Title contenders?

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Gooooood morning from sunny Paris! It’s so nice to be back in Europe, feeling thoroughly unloved by the locals.

So, what have we today?

Well, we didn’t speak about the fabulous news about our new kit supplier. Adidas has only gone and won the right to sell us that bruised banana kit, haven’t they!

Arsenal rocked a mega-deal that isn’t quite as good as United or Barca, but pretty damn close to what Chelsea are making. You can’t argue with £60m a year up from £30m. Especially when you’ve been utter dross for 10 years. That money can be put towards new players, an Arsene Wenger bust, or maybe another crazy contract if Ramsey keeps scoring wild goals like the one he did at the weekend.

I really, really, really hope Adidas take some liberties with our shirt. Do something iconic. Bring the fans something quality. Don’t play it safe. Also, get Rhianna back in the mixer, Ozil plays better when she’s around.

There’s been a barrage of positivity after our 9th straight win. Rightly so, it feels good to be competing. It also feels good for many to feel absolutely vindicated in wanting a managerial change. As I’ve said countless times before, regardless of what happens this season, sacking Wenger was the right thing to do (10 years to late). However, I do think some might be going a touch overboard, I read someone complaining that it was unfair we’d not been considered title contenders. We’re not title contenders. We’re doing well points-wise, but let’s not pretend this 9 game streak has been pretty to watch, or without major flaws.

The real opportunity is going to be 4th. Arsenal are going to have some dark times ahead. Our defence is still very worrying, and we have a nightmare schedule coming up. However, I do think we’ve seen enough to say that the strategy of hiring in experience and a dash of youth might be enough to put us in front of a very flat Spurs and a United that will have to change manager at some point this season.

I’m really looking forward to having Koscielny back in the side, we’ve missed his composure and quiet leadership at the back. It’ll be great to see him pair up with Sokratis. You’d hope that’d bring a bit more sturdiness to the backline as we move forward through the season. It’s such a shame the Frenchman is 33. We’ll need to replace him with some top class this summer, hopefully, we can do that with Champions League cash money.

There was a little bit of noise around the Ramsey celebration in which it looked like he was making a point about his deal. I don’t really get it, he scored a worldie against a shite side, that doesn’t make him a £350k a week player. I’ve no doubt he’ll end up somewhere half decent, but the club already made a shocking mistake by propping up Ozil’s retirement fund when it was clear no one wanted him. We can’t make the same mistake twice. We can replace Ramsey with two younger options and still have change to spare out of the money he wants.

This is why Champions League football is so important. We’re now in a situation where we have to pay players a premium to join us. Ideally, a club like us should get away with paying less because we’re a huge stepping stone. I’d love us to become a more elite Dortmund (who by the way, are back to their most exciting). A few more signings like Torreira and Guendouzi and we’ll be well on our way!

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments. x

507 Responses to “Title contenders?”

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  1. Uwot?

    “Little Mozart “ what could have been…..we’ve been very unfortunate with injuries to great players over the years.Diaby,rosicky ,Eduardo ,cazorla & others with very long term layoffs…..

  2. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Joe
    Yeah used to go with me mated about 74. Me dad took me up till then from 1970.
    Standing in the schoolboy endcloure … Parenting you had s brother to meet in the north bank to gain access

  3. Gooner63

    Title contenders – ummmm no

    firstly for many of the games, we havent looked good defensively and at some point we will have a run conceding goals, especially against the the top 5

    still a lot of work to do there

    midfield, still ramsey issue to sort out, Herrera seems to be on the radar as replacement, not the best stats for scoring. Still wish xhaka could be replaced

    2 strikers look good, but think we are still short of a destructive winger

    Early days, but we look much better in terms of tactics, structure, confidence

    top 5 players – virtually impossible but will go for, in no order

    Henry
    Bergkamp
    Cesc
    Brady
    Wrighty

  4. Cesc Appeal

    Pepe from 9 games now has 6 goals and 4 assists, last season from 36 games he got 13 goals and 4 assist.

    Still being strongly linked to him in January.

    Could be just what we need.

