Emery moves #Top4 agenda forward with another win

by & filed under News Review.

Via @Arsenal Instagram

Unai Emery hoisted 3 points up the #Top4 flagpole as he continued to progress his mission of bringing goodness, light and Champions League football back to the true home of London football.

The game was almost too easy. We burst out of the traps much in the same way as we did midweek, this time, the fight was led by the impressive Iwobi who looked inspired. The first goal came from his cross that found Mikhi at the back post, the ensuing scuffed strike found Lacazette 6 yards out for the tapped finish.

Did I just totally forget about the superb save Leno made just prior to the goal? I did. Mustafi made a mistake allowing the Redmond in on goal, the German saving brilliantly.

The second came on 15 minutes. Lacazette’s pressure from the front put Southampton under pressure, Angus Gunn duffed his clearance, the mighty Iwobes found Mikhi at the back post again, this time, the Armenian guided a stroked pass low into the near post corner.

The second half was very much taken in second gear. There’s a fair argument to be had that we should have gone hard at Southampton considering the potential goal difference issue we might butt up against, but ultimately, the three points is what mattered.

I think we saw the impact of overexertion in the ScouserManc game, Liverpool losing Firmino and Robertson, with United breaking 3 players in the first half (Mata, Lingaard, Herrera). The draw was good news for us, it looks like Liverpool are letting the title slip and the draw pegged United back two points in the #Top4 race (Matic is also out).

All in all, the game did the job. I thought it was a bit weird to start Ramsey over Ozil considering the style of game, but both landed some game time. Those two could prove vital for the run-in. Sokratis came through the match unscathed which is also vitally important for the week ahead. Additionally, I thought Bernd Leno was excellent. He made two excellent saves that stopped the game turning into an energy sapper.

I also think Kola is underrated. He made some deft touches, he was unselfish and created two very good chances that deserved more. Some additional stats: He made the most ball recoveries, he made the most passes in the attacking 1/3, he won 2 aerial duels and his pass completion rate was 86%. I know Southampton were shite, but you can only play who is put in front of you.

Xhaka had a very good game. Given time and space, he really can pick apart a team. He ran riot yesterday. Still managed to nearly gift them a goal, but I’d almost feel cheated if he stopped doing that. Lacazette was hardworking and decisive as always. Finally, Mikhi played really well. It’s nice to have some craft out wide, he gives us much needed balance.

So: A clean sheet. Our 4th halftime lead of the season. Back into 4th. That’s the way I like my Sunday afternoons.

The other big game of the day went our way as well. Manchester City won the first trophy of the season with a hard-fought win at Wembley. You had to feel for Sarri, tactically, he proved he could be flexible. No repeat of the disaster of a few weeks ago. Watching Kepa destroy the narrative of the game was quite something. I’ve never witnessed behaviour like that. Chelsea has to do something about insubordination like that. Player power gone mad I tells ya.

Chelsea will hurt from losing out on a trophy, but ultimately, the tired legs heading into a showdown with Spurs this Wednesday is likely their bigger concern. Depressed and leggy isn’t a good combo unless your name is Unai and it’s not your team that is depressed and leggy.

Things are all playing into the hands of Arsenal. We have a better run of fixtures and if we can turn over Bournemouth and Spurs this week, it’s ours to fuck up in my opinion.

Additional good news on the stats front. Unai Emery is clocking ahead of Wenger over the past 4 seasons. This stat, courtesy of powerhouse commenter, Redtruth.

2014-15: 51 points

2015-16: 51 points

2016-17: 50 points

2017-18: 45 points

2018-19: 53 points

That’s an average of 3.75 points more than Wenger. Two of those seasons, we won Champions League football. WON. Top 4 was a trophy and still is.

Right, see you in the comments. x

328 Responses to “Emery moves #Top4 agenda forward with another win”

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  1. Dissenter

    Valentin
    Players come in sizes,
    Raheem sterling’s baseline was higher that Nathan Redmond and Iwobi’s.
    Raheem Sterling has benefited from food coaching but his starting point was really high.
    There are players that have you on the edge of your seat the first time you see them play in youth academies; Raheem Sterling was one of these. Academy coaches spot them easily.
    Wenger used to talk about how Iwobi broke through; there was a fortuitous aspect to him because the academy coaches didn’t think he was all that.

  2. qna

    Valentin. It’s a good point. I have to put my hand up and say I didn’t think Raheem would reach this level. But he was order of magnitude better than Iwobi in terms of his raw attributes and skills even at Liverpool. The were working on fixing something that had a lot more to work with.

    I think Iwobi is close to his limit to what can be taught. Now it’s a matter of finding a way to put that into games. He needs to perform even within his limits. But he just isn’t improving. Still not timing his passes or weighting them. Takes too long to have a shot. Wants a 400 metre backlift for a shot where there is simply no time. He is not playing the game that’s on the pitch to be played. He just doesn’t have that street smarts that you need.

  3. Nelson

    Mkhitaryan: “Everyone knows what they have to do. There is nothing to be under pressure because we know exactly what we have to do. We know how to play the ball and understand each other to have a good connection between the players to score goals.”

    It is comforting to know that our players are no more confused. What a change since the game at BATE Borisov .

  4. Marko

    Season really starts now. 4th with players getting back and 11 games to go and really outside of Spurs away we should be looking at winning out. Will probably have to

  5. Valentin

    @Dissenter,

    I am not so sure about Rahim Sterling having a higher baseline than Iwobi. When Rahim Sterling left Liverpool, not a lot people would have predicted the massive improvement in him.
    His shooting was atrocious, his off the ball movement mediocre. But he had pace and good close control.
    I think that Iwobi is a better and more natural dribbler than Rahim Sterling. He is also stronger.

    What is clear is that for whatever reason Iwobi is not making full use of his natural talent. So maybe it is about natural football intelligence, but personally I think that it is more due to inadequate coaching.

    Look at Rahim Sterling penalty technique. He has clearly worked on that aspect of his game. Iwobi has not.
    Shooting practice should be mandatory. How can you call yourself a professional attacking player if you cannot hit the target from the penalty box.

