Scouting Report – Best left-backs in Europe

by & filed under News Review.

via @Arsenal Instagram

Another exciting scouting report on the best left-backs in world football by @mike_mmcdonald.

The Full Backs dilemma (Part 2: Left Back)

I hear today that Napoli and Roma are interested in Sead Kolasinac.

At first it seems insanity to consider selling him with Tierney out for 3 months but maybe not…

Kolasinac has proved to be part of the problem more than part of our future solution.

Excels in pre-season then seems to flatline. Powers forward… stops.

Improved defensively but still slow to react to danger.

Considering he is on £120k, this may be the time to wave goodbye as I’m sure you could give his wages to a position more in need, and replace with a £40-70k guy.

If Saka is considered a real option then one of the options in this blog may end up being a reality.

Before we start the profiles allow me to make you nauseous again as I did by suggesting Ashley Young and Marcus Alonso, for there is another that’ll change your Christmas mood. His name is Danny Rose and he’s third choice under Mourinho down the road and he wants to play in the Euro’s I’m sure.

Danny Rose on loan. Sorry!

Young and promising

Name: Malang Sarr

Position: LB/CB

Age: 20

Height: 6ft

Club: Nice

Nationality: France U-21

Potential fee: £15M

About: Malang Sarr could fix two problems.

His primary position is left centre back which is arguably Arsenal’s biggest need. He is French and could form a formidable long term partnership with Saliba, speaking the same language.

Sarr is considered a generational talent and much like De Ligt, a natural leader in a generation of few.

An athletic, fast, ball-playing CB primarily.

Much like Upamecano, Sarr has formidable body strength.

Since switching to LB, he has suffered further forward when crossing but in a team whose attacking profile suits cutbacks, this isn’t a major concern.

His contract is up in June so we could get a short term left-back and a long term LCB for a small fee.

He is also playing out of position currently at Nice so the promise of a future as a CB option for a bigger club should appeal.

Name: Rayan Ait Nouri

Position: LB

Age: 18

Height: 5ft10

Club: Angers

Nationality: France

Potential fee: 20M

About: I was unaware of Ait-Nouri until L’Equipe recently mentioned that a Top 6 PL team have bid for him.

Over the last 12 months, Juve, Real Madrid, Man City and Athletico Madrid have shown interest so I think this qualifies us to take a look.

Ait Nouri is a very modern left-back. Plays more like a converted winger as his feet dazzle.

Electric pace and supreme athleticism add to the excitement but young, raw and untested at the higher level makes such a large investment unlikely perhaps for a club in our financial situation.

Ait Nouri represents many on these lists. Young, inexperienced but full of potential. I think that the fee dictates the risk. £15M or under and Arsenal may press go. As we are currently a club trying to fix everything I’d be surprised if we go for a very young player from abroad.

Name: Owen Wijndal

Position: LB

Age: 20

Height: 5ft 9in

Club: AZ Alkmaar

Nationality: Dutch

Potential fee: £10M

About: A regular for the second-best team in Holland this season. Wijndal is a complete full-back with no obvious weaknesses bar experience.

He is good going forward and also solid defensively.

Wijndal has great stamina and has been a very consistent performer for AZ.

Players like Owen Wijndal are often the best bargains. They have the possibility to play for very strong national teams but due to the depth currently in the Dutch squad he has yet to breakthrough. If you can get a player who is good enough to play international football but is outnumbered you may get them for half the actual value.

Experienced leader

Name: Jonas Hector

Position: LB

Age: 29

Height: 6ft 1in

Club: Koln

Nationality: Germany

Potential fee: 25M

About: Do you miss Nacho Monreal? If so, why?

Is it because he was so reliable? Because he was versatile, could play LB, LWB, CB.

Wish there was another like him?

Maybe there is…. Jonas Hector.

Hector is an uncommon modern player.

He has essentially played his whole career for Koln, even when they’ve been relegated. Had offers from Barcelona and Liverpool, but stayed.

A versatile and well-rounded player who has until recently been first choice for Germany even though he plays each year in the relegation zone.

An attacking midfielder in his youth, Hector still retains the in-game intelligence that first caught Cologne’s eye in summer 2010. Just look at where he has been deployed for club and country since: on the left wing, in defensive midfield, at centre-back and, for the most part, in his now favoured role on the left-hand side of defence.

Jonas Hector catches my eye as a good option for Arsenal as he checks many of the boxes needed as well as having the (rare) added benefit of being two-footed and a goal-scoring threat from left back.

A smart guy off the field who is currently studying for his business degree.

Arsenal are in need of leaders and reliable senior players. Koln captain Jonas Hector, could be the solution.

