TOXIC CONTRACT REBELS SHOULD BE PUT ON GARDENING LEAVE.

by .

The games are coming thick and fast. The dust has barely settled on the Chelsea win and I’m already panicking over two teams lower than us in the league.

It’s worth talking about some things before we power onto what’s next.

The league is still very tight. I made a point about 4 weeks ago that February is when you’ll truly know how good or bad Arsenal will be this season. Well, we found out way earlier than February that Arteta’s 1.0 vision of Arsenal was utterly shite.

However, what you missed when you were floating in a bath of misery vomit was that everyone else has been shite as well. Liverpool drew to West Brom. Spurs dropped points to Wolves. Chelsea lost to a team having its worst season since the plague was the pandemic people were most concerned about.

We are 9 points shy of 5th. Now, I’m not ramping up the top 4 challenge banter, that’s well and truly over, but we are more than capable of climbing the table over the next 5 games. We have to. Arteta needs breathing room and the fans need some joy.

  • Brighton
  • West Brom
  • Palace
  • Newcastle
  • Southampton

Bag 15 points from those games and we’ll be feeling a lot better about life.

Generally, the mood has lightened after the game yesterday. Mikel found something we haven’t seen since last season. The players flew out the traps and kept up the intensity for the whole game. The Arsenal Column had a great tactical analysis of the game here. I liked this point.

The other noticeable thing about the change in shape – or rather formation – was the relaxing somewhat, of the positional play philosophy that Arteta has attempted to implement since be took over. There were still specific instructions given to players about which areas of the pitch to occupy – for example, as mentioned, Saka was asked to move inside from the right flank, which in turn allowed Hector Bellerin to hug the touchline; whilst Emile Smith-Rowe was mainly told to gravitate towards the left as Gabriel Martinelli joined the centre forward, to create a certain symmetry in the build up – but overall, the positioning seemed less restrictive.

Arteta took the handbrake off in a number of ways. He put trust in hunger and suitability, binning off the view that only older hacks can do what he needs. It also looked like he reined in some of the over-coaching. We looked less mechanical. The team played with more freedom. There was more joy. It didn’t always work, but the freedom of ideas led to faster passing, more creativity, and a little bit more spontaneity.

Mikel needs to bottle whatever the magic was and work out how he delivers it against teams that won’t dominate the ball. I hate playing Brighton because they are a very well-coached team, combined with having a very unsexy name, which can and has lead to complacent performances.

A great way to combat complacency? Continue to give responsibility to players that need it to have a career. Don’t let Luiz and Willian back into the squad yet. If the defence needs to change, don’t put Mustafi in there, he doesn’t care, he’s thinking about Barcelona. If our front three needs to change, don’t give Nicolas Pepe another chance, it is clear he’s not good enough and doesn’t suit what we’re trying to do at Arsenal. If you’re going to swap Mo Elneny out, don’t automatically give it to Dani Ceballos, give it to AMN. He runs harder, he’s a better defender, he’ll give us the legs we’ve lacked.

The magic we found against Chelsea, outside lady luck, was energy and desire. Is that enough to take Arsenal to top four? No. The quality isn’t there at the moment. But it is enough to earn us enough points to push up the table. We gave up half a season to ‘experience’ and it fucked us. It downed tools. It grassed the new manager to the Technical Director. It planted a story in the papers to bury the club in a sea of weirdo hate after a loss they were sure was coming. Sickening.

Time to move on from toxic bitches, 2021 is gonna be different, yas qweeeeen.

Arsenal has to live with the Auba deal. I think we can rescue that. He’s the best finisher in the league. His game is not necessarily built on pace. If we surround him with powerful runners that create space for him, he’ll start scoring goals again. Auba is a mood guy. When the chips are up, he’s flying. When they are down, he’s crying in the corner posting sad emoji’s on Instagram Stories for attention. He’ll be back I suspect, I think he likes to be adored, no way he signed to down tools.

