Bloated squad huge priority going into deadline day

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Today, we go to war for 3 points that’ll keep us #Top4 over the international break. Before the season started, I wrote that 9 points would be absolutely ideal from this session of games, and I still believe that. The post-break games are pretty grim, we have City, Leicester, United, and Villa in the league, as well as 3 Europa League games. Going into those games with momentum and positivity is absolutely vital.

We need a performance from the squad today. We’ve been inconsistent this season. Fulham was great, but then we realised they were shite. We didn’t show up against West Ham and scraped a win. Then we were soundly beaten by Liverpool. Our xG is looking a bit Emery like at the moment. 3 games is not a big sample, but we need to be correcting that before it corrects our points tally.

The main problem we’re having is chance creation. We’re fairly comfortable defending these days. We’re solid and tough to break down. Going forward is a different issue. There’s no clean connection from midfield to attack and our offensive playbook routines are getting a little predictable. The thing I worry about is it doesn’t look like we’re trying to solve it, it seems we’re banking on low chance high conversion approach. That’s rarely sustainable.

Sheffield United will be an interesting side to come up against. They’ve been abject so far this season, but we know they are a force on their day. They’ll not play a deep block, but they will aggressively counter us. It’ll be a game that will require creativity, they can defend really well and they will not let up with the pressure.

Our transfer business, on the face of it, looks underwhelming in the extreme. We’ve signed a lesser second keeper, Willian looks good but he’s certainly not the force to unlock our forward play, and Gabriel is 6 months away from being the man.

We basically have the same problem from last year carried over. That can’t be an excuse. We need to find ways of creating more good opportunities in attack, because it’ll be games like this that undo us this season.

If we don’t bring in suitable solves, the fans will look to Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil. It’s obvious. Especially as both are training with the first team. I hope that’s not the cloud of PR noise that a shoddy window brings, but you know it will be. From what I’ve been told, the big issue for Arsenal is that the squad is too bloated. Our wage bill hasn’t really been attacked this summer and we’ve done a very poor job moving on players. As I said yesterday, I don’t think anyone thought we’d struggle to move on players like MG and Lacazette, but here we are.

That is still no excuse for not having an 8 or a 6 at this stage of the summer.

I understand Arteta just wants Champions League level players for the now, but as I’ve whined about for the last 5 years, sometimes you need to build out talent and take a little longer to get back to the top. If our shopping list is Aouar, Jorginho, and Partey… or bust. Then that starts to look like negligence. We finished 8th, improving on our squad is not a precise science or balancing act like it would be a Liverpool or Bayern. We should be able to find an 8 for less than £40m that can do a job. We should be able to find a #6 that has the athletic profile we so desperately need.

I know I am not a scout, but Dominik Szoboszlai plays on the left, he can box to box, and he’s at a franchise that supplied the world with Mane and Werner. He’s 19 years old, he scored 12 goals last season and landed 18 assists. His buy-out is rumoured to be 25m euros. Is he blowing up the league this year? Maybe not. Would he be a better bet than nothing? Yes.

The same with the #6 position. We have no one with athleticism in our midfield. Don’t tell me there isn’t someone in Ligue 1 that we could pick up at less than £45m. Sangare/Sourmare look like talented player, clearly both need coaching, but that’s what clubs with fucked finances have to do.

There has been a real lack of creativity around our transfer business. I really, really hope this isn’t like seasons past where we break a season because our perfect choice wasn’t available. There are always options that can improve the squad, we cannot let the biggest problem of last season go unaddressed again.

That said, I think fans are forgetting that spending a shit tonne of money doesn’t always translate into points. Spurs blowing a load of cash doesn’t mean they’ll be electric. OGS dropping pound notes on Cavani doesn’t mean they’ll close the gap. Leicester are just as capable of bottling the season. What new players does is create excitement for the players, the staff and the fans. It signals progress and it creates good vibes. If we fail this summer, you’ll get the covid-lockdown histrionics and it’ll be a slog.

We will be better this season regardless of where we land with the squad. We have 20 wins out of 34 games under the new regime. The longer the process goes on, the better we’ll get. We are very well-coached, we’ll be tough to beat this season, and hopefully, we’ll find a solve externally before the window shuts, and if not, maybe we’ll have to reach for a ‘like a new signing’ type of pivot.

Let’s enjoy today and pray that we can make some magic happen by Monday.

1,671 Responses to “Bloated squad huge priority going into deadline day”

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  1. Sid

    Ceb with an AM would be even more fluid, the hesitation is because he has been tasked tactically to be near Elneny and still make passes to attackers, he is not confident of this ability.