  6. qna

    Valentin. It’s wishful thinking that Iwobi is comparable to Sterling. Sterling went for 50m a few years ago and inflation has been ridiculous since then. Nobody is knocking down our door with an offer similar to Raheems.

    What helped Sterling is he played in a really good, fluent side with a world class Suarez and Sturridge when he was simply at the top of his game. Iwobi may have looked brilliant in Raheems place, but you simply can’t assume that. He has to walk the walk before you can credit him with anything.

    It’s a fair point you make about us giving special coaching just for Alex to tweak his game to see if that final product can be coached into him. I like that idea a lot.

  7. Nelson

    Sterling has a very fast initial few steps. That gives him confidence to keep the ball and run pass the defender. This is a natural talent. Recently, he has improved his shots. That you can acquire through training and good coaching.

  8. Valentin

    @qna,

    The fact that we do not have a specific training regime assigned to every young players is in my view a failure of Arsenal.
    To be clear I meant Arsenal, not Emery. That should have been in place years ago. However management should instruct Emery to put that in place.

    The strange things is that Arsène used to do it. He had special 1 on 1 coaching session with Anelka and then later with Henry. Martin Keown said that later on he stopped doing that, but I don’t think that he elaborated why.

    However I keep coming back to personal responsibility, Iwobi should decide to do it on his own. It is well known that Beckham spend extra hours on the training pitch to hone his free-kick skills. Yohan Cabaye used to have his own personal conditioning coach since his days at Lille, because he thought that he needed it to be at peak form.

  9. Emiratesstroller

    The main issue with Iwobi is not his natural ability, but his football brain and
    decision making.

    Raheem Sterling also had a similar problem in his formative career. He could be exceedingly frustrating as a player not least when he represented England.

    My view is that Iwobi is worth keeping, because he is not the type of player likely to agitate for a move from club.

    He is not going to be a star, but I do think that he has the makings of a very good “team” player despite all the negativity expressed on Le Grove.

  10. Guns of SF

    The manure game will be the real test friends.

    They know their season depends on getting a win at our place.
    They will come at us, looking to score or make the game ugly and grab a late winner. Emery needs to be game planning for this game now slowly…
    Im sure they will have some starters returning for this fixture.

    Cortisone shots and all….

    We get a draw with spurs, and we look good.

  11. DM

    Valentin

    I remember watching an Arsenal youth vs Liverpool youth (probably under 18s but can’t remember exactly) game some years ago. We had some talent in our squad but Sterling was hands down the best player on pitch by a distance. Could def see huge potential in him even back then, it just took time (and coaching) for it to be realised.

  12. qna

    Emirates. I agree completely decision making is the main thing. I personally can’t see Iwobi overcoming what is keeping him from being a very decent player. If things just play out as per normal, I think it’s quite predictable what kind of career/player he will become.

    I think Valentin is suggesting a kind of intervention that would seek to break that predictable outcome. I’m not sure how easy that would be to do, or whether it could be effective. But it’s an outside the box thinking that I can get behind. It would need to be significant and I’m not sure that Iwobi’s in game intelligence or abilities are close enough for a tweak, like Raheems clearly was.

    Personally, I still think a loan to Germany is the go for this young man. He is made for the German league in my opinion. But anything other than just letting this play out to its predictable end will do me.

  13. Marko

    I am not so sure about Rahim Sterling having a higher baseline than Iwobi. When Rahim Sterling left Liverpool, not a lot people would have predicted the massive improvement in him.

    He went for 50 million. That’s a pretty good indicator of his talent and potential.

  14. Valentin

    In the youth game, Rahim Sterling main threat was his initial burst of pace on the first 5 meters from a standing position. He was able to go past a fullback in a flash, but the rest of his game was patchy.
    I remember seeing him play for QPR and thinking another speed merchant with nothing else in his game.

    The only other thing that I remember from that game was a girl that I think was his girlfriend in full WAG regalia fur coat, sunglasses, mini skirt, high leather boots on a game for U18 st 19:00 on a warm evening. She had to borrow two paper tissues so she could sit on them because the bench were filthy.

  15. Valentin

    @Marko,

    He left for a lot of money, but a lot of people thought that ManCity had been mugged. I remember pundits stating that he will never get a game. I must admit that at the time I thought the same.

  16. Valentin

    @qna,

    When my godson joined his Ligue 2 club in France, he was given a specific training Program.
    They all trained together for 2 hours in the morning. However three times per week, he had skill drill specific bro him.
    As a winger one of them was to run for 10 yards with a bag attached on one of his shoulder to simulate a defender shoving you aside and then cross toward bucket. The coach was shouting a colour and based on the colour he had to cross to the target, different heights, different places, different speed of cross.

    Having trained in UK, he had never done anything like it before. He hated it, but that improved his skills.

  17. Valentin

    No my god son was never good enough for Arsenal, but some of his friends were. Like him, most messed up their football career.
    Chasing girls and dreaming of a career in music instead of concentrating on what he was good at.
    Still think of himself as a music producer with a part time football job to pay the bills until his big musical break.
    Signing with dubious agents who did not know the difference between Slovakia and Slovenia.

  18. Pierre

    Dissenter
    “Charlie George
    I see you’ve decided to use Iwobi as the whip to flog Emery with today.”

    I would say it’s pretty similar to what many do ( you included) in using Ozil as a reason to defend Emery …reeks of double standards .

  19. WengerEagle

    Haha what a freakshow going on at Chelsea, newb keeper’s defying the manager publicly now.

    Senior Chelsea players ought to be ashamed as well, especially Azpilicueta who has the armband and had the cheek to say it was on the other side of the pitch so he can’t comment on what happened! Lol couldn’t write that shit.

    I’d hook the captaincy off that gimp and promptly stick Kepa to try that shit with the under 18’s the rest of the season if I were Sarri.

    Felt proper sorry for the gaffer.

  20. Valentin

    @Word,

    No need to apologize it was funny.

