Paternity leave outrage shines light on regressive realities of competition

by .

Oh man, it’s so fucking great to support a club that offers its players paternity leave. We’re so modern and trailblazing. I love it.

Yeah people, did you hear? Granit Xhaka has been given a month off to be with his newborn. Isn’t that wonderful?

I am of course joking here… this is one of the weirdest stories in sport.

Footballers are basically like part-time workers. Sure, there are away games, but overall, they have 2-3 hour training sessions, maybe a bit of video analysis. Put it this way, Mesut Ozil has so much spare time on his hands he’s in the top 5% of Fortnite gamers in the world. He’s basically a pro. There are lots of examples of footballers managing to balance the beautiful game AND get their gold handicaps down to basically zero (pro level). I think part of the Gareth Bale/Zidane beef is literally golf.

The news is coming from Switzerland.

“There are more special things in life than football. For example, when you become a father”

I’m probably reaching… my gut reaction is that blowing off your team for a month seems quite, I don’t know, anti-sport… but the other part of me thinks that, damn, maybe that’s a regressive view. He’s a human. He wants to spend the first month with his wife. That’s a good thing.

I work in America. I am already in disagreements with my GF about taking paternity for a child I do NOT have on the way. Why would I think such things? The true nature of business in a competitive environment is that someone is always there, waiting, with a knife, ready to slice your throat. My own adventurous/debilitating paranoia plays a commanding role in this, sure, but there’s a hint of truth there which is probably bad for society as a whole.

This Xhaka situation is the m/paternity nightmare everyone goes through.

Xhaka, 26 (36 in working years), has two talented kids (cheaper) ready to take his place indefinitely if they have a good month. Willock and Matteo have a huge chance to win out long-term here. That means LT will have a chance to reimpose himself onto the first team. For Xhaka, it’s a huge risk for someone who isn’t rocking 65 hr weeks as it is. Also, football is a lot less advanced than most other businesses, empathy not being its strong-suit… what does ducking a month tell the manager?

Still, at least it’ll shine a light on the truth. We’re either going to shine without him, or it’ll look very Gilberto Silva back in the day (bad). For reference, no one had ever seen a midfielder that marked space back in the day. We’d also never seen a Brazilian that wasn’t electric. People wondered about his usefulness, then he picked up an injury and we all missed him.

I would trace a lot of this: ‘Oh, you don’t get football if you don’t get X’ because of Gilberto. No fan wants to be seen as the ingrate that doubted Gilberto, so people do the math.

Terrible player keeps getting played + expensive managers keep playing him / Hedged bet that there’s some underlying reason he’s player = I’ll look like a sage if I too back him with vague assessments of his talents.

Denilson, Senderos, Xhaka, Ozil, Nik B, Randall…

Anyway, back to Xhaka. The notion that we gave a player that makes a horrendous amount of errors the captains’ armband also amazes me. A leader should be absolutely accountable to the team. To hear him basically roll Auba and Laca under bus post Spurs was quite incredible. Keep your thoughts to yourself when you’re an radical error-ist, especially when talking about two players that have gone above and beyond for the team to keep them semi-competitive.

Hopefully, we’re waiting for the return of Hector to make an announcement.

… I’d be suggesting Matteo if it were a year on. We should let him grow before we burden him with any additional responsibility. Didier Deschamps has sent some fingers wagging our way because of that exact last sentence.

“Do not ask too much, he’s a young player, who is still the Espoirs generation, who plays a lot of matches with Arsenal where there is strong competition,”

“He’s the modern midfielder, box to box as they say there, with a lot of power and technical quality too. He’s there. What I expect from young people is that they bring this freshness, this dynamism.”

Love to read the plaudits he’s picking up, but Deschamps is correct. Two parts to this:

  1. Don’t call him a fraud if has a bad run. Kids aren’t consistent, he’s still only 20. There will be a dip.
  2. I hope Arsenal don’t butcher his growing body. Jack Wilshere was overplayed at 18, and we paid heavily for that. I think it’s hard not to argue that red zoning him ruined his career. He lost motivation with all the knocks and struggled to live up to the hype.