Out of favor, experienced options

Name: Ricardo Rodriguez

Position: LB

Age: 27

Height: 5ft 11

Club: AC Milan

Nationality: Swiss

Potential fee: £20M (loan possible)

About: There has always been something about Ricardo Rodriguez that’s bothered me.

I’m not a fan necessarily but his status as an out of favour player at struggling AC Milan makes me wonder whether he may be a loan option for Arsenal.

He will make the Swiss squad for the Euros but he may be concerned that he will lose his starting place.

RR has a distinctive hunched body shape when he plays that bothers me on an aesthetic level as I prefer players that have better field vision.

A similar player to Kolasinac with just one foot, good feet but not great, good going forward but not great and a good defender but again, not great.

Not a ringing endorsement, but I don’t have to approve for me to know that Arsenal are far more likely to attempt to solve their full back issues with loans and that this is a realistic option.

Name: Marcel Schmelzer

Position: LB

Age: 31

Height: 5ft 11

Club: Dortmund

Nationality: German

Potential fee: £15M (loan possible)

About: Much like Rodriguez, Marcel Schmelzer becomes a possible option as he is currently behind both Schultz and Guerreiro at Dortmund.

A former captain of Dortmund and a stalwart at left back for many years, Schmelzer’s form has recently dropped yet he is still considered an important member of the Dortmund squad due to his decade long service and the hope that he can regain his pace, tenacity and stamina that saw him hold down the left side for years.

Like Rodriguez, he is not a choice I’d go with but understanding that we may just need a body and that the club are looking for senior players that care and can lead on or off the field, then Schmelzer becomes a candidate.

There are others to consider.

Wendell at Bayer Leverkusen, Kurzawa at PSG and if City are looking for a left back upgrade then at least one of Mendy, Zinchenko or Angelino will leave.

I’d love to consider Chilwell but why buy Tierney if you are going to buy Chilwell.

My best guess is Arsenal will look at a loan and most likely Ricardo Rodriguez.

What would I do?

If Aubameyang can be persuaded to stay I’d go for Jonas Hector.

We need senior players with true leadership and better mentality.

If Aubameyang insists on going, I’d persuade Real Madrid to give us Achraf Hakimi in part exchange and use him at Left Back until Tierney is back, then play him instead of Bellerin at right back long term.

What would you do?

@mike_mmcdonald

369 Responses to “Scouting Report – Best left-backs in Europe”

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  1. Receding Hairline

    “Everton have registered 43 shots on target in their first two games under Carlo Ancelotti. This is more than any other Premier League side in their last two games. This is also the most shots Everton have had on target over two games for the first time in 4 years”

    And they did that winning both games. Not mutually exclusive improvement and results.

  2. Marko

    Well, one, because Madrid are good enough elsewhere on the pitch that signing a forward who has pace and goals but little else actually makes sense for them. It doesn’t make sense for 99% of the other teams in the world

    Christ Almighty

  3. Pierre

    Ishola
    “So if he was glued to the DM spot he would have probably stopped that Bournemouth goal.”

    That is such a dumb comment.

    I dread to think what the comments will be like during the match tomorrow, but I can guess.

  4. Marko

    Wait and see , Marko and the others are playing their silly games , to me they are transparent , maybe not to you though…

    I’m transparent alright I want us to improve the squad in January and rise up the table. You…want…Ozil…and…fuck all else really…maybe to give that handy to Arsene that you always wanted. Gross

  5. Ishola70

    Pierre

    Gosling got ahead of Torreira in a race to meet the cross ball.

    If Torreira was deeper at the start of the play Gosling would not have got the run on him.

    Torreira would have been in place to sniff out the danger.

  6. Receding Hairline

    Yes Pierre I am transparent in that I want the team I support to win a football game Tomorrow. To win as many games as they can between now and seasons end. I am very transparent in that regard.

  7. Marc

    I’m confused.

    So this supporting a football team malarkey means you want them to actually win matches?

    Sounds strange to me – next thing you’ll be talking about them keeping clean sheets and scoring lots of goals.

  8. G8

    Winning football has always been priority
    Confidence, slick football and all the rest normally follow .
    Ugly wins, VAR wins, deflected goals wins, win at all costs ,etc..
    Winning mentality brings up confidence and improve performance
    Basic sport science!

  9. Aussie Gooner

    Tierney is a starting left back – end of! He has had some bad luck with injuries but will be back in 3 months. The real problem is that we have not have adequate cover provided from the youth set up in this position. Questions need to be asked. I see right back as more of a problem as I do not think Bellerin will be able to cement this role due to previous serious injuries and questionable atributes. We need to decide on our first 11 – we do not have the resources to have world class backup in each position.

