BACK IN YOUR BOX SPURS tempered with realities of a dismal 2nd

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I had a very nineties experience of the game yesterday. Stuck out in Guatemala, I woke at 4am, couldn’t sleep, wrote a blog (not so nineties) and found a wireless (radio for millenials) to tune into the game.

The focus on the day was, 1) catching Spurs 2) chatting about the secret messages Wenger was sending with his starting 11.

Well, omissions first. No Rosicky farewell. Shame. I love the guy. He’s rarely moaned, he’s performed when fit and he bailed us out of Spursday night football a few years running. He’s no legend, but he’s felt part of the furniture. Sad he didn’t get a call up. Also, no Flamini. Hey ho.

Arteta made the bench and had some tears for the fans after the game. He was a very important signing during a rough as hell period. My sadness with him is we didn’t have him at the club when he was in his mid-twenties… or even playing as a foil for Cesc. He’d have pushed the 08 campaign over the line.

Also missing, Theo ‘He makes the best runs’ Walcott who was apparently injured. Strong hopes he’d just been chopped for being average.

Ramsey was sent to the bench. Another interesting selection. With Arsenal still heavily linked with Kante, perhaps it could be goodbye to him as well?

There was also a few others I’m not expecting to see next year. Namely JC, Gibbs and possibly the injured Chambo.

That Wenger thinks we’re 3 players away from a title winning side is amazing. But then again, we did just finish the league second? Wenger Logic will no doubt kick in hard as he and his sycophants convince themselves we were close and it were them pesky injuries that killed our chances, not all the other bits so clearly missing every damn year.

Anyway, i listened to the game so can’t comment too hard but it sounded like we mailed it in. Giroud, once again turning up with a hattrick when you least expect it bundled home home his ‘please keep me boss’ end of season birthday card. We weren’t fantastic and at times made Villa sound like something other than the shower of average we know they are… But hey, players are on the beach of mental island at this point, so any form of effort is appreciated.

What made the day so damn special was Spurs. No one expected them to fall to Newcastle. In their greatest season since 91, there was no way they’d fall to Arsenal at the last hurdle. Well, Spurs being Spurs did exactly that. The Newcastle players dropped a beast of a performance to keep Rafa in charge next season going two up. In the second half, it looked like Spurs were on the come back when Lamela pulled one back. But good old Newcastle fired three more past Lloris to deal a killer blow to Spurs hopes of reigning London number one!

Absolutely electric way to the end the season. If you can’t hold onto 2nd in a year you’ve had no cups to worry about / all the good teams being terrible… what hope do you have next season of challenging on two serious fronts? None. Business as usual.

I think the danger here for Arsenal fans as always, is to look at a pretty average achievement from Arsenal and paint it with colours of retrospective under-appreciated excellence.

‘Newcastle are singing the name of a manager who relegated them, Arsenal fans are harassing a man who achieved second’, went one tweeter.

Sure, it feels alien to beast a manager who finished second. But when you add the context that 1) Leicester won the league 2) all our usual rivals were in a state of flux 3) we were top of the league during this terrible season at Christmas 4) we haven’t competed in 2016, a total switch off and meltdown 5) we dropped out of the CL for the 6th year running before the QF 6) we failed to build a squad in the summer 7) our players bottled it 8) injuries were 38% improved 9) we didn’t take it anywhere near the wire… you start to see why most aren’t busting party poppers for Wenger.

You can’t benchmark our success of 2nd against anything. We’ve been the most stable, the most cash rich and we had a pretty damn fine squad (ish / comparably). We ballsed the anomaly year. 71 points, it’s really poor for a team that didn’t play to its potential.

Now we’re heading into a summer with squad full of bullet holes and dripping in limp wristedness and the manager is talking 3 players. It’s farsical. But the acolytes will coo that Wenger was close. They’ll fall inline. Already I’m debating with people who have hoovered up that number without thinking about it. Quite amazing really when you are losing three players to retirement, you didn’t have a striker to begin with, Santi is over, Welbeck is out for the year, then we have the roll of just plain awful like Theo, Gibbs and sorry to say it, JC.

Anyway, Wenger won’t do enough again, ask that we judge him in May and guess what? We’ll be back where we are again next year. Well, with a lot of luck. The league is about to go turbo charged. So maybe nowhere near.

More money. Much better managers. More aggression.

Be pleased that this season flattered to deceive. Just don’t let that number 2 position actually deceive you to what’s going on at Arsenal. We’re a shambles. Europe is the true benchmark. And we are nowhere near being able to compete there. Our aim should be toppling Bayern, not Spurs. We need a more flexible system. A vision. Disciplined players. Accountability. A squad that is smart, technical, robust and talented.

We need to wake up. if you’re not constantly questioning yourself when you’re winning, you’ll find trouble. Lots of businesses run into this mistake. They find a winning formula, then one day, without warning, it’s over and it takes ten years to reverse. I look at Apple these days. They’re winning the balance sheet by taking hammering a winning formula of repurposing the same product in different shapes, colors and sizes. They forgot to innovate. They’re losing their edge, but no one cares because they’re smashing the balance sheet. But if they bodge their next move, they could find themselves in the ‘not relevant’ phase, stuck behind a trailblazer for ten years. Joke of Arsenal is we’re not even repurposing a winning formula. We’re rehashing something we know is broken.

You add three players to a talented title winning wide. You make way deeper improvements to a failing, ageing and quality depleted side. We’re complacent and arrogant in failure. That has to stop this summer. Hopefully Ivan and Stan can see that… Hopefully the fans can to.

BUT, to end on a joyous note. Enjoy the hell out of that win. SPURS BELOW US AGAIN.

BACK IN YOUR BOX BOYS! HAHAHAH!

434 Responses to “BACK IN YOUR BOX SPURS tempered with realities of a dismal 2nd”

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  1. Dissenter

    Romford,
    I don’t think the money sways Ozil.
    He’s won the world cup, played at Madrid and just wants to get back to playing for a REALLY BIG CLUB again.

    He’s won of the top-10 footballers in terms of commercial deals. He makes more money off the field.
    He’ll probably take a pay cut to go to Bayern, our £200k weekly deal means nothing.

