Arsenal target the future in defence

by & filed under News Review.

I do NOT like to gloat, but come on, Ole at the wheel? It’s my current binge-watch.

A month or so ago, after two solid wins against top 6 opposition, the media weighed into the irresistible.

PLUCKY OLE FINALLY TURNS CORNER

Passion, heart, glory… call it what you want, OGS has his team of young lions achieving the sort of elevated football we haven’t seen at United since 1999. King Ole, he knew.

They do it EVERY FUCKING TIME and it makes me JOY EVERYWHERE.

What an utterly garbage coach he is, United are in so much trouble because they’ve basically hired in a beloved family labrador that has perma-diarrhea. He’s stinking out the house, the cream carpets will never be the same again… but who wants to be the one to put him out his misery?

Not me. That’s for sure. Let’s ride this out and hope Woodward makes the correct decision with some elephant strength Immodium, a £100m ‘last chance’ vet bill, and #4moreyears.

… back to Arsenal.

The hottest rumours on the internet are firmly focused on Upemacano being the #1 target for the club this January. That makes me very happy, I really worried we had some contacts scouting™ going with Boateng. The last thing we need is another high earner where the ceiling has collapsed due to a burst water pipe.

Bringing in a 21-year defender that can play in a highly technical system works for me. RB Leipzig is one of the best incubators in the world for talent, so you know he’ll be a hard worker, have an excellent attitude, and be open to new ideas as well as being receptive to feedback.

He still feels like a very big signing for us considering the financial challenges we have, but I guess if we were going for him in this summer, we’re just eating into an overdraft. My initial thoughts were that we’d sell a few players this window, but all of the potential liquid assets seem to have been retained and reinvigorated. The only problem child we have is Mustafi who interestingly wasn’t even trusted to play at right-back. He’s gone from World Cup winner to someone you wouldn’t start in your Sunday League pub team. What a shambles.

I think there are a few folk that worry that Arteta is blinded by players that have let us down, I see it differently, I think he’s probably thinking that signing in new players is a huge gamble and disruptive. If he can get 5 months out of players that know the club and the league, he’s far more likely to have a chance at winning trophies now and going on a run in the league.

That said, I think the summer will be very dramatic. We’ll absolutely have to shift on players to fund the sort of summer that’ll move the dynamic of the squad in the direction of an Arteta model of play.

Our biggest issues at the moment sit in the middle of defence and at full-back. I think we can probably deal with the full-back issue internally, but at centre back, we’re relying on two defenders on the back 9 to see us through the season, playing in a far more intense system than the one we operated in under Emery. I love Holding, but he looked shot the other night.

The numbers on Arteta are moving in the right direction. Interesting that in your head, you imagine that we’re playing a totally different game, but really, the most dramatic shift in the above numbers is the tightening of defence and the build-up stats.

Shines a light on why Arteta doesn’t really care for distance run stats, they’re not particularly important as we saw under Unai Emery’s headless chicken approach. He’s looking at how you use your energy in the most efficient way. The team is only running 4km extra a game, but exerting far more energy through the more intense style. It’ll be very interesting to see what those numbers look like by the end of the season.

I watched back the Leeds game again. Couple of things. I thought Martinez made some truly excellent saves, he really did keep us in the game. I also still can’t believe the output in the second half. It really does show how much of football is in the mind at the highest level. We went from absolute bums to menaces… despite the team being heavily fatigued. It might not last, but you cannot put a value on a winning culture built on dedication to 100% commitment on the pitch at all times. Some leaders can command that, others simply can’t. I really, really, really hope this continues through the next few years. It’s electric to watch when it works. Plenty of massive tests ahead, but I’m excited.

Also, some fool said it was Sheffield United at the weekend, it’s actually not, it’s Palace. I think this game is going to be very interesting, Arteta threw everything at the cup game, so how will his team respond against a side that has regularly bullied us? He’s constantly talking about aggression, I’d really love to see us show some bite against Hodgson’s side. I’m hoping the learning from the Leeds game is that we can’t let our foot off the gas, it’ll be a huge physical test, one that we bottled last season when it counted, so a win here would be symbolic and a very strong indicator of how well the rest of this season will pan out.

After that, the squad has a whole 7 days off to recuperate and get some proper TLC with the coach.

354 Responses to “Arsenal target the future in defence”

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  1. Guns of Hackney

    I feel vindicated about the Arteta appointment. He has made me actually want to watch Arsenal again. If we get the RB centre back, we have a defence for a decade.

    Ndidi in the middle and I think we might actually have a squad that could challenge the scouse bastards.

    Arteta needs a statue right now.

  2. Guns of Brixton

    Also, some fool said it was Sheffield United at the weekend, it’s actually not, it’s Palace

    😂😂

    👀👀👀👀👀

  3. HighburyLegend

    “He has made me actually want to watch Arsenal again. ”
    The first half vs Leeds was, indeed, priceless.

    “Arteta needs a statue right now.”
    So you can go and cum on it, just like Pedro will do ??

  4. Leftside

    Palace are having quite an injury crisis apparently, and their penalty taker who would have needless to say scored against us is suspended.

  5. Habesha Gooner

    Piatek to villa and Ashley young to Inter Are the weirdest moves I have seen in a while.
    I think we should wrap up signing Upamecano now. If not offer them money now to make sure we get him in the summer. Then Loan Boateng for 6 months and Find a club who will take Mustafi on loan considering no one will touch him permanently right now. He might look good just like elneny and miki then we can sell.

  6. China1

    I really don’t understand the holding critique

    People losing their minds that a guy who basically hasn’t played for a year looks rusty as hell

    You can judge him after he’s had a run of games and has match fitness lol

    I’ll never get how knee jerk people have to be. Everyone is either a hero or a villain based on their last performance entirely regardless of context

  7. Brooklyn

    Seems like Bernardo Silva took offence to my comments yesterday. Managed to catch highlight brilliant goal and good assist for him.

    Which position did he play yesterday?? Seemed very narrow formation for Man City yesterday.

    I said average end product for the hype he generates, 8/10 player as wing playmaker….I argued that he won’t be as good as a CM or CAM in 3 man midfield due to his lack of technical qualities compared to the likes of D. Silva, Cazorla or Ozil etc….

