Arsenal shedding centre backs

by .

Mikel Arteta has an entire week with his players, the longest gap of time between games since he joined the club. That means more recovery time for the players, more time to spend talking through ideas, and plenty of practice for whatever the plan is against Chris Wilders excellent Sheffield United outfit this weekend.

One of the main challenges the coaching staff will be dealing with is the loss of Auba, our most lethal player. Overall, one of the issues we’ve had for a while is the lack of shared responsibilities when it comes to goal-scoring duties. This was Arteta.

“They now have to make a step forward now he is not able to contribute to the team with goals.

“Someone else has to do it and I want to see that reaction too.”

My hope is that as we move closer to the vision of the new regime, goals will start to be more evenly distributed.

There are a few players I’d love to see step up to the plate, one of them is Gabriel Martinelli. He has a monstrous opportunity ahead of him. He’s Arsenal’s Gabriel Jesus, so I’m intrigued to see what the manager does to the structure of the team to unleash him. My guess is he’ll slip into the left of the front three and just replace Auba. He’s more of a natural presser though, so maybe the temptation might be to have him lead through the middle.

Another player who should start offering up more goals is Nicolas Pepe. We’ve seen flashes of what he’s capable of, but he really needs to double down and focus on more consistent delivery. He can be a bit ponderous at times. His casual nature can come across like he’s not bothered, I’m hoping a bit more urgency in his game and the added responsibility over the next 3 games will see him rise to the occasion.

When it comes to our midfield, it’s hard to see where the goals will come from. Torreira finds good positions sometimes, but when he’s too far forward he struggles to make up ground, he’s thrived playing in a smaller area of the pitch. Same can be said of Xhaka, though it has been noted that he’s powered through on the overlap twice in two games. Matteo and Ceballos both have limited productivity, and Ozil has rarely shown much of a gift for goal scoring.

It seems I have talked myself out of this, let’s just hope the front three can offer something otherwise we’re in trouble.

In defence, there appears to be movement. Mavrapanos has been sent out on loan. Sven Mislintat came back in for the player, but Nurnberg appears to have won the race for the Greek defender. Everyone loved him when he joined, but he’s been well off the pace since. Hopefully, a stint in Germany can help with his fitness and confidence.

The player we’re all desperate to see the back of is Mustafi. Sport is a brutal job, but he’s quite simply not good enough and no amount of coaching is going to save a player that stopped being hungry. He’s certainly a lesson in what £90k a week contract can do to a persons appetite for success. Galatasaray, regularly a saving grace for persona non grata in the Premier League, are rumoured to be interested in reinvigorating his career. Good luck to them.

The worry I have with exiting these defenders is we’re left very short through the middle. We’ll be relying on two 30+ centre backs, and the fitness of Rob Holding. Feels very, very risky… which is why I suspect there will be some sort of cover on loan. I just hope it’s not Jerome Boateng, who is hilariously being courted by Ivan Gazidis.

ESPN ran some analysis on bad reffing this season, it had Arsenal down 9 points.


The reffing was pretty bad at the Palace game and it was atrocious at the Chelsea game. I don’t understand how they run the associations. What are they looking at? Who is bringing them patterns of bad behaviour that go on? Like, how can this tactical fouling thing still be an issue? Shouldn’t the refs make a statement to clubs and say that they’ll be dropping red cards as a deterrent. If we’re using VAR, can’t someone update a live iWatch table that tells refs how many tactical fouls a player or a team have dropped in a game? These problems we have in the game seem fairly simple to solve, but when the problem is given to Mike Riley, he comes up with the most bizarre ways of fixing them.

I still maintain the refs should be accountable to press. I also think we should hear them justify decisions. It works in the NFL, it brings the fans into the decisions.

Right, that’s the blog done, jump on board for the latest podcast with Alex who occasionally blogs on here. I bought a new mic, the sound is pretty damn crisp. Let me know what you think in the comments!




439 Responses to “Arsenal shedding centre backs”

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  1. MidwestGun

    Wow… I see Pierre is still pimping Ozil hard… It’s like those pimps when you go over the border in Mexico pimping the tired haggard rough looking over- aged chica’s standing on the balcony as anything you would want to spend your money on. Nevermind that giant cold sore on her lip. Sure she is disinterested, worn out, and barely able to muster anything resembling a good time.. but just think of the talent and experience if you give her enough chances. She love you long time, gringo.