    I really think both Alexis and Sanchez are leaving.
    Their signing were anomalies not the start of a project because we failed to build around them.

  2. Romford Ozil Pele

    RS, Yeah 🙁

    I’m a sucker. It was either that or put it on hold. At the end of the day football is like most of my weekends so I’d probably be head scratching if I wasn’t going to games. There’s that and the fact that loads of people want my ST too. Don’t think I could give up 20+ years like that. Not expecting much, but support the team and that I guess. Only positive is that we’ll have some new players to cheer on next season. Xhaka being the start.

  3. Romford Ozil Pele

    Dissenter, Alexis is definitely staying, not sure about Özil though. Depends on the business we do. If I was to guess I’d say both will be here next season, purely because Bayern and Juve aren’t gonna pay more than what we currently are for Alexis and MÖ

  4. Cesc Appeal

    Xhaka deal being held up as Wenger dithers over £1.6 Million disparity in valuation, they want £35 Million, we’re offering just over £33 Million, says The Express.

    Now, you would say what a load of rubbish wouldn’t you, if we hadn’t been here so many times before.

    Just sign the fucking player!

    That disparity is equivalent to a quarter of what we threw down the toilet this year on Walcott.

  5. Dissenter

    Wenger’s babies always remain gooners

    Bender trolling spuddies after collapse. I bet he was wearing his daddy power boxers while tweeting.

    ” Bendtner ✔ ‎@bendtnerb52
    Leicester 1
    Arsenal 2
    Tottenham 3

    12:30 PM – 15 May 2016
    7,160 7,160 Retweets 6,004 6,004 likes”

  6. shad

    @Louis,

    I’d take Lukaku as my 1st choice, if that fails, Morata. Icardi comes a distant 3rd. Lukaku would not struggle to hit 30+ goals given full fitness and the supply line we have. Think he has yet to his his full potential and with our midfield, that can happen.
    At the end of the day, the consensus is that Giroud cannot be our 1st choice striker. It has taken him 3 seasons to get his 1st EPL hattrick against a mediocre, already-relegated team. He hasn’t managed to get past 30 goals (FFS even Adebayor hit that target), so no.

  7. Romford Ozil Pele

    Looooool CA. Also don’t believe that stuff on Xhaka and the haggling. It’s 1000% not true.

    Do agree that we take too long though to announce deals. It’s because Arsenal want to wait until everything is officially signed. A lot of clubs announce when the agreement is made, even before Medicaid etc. Arsenal want the player in the kit, to have done pics, interviews etc. We do long stuff out but price isn’t what’s holding up this deal. More a combo of waiting for Gladbach to find a replacement and them finishing their end of season tour.

  8. Louis Almeida

    Shad, I would take Lukaku. It would cost £50m+. Still not overly convinced by him but you can’t argue with his goal record and he is still very young. Might turn out to be a Drogab who blossomed late in his career. Morata is a safer option I guess. If Icardi isn’t quick then I wouldn’t want him. Lacazette ahead although I have my doubts over anyone that can’t get into a French squad ahead of Gignac.

  9. Dissenter

    Cesc,
    To be fair £33 million is ENOUGH for Xhaka.
    Arsenal are right to hold off.
    They’ll taken it because I don’t think any one else will come close to matching that. They’ll probably make the balance of £1.6 million contingent on us wining the Europa league and CL in the same season:-)

  10. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    I’ve just been here so many times before, Wenger’s stubbornness pervades every aspect of his management. Seems ridiculous, but also seems so Wenger.

    I agree, we do ourselves a disservice, because the buzz lasts for a day, whereas if you announce the deal on Twitter, then a couple of days later have him at Arsenal in the kit, doing interviews etc, the buzz lasts for longer and there’s more of a big club feel about it.

    On the whole Ozil front, personally I would have no problem flogging him, bringing in another central midfield player who whilst of course being nowhere near as creative, still combines some creativity with work rate and better central play.

    Look for a wide playmaker as well to share the burden, personal choices would be a Koke type and Mhiktaryan. Xhaka, Coq, Koke as a middle would be interesting, great names as well, sounds like a drink you might order on holiday, ‘yeah can have the Xhakacoqkoke, no ice…and can you put the sugar around the rim of the glass as well.’

  11. shad

    @Louis,

    I wouldn’t go for Lacazette either. He is quite one dimensional with his finishing, and if the ball is not on his favoured right foot, he really struggles. Not convinced either with his dribbling and link up play.
    Lukaku is good and has a higher ceiling in that he can dribble, has aerial prowess and has good link up play. Plus he knows the league.
    We need a CF who is as close to what RVP gave us before he left. SOmeone who can carve up a chance off of nothing and has that presence of mind in the box on when to lace it, place, pass or feign a dribble. Not many have that. In fact of the recent squads we have only RVP and Nasri had that presence of mind in the box, and look where they ended up.

  12. Cesc Appeal

    Dissenter

    For £1.6 Million, it is lunacy to hold off, we’re not talking £10 Million difference, as I say, we’re talking a quarter of Walcott’s wages.

    Time to put our big boy trousers on and start behaving like a top flight club, and realise Wenger’s almanac of player valuation is not always correct.

  13. Romford Ozil Pele

    CA, I hear you although I don’t think we haggle over money like we used to. We spent on Özil and Alexis without blinking. We also spent £11m on a 33 year-old GK. The problem is getting Wenger in the mindset to spend in the first place.

    Yeah agreed if we had announced Xhaka the day after the season finished it would’ve gotten fans very excited then follow that up with medical etc.

    On Özil I’ll have to disagree, you know he’s my favourite! I know what you’re saying but for me formation isn’t really the issue. Özil does give you structural problems in the sense that you need to have a strong base behind him to make it work well and let him flourish. Mourinho knew this which is why he had Alonso and Khedira behind him. That’s why we’ve moved towards buying defensive CMs like Elneny and now Xhaka, it’ll work better next season.

    Even despite our problems, had we had a good striker we’d probably still have won the league. That’s a big omission for us. Heard we’re looking at another two players in addition to Xhaka and they’re both offensive. One you’d imagine is a striker. The other a wide playmaker.