On that note, I shall hand the comments over to you! x


368 Responses to “Paternity leave outrage shines light on regressive realities of competition”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Marko

    Who makes up our first choice back four centrally?

    I would imagine that depends on what kind of Rob Holding is about to return. If it’s anything like the player he was prior to injury it’ll be him and Luiz likely to be first choice. Which is great because Papa is genuinely the definition of sloppy

  2. Pierre

    Don’t be surprised if the manager continues with Luiz and Sokratis as his first choice centre backs, even when Holding is fit .
    Also don’t be too surprised that once Bellerin and Tierney are selected the defence shows no dramatic improvement.

    Bellerin is not the most defensively aware full back and has positionally often been found wanting .
    Tierney will hopefully make a difference when 100% match fit.

    The manager really needs to get a settled midfield and then we will begin to look more compact as a side and consequently look more solid defensively.

    Probably our best midfield performance was against Burnley with willock and Guendouzi in centre mid putting in mature , disciplined performances , allowing Ceballos to play with freedom as the CAM. …
    A good balance ,I think its fair to say.

    Of course, the Burnley game would have been more difficult than the liverpool game the following week but we will never know if the same set up would have been successful v liverpool or for the Tottenham game.

    The one thing we did find out for the Tottenham and Liverpool games is that the balance in midfield was missing for those games .

    If Xhaka and Torreira are injured for the Watford game as being reported then we may have a midfield similar to the Burnley game which will be a good test for a very young midfield.

    I hope they are a success.

  3. Valentin

    Cazorla did put a defensive shift when he played with Coquelin. That’s why we accumulated more points than all the other teams during the calendar year when they were both fit. There is no way Coquelin could have managed on his own to screen our back four.

    Clearly Coquelin was doing more of the defensive work, the same way Fernandinho concentrates on the defensive part.

    Cazorla was a regular for the Spanish team. As aoo as he was back, he was back in the Spanish team. Do you think that the Spanish team accommodate passengers who don’t do any defensive work? Tiki Taka only works if everybody in unison works hard to recover the ball and overwhelm the opposition.

  4. bennydevito

    PhD2020September 11, 2019    08:38:35

    China1September 11, 2019 05:29:36
    But again, why make so much effort when we can just put a superior player in Ceballos in the same role?
    I’m pretty sure Ceballos, will not be staying. Can pretty much stake my house on it. Unless Pep Guardiola or someone of his ilk, rocks up to the Emirates, then he might have a rethink about making his stay at Arsenal a permanent/ long term feature.

    Let’s be honest, on current form and as a talent, he’s too good for this current Arsenal team. So, in short-he’s, a short term solution.

    We are effectively a team going through a transitional period.

    In the medium term-the powers that be, should be trying to extract the optimum out of Ozil, given they sanctioned(Ahem Ivan Liezidis) or rubber-stamped his generous contract.

    If you make a player the highest paid at the club, if not almost, one of the highest-paid employees(player-wise) in the EPL,then the onus is on club management to get or extract the best out of him,as you see him(the club) of added value.

    Not,have him rot or stagnate on the bench,molly cuddle him,play him in selective games, and orchestrate these nonsensical political shenanigans with the media and the fans for eternity, attempting to shoddily explain away his absence from the team.

    It screams of a dithering, procrastinating amateurish approach in trying to find the best (maybe worst in some instances) fit for the most talented and expensive player in the squad that can be man-managed or coerced into promoting the interests of the team for the greater good. If not,be decisive,be clinical,be ruthless..Make the judgement call.

    As opposed to this ongoing protracted saga,which doesn’t seem to have a foregone conclusion. Other than, when his contract ends,all’s well-ends well malarkey!!

    It does not make any sense , whichever way you twist or spin it.


    You do know it was Wenger and Gazidas who extended Ozil’s contract and not Emery, Raul and Edu right? Which means what you’ve said is what doesn’t make sense.

    I’d love Ozil to suddenly be a worldie for the rest of the season but can’t see it unfortunately. If he’s not back in the side and playing well I would hope he will be given the treatment and shipped out January, if not, the summer.