    The fact that she stood as everybody was in jeans or in Bermuda. Plus the sunglasses when it was pitch dark, people were thinking she might be a celebrity coming incognito.

  21. WengerEagle

    I include Hazard in that as well, forwards tend to be let off the hook more lightly in these scenarios as defenders are traditionally the bigger personalities in teams but even at 28, he’s a veteran and a club legend already.

  22. Words on a Blog

    By the way Valentin I do agree with your view that with proper one-on-one coaching, particularly on finishing technique (his final ball decision making has improved in my view) Iwobi still has the potential to improve further, perhaps not to Sterling’s level, but still beyond where he is now.

  23. Valentin

    Stood up.

    There was a man behind us who thought he recognised her as a porn star. She heard him, stood up, turned around and stared at him, was going to say something and then saw the size of him and the type of man he was, just sat down puffing.

  24. WengerEagle

    United result obviously good for us and was doubly good if like me you want to see the Bin Dippers choke the league once again courtesy of their posturing dickheaded fanbase getting ahead of themselves.

    Still feel that they’re the favourites to clinch 4th but at least we’ve a healthy chance. Chelsea are a sinking ship and will fall away further unless Sarri is removed and replaced immediately, players have given up on him.

  25. qna

    Valentin. I really think that Arsenal is missing a trick in our academy systems. I’ve seen a few documentaries on how France went about setting up their academies, which culminated in their France 98 teams. Germany took a cold hard look at themselves and looked at what was done in France and the Ozil generation was born. It’s really a well known science now. Clubs all over the world are doing it very well and most don’t have the money that a club like Arsenal has.

    We can and should be producing really good talents through our system. I really hope that Monchi is the guy for this. But I suspect he isn’t.

    But back to your point. Iwobi is 22 now. I think he is too old and also too busy with his full time professional schedule to be able to do much for him. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try of course. Pedro’s article the other day said Red Bull thinks they are untrainable after 23 and Iwobi is essentially there. Think we may have just missed the boat with your idea for Iwobi. But doesn’t mean we can’t try and start to bring that through the youth system.

    I don’t know about which technical director is good and bad. But I like the idea of Overmars coming in and bringing the Ajax system into Arsenal.

    Australia tried to bring a touch of Dutch to our football about a decade ago. Mixed success and I think they’ve abandoned that. But early on it did seem to work quite well. There was something about the Dutch way that was able to be translated to the non technical and non tactical backgrounds that Aussies had. Our football and English football are quite alike in terms of Athleticism wins the day in the win at all costs at all age levels mentality that we seem to share. Maybe Overmars and Ajax could be the perfect system for an English club like Arsenal. Or maybe the Spanish system of Barca (who are the best in the business) can be brought over through Raul’s contacts. Or maybe we can leverage any thing left over from Wenger’s 2 decades here and being in a French system. I’d love us to put in a world class academy system. Spend some money on that and get it up to standard and it’s more valuable than moving from Highbury to the Emirates. Maybe the next Iwobi to come through can be a world beater.

  26. Pierre

    Imagine if John Terry has been on the pitch …he would have grabbed the little twerp of a keeper by the neck and marched him off the pitch quicker than you could say arrivederci

  27. WengerEagle

    Lampard too Pierre, Drogba same.

    Even Cech in his prime was a real leader and wouldn’t have stood for that sub ordinance, although seeing as how he’s a GK too that’s obviously just a funny hypothetical him being an outfielder.

    Would have loved to have seen Roy Keane or Gattuso reacting to that, would have been hands thrown.

  28. Words on a Blog

    Qna I’m not sure whether there’s any magic cut-off point to the age at which players can be improved – clearly, it’s easier when they’re younger, and so,e players are irredeemable/unimprovable at any age, but with a lot of dedicated trading ,some players do keep improving well beyond 23x – Lampard might be an example of such a player…

  29. qna

    Words. As you say it gets harder as they get older. I think Pedro’s article the other day essentially said Red Bull don’t buy players older than 23 because they can’t be trained after that. So there’s an arbitrary cut off point thats as good as any to reference. Also, Iwobi is flat out training and playing a 60 game season. When is he going to have time to put in the work?

  30. Valentin

    @qna,

    Arsenal tried a more Dutch approach to their academy with Joncker. It was a failure mostly due to culture clash. Dutch, intellectual teacher Vs Inner City kids did not interact very well.
    Overmars who has experience in both countries could have been a solution. With Ajax refusing to let him go, that is a possibility that is now gone.

    The most crucial period of youth players is between 20 and 23. Too good for U21 football, but not necessarily ready for regular premiership football.

    We should have a proper system to determine the strength and weaknesses of every players and have a program to work on those. Despite our good academy record, I still think that Arsenal is failing too many young players.

  31. Marc

    Pierre

    For once I agree 100% with you.

    Chelsea have a serious issue with the squad’s attitude towards managers. They downed tools on Mourinho and Conte to get them the sack, now they’re just ignoring the manager.

  32. WengerEagle

    Where exactly does M’Bappe fall into this in your view Valentin?

    You likely have an interesting view as you’re French and watch him much more regularly than most on here.

    Lad is just turned 20. Is he obscenely precocious or will he be an even superior player in his mid 20’s?

  33. Pierre

    Iwobi is what he is , I don’t think he will suddenly become a Robert Pires , Freddie ljungberg or a nasri .

    It’s debatable if he will even become as good as Walcott in front of goal or assisting.

    He’s more of the level of Eboue when it comes to getting his head up and being composed when playing the final ball .

    This is not a criticism of Iwobi , it is just how it is I’m afraid ..

  34. qna

    Valentin. Is that so. But at some point these kids will have to accept an alien way of thinking if we are ever going to get a technical and tactical focused system into place. Maybe we need translators. Almost social workers that understand these kids and can motivate them to put these alien practices into place. Cause it doesn’t matter if it’s Dutch, French, Spanish or German all of these systems will be completely alien to them. They won’t understand why they can’t keep score. Or don’t play games with a full pitch.