  14. Dream10

    Romford

    Sanchez taking the #7? Louis was on here yesterday saying that Mesut wants #10. Not happy with the Wilshere bumper pay deal. It means we won’t go after Mkhitaryan. We needed a creative player with end product to pair with Ozil. With Jack set to earn six figures per week, it means he will be shoehorned into the side. Lovely ITK stuff lol.

    With our lack of goalscoring, we need a #9 who is scores in volume with a high rate of shots. Our setup needs a Higuain more than a Morata. We know AW prefers young Alvaro, who can serve as an extension of the midfield and can be paired with Giroud, Welbeck, Sanchez or Walcott. He has a good European record. But it remains to be seen if he’ll become a technical forward who develops into a prolific goal scorer like RVP. At the moment, I would not bet on it.

    Not high on Janssen. He’s been compared to Ruud van Nistelrooy. He doesn’t have the same tools. Ruud was more athletic, had a decent turn of pace, taller and better technique. Not a fan of his all action style.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    CA

    I would not be too sure about authenticity of the story about Arsenal haggling over £1.5 million. Yesterday the story was that Borussia Moenchengladbach were stalling until they found a replacement.

    However, I do agree that Arsenal have a habit of taking too long in finalising transfers and clearly we have missed out too often in past.

    This is one signing which needs to be completed soon.

  16. qna

    Dissenter: To be fair £33 million is ENOUGH for Xhaka. Arsenal are right to hold off. They’ll taken it because I don’t think any one else will come close to matching that.

    If thats the case, he isnt worth buying. £33m is not the going rate for a world class central midfielder, so the fact that bigger clubs that have proven better scouting than us, do not want him for that price, would suggest he is not worthy of a big club.

    Personally, I think he is as good as it gets in terms of central midfielders that are available. If that is the case and given our dire need for somebody half decent we should pay the £35m. I really dont get why we fuck around with the most important part of managing a club – bringing in the best available talent. £1.6m is prize money for winning one group stage match in the CL. Think of all the prize money we have missed by not having good enough players over the years.

    This combination of having no ambition and poor management is really a disaster. Don’t be surprised if we dont follow in the footsteps of Aston Villa in 20 years time.

  17. Romford Ozil Pele

    Dream, yeah Alexis definitely wants #7. Özil probably would like #10 but he’s not guaranteed to stay, and even so I’m not sure Jack would wanna give up the number. Jack is definitely staying, he’s the golden child. Not sure how he fits in though like you say because I’m not sure having two left-footed players in the pivot works.

    I see what you’re saying on Morata. He’s been prolific at international level, never really been given a chance for a full season at club level. He does have a selfishness to him which I like though. I guess you’d never know unless you have him a chance. Can’t see Wenger going back in for Higuain.

    A lot of chat about Janssen, never watched him so not well placed to judge. But definitely need someone with that turn of pace who can get in shots quickly with no backlift.

  18. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    I agree.

    But this is what I’m saying, is Wenger ever going to deliver that base behind Ozil and the ST in front of him?

    That is my worry, fingers crossed we only have one more season of Wenger, but maybe not in which case this is us until Wenger’s doctors force him to retire.

  19. Dissenter

    We should standout ground on £33 million for Xhaka
    The contentious £1.6 million balance ought to be tied to when Giroud scores 25 league goals a season and Wally can dribble past two players in a game.

  20. Romford Ozil Pele

    CA,yeah I think those are always the doubts. He always leaves us hanging in one position or another so wouldn’t surprise me if this summer is no different.

    I definitely think we’ll chase a forward, whether we get one is another shout. And because of his commitment to youth he may not sign a wide playmaker either. He could do a lot but because of his commitment to not having a high turnover of players it won’t be that much.

  21. Wallace

    “A lot of chat about Janssen, never watched him so not well placed to judge. But definitely need someone with that turn of pace who can get in shots quickly with no backlift.”

    he’s not speedy, although more mobile than Giroud. from what i’ve seen the two main things are his finishing, and the fact he’s genuinely two-footed. and that he also seems to be on the rise. would be an interesting buy.

  22. Redtruth

    Arsenal league standing

    2013-14: 4th-79 points
    2014-15: 3rd-75 points
    2015-16: 2nd-71 points
    2016-17: Champions-67 points

    lol lol lol lol

  23. shad

    Why the fuck is Jack our golden boy? That’s like adopting a crutch as your child. For all the talent, he can’t seem to last 4 games. Sorry to say but he may not even last the Euros.

  24. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    The whole Mhiktaryan situation is just a gift though, get over there and make an offer, because we badly need a wide playmaker and have a gap in one of our wide slots.

    Essentially, Sanchez should be the only person starting in our forward line who did this season.

    Say Xhaka, Mhiktaryan and a ST, whilst I still think we need another CM and a CB, I would be happy with that provided Wenger is gone next year.

  25. bennydevito

    Sorry if this has already been said but there’s an article on sky sports about how we hit the woodwork the most and had they gone in we’d be Champions?

    See? Imagine if we had Aguero. We’d be Champions.

    Hands up who thinks Giroud is good enough?

    Put your hand down Wenger you twat, i was asking the grovers!

  26. Romford Ozil Pele

    CA, yeah if the situation about Mkhi is true it’d be foolish to pass up on it. Problem with Wenger is that he’s always so sentimental and doesn’t wanna block the young players when we really should just be looking to create the best squad possible. Guess all we do at this stage is speculate, gives us something to talk about but think we will have at least another attacker by the time the season starts, hopefully a striker displacing L’Oreal

  27. Relieable Sauce

    In an attempt to clean-up the mess, I would:

    sell/loan –
    Szczhesney, Ospina/Cech, Chambers, Gibbs, Debuchy, Wilshire, Walcott, Campbell, Ox/Gnabry/both, Giroud, Sanogo.

    buy/loan –
    Top prospect GK, CB, LB, C/AM, Forward.
    Proven versatile CB/defender.
    Top class C/DM, L/RW, CF.

  28. bnsb

    “Imagine if we had Aguero. We’d be Champions.”Imagine if we had another manager…

    If it was Rafa Benitez – imagine 🙂

  29. Micheal

    Lukaku is a good striker – when he feels like it. My guess is that is why Maureen let him go. He is not as bad as Adebayor, but he is moody and disappears at times. I am not doubting is ability, just his temperament.
    And we have enough moody players who go missing when it matters.