    Hopefully will better his 15 G+A season in future…

  8. Habesha Gooner

    B.silva Would definitely start in our line up. Can’t believe he compared him to foden . Nothing against foden but Silva is amazing.

    A Saliba type arrangement for 6 months wouldn’t be bad to get our targets if we can’t get them now.

  9. Graham62

    China1

    Guaranteed most of those posters who criticised Holding have never played competitive sport in their life.

  10. InsideRight

    I’m with you on that, Guns. I’m going out of my way to watch the games again. Been a while since I’ve done that. Let’s hope the turgid era is really over.

  11. Brooklyn

    What is this obsession with young players….long term thinking?? How long is long term, 5 years or 10 years??

    Personally I think we are doing good enough in pure numerical terms of having young, prime age and experienced players in squad. Quality is another question.

    Chambers, Holding, Tierney, Bellerin, AMN, Saliba even Kolasinac are long term investment in defence, more than 5 years…I would much rather sell from one of these players if we are getting in another quality young players…

  12. Brooklyn

    Romford,
    I meant he lacks technically compared to guys you compared him with, like Cazorla, D.Silva, Ozil etc. Even if similar in stature those guys are among best of best technically.

  13. Romford Pele

    Brooklyn, I don’t see any difference technically between him and the others. At the moment he has better end product than all the aforementioned. He’s also faster than them too.

  14. CG

    Re: Upecamero

    It it really the wisest thing to do- to spend another £50 000 000 on this unproven player?

    To pair him with another unproven one (Saliba-only the £30 000 000)- seems like gross naivety to me.

    Two raw , UNPROVEN inexperienced defenders in tandem at the cost of over £100 million……..that is not even remotely sensible.

    Sensible is paying £70 million for DVD – because he was PROVEN at Saints .

    Here is an idea:
    A novel one even.

    How about look for young defenders at sensible fees- that are playing in the championship or the premier league?

    Like we used to :
    Bould/Keown/Pates/Linighan/Young/O leary/Caton.

    If Holding cost £2.5 million…..this Upmecano can not be worth £60 million.
    Can Not.

    The incompetence will continue…….. if we start paying obscene amounts for unproven defenders.
    Always Use your precious resources wisely.

  15. Habesha Gooner

    Brooklyn I don’t think you have seen him play a lot. He is very much comparable to those players regarding his technique. Actually his close control, Technique and dribbling are the main components of his game. What he lacks is physicality but he has improved that too since joining Guardiola

  16. salparadisenyc

    Accept it, Bernardo Silva is so boss he could fill any position ahead of the keeper and slot in. Dudes an incredibly gifted baller as technical as they come.

  17. CG

    China

    “”””People losing their minds that a guy who basically hasn’t played for a year looks rusty as hell””””””

    Totally correct.

    If Saliba or DVD had suffered this type of injury- they would look indeed look rusty.

    Best £2.5 million we have spent in years.

    Probably since Ramseys £ 5 million
    Proper scouting.
    Sensible not ostentatious or gratuitous
    Like it should be.

    £100 million for two spotty teenage unproven overseas defenders……ludicrous

    for £100 million – you should get 30 nuggets in the lower leagues in Britain.

  18. Brooklyn

    Romford,
    Well we will have to see, if he can matchup to these guys technically as a CM/CAM in the future…

    Re: Upemacano,
    Lacks concentration when playing deep but suits Arteta’s style high line, high press game. Has good passing for a CB, not quite as good as D. Luiz or Chambers in this regard. Few injury concerns as well especially for a defender whose game is based of physicality than technical ability.

    50 mil when his contract ends next season is big outlay. If Arteta thinks he is a solution and is young enough to improve further than no complaints. Very quick and physical, decent height….Theoretically with Saliba should make good partnership…

  19. Romford Pele

    Brooklyn, he’s 21. You’re not paying for what he is, you’re paying for what he could be. Same with Saliba. We can’t buy the experienced finished versions as they won’t come to us. Plus the profile we need means we have to go younger and more athletic.

    With Upamecano and Saliba, they are young so they will make mistakes and have periods of bad form. it’s important we stick with them but we’re buying them for the base level and hope they can reach a WC level so the fee doesn’t bother me too much. Players haven’t been going for rational transfer fees in years.

  20. Wasi

    Bernardo easily has better technique than Silva and Santi. Maybe even Ozil if you dont count First touch and quality of passes

  21. Lego Hair

    China

    ‘I really don’t understand the holding critique’

    Wasn’t you the guy complaining about his passing and that you could even play an accurate 25 yard pass just a day or so ago?

    Fair enough at 5 a side or whatever but try doing it in front of 60,000 people with a slick watered surface, whilst being pressured from all angles.

  22. Lego Hair

    Upamecano would be perfect next to saliba. We need players that can defend at the half way line and are mobile and athletic enough to fancy themselves in a footrace against most forwards in behind.

  23. Brooklyn

    Guys last post re: Bernardo Silva…

    Excellent dribbler yes….my lacking technical aspect comes from lack of him showing(may be due to position he plays??) 1st touch pass or dribble(beating opponents press with first touch) under pressure, which will be the case if he were to play as a CM/CAM. Add being two way dribbler on that list(most likely to be wrong on this one)..and also slower in releasing final ball, you could just watch assists provided by all the guys on youtube to see where I am coming from.

    But theoretically like Messi, by virtue of his Superior dribbling/ball holding ability he could just wait for opportune moment to play other players in, so wouldn’t need to be as quick thinking as other guys mentioned.

    And all these comments stems from yesterday comments about Lemar like B. Silva could be great CM/CAM. My point is/was that B. Silva hasn’t shown to be as good/great CM/CAM compared to being RAM.

    Crystal Palace don’t have players to complete match day squad due to injury??…

  24. Romford Pele

    You saw the difference against Leeds in the second half what happened when the team stepped forward 20 yards. All of a sudden we compressed the space they had to play in and began to take control.

    As Arteta said, if the shape is good, you actually end up doing less running because the space you have to cover is less. That’s why Torreira’s tackles and interceptions have gone through the roof.

  25. Jim Lahey

    “but try doing it in front of 60,000 people”

    Ha I wonder when the Emirates last had 60,000 people in it!!