    Perhaps Jonkers didn’t have the necessary respect and awe from the parents that Overmars might.

  35. Words on a Blog

    QNA – I guess you/Red Bull are probably right, in the majority of cases.

    The exceptions occur with hyper-dedicated/obsessive players who are happy to train extra and push their football to its absolute limits

  36. WengerEagle

    Chelsea made the mistake of selling off 3 big players and characters in Costa, Courtois and Matic and marginalising Fabregas who was a 4th big player and character in their two title winning sides.

    Gary Cahill wasn’t a great player but he was a very good one and he was another character. Also marginalized into a bench role.

  37. salpardisenyc

    Jaap Stam, Vieira, Keano, Pearce, Adams all go back and rip poor ole Kepa out from between the sticks.

    Stam may even spit a bit of blood out, Pearce would likely of decked him getting a Red for taking his own man down.

    Of those, id be most interested in seeing Keano’s reaction.

  38. Valentin

    I think that Mbappe is the real deal. Incredible raw pace, great technique, but also mature decision making.
    Also he has a good head on his shoulder.
    For example he chose PSG rather than Real Madrid, because he thought that the step up would be more manageable, but also because it would make it easier for him to study for his baccalaureat (equivalent to French A-Level).

    I think that in 3’years he will have a ballon d’or to his name.

  39. Bamford10

    Jesus Christ. One, it’s Raheem Sterling, not Rahim Sterling. Two, Iwobi doesn’t have anything even approaching the talent that Sterling had when he left Liverpool. Not even close. Sterling was quicker, a better dribbler, better in close spaces and a better finisher (even if his finishing needed work). City paid £50m for Sterling. No one would pay more than £22m for Iwobi and for good reason. Ludicrous comparison. Absolutely ludicrous.

  40. Guns of Hackney

    Why are people actually surprised by the Chelsea GKs behaviour?

    1. He’s a millionaire man child.
    2. He’s a fucking millenial bastard.
    3. An inflated sense of being.

  41. Marko

    Senior Chelsea players ought to be ashamed as well, especially Azpilicueta who has the armband and had the cheek to say it was on the other side of the pitch so he can’t comment on what happened! Lol couldn’t write that shit.

    You see David Luiz in all that? Hand over mouth telling him to stay on. Physically too. What a piece of epic shit that one

  42. Pierre

    Jorginho has one major failing, he has no final ball ..The weight and timing of the pass is is never right from him and you often see Hazard looking frustrated when another final ball from jorginho fails to find the target .
    Alternately, Fabregas was the master of the final ball…The final ball is always the hardest to play as the window of opportunity is only open for a fraction of a second and the ball has to be weighted perfectly and timed to perfection …

    Fabregas is up their with the very best in my opinion and Chelsea miss him .

  43. Marko

    What Sarri does next will be huge for me. He’s likely gone either way but to preserve his dignity and his balls he simply cannot pick Kepa next game. I’d also say he’s utterly dickless too if Luiz escapes some sort of punishment

  44. Pierre

    Sal
    “Of those, id be most interested in seeing Keano’s reaction.”

    Keane would just give him the stare , no words or action needed.

  45. qna

    Marko. I desperately want Chelsea to beat Spurs. Last thing we need is for Chelsea to sack Sarri and go on a winning run like United did. A win at Spurs should keep him in the job long enough for them to drop points for another month. Plus St Totteringhams day is on the cards if we can go and beat Spurs.

  46. Bamford10

    Marko

    I’m not saying you’re wrong, but do we really know what Luiz was telling Kepa? Couldn’t he have been advising him to listen to the manager?

  47. bennydevito

    ValentinFebruary 25, 2019    17:09:07

    @qna,

    When my godson joined his Ligue 2 club in France, he was given a specific training Program.
    They all trained together for 2 hours in the morning. However three times per week, he had skill drill specific bro him.
    As a winger one of them was to run for 10 yards with a bag attached on one of his shoulder to simulate a defender shoving you aside and then cross toward bucket. The coach was shouting a colour and based on the colour he had to cross to the target, different heights, different places, different speed of cross.

    Having trained in UK, he had never done anything like it before. He hated it, but that improved his skills.

    >>>>>>

    Valentin,

    That’s great insight right there. That’s exactly the sort of ingenuity we need with our training.

    Great comment.

  48. bennydevito

    Valentin,

    I was at Bristol City for 2 years between 14 – 16 and the training was nothing like that in the slightest. Nearly 30 years ago now of course so I would hope grass roots level training has improved since then.

  49. Valentin

    @Benny,

    It really depends on the club. Some have really innovative training session. Some are still rooted in the run a around a lot mould.
    Also because other sports are a lot more important than here in UK, there is some cross-pollination and not just on the conditioning front.
    For example their goalkeepers had sessions organised with a handball coach to help improve reaction saves with the feet. Handball is big in France.

    Arsenal is now only catching what is going on the continent. In general UK academies lag behind their European counterpart. Some others club with the highest status are shockingly bad. It is due to the fact that some of the criteria of measure are completely unrelated to the quality of training. For example the number of pitch and their size was part of the criteria, but whether all the coaches had their license was not. However things are improving.

    I thinkb that because of the lack of quality in the training, England had really failed generations of footballers. The problem is that even when the academies improves, a lot of lower league manager have neanderthal view of management.

  50. Guns of Hackney

    The only millennium’s I’ll tolerate is thus.

    1. The falcon (millennials won’t even know what this is).
    2. Robbie Williams’ song.

  51. Valentin

    @bamford,

    I am not sure that Neymar will win a ballon d’or. With the new format mostly based on journalist the political and tactical voting is limited.
    Also MBappe is a much smoother operator. Polite, nice, never aggressive, making friend with everybody.

    Neymar is changing under Tuchel, more a team player rather than a showman. But he will revert to type. MBappe is more about the team and winning team competition rather than individual awards.