  30. Steveyg87

    The striker names being flown about are hardly inspiring Lukaku, icardi etc….

    I reckon we should really push the boat out and bully another club in to selling one of their star men. It’s something Arsenal do not do. This gentlemanly approach doesn’t cut get, get ruthless

  31. STV

    So there’s only a handful players out there who can’t be Welbeck and we’re not Signing them. Striker position is fucked. What else we got! Xhaka?

  32. Leedsgunner

    “Imagine if we had Aguero. We’d be Champions

    In Wenger’s mind we are. Didn’t Wenger say he tried to sign him once? To be fair, he’s said that so often it’s become meaningless.

  33. Red&White4life

    Poldi in the german squad one more time ??
    WTF ?? For staying on the bench all the time ?? lol

  34. STV

    Leedsgunner, sorry but no to Lukaku. His numbers are just comparable to Giroud. You can argue that’s because he played for Everton but I’d rather have a proven out and out goal scorer. Enough with the experiments already.

  35. Park Chu-young's left testicle

    Hopefully Giroud will get a season long injury at the Euros. Same for Jack.

  36. TitsMcGee

    It’s at the stage now where if(when) Wenger doesn’t address the needs this year adequately we will know it’s one of two things:

    He really has lost his mind

    Or

    He’s deliberately being inactive due to cowardice (not wanting to put his neck on the line by spending a bunch of money).

  37. TitsMcGee

    Dissenter: To be fair £33 million is ENOUGH for Xhaka. Arsenal are right to hold off. They’ll taken it because I don’t think any one else will come close to matching that.”

    We’ve been holding off buying players for years. Sometimes you have to pay what you have to pay. Adjust and stop trying to hold onto some archaic principles.

  38. Ishola70

    Wallace:
    ”he’s not speedy, although more mobile than Giroud. from what i’ve seen the two main things are his finishing, and the fact he’s genuinely two-footed. and that he also seems to be on the rise. would be an interesting buy.”

    Would be a back-up to Giroud buy.

  39. STV

    24m take it or leave it Higuain left for 34m
    40m1 take it or leave it Suarez left for 65m
    Alexis 32m take it or leave it, taken.

    Seems like Arsene has an imaginary value for every players and wouldn’t pay a penny more if he can help it. Our biggest problem with transfers is our tight arsed evaluations of players value.

    This needs to be stopped. Otherwise Arsenal continue to fail in transfers
    Remember we could’ve Cahill for 10m and Wenger only saw a need to splash 6m. The ‘derisory offer’, What a joke!

  40. Leedsgunner

    STV

    Wenger is an enigma.

    He wants to grossly underpay for proven players but at the same time he doesn’t think twice about overpaying massively for unproven youth, especially unproven English talent.

    £12m for Walcott
    £15m for Oxlade Chamberlain
    £16m for Chambers

  41. WengerEagle

    ‘Nolito did nothing in the second half of the season so surprised he is going. ‘

    Tbf was he not injured for a decent chunk of it? Only started 27 matches in the league, was still comfortably one of the top 5 players outside of the big 3.

    I’m shocked at how weak Spain’s forward options are, Pedro doesn’t deserve his place after a rubbish season at Chelsea and as good as Aduriz was for Athletic, he’s literally the polar opposite kind of striker to a David Villa who worked so well for Spain in 2008/2010.

    Morata will carry the burden all by himself and he’s unproven for Spain, weird not taking Costa or even Torres IMO.

  42. Ishola70

    Janssen would fit the bill as the back-up signing to Giroud and anyone painting it that he would be first choice over Giroud or become first choice over Giroud is being disingenuous with the truth.

    He wouldn’t cost a lot, he would not ask for high wages being signed from a provincial club in Holland. The league itself is seen as second tier in Europe. The guy himself looks like a humble unassuming chap. He is quite far away from being seen as a star player. Perfect buy as back-up to Giroud.

    So perhaps Wenger will see Janssen as the perfect back-up striker or alternatively get ready for some French player in Ligue 2 who you have never heard of.

  43. WengerEagle

    Not so hot on Icardi either, he’s had a fairly average season at Inter.

    Not enough to his all-round game IMO.

    Just look at Dybala, he’s absolutely bossed Serie A and he’s younger than Icardi.

  44. Carts

    “Lukaku is a good striker – when he feels like it. My guess is that is why Maureen let him go. He is not as bad as Adebayor, but he is moody and disappears at times. I am not doubting is ability, just his temperament.
    And we have enough moody players who go missing when it matters.”

    I disagree: Mourinho based his decision on Lukaku off of his West Brom form – which was impressive – and whatever he did or didn’t see in the subsequent pre-season.

    Also they made a tidy profit on him!

    I think it’s fair to say they dropped the ball on Lukaku, though.

    At Everton, at team with good players, are awful defensively.

    Just look at their recent form and Martinez. If I were Lukaku, I too would be disillusioned and I’d imagine my form would dip.

    That’s no excuse, of course, but I can see why that would happen.

  45. Ishola70

    Madness to spend a shed load on Lukaku.

    You spend that kind of money on class players.

    Martial is a class player. Lukaku is not.

  46. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, true. But even then it just exacerbates Spains’s lack of options in attacking positions. Pedro doesn’t deserve to be there but he’s a different option to all the more technical players. Aduriz is a great plan B. Morata will obviously lead the line but everytime Costa has played for Spain he’s literally stunk up the whole pitch. Torres should’ve gone though

  47. Red&White4life

    “You spend that kind of money on class players.”

    And god knows that wenger only spend money on top qualidy players…
    IF they are available, of course (Elneny was lol).

  48. Relieable Sauce

    Cech/young GK
    Bellerin/utility def – young CB/Mert – Koz/Gab – Nacho/young LB
    Ramsey/Elneny – top C/DM/Coq
    Sanchez/young winger – Ozil/Santi – top winger/Iwobi
    Top CF/young CF

    3 or 4 first teamers should be the aim if we want to start progressing and it really shouldnt be too difficult. Wenger wont be able to make the tough decisions that are needed though, not sure he even recognises the problems, it would after all be an admission of his failures. Is that likely?