  26. Arseteta

    By all accounts club doing f** k all with regards to any permanent transfers & that most certainly includes Upamecano.wishful thinking to seal any deal now.even if it was a loan back.AFC are gambling the price will be lowered during the summer.a dangerous game with others hovering & Leipzig wanting a bidding war….

  27. Paulinho

    Bernardo Silva is a genius. Gets in my top ten players in world football.

    My heart sunk when City signed him because it meant David Silva retiring wasn’t that big a deal and they could continue that type of football that enables them to go to OT and make it look easy.

    He’s much better centrally as well so his game will take off the more he plays there rather than it being some litmus test of ability. City fans hate it when he’s played wide left.

  28. Brooklyn

    Guys,
    Upamecano or 21-22 years old Rudiger/Davison Sanchez??

    All physical, quick, and all decent passer(Sanchez being the weakest in this respect) all have/had defensive lapses Upa is shortest among them all but not by much.

    Upamecano is better at nicking ball higher up like Koscielny and probably uses his upper body strength better.

  29. DM

    Howcome all has gone quiet on the Umtiti front? Admittedly I haven’t seen that much of him myself (not that I have of Upemacano either), but he’s proven at the top level, prime age, and not starting at Barca… Surely he’s another option?

  30. Romford Pele

    “Bernardo Silva is a genius. Gets in my top ten players in world football.”

    Top top player man. All the technique with crazy intensity on and off the ball. Sometimes I actually think he’s on PEDS because he’s a duracell battery

  31. Romford Pele

    DM, Umitti has big knee issues which is why Barca are trying to shift him on the cheap. Nobody will bite though.

    Funnily enough he’s at Arsenal nearly all the time because he’s Laca’s best mate.

  32. Kiril

    Would prefer Tanguy Kouassi instead of Upamecano. He is the guy from PSG that Redbull took to replace Upamecano

  33. Paulinho

    Romford – Yeah he’s played almost as a 6 in last few games and he’s got the industry and energy to do it brilliantly.

    I think that Mendy incident might explain his little dip in the first months of the season.

  34. Romford Pele

    Paulinho – Yeah this is the first season where his industry has dropped off a little. But it’s City as a whole. They’ve been basically flawless the last two seasons so a drop off was inevitable. As this is David Silva’s last season they should go with him centrally next year with KDB with Foden as the first rotational option and then buy another winger.

  35. Brooklyn

    Paulinho,
    Yes you like players who can influence game better by staying in the middle, pull opponents towards him and release ball to other players, unlike Ozil..

    Yes, maybe his game will take off in central position, like I said(compared) with Messi and his dribbling ability, after turning 26-27..

    I am just putting theory as to why his game may not take off as you predict and won’t be as good CM/CAM compared to what he has shown as RAM…Would think back after he plays as a CM/CAM successfully for couple of season.

  36. Brooklyn

    Paulinho,
    Yes you like players who can influence game better by staying in the middle, pull opponents towards him and release ball to other players, unlike Ozil..

    Yes, maybe his game will take off in central position, like I said(compared) with Messi and his dribbling ability, after turning 26-27..

    I am just putting theory as to why his game may not take off as you predict and won’t be as good CM/CAM compared to what he has shown as RAM… Similar to Isco if you will.

    Would think back after he plays as a CM/CAM successfully for couple of season.

  37. Emiratesstroller

    My guess is that Arsenal are unlikely to spend significantly on transfers in this window, because we have already made heavy commitments in the current financial year.

    Last season we had a relatively old first team squad, but that has now been reversed following large number of departures and there are now only four players in the squad aged over 30 namely Sokratis, Luiz, Ozil and Aubameyang.
    We have now the youngest squad of the major clubs in EPL. Here is updated information.
    Arsenal 24,8
    Manchester City 27,3
    Liverpool 27,8
    Manchester Utd 26,1
    Chelsea 26,3
    Leicester 26,7
    Wolves 25,3

    There are a variety of reasons for our poor season, but the immaturity of the squad has played its part.

    Clearly defence and midfield have been a major factor in our poor results and
    the priority in January would probably be Centre Back following longterm injury to Chambers and the possible departure of Mustafi.

    Personally I would not consider Boateng as a replacement unless it is a short
    term loan. His wages are huge and there is clear evidence that his performance level is in decline.

    We know that there are very few top quality centre backs potentially available and more importantly quite a few other clubs also short in this department.

    My view is that Arsenal should focus next summer on bringing in the best centre back that money can buy. This should not be a speculation, but someone with a proven track record.

    The other priority should be a dynamic, physically strong, mobile and creative
    midfielder.

    Both positions are likely to cover the bulk if not all our transfer budget for next season.

    Arsenal have made it clear that far too many players have been allowed to run
    down their contracts in past as we have seen with Sanchez, Ozil, Ramsey and
    Welbeck with no return on investment.

    At end of this season both Lacazette and Aubameyang will move into final year
    as is the case with Sokratis and Ozil. Personally I would want to keep Aubameyang, because finding a goalscoring machine is difficult. The other
    three are dispensable.

  38. Batistuta

    Shouldn’t we be trying to get Nketiah to a Villa or Brighton for the rest if the season. See how he fares in the league before cashing in on him in the summer

  39. Pierre

    Though I do understand that the game is changing , but from my experience the
    centre mid and centre back is all about reading the game.
    Great pace in those positions is a bonus.

    If you look back through the years , pace was not the greatest asset that the very best players at centre mid and centre defence had.

    Centre backs
    Terry, Adams, Campbell, stam, pallister, hansen, Phil Thompson, Frank Mclintock, Bobby Moore.

    Centre mid
    Vieira,Keane, Gerrard, Lampard , De bruyne, Fernandinho, Scholes.

    None of these top players were blessed with great pace.

    Even Arsenal’s famous back 4 were not lightning, dixon, bould, Adams and winterbourne.

    Liverpool have broken the mould with a very pacey back 4 so I can understand the reasoning for wanting a couple of pacey centre backs who can recover their position as it allows the team to push high up which in turn makes it difficult for the opposition to put any sustained pressure on the defending team.