  10. Edu me a favour

    From previous post

    “” Emery lost both of his opening fixtures, which were against top 4 teams, as far as I can recall. Lets see if special sauce manages to do better.””

    How can you compare the opening 2 games of a season, to the next 2 games Arteta has ? We are clearly in a different moment to emery’s opening loses – It’s night and day – emery had a team ready to go after a pre season full of confidence – Arteta has just inherited a team on the floor.

    Does that really need to be explained ?

    Emery was not right for us – why is that so hard for some people to take ?

  11. Freddie Ljungberg

    If Upa is available in January for 40m it’s a no brainer.

    Sell Xhaka, Laca and Alpaca (Mustafi didn’t rhyme) and get Upa and Bruno Guimaraes if Atl Madrid haven’t already snapped him up. That’s a zero net window or possibly a small profit.

    Would stop us getting bullied and done for pace through the middle of defence and Bruno will add some steel and goals from midfield. A midfield 3 of Torr Guen Bruno would do until the summer where we can add an athletic, dominant DM/CM like Sangare/Soumare/Zakaria/Partey.

    Or get one of them now if we can, and wait for the more creative element. Plenty of ways to improve on what we have at the moment.

    Xhaka and Ozil being able to do a bit of penetration under no pressure is nothing new, see them wilt when the cameras are on and the fluffers (Torreira, Martinelli) are out injured.

    This shunting Auba to the wing to squeeze Laca in the middle needs to stop, unbalances the team and makes our best striker impotent.

    Anyway, think I’m going to have to take a 5 minute break and focus on my other hobby for a while.

  12. Pedro

    Not really sure anyone is out here saying they want to lose games.

    People are just being realistic about what needs to happen to progress the club. The 22 game run of Emery, the one where we won ugly on the regular, didn’t move the needle. Think fans are looking for something a bit more substantive this time, that’ll come with mixed results in the short-term, but it’ll leave us competing longterm, which is essential this time around.

    Love some of the Emeryista fanboys are setting the tone for what it takes to be winners on this thread.

  13. Champagne charlie

    VAR at its finest.

    Pukki’s beard offside which washes the game of a brilliant run, take, and finish.

    Yay football, yet Pepe can get scissored against Bournemouth and fuck all happens?

  14. Champagne charlie

    Pedro

    It’s madness to want the foundations of long term success laid if you read some. Apparently because Duncan Ferguson got Everton up for it for a few games we should spring into life under Mikel.

    You’d think some would learn. Benny on here last night waxing lyrical about Emery having the best win percentage of any Arsenal manager in the first 50 games… like wtf did that do for us?

    As you say, select sort planting a few seeds to come back to down the line.

  15. Receding Hairline

    There are no emeriysta fanboys anywhere.

    Nor is the 22 games unbeaten run particularly relevant in this case. We went on a run under a different coach and did not build on it doesn’t mean if we go on a run again the same thing will happen.

  16. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    The rules need a long hard look at with the introduction of this technology.

    The classifications are muddled and nobody knows what is or isn’t hand ball, offside etc anymore.

    Personally think VAR needs to be simplified to the ref at the game coming pitch side to corroborate his own decision. Anything not seen should be picked up by a guy in a booth reviewing footage and then relayed to the ref, the chat should be over the microphone for everyone to understand (and all on camera in the bottom of the screen to avoid this lack of accountability)

  17. Edu me a favour

    Did anyone else just hear the reason for that ?

    So now you can’t run back from offside position to an onside position before the ball is even played , because then you’re off side ?

  18. Marc

    Cc

    VAR was always going to have teething problems.

    The issue with the decision just made is if it’s offside it’s offside, once you start saying it’s too close to call or it was only mm offside then what’s acceptable. If 1mm offside is OK then what about 5mm? If 5mm is OK then why not 5cm and so on.

  19. G8

    Fuck VAR, not offside in a million years
    Just like that disallowed socratis goal against Crystal palace
    Bet it’s the same imbecile
    What a joke!
    Fucking PGMOL
    That goal was legit!

  20. TR7

    If a players feet are in onside position why should it matter whether his armpit, nose or ears are in onside position ? I don’t get it.

  21. Freddie Ljungberg

    Pedro

    I think the point many are making and were making under the former manager is that positioning, coaching and effort can only get us so far when our squad is substandard. That’s been my stance all along regardless of manager.

    Yes, things should improve organically now since Emery was tanking but the idea that we have a great/good squad and all we needed was a squirt of sauce is what rankles.

    I’m behind Arteta, same as I was with Emery in the beginning, it’s what being a fan is about, back them until they show they can’t do it.

    That said I hope we smash the January window to pieces and strengthen the team because we really do have a poor midfield and defence.