  5. Nelson

    Away to MC or SPUDS, I would try Holding and PapaSok as the 2 CB’s and Luiz as the DM. We’ll have Guen and Ceballos playing in front of Luiz. This may work.

  6. Marko

    Cazorla was a regular for the Spanish team.

    Made 70 odd appearences for Spain compared to 130 odd for Silva. He was better all round than Cazorla.

    Also the reimagining of the partnership him and Cazorla is extraordinary. It done well for about 6 months except against any decent opposition then it was found wanting. He should never have been placed at the base of the midfield

  7. Luteo Guenreira

    I wonder how many different starting elevens we will see over the course of the season in just the EPL matches.


  8. Pierre

    “It done well for about 6 months except against any decent opposition then it was found wanting”

    Obviously you ignored valentins comment
    “That’s why we accumulated more points than all the other teams during the calendar year when they were both fit. ”

    I would say Injuries to cazorla was the reason that the partnership never progressed after the initial excellent first year together.

  9. Marko

    I’m pretty sure Ceballos, will not be staying. Can pretty much stake my house on it. Unless Pep Guardiola or someone of his ilk, rocks up to the Emirates, then he might have a rethink about making his stay at Arsenal a permanent/ long term feature.Let’s be honest, on current form and as a talent, he’s too good for this current Arsenal team.

    Don’t agree with this. Guy was a bit part player at Madrid and played for Betis prior to that. Arsenal very much his level. I personally can see him staying dependant on champions league (fingers crossed) him enjoying his football (don’t see why he shouldn’t) and perhaps most importantly Madrid and Zidane preferring other players. Price shouldn’t be an issue honestly.

    Also the future of Emery could play a part but the hope is Raul irrespective of whether Emery is still here next season could convince him to join.

  10. Ishola70

    Exactly Marko.

    Valentin barking up the wrong tree.

    My take is only for Cazorla playing central midfield for Arsenal and to suggest that he was a complete all round midfielder for Arsenal central is laughable.

    Coquelin so many times sat back to allow Cazorla to do his thing offensively and on the ball. Remember times Cazorla being dispossessed and trying to cover back like running on treacle.

    Cazorla was not good off the ball neither was he an all round midfielder centre mid for Arsenal. What he was good at was offense and on the ball.

    As said before he would not get a look in for example in Liverpool’s current midfield. Klopp values midfielders that work on and off the ball not just one aspect.

  11. Marko

    I would say Injuries to cazorla was the reason that the partnership never progressed after the initial excellent first year together.

    You would think that but no injuries weren’t to blame they just weren’t good enough.

    “In this last six to eight weeks, I’ve always had doubts about Cazorla and Coquelin as a pair,” said Neville.

    “This week, against Bayern Munich and Tottenham, that’s been shown up. I don’t think they’ve been helped in saying that. They just don’t have a classic holding midfielder who can dig them out in games like this.”

  12. Chris

    For whatever reason Zidane doesn’t seem to fancy Ceballos and that may not change even if he has a cracking season for us.

    Lots of factors at play but I don’t think it would be out of the question for us to keep him on.

  13. Marko

    My take is only for Cazorla playing central midfield for Arsenal and to suggest that he was a complete all round midfielder for Arsenal central is laughable.

    It happens all the time and I don’t know why. Even Coquelin fair play to him he done well for a few months when he was allowed to actually play but then he reverted back to his usual at best squad type player performances. Cazorla was genuinely fucked over imo when he was forced to play CM because he was far better further up the field influencing. He had good ball retention in tight spots but he could barely tackle to save his life.

  14. Ishola70

    Cazorla is not anywhere near a Patrick Vieira in terms of cental midfield.

    Vieira was a complete midfielder that did his stuff both on and off the ball.

    Maybe it’s a bit harsh to compare the two as one was a proper central midfielder and the other a converted central midfielder but such is the hype around Cazorla on this blog that it needs to be reminded.

  15. karim


    Oh my God France have beaten the mighty USA in the quarterfinals of the basketball WC !

    I know all the stars weren’t there but damn, how good does it feel man !

  16. Valentin


    In UK, the Basket Ball World Cup has been completely ignored by the British media.
    That exploit by the France team will have passed everybody. the WC is not even on British TV free on air or by subscription.