  40. Romford Pele

    Batistuta,

    I don’t know if they’ll give Eddie the game time he needs. That’s why we called him back from Leeds. We need him to get minutes starting as the lead front man.

    Look at Tammy Abraham now leading the line for Chelsea. He had two successful Championship loans before 21 where he scored 20_ goals for Villa and Bristol City. Helped his development loads.

    For what it’s worth though, I don’t see Eddie’s long-term future here. I already think martinelli as a striker is better and more rounded. We have another striker in the U23s called Balogun who i think has a higher ceiling too.

  41. CG

    R.P

    “””Brooklyn, he’s 21. You’re not paying for what he is, you’re paying for what he could be”””

    I am glad you aint my financial adviser.

    Preposterous interpretation.
    You should work At Arsenal with that thinking.

    So we now spend millions upon millions on players who MIGHT be good!

    How about we spend our millions on players that we KNOW will be good!

    You might find – that philosophy actual works.

    No wonder why we are now a mid table side.

  42. CazOnARola

    Upmecano was linked all before Artetas in the fray.
    Arteta probably has a say in what positions he needs ppl and what attributes, but which player is more edu and raul question.
    So unless Arteta has substantial reservation about a player and can logicaly convince edu, it will be Edu and Raul that will have a bigger say on whom we sign.

  43. Romford Pele

    Pierre, the difference is the game has gotten a lot faster and more athletic. Unless you’re blessed technically to the point where you can evade pressure you have to be athletic.

    Players are now faster and stronger than ever before. It’s all about the marginal gains you can get.

    Arteta in his first press conference said: “For City or any top side, it’s obviously great to have players who’ll bring you control of matches. But in the PL it’s vital to have guys who’ll offer massive amounts of intensity and athletic aggression in key 1 v 1 moments. If you don’t have that, then for hwoever much you construct intricate play, the big beasts of the PL will eventually press you and rob you off the ball.”

  44. Romford Pele

    “How about we spend our millions on players that we KNOW will be good!”

    Outside of a few players there’s no such thing as a sure fire bet.

    Every player comes with positives and negatives. And the rebuild position we’re in, we have to go young anyway.

  45. Batistuta

    Romford

    I actually don’t also think he’ll make it here, too small and not clinical enough, Balogun is one to look foward to plus you’re right we already have Martinelli who’s looking levels above already…

    My view is to make sure we get as much for him as possible… You see Liverpool and Chelsea making large sums from selling youngsters whom they realize rather quickly won’t make it there and cash in

  46. Paulinho

    A lot of those centre backs mentioned were very quick. O’Leary, Hansen, Adams, were all natural athletes that were very quick. Stam was a physical beast, as was Campbell. I don’t see any great progression in terms of athleticism when it comes to centre backs.

  47. Romford Pele

    Batistuta, spot on mate. Obviously great if a young player can make it here but we should use it as a vehicle to make the club money too, like how we got £40m for Iwobi. We even made £4m by selling Thompson to Brentford in the summer. I think if Eddie has a good second half of the season scoring goals for whoever we can definitely cash in for a decent sum.

  48. Marc

    Whilst we definitely need to add a CB in Jan – we’ve got Sok & Luiz with Holding slowly coming back after that it’s Mustafi – I don’t think we’ll spend big. In fact I’m not sure we’ll actually buy anyone think we’ll look at loan deals.

    I said months ago we’ve spent our budget so unless we do unload a clutch of players those expecting an Upemacano or similar signing are going to be disappointed.

  49. Freddie Ljungberg

    Like what I’ve seen of Gabriel, the Lille CB that we were linked to earlier in the window.
    22 years old, 190 tall, strong, fast left footed player with very good distribution from the back.

    Could be a good option if we can’t get/won’t pay the dosh for Upamecano.

  50. Paulinho

    “but we should use it as a vehicle to make the club money too, like how we got £40m for Iwobi.”

    Deal of the century.

  51. Marc

    Pedro

    Whenever anyone pulls you up in an argument you always fall back on your “you’re just using Google but I’ve got contacts at the club” line.

    All you’ve done with Upemacano is say that they are the hottest rumours on the internet. What are your contacts telling you?

  52. Useroz

    Sky reported they understand Arsenal Is unlikely to make new signings this TW since we spent 150m+ last summer , and wouldn’t want to pay a premium in winter etc. As well, cited Arteta thought he has a better chance getting more out from his squad in the next 5 months vs. integrating new folks unknown to the PL.

    If this isn’t just Sky talk there wouldn’t be new faces then, bar a loan or two then.

    It’d also mean the summer will get very busy, starting with clearing those who wouldn’t eventually fit in or rake us any further.

    A bit disappointing, if true, well…

    But surely the club could sell Elneny,, Mihki and Mustafi??

    Last, the club is ‘clearing’ 12 according to media but it’s more about loans than sales it seems. Should ESR be among the 12?

  53. Pierre

    RP
    “Players are now faster and stronger than ever before. It’s all about the marginal gains you can get.”

    I do get that but faster and stronger is of no use without a football brain and technique, but of course you would know that.

    The standard of Liverpool’s back 4 defensively and offensively have no equal, as far as I’m concerned no other team comes close.

    Also for liverpool to have 2 outstanding offensive full backs , it takes the pressure off the midfield to be creative or to score goals .

    Klopp has a very good effective system of play that involves discipline and good positional sense from the midfield but also allows freedom and creativity from the front 3 and full backs, in the knowledge that the midfield 3 offer protection.

    I will add that liverpool’s midfield 3 are not exceptional in physique, pace , power, technique or strength , they are just a very good unit .

    Arteta I don’t believe will settle for 2nd best , so the players at the club now are on trial until the end of the season to prove themselves.

  54. Freddie Ljungberg

    Marc

    We only spent 35m net last summer and lowered the wage bill with around 30m.

    No reason we can’t spend, especially if we can get some cash for players like Elneny and Mikhi that’s not at the club anyway.

    But yeah, we’re probably going to play it safe and wait for the summer instead of pushing on now and try to win something or get a spot in europa/CL through the league.

  55. Brooklyn

    Depends on how Saliba transitions to PL, he already looks quick enough, I prefer technical defenders.
    To extend to that Saliba looks like another Varane in theory. Good pace to deal with counters, not overly physical(in terms of bullying opponents) but has good height to deal against crosses and set-pieces. But not a leader/organiser in his own.