  2. Paulinho

    “It’s like those pimps when you go over the border in Mexico pimping the tired haggard rough looking over- aged chica’s standing on the balcony as anything you would want to spend your money on. Nevermind that giant cold sore on her lip. Sure she is disinterested, worn out, and barely able to muster anything resembling a good time.. but just think of the talent and experience if you give her enough chances. She love you long time, gringo.”

    Sounds like a deleted scene from Dallas Buyers Club.

  3. CG

    Cha Cha

    “”””Because it is. We lost goals from midfield through Ramsey (though how many given he’s not fit this season?), but bettered ourselves in Pepe, Martinelli, and Tierney. “”””

    And this from one of Le Grove’s finest.

    Even Cha Cha* is loosing the plot.

    We have not played well ,once since he left.

    He goes- We are midtable. And we will remain there.

    And If you think Tierney, Pepe and Martinelli are going to take us any higher- I have news for you.

    They wont. They are dross in comparison.

    Aaron Ramsey is Arsenal highest
    goalscoring central midfielder of all time.

    Players like him-dont go on trees
    Thats why he is at Juventus.
    And we are stinking out every ground we play at.

    * huge admirer of yours but you have had an indifferent start to 2020, if I am being truthful.

  4. MidwestGun

    Sounds like a deleted scene from Dallas Buyers Club.
    Good movie that.. Matt Mcconaugey has never recovered from it though… all that weight he lost messed him up. Looks like a war prison camp survivor now after they were able to eat food again.

  5. Paulinho

    “What we saying regarding the Alex Lacazette- Tommy Lemar swap reportedly proposed by Atlético Madrid?”

    Risky at this stage of the season, although Laca frustrates me immensely so yep.

  6. azed

    “What we saying regarding the Alex Lacazette- Tommy Lemar swap reportedly proposed by Atlético Madrid?”

    Terrible proposal. Between Martinelli, Saka and Nelson, we should be able to find someone for the left wing. Lacazette should only be leaving for cash or an athletic B2B midfielder.

  7. MidwestGun

    I agree with you though Paulinho.. we miss the attributes Ramsey brought to the team. Not necessarily the player as he was too injured.
    But we have no midfielders who can beat their man on the dribble or who can realize when to make runs into the box and finish with confidence. Lampard was aces at that too. Always thought Ramsey must have emulated his play somewhat. At this point I would just take a midfielder who can tackle or is fast enough to intercept the ball, though. Imo, Willock is the only one close to that and he is raw and not consistent.

    Lacazette for me got messed up by Emery, he is an emotional player and is better when he doesn’t over think it.Emery’s teams were devoid of anything resembling emotion. So he might still be salvageable. Although we don’t really have time for him to get it sorted if we are going to draw every match.

  8. Paulinho

    Midwest – Laca has the ideas and intelligence but gets let down by his lack of physical power, so he can’t execute enough. He also has this really annoying habit of not abbreviating or improvising his finish when he has little time; he continues to go through the prolonged pull back, and insists on perfect strikes. Great when he has time to connect but all to often his shots get blocked or he balloons them over the bar.

    Yeah, we have no midfielders that can even disturb the shape of the opposition or attract their attention to give space to others, let alone get in their box and score themselves.

  9. Daniel Altos

    Please no to Lemar…how on earth did we bid 90m for this guy?Just take the cash and sell Lacazette…no need for the French Ryan Fraser

  10. Ishola70


    “Yeah, we have no midfielders that can even disturb the shape of the opposition or attract their attention to give space to others, let alone get in their box and score themselves.”

    Yeah but possession Paulinho. Possession.

    This is what some are looking for Arteta to bring and expect him to deliver.

    Dominate games by controlled constant possession.


  11. MidwestGun

    For me it really isn’t about player poverty because for the most part we have a good squad with some attacking talent that other teams would kill for. But its the 3 or 4 senior players who have proven that they have huge glaring holes in their abilities and to play them we have to over compensate for them. They also happen to be the higher paid players keeping us from signing new players and they also are the same players that have tanked 4 managers now if Arteta can’t get it sorted over this season and next. . Which I think he can. Has shown the ability to make marginal gains in performance already.. but to make those major changes and get us competing again at the top.. for me, Ozil, Xhaka, Mustafi and Miki.. have to go. and of course we would need to sign replacements.