    None of this giving failing players their 47th chance to show they’re not suited to the league/being outside of their bubble.

    We had an improved performance against a Bournemouth team with 10 injuries, that gave us all the space in the world in midfield and we still couldn’t beat them. Sure the positioning was better, they put in a bit more effort but the quality was still lacking big time.

  22. Marc

    Receding

    You go down that route and your back to what someone’s interpretation of what’s clear and obvious.

    Offside is an area where it should be fairly simple as it’s positional. 1mm offside is still offside.

  23. Receding Hairline

    💬 “We play for the fans. It’s our responsibility to make them happier by winning.”

    🗣 @m8arteta speaks ahead of #ARSCHE

    I knew he would play to win. You don’t spend three years with Pep and play for anything other than a win.

    If some of our clowns play to his instructions tomorrow I expect a very exciting first home game.

  24. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    Right, but what’s been done about teething issues?

    We took a system used on the continent and removed a vital aspect (the ref seeing for himself). So ok we did that, but now who is making the decisions? We don’t see or hear them so it’s open for speculation.

    Then on top of that you have interpretive laws for hand ball such as a “natural silhouette”, can you define that one for me? Because your average punter cannot.

    Then you can’t use VAR to judge whether the ball was a corner or goal kick. Why? That’s a potentially pivotal difference.

    The whole thing stinks, it’s been horribly thought out, and this isn’t teething issues were seeing it’s pure neglect over important details.

  25. G8

    They should have a screen pitch side so the fucking ref can make his own decision, just like anywhere VAR is being used..
    But we talking about Mike Riley and co here, common sense is their enemy!

  26. Champagne charlie

    How anyone can see that VAR freeze frame of Pukki and arrive at “offside” I’ve no idea.

    Rule needs changing. There should be daylight, or a much greater allowance that signifies an advantage for the attacker. Being offside by a centimetre is fucking ridiculous, stand next to someone and race them 20m then talk to me about 1cm starting benefits. Bizarre

  27. Marc

    Cc

    I’m not arguing with you, my point is that the argument – not yours but in the media etc is that we should get rid of VAR because it isn’t working.

    I’m with you find a way to make it work.

    Personally the first thing I’d do is bin all of the current refs – the very best of them is worse than useless. With the amount of money in the PL we should be bringing in the best refs from overseas.

    Start with good quality raw materials and move forward from there.

  28. TR7

    Marc

    I.know the law. I want to understand the law from footballing point of view. What advantage does a striker get if his armpit or ear is in offside position ? None.

  29. Graham62

    CC

    Agree totally.

    The system is just being used badly.

    If they’re going to judge things in millimetres then why don’t they analyse the exact contact point of the pass forward in such detail?

    Is it just our referees and officials? Are they as bad as we think they are?

    As you highlight it is gross “neglect”.

  30. Marko

    If a players feet are in onside position why should it matter whether his armpit, nose or ears are in onside position ? I don’t get it.

    It’s any part of the body that you can legally score with. My problem with the Pukki decision stems from it being so close it literally depends on how the video tech guy or whatever interprets the line and or at what point in Pukki’s shoulder or Foyth’s knee he placed his pointer or whatever it is. I think it should have stood it was that close

  31. Marc

    Colney

    On Soccer Saturday earlier I thought I heard them claim that refs have been told they will be penalised if they use the pitch side camera.

    Now if that’s true it takes bloody ridiculous to new extremes.

  32. Graham62

    This is what happens when you get referees overseeing things.

    Remember there is a reason they became refs in the first place.

    No genuine understanding/feel of the game.

  33. Graham62

    If it takes more than 60 seconds to decipher whether someone was offside or not, he is not offside.

    Simple.

    Put a stopwatch on the review.

  34. TR7

    Marko

    Agreed, the goal should have stood.

    Marc

    If feet and centre of gravity of the body are in onside position and the striker doesn’t get any unfair advantage, it should be onside. Should be a discretionary call based on logic than a pure measurement related decision.

  35. MGooner

    Brighton won 2 nil at Bournemouth..

    Carlo, a tried and tested gaffer who was available has 6 points in the bag in 2 games. Plus his team is shooting for fun. I guess its a logical way to think about winning games – shoor ro score goals

    Meanwhile is Arsenal Land, we are debating who will we sign to undo this mess… It’s becoming embarrassing supporting AFC…

  36. Graham62

    What happens if a player gets aroused?

    Hot days/ Cold days will make a HUGE difference.

    Jokes aside, it’s frigging farcical.

  37. Marc

    TR7

    “Should be a discretionary call based on logic than a pure measurement related decision.”

    Then your back to letting fucking morons make decisions. As it stands offside is offside – it’s not perfect but it’s clear.