    Some think that Neymar is growing up, I disagree. I think that he went to Paris and suddenly he see that kid stealing his thunder. He can sulk and try to engineer a movie back to Barcelona, but they have moved on from him and due to the financial irregularities committed to bring him, a lot of people are not so keen on his return. Also seeing sponsors threatening to drop you unless you stop the diving must have been a chastising experience. So his media team have just corrected their message. Despite being injured, he now publish video of him supporting PSG. The video where he celebrates PSG victory over ManUtd was the perfect example, when in previous year he did not even bother to know when PSG was playing.

  52. Guns of Hackney

    Neymar won’t win the balloon dior because he isn’t and never will be the best player in the world. Soz.

    He is a playground player. Plus, the utter contempt he shows to the word ‘cowardice’ is vomit inducing. He’s actually invented another word for gutless.

    All show…no dough. Neywont.

  53. Dissenter

    The Leicester owners are strange. They fired Puel and don’t have a replacement lined up.
    It will be fun watching them them struggle to find a new manager.
    Brendan Rodgers certainly cannot walk away from Celtic midseason, can her?

  54. salpardisenyc

    Dissenter

    Leicester owner perished in helo crash on the King Power car park couple months ago.

    His 30 year old son is making decisions apparently.

    Explains much.

  55. Marko

    Also Rennes have had their weekend game called off by the French FA so that they can better prepare for the Arsenal game. Nice of them to help. Maybe we can cancel the Spurs game help us out

  56. salpardisenyc

    Looks like Poch being charged by FA for his loosing plot post Burnley.
    Bet they go soft and give him a fine, opposed to touch ban.

  57. Dissenter

    Surely we are expected to be a mid table Ligue un team
    The ghost of Monaco is still with that squad when they botched what should have been an easy CL qualification at home.

  58. Dissenter

    Sal
    I think h gets a lengthy ban
    They can’t allow managers to publicly confront and berate official like that.
    He won’t be on the touch line for our game.

  59. Dissenter

    ***The ghost of Monaco is still with that squad when they botched what should have been an easy CL quarter-final qualification at home.

  60. MidwestGun

    Hmmmm Seems Iwobi is the new Oxlade Chamberlain. I remember the weeks of endless debate about him too. He would show flashes and then fade into average to horrible spells as well.

    This week is going to go a long ways into determining the fate of this season.. 1- 13 points off 3rd…. damn that’s a huge different range of possible outcomes. One game at a time… the old coaches cliché. Doing my part, got all my superstitious lucky charms on standby.. we never lose when I’m sitting on the right side of the sofa with a beer in my left hand wearing my lucky red shirt. The major problem is the NLD is a 630am kick off here.. so the beer in the left hand might be the sticking point .. lucky for y’all .. I’m a soldier and I can take one for the team.

  61. Dissenter

    On the surface it looks like Gerrard is doing very well at Rangers.
    When you delve into their squad list, it becomes apparent that Rangers may be up to their old tricks again. It may be that they need another tax audit.
    How can they afford so many fading premier league players.

  62. Upstate Gooner

    MidwestGun
    “Hmmmm Seems Iwobi is the new Oxlade Chamberlain. I remember the weeks of endless debate about him too. He would show flashes and then fade into average to horrible spells as well.”

    Precisely. Ox was frustrating as hell to watch sometimes. Iwobi even more so. Ox though settled more or less at Pool before his injury. I think he’ll find it hard to break into the first team, especially with the likes of Xhaqiri in the team now.

  63. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Mid
    Have a cup of peppermint tea whe watching nld …

    An celebrate with a glass of bubbly later in the day…

  64. Pierre

    Marko
    “Bam absolutely wasn’t doing that check the incident again he was doing that cunty hand over the mouth thing and physically telling him to stay.”

    I’m not sure how you deduced that outcome….I sometimes think you let your imagination get the better of you to prove a point.

    “Physically telling him to stay” ….there was absolutely no physicality involved , Luiz said something to the keeper( no one knows what) and put his arm round his waist for a second ,moved away and then came back and said something else( no one knows what) .end of incident .

    And by watching this , Marko has deduced that Luiz was physically telling the keeper to stay on the pitch.

    Jackanory time from Marko again .

  65. Radio Raheem

    Good to see top posters Sal and Mid. How are you guys doing?

    Sal

    Think I’ll kill myself after GOT just ain’t worth it after that 🙂

  66. MidwestGun

    Upstate –
    Yep… The arguments for Ox were similar too.. he just needs to settle into a regular position, needed to work on his craft, he worked hard for the team, etc.. I was always a fan of Ox .. Thought he had a lot of upside… but it’s similar to Iwobi in that how long do you let potential go before you expect better results. I’m in the camp that thinks we should keep Iwobi as a squad player and for games when we need to rotate. He shouldn’t be in a starting 11, imo,,, But that’s the state of the team at the moment where he is our best option. Ramsey sucks at playing in wide spaces and Miki not much better ..Ozil is Ozil. we have a bunch of number 10’s forced to play where they don’t want to.. that’s kind of the legacy of AW.. where he thought we should have a team full of 10’s. Barca lite.

  67. MidwestGun

    Hey Radio… long time no see.. eh? been a minute. I’m basically just making a guest appearance in the comment section lately. hahaha I’m in between life projects.

    Rspc.. hmmm I don’t know. I think I should just soldier on and crack a cold one with the morning toast.

  68. salpardisenyc

    Radio and Mid in the house love it!

    The new regime has ignited the fever in us again, coupled with Pedro stepping it up to the next level. Next we’ll have N5 and Kwikky’s dancing bear amongst us.

    Radio

    Its about to kick off the GOT, funny all the lil birds have blossomed.

    Middy you ain’t going nowhere.

  69. Words on a Blog

    MidWest – I disagree, the arguments re the Ox are not quite the same.

    The Ox was prone to injuries, and never had a settled position.

    Iwobi’s position is usually on the left of a front 3 behind the striker, or on the left of a 3-4-3.

    At the moment Iwobi, is second (20th in the PL overall) for Arsenal in the PL’s “big chances created” with 7 “big chances”, after Kola with 8. He should therefore play, particularly when the “Axis of KolaWobi” is essentially the source of the most goals for Arsenal.