    But just those 4 changes would make me feel better about going forward.. Because I think we might have solved the manager portion of the equation.

  12. Daniel Altos

    I hear laca has been bulking up and focusing more on hold up play…maybe that’s why this season his focus is so much on making needless fouls in the name of pressing and it has cost him his finishing.I agree with Midwest,he has this annoying habit of takingultiole touches before shooting which takes the chance away… surprised especially considering that he actually has a good shot in him

  13. DaleDaGooner

    Receding HairlineJanuary 13, 2020 17:06:48
    “Nothing unfair about his dismissal..”Nothing unfair about Conte’s either, he was begging to be sacked for months before they sacked him.

    DSude! Conte won the league for Chelsea, WTF has Emery won for Arsenal?

  14. Paulinho

    “For me it really isn’t about player poverty because for the most part we have a good squad with some attacking talent that other teams would kill for”

    A couple of quality midfielders/wide forwards would make a huge difference. We have players that can be very dangerous in space, but they struggle creating it for themselves, so they need someone in and around them that can cause mischief and leave them free grass to move into. We only look menacing at the moment when the opposition are having an early game snooze and sit deep enough to let us move into their final third without doing much.

    Getting those midfielders is the big problem.

  15. CG

    With PEA and Laca suspended for the next fixture… and only Martinelli ( not a center forward in my book)

    Only modern Arsenal would contemplate loaning out our goalscoring prodigy Eddie to another PREM club.

    You cant actually make this stuff up.

    (King Fergie- always had his goalscorers on the bench at first then ultimately the pitch late on if needed)

    He loved his 4 strikers!
    We have 2!

    Why not actually incorporate ESR and Eddie into our first team?

  16. Pierre

    “Wow… I see Pierre is still pimping Ozil hard”

    Yeah..l said he was nothing special against united and can play a lot better whilst everyone was eulogising over him.

    I said Phillip’s had Ozil in his pocket v Leeds.

    After the palace game , I said Ozil shouldn’t be in the team if they cant get the ball to him.

  17. Dream10

    Lacazette bulking up? If we wanted a back to goal striker for hold up play, should have just signed Haller, Moussa Dembélé or bring back Giroud.

  18. MidwestGun

    Well.. I just don’t buy the theory that Ozil was bad because LT couldn’t get him the ball. Ozil is a one trick pony anymore to be used against teams who don’t pressure the ball. Which is fine if you have World Class players at every position like Real Madrid or the German National team. I do think Arteta has tried to marginalize his defensive liabilities and it has worked somewhat but if defensive stability is the priority then what’s the point really of playing him? Plus if a give you shit about it.. There is 70% chance he will tear it up next match.. 😀

  19. Paulinho

    Pierre – I like him as well. He’s got a something, but needs to get time to get into a rhythm. I think him and Martinelli could work in a two.

  20. DaleDaGooner

    Putting Cazorla as an example of some sort of defensive protection is beyond dumb. Ramsey was played right midfield specifically to add defensive steel to that lightweight duo.

    Laughable and agenda driven….Ramsey and defensive steel….LMAO

  21. CG

    Midwest Gun

    “”””I don’t believe Lacazette is suspended. But don’t let that stop your rant.”””

    Thats good news – that he ain’t suspended.
    Told otherwise. Apologies for the rant.

    Eddie and Laca up front together against their back 3 – we might have stumbled across a good combo.
    Could dovetail nicely those two.

    But we wont know if he will keep loaning him out.

    If Arteta wants to play his high press soccer – the more young players he has at his disposal surely the better?

    To let ESR and Eddie out on loan smacks of continued incompetence at the club.

  22. Dream10

    Paulinho & Pierre

    Player like Nketiah and Martinelli can put the ball in the net. Not sure they have capacity for combination play. If they were wide players in an old 442, they would be more Ljungberg than Pires. Need much more creativity in the side. Dribblers particularly

  23. Paulinho

    “Laughable and agenda driven….Ramsey and defensive steel….LMAO”

    Ramsey’s stats against United at home last season:

    8 tackles (more than any other player & the second most by an #afc player in a game this season; only Lucas Torreira made more against Chelsea with 9 tackles)

    12 duels won (more than any other player)

    12.7km covered (most in the match)

    Supposed the stats had an agenda.