  38. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Marc, see you are looking at it in a matter of money,

    For too long club put money as the main agenda.

    We need to get the football right then money will follow.

    We neec to get it right on the pitch first n foremost.

    Sell laca or Auba and xhara and a few others should get about 120m.

    Put 80 on players and 40 to cover loss.

    If monies is the only reason for the club to exist.

  39. Jim furnell

    2 – 0 down spud detritus don’t get back in the game, Norwich score again 2-1 but the scum still dominating. Game is a farce. Should be 3 – 0.

  40. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    I’d revamp offside to indicate when the attacker has gained an advantage through his advanced positioning all things being equal. Sterilising the game isn’t helping anyone and idk who can suggest 1cm being an unfair advantage.

    To keep it simple or concise I’d argue daylight between attacker and defender, but you could work out an agreed tolerance through various testing and comms with every club.

  41. Marc

    RSPC

    Money is not the only reason for the club to exist – and no one who’s a real fan would say so but the truth is FFP and other stipulations mean you can’t just rack up loss after loss without there being a punishment.

    What you say is right in principle but it’s naïve to suggest we can just ignore losing millions in revenue.

  42. Bill

    Bamford:
    I prefer to watch the players and assess them on their attributes (quickness, pace, athleticism, technical ability, power, size, intelligence, guile, ability to create their own chances, work-rate). On these grounds, I think a lot of PL observers would take Richarlison and Calvert-Lewin over Aubameyang and Lacazette at the moment.
    ——————

    Everton play a very different system from Arsenal.

    I’m assuming you have never seen Calvert-Lewin play. He lacks speed and strength. He gets easily brushed off the ball.
    Richarlison is skilful but tries to con the referee every match by clutching his face and rolling around. He is usually prolific for the first part of the season, then disappears.

    Dont worry, you keep talking nonsense. I know a lot of Evertonians and they are praying that Moshiri’s money (read Usmanov) will enable them to upgrade to Auba

  43. Marc

    Cc

    It’d be worth looking at.

    My main line of thought is with the quality of refs we have the moment they are involved in decisions you’re going to get bullshit.

    I thought the idea of VAR was to stop the cretins fucking up decisions not finding new ways of doing it!

  44. Edu me a favour

    “”” That’s not what they’ve said on Sky – He was a tiny fraction offside when the ball was played is the decision being given.”””

    Yeh I’m watching sky also – Did you hear what they said just after it was given as offside ? The commentator said , ‘they’re saying it’s because he ran back from on offside position “

    We’re still talking about what he said in my WhatsApp group – no one can believe it !

  45. MGooner

    @ Bill

    Usmanox’s money could have been ours. But too many people did not want his sorts here. Being Eastern European is a crime for some.

  46. Gentlebris

    The problem from the start is hiring a coach people are sure to be nervous about. If things turn a bit uncertain going forward, having an established coach with a great record does lots of reassuring in such situations. But an uncertain coach in uncertain times?

    We sure will have a lot to talk about here.

  47. Champagne charlie

    Marc

    I don’t disagree about the state of some refs, baffles me why no new faces have emerged in 5 years? Not that I know anyway, not household names. You’d have thought 2/3 guys would’ve made a name for themselves over that time, same useless pricks Atkinson, Oliver, Dean etc.

    I sympathise in some respects though because the laws are a mess for me, they’re murky and very grey in places which can serve the ref up on a platter irrespective of VAR.

    That said, with the current implementation, VAR is such an out ball for referees on some decisions, they can throw their hands up and refer to the faceless man in the cupboard.

    Whole thing needs major revision for next season, would be shocked if pitch side cameras aren’t used by the referee in-game moving forward.

  48. Marko

    I’ve never seen so many good teams concede so many goals as I have this season. Literally Liverpool and Sheffield United look like keeping a clean sheet. Just about

  49. Marc

    Cc

    Thing is if there were a couple of refs who were using common sense before VAR and doing a great job the narrative would have been why can’t others be as good as these 2 or 3.

    The refs were fucking useless before VAR and are just as bad now.

  50. Marc

    Marko

    The league is all over the place this season. It’s the reason that top 4 isn’t completely gone yet – not saying it’ll be easy but it could be done.

  51. TheBayingMob

    There should be a standard for how the offside lines are placed on the VAR screen, or it should be left to programmatic algorithms to determine.

    I feel a shift towards letting the var ref determine an attackers or defenders advantage when it’s super close , the other side of that coin is that pretty quickly you are going to see the media darling clubs like United and Liverpool benefiting from preferential decisions, as dumb as this might seem now I would prefer that the decision not be left to the preference of the var ref, also this leads to a possibility of corruption in the system.