    Technical defender who is great at interceptions, positioning and organising with pace is needed ofcourse. Sokratis?? 🙂

    Seriously I think Papa Sok is our quickest and least error prone CB?? Would accept tirades coming my way for this statement.

    Van Dijk is benchmark with great technical ability and physicality but they don’t grow around, so if we were to trade some attributes for other bar pace I will trade physicality for technical ability.

    CB means decent height is required otherwise Ake is coming along nicely in other aspect. Lindelof suffers from lack of physicality but is good defender technically with decent pace. Laporte is another one with good mix of physical and technical ability for a defender.

    Mings looks decent technically and has very good physical ability.

  56. Romford Pele

    “I do get that but faster and stronger is of no use without a football brain and technique, but of course you would know that.”

    Of course, like everything in life, it’s about balance. But we need that. We are a very slow team in comparison to our compatriots. Our players are more likely to break down since we’re pushing them so far out of their natural limits, hence the need for more athletes.

    “I will add that liverpool’s midfield 3 are not exceptional in physique, pace , power, technique or strength , they are just a very good unit .”

    Fabinho – athletic
    Henderson – athletic
    Wijnaldum – athletic
    Ox – athletic
    Keita – athletic

    All these players can eat up 40/50 yards without looking like they’re straining. We don’t have that here.

    Also Liverpool’s defence only went up a level when VVD went there. Most of those other guys were already there prior.

  57. Brooklyn

    Pace when coaching Liverpool certainly, but I think main necessity for Klopp’s CB is/was physicality and height. Even during his Dortmund days. Theoretically his team would press opposition so only option for opponents would be to play long balls to striker.

    See Hummel’s, Subotic, Santana all 6’4″ and above but not particularly quick.
    Similarly his first buy at Liverpool was Matip and wanted Van Dijk desperately both 6’4″ but both are also pacy for a CB. Lovren although poor in other aspect is very good in air so is still around.

    PL is different beast compared to Bundesliga but also game has changed from his Dortmund days so he uses pacy but tall defenders to counter long ball to either target man or quicker striker.

  58. Pierre

    Paulinho
    “A lot of those centre backs mentioned were very quick. O’Leary, Hansen, Adams, were all natural athletes that were very quick. Stam was a physical beast, as was Campbell. ”

    I never mentioned O’Leary ,though was quick but never elite, he was a good servant for Arsenal but our defence improved as a unit without him.

    Why you would think the other centre backs I mention were ” very quick” baffles me.

  59. Pierre

    “Fabinho – athletic
    Henderson – athletic
    Wijnaldum – athletic
    Ox – athletic
    Keita – athletic”

    If you mean they can run about the pitch then you are right , they are athletic.

    You originally said , and I quote” Players are now faster and stronger than ever before. It’s all about the marginal gains you can get.”

    Are milner , ox , henderson, fabinho , winjaldum or kieta faster or stronger than your average midfielders…debatable.

  60. Useroz

    Except Sok, Luiz and Kolac we don’t have physically players , and none of the above is particularly pacy.

    You’d bulk up to an extent but I think a key weakness of the squad in general is a lack of strength. Our players, Sok aside, get brushed aside quite readily.

    Don’t know how Arteta could use his saucy structures and systems to compensate…

    When we buy need also to predict what the PL and opposition is like in the next 3 to 5 years.

    Liverpool and City likely to continue with current style and that would mean physique, pace, pressing, all on top of tech footballing abilities. Lower half teams are moving towards similar directions albeit not as successful due to player qualities even the latter have evened out quite.a bit with PL awashed with cash.

  61. Romford Pele

    Pierre – the comment about being faster was general rather than in relation to Liverppol.

    And while there are players quicker than Liverpool’s collection, my point was around them covering ground effortlessly which our current cop can’t. Anything more than 20 odd yards and they start to struggle.

    For what worth I don’t want us to copy the Liverpool model. I don’t believe in following trends. What I do believe in is taking the good bits (increased athleticism across the pitch) and add your own twist (generally better footballers).

  62. TR7

    We don’t have much money to spend unless we sell. My sense is our transfer ins will be linked to whether we can offload a few players. Right now I am more interested in how we improve as a team under Arteta than signings.

    As for Bernardo Silva, he is amazing. For me he is the best midfielder in the league along with KDB. If I had to pick one between the two, I would pick Bernardo.

  63. TitsMcGee

    I watched back the Leeds game again. Couple of things. I thought Martinez made some truly excellent saves, he really did keep us in the game. I also still can’t believe the output in the second half. It really does show how much of football is in the mind at the highest level.”

    It was/is plain to see that so much or our issues were an “effort”/ “lack of direction” issue. Throw in a few “dross” players as well and you get what we have seen the past decade. A sh***te sandwich.

  64. Romford Pele

    TR7. – it’s not great but I think Klopp has them getting through a lot of work to allow the FBs freedom to join the three attackers. The three CMs being athletic and stationed centrally also helps to prevent counters.

    I might well be wrong though because Klopp spent big on a flair player Keita and now just bought Minamino too so maybe he wants to change that area.

  65. Pierre

    RP
    You sai
    “Also the most successful Wenger sides had huge levels of athleticism beyond belief.”

    That was 15 /20 years ago.

    Then you said
    ” “Players are now faster and stronger than ever before. It’s all about the marginal gains you can get.”

    I would say fitter than ever before not faster and stronger.

    Campbell, Vieira and Henry have no equals , not even now .

  66. Pierre

    RP
    I think we are in agreement that a bit of athleticism wouldn’t go a miss in all areas of the team if we want to get to the very top.

    Put it this way, I doubt very much if Arteta will be buying any players that are slow and ponderous on or off the ball.

  67. Useroz

    Would agree currently Liverpool has a ‘weaker’ midfield compared to City, while better in their back 4 and front 3.

    But I think the systems they play have a lot to say about the overall results. Bluntly, their strength and pace isn’t burnt while being headless chickens out on the pitch.

  68. Micheal

    In terms of athleticism, I think it is worth emphasising that we have lost a signficant amount of pace and movement with the injuries to Bellerin and Tierney. Liverpool by-pass their midfield with a pace and movement of Alexander-Arnold and Robertson.