Willian? I don’t know what we do there. I thought at the very least we were getting a Rolls Royce professional, but that appears to be a generous assessment of what he offers. He can’t run, he doesn’t create, and he doesn’t score… but we’re lumped with him. That’s on Mikel. What I don’t want to see is Arsenal go out of their way to rehab a player that is deeply into the back 9 of their career, especially if he can’t do the basics like stay away from Salt Bae. We might be taking the Mesut Bogarde L again.

I hope there are some big moves out of Arsenal in January. We have too many players exiting deals within half a year / are not in the squad to have a focused training camp. 5 of them will be out in January. There’s no resale value. Why don’t we bomb them out of their deals early? What is their purpose? They’re causing problems, they aren’t putting in performances, they’re barely making the squad. Send them home for 5 months.

There is no value in keeping people at the company who are on notice. If it’s Dennis Bergkamp playing for another year, it works, he has skin in the game. Imagine you have been put on a year’s worth of gardening leave like Mesut or Sokratis, but you have to go to the office 5 days a week? Imagine you know you are leaving at the end of the season and you’ve been unceremoniously benched? Senior players dealing with embarrassing rejection dealt to them by a young coach some of them played with. Senior players knowing their next contract value is plummetting every week they don’t play. Are we surprised they want to burn the place down on their slow walk to freedom?

If the environment is toxic, cut out the poison. But here’s the thing, make sure you analyse why this happened: We paid average players MASSIVELY above market rate, so there was never an incentive to leave. We did that again last summer with Willian. It is absolutely shocking we don’t have a tool that evaluates a player’s worth before we dish out contracts no other club in the world would offer.

Onto transfers…

I’d heard the club was looking at a Dortmund player a couple of weeks ago, apparently, it’s Julian Brandt. Obviously, he’s a top player. Jurgen Klopp wanted to sign him before Michael Edwards convinced him to move on Mo Salah. We need a creative player that floats like him. My worry is that we’re not grounding ourselves in reality again. The club is fucked from a money perspective. Our wage bill is atrocious, it’s very likely we’ll have no European football, and our own manager has gone on record saying we’re 6 players away. Why would we drop minimum £50m on a single player? Should we not be getting back to basics here. Address the whole squad versus dumping out a huge fee on one superstar while the rest of the team burns? We need a David Luiz replacement. We’ll need to replace our midfield because Dani, Xhaka, and Mo lack future proof credentials. We need a backup keeper. A back-up right back. Probably a new #9. At least one new winger if we can bin Nicolas Pepe.

Our summer rebuild needs to be extensive… blowing our money on a big name seems, well, like a weird plan? I’m also wondering why he’d want to leave that set up right now, because it’s probably going to be pretty good for him next season. Bigger thing for me is Brandt feels like the sort of player I’d throw up if you asked me to name creative players I’d be quite interested in. Who is the Gabriel Magalhães of creatives? Can we not find that profile in a player that costs £20m and £45k p/w? Mike McDonald finds more interesting targets than Edu.

I have no clue what the club is going to do in January, but I suspect it’ll be loan moves. There’s no Champions League to chase now, so there’s no need to premature ejaculate cash at a short term goal. KSE should be holding the exec team to a higher standard of rationale for the players they choose. If we need a creative player and a keeper this January, let’s make sure they make sense, even if they are loans. Those loan deals need to speak to the future profile of players we need, because Arteta needs to show people what he’s trying to do, so it makes sense when we buy players for real.

Let’s not see Christian Eriksen at the club, he has the same issues as Ozil, and he can’t cut it in the slowest league in Europe. Isco could be interesting for us, he’s mobile, has played at the highest level, and no one is interested in him… he still has a lot to offer if you can unlock him and help him lose some weight.

Clubs around the world are struggling badly with the weight of fat wage bills, there must be players we can bring in that can match the profile of the squad. No more bums. We should keep the powder dry if we can’t do something smart.

Right, listen to the podcast and I’ll see you in the comments.

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449 Responses to “TOXIC CONTRACT REBELS SHOULD BE PUT ON GARDENING LEAVE.”

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  1. Ishola70

    Tr7

    “Marko, CC and many others were calling his great performances for Arsenal in cup games a fluke.”