  24. CG


    “”””CG Nketiah will prove a lot of people wrong on Le Grove.His time will come”””

    I agree

    Only 2 youngsters at AFC that cut the mustard for me.

    AMN and Eddie.
    The rest- I ain’t so sure, they are as good as the hype they get.

    But still time for them- if we actually played them more.

    Loaning out Eddie ONCE was gross stupidity
    To loan him out TWICE is gross incompetence.

    but I guess our Teck Deck has got to be seen to be doing something for his exorbitant salary.

  25. DaleDaGooner

    Paulinho, maybe he can do his job as a CM, who should be able to put in a shift in dueling, distance covered, and tackles, but Steel is more reserved for players who have an aggressive style to their play and can defend properly and consistently, Ramsey was never that type, his indiscipline in CM cost us a lot of games in case you didn’t realize.

    He was shunted out wide to accommodate his adventurous runs into the opponents box. I recall he moaned about being put out wide too

  26. Pedro

    Eddie absolutely needed to be loaned out. He was well off the pace. Getting time under Bielsa will have done him a world of good.

  27. DaleDaGooner

    And Cazorla worked well with Coq for a good number of runs until Caz got hurt….best defense they say is an offense, and Caz could hold the ball well in the middle without giving it away and dribbles far better than Ramsey in the middle of the park. His ball retention helped us tremendously, even Ramsey benefited from it.

  28. Paulinho

    “Ramsey was never that type, his indiscipline in CM cost us a lot of games in case you didn’t realize.”

    Bullshit myth. Win rate always higher with him in the team than without him.

    Anyway, defensive ability is even less important out wide, even when put there partly to add steel. Simply by being virtue of being a central player you add to the team defensively, when you consider lightweight players like Walcott often played there for us.. Same when Liverpool used to play Carragher and Markus Babbel at full back. They were central players and naturally moved inside to add backbone and support to the two centre backs.

  29. Paulinho

    “Caz could hold the ball well in the middle without giving it away and dribbles far better than Ramsey in the middle of the park. ”

    Him and Coquelin got destroyed by Bentaleb and Mason at Spurs in 2016. Go easy on the glorification of that partnership.

  30. CG


    “””Eddie absolutely needed to be loaned out.'”””

    Disagree, especially as he been sitting on the bench with that horror Bamford ahead of him most of the season.

    He should have been playing in the Loosers on a Thursday and the Liverpool league cup fixture.

    We might have actually beaten Liverpool in the Quarter Final.

    A semi to look forward too.

    Soccer more so than ever with FFP at stake is all about the here and now.

    We need him.
    Leeds can get solve their own goalscoring problems.

  31. Guns of SF

    Laca is a different striker to Auba so that is a good thing. He is more a street fighter in the box type. How many times we seen him hold off one or 2 defenders to score.

    Auba not so much.

    What we do need is better attacking mids.

    We are so one dimensional that it makes Aubas goals even more remarkable – teams knowing that they only really have to mark him mostly

  32. DaleDaGooner

    Him and Coquelin got destroyed by Bentaleb and Mason at Spurs in 2016. Go easy on the glorification of that partnership.

    LOL, So we can’t dig up times Ramsey was destroyed? Or is he superhuman in that respect? Was he not part of the 8-2 destruction? We can dig up anything about anyone Paulie, the Coq and Santi axis was very balanced, you can admit it or ignore it. The win percentage myth is nuts! Our win percentage with Cesc was great too you know.

  33. Chris

    I don’t think many foresaw Nketiah playing so few minutes for Leeds when the loan deal was agreed, especially as Leeds apparently made a big deal about wanting him and specifying game time. The idea was a good one, that being Nketiah getting lots of games under Bielsa in a thriving attack in a physical division. For whatever reason, it hasn’t turned out like that. The scenario I mention previous would undoubtedly have been more beneficial to Nketiah than a few games here and there in cup competitions for Arsenal.

    If another team wants him on loan and says they will play him then I would say it is worth doing, unfortunately as seen by his Leeds stint there are no guarantees of this.

  34. Ishola70

    Bruno Alves still turning out in Serie A at 38 years old.

    Just made an agricultural foul for Parma in their match against Lecce. He looked all of 38 and more in that certain play.