    Sure, consider getting rid of him if we get a “special sauce” winger.

    But why get rid of him from the starting 11 now?

  70. MidwestGun

    Woab – I agree at the moment Iwobi is definitely a starter. We have no choice.. really. I mean part of the issue is we don’t really have the best players for any particular formation. All that needs to be sorted this summer.. But for now .. I hope Iwobi starts pulling up trees.. we are going to need him.

    Sal-

    Where is that Kwikfit? I imagine him passed out in some flop house in Germany on a weekend bender.. wondering where the last 12 months went. But that’s just me.

  71. Valentin

    The Ox had more dynamism than Iwobi, however his decision was bad. He would run into blind alley and then release the ball.
    Because of that dynamism you always felt that he would do something brilliant, but most of the time there would be absolutely no end product. So frustrating to see what could and then have it withdraw in front of your eyes.

    Maybe with a more precise coaching setup, he can correct his deficiencies, but I believe that he will always be limited by his lack of vision. He can be coached, so that if you are in that position do that. A kind of football by the number, but if he has to do something off the cuff I am willing to bet that he will fret about the pass and that in 90% of the cases he will then make it too late.

  72. HillWood

    Pedro
    Don’t know why you binned Charlie George
    I enjoyed his rantings. Obviously devito didn’t get his sarky humour but hey ho it would be a boring old world if every one agreed on everything

  73. Marko

    Diaby announces his retirement. In all seriousness it was a shame what happened to him and hopefully he finds success in the next chapter of his life

  74. MidwestGun

    I guess you could say 4-2-3-1 is our best formation with options for some positions but we have some serious weaknesses.

    Auba/Laca
    Iwobi, Ramsey/Ozil, Miki
    Xhaka/Matty G, Torr
    Kola/Nacho, Sok/Koz, Mustafi, AMN/ Lich
    Leno

    Got a lot of holes due to injury and players not best suited to that position. and our attacking midfielders all want to play through the middle and get forward and not defend as much . so ironically the middle of the pitch is a big hole a lot of the times between the lines as Matty G,Xhaka and Torr.. try to fill that space. Iwobi however will at least do that so I’d imagine that’s also why he is favored by Emery. Some big decisions coming up this summer I’d imagine to that end especially since Ramsey is off to the Old Lady. At least that’s how I see it.

  75. Luteo Guenreira

    If Iwobi fetches anything near what Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold for I would be amazed, Ox may have been inconsistent but he had “potential” that Iwobi doesn’t have, and “potential” is everything when pricing young talent.

  76. MidwestGun

    You know I never had a problem with Diaby .. I always had a problem with Wenger not signing anyone and then holding him up as like a new signing if healthy .. when we all knew there was no chance of that happening. And then giving him a new contract based on 1 maybe 2 seasons. Diaby was kind of the fall guy for AW’s transfer policy so took a lot of abuse for it.

  77. Luteo Guenreira

    208 matches in a 14 yr career. That’s a little less than 15 matches per year.

    Christ imagine how good Diaby is at Fortnite with all that time off.

  78. salpardisenyc

    Mudwest

    Yes Wenger’s like a new signing, Diaby epitomized that era.
    Diaby became that target of all our frustrations, poor dude didn’t deserve that.

    Don’t know what happened to Kwik Fit, hasn’t been on here in awhile. Neither had you!

  79. MidwestGun

    Yes Sal.. Well the last 2 years of Wenger era… there was no point In commenting .. I just would have said the same things over again..

    I mean I’m not really sold on Emery either but at least I can find different things to say… hopefully. And the backroom suits need to get their act together as well. Seems like the transition went about as smoothly as my first marriage…which is to say it was a cluster fok. I would say the odds on Emery being here are about the same length as my first marriage though..2 years with an option for irreconcilable differences. lets just hope it doesn’t cost as much..

  80. WengerEagle

    Marko

    David Luiz said in an interview after the match that he was telling Kepa to respect Sarri’s decision.

    Could be lying of course but surely have to give him the benefit of the doubt?

    Him and Rudiger were the only two who did anything to defuse the situation, particularly the latter who prevented Sarri from throttling the little prick before penos.

  81. WengerEagle

    Feel for Diaby, hopefully made his millions and is set for life at least now though.

    Fuck knows we supported him long enough, shudder to recall the old socialist wage policy carrying crocks and useless deadwood.

  82. grooveydaddy

    Mid

    I’m good thanks. It’s 7:45 am where I am, and I’ve already been in the ocean. Gotta do the school run in a minute….

    I like Emery, with some of the same reservations everyone else has of course. Like you said, it’s early days yet.

    I’m just happy we’ve moved on. The stagnation/decline under Wenger was painful.

  83. Marko

    You can’t buy that excuse by Luiz. Certainly nothing he did looked remotely like trying to get the player off or respecting the manager’s decision. Had it been the case he would have been remonstrating with the player to get off more visibly instead of whispering and putting his arm around his waist

  84. WengerEagle

    I mean possibly, would be very slippery to come out with that then wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t be pleased with that if I were Kepa, would make me lose major respect for Luiz for refusing to stand by you in public.

  85. salpardisenyc

    Sarri been totally marginalized.

    I’ve not read all the reports about what happened from various standpoints but on the face of it, seems impossible for him to be taken seriously moving forward.

    Where was Captain Azpilicueta in all this?

  86. WengerEagle

    You not hear Sal, he ‘was on the other side of the pitch so can’t comment on it’.

    Yeah Cesar, because it wasn’t a protracted saga that lasted for over 3 minutes…

    Cowardly take, guy is a joke of a captain. New gaffer ought to immediately strip him of the armband because Sarri is obviously not lasting the season.

  87. Bamford10

    ESPN is reporting that Kepa has been fined one week’s wages for his refusal to be substituted yesterday. That’s £195,000, if you were wondering.