    Another idea, taking from cricket’s LBW decisions: if less than 50% of the ball is hitting the wickets it’s left as “umpires decision” and whatever was called on the field stands.

    You could go that way, if the margin of offside (between the lines) is less than ‘n’ (whatever that measurement is defined to be) then it is left as ‘on field decision’, in that case the Norwich goal would have stood.

  52. Unai

    Baying, we could just put a trackkng chip in both boots and on both shoulders of a shirt and just use that.

    No need to involve people at all.

  53. Marc

    Unai

    They already use the tech to track players in training. As you say get the human (is calling a ref human slander on the human race?) element out of the decision.

  54. G8

    Anchelloti getting 2 wins out of 2 looks impressive albeit against weaker teams in Burnley and Newcastle
    I thought he was better fit for our current shambles
    let’s see what he does next game against man city before we declare we missed a good sauce there
    We have Arteta now, we should move on and the club should do everything possible to make it work
    Norwich robbed 2 points by the incompetent PGMOL
    Come on you Clarets!

  55. Ishola70

    Mourinho has been very average so far at Spurs.

    He can’t get the balance of the midfield right.

    He got punished for being too conservative and defensive in his midfield selection against Spurs and today when he goes more expansive in midfield with N’Dombele, Eriksen and Lo Celso he concedes two goals again. Back three didn’t help him.

    17 goals conceded by Mourinho in 10 games since he took over. That’s bad.

  56. PhD2020

    alex cutterDecember 28, 2019 19:56:43
    “What part of the body can’t a player score with?”Jesus christ.VAR’s main purpose is to make corruption/match-fixing that much easier.

    —–
    Thought it was the opposite in the UK,to be fair..

    But,I’m open to your suggestion..

  57. Chitom

    Did I hear correctly commentators say Burnley haven’t had a shot on goal in 4 hours of play?
    Fucking hell, we really missed out on the tactical genius that is Dyche didn’t we.
    Where’s CG and his 87% prediction success rate?

  58. Elmo

    If Tets can’t indoctrinate his ideas quickly, then this season is primarily about staving off relegation.

    If you remove the first two games of the season, we have been the 3rd worst team in the league over nearly a full half season.

    I wasn’t a backer of Tets for manager, but in terms of expectations, while he’s inherited a massively underperforming squad, it’s also one that is literally a relegation-form team over the past 16 games.

    Hoping he gets a reaction from the players and we start getting some wins so that there’s more room to experiment in the final third of the season.

  59. Samesong

    we really missed out on the tactical genius that is Dyche didn’t we.
    Where’s CG and his 87% prediction success rate?

    Pedro was bigging up the worm eater too.

  60. Ishola70

    Marko
    “Xhaka reportedly not training tonight and not in the squad for tomorrow. He’s gone it seems. Proof some prayers are answered”

    That’s good.

    All we need now is for Arteta to actually scrap from the side the role Xhaka was playing in the team.

    And then the curse of the DLP that has been plaguing Arsenal over the last three years will be over.

  61. G8

    Tomorrow and the manure game is about who scores first IMO
    If we concede first we loose, if we score first we win or draw which is still not good enough

  62. Gentlebris

    ‘The Leicester collapse didn’t happen.’

    Ishola,

    They only beat West Ham, even our team beat West Ham, only PL team we have beaten in the last 4 months or so. West Ham are a 3 point bonus for all comers, how Chelsea missed on that sweet cake is beyond me.

    Leicester might not make top 4 after all their initial bravadoes.

  63. Valentin

    Gentlebris,

    Leicester would have to completely collapse to miss on top 4. Leicester has 42 PTS after 20 games. Assuming that like last season 71pts is enough to clinch 4th place, Leicester would have to not win 10 games out of its remaining 18 games.
    In fact even 8 victories and 6 draws and 4 defeats would still be enough to reach 71pts. Right now their average would tend to put them reaching 80pts rather missing the 70pts mark.

  64. Valentin

    Some seems to rejoice that Xhaka is leaving, but who trust Raul to buy a proper replacement before the end of the winter TW?
    I don’t consider selling Xhaka below market value and not replacing him a clever move. €30 millions in the summer makes more sense.

  65. Gentlebris

    I say make a cheeky bid for Traore in January and see what they say, maybe we can follow it up from there.

    Imagine investing £150m on Traore and Zaha.

    Zaha Martinelli Traore.

    Three proper made for EPL warriors.

    Of course after selling Auba and Laca for £130m.

    All we need are bright imaginations in January.

    I have been supporting Pepe ever since we signed him, but before we signed him I was all for Zaha.