    Not to me, feels like we will just see AFC with their usual reactive approach this summer, and all just to appease the fans rather than for some ambitious squad building programme or mid/long term football strategy.

  49. WengerEagle

    Romford

    I think that Nolito offers you everything that Pedro does and more attribute wise. Pedro’s experience and rapport with the likes of Iniesta, Fabregas and David Silva does add an edge to him that eludes Nolito though. They are the only two players in that squad that can really run at players and offer genuine width in attack so suppose it makes sense to bring them both.

    Sad seeing Cazorla excluded but tbh there are 3-4 players going that are better than Santi so makes bringing him a bit pointless. Very unlucky to be playing in the greatest generation of midfielders any national team has ever seen, he’d be a nailed on starter in Raul’s Spain.

    On the flip side, very happy to see Isco, Koke and Saul all going. None of the three have played at a tournament for Spain so that will give them an added edge from the 2014 side. Thiago was injured for Brazil 2014 too, very-much a new-look Spain midfield.

    Fascinated to see what their starting XI looks like, IMO could look like this:

    De Gea
    Carvajal Ramos Pique Alba
    Busquets Thiago/Koke
    Iniesta
    Silva Isco/Saul
    Fabregas (false 9)/Morata

    Btw, how on earth did Bartra get in ahead of Javi Martinez?

  50. Carts

    “Madness to spend a shed load on Lukaku.

    You spend that kind of money on class players.

    Martial is a class player. Lukaku is not.”

    Eh? but hold on, the interwebz almost went into meltdown when Utd informed the world that they were taken to the cleaners for Martial.

    Not one person referred to Martial as being a class player. It’s now transpired that he is, of course.

    As for Lukaku, he played for a poorly managed Everton team that should’ve easily been mixing it with West Ham and Soton. Even then, he managed to score goals.

    £35m-£40m for Lukaku based on how skewed the transfer window has been, is about right

  51. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, think you’re overhyping Nolito quite a bit. He’s had a nothing career and was shafted out of Benfica. He’s done well this season and maybe you could pick him based on form but I’d for for Pedro who’s more proven and will score goals if given the chance.

    Shame about Santi, I actually think he would’ve gone had he not been injured for 5 times. Yeah I think the starting 11 won’t be too dissimilar to that. Hard to see much difference although Cesc may be on the bench. Like I said, my outside bet Spain are. Don’t forget they’ve so. The last two Euros too

  52. WengerEagle

    Think Everton will push for £50 million minimum Carts considering he’s improved there and they paid £28 million themselves for him.

    Only turning 23, shortage of decent strikers of the market, someone will pay it.

    As well as he’s played, spending £50 million on Lukaku wouldn’t feel right IMO.

    My gut feeling is that you can find better out there with that sort of fee so don’t want us to blow our load on him.

    Then again, wouldn’t say no to him either.

    I’d take Cedric Bakambu over another year of Giroud.

  53. Ishola70

    Carts:
    ”Eh? but hold on, the interwebz almost went into meltdown when Utd informed the world that they were taken to the cleaners for Martial.Not one person referred to Martial as being a class player. It’s now transpired that he is, of course.”

    I’m sure any regular followers of French football will tell you that Martial was seen as a very highly rated young player. Very highly rated. All you had to do was watch Monaco games and when he came through the French national youth sides to see that. Man United have been proved correct in their big money purchase of him. The guy is basically the classiest young player in the EPL now with a great future in front of him. Class. Lukaku not class.

  54. Ishola70

    WengerEagle:
    “I’d take Cedric Bakambu over another year of Giroud.”

    Wouldn’t come that cheap. Vilarreal prob looking at something like 20m for him.

  55. WengerEagle

    Romford

    I don’t think that I am, he’s very highly rated in Spain. He was even better last season, scored 13 and assisted another 13. Sure he did nothing before he joined Celta Vigo but Raffael wasn’t up to much before he signed for Borussia Monchengladbach at 28, he’s been one of the best players in the Bundesliga in his 3 seasons there.

    Some players just bloom much later, it’s quite unusual but it happens. Di Natale became a 25-30 goal a season striker almost overnight in his 30’s.

    Look at Vardy even, he’s 29 and he had scored 5 BPL goals before this season.

    Agree on Spain being a decent shout to win it, it’ll be one of France, Germany or Spain.

    Would be shocked to see nay other winner, Belgium will once again flatter to deceive I think and I don’t see anyone else strong enough to cause those 3 problems. Italy have a very weak side compared to previous ones and Portugal are far too reliant on Ronaldo.

  56. Relieable Sauce

    Cech/Szczesney
    Bell – Chambers/Gab – Koz – Nacho
    Xhaka/Coq – Wilshire/Cazorla
    Ramsey/Gnabry – Ozil?/Iwobi – Ox/Willock
    Sanchez/Giroud

    Next seasons squad plus maybe a big signing in attack and some squad filler.

  57. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, I really don’t think he’s great mate. He’s been decent since moving back to La Liga but when comparing him to other Spanish talents he doesn’t really hold weight. I’d be surprised if he gets much game time at the Euros at all.

    Obviously he’s technically proficient which is what you’d expect with any Arsenal player but Vela for example is much better and he isn’t that highly rated. He’s a decent forward with an OK goal record but Celta Vigo is literally as good as it’ll get for him IMO. I’ve seen similar scenarios with players who have obviously bloomed late. That said he does deserve his spot over Vasquez who is a really weird selection if I’m being honest.

    I think Belgium have to perform. Aren’t they ranked #1 in the world currently? The team has talent coming out of their ear holes. Even Lukaku, Benteke, Origi and Michy for strikers is a great selection. Their only real weak area is FB but you don’t ever feel convinced when you watch Belgium. Other three look much more cohesive

  58. Romford Ozil Pele

    Germany’s squad is pure sex though, look at all those young talents like Weigl, Sane, Draxler, Brandt and Kimmich. How Poldi keeps getting called yo is anyone’s guess. Banter lol

  59. Red&White4life

    Low’s behavior with Poldi reminds me of wenger’s behavior with the likes of flamini, arteta, walnuts, jacki boy.
    Very… “romantic” ?? lol

  60. WengerEagle

    Romford

    Fair enough, I disagree and think that he’s a quite a decent player but he’s certainly not top shelf and won’t start for Spain with the quality of their midfield in particular. If they were to play a wide attacker Pedro will likely get the nod.

