Arsenal Season Preview: 2016-2017

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Oh good morning you fabulous people. Start of the season is here. EXCITEMENT HAS LANDED. I’m currently watching Spurs struggle against Everton after seeing Leicester become the first Champions EVER to lose their Premier League opener. Could be tough for them. A bad start kills confidence, makes players question the project, hate each other and generally pushes sublime right midfielders one step closer to paradise in North London.

So how are we looking heading into the season? Well, it’s time for me to stop being disgusted by the summer. So I’ll just give my run down of areas of interest.

Arsene Wenger:

I was advised by The Daily Mail to tone down a piece I wrote the other day. I won’t give additional commentary there, but as you can imagine, I’m not happy. The manager has had the chance to turn the tide this summer. Go out, buy what you need, clear out what’s not working and tighten up some of the weaknesses we have in our system. Instead, he’s added one senior player, he’s sold no one and we’re looking pretty similar to the side we were last season. A side that failed pretty hard if you scratched the surface… a season reimagined by Wenger as ‘oh so close’, which has impacted our summer.

We’ve gone from major surgery to tweaks, because of the reactive nature of Wenger.

But, it is what it is. Xhaka is an excellent signing. I have supremely high hopes there. I’m just miffed that we haven’t even done the basics, like ship out the dreadful Ospina… and how Theo Walcott is still wearing an Arsenal shirt is beyond me!

The keepers:

Kind of touched on it in the sentence before, but our keeper setup is Martinez, Ospina and Petr Cech. I think Cech, despite some poor form at stages last season, is still one of the best keepers in the league. However, the two back up keepers are only good for entertaining Arsenal TV videos. Ospina was car crash in preseason and he’s usually pretty bad when he gets let loose on the Arsenal starting line-up. I do wish we’d go out and sign a young keeper from the lower leagues, a genuine talent that could push Cech who is entering the back 9 of his career. Even greats need competition. Ospina and Martinez are not that.

The defence:

I think we conceded 36 goals last season, not bad going you have to say. We’re in trouble though. Wenger really isn’t a long term planner / strategic and he’s not thought about replacing his key men this summer, now he’s paid the price. Per Merteacker and Kos are both in their thirties, the German is now out for 5months. Gabriel and Chambers are not the best back up choices, Wenger should have had Chambers out on loan cutting his teeth last year, but instead, he wasted him on the bench. Gabriel has been awful anyway, but he’s also out for a while. Rob Holding will probably go out on loan.

On paper, our defence is strong. Nacho and Hector are excellent. But if we slip into the back-ups, Kieran Gibbs isn’t good enough and Debuchy has never regained his Newcastle form. So it’s a bit shaky in quality depth.

The midfield:

Well, we have quite a lot of interesting options here. I think the two players we’ve lacked for years are Elneny and Xhaka. We’ve gone from quite weak defensively, to WOAH WE ARE STRONG. Elneny is a tireless work horse with some serious class. Xhaka is beast, a leader and pinpoint accurate with his passing. He also has far better technique than Coquelin. So we have two promising upgrades. We then have the other bits. I’m unsure how Wenger is going to integrate Aaron Ramsey this year. Someone was saying on Twitter he needs someone to do defensive bits for him and he needs someone to support his creatively… quite a lot of things you need to make Ramsey work. Then there’s Jack Wilshere, is he a back up Ozil or is he going to compete to play the Pirlo role? He needs to stay fit for a start. That’d be nice. We also have Ozil and Santi. Two very beautiful chess pieces, it’ll certainly be lovely to have the Spaniard back.

I’m really not sure how it all fits together, but at least we have good names to work with.

The front three:

Our right side is desperately short in my opinion. Theo Walcott has given up his dreams of being the new Suarez and he’s asked to Wenger to allow him to become a disciplined, hardworking, potent right winger. I mean, he’s in his prime right now, he’s shown he’s capable out there before, so who knows. I just don’t hold out much hope. Any player that says after watching a player work hard (Sanchez), he too was inspired to work hard, is lost to me. We also have Chambo out there, love him to bits, he brings the Snapchat bantz for sure, but he’s been pony for a while. However, it’s a mental thing for him… if he shakes the shackles of his mind, he has it all. Power, pace, directness… A LONG SHOT.