  17. MidwestGun

    Congrats Karim! I woke up this morning and saw that and said damn.. Karim is gonna be happy at least…lol. Told you this team for US could be worst in 2 or 3 decades. I’d imagine there will be repercussions.. Next time around bet you will see a couple major stars… the world has caught up too much.. we cant be putting out some mid grade talent and inexperienced players and just expect to cakewalk to the finals like in the past. But yeah it wont play well here at all.. if that happens In the upcoming Olympics for example heads will roll.

  18. Northbanker

    I’m confident we will sign Ceballos and not interested in resurrecting a pointless Cazorla debate
    Jeez he left years ago!!

    Every confidence in Raul to sign him permanently If we have Champions League to offer that will help massively and if we don’t then Emery will be gone

  19. Northbanker


    Also Holding better than Sokratis

    And maybe new CB marquee signing better than all of them – here’s hoping!

  20. Pierre

    ““In this last six to eight weeks, I’ve always had doubts about Cazorla and Coquelin as a pair,” said Neville.”


    You should be commended for the lengths you will go to try and prove a point.

  21. Valentin

    Except that for the calendar year 2015, Arsenal accumulated the most points. That means more than the other members of the top 4. There was no talk of a big 6 at the time. So the argument that we only meet small team does not work, because we meet everybody twice (bar the relegated and the promoted team that year).

    Garry Neville make big talk about Cazorla not being as fit as Delle Alli, but the issue was not the partnership Cazorla-Coquelin, it was the fact that Arsenal had two midfield players against 3 and were consistently overrun. In fact we equalised the points gained was when Wenger changed tactic and introduced Gibbs to cover the left flank.

    Viera was a very good player, but a complete dribbling and passing genius he was not. He was a very powerful box to box player. In a Guardiola team, he would be playing the Fernandinho role and not the David Silva or KdB role. In fact when he went to Italy he went back to a deeper position. Trying to compare Patrick Viera and Cazorla would be like comparing David Silva and Fernandinho.

  22. Marko

    You should be commended for the lengths you will go to try and prove a point.

    I mean it’s easy enough there’s plenty of poor results during that time to suggest that it wasn’t as good as people think. I dare say it’s pretty difficult to prove how good it was outside of a period of a few months.

  23. Marko

    Except that for the calendar year 2015, Arsenal accumulated the most points.

    I’ll have to take your word on that despite 3 defeats and 3 draws at the end of the 14/15 season and 4 defeats and 3 draws at the beginning of the 15/16 season that’s 7 defeats and 6 draws in the calendar year. Either way it kinda coincides with the whole outside of 6 odd months where it worked

  24. karim


    Basketball is bigger in France so I kind of understand the Brits not being interested that much.


    Cheers my friend !
    And, yeah, it reminds one of the defeat in ‘88 which kind of initiated the ‘92 dream team, same kind of scenario.
    Just a shame it happens to Popovic, love that guy.


    Not wrong here although there was a precedent in the 2000 Olympic final where they came with their best players and we almost beat them.

  25. Guns of Hackney

    My wife is at Pilates. I’m home with baby. Watching The Capture. Drinking wine. My cat is babysitting both of us.

    BTW the show is actually ok.

  26. Valentin

    The USA will have a problem not at the Tokyo Olympic tournament but may have one at the next one in Paris
    The NBA attracts the best players in the world, so now more and more players from the rest of the world get exposed to the kind of basketball the USA plays.
    Look at the French squad and the numbers of players that play in the NBA. And not as substitute but as major players in big franchise. Same with other countries.
    They are used to the physical impact. They play with the major star on a daily basis so there is none of that frozen, starstruck in awe advantage that the Dream Teams had.
    College Basketball and the NBA favours the show man type of players. Attack, dunk and big scores is what the US public wants. Other countries have different style of basket ball, less flamboyant but that can be efficient when well played. None of the US basketball players get any exposition to that different style. So it is a big shock for those players when they encounters for the first time a slower less physical basket ball.

    I think that for the Paris Olympic games, the NBA may also stop players from going. The risk of injuries but also if the USA were to lose that could damage the NBA standing as the league with best players.

