul Scholes memorably summed up Arsenal’s approach as “A few nice one-twos, nice tippy-tappy football – but don’t bother running back” – more than slightly reductive, of course, but not inaccurate.

    The last couple of seasons have seen Wenger’s ideas diversified. Arsenal still hog the ball – they have the second highest average possession figure and the highest pass completion rates in the division – but the tempo and intensity of their play have increased significantly and they’re far less picky about how they score. No side has created more chances with through-balls, only two teams with crosses and only two have had more headed shots. This is not a side you could accuse of “trying to walk it in”.

    The biggest reason for this is the change in the type of attacker they have had: Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil are not just on another level to those that have played in their positions for the last decade, they also have completely different profiles. Both are far better in direct or counter-attacking systems than the typically slow, methodical structures which led to Arsenal’s famously sterile domination.

    It’s also worth crediting Olivier Giroud, a far better and more complete forward than he gets credit for, regardless of his infamous profligacy – without Giroud up front, the players behind wouldn’t be as effective and Arsenal’s tactical diversification wouldn’t have been possible.

    Additionally, Arsenal are now one of the Premier League’s best teams at protecting a lead, despite their recent and painfully predictable late concession at Anfield. The sight of the Gunners bedding in and defending their box, bringing on Kieran Gibbs to play as a second left-back and playing on the counter is increasingly familiar.

    Strengths

    Their biggest strength is that they’re frighteningly good in attack. Not just in an über-talented sense, but in terms of output and efficiency too. Arsenal’s average of 15.2 total shots per game is bettered only by Man City, Liverpool and Tottenham. However, the Gunners take shots from much better positions than those teams: only 4.1 from outside the box (17 Premier League teams take more per game) compared to 7.1 for City, 7.4 for Liverpool and 7.5 for Tottenham, who lead the pack in this regard. This means that Arsenal take the most shots per game from inside the box (9.5) and from inside the six-yard box (1.5). In short: no team creates as many good chances as Arsenal.

    They create these opportunities due to their almost unrivalled blend of pace and skill: Arsenal have produced the second highest number of dribbles in the league and, as previously stated, their chance creation statistics show good they are at reliably finding solutions in the final third. Against a defence as easily stretched and habitually unprotected as Chelsea’s, Arsenal’s front four, inevitably and ably supported by Aaron Ramsey, will surely enjoy themselves.

    They’re also pretty good defensively, though not in any really eye-catching way: as many good teams have been in football history, Arsenal are a good team that protects itself simply by being a good team and playing well.

    Weaknesses

    That’s not to say they’re without weaknesses: their midfield remains poorly configured and incapable of truly dominating games; on its off-days the attack can be horribly stodgy and narrow; the defence has a glass jaw and remains prone to individual errors at big moments. At times Arsenal will, for seemingly no reason at all, leave themselves wide open in the middle of the park or do something unfathomably stupid at the back. All of this is a mealy-mouthed way of saying “they’re still Arsenal” – they’re not as classically Arsenal as they were, but they’re still most definitely Arsenal.

    In that regard, Petr Čech has been predictably decisive: his current save rate of 80.2% is the second highest in the Premier League, and the titanic Czech looks to have been worth the extra 12-15 points that John Terry anticipated. He has arguably won Arsenal three points against Newcastle and one against Stoke in January 2016 alone.

    In terms of glaring weaknesses which Chelsea can and should focus on, the creaking Mathieu Flamini is utterly out of his depth at this level and Arsenal do a surprisingly good job of repeatedly leaving him exposed and overworked in the centre of the pitch. One reason for this is that Aaron Ramsey has decided he wants to be the new Steven Gerrard and now abandons his station in midfield at every single opportunity.

    Likely XIs

    Arsenal will presumably play their strongest available eleven, with Alexis Sánchez a possible selection on the left with Theo Walcott shifting across to the right. Key midfielder Francis Coquelin (yes, those words really belong together) has resumed full training but it seems unlikely that he will be rushed back. It seems equally unlikely that Mohamed Elneny will be selected in such a big game so soon after arriving, so Operation Run At Flamini should be a goer for Chelsea.

    As for Guus Hiddink’s team, the most logical thing to do would be to reprise the tried-and-tested sit-back-absorb-pressure-and-counter plan which has worked so many times on this ground before. Playing Arsenal at their own game is a stupid idea and will only end in disaster. Just ask Manchester United.

  45. Wallace

    RSPC Arsenal

    “You sure Wallace ain’t the author is that article …”

    i can see how you might have thought that. was unusually generous to us.

  46. WalcottsBankManager

    a chelsea supporter who writes about Arsenals strengths and weaknesses ….what a fucking div

    too much time on his divvy hands

    hmmm tomorrow i will write about Norwich City 1978 – 1990…hhmmm

    FOR FS

  47. kwik fit

    Even though he may have got a sex change it shouldn’t prevent him from posting, surely…………………………

  48. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    I meet Paul cannonvile once my daughter school had a meet with him to tell his story about racism , drugs an drink…an how it affected him..

    Came across as a real straight runner
    Lovely fella to time to speak to the kids afterwards …

  49. Cesc Appeal

    I wonder what team we will go with on Sunday, I think its going to have to be the exact same line up we’ve been going with for weeks now, Ozil coming back in for Oxlade.

    My worry is, Walcott, Ozil, Campbell and Ramsey will all be attacking, leaving Flamini alone in the middle with only Campbell having a high work rate out of that lot, that plays straight into the inevitable ‘sit deep and counter’ game Chelsea will play.

  50. Dissenter

    Gary Neville is such a joke of a manager.
    I hope every empty pundit gets the Neville treatment. It just goes to show that it’s a lot more comfortable sitting in that comfy sofa critiquing others.

  51. vicky

    I hope Hazard is not fit to play against us. I know he has been out of form this season but he is the only player along with Willian who can cause us a lot of trouble.

  52. Cesc Appeal

    You would imagine Chelsea will put out Matic and Mikel, have Fabregas playing beyond with Hazard, Costa and Willian up top.