The left side looks far more tidy. Alexis Sanchez, a player who has been beasted the past few years by not getting a summer off, will have a point to prove after a shoddy end to last season. Then we have Iwobi. A player I absolutely LOVE. He’s the black love child of Alex Hleb and Tomas Rosicky. Sublime control, powerful, unpredictable… and he looks like he could be a bit of a finisher as well. I think he’s going to be so, so good!

I mean, I don’t want to be all like, well, Gnabry is like a new signing. But he’s doing well at the Olympics. It’s only a shoddy attitude that’s kept him out of WBA and Arsenal. If he can liven up, realise that being the next David Bentley is beyond stupid, maybe he can do something for us?

Our striking options are beyond abysmal. Olivier Giroud will get you goals. But he’ll also go without them for months at a time. What was it, 17 games without a Premiership goal? Awful, awful return. He’s also questionable against top clubs and he’s pretty poor away from home. He really should have been shipped out this summer, but again, Wenger.

I’m not sure what we do tomorrow? Chuba scored a bunch of goals, but he rarely started preseason. He doesn’t look like he has it. So will we play Theo there or Sanchez? Whatever we do, it’s looking pretty sad in that central position. Wenger had one job this summer, and he failed to deliver on it.

Summary:

We’ve just not gone hard enough at making changes this summer. Wenger has fooled himself into thinking second was second. He’s not taken a step back and said, ‘how do we get to the level of Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern and Madrid’, which is unbelievable in my opinion. So yes, we have a good set up, but we don’t have a great one.

Wenger puts too much of the season on ‘if this player grows’, ‘if he gets his head straight’, ‘you might be surprised by’ and ‘look at how many goals Giroud scored at the Euro’s’… and it’s a weak way to manage.

I also think there’s a psychological issue at play. When you work with average teams, you have to make tough decisions, because poor cogs in your team infect other cogs. By leaving bad players in the squad, it says to the good players that the manager is weak and he doesn’t care about substandard. Wenger has sent no message to anyone this summer. He’s basically said, ‘it’s ok to be average’.

Not to mention the impact excitement has on players. Players are just as into transfers as you and I. They want to go into work buzzing about seeing new faces and crazy talent. Think how the United players are right now. They’ll be so excited, as will the fans. Think of how the Arsenal players will be feeling? Pretty flat. Because they’ll know they don’t have enough to do anything serious this season.

However, I think we’ll be ok. We have a solid midfield. We have a solid defense. We have a good front three. We just really lack that something special a title winning team needs.

Maybe Wenger will find it before the window shuts, just don’t bank on it…

Right, season preview done. Off to enjoy the Man City game!

WE ARE OFF!

537 Responses to “Arsenal Season Preview: 2016-2017”

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  1. STV

    For the first time, I am not excited abt our first match. I hope we win but unfortunately that’s the goodbye for any signings..(bar Musfafi/Evans/someone else) I think..

  2. Wallace

    RVP’s ‘letter to the fans’ made his position untenable, which was the idea. not saying he didn’t have some justifiable grievances, but no way a club keeps a player after he’s publicly raked them over the coals.

  3. Adam A. Carbarundum

    @highbury….the environment will grow more toxic should the team get off to a poor start. The goodwill given to Wenger over the years is eroding. Don’t underestimate dissatisfaction, it’s cost many a leader their job.

  4. Joe

    Yeah well Marko

    Too bad. You are free to leave anytime you want If you don’t enjoy the comment section

    No one is holding a gun to your head

  5. Marko

    I didn’t say that second part Wallace. Also yes you seem happy to argue we haven’t technically speaking finished 4th for a while but forgot to mention that we haven’t challenged for the title for even longer. It’s okay though. It’s hard to think that far back for some

  6. Bamford10

    Wallace

    I generally respect the work you do here, but pointing out that we sometimes finish second or third in the PL or that there is a difference between being irrelevant in the CL — which is what we are — and being a “laughing stock” is pretty lame.

    Do you see what you have been reduced to? Defending inadequacy. “We may be irrelevant, guys, but we’re not quite as terrible as some of you suggest.” Great.

  7. Bamford10

    Wallace

    Except that the club deserved a “raking over the coals”. It still does. RVP was simply telling the truth.

  8. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Stv

    I can concur with those sentiments

    My love for the club drains with the passing of every day ….
    He mr Wenger has. Single handily wrung the life out the club….