  27. jwl

    Nelson – Canadians want the Stanley Cup back, we would gladly trade tennis and basketball trophies we got in exchange for Canadian team winning at ice hockey for a season or three.

  28. karim


    Yeah, it’s brilliant to have players that are accustomed to the American style just like we benefited from the experience our players accumulated in Italy before we won the WC in ‘98.

  29. Valentin


    I am French living in London hence my comment about having no visibility about it in UK.
    I know how big is Basketball is in France and Europe (Spain, Croatia, Turkey, Lithuania, …).
    My second Brother (I have 3 brothers) is a fan of basketball. He was a referee. He regularly tries to explain the intricacies of the basketball, but all I can see is big blokes jumping over a hoop. I can admire the physical aspect, but the tactics just pass me by.

  30. Pierre

    “In 2015, Arsenal accumulated 81 points across 38 games 10 points more than the second ManCity. Hardly meeting just the small team”

    Going by the above figures Marko , it looks like Gary Neville ( and you) was talking out of his arse .

  31. Marko

    Going by the above figures Marko , it looks like Gary Neville ( and you) was talking out of his arse .

    Not really. 7 defeats 6 draws in the league some very humbling defeats along the way (Swansea and West Ham at home West Brom and Southampton away) and not to mention a defeat to Monaco in the Champions League knock out and then the following season defeats to Olympiakos and Zagreb as well as 5-1 in the group stage. You sure Cazorla and Coquelin was so instrumental? A quick look has Ramsey playing far more than Coquelin and even Flamini was on similar appearences to him and the 15/16 season Cazorla only played 15 times. Yeah I think my original point still stands outside of a 6 month or so period the Cazorla/Coquelin axis wasn’t that good.

  32. Pierre

    Ishola on cazorla
    “As said before he would not get a look in for example in Liverpool’s current midfield. Klopp values midfielders that work on and off the ball not just one aspect.”

    Oh dear , not the most intelligent of comments from ishola .

    Henderson, wijnaldum, oxlade Chamberlain, fabinho, Milner.

    How many of those would have got anywhere near the Spain midfield back in the day ….78 caps for the little maestro, total quality , why anyone would want to discredit him is beyond me , but then again we are talking about ishola and Marko so what would one expect.

  33. Marko

    No one’s discrediting him you big baby just looking for context in the idea of him when he was moved into CM. Especially against the original idea of his defensive off the ball ability which was originally being discussed. I can’t see him being a Klopp midfielder though it is worth noting that Klopp at Dortmund had Kagawa and in particular Gotze flourish under him

  34. Valentin

    Klopp values a functional, physical midfield to implement his new take on gegen-press because he has a world class front three.
    Before them, he had Countinho who could not be more different to Henderson (the further up midfielder).
    To even suggest that Cazorla is not a better player than Henderson or Miller is just ridiculous.
    The Ox has still not demonstrated that he can do anything else than run like a headless chicken into blind alley and once in a while hit a wonder goal. Flashes of brilliance in an ocean of frustrating mediocrity.

  35. Pierre

    “A quick look has Ramsey playing far more than Coquelin ”

    It doesn’t, I’m sure if you remember , Ramsey was playing wide right for a large spell at that time , as in the cup final v villa.

    Wenger made the mistake of playing Ramsey in the middle and cazorla on the wing on the opening day of the 2015/16 season and we lost 2-0 at home to west ham ….he didn’t make that mistake again , sadly cazorla was injured v Norwich later in the year, Wenger kept him on the pitch too long and cazorla was out for the season.

  36. Valentin


    I thought that you were Irish and English was your native language.
    Do you know the meaning of 2015 Calendar year?
    It means from January 2015 to December 2015.

    Before 2015 and after 2015 the combination Cazorla and Coquelin hardly played together. The reason why Cazorla played so few games during the season 2015-2016 was that Cazorla got injured in November and that was nearly the end of his season.
    He injured his knee on November 30 2015 and came back on March 7 2016 missing 20 games. Hence the bad end of the year and beginning of the following year. However during his come back game he then injured his Achilles heels and came back on April 21, 2016 missing a further 8 games.