  5. Charlie Nick

    One player I thought was going to be an absolute legend was Stewart Robson. Versatile, hard as nails and an eye for goal. Bad injuries and a falling out with GG. Went to West Ham.

  6. jwl

    My top 5 players:

    Tony Adams
    Thierry Henry
    Dennis Bergkamp
    Robert Pires
    Lauren

    Honourable mention for Patrick Vieira. I knew nothing about Arsenal or football before 1995 so my list is recent.

  7. un na naai

    Paul Merson was my first favourite arsenal player. As an 8-9 year old I loved watching him play. Such an old school, clever player. We don’t make many like him any more. Le tiss and sherringham too. It’s all kick and run now. No poise, vision or flair in the modern british game. No thinking footballers.

  8. Thorough

    My top 5 players since I began watching Arsenal:
    Vieira
    Henry
    Pires
    Cazorla
    Rosicky

    The most underrated 5:
    Diaby
    Ljunberg
    Kanu
    Hleb
    Eduardo

  9. un na naai

    Through

    Forgot santi!!! So hard to include just 5
    As much as I hate him for what he did, I loved Ashley Cole making his last ditch thundering tackles too. Once everyone had been beaten, the striker was about to pull the trigger and from out of nowhere BAM!!!cashley slides in

  10. un na naai

    Thorough

    Top 5 biggest disappointments?

    Wilshere
    Theo
    Diaby
    Eduardo
    Van Persie leaving.

    Would have loved to see the ox and Rambo fulfill their potential with us too

  11. Thorough

    Not really a stat person but this has got to be telling:

    Arsenal without @LTorreira34 this season:
    Minutes: 442
    Goals scored: 9
    Goals conceded: 10

    Arsenal with Lucas Torreira this season:
    Minutes: 548
    Goals scored: 20
    Goals conceded: 3

    This is why it’s absolutely important to find a player in his mould. My picks would be Thomas Partey and William Carvalho.

  12. un na naai

    Thorough

    What a difference he has made. I still feel that the inclusion of Rob Holding has helped to solidify us too. He’s been our best defender since his inclusion.

  13. un na naai

    Overmars was a sight to behold too. Petit and paddy v dominating the middle. Ray parlour owning the right side. Great midfield that. Probably the most balanced we’ve had in the wenger era.

  14. Thorough

    Scratch that, Santi has been so immense I could not have left him out.

    And I’m so loving the links to Pepe, sounds like a colored Hazard is on the way.

  15. un na naai

    Through

    You did!! He was your number 4.

    He was though. A real bright spark in a period when our fantasy football had started to desert us

  16. Thorough

    Un Nai.
    Loved Ox to bit too. Felt he was perfect for the wing back position. Shame the idiat let Wenger irritate him to the point of leaving.

  17. un na naai

    Well let’s hope in 10 years time we arehabe as many players to choose from the emery era as we did the first 10 of wengers reign.
    I think he’s had an amazing impact already and hope he continues.
    The shameful thing is that all these players needed was structure. They had none at all by the end.

  18. un na naai

    Don’t even think it was that. All these players would have heard what training is like at other clubs. How the coaches prepare the players and improve their game. The ox would have been looking at wenger thinking “my form is poor and that’s partly my fault, but why aren’t you giving me guidance?”

    I think wengers approach of “just express yourself” only works with certain players and certainly players who have had excellent personal coaching before they join so when they get that freedomto express, the other facets of their game is more rounded already

  19. gonsterous

    When the ox first showed up, I thought it was game over for feo. Ox was direct and had pace to burn, strong as an ox too. Too bad he didn’t live up to his potential. Looked good for pool but injuries not helping.

  20. China

    Have you ever seen a more positive atmosphere on Le Grove?

    And during an international break as well lol

    Stop it guys. It’s weird

  21. China

    Let’s think about what can be done with that 70m

    Sell Ramsey and that’s hopefully up to 85m.