    That was off wasn’t it.

    You can understand CC doing that because he basically backs every club decision but Marko less so.

    I think in Marko’s case it was because he’s a Leno fanboy.

  2. WengerEagle

    Villa are a real quality team, still well in this game.

    In Watkins, Grealish, El Ghazi, Barkley and Trezeguet they have serious threat going forward for anyone.

    They absolutely battered Palace with 10 men.

  3. TR7

    Ishola

    All of us make bad calls sometimes but Marko often tends to overrate players from other clubs and underrate the ones who play for us. Original Leno fanboy too, remember him touting Leno as the next big thing when he was playing in Germany.

  4. Ishola70

    I think Marko was also making the point that Leno was down the list of problems for this Arsenal side which seems fair enough when you look at other areas.

    But where many disagreed with him is that he rated Leno as a better keeper and a better option for Arsenal than Martinez.

    All based on past stats and reputation ad not looking at the here and now.

  5. TR7

    Marko was bigging up Kai Harvertz this summer, wasn’t he ? Nodombele and Keita in the previous two summers. Marko must be cursing me right now for bringing it all up 😛

  6. WengerEagle

    Not a shock to see Havertz struggling so much to adapt.

    Very lightweight player as Ishola says but importantly, he’s not quick enough to be suited to a wide forward role (unlike Werner) and he hasn’t the ability to operate from deep either as Fat Frank has tried with him due to the absence of Ziyech. Doesn’t possess the vision, speed of thought or defensive application needed.

    Very much a luxury signing and a specialised player that thrives with the team built around him like at Leverkusen. Sitting just off a CF and allowed to roam with defensive freedom and he is excellent.

    Not likely to happen at Chelsea, is it?

    What I find more interesting really is how much Leverkusen have kicked on without him. Since they sold him and Volland they have hit another level and are humming now under Bosz.

  7. G8

    Marc I don’t know who tested positive, it said 5 first team players and other members of staff, it also said the likely source is the hotel in London where they stayed for the league cup game last Tuesday

  8. WengerEagle

    Grealish really has been a monster this season.

    It’s his decision making that stands out the most to me. To the millisecond he times when to release the ball for a pass or shot to perfection and also when to accelerate and deccelerate when dribbling at defenders to beat them/draw fouls.

    Just needs to improve his finishing a bit and he’ll be truly elite.

  9. Ishola70

    WengerEagle
    “Grealish really has been a monster this season.”

    Really kicked on offensively hasn’t he.

    He still has brain farts though in his own half. He nearly assisted an early Chelsea goal in this game with a very sloppy back pass but can’t have it all I suppose.

    He is a very obvious talent. Plays like a beach ball player.

  10. Dissenter

    Villa bought some food footballers in the summer they were promoted i.e. 2019 summer
    It took them a while to gem but they are nearly there. Sometimes recently promoted teams do well on a fluke but Villa’s rice feels a bit different. Their transfers have been systematic and coherent.

  11. WengerEagle

    Would love Villa to win to watch Lamps implode in the post match interview.

    Already going the way of Mourinho by chucking his players under the bus in the post match loss to us

  12. WengerEagle

    Ishola

    Yeah he can be over-indulgent and try to do too much but as you say the talent is obvious and he is a very clear matchwinner.

    They really have looked brilliant this season, better than Everton and Southampton even imo.

  13. WengerEagle

    He was never great on the ball TR7 but yeah, definitely more of an all-round force of nature at Leicester and in his first couple of seasons at Chelsea.

    Still a top player, Jorginho on the other hand is such a one-dimensional plodder.

  14. Ishola70

    TR7
    “Is it just me or Kante is very ordinary these days”

    I think he’s regressing somewhat yes. He also doesn’t look as such a beast defensively as he used to do.

    He’s done a lot of running around in his career. Can take it’s toll on those little legs of his.

  15. WengerEagle

    Werner has been ok Dissenter, on a lean scoring patch but still has scored 8 in 22 which isn’t exactly awful.

    He’s also largely playing wide.

    Havertz has been crap though.