    During his absence Wenger tried multiple combination and none worked. He replaced Cazorla with Ramsey and that did not work. He then spend the rest of the season trying to find a winning combination: Ramsey-Coquelin, Ramsey-Flamini, Flamini-Coquelin. The bottom line was that without Cazorla to receive the ball under pressure and release the ball early to the attack Arsenal midfield could not function.

  37. Ishola70

    Arsenal have got a good enough strike force Valentin.

    Perhaps Arsenal could take a leaf out of the Liverpool book and back that good enough attack with as you put it a “functional” midfield that press and contribute in equal measure both on and off the ball.

    What a terrible mistake wasn’t it Liverpool selling that on the ball wizard Coutinho. Was it hell. It was a stroke of genuis from them.

    Arsenal can learn from that Coutinho episode.

    That being stop fixating on individual on the ball super stars and get in a modern midfield that operate on bith sides of the ball.

  38. Valentin


    Completely different circumstances.
    Liverpool has a world class attack force. That attacking trio works well together, that why they don’t need Coutinho anymore. Each one favouring the position they currently play in.

    That was not the case of Arsenal in 2016. That is still not the case this season. Last season Lacazette and Aubameyang favoured playing as a pair. This season when put in a trio with Lacazette and Pepe, Aubameyang does not like to play on the left.

    Also Liverpool trio has both Firmino and Mane who link up very well and create chances for each others. Mane and Firmino assists ratio is really underrated. So they can have an aggressive midfield tasked to feed them ball in dangerous position.

    Of Arsenal only Lacazette has a decent link-up play. Aubameyang is a finisher so his input toward overall play will be minimal. Pepe is better dribbler, but he also tend to be at the conclusion of attack rather helping build them.

    Arsenal trio has different attributes than Liverpool. Outside of counter-attack play and individual brilliance, they are unlikely to create chances. This is exactly the pattern that we have seen so far.
    Lacazette and Aubameyang creating goals for themselves out of nothing, because the team is not creating anything.
    Hopefully Ceballos, Guendouzi and Willock will create for the team, but contrarily to Liverpool Arsenal can’t afford to have a functional midfield because our strike force is not the same than Liverpool.
    Xhaka and his sideway, backward slow our game too much.

  39. Ishola70

    Of course Xhaka doesn’t fit a functional modern midfield.

    Really this snobbery.

    Wijnaldum works his arse of off the ball and contributes offensively.

    Not enough on the ball flair for you presumably.

    He is an example of a modern midfielder.

    Not a fanboy midfielder who only has flair on the ball and is flaky off the ball.

    Many years yet to shake off the Wengeritis thinking about players and the team as a whole.

  40. Ishola70

    The Liverpool midfield sets the game up for the great Liverpool offensive players including their fullbacks.

    Remember that.

    Without that base to operate from the midfield they wouldn’t be as effective as a team as a whole.

    European champions, yet again wiped the floor with Arsenal a few weeks ago where that Liverpool midfield swamped Arsenal’s midfield, finished 27 points ahead of Arsenal last season yet that same midfield is looked down upon with snobbery by the Wengerites.

  41. Ishola70

    And how can you try to make a point by saying that Patrick Vieira was not a “dribbler”

    As if dribbling on the ball is a major requirement of a modern central midfield now.

    Pogba’s major flaw as a central midfielder is that he gets caught on the ball too many times trying to dribble on the ball too much. Dwelling on the ball.

    Patrick Vieira is as close to a modern central midfielder we see now than Cazorla would ever be seen to be.

  42. Marko

    It doesn’t, I’m sure if you remember , Ramsey was playing wide right for a large spell at that time , as in the cup final v villa.