    By contrast we have AMN and Kolasinac who do not have the same technical ability. Or alteratively we are now graced with Sokaratis at RB – the equivalent of a deep-sea diver in full gear performing as a ballet dancer, bless him.

  69. Paulinho

    Pierre – I get your point about them all being known as intelligent first and foremost, but those defences still pushed up regardless of any perceived lack of pace. We were famous for the offside trap and used to hold a high line on a lot of those offsides in order to compress the pitch and pen the opposition in.

  70. Pierre

    Kolasinac has pace and power but no real football brain, though on his day ( united) he can look very good..

    Tierney has he very rare quality of finding a team mate from crosses., similar to trent Alexander Arnold, so hopefully he can get himself fit.

    AMN has pace without the power but I think is technically very underrated.

    Tierney and AMN could turn out to be major assets for the club..

    A centre back and centre midfielder should still be our main targets.

  71. TR7

    RP

    Minamino is a tricky player with good feet. Liverpool need players like him who can create chances on their own. A Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum is high on athleticism but very limited on creativity. With flying fullbacks and VVD who has amazing ability to play a high line and recover well on counterattack, all that the current midfield is required to do is press high and keep the ball ticking over.

  72. Romford Pele

    TR7 – I guess as the current set-up works there’s no real need to change it but as you say it’s nice to have other alternatives in case it’s not going their way. Klopp used to use Lallana a lot who has similar qualities to Minamino but now he’s old and injury-prone. Ox also injury prone who offers that drive through the middle. Keita so far hasn’t looked like that player they bought from Germany.

  73. TR7

    Pierre

    ‘AMN has pace without the power but I think is technically very underrated.’

    I really don’t understand why so many on here think AMN is a shit player. He is athletic and has decent skills. His major weakness is loss of focus at times but he hs the ingredients to become a good player for us.

  74. Romford Pele

    Pierre- agreed. Anyone we sign needs to not be slow and ponderous. Also should have intensity on and off the ball. After those requirements it should fit the needs technically of the coach.

  75. Romford Pele

    “I really don’t understand why so many on here think AMN is a shit player. He is athletic and has decent skills. His major weakness is loss of focus at times but he hs the ingredients to become a good player for us.”

    Agreed. He has the right tools needed for the modern PL. Whether he can develop that into being a good player for us remains to be seen. Hopefully Arteta can help him because physically and technically he’s good.

  76. Pierre

    Paulinho
    The famous back 4 were masters at stepping up for the offside .

    We were very good at compressing the pitch at highbury as the pitch was small.
    I’m not sure they would have been quite so good on the large Emirates pitch.

    I think Tottenham and West Ham are experiencing the problem of coming to terms with a large home pitch.

    At the lane and Upton park the game was different , the crowd and the small pitches created a completely different environment to play football , much more intimidating for the opposition.

    Liverpool have probably been very.astute by staying in their familiar surroundings of Anfield , hence their very good home record.

  77. HighburyLegend

    “Right now I am more interested in how we improve as a team under Arteta than signings. ”
    Same for me. I wait to see what Handsome Sauce really got.

  78. Paulinho

    On AMN, it’s because he’s a space cadet mentally and cannot be trusted. He gets away with it at the Emirates when we are on the front-foot, but away at places like Goodison he folds, and can’t do the basics. He was horrendous there last season after some good performances at home, and who can forget him basically losing the Europa final with his stupidity.

    Bellerin is limited but physically and mentally far more robust and will do the hard yards home or away. Arteta will realise this, even though AMN can drop a shoulder ala Lauren now and then and ball-carry effectively at times.

  79. TR7

    I prefer one high pressing CB and one deep lying CB combination to a high pressing CB duo. Koss-Mertersacker sort of combination suits us the most.

  80. Freddie Ljungberg

    Marc

    those numbers are from last year aren’t they? Before we lowered the wage bill. A lot of of our transfer business was back loaded last summer so I’m not buying the whole we don’t have a pot to piss in scenario.

    Plenty we could still do in offloading players to raise cash or lower the wage bill even more . Depends on if the will is there or not and if we can get the targets we want.

  81. Leedsgunner

    If Roma and Besiktas offer £10m a piece for the likes of Mkhitaryan and Elneny, sell them and let them go.

    As for Mustafi, take the hit and sell him at £10m if you have to and resolve not to sign droppings like him again.

    Mavropanos and Macey should fetch £2m each…

    In the summer sell David Luiz and Sokratis for £5m each…

    Thats’ £44m and clearing most of our deadwood… more than enough to acquire a talented and hungry young centre back with a world class pedigree.

    Better to buy 1 person of pedigree rather than 5 average players.

  82. TR7

    Agree on the mentality related issue with AMN as I said he is prone to losing focus at times but AMN is better going forward than Bellerin in the sense AMN can beat a player unlike Bellerin who runs in straight lines without any guile or trick up his sleeve.

  83. Paulinho

    TR7 – Bellerin is better overall though. He might lack that ability to curve a run better he’s more consistent and ballsy in terms off the ball movement, and he just does it with more intensity. That last minute equaliser against Chelsea a couple of years ago, that run and cross for Ozil against Bayern late on. I think he’s in a totally different class, although it only shows over long periods of time because of the consistency aspect.

    Overall though, going forward we need an upgrade because Bellerin might never get back to what he was physically, and we need that combination of power and talent.

  84. Batistuta

    Paulinho

    That’s the thing with AMN and to a degree most of our players, look good at home when we’re in control but away from home, it’s like mentally they’re somewhere else….

    AMN and his bouts of loss of concentration also always comes at critical times in games too, can’t be trusted at all

  85. TR7

    Paulinho

    Yes, Bellerin’s consistency makes him a better player. He is the kind of player who will always give you 6 or 7 out of 10 performance. I do feel AMN can play at a higher level if he is serious about his game.

  86. Nelson

    The best friend for a CB is your CB partner and your corner back. Leeds put manpower to cover Luiz and allowed more room for Holding. His right back should be his primary outlet. Having an immobile PapaSok as RB is not helping, isn’t it? Once Holding is playing with a proper RB, his game will improve.