  16. TR7

    WE

    Just as I don’t understand how Xhaka makes in to our starting 11 under every manager, I don’t understand how Jorginho is still at Chelsea as one of the core players. I really rate Kovacic and Hudson Odoi though.

  17. Ishola70

    TR7

    “I don’t understand how Jorginho is still at Chelsea as one of the core players.”

    Lampard has dropped him for the majority of EPL games this season. Only picked him in european ties where the pace is slower. Lampard knows but he is rotating the first XI in this busy schedule period.

    Maybe the penny will drop one day at Arsenal in relation to Xhaka. Who knows.

  18. Buzzy

    Look at the way Martinez comes for pressure corners and always manages to get the ball whereas Leno stays rooted…these things decide games in the last 10 min..the blind spanish cunt needs sacking just for this crime alone

  19. WengerEagle

    The Martinez bashing by Marko was a bit odd all right.

    Yeah he’s probably not the second coming of Manuel Neuer at age 27 but fuck me does he do a whole lot of things better than Leno does and we looked much more assured at the back with him in nets.

  20. Rich

    I love Grealish, he’s a match winner, and a real joy to watch.

    Is he too much of a maverick though?

    Or is he a luxury worth accommodating?

  21. WengerEagle

    Looks like Lampard has spoken it into existence amthat they aren’t going to be title contenders.

    Since he made those comments they have only won 1 PL match in 5 and have lost 3 of those.

  22. Ishola70

    Dissenter
    “How many cars has Grealish crashed all through his career so far”

    He’s a brummie fucktard isn’t he as well as being a talented footballer.

    It may be the case that he is one of those that stays at one club.

    Villa will be happy about that though.

  23. Victorious

    Win tomorrow and we’re just 6 points off the chavs

    Always laugh at those writing off the season at this stage before

    Anything can happen in this league

    Top 4 still on for me.

  24. Pierre

    Vic
    If we can build some confidence and momentum in the next month then we can get back into the pack.

    The result at the weekend didn’t surprise me at all, I’ve been saying for the last few weeks that the tide was turning and that we just needed the luck to turn and results will follow..

    Also been saying that Arteta will stumble into a winning starting 11 more by luck than design and that we needed a few injuries and suspensions that may turn out to be a blessing in disguise to help Arteta find the right balance in the side…..and that’s how it happened.

    What happens now? …has Arteta seen the light and will gradually introduce an offensive 4 of 18/19/20/21 year olds ..i hope so.

    I dont think it will happen , but i would like to see Balogun given a real opportunity up top to prove himself..

    Balogun up top with Martinelli, Smith Rowe and Saka supporting him will give the team what they need and give Arteta a chance to implement his football philosophy with young hungry players who will press with intensity and play with positivity .

    Partey coming back will be crucial to really build momentum , the next step will be finding the perfect partner for Partey in midfield..
    Maybe Arteta already has him at the club in Azeez or Willock…

    Arteta needs to be brave in his selection now…

  25. Tom

    “He still has brain farts though in his own half. He nearly assisted an early Chelsea goal in this game with a very sloppy back pass but can’t have it all I suppose.”

    Ishola
    Two poor balls by Grealish in over 1300 minutes of play, on day’s rest after having played a super high octane game half of which a man down.
    How high exactly are your standards for a well rounded player?
    Care to name any?

  26. Nelson

    There is a belief at City that the outbreak has emanated from their trip to London for their Carabao Cup quarter-final against Arsenal on December 22

    Looks like it is not very safe living in London these days.

  27. Dissenter

    Nelson
    City are just being mischievous with the insinuations that their covid exposure came from the Arsenal Carabao cup game.
    It’s almost impossible to contact trace accurately at this point, given that the spread is like wild fire.

  28. Valentin

    Pierre,

    You make the assumption that after stumbling by accident (via suspension, injuries and COVID) on a winning formula that Arteta will keep the same formula.

    That’s a BIG assumption. He could as well decide that now that he has turned a corner it is time to fully revert to his preferred style of football. As soon Emery thought that he got things figured he decided to swing his big axe and make changes. The already arrogant Arteta when things don’t go his way, is not going to admit that he was wrong when things will start going his way.