  35. Paulinho

    Dale – Scoreline is irrelevant, if that mattered I would bring up the 6-0 defeat away at Chelsea where Cazorla was again dreadful. It was the manner: Mason and Bentaleb pressed them, harried them, and Cazorla was a panicky mess, and got bypassed defensively time and time again.

  36. DaleDaGooner

    How many times did Ramsey go looking for a goal up front and we were exposed badly? He was ok, but lets pipe down about the Ramsey glorification, the midfielders i missed the most, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri…this current squad is crying out for such midfielders with possible Torreira and a Doucoure sitting deep….we don’t have forward passing mid, CM tht can consistently find those gaps inbetween defenders, passing itno gaps for the likes of Walcott etc to run behind a defender. Ramsey was part of Wengers final failure of reaching CL, let’s not pretend.

  37. Paulinho

    “How many times did Ramsey go looking for a goal up front and we were exposed badly?”

    Go ahead then, should be numerous examples if it was as commonplace as presented.

  38. Ishola70

    Guns of SF
    “what is an agricultural foul”

    Not pleasing on the eye.

    He just flung himself in front of the Lecce player because he was in danger of being shown up for pace.

    Threw himself into the advancing Lecce player.

  39. Marko

    I would consider Lemar as part of a potential deal for Lacazette because he can play in a position where we currently have a player playing out of position in. But ideally we should try to do a straight swap for Partey.

  40. DaleDaGooner

    Paulinho, i get it, you like Ramsey, but a lot would agree he’s not sorely missed in our current situation.

  41. Paulinho

    “but a lot would agree he’s not sorely missed in our current situation.”

    You’ve convinced me. I take it all back.

  42. DaleDaGooner

    I’ve heard nothing but good things about Cazorla post Arsenal, despite his injuries and age. I am yet to be wow’ed by Ramsey’s Juventus exploits. He’ll soon be shipped back on loan.

  43. Champagne charlie

    Was Cazorla another unable to evade a press? His close control and ability to wriggle through the lines was his trademark but now there’s talk of a game he was getting hassled as some apparent evidence of being shite.

    The entire ‘ability to evade a press’ thing is wildly overblown by folk on here as I see it, good pressing will fuck anyone.

  44. DaleDaGooner

    I’d admit though, the Ramsey being used out wide as a “steely” support for Bakary made me chuckle out loud.

  45. Champagne charlie


    Well Banford is addressing you on there with the following 😂

    “Dear Paulinho of @legrove:
    Other PL teams have goal-scoring midfielders, e.g., DeBruyne, Maddison, Mount, Fleck, Neves. Also, you definitely need to re-think your assessment of Rashford now. Watch his play over the past 5-6 weeks.”

  46. Pierre

    ““How many times did Ramsey go looking for a goal up front and we were exposed badly?”

    I counted at least 2,721 but I may be wrong.

  47. Paulinho

    Cazorla was very good against a medium press. So for example, when United came to us and got smashed, Van Gaal tasked Schweinsteiger with tracking him, which wasnt his game, and Cazorla dealt with it easily and played great from deep.

    In away games, and against an intense press, he was very hit and miss. City away was probably had his best game but it took an incredible physical effort, and was simply not sustainable for him, and he went on struggle more often than not when teams pressed him in numbers (Chelsea, Tottenham, Munich away).

  48. Marko

    Him and Coquelin got destroyed by Bentaleb and Mason at Spurs in 2016. Go easy on the glorification of that partnership.

    Scathing stuff really.

  49. salparadisenyc

    Imagine following Bamford on the twitter, CC you’re far too intelligent to be indulging in such masochistic behavior.

  50. Paulinho

    Charlie – FFS, you’re searching out on social media for your Bamford fix. Pedro let him back mate, it’s like speaking to a loved one behind a screen in a high security prison.

    Bamford – Yeah, I agree other teams have goal-scoring midfielders .

    I still don’t rate Rashford, and I hope United keep him there as long as possible, because they won’t challenge with forwards that only light up when presented with space and do nothing against compact teams that defend resolutely from deep. Where was Rashford against us? Disappeared as per when met with resistance. 90% goals penalties and counter attack goals. Martial is the key man, and if he’s out they are screwed because Rashford has go back to being a number nine.

    United are going through the same cycle of beating teams that leave themselves open and then flop against teams that don’t give them space.

  51. DaleDaGooner

    If Bamford is let back in via the back door, who’ll be the first to abuse him? LOL, i’d like to take the first shot…for no reason too…i kid, i kid!