    That pays for a major prospect on the wing (40m) and a serious CB (40m) with some pocket change left over for a gamble on an unknown kid

    So I agree we should have more to spend but also think 70m is enough for us to make a genuine difference to the team in January

  22. China

    If we were willing to sell some of our far fringe deadwood and a couple of u likely to succeed kids I guess we could get another 20m out of this squad in January as well

  23. un na naai

    China

    We dare not sell our kids at the minute. And that £70m was spent already which is why they’re telling him to focus on youth right now
    He’s a class a prick that kroenke

  24. mysticleaves

    I like the link with Pepe. He’s a proper inside winger. He can choose to go down the flank with sheer speed or mad sit-your-ass-down dummies or he can choose to cut inside and let one fly. He should really get him.

    But that’s if we are willing to go 4231 or 433. If we want to maintain this 4222 (which I think we should) then we need to get Almiron. A mixed breed of CAM/LAM that can do what Iwobi did in the game. There’s also an option to go through the middle whem the left striker goes wide to receive the ball.

    I liked the movement last week. Lacazettte moving right opens the space of Miki through the middle and all that. it was just fluid. I want to see it again.

  25. Pierre

    All this talk of Aaron Ramsey ‘s contract but imo there is a more important decision that has to be made on welbeck’s contract ,otherwise he’s walking out of the club on a free at the end of the season.

    Personally, I think he will stay ,if not Everton may come calling and we sell him in Jan for 15-20 mil.otherwise he’s walking out of the club on a free at the end of the season.

    Personally, I think he will stay ,if not Everton may come calling and we sell him in Jan for 15-20 mil.

  26. Michael24

    un na naai

    Re: 06:51 post “just express yourself”.

    Basically what your saying is that Wenger was a shite coach.

    I think we all knew that.

  27. Emiratesstroller

    If Ramsey leaves either in January or Summer we will most definitely need a
    star quality replacement in central midfield.

    Ramsey may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is nevertheless one of the club’s most highly prized assets and worth in current market in normal circumstances at least £40-50 million.

    Losing him in January without replacing him with an experienced central
    midfielder could cost us a top four finish and a place in Champions League.
    Frankly we are not flush with resources in that department.

    My personal preference would be to hold onto him until end of season and let him go on Bosman. Accepting £20 million in January does not compensate the
    club if we fail to make the top four.

    The club will have a decent pot of money in the summer and I would rather focus then on bringing in a top quality CMF . If we are qualified for Champions League it will be much easier to recruit someone than if we are in Europa
    League.

    The money from Adidas, Emirates and Ruanda should help us to make the right investment decision.

  28. Dissenter

    Pierre
    If you were Welbeck or Ramsey, would you agree to a transfer in January, just when you’re set to get the last big contract, a free transfer with a massive sign in bonus.
    These two players have come thus far, they aren’t going to budge now,

  29. Dissenter

    Emirates
    “My personal preference would be to hold onto him until end of season and let him go on Bosman. Accepting £20 million in January does not compensate the
    club if we fail to make the top four”

    That’s the type of erroneous thinking that’s gotten us into this mess.
    What if we keep him and still not make top four?
    This is really about squad rebuilding and getting players that fit into the new managers system. There’s life after Ramsey, a much better life.

  30. Pierre

    Stroller
    I don’t think we will miss Ramsey,in fact him leaving will make selection easier for the manager .
    Ramsey is not a central midfielder, at long last we have 2 holding midfielders to give the team balance.
    Ramsey also struggles as a no.10 ..We have enough playmakers in the side who play the role as it should be played …Ramsey is an excellent player coming off the bench .
    Smith-rowe has a bit of Ramsey in him in the way he plays and personally I think he has a better brain already . Ramsey leaving will give smith-rowe the opportunity he deserves .

    Dissenter
    I understand what you are saying but I think welbeck may have second thoughts if he was thinking of leaving as the atmosphere at the club has changed somewhat and he may want to be a part of it……. If Everton do come calling and guarantee him a start then he may be swayed.

    Ramsey to leave ,as I have said since last May ,and welbeck to stay is my prediction.

  31. un na naai

    Michael

    No that’s not what I’m saying. That’s bullshit
    Look what he did with rvp. Look what he did with many many players
    Cesc. No player left arsenal and became better apart from cashley.
    What I am saying is that his style doesn’t suit certain players. Especially in the modern era where most players require their games to be micro managed

  32. Freddie Ljungberg

    Since Ramsey is playing as a CAM anyway there is no need to replace him like for like, we have Ozil and Mikhi that are both better than him in that position anyway.