    Not sure that’s true Sanchez, Özil, Oxlade, Welbeck all got significant game time around that time. Ramsey was being used as a midfielder then

  43. Marko

    I thought that you were Irish and English was your native language.
    Do you know the meaning of 2015 Calendar year?
    It means from January 2015 to December 2015

    I know what it meant prick and again for the umpteenth time point still stands outside of a few months Cazorla and Coquelin didn’t work as a midfield duo. Blame injuries if you like but the fact that Flamini played as much as Coquelin and Ramsey saw significant game time around then suggests that all was not well. Unless of course you think Wenger didn’t know what he was doing. I agree

  44. Marko

    Just to put a nail into the whole glorifying of Cazorla and Coquelin as a midfield partnership it’s worth pointing out that prior and after it our midfield eas frankly appalling so of course it would look good but it frankly wasn’t good enough. And it’s pretty simple to see why because one Coquelin wasn’t really good enough and suffered with confidence playing for us and two and perhaps most importantly Cazorla wasn’t a CM ever. He could do a fish outta water type job in there but he has always been a RM/CAM always both at Villarreal and for Spain. Wenger only played him there because he loved to not address the midfield properly, was totally adverse to signing up a proper DM for years and he wanted to accommodate Ozil into the team.

    We haven’t had a good midfield partnership or proper midfield since Cesc left. Him and Flamini was as good as it got post Emirates move

  45. Marko

    Sorry,but you are incorrect in that assumption.

    It’s easy enough to check out. 14/15 season Giroud, Özil, Sanchez, Ramsey, Welbeck, Oxlade all played significantly with Walcott off the bench and then Flamini and Coquelin on similar appearences. They can’t all play together. Truth is I know this is hard for you but it looks like he preferred Ramsey in the middle for a time over Coquelin. Shocking I know

  46. Pierre

    We played 4-2-3-1

    These 6 outfield players normally picked themselves barring injuries or suspensions.
    Bellerin. Mert.kos..Monreal with cazorla and coquelin centre mid .

    In fact 8 were definite starters including ozil and Sanchez

    The other 2 outfield players came from Ramsey, giroud, Walcott, ox, welbeck.

    Ox (started 11 all year) and welbeck (3 games all year), so they hardly played. …flamini started 6 games all year and most of those were when cazorla suffered his injury.

  47. Pierre

    “Truth is I know this is hard for you but it looks like he preferred Ramsey in the middle for a time over Coquelin. Shocking I know”

    Sorry to say but the truth is you are incorrect.

    In the premier league it was always ( when fit) coquelin/cazorla in centre mid during the year 2015 and in that year (2015), Arsenal accumulated more points than any other team ,with the 2nd team 10 points behind Arsenal…

  48. Valentin


    You really don’t understand the concept of calendar year.
    Look at the appearance for the games played in the year 2015.

    Cazorla was injured in November 2015, and barely play after, hence the small number of appearance overall for the season 2015-2016.

    Coquelin was recalled from his Charlton loan on December 12, 2014. He started his first premiership game for Arsenal on December 28 2014. So obviously he could not have formed a partnership with Cazorla at the beginning of the season 2014-2015.
    The end of the year 2015 was bad for Arsenal as both Coquelin and Cazorla were injured. Coquelin injured his knee against WestBrom on November 23, 2015, making a return on January 28, 2016 having missed 13 games overall.
    That’s why the last month of December we slipped in the league.

  49. Valentin


    Dribbling or at least be able to keep control of the ball when under pressure is one main attribute of great central midfielder.

    David Silva is great because not only he can make passes but more importantly he rarely loses possession in dangerous position. Even when under pressure he is able to deliver the ball forward.

    Viera never had that in his locker. He was a different type of midfielder. He started at Arsenal as purely defensive one. Manu Petit was the more attacking midfield protector of the two. Once Petit moved to Barcelona, Viera then morphed into a more attacking minded box to box midfielder. Gilberto Silva was then the more defensive of the two.

  50. Ishola70

    You don’t even address the point Valentin.

    You look down on a Liverpool midfield that pissed all over Arsenal a few weeks ago yet again and has been the base for their impressive run of form for well over 12 months now.

    As for Vieira I recall him driving the ball forward and the team plenty of times when on the ball. Maybe the ball wasn’t close enough to his feet or cute enough for you.

    What the point that is trying to be made is that Arsenal need to look to have midfielders that are good at both aspects both on and off the ball. That’s if they want a more modern midfield that will give the true base and platform for the rest of the team to perform.