    I want to win today but couldn’t care less to be honest ….

  9. Marko

    Sure Joe. Whatever you do don’t tone down your rhetoric instead let everyone else leave. Pretty sure if that happened you’d be left with peanuts and Red in here. Besides I don’t have a problem just sometimes your language gets vile…too vile. I mean we’re not cunts in here

  10. Daz

    Joe

    No it wasn’t being implied, and no I don’t really care how much they want to spend was just answering a question and thought it was interesting that they have 7 players on over £200k per week, you can estimate their wage bill has risen by around £50m per year in this transfer window alone on just 3 players, just talking football you stick to calling wenger a cunt everyday it’s fine

  11. Jeff

    That sentiment of “not caring less” is exactly the same which reverberates around the Emirates from the tired fans to the manager and all the way to Kroenke. So long as the seats are sold, the TV money comes in, the sponsors continue to sponsor – job’s done. Finishing fourth is the cheapest way of placating the majority.

  12. N5

    The atmosphere will be on level with Palace at home the day after we signed Kallstrom today. I’ve not met a single person who’s buzzing for it.

    I was reading She Wore a Yellow Ribbon and he was saying he’s not missed an opener in over 20 years and today he has to due to work but he couldn’t care less. Hardcore supporters driven to nonchalance by Wonga.

  13. Bamford10

    Joe

    Sometimes your commentary does devolve into post after post of personal insults, cursing and verbal abuse. There is nothing interesting or appealing about this, and Marko is right to suggest that you and Le Grove would be better off without this kind of thing. It’s not a big deal; just try to stay away from pointless, ugly, curse-laden skirmishes and try to vary the kinds of things you say here.

  14. billp79

    i think even if we win, AW will have to buy…it only benefits his negotiating position to say he doesn’t need to…
    the problem is everyone can see we need to…
    talking about it/ complaining about it does no supporter any good.

    Its the results…stupid.

  15. Daz

    And it was no more than 5 comments easy enough to pass over, unlike the 50 comments that you have had on repeat everyday for the last 2 years, you’re boring end of

  16. Bamford10

    While I think United are falling into the trap of simply throwing big money at every problem, Wenger is doing the opposite and treating spending on signings as some kind of evil. There is a middle ground, and that’s where the sensible clubs and managers stand.

  17. Wallace

    Bamford

    but it’s these exaggerations of our inadequacies that bug me the most. most days on here I feel like a fact-checker at a Donald Trump rally.

    if people just kept it sensible I wouldn’t feel the need to always be defending the guy. but this idea that we’ve got a squad full of shit players is just idiotic. we’ve got a very good squad that looks a little bit short in two important positions.

  18. STV

    Win against Liverpool no more signings end of..

    You can hear “letz not forget there r players to comeback, we have ze cohesion ” etc.. etc..

    Bullshit

  19. billp79

    That’s what Jose does…he thinks that good coaching is buying ready made players…killing off others he deems ‘juvenile’…immediate results…like SAF in his final year… look at what he had a Chelsea and tell me he didn’t have enough to work with?
    If it all goes bad it will be other peoples fault for disrupting his team….instead of figuring out how to make the parts work together….boring…
    he doesnt have the defense to run rule like that…

  20. STV

    Wallace you defend the indefensible. You sing ‘One Arsene Wenger’.. That sets you apart.. But I don’t agree with you that people says we’re full of shit players.. We are not.. People are not saying that. Maybe you love defending Wenger and then blame it on other people. You do lack some appreciation for ur self tho

    Congrats man!! You are a true supporters of the greatest manager we’ve ever had.. One Arsene Wenger..

  21. Jeff

    Wallace,

    Nobody ever said we have a team full of shit players. We have a team comprised mostly of average players and about 3 or 4 what one might call world class. However, the contention is that this is not good enough and that it could be improved upon year in year out. But Wenger won’t do it so your tendency to defend him all the time is at worst puerile and at best tedious.

  22. Marko

    Hardcore supporters driven to nonchalance by Wonga.