  87. Jamie

    Maintland-Niles plays with a THC hangover over other week. He needs far more in his locker to compensate for his regular lapses in concentration.

    Mustafi same thing, expect his lapses always result in him going to ground and fouling the player running past him. Shame, because he’s a decent passer of the ball but his overall play is cack and he’s always been a liability at the back.

    Saliba will be under so much pressure at 19 when he joins. We need an experienced CB in the interim, imo. Not Boateng, obv.

  88. Romford Pele

    The concerns around AMN are more than valid.

    At 22 though he’s still coachable. A lot of the young guys need direction and hopefully they get that under Arteta. Things can change with them. it’s the more senior guys i’m less tolerant with. There’s less mileage with them.

    I’ll judge AMN over a longer period of time. For the first three games, him and Torreira have been the biggest beneficiaries of Arteta’s management imo. Concentration is something that can be easily addressed if the player is willing though because I remember Kyle Walker used to have a lot of those braindead/headrush moments at Spurs too.

  89. Romford Pele

    I think the thing that stands out to me is the importance/value of good coaching. You saw with Leeds under Biesla on Monday that the important thing is to get the team being better than the sum of its parts. A good system can always hide flaws and accentuate strengths. Obviously there’ll always be a limit to it and quality will eventually tell.

  90. Paulinho

    Though, as Romford was saying the other day, with the full back playing more in-field in Arteta’s team, AMN is probably more suited than Bellerin, so that might play a part in Guardiola’s decision-making. Arteta is flexible though; he played Sokratis right-back the other day and there’s no chance of him playing that role, so time will tell.

  91. TR7

    Yes, RB plays more infield and Xhaka moves to left back position vacated by Kolasinac when he moves forward. This tactics gives Xhaka more space to operate with so that he can comfortably spray passes around. Less scope for a running the channel like right back such as Bellerin in this system.

  92. Romford Pele

    We’re still learning so much about Arteta so it’s hard to predict. For example, i’m projecting here, but I don’t think he’ll play 4231 long-term. It was interesting the other day he said the other day his priority is to get the fitness levels up and then he’ll start introducing more tactical nuances so he’s probably just managing for now and not changing too much.

    The obvious changes we’ve seen so far though:
    Position of the RB infield to act as another CM during build up.
    LB pushed all the way up as another attacker so Auba joins Laca central
    Xhaka plays in that deep left space next to Luiz to give another option in build up

  93. CG

    Fred

    “””A lot of of our transfer business was back loaded last summer so I’m not buying the whole we don’t have a pot to piss in scenario”””

    Well , you better.
    Front loaded or back loaded ,bills still have to be paid.

    And We ain’t got a dime.
    Not even a lousy cent.

    The FFP lawyers – will be all over our accounts like a rash.

    Chelsea posting record losses
    Everton posting record losses
    Arsenal to follow.

    At least we will be top of that sorry table.

    TheMoney has been spent – mostly on a concoction of one footed and injury prone players.

    No CL for the foreseeable future.
    Exec Boxes permanently Mothballed
    The Clown and His 9 Goons still to be paid.
    Club Doc off to Anfield

    We will need every bit of MA inspirational coaching prowess to get us back on track.

    Grim Reading all round.

    Must Balance Them Books – before we start moving upwards.

  94. Jamie

    Xhaka occupying the space at LB gives me the chills. Kola loses the ball further up the pitch and Zaha will gallop past him at the weekend (if he’s their RW).

    The importance of quick and athletic CMs who have to drop back and hold the left or right side can’t be overstated.

    From what I’ve seen, one of the main reasons Saka has done so well at LB is his recovery speed. Xhaka takes 4 minutes to get up to top speed he’s that immobile.

  95. Romford Pele

    Jamie – definitely a worry. Hopefully he plays on the left! But I think the aim is that we are compact so players aren’t often left isolated as we saw in the initial games. Hopefully we can force Zaha to spend most of the game defending.

  96. Jamie

    Romford –

    Totally. Under Emery, we would’ve played such a defensive and reactionary game (which we’ve been shite at for over a decade) putting so much pressure on the back line and keeper.

    Arteta definitely doesn’t roll that way, thank god. Play to our strengths, be proactive and, like you said, Zaha doesn’t see much of the ball and his threat is nullified.

  97. Emiratesstroller

    Freddy Ljungberg

    Our transfer business in the summer was

    Sales £48.2 Million
    Purchases £137.16 Million
    Deficit £88.97 Million

    What is true is that we agreed an instalment plan specifically for Pepe and
    possibly Saliba. However, the fact is that we have a commitment to pay these
    transfer fees and it impacts on our transfer budget both this season and in
    the future.

  98. CG

    Emirates Stroller

    ‘”””However, the fact is that we have a commitment to pay these
    transfer fees and it impacts on our transfer budget both this season and in
    the future.”””

    Well explained ES.

    Because of last summers recklessly inept spending spree and FFP rules we really are in a pickle without CL revenues for the foreseeable future.

    I know it
    You seem to know it.
    I am afraid most on here do not.

    We will try to educate them.

  99. Ray in LA

    Re: Holding

    Agreed he looked rusty but I thought his defending was fine, it was his distribution that looked quite poor — that will improve will playing time…I’m confident he has a useful role to play

  100. Freddie Ljungberg

    ES

    Swiss Ramble
    @SwissRamble
    ·
    “13 aug. 2019
    So, from a cash payment perspective, #AFC have spent £46m gross and £22.5m net this summer. It will not have gone unnoticed that the gross cash outlay is very much in line with the alleged £45m budget. More importantly, spreading payments allowed the club to buy Pépé.”

    It depends on how it’s calculated. No way did we spend all that money up front on Saliba for example to loan him back for a year.
    We’re still paying off previous transfers and are still receiving payments from clubs having bought our players years back.

    We also increased our sponsor deals by quite a lot (30-40m) after the latest numbers were announced and lowered the wage bill with a similar amount.

    CG

    You still struggle to understand that we haven’t spent 250m in the last 18 months so not sure who you’re going to educate.

  101. TR7

    ‘We also increased our sponsor deals by quite a lot (30-40m) after the latest numbers were announced and lowered the wage bill with a similar amount.’