  52. The backpass

    Mario Celso Petraglia, President of Athletico Paranaense speaking to Portuguese outlet O Jogo on Bruno Guimarães: “Arsenal are interested, but will only make an offer towards the end of the season.” [@Sport_Witness]

    Atletico madras and benfica up on his tails.. €20 million or there about would do. We should better not screw this up.

  53. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Gonna make a bold statement here.

    The 3 games with out Auba we will score an average of 3 goals each game…
    Someone will come to the fore front.

  54. Pierre

    “Where was Rashford against us?”

    They couldn’t get the ball to him due to our 2 centre midfielders closing down the space between the lines .

  55. Paulinho

    Pierre – Yep, and he doesn’t make his presence felt in a crowded box to compensate when he doesn’t have space to run into. Then his whole game collapses and he shanks free kicks etc.

  56. MidwestGun

    Awwww Bamford misses us… Brings a tear… almost. At least he said dear Paulinho and not Dear Dipshit. although I do miss a good dipshit.. reference not gonna lie.

  57. Paulinho

    Midwest – Missed that first time. To be fair, I’m probably one of the few that has time for Bamford, so I would like to think I would be spared the dipshit treatment. It’s quite comforting as well that Charlie is acting as medium, bit like Whoopi Goldberg from Ghost.

  58. Paulinho

    Jamie – I was hoping no one would get the reference with that question in mind, but there are worse people to be than The Swayze to be honest.

  59. MidwestGun

    Yep.. Im aware..he likes your opinions Bamford likes to take sides. I”ve always found life falls somewhere in the middle of two extremes usually.

    I’m just sayin I like when he calls someone a dipshit.. reminds me of home.. That’s about as American as it gets. 😀

  60. Champagne charlie

    Yea there’s no following of Banford going on, he appeared under the LeGrove hashtag and I found his bizarre involvement in a debate being had on here quite funny given he was commenting via twitter.

  61. Champagne charlie

    “The reference was great. CC as Whoopi! Even he must think that was funny.“

    I’ve a similar wardrobe, but that aside I don’t get the comparison…

  62. Dissenter

    Pochettino famously said he wouldn’t consider managing Barcelona because he once managed Espanyol.
    I guess being out work can help to reset life’s priorities.

  63. Freddie Ljungberg

    Oh! Stop kicking Bamford when he’s down.

    Can he be obnoxious, sure, dogmatic, yes. Bit of a dick sometimes, yep.
    Still far less so than some others roaming free on the le grove pastures.

    He just needs to stop with the Man u love in, they’re in a similar situation to us squad wise just with far more athleticism. They’re looking like they’re trying to remedy some of that this window though while we’re busy applying for a permit for Xhakas zimmer frame.

  64. Big Dave

    Paulinho Bamford posts under J.M. Bapple on Twitter. He uses the same name when posting about his man crush, Señor Gud Ebening on Arseblog.

    As I said earlier, he was trying to reply on Arseblog to Bill following a bad stomping by Bill here.

    Bamford has kicked his wounds, put a new nappy on and started bawling somewhere else.

    I for one don’t want him back.

  65. China1

    Auba’s challenge was a red card all day. Plenty of shit refereeing out there but that decision was bang on.

    The only issue with the reffing on that decision was it took them 3 mins to decide something that should’ve been easy to identify in 10-15 seconds

  66. China1

    Any methodology that says we should have x or y number of points with better refs can’t be taken seriously

    Let’s imagine there’s a bad decision in our next game which results in someone being sent off wrongly and we later go on to concede a goal and lose – does that mean we wouldn’t have conceded a goal if the player hadn’t been sent off? It would be less likely but hardly confirmed as certain.

  67. Nelson

    Most of the time, Auba’s challenge’s would have seen Auba’s foot stepping on the opponent’s foot. It happened very often. That would be at most a yellow. This time, it was unlucky that Auba’s foot stepped on the side of the opponent’s foot, thereby causing the opponent to twist his angle.

  68. Aussie Gooner

    As you say Marko, Barcelona don’t mess about. The really surprising thing is the replacement they chose and it’s not Poch!

    “Barcelona have sacked manager Ernesto Valverde despite the club sitting top of La Liga at the halfway point of the season, with Quique Setien announced as his successor”.