    Sell him and Welbeck in January and bring in a proper wide forward like Pepe and we’ll be more balanced.

    What we need in midfield is a Xhaka replacement not a Ramsey replacement.

    If that is achieved by selling Elneny or Xhaka doesn’t matter to me but we need an upgrade next to Torreira if we’re going to go toe to toe with the top clubs in the prem and europe again.

  33. Ivan

    Dissenter – Welbz doesent seem that much greedy on and of the pitch. It seems that for him playtime would be bigger factor than money on offer.

    For Ramsey – well, he is greedy on and of the pitch so i got a feeling that ship has allready sailed.

  34. HighburyLegend

    The sooner Ramsey will go, the better for us.
    He prefers blue shirts ?? Fine for him… overrated sucker.

    (Arsenal dna my ass)

  35. Emiratesstroller

    Dissenter

    That is my opinion.

    Recruiting an unknown quantity in January particularly someone from outside Europe will take time to integrate into team.

    Also if we sell to a competitor like Man Utd and Chelsea it will strengthen their squad at our expense.

    I would far rather focus in January on squad stability and a top four finish.
    Ramsey is not a player likely to sulk for the rest of this season like Sanchez.

  36. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre

    The departure of Ramsey is not an issue providing that we replace him with
    an equivalent player or upgrade.

    However, I doubt that Arsenal have £50 million to spend in transfer market this side of summer transfer window. Taking £20 million in January is not going to compensate for weakening our squad.

    Welbeck is a different situation, because he is a third string striker in our squad as opposed to Ramsey who would be considered first choice.

    Sometimes posters on here need to look at the priorities and selling Ramsey
    without adequate replacement is not one of them.

  37. Dissenter

    Emirates
    Assuming our transfer budget is £70 (similar to last summer), selling Ramsey fir £20 milllion to add to that budget makes a different.
    90 milllion budget is a lot different from a 70 million.
    What are we going to use to buy these replacement for Ramsey?
    Why is that we dither so much?
    Do you really think he will sacrifice himself so much knowing that he’s out of contract in a few months.
    He’s leaving anyways so get what we can and do it on our own terms.

  38. Cesc Appeal

    Unless you agree a fee of £40 Million and give them £20 Million in January you make from Ramsey and then £20 Million in the summer.

    Selling Ramsey in January makes the most sense if we can.

  39. Freddie Ljungberg

    Why are we acting like we don’t have any money in January?

    Added sponsorship revenues will add another 40-50m in the summer, if we get CL it’s another 25m.

    That’s on top of the regular budget so if we get CL we should have 140m to spend in the summer.

    Makes sense spending some of that in January to strengthen our chances of getting top 4 no?

    If we can get 30m for Ramsey and Welbeck combined it would be stupid not to take it. None of them are irreplaceable.

  40. Emiratesstroller

    Dissenter

    The budget next summer will be most probably north of £100 million with the
    Adidas sponsorship coming on stream.

    As I said the focus now must be a top four finish this season so that we qualify
    for CL and not destabilising the current squad.

    Qualification for CL adds at least £25 million to budget and progression beyond pools adds even more.

    There is plenty of time to upgrade our squad, but it should be done at right
    time and not just for sake of it.

    As I said previously if you find in January a genuine proven upgrade and have
    the transfer budget to buy him then fine if you sell Ramsey. Somehow I doubt
    that will happen.

  41. mysticleaves

    “If Ramsey leaves either in January or Summer we will most definitely need a
    star quality replacement in central midfield.”

    If all our players are fit as is, Ramsey doesn’t even start. We don’t even need to replace him directly.

  42. Ivan

    ES – Ramsey problem i bit deeper than Welbz .

    He didnt play shit bar “dat goal”. He sulks when being subbed. Him him being senior first team player in this contract situation is not healthy for team.

    To add insult to injury he is highly replaceable so selling in jan might be good for team morale more than financial gain.