    Sorry your numbers are all over the place.

  102. CG

    Fred

    “””CG You still struggle to understand that we haven’t spent 250m in the last 18 months so not sure who you’re going to educate.””””

    You are actually correct.

    Now we have sacked The Clown and his merry men and appointed MA.

    We have actually spent more.

    The thing is we have not hardly made a dent into paying any of it off.

    There will be financial carnage this summer- if we dont get CL soccer.

    And we wont.

  103. Freddie Ljungberg

    I’m not sure if the new signings wages are included in that though, would still be 30m + of the wage bill even if it wasn’t.

  104. Marc

    Jamie

    “Xhaka occupying the space at LB gives me the chills. Kola loses the ball further up the pitch and Zaha will gallop past him at the weekend (if he’s their RW).”

    If opposing managers have any sense they’ll soon wise up to this tactic and target Xhaka on the break. First time yellow card, second time penalty and second yellow card. I’ve been impressed with what Arteta has done so far but if he thinks he can utilise Xhaka without it seriously biting us on the arse at some point he has a lot of growing up to do.

  105. Romford Pele

    “If opposing managers have any sense they’ll soon wise up to this tactic and target Xhaka on the break.”

    It’s not that simple.

    While Xhaka himself is a flawed player. if you have a system that covers players’ flaw you’re unlikely to get to expose them.

    We all know Otamendi and Mendy at City are calamities but when City are pressing effectively you’re never gonna be able to expose their weaknesses. United had O’Shea, Brown etc as part of title-winning squads for years. On their own they weren’t great players but in functional set-ups they were serviceable and weaknesses were covered.

    Do you not think Arteta doesn’t know that Xhaka is immobile and slow? Why do you think he’s dropped him so deep in the first place? To not get him covering huge distances while also aiding our ability to build from the back. If the team is compact, with little spacing in between the lines you can get away with a lot.

  106. Emiratesstroller

    Freddy Ljungberg

    I accept the points made by both Swiss Ramble and yourself including the
    increase in sponsorship.

    However, the reality is that the club has commitments to cover the transfer fees even if by instalments. It means that our ongoing budget will be reduced.

  107. Marko

    I see it differently, I think he’s probably thinking that signing in new players is a huge gamble and disruptive.

    Has to be said this sounds very Wenger-esq

  108. Romford Pele

    Marc – don’t shoot me mate, i’m just explaining the logic behind the madness!

    Like you I want Xhaka out and I want him replaced. I’ve said quite a few times i’d be signing Grealish and Soumare for our midfield. I can understand why Arteta likes him (progression in terms of build up) but I think his lack of mobility will be an issue if we strive to be a team competing for trophies. Get rid in the summer imo.

  109. Kaleja

    What most people fail to understand is, don’t expect too much change in this transfer window even I don’t want new player Because it’s better for alteta to insert his phylosophy with less pressure because most of us knows that there is a very little chance to salvage this season. But say if the team can hav

  110. Freddie Ljungberg

    Tr7

    Yes, before the summer. We did a hell of a lot of shifting out of deadwood on high wages this summer. I did say it was after the published account numbers. That is what we have to work with now, this seasons budget.

    The adidas sponsorship also came into effect after the accounting was done so that isn’t reflected there either. Doesn’t mean that money isn’t there.

  111. Romford Pele

    I’m not a numbers guy so i’ll defer to the better people but how does the installment process affect our budgeting on other windows. By all accounts we paid a nominal fee for Saliba upfront as he was spending the season on loan so how much do we pay this summer? The next stage of the Pepe fee is also due. Does this then detract from our summer budget?

  112. Marko

    I really don’t understand why so many on here think AMN is a shit player

    One can only assume that either you’ve barely watched Arsenal play the last two seasons or that great footballing brain of your takes a break every time AMN has a poor game. It’s not made up or plucked from the sky these criticisms of him they are totally warranted. He should have been sold after the Europa League debacle honestly. Bottom line we need a starting RB anyway irrespective of AMN or Bellerin. I’d bin both

  113. TR7

    Romford

    Let’s take Saliba’s example for instance. Say the transfer fee is £40M and we paid £10M upfront. The £10M is registered as an expense in profit and loss statement and reduces our profit and eventually our cash reserve by the same amount. The rest £30M is captured as accounts payable in the balance sheet and doesn’t impact our cash reserve for that year. Next year if we pay £10M as the 2nd installment, the profit and cash reserve will again reduce by £10M and our total payable will reduce to £20M meaning we have paid £20M out of £40M and £20M is still to be paid. All in all if you defer payments, your cash reserve reduces only by the amount you have paid as installment in that year, not by the entire transfer fee leaving you with more cash in the reserve.

  114. Marko

    Again Arsenal fans talking about the same things AMN this and Xhaka that. No such thing as last chance saloon at Arsenal all past transgressions are forgiven and we go again. I predict the future will be the same as the past for Mikel if he continues with certain types. Mediocrity resumes at Arsenal. The hope is that he’d be different but talking up Ozil and seemingly refusing to sell a problem player these past few years when we have the chance to is a worrying sign.

  115. Graham62

    CG

    Your incessant ramblings on Arsenal’s financial dealings is very very boring.

    Look at it this way, if Arteta manages to turn things around, we will be financially better off. Logical, right?

    Remember, we were already well over a £100m in the red when Emery took over. The Sanchez and Ozil contractual debacles come to mind, not to mention the many hundreds of millions dished out to undeserving players and over the years.

    The one common factor in all of this was what or, should I say, who?

    Go on, have a guess.

  116. Marko

    Sky are all over the place btw. We’re not bringing in anyone we’ve no money but they mention us as a team interested in signing Soumare and quote 50 million. They’re very unreliable until something is at a late stage and then they try to break it like a sort of exclusive.

  117. Aussie Gooner

    “Wilfried Zaha’s new agent Pini Zahavi is trying to broker a deal with Spurs…”

    Mind you his new agent has been trying to flog him to Bayern as well!

  118. TR7

    Marko

    As I said earlier the problem with AMN is not a lack of talent as is the case with Mustafi, Sokratis, Kola,Nelson etc. The only major flaw in his game is lack of focus and application at times, something which can be improved.