    And Xavi turned the job down!

  69. Tony

    We can hope!

    What do African gooners think of Dangote?

    ‘I’m buying Arsenal when I finish these projects’: Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote – who is worth £8.5BILLION- promises to oust loathed owner Stan Kroenke and take over his beloved Gunners in 2021

    The richest man in Africa has revealed his plan to buy Arsenal in 2021
    Billionaire Aliko Dangote is a Gunners fan and has long planned a takeover

    He wants to finish constructing one of the world’s largest oil refineries first

    Tension between fans and current owner Stan Kroenke has been ratcheting up

    Arsenal fans are tired of their absentee owner and would welcome a takeover”

  70. Aussie Gooner


    You don’t have to be African to welcome a challenge to the Krankies! At least Dangote knows all about Arsenal unlike Stan. At this moment in time I would welcome him with open arms. He is a fan- of the sport and of Arsenal and has a shit load of money to boot which he appears ready to spend! What is there not to like about him? And I really don’t want to hear the negative racist views on Nigerians and scams etc. We already have our own in house scammer – Stan!

  71. China1

    Re Thomas Lemar, It’s a risk because he’s done poorly at Athletico, but with laca doing this poorly, his age, relative value and contract situation, you wonder if a direct swap laca for Lemar could be a good gamble for us

    We could then end this auba wide and laca up front experiment which has been a failure on laca’s part and make room for Lemar with a better balance to the team

    It’s defintely a risk but my dear is if we don’t push laca out the door soon his value is only going to go down and we aren’t seeing serious benefits from him being on the pitch. I’d do it if Athletico can accept it but that’s just me

  72. China1

    I’d be very open to regime change at arsenal. I don’t know much about this guy so dunno if he’s the right one, but subject to knowing more about him I’d be very glad to hear of his interest

    One thing I’d say is take his words on his plans for years down the line with a pinch of salt. In business things can change overnight. Market fluctuations, for example to oil, could overnight wipe a chunk of his net worth off the map. Suddenly buying a football club could be seen as a luxury he might not want to indulge in.

    Believe it when an offer is made and not before

  73. Leftfootcurler

    I doubt Pepe will increase his goal scoring output immediately.

    He has to learn how to make blind side runs in behind.
    Also to take advantage of those runs,someone has to be able to hold up the ball up and lay off to likes of ozil etc.
    Laca can link the play well but he can’t hold up the ball.
    I wonder if ESR has gone on loan.
    If not,I would play him instead of ozil.

    Make blind side runs in behind,or go wide and cross,allowing Pepe to come inside.
    The gap he leaves in midfield can be covered by AMN who plays as an inverted full back.
    Long term:
    Arsenal should buy Raul Jimenez from Wolves. Much superior version of Laca.

    And ideally,I would bring in likes of Sancho,Zaha,Ousmane Dembele,Sane type players wide,but I don’t think we have the money,so just get Mkhi back from loan.
    He can combine or play instead of ozil and offer those runs in behind.
    We need that counter attacking threat.
    When opponent starts pressing,we can’t keep the ball anymore but we defend well in a 442 block.
    But we have no counter attacking threat.
    To increase the counter attacking threat,we need a player who can hold up the ball in final 3rd and link up with likes of ozil,Auba.

    And an RW who can hold width,be good 1v1 and also make good runs into the box.
    We are thin at CB. Need to buy someone. I would get a leader even if he maybe technically deficient.
    Tomkins,Lascelles,Tarkowski,Dunk type players.
    They will help ensure that the team is organised.
    These 3 things are needed ASAP.
    Then we can have a very good chance to win Europa and get into CL.
    We need that CL money.

  74. Tony

    Aussie Gooner
    I’m aware of Dangote’s love of the club; there was much written about him last year.

    Not interested in scams and the like but wouldn’t want a guy owning our club who has/is supporting human atrocities’ groups/militia.

    That was the meaning behind my question to African gooners.

    No-one make that kind of fortune without a dark side to their dealings.

  75. China1

    Lol left foot cutler that’s one hell of a drop

    You want a sane/Dembele/sancho winger but would accept mikki due to lack of funds is like saying you’d like a Ferrari but are happy with a 2003 vauxhall astra due to lack of funds! Even on a budget we can surely do much better than mikki

  76. Tony

    Losing Auba could actually be a good thing with Arteta being forced to try new Attacking/striker/AM combinations.