  88. Caligooner

    I’m not getting all the Iwobi hate. It’s pretty clear he’s been one of the better players this season. Especially AFTER the streak of wins and tied earlier this season. Dubious honor to be sure but we would have had worse results without him and the Bosnian doing all the goal creation.

  89. WengerEagle

    If that’s true Bamford then as suspected, Sarri was merely refraining from publicly hurling Kepa under the bus in his post-match interview by chalking it up as a ‘misunderstanding’.

    His intentions were good but it probably comes back to hurt him, I mean if you are a player in that dressing room do you respect his authority anymore?

  90. bennydevito

    PierreFebruary 25, 2019    20:52:41

    Marko
    “Bam absolutely wasn’t doing that check the incident again he was doing that cunty hand over the mouth thing and physically telling him to stay.”

    I’m not sure how you deduced that outcome….I sometimes think you let your imagination get the better of you to prove a point.

    “Physically telling him to stay” ….there was absolutely no physicality involved , Luiz said something to the keeper( no one knows what) and put his arm round his waist for a second ,moved away and then came back and said something else( no one knows what) .end of incident .

    And by watching this , Marko has deduced that Luiz was physically telling the keeper to stay on the pitch.

    Jackanory time from Marko again .

    >>>>>>>

    The only Jackanory time is you talking about Ozil, or is that Balamory?

    There’s no way Luis is telling him to stay. With his back to the cameras and his hand over his mouth so he can’t be lip read, he’s absolutely telling him to stay.

    The fact you can’t see this is not surprising considering your warped view on Ozil.

    Sarri’s clearly lost the dressing room so I expect him to be gone from Chelsea one way or the other come the end of the season if not before.

  91. gonsterous

    pedro

    Great post, a bit too pro arsenal ? Hope red truth wasn’t holding a gun to your head when you wrote and posted that piece 🙂

    But it’s all looking good for the arse. Top 4 was a miracle at the start of the season, now it’s looking like a given and ours to lose. Hope spurs lose a few players before we play them at the weekend.

  92. WengerEagle

    ‘Ours to lose’ is a bold statement, United are right up our arse and have taken 26 points from a possible 30 since OGS’s taken the hot-seat.

    They have to be considered favourites given their form. Better players too for me, last season’s 2nd place finish was closer to their ability than what we saw in the first half of the season when they downed tools on Mourinho.

  93. Marko

    Wan Bissaka? What’s the catch he’s secretly 40? And from a Spanish fishing village? Nah but seriously he’d be a big signing

  94. bennydevito

    Marko,

    Lol! I’ve been calling for him, Chillwell too Get rid of Lich, Monreal, Kos, Mustafi & Elneny would leave us Holding, Mavro, Sokratis plus bring back Chambers or sell him to facilitate another centre back as we’ll be short if Kos and Mustafi go. We’ll probably keep kos as he has no sell value.

    Trouble is City, Spurs and Utd are being linked with Bissaka and Chillwell too so that makes it unlikely in my mind that we’ll get either unfortunately.

  95. Leedsgunner

    Hopefully we’re making the most of the chaotic situation over at Leicester. Wouldn’t mind Chilwell and Maddison in our squad next year. Maguire would be great but at £50m? Definitely overrated and overpriced.

    However with Brendan Rodgers now in the lead for the hot seat at the King Power they might be open to Chilwell offers, because I can see Rodgers bringing in Tierney with him.

    Personally I think Rodgers would be a bad choice but if we’re quick and decisive we can use their grief to our advantage.

  96. jasongms

    4th is ours to lose and yet the narrative from the useful idiots is that Emery should be fired as he is shockingly bad, with no style nor substance… I kid you not!
    If we do manage to get 4th, it will be no less than a masterstroke by Emery, and something akin to Leicester winning the league.
    The sixth-rated team in the league, 3 first team members out for the season, limited to no budget, a first season manager new to the league, incorporating a new playing style whilst bedding in new players, a divisive fanbase, structural changes and infighting (upper management), a £350,000 per week flop, who would rather play video games haha and another player leaving on a free… Did I miss anything?

    What I’d give you for a full retraction by Peter and his sycophants, for the unashamed jingoistic narrative spewed out this season. I won’t hold my breath!

  97. qna

    Jason. It would be absolutely outstanding and far and above more than we could have expected if we finish top 4. As for comparing it to Liecester’s league title. Umm… hehehe. I think you should retract that part. Otherwise, a good comment.

  98. Valentin

    Right back is not a problem position for Arsenal. Jordan Osei-tutu the U21 could deputise until Bellerin return. Plus I am not sure that we can afford to spend 40 millions on a right back, swhen have more pressing need.

    On the other hand Left back, there is nobody at U21 ready to step in. Monreal and Kolasinac are not the long term solution.

  99. Freddie Ljungberg

    Yeah, the links to Wan-Bissaka only makes sense if we already have a buyer lined up for Bellerin for more than the reported 40m we’d have to shell out.

    Since Bellerin is injured and will be for a while longer that seems highly unlikely. We’re not buying a 40m player where we already have a young, established starter that’s for sure.

    We’re being linked with Pepe and Marcus Thuram again, that’s the only scenario where it makes sense to sacrifice one of our strikers to fund those moves. Both would give us physical presence, dribbling and goals from the wings and both are capable of playing up front if needed.

  100. qna

    Valentin. Agreed. Right back is one of the few positions that is not an immediate concern for an immediate first team replacement on the proviso that Bellerin is fit. If we did go for Wan Bissaka then I would advocate that we sold Bellerin, most likely after a year of getting himself back to good form.

    Cech, Bellerin, Holding, Sokratis, Guendouzi, Torreira are pretty much the guys that dont need replacing.

    We obviously have two very decent strikers in Auba and Laca. But I would be open to selling one of these and investing the money in an attacker that can play on the left or right of a front 3. I’d sell Auba if we could get a good portion of the 60m we spent on him back. Otherwise, we should sell Laca if we would get more for him. We need a wide left and wide right attacking mid. Welbeck leaving should pave the way for at least one of these right off the bat.