    That’s the worst thing he’s done. The absolute apathy amongst the fan base is the worst part. I mean the beginning of the season and I’m just like meh cause I know exactly how it’s going to turn out unless we do something about it. I mean the other thing he’s done especially with the lemmings over at Untold is he’s convinced certain fans that signings are bad. I mean come on how are fresh new players bad. Every single fan at every single club since the dawn of football has always and should always get excited by the prospect of a new player joining your club. It should be met with excitement and not seen as a bad thing and a last resort.

  23. Joe

    So Daz. You just called me boring because I talk about the same things for years and years

    So then I talk about your post about Man U and you say I should ignore it

    Hmmmmmmm

  24. Bamford10

    Wallace

    OK, but I’d say the over-the-top criticism has more truth to it than your defensive position does.

    We’ve been irrelevant for ten years now. To say otherwise is dishonest. We’ve seen the team left short 2-3 quality players every year for years now, the same mistakes over and over, the same bullshit line from Wenger over and over.

    There is no reason to be nice or fair about it now. We’re beyond that, for good reason.

    You say we have ” a very good squad that looks a little bit short in two important positions.” I’d say this is a far-too-rosy take on things. One, unless we sign a CB, we’re really three quality players from a solid squad. Two, we have been watching Wenger leave us short — for no reason whatsoever — for years now. There’s no reason to be nice about it, as you are.

    My question is why is this your approach? Why paint the obviously bad situation in the best possible light? I don’t get that. I like to paint the picture in its actual light. If the picture stinks, then perhaps my painting can help to change the situation. Bad metaphor, but you get my point, I think.

  25. Jeff

    Another boring park the bus job. This is why it can be said that the PL is the toughest league in the world but from this respect alone, it can also be the most boring at time.

  26. Marko

    I know exactly how it’s going to turn out unless we do something about it

    I didn’t mean that in a Trump kind of way btw guy’s. No one assassinate him

  27. Bamford10

    Throw Pogba into this and you get magic? I don’t think so, gents. United and Mourinho still have a lot of thinking to do. Solid squad, but they are no guarantee to win the league. Not at all.

  28. Joe

    Wallace

    How many times have I said ” a different manager and we win the league last seasons and probably 2 other times in the last 12″

    You take hatred of the manager as a hatred of the team.

    You are wrong as usual.

    You take your love of the man to a higher level than the love of the team

  29. Bamford10

    United should play 4-4-2, with either Martial or Rashford playing off of Ibrahimovic. But they won’t be able to, I imagine, because they have to find a place for Rooney. Rooney is hamstringing them, I think.

  30. Marko

    United aren’t going to win the league. They still play fucking Valencia at RB and Fellaini still gets a game over Schneiderlin.

  31. Daz

    Joe

    The point being if you didn’t want to read it fine it had taken up 5 comments worth of space, you on the other hand fill up entire pages with the same comment on repeat, every day in every week of the last two years abit different

  32. vicky

    Commentators were going overboard about how star-studded and fantasy football type team United are before the start of the match and they have been anything but painfully boring. Even City were boring yesterday. The league has got money, great managers but in terms of quality, it’s still a poor league.

  33. Jeff

    STV,

    I don’t think the fan majority will ever boycott or protest. We’re not that sort of fans. For me, my protest has been in the form of not going to games since 2009 and not paying for any TV coverage. However there are plenty of people who will retain their season tickets and will keep going and they are perfectly within their rights to do so. We have to wait for Wenger to leave or get too old for the job – I’m resigned to that.

  34. Daz

    Wallace How many times have I said ” a different manager and we win the league last seasons and probably 2 other times in the last 12″

    I would take a stab at around 2056 times

  35. PessimisticPat

    Wallace

    Having 2 months off from le grove might be difficult for you. But just imagine not speaking to Joe will be like moving away from the nightmare next door neighbour you hate. Glass half full and all that.

  36. Thank you and goodnight

    Come on the Liverpool. Sorry N5, Wenger Eagle and rest…….but I’m cheering bin dippers today

  37. Joe

    Daz

    Fuck off cunt

    You are a bore. Tell me I talk about ten same shit

    I try to talk about something different and you tell me I shouldn’t

    Just fuck off with your boring shit

    One Arsene Wenger Isn’t Daz!