    At the same time Xhakalson’s passing serves no purpose,

    1.Luiz is better providing balls into the final 3rd
    2. His passes do not lead to chance creation.

  2. Thorough

    I don’t think we’re getting anyone today. Edu and his caucus have messed up a transfer window they had record time to prepare for. This is utter rubbish.

  3. Kaz

    OK so two things that changed the result for us.

    Shifting Willian into a 10 and letting him rotate with Saka and Pepe was magic.

    Having El Neny come forward to support the attacks on the right side gave us the extra pressure we need.

    All was rosey until CC’s boi Big Xhak Attack was introduced. (though we should have gone for the third before that)

  4. Sid

    “I have watched Elneny enough,no way is he going to attack space without instruction.”

    You are wrong, he was okay at this playing for Basel. Also watch the 1st few games when he joined Arsenal.

  5. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s make it simple.

    Arsenal’s two formations played this season are 3-4-3 and 4-3-3.

    Our 3-4-3 formation requires 2 Central Midfielders + 2 Wing Backs. The Central Midfield
    options are two from Xhaka,Ceballos and Elneny.

    If we play 4-3-3 as we did yesterday until Maitland-Niles replaced Saka then our Midfield
    options were two from the three listed above plus Saka.

    Frankly none of our Central Midfielders would get into starting X1 of Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool, Chelsea or Spurs and that is a problem as the season progresses. We have that
    problem also last season.

  6. WengerEagle

    Not feeling overly optimistic about today, think we will see a body or two brought in but likely to be last minute panic ones at that.

    Can tell that we didn’t really have a concrete plan B for Aouar falling through.

    Just hope it’s not Jorginho. We already have a dreadfully one paced CM without adding him.

  7. Sid

    It seems more people are seeing that diet Peps tactics are anti football, a point i kept saying and was labelled as having an agenda because he is saucy

  8. Victorious

    Everton splashing 30M on Godfrey from Norwich

    Wouldn’t blame Ancelloti if he thinks there’s a genuine chance for the title,they could seriously do a Liecester, after yesterday’s madness I think anything is possible in this league this season

    God know I’ll rather them than the spuds who’re currently playing some good stuff at the moment

  9. Captain Tierney


    I think Elneny has been very good this season and therefore Arteta is giving him starts.
    Some here just for the sake of it are coming up with all kinds of nonsense like Elneny cant pass forward, slows play down, bla bla bla.
    Arteta picking him over a manager’s favourite Xhaka just shows that Elneny has massively upped his game from when the last time he was here.

  10. Peckobill

    In what appears to be an upcoming madness league this season if we had sorted our midfield we could’ve been up there look at the difference a progressive midfield has made to Everton .
    We be grand though we kept AMN so it’ll work out in the end

  11. TR7

    Arsenal’s hopes of signing Houssem Aouar were dashed over the weekend & barring a dramatic late twist, the long-term pursuit of Thomas Partey will go the same way. There is currently no expectation of alternative targets arriving before tonight’s deadline. [@David_Ornstein]

  12. Ishola70

    Captain Tierney
    “I think Elneny has been very good this season and therefore Arteta is giving him starts.
    Some here just for the sake of it are coming up with all kinds of nonsense like Elneny cant pass forward, slows play down, bla bla bla.
    Arteta picking him over a manager’s favourite Xhaka just shows that Elneny has massively upped his game from when the last time he was here.”

    Yes but you can realise at the same time that Elneny is not a go to man in midfield.

    He does a job in midfield but he is not a leader of a midfield.

    And when you say that Elneny was picked instead of Xhaka it was Ceballos that was receiving the ball in first phase deep which Xhaka usually does for the team. As well as running further forward.

  13. Graham62

    Be prepared for loads more strange results this season.

    Villa could have scored ten or more yesterday.

    The handbrake is well and truly off for a lot of teams.

  14. China1

    El neny will never be that guy who wins you games, he’s just a guy who does a job very solidly

    Let’s hope we can get a top quality CM and el neny can be a useful rotation option

  15. China1

    I thought the sacking of gunnersaurus was a joke but turns out it’s real and it’s for ‘cost savings’

    Thank god we’ve must’ve saved a few hundred quid a week on his salary. I know it’s a shame as he’s been at the club for 27 years since we first created this mascot, but think of it this way. If his weekly wage (he’s only part time) is even £500, then in approximately 300 years the savings will amount to be 7m and we can afford Aouar


  16. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Please please please me sang the Beatles… I’ll be singing it if we don’t get partly… It’s all I want for Xmas…