    Also you have to take into consideration that because the season is so compact, he can’t rely exclusively on the youngsters.
    Long term he is unlikely to drop Willian in favour of ESR or Martinelli. Pablo Mari will still be ahead of Saliba despite being poor and unconvincing during the U23 games.

    I was shocked when people were raving about Mari’a performance. It reminded me of Mustafi’s performance great in some position but always susceptible to brain farts. Against Chelsea, he had at least which luckily did not cost us the game. With a less lenient referee, the penalty that Mari conceded would have been a second yellow card and another red card under Arteta. A red card and penalty score and we would have conceded at least a third goal and we would not be discussing a turn of event, but rather another collapse.

  29. Valentin

    ManCity are being disingenious as every info we have on COVID indicates that you need at least a few days before showing symptoms. If the staff and players were already showing symptoms the day after the match, that means that they were already infected before their trip to London or that they got infected on the very first hours of arriving in London.

    Moreover when travelling to away matches football squad are in bubble. Did Kyle Walker contract the disease from the receptionist or the maid at the hotel?

  30. bacaryisgod

    Graham

    Couldn’t agree with you more on this non-stop talk about who we might bring in when everyone knows that we’re stretched right now and will have to sell before we can buy based on the signals the management are sending.

    We have about 40 players to discuss between the first-team squad and the better academy players. Of course, it is almost criminal how terribly we’ve invested in the last two summers because now would have been the perfect team to get players cheaply from struggling clubs.

  31. bacaryisgod

    Dani-I watched the Villa game. Emi didn’t make any massive saves (at least none like the Mahrez save in the F.A Cup Semi-Final)

    However, he commanded his box very well and looked very assured overall. He’s probably going to be a Top 5 keeper in the league for the next 5 years. Oh well…

  32. Pierre

    Valentin
    “You make the assumption that after stumbling by accident (via suspension, injuries and COVID) on a winning formula that Arteta will keep the same formula.”

    More in hope than expectation..

  33. Dissenter

    Emi is one of the best ball catchers around. He plucks balls out of the air and catches balls that most goal keepers will punch.
    He also has that knack of seeing potential paths of attack before the fully form – he suits teams that are designed for fast counters like Villa.

  34. Dissenter

    Tom
    “Are you suggesting Kyle Walker pricked the City’s safety bubble?”

    I missed that the first time…then was interested when Val declined to wear a boot.

  35. Dissenter

    I believe Chelsea have a sell on clause for Lamptey
    If we decide to get him in the summer, then a significant portion of transfer fee will go to the Chavs.
    Not that it matters, we have done lots of direct business wit Chelsea in recent years .

  36. Time Up

    I’ve said it before, Arteta won’t play the young players, he’s limited and not right for us.

    Keeping 2 players of 28 year old ( Xhaka and Mo), loaning 20 and 23 year old (Tor, Guin) who are better can tell you every thing you want to know about his limitations.

    Even now, Azeez is better than those two. Gabi M is better suited on the left than Auba, but we all know Auba going to play on the left.

  37. Marc

    “Of course, the biggest issue right now is the likelihood the league could be postponed for a while.”

    Well that would present some interesting problems – the Euro’s are still expected to go ahead in the Summer and the hectic fixture schedule is to get the domestic seasons finished in time.

    With the vaccines finally being rolled out I think UEFA will bulldoze through and go ahead with the Euro’s so what happens to the PL etc?

  38. Marc

    RSPC

    The story seems to be we’re looking at Lampty if Bellerin moves to Barca – as Barca are broke and so are we I’d love someone to tell me where the money is supposed to come from on either transfer.

  39. bacaryisgod

    I don’t buy the Bellerin story-pure clickbait.

    I can imagine him being more tempted before Barca became such a mess. However, he seems totally settled in London and it’s a great place for his fashion interests.

    He’s well-liked at the club, seems to stay out of the politics and if Arteta is smart he would use Auba’s current slump to give the captaincy to Bellerin and let Auba focus on being a great striker again. Of course, he would need Auba to think it was his decision rather than a demotion but I don’t have enough faith in his man management skills to pull that off.