    It’s kind of weird how average the Real Madrid/Barcelona youngsters look isn’t it? None of Barcelona’s kids look any good, Munir and Sandro were such a huge step down in quality whenever any of MSN were injured.

    Real Madrid’s aren’t any better really, don’t like the look of Borja at all or Vasquez even although he’s better. Initially loved the look of Jese but he hasn’t been the same on his return from that bad injury.

    It’s strange that Barca and Real both have the best front 3 in world football but their options after that are bang average. Bayern have much more strength in depth with Lewandowski, Muller, Robben, Douglas Costa, Ribery, Gotze and Coman all able to play in a front 3.

    Bale was pulling results out of his arse when Ronaldo and Benz went down, same goes for Neymar/Suarez when Messi was out.

    Yeah that’s my feeling with Belgium, they are a great team on paper but there is always at least one of those that flop every tournament. They might not even flop, could well get to the SF but they won’t beat any of those 3 IMO.

    Certainly not twice if they somehow manage to pull it off once.

  61. Cesc Appeal

    RP

    Weigl is the one I want at Arsenal, would like a Xhaka, Weigl base, would be excellent, both defensive shields, but both excellent on the ball, Weigl for his age is ridiculously composed.

    Certainly would not shed a tear seeing the back of Ramsey or Wilshere with Weigl coming in.

    Poor BvB though, just continually picked apart.

  62. Carts

    Eagle

    I agree that Everton will definitely push for more – closer to £50m and I can see why.

    I think £40m would be a figure I’d part with. Anything more then you’re talking about throwing a few of our players their way.

    Bakambu is one pain-in-the-ass player. Runs channels quite well and looks promising. But is he an UPGRADE on Giroud?

    I’m not sure how I feel about getting player that we hope will develop into better players that Giroud. We need someone proven.

  63. Romford Ozil Pele

    Eagle, I definitely think he’s s decent player, wouldn’t have gotten to this level otherwise. Just think for the top level he isn’t there.

    Yeah Madrid and Barca struggle to develop good forwards. That said a lot of the food forwards out there acknowledge that they won’t play infront of the other 3 so maybe they just don’t want to be bench plsyers? I think Bayern don’t have any outright superstars like the other two. They have world class players but the likes of CR7 and Neymar have brands following them, literally global everywhere.

    Belgium really should challenge with their talent but was underwhelmed with them at the last World Cup

  64. Cesc Appeal

    Rooney at the front of all the England advertisement, he’s going to make the starting eleven isn’t he?

    For f**k sake.

  65. Romford Ozil Pele

    Haha Underrrated, I only really know about the Xhaka deal, everything else is heresay!

    CA, Weigl is immense, very similar player to Xhaka although the latter is more proven and physically imposing so can see why we’ve plumped for him. Weigl is set for an elite career if he continues this trajectory though.

    I think BVB said once Gundogan and Hummels went, nobody else would be leaving. Obviously Gundogan’s injury has scuppered his City move which is now why they’re trying to intercept the Xhaka transfer. Think they’ll be ok though. They buy exceptionally well and hire well too.

  66. Carts

    Ishola

    I watched plenty of Martial before he arrived. And though he stood out for the right reasons, the only team who actually registered a genuine interest was Spurs and even then. they ballsed it up – IMO that was saying something.

    He’s developed nicely at Utd and credit to LVG. To abruptly label him class and Lukaku not, seems quite off, tbh.

  67. underrated Coq

    Opinions on who has been the Flop of the season? In Arsenal and also the PL as a whole? For me its Walcott and Hazard. Has there been a more underwhelming performance from a reigning POTY?

  68. Red&White4life

    “Opinions on who has been the Flop of the season?”

    Our manager is every season’s flop since a decade.

  69. Carts

    “Rooney at the front of all the England advertisement, he’s going to make the starting eleven isn’t he?

    For f**k sake.”

    LOL. Woy has no asshole. It’s a shame really cos we should play our strongest team at every given opportunity.

    I think the friendlies will inform on more than we think, in terms of player selection.

  70. salparadisenyc

    Imperative we bring in another CF.

    Giroud’s far to hot and cold, not winning the title when you’re first choice CF goes on a 16 game scoreless run. Welbeck’s not an option via injury. Walcott’s the biggest con running in footie, wished I had an agent with that skill. Immense talent that man.

    I’m not taking Wenger’s comments seriously regarding CF, he’s punching into the market. How deep is another matter.

  71. Louis Almeida

    “In Arsenal and also the PL as a whole? For me its Walcott and Hazard. Has there been a more underwhelming performance from a reigning POTY?”

    Yes agreed.

    At least with Theo you know his level, Hazrad seems to have taken the whole season off though his goals against Spurs and Liverpool recently show his elite level when he wants to reach it.

  72. Emiratesstroller

    The main point I tried to make earlier today is that unless we find a striker who can add 10 goals to what Giroud has achieved in last 2 seasons it would be better finding a player like Mahrez or Mihitryan who can add 10-15 goals to our front line as well as offering more skill and crossing ability than we have got at moment.

    The reality is we have at the moment just two goalscorers in our team who are
    capable of scoring double digits. That is simply not enough to win titles.

    My view is that if we focus on buying a quality goalscoring winger to replace
    Walcott or Ox then there is less pressure on us going out and spending silly
    money on a striker who may or may not score the goals we require.

    Janssen has represented already Holland at age of 21 something that Van Persie had not managed to do AND he has scored this season 30+ goals. He will
    cost a lot less than most of the other strikers that have been mentioned and at
    worst will be understudy for Giroud.

  73. WengerEagle

    ‘Opinions on who has been the Flop of the season? In Arsenal and also the PL as a whole? For me its Walcott and Hazard. Has there been a more underwhelming performance from a reigning POTY?’