  38. Thank you and goodnight

    @Jeff

    Same here. Stopped going in 2009 and cancelled sky sports last 2 years. As N5 said….opening day of season in years gone past and I’d be buzzing. Now I’m like…..who cares

  39. Wallace

    Bamford

    “My question is why is this your approach? Why paint the obviously bad situation in the best possible light? I don’t get that. I like to paint the picture in its actual light.”

    no question I do always look for the good things, and I would disagree with your view that it’s an ‘obviously bad situation’. so we’re definitely seeing it very differently. for me it’s a frustrating situation because 2 good signings, a little bit of luck, and we won’t be far off. I think a CB will come in, but if he doesn’t bring in a goalscorer that will be indefensible.

  40. Daz

    “I try to talk about something different and you tell me I shouldn’t”

    When did you try that again?

    Oh yeah that bet we had who would mention wenger first, you lasted a couple of hours well done.

    Relax Joe it’s just a blog you cunt

  41. Bamford10

    Wallace

    Well, when I say “obviously bad situation,” I’m talking about the last ten years, Wenger-at-the-helm, not just the immediate moment.

    Sure, we’re a CF and CB away from being a good side, but given Wenger is the manager, and given the experience of the past ten years, there is no reason for optimism, IMO.

    To each his own disposition, I guess.

  42. Thank you and goodnight

    @Marko

    No, but might start to change a few AKB’S minds in the coming season with every loss. Each seasons got more and more people have seen the light. Really think today could be pivotal. If we lose at home to Liverpool the pressure is on Wenger from day 1.

  43. Jacko

    ‘It’s still a poor league’

    Agree Vicky

    I know it’s early but it has been very dull so far. United fans are in for a long season, although doubt there will be many complaints if Mourinho bores his way to the title.

    Hope our game produces more of a spectacle.

  44. STV

    I don’t buy the idea that the league will be toughest to win because of the flurry of new managers and the influx of money..

    For Arsenal, the pl would still be there for the taking. The title race should be wide open, it depends on the mentality of the team and tactical acumen of the manager and how much he can strengthn the squad.

    Ideally, Wenger should make the team in to a consistant and tough outfit, along with the addition of some good players..

    But I expect Wenger to fail in these things and hence we would fail to win any titles. Wenger will instead, focus on 4th place..

  45. Joe

    Daz you really are a stupid cunt

    Talking about Man U and what they paid pogba

    And if you can’t handle being proven wrong maybe you should just shut up

  46. Wallace

    Pessimistic Pat

    “Having 2 months off from le grove might be difficult for you. But just imagine not speaking to Joe will be like moving away from the nightmare next door neighbour you hate. Glass half full and all that.”

    yeah, that was the motivation behind the bet. if I can’t get rid of him I’ll leave myself 🙂 hopefully there will be some benefits to the break. no doubt I’ll miss it, but it does get wearing at times.

  47. Daz

    “And if you can’t handle being proven wrong maybe you should just shut up”

    What on earth are you talking about now? Proven wrong about what?

    Infact forget it I can’t be arsed to have a back and forth with you today I’m going to watch the match

  48. Bamford10

    Joe

    This is precisely the kind of pointless name-calling I was talking about. It’s dumb — mind-numbingly so.

  49. STV

    Jeff sadly I know you’re right.. If he renew his contract, I’ll seriously consider my affiliation to Arsenal untill he departs.. In a weird way I am looking forward to this season. With optimism.

  50. PessimisticPat

    Wallace

    I agree it does get a bit tiring on here at times. Im waiting till the deadline closes myself before i lose my shit about not signing anyone. Enjoy your 2 months off. Who knows where we’ll be when you return. Maybe we’ll sign some players, be doing well and you can tell us all told you so. Part of me hopes you’re right, but going on past experiences i doubt it.

  51. Frost

    All this without pogba & mikki. United are gonna be a huge problem this season man…. Talk of them looking at varane too. Good heavens.

  52. billp79

    B-Mouth gave their game plan away…always looking for just a point…bad pass back to Boric and its all over. Smith had best earned goal of the evening.
    Rooney gets a gift header and Ibra finds far corner on a seeing eye shot,,,,intentional??? of course he’ll say it was…
    B-mouth couldn’t keep possession if their life depended on it…even with all the space allotted to them…

  53. billp79

    Wengers line up suggest they are going to try and cut off the service into the box and danger areas…not much else he can do with the corner he painted himself into…

  54. billp79

    Klopp is expecting a direct game….should be interesting,,,should their middies be able to break down of defensive mid’s on the dribble….