    Maybe Pepe still comes good, but Zaha is a real terrorist. He has been quiet this season but that’s what happens when you have an unhappy player.

  66. Ishola70

    Xhaka missing training and next match because his head isn’t right after Arsenal deny him move by refusing Hertha Berlin offer(s) or protest against Arsenal selling him?

    What we do know is that Hertha Berlin are definitely buying the Stuttgart player Ascacíbar who is a CM/DM for just under 9m.

  67. Marko

    Or he doesn’t want to risk injury on the eve of a transfer. Either way he’s gone and we’re finally going to replace him. Be interesting to see who Edu and Arteta have in mind

  68. Gentlebris

    Valentin,

    We shall see.

    But if two of ManU, Chelsea, Spuds and Arsenal suddenly turn a corner and begin to win games after games, and like I’m suspecting, Leicester have given all they had already?

  69. Valentin

    Last summer, we had the opportunity to buy Valentin Rongier the player voted best tackler in Ligue 1 for €13 millions and we went for Ceballos and Pepe.
    Xhaka’s head is now so messed up, he can’t play for us (but still draw a salary). So now we desperately need a player who can play defensive midfielder while still able to look up and play forward passes.
    The recruitment was a joke. We went for the shiniest new toys (Pepe, Luiz, Tierney), when we needed dependable invisible workhorses.

  70. Valentin

    Gentlebris,

    Even without Vardy, Leicester will limp into 4th place. They will win their games against the bottom 8 teams and pick-up enough points elsewhere.

  71. Gentlebris

    ‘Even without Vardy, Leicester will limp into 4th place. They will win their games against the bottom 8 teams and pick-up enough points elsewhere.’

    Valentin,

    One of the many delights of the EPL is even the rock bottom team can beat anybody.

    But like I said, we shall see. But I have a feeling that Chelsea and ManU will get top 4…..pls have in mind that both can go crazy in January and spend mad money.

  72. Gentlebris

    ‘The recruitment was a joke. We went for the shiniest new toys (Pepe, Luiz, Tierney), when we needed dependable invisible workhorses.’

    Raul played to the gallery big time. The only one of those three that excited me was Luiz.

    We need a real talent spotter ASAP.

    Else, Raul will land Arsenal in a deep shit with his Hollywood runs.

  73. alexanderhenry

    Marko

    From the same article:

    ‘Admittedly, Arsenal were operating with the financial restraints that came with building a multi million pound stadium.
    They had also been hit by the 2008 property market collapse which led to a sense of caution in the transfer market.

    “The way I always characterised it is that we just couldn’t afford to make a big mistake,” (Dick Law).

    What is ‘shocking’ is the way the club essentially downsized itself when it moved to the Emirates.
    Paradoxically, arsenal became a smaller club despite having a bigger stadium.

    Wenger was complicit but you can’t just blame him.

  74. China1

    Alexander Henry wenger called the shots in those days this is well beyond any serious debate

    The board already shamefully admitted our plan was always just wengers plan and they let him act on his plan accordingly

    The board would routinely come out as well as wenger himself to say we could spend money and didn’t need to sell in each summer but would only look for super quality players.

    The no money and heavily restricted comments would only surface when wengers back was to the wall and he wanted to defend his under performance

    I don’t blame wenger for not spending much and for some regular sales for the first 2-3 years as there was pretty good reason to believe wenger could still walk on water, but make no mistake there was no one who would’ve overruled wenger if he had said I want to spend any reasonable sum of money on a player or don’t want to sell.

    Wengers problem was he liked to believe he should be a great leader and ambassador of low spending, FFP, project youth etc. he actively wanted his name all over any success he could get without spending as a statement of moral high ground. No one had a bigger say in wengers ‘restricted’ decade than himself

  75. Marko

    Alex you absolutely can blame him absolutely. Finances in this case mattered fuck all because we were getting the player we could afford it the deal was seemingly all good but Wenger dithered on it and he went to Liverpool on loan. Focus on the Kroenkes and financial constraints all you like but none of it matters when it’s an example of a deal that could have been done but Wenger dithered. Key words here being could have been done and but Wenger dithered.

  76. Valentin

    Blaming Wenger for not signing a player who then subsequently flopped in the EPL!?!
    By all means blame Wenger for not signing players who then became success but failure?
    Soon some Wenger haters will complain that he did not extend Stepanov’s contract!

  77. China1

    Alex as well dick law is talking nonsense. He’s talking about when we were interested in nuri sahin which was pretty much peak cash hoarding time for arsenal before wenger got spendy again in his final years.

    We probably never held less financial risk than during that time. And dick law was just a negotiator, not in charge of the purse strings. If wenger told him he had £6 and a packet of worthers originals to negotiate with because he thought our circumstances were risky then that’s what he’d have to work with

  78. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Look

    Wenger has history of dithering,,,

    Nothing can be done now.