    Was Wally a disappointment though? For me and plenty of others he was just his usual useless, indescribably lucky to be earning a wage self.

  74. Wallace

    “Opinions on who has been the Flop of the season?”

    for the size of his talent, Hazard, obviously. Walcott with Sanchez running him a close second for much of the season at Arsenal.

    summer buys – Depay’s been woeful, Schneiderlin anonymous, Benteke, Pedro, Schweinsteiger(alas), the French kid at Newcastle, Falcao, Pato monsters the Kim Kallstrom award, Sterling to an extent…

  75. Cesc Appeal

    Yeah Walcott was not a flop, that was just Walcott save for one season out of his ten at Arsenal.

    Really do not see the fuss with him at all, said last year ‘easily replaceable,’ and that is completely accurate. Crap player.

  76. WengerEagle

    Carts

    Bakambu was tongue-in-cheek although he is actually a decent player. He’s not an upgrade on Giroud but he at least looks different (those faces man) and is actually mobile.

    Was just using him as an example of how sick to death of Giroud I am.

  77. Carts

    Sal

    I agree with you there.

    I think Wenger was probably going to blag next season again with Welbeck and Giroud. Welbeck being out long term has definitely forced his hand. Not to mention the uncertainty around Walcott.

  78. Ishola70

    Emiratesstroller:
    “Janssen has represented already Holland at age of 21 something that Van Persie had not managed to do AND he has scored this season 30+ goals. He will
    cost a lot less than most of the other strikers that have been mentioned and at
    worst will be understudy for Giroud.”

    If you really want to bang the drum for Janssen you must do better than this weak statement about him representing Holland at a younger age. Dutch football is not in the best of shape at the present time compared to the past and Van Persie was around when there were much better players all round for the Dutch which included his position when he was at a younger age. I very much doubt that Janssen reaches the level of Van Persie at his best. The Dutch League is second tier now full of young loan players. Citing how many goals Janssen has got giving us these big digits will be really exciting no-one.

    Why do you feel the need to bang the drum for Janssen anyhow? Is it because as a fan of Wenger you know too well that he will not be being in a top striker so let’s big up Janssen to the hilt to sugar coat the lack of a true top quality striker coming in. Wallace is doing the same thing as you I see.

    Janssen if he is signed will be seen by Wenger as back-up to Giroud.

  79. steve

    @Benny

    What a joke that article is. Typical disingenuous bullshit. A shot that hits the woodwork isn’t good enough. To dress it up as “bad luck” is pathetic. Arsenal didn’t win the league or any other trophy this season because they were shit end of.

  80. Wallace

    Ishola70

    “Why do you feel the need to bang the drum for Janssen anyhow? Is it because as a fan of Wenger you know too well that he will not be being in a top striker so let’s big up Janssen to the hilt to sugar coat the lack of a true top quality striker coming in. Wallace is doing the same thing as you I see.”

    I said he’s interesting. the Dutch league may be a lot weaker these days, but 30 odd goals at 21 yrs old is noteworthy. and my personal preference would be for an up and coming talent as none of the established names excite me. just my personal preference though.

  81. Carts

    Eagle

    I get you, lol. Think that’s fair enough.

    I think it’s fair to assume that any real top forward we go for will come with a sizeable price tag, due to the, some what, lack of young proven forwards.

    Lewa, Morata, Lukaku & Higuain will cost north of £40m.

    Real are already rubbing their hands together cos they know their going to make a nice profit.

  82. Ishola70

    Wallace
    ”I said he’s interesting”

    Yeah sorry Wallace you haven’t been bigging him up to the extent that Emirates Stroller has.

  83. Jeff

    Again, some of you forget the bottom line. It determines pretty much everything that happens in any window. The bottom line is this. Can we get top four with the current set of players? If Wenger reckons we can, he will paper over one or two cracks just to fool you into thinking he wants to compete. If he’s convinced (like he was last summer) that we can get top four without a single outfield player, he will just tease and troll us until the transfer window slams shut.

    Haven’t you got it yet? Let me repeat it. The intention is not to win the league. The primary objective is to finish in the top four. I’m really surprised that people are debating this player and that player with the underlying assumption that Wenger is actually even remotely interested in spending to win either the PL or CL. It is preposterous.

  84. Red&White4life

    ” I’m really surprised that people are debating this player and that player ”

    Thanks a lot Jeff, I was starting to feel a bit lonely here….

  85. Emiratesstroller

    Ishola 70

    Let’s make it simple Arsenal scored 10 more goals in EPL 2014/15 than this season.

    Yet the combined total of goals scored by Giroud and Sanchez in EPL is just one goal less than last season. Giroud has in fact score two goals more this season.

    The point I am trying to make is that unless you find a goalscorer who can add
    another 10 goals to what Giroud offers then it makes more sense to bring in
    an ADDITION to the team in the problematic wide position.

    I am not beating the drum for Janssen because I consider him to be a better
    player than VP, but rather that he has already played in Dutch Senior Team at
    least 3 years before VP did so.

    Also Holland despite being not a great team still managed to beat England in
    March and Janssen scored one goal and provided an assist in that game.

    If I have to choose between him costing lets say £20 million and Morata who
    will struggle to score 10 goals a season and costs £35 million it is for me a no
    brainer.

  86. WengerEagle

    Looks like Henry’s BPL assist record in a season of 20 will stand for years to come.

    How Ozil didn’t beat it this season or Fabregas last season is remarkable.

    15 assists in his first 16 matches.

    Giroud and Sanchez’s barren spells played their part.

  87. Wallace

    Jeff

    “If he’s convinced (like he was last summer) that we can get top four without a single outfield player, he will just tease and troll us until the transfer window slams shut.”

    so if we do sign Xhaka in the coming days you think Wenger’s done a deal with BM whereby he can return him within 28 days provided he keeps proof of purchase?

  88. Ishola70

    But Janssen will not be seen by Wenger as a player to come in to start ahead of Giroud.

    All Wenger will be doing with such a signing is keeping his favourite as senior first team player in Giroud and keeping the door open for the return of Welbeck after his long term injury.