    This pining for Ozil by one poster and the over-rating of Cazorla in terms of an all round midfielder is all we need to know in regards the thinking here. Wenger thinking. Second phase Wenger thinking at least.

  51. Valentin


    You are the one who is not addressing the point.

    All you are advocating is to copy Liverpool without considering that we have different circumstances.
    Instead of comparing with Liverpool midfield, you need to look at our requirements taking into account our current strike force and the tactic that Emery wants to use.
    Emery wants to move quickly the ball to the wide areas Aubameyang on the left and Pepe on the right. In some case like he did against Liverpool he may ditch the central focus point Lacazette in order to reinforce the central area switching from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-3-1-2 or diamond formation.
    In order for that tactic to work, you need to have creativity in the middle. If we want to avoid that slow ponderous boring play, we need Somebody who can release the attacking players quickly.

    We all agree that it is not Xhaka. So it can either be Ceballos or Özil. It could be Guendouzi as shown with his pass to Aubameyang, but If we move Guendouzi up, then we are short of deeper midfield.
    Therefore there is a need for a dynamic player who can be defensive minded but can also play on the half turn. I don’t think that Torreira has the physical attribute to play there in the EPL.
    There is a need for a player with Cazorla technique, but Viera physique.
    Diaby was the perfect prototype of that type of footballer. Tall Defensive minded, but with good feet who could run with the ball or make forward pass.
    I believe that Willock can be our long term solution, but I would have preferred Arsenal to buy Tanguy NDombele.
    Because of their setup, Liverpool don’t need that type of players. That’s why Nabil Keita is not playing.

  52. raptora

    Cazorla got his 2nd huge injury and the one that cost him his Arsenal career basically, vs Ludogorets, at home btw. We were leading by 3 or 4 goals when Cazorla got injured. Another phenomenal decision by Wenger to start his absolute best team at the time with Ospina, Bellerin, Kos, Mustafi, Gibbs, Coq, Santi, Walcott, Ozil, Chambo, Sanchez. Cazorla had played in every Arsenal game that season. Why would he give a break to some of his older/important players vs a below average team at home?! It wouldn’t have made any sense…

  53. raptora

    azed: “Metro reporting that Arteta rejected Arsenal.Maybe Pedro owes Gazidis an apology.”

    Actually Arteta said: ““I was about to leave [for Arsenal], but I stopped myself. The first [time] was different, the second [Newcastle] was mostly me.”

    “the second time (Newcastle) was mostly me” meaning that the first time (Arsenal) it wasn’t him. So he didn’t reject shit. Arsenal decided to go for Emery.

    Then he goes with what I expected – “Firstly, that I am not in a hurry and I have not felt that I need to take the step. There are important conditions, especially in a first experience for me that are vital and eventually, I learned that these are essential to develop what you want, no matter how clear your vision is.”

    I’d say he got cold feet for the Newcastle job and ultimately he wants to either hand pick his club or potentially hope that City will appoint him after Pep. He wants that cozy coat around him which is alright. I don’t mind Arteta but his managerial quality is up in the air and I wouldn’t want us to be his first experience. I’m just happy that Arsenal made the right decision.

  54. Valentin


    There is no archetype of a modern central midfielder. There are no silver bullet midfielder, just different types of players that fits into different systems, positions and personnel.

    A few years ago, N’golo Kante was heralded as the modern central midfielder. He is viewed by many as currently the best Defensive midfielder. Yet both Sarri and Lampard shunted him to the right to accommodate Jorginho.

    So Jorginho must the archetype of the central midfielder. I know a few Chelsea fans who would argue the opposite.

    But still if not Jorginho somebody like him, the archetype midfield player must be somebody who can play as a ball spreader who can handle pressure. Pogba would fit the description. However at ManUtd he keeps getting dispossessed. For Pogba to work he needs movement around him, otherwise he will dither on the ball. As he is the only creator in ManUtd midfield that is very pedestrian and lack creativity, other teams have worked out that stop Pogba and you stop ManUtd.

    You cannot judge a midfielder in a vacuum. You need to know what does the manager wants to do, then decide if that player can do the job that the manager wants him to do.