    Look forward if Berlin have offered 29.9 m for xhara take it.

    Anyone else who don’t want to be part of this exciting new project… sell.

    Let’s pray we get a result this Arvo…

  79. Marko

    Hey Val the old ballbag wasn’t clairvoyant at the time how was he to know how Sahin would turn out. At the time he was a highly rated CM who Real signed from Dortmund. Anyway point is this is just one of many examples of Arsene Wenger the great ditherer at work. There’s loads of examples of his negligence/incompetence that we know of and even more that we don’t

  80. China1

    Valentin it’s a moot point. No one cares that he didn’t sign sahin – he was proved right not to.

    The point was that he was a known cash hoarder and transfer ditherer and that is beyond dispute. This was just an example of it

  81. China1

    Valentin it’s a moot point. No one cares that he didn’t sign sahin – he was proved right not to.

    The point was that he was a known cash hoarder and transfer ditherer and that is beyond dispute. This was just an example of it1

  82. RockyRoe

    While Thomas tuchel, another special sauce ones still has a lower win % than the clueless emery.

    Pedro, I wonder how much stock should be put in your views of Arteta, considering what seems a rather lackluster history of sauce recognition.

    Btw, in other news your buddy Ivan is stinking up milan.

  83. China1

    Mr serge tho I’m over the moon that bald Ivan has finally fucked off, I’m actually disappointed that he’s at Milan. It’s a shame to see such a huge club floundering around and he’ll only make them worse the longer he’s in town

  84. Tony

    “Granit Xhaka is maybe a work in progress after his agent said he was leaving for Hertha Berlin.”

    Easy to see where Xhaka gets his arrogance from when his agent tells the club Xhaka is leaving for Hertha Berlin. Seems both Xhaka and his agent are oblivious that Xhaka is under contract to Arsenal who decide whether Xhaka stays or goes.

    Watching the Bournemouth game Xhaka finds spaces but freezes when he receives the ball as he is pressed. Xhaka keeps pointing for the ball to go to another player.

    When Xhaka has the ball he still passes sidewards of backwards or holds the ball too long before making the odd pass forward, which by then is too late for such a ball to be effective with the intended players being closed down.

    Add to that Xhaka’s poor pace restrictions, lack of a footballing brain and cowardice under pressure, especially blocking shots and inability to win heading duels or win tackles without committing fouls resulting in penalties, dangerous positional free kicks and, of course, goals against by his not tracking back and completely switching off.

    Have I left anything out?

    Pretty sure Chelsea are going to target Xhaka today; I would if I were Lampard.

    “The Arsenal boss has brought Mesut Ozil in from the cold as a key player”

    Yet still had to sub Ozil after Bournemouth started to shut down and defend the pockets Ozil found in the first 20 minutes because Ozil resulted back into his line hugging anonymity.

    If Arteta plays Ozil and Xhaka against Chelsea I just can’t see how we can win the match.

    This is not a slur on Arteta; he has to work with what he has for now, and I was happy to see the small changes Arteta is bringing to the team from the last game.

    I don’t know about others here and out in the gunners-sphere world, but I’m back to feeling mixed emotions about the game as opposed to feeling excitement and optimism.

  85. Nelson

    PapaSok suffered a concussion. Kola still has an ankle complaint while Tierney has a dislocated shoulder.
    As for Bellerin, Ceballos, Holding and Martinelli, it is 50/50 for selection.

  86. Guns of SF

    I would try martinelli as a 10 tomorrow
    Bench laca.
    Wingers Pepe and Nelson
    Auba as striker

    That is a potent attack
    Gabby presses hard on defense and has pace to break the lines to score

    Just my 2

  87. Sid

    I have to agree with the person that said VAR is being used to fix matches. Serious investigation is needed. These wrong decisions are not random.
    You heard it here 1st!

  88. Sid

    Martinelli and pepe should play on the wings Auba as striker, ESR or ceballos as number 10 with instructions to press.
    Im telling you this for free!

  89. Emiratesstroller

    Posters on Le Grove [incl Pedro] keep on discussing a wide range of positions
    where we need replacements in January.

    The reality is that the club are unlikely to bring in more than one or two at most factoring budget and potential departures.

    The most likely arrivals assuming that we manage to sell both Mustafi and Xhaka will be a new Centre Back and Central Midfield.

    Somehow I don’t see the likelihood of any other replacements in this window
    including full/wing back notwithstanding long term injury to Tierney.

    In the Summer we will be adding to the squad Saliba and then we can start discussing other departures and arrivals.