    Certainly gives Arteta data for a life without Auba perhaps from next summer.

    The next 5 months will probably be the toughest baptism by fire Arteta is likely to encounter through his managerial career.

    Nothing like getting experience on the job whether novice or otherwise.

    Somehow I don’t see Arteta crash and burning. through the malaise that is Arsenal right now.

  77. The backpass

    No to tarkowski.. He is a mini Mustafi. Burnley fans always complain about him that he makes too much mistakes.. No thanks. Ben mee is much better, but I dont wish for us to buy him.

  78. Leedsgunner

    If Atletico Madrid want to swap anyone with us we should ask for Thomas Partey plus cash. According to transfermarkt Laca is worth €70m, and Partey is worth €50m. So a player swap plus €20m seems fair to me.

    No more taking other club’s cast offs!

  79. The backpass

    Not interested in scams and the like but wouldn’t want a guy owning our club who has/is supporting human atrocities’ groups/militia.

    Dangote isn’t someone like that, obviously, you don’t become a billionaire by not ruffing a few feathers,( most dont know what goes on behind close doors). I actually like and respect him, Virtually every nigerian wants to be a “Dangote”.

  80. Aussie Gooner


    I think that is true of many ‘rich’ people ie employing the best tax accounts to avoid paying their ‘fair share’ of tax, off shore investments in very questionable regimes, financial support for political parties to promote their interests, lobbying politicians to circumvent legislation etc etc.

    I have read many comments from Nigerians who in general appear to approve of Dangote, suggesting that he is a fair minded, socially aware, legitimate business man etc. I have yet to hear of any defamatory remarks about him (except from jealous Spuds fans!).

    But this is all pure speculation, an offer may never materialise and even if it did the Krankies might not sell – it’s their prerogative after all.

  81. Tony

    Aussi Gooner/The Backpass
    With you on all points you mentioned.

    Never wanted the Kroenkes purely because they have no interest in football and are more about the corporate sports’ investments than results on the fields of play.

    At the risk of being paradoxical Ursmanov was my choice back then skeletons, warts and all.

    Aussi Gooner
    What are your thoughts on the bush fires in terms of when they will be put out?

    My daughter is due to go to university in Melbourne this June, which is being affected by smoke air pollution now.

    Terrible thing for Australians and the wildlife.

  82. Sid

    I heard the australuan fires are karmas way of chasing the settlers back to the coast, for what they done to the aborigines

  83. Pierre

    So we are 9 points worse off due to dodgy ref decisions.
    This would put us above Tottenham, United and level on points with Chelsea.

    Whether one believes these figures or how they arrive at them is open for discussion.

    The only thing that is constant is that when these different stats are published, Arsenal are always ,and I mean always the victim of poor decisions and the stats prove this .

    Whether it’s
    Penalties for.
    Penalties against.
    Cards per foul .
    Red cards.

    Arsenal always come out negative .

    Is it just a coincidence, maybe or maybe not but it would be nice just for once for Arsenal to have gained points from ref decisions over a season.

    When Leicester won the league ,there was an article stating that Arsenal were robbed of the title due to incorrect decisions.

    The game at the weekend was a perfect case in point.
    Arsenal were strolling to a victory until the ref decided to allow Ayew to kick the shit out of any Arsenal player , he committed 7 bad fouls and was not carded.
    AMN was carded for his first innocuous challenge.

    It was reported that this is the most fouls committed by one player without being carded.

    Of course, once the palace players recognised that the ref was lenient, that gives them the green light to intimidate and also to drop to the floor whenever touched, and the ref would always duly oblige by giving them the decision.

    All one wants is to watch a fair game of football, is that too much to ask ?

  84. Dark Hei


    Fair points.

    Guys in the background who want to manipulate results will always try to sway opinion that “everything evens out”.

    Of course, it mathematically never evens out.

    Take a look at the VAR. It seems like authorities are trying to fail at the project by implementing the dumbest way to use it. Probably so that they can do away with it altogether.

  85. Ishola70

    Dark Hei

    When did this world wide conspiracy start against Arsenal FC?

    Has there always been this conspiracy against Arsenal since it’s inception in 1886?

    Or has this world wide conspiracy against Arsenal been more to the fore when a certain manager was at the helm?

    I think you know the answer.

    People will mimick their leaders.