    I’m sure Janssen would be happy just to be part of the set up at Arsenal. Not only does he come from a second tier league he currently plays for a provincial Dutch club. Perfect for Wenger to just fill a gap while Welbeck is absent. Ambitious signing? Not at all.

  89. Jeff

    Wallace,

    Your world is full of “ifs”, “buts” and “maybes”. Have a look at the last 12 years and even you will see an obvious pattern to Wenger’s movements and intentions. The Xhaka thing started months ago and past experience shows that high profile links like this one that go on and on usually just fizzle out – remember Draxler?

    Wenger buys to maintain status quo not to progress. In the words of a famous song – if you don’t know him by now, you will never, never know him.

  90. Cesc Appeal

    You know it will be someone like Janssen, relatively cheap, relatively unheard of, does not automatically displace his favourite, Giroud, if he succeeds Wenger gets massive credit, if he flops then it won’t matter because he cost relatively little and no one expected much, plus Wenger can bang on about ‘see, look at how hard it is to find better than Giroud.’

    A Janssen, or Kokorin or someone like that is far more likely than Wenger making a ballsy move and really going for it with a Higuain or the like, we’ve had Giroud for four years, he is now firmly one of Wenger’s favourites and I think we are going to suffer him as first choice next year.

    All the transfers we make won’t matter if Giroud is number one at ST next year, he’s by no means bad, but we won’t maximise the team and we suffer for goals.

    Sell Walcott, and really go for it with a buy, you’ve always got Giroud as back up then.

  91. Emiratesstroller

    Ishola 7

    Okay let me pose a question. Do you think that Arsenal [Wenger] will buy this
    summer more than one forward if he has to pay £35 million+ on a striker?

    Which do you prefer as first choice front line from the following options?

    A] Sanchez Giroud Mikhrytan or
    B] Sanchez Morata Your choice from current squad.

    I don’t disagree that Janssen may come in initially as a second string, but that
    may well apply to any other striker that Wenger buys.

    Frankly why does anyone think that Morata would come to Arsenal and start
    ahead of Giroud? If he plays our forward line will probably have even less
    goalscoring potential than now.

  92. Jeff

    Cesc,

    That’s the Wenger signature. He is not a normal manager in the sense that he doesn’t wake up in the morning and think “how can I wing the league” or “what can I do to win the CL”. He wakes up in the morning and thanks his lucky stars that he is in the top four. Absolutely rejoices at and revels in that fact.

    You have his MO worked out unlike a lot of people who think “this will be our season” year after year out. It’s quite funny and sad at the same time.

  93. Cesc Appeal

    Jeff

    Absolutely, Wenger does not play by the same rules as everyone else, he’s off pursuing other footballing goals and wants to be judged by that standard.

    Sadly our fan base lets him.

  94. Jeff

    Cesc,

    And come next season, around November or December time when predictably we have gone into the season once again with one arm tied behind our back, dropping points regularly – DT will be up there with his banner and he will be shouted down or criticised by the AKB police saying – show some respect. I lose faith in humanity when I see the kind of blind allegiance to something that neither merits nor deserves it.

  95. Wallace

    Jeff

    “Have a look at the last 12 years and even you will see an obvious pattern to Wenger’s movements and intentions…

    ….he doesn’t wake up in the morning and think “how can I wing the league” or “what can I do to win the CL”. He wakes up in the morning and thanks his lucky stars that he is in the top four.”

    sorry man, if i’d known you were waking up with him I’d have paid more attention to what you’ve been saying this last couple of years.

    does he text the players at 3am like Pep does? bet he doesn’t…

  96. Jeff

    Wallace,

    That’s right. It’s easy to talk shit during the recess. But when we’re dropping points and losing to Southampton 4:0, not so easy to defend you lifelong mentor is it? No, you go into torpor when that happens not because we lost but because your master is going to get it in the neck again.

  97. Cesc Appeal

    Jeff

    Well, fingers crossed it is only one more season, that is bearable, a Wenger window and season collapse is fine as long as he goes next May.

  98. Ishola70

    ES I haven’t mentioned Morata previously. Other people mention him probably because of the fact that he has played in higher profile games than Janssen. And no Janssen playing for Holland against England in a kick about friendly match and scoring doesn’t equate to the higher profile club games Morata has been involved in for Juventus and himself getting on the score sheet. Any half decent team has a chance of getting a result against England let alone individual players scoring against them. lol we could list a multitude of average players that have scored a goal against England.

    Then you say that you wasn’t comparing Janssen to RVP but then you put out yet again this irrelevant fact that Janssen got his debut at an earlier age than RVP for the Dutch national team and it has already been explained that the standard of Dutch players in the past was higher than the prsent bunch including when RVP was at a younger age.

    ES if you really rate Janssen then fair enough but I’M not sure you really do especially with some of the comments that you are backing him up with. Maybe you hope he will be a significant signing. If so then fair enough again. I just think you were going OTT in some of your comments on Janssen that’s all.

    For me personally the signing of Janssen doesn’t show that much ambition or intent.

  99. Cesc Appeal

    United supposedly interested in Morata, maybe mean Rashford will go out on loan somewhere, would like to see Martial get an extended run in the middle.

  100. Wallace

    Jeff

    “That’s right. It’s easy to talk shit during the recess. But when we’re dropping points and losing to Southampton 4:0, not so easy to defend you lifelong mentor is it?”

    I was talking possible player moves, you ridiculed the idea he might be buying anyone, despite the fact a couple of good sources have confirmed the deal’s as good as done….how is my being excited about us (probably) signing a very good player me defending Wenger?

  101. Jeff

    Pedro,

    I’m not at all as sure as you that Xhaka is coming. Experience shows that where a high profile link goes on and on (like Higuain, Draxler and Suarez), it usually just fizzles out.

  102. alexanderhenry

    Interesting situation for liverpool. Klopp is allegedly one of the best managers in europe. I’ve always liked him but they’ve finished trophy less and 8th in the premiership. That’s seriously disappointing. Under Rodgers they finished 6th.
    First season or in charge or not, liverpool fans will be massively disappointed.
    Klopp’s tactical know how is one thing, but you need players who are good enough to put those tactics into practice.
    Liverpool will have to spend big this summer. I’m sure they will.