    Ozil and Mkhi we may be stuck with, but for the purposes of fixing up our wage bill and getting quality players, we need to replace both of these players with extremely talented young players. This will not come cheap. We probably have to settle with both Ozil and Mkhi being our main players in this position for another season, even though neither are fit for purpose anymore in our team.

    We would still need cover at CB, but we have Kos and Mav even if we sell Mustafi. But even then, we should look to sell Mustafi and replace him with another talented young CB that is ready to play in the first team.

    LB needs investing in as Monreal is getting older and more regularly injured. Koloasinac is good going forward, but we need a proper LB that can defend.

    We need to invest in our CM. Xhaka is a decent player at times. But for me he is a liability to our defence. He gives away more turnovers that lead to shots on his own goal than any other player in the PL. Ramsey needs replacing urgently.

    In priority order: LW, RW, CM,CB, LB, AM. Right back is probably furthermost down the list.

  101. bennydevito

    Valentin,

    Agreed. I’d rather see us put £40m down on Chillwell as we can also recall Chambers to deputies at right back.

  102. qna

    LW – Julian Brandt (40m) -> Welbeck (0)
    RW – Nicolas Pepe (50m) -> Laca (50m + 20m*)
    CM – Adrien Rabiot (free) -> Ramsey (0)
    CB – Daniel Rugani (20m) -> Mustafi (20m + 5m*)
    LB – Alex Grimaldo (30m) -> Kolasinac (15m+10m*)
    AM – Kai Havertz (75m) -> Mkhitariyan (10m + 20m*)
    FW – Jan-Fiete Arp (15m) -> Asano/Eddie N (5m)

    * in wages saved over 3 yrs, assuming new player gets around 75k/wk.

  103. Pierre

    Jasongms
    “If we do manage to get 4th, it will be no less than a masterstroke by Emery, and something akin to Leicester winning the league”

    slight exaggeration don’t you think.

    There will always be 2 sides to the argument on whether it will be some kind of masterstroke or not and really no one is right and no one is wrong in their perception of this.

    The argument for it is being a masterstroke is ….quoting jasongms here “The sixth-rated team in the league, 3 first team members out for the season, limited to no budget, a first season manager new to the league, incorporating a new playing style whilst bedding in new players, a divisive fanbase, structural changes and infighting (upper management), a £350,000 per week flop, who would rather play video games haha and another player leaving on a free…”

    The argument against it being a masterstroke is
    The poor form of Chelsea and United could let us in through the back door .

    We have a better and more balanced team than last season with the acquisitions of Leno, Sokratis, Torreira and Guendouzi plus Aubamayang and Mhkitaryan are playing a full season , so one would expect some improvement on last season .

    Our defence has been poor all season despite signing 5 defensive based players.

    Our offensive play has slowly regressed throughout the season though the last couple of games have shown an improvement as Emery has at long last reverted back to the 4-2-3-1 formation that was so successful earlier in the season .

    The quality of our football is poor .
    ——————————————————

    I’m sure others could come up with more reasons for and against Emery.
    I can understand why a percentage of fans will steadfastly support Emery as they are usually the wenger obsessives but what they should understand is that the fans that are reluctant to join the Emery appreciation society are not doing it out of support for our previous manager because nothing would please us more than to see a manager come in and see our players playing to their full potential .

    I have always believed that the process was wrong in hiring a manager who has a certain philosophy of playing the game without the players who fit his philosophy knowing that the club will not provide the funds to buy the players to implement his philosophy.

    What we have now is a manager who has shown marginal improvements in some areas and marginal regression in other areas , and that is why the fans are divisive. In other words ,not much has changed.

    If the manager was clearly failing the fans would be united in their criticism of Emery , likewise if the manager has the team playing winning, expansive ,exciting football , the fans would be united.

  104. Leftsidesanch

    Chambers also did a interview last week mentioning that he’s not naturally comfortable at right back but played that position to get into the Southampton side on his “breakthrough” year.

  105. Pierre

    RH
    “Chambers is a horrible right back.”

    Gus Caesar springs to mind when I see Chambers at full back …watching swansea’s Montero embarrass chambers was reminiscent of seeing Chris waddle tie Caesar in knots in a league cup semi final many years ago.

  106. Thomas

    Jasongms
    “If we do manage to get 4th, it will be no less than a masterstroke by Emery, and something akin to Leicester winning the league”

    ___

    This is pathetic.

  107. jasongms

    The acquisition of the five defensive players being starting first-teamers and therefore adding to the balance and structure of the team is idisingenuous.

    Only Torreira was bought as an initial first-teamer. Leno was bought as the long term successor to Cech. Sokratis was bought as cover for Kos, Guendouzi was bought as a prospect, not a starter. Lichtsteiner was bought as an emergency cover, he was never meant to play this many games. Please keep to the facts.

  108. Receding Hairline

    “Gus Caesar springs to mind when I see Chambers at full back …watching swansea’s Montero embarrass chambers was reminiscent of seeing Chris waddle tie Caesar in knots in a league cup semi final many years ago.”

    Montero completely ruined him at full back. I would rather see Chambers as striker than as a full back. he should never be an option there, doesn’t have the pace for it.

  109. Leftsidesanch

    RH

    Speak it believe it receive it!

    Seriously though, Chambers did a year as a striker in the Soton academy, played on the wing aswell I remember him saying, played right back, centre back and even in midfield. Utility player if I ever saw one.

  110. Pierre

    Jasongms
    “The acquisition of the five defensive players being starting first-teamers and therefore adding to the balance and structure of the team is idisingenuous.”

    I don’t know why you are reluctant to admit that players like sokratis,Torreira and Leno have improved the team plus the addition of Guendouzi have without doubt added balance and structure to the squad.

    Surely this is a good thing , it means the club has spent their money wisely in areas that needed addressing and I would suggest that the 4 players mentioned have all done themselves justice so far.

  111. Words on a Blog

    If we’re looking for an amazing midfielder for next season, there’s a player ripping it up for Getafe (currently in fourth place in La Liga this season) – step forward fabulous Matthieu Flamini!