  40. into the red

    If the Arsenal hierarchy had any sense, they would tell Arteta to manage within his means, and no transfers in until summer. The constant refrain that we only need to get in player X or Y is getting ridiculous, and completely misleading. We have a huge squad with a lot of talented youngsters knocking on the door, quite sufficient to make a decent go of it for the second half of the season. Signing another ‘name’ just papers over the cracks, and prevents the talent coming through. It is a diversion from what needs to be done. I’ve heard the same plea for years, and look how it has worked out. If we sign anybody in the summer I would prefer low cost promising young players of the type Leicester and Wolves regularly find without any fuss. Look at Man U, and their spendthrift, haphazard signings – same shit.

  41. Rich

    Marc

    When people are being greedy, you should be fearful

    When people are being fearful, you should be greedy

    Hopefully our billionaire owner, recognises it’s a buyers market

  42. Marc

    Rich

    Arteta is an incompetent manager who’s next job will most likely be working for the Highway’s Agency (they always need someone to put some cones out) giving him money whilst he continually alienates the players he already has would be madness.

    If you’re going to put money into the squad at least do it with a manager who isn’t completely useless. After all we keep hearing how he wants ANOTHER centre back.

  43. Bojangles

    “Emi is absolutely top class. Marko, CC and many others were calling his great performances for Arsenal in cup games a fluke.”

    The three most vocal on selling Martinez based on “small sample size” were Marko, Cc and Marc. Strange how Marc has been silent over Martinez since. At least he’s never blamed Arteta for selling him, I’ll give him that.

  44. China1

    Let bellerin keep the captains armband?

    Sigh

    Guy puts in about 5 quality performances per season over the past 3-5 years and now he’s being talked of as a possible captain

    This is *exactly* what’s wrong with arsenal

    It’s not even clear if he’s our best or second best RB. He should be captain? Surely at the bare minimum that needs to go to someone who deserves to be playing every week. Until the Chelsea game bellerin was as dire this season as Willian and chums and was being laughed off the pitch as a joke for his inability to take a throw in. He plays really well for one game as captain against Chelsea and he’s now captain material. Might as well just give the armband back to xhaka at this rate if we’re giving it to dodgy players who’ve put in a good game against Chelsea…

  45. China1

    Valentin I don’t know the details but I’m always scriptural when they use terms like ‘bubble’

    I’m doubtful that the entire traveling unit have zero reasonably close contact with anyone from outside the unit in the build up to the match. Like you said, receptionists, waiters, room service, cleaners and the like.

    Reminds me of when people talk about having a ‘covid safe’ Christmas which basically just consists of opening a window and not kissing. And people are shocked at the spiking infection rates after…

  46. China1

    Read a story on the news after thanksgiving where one genius woman was so shocked and disappointed that her whole family got covid at their ‘covid safe thanksgiving’

    The three family members who don’t live together sat in a room together for hours, while eating they were not wearing masks, while wearing masks it was not a proper one, just a surgical mask, but they opened the window, didn’t hug and sat 1.5m apart each. And they actually thought that’s covid safe lol

    People are so desperate to be free to do what they want they’ll just put the word covid safe on anything

  47. Pedro

    Pierre, doesn’t sound like it was an accident if you listen to his prezzer.

    He started the kids when he had the players not to.

    He’s binned Willian and Luiz for another game.

    Seems like he’s catching on what it’ll take to move the club forward this season.

    Hopefully, the same kids will deliver a big result tomorrow.

  48. Emiratesstroller

    Pedro

    Whether we like it or not Arteta needs to rotate the squad over the Christmas and New Year period, because of the number of games being played in a relatively short time frame.

    However, once that period is over I would like to see more stability in our team selections over the second half of season.The return of Gabriel and Partey should also be most welcome.

  49. bacaryisgod

    Good point Emirates-it’s not going to be easy to play with full intensity with the current schedule. Having said that, Brighton are on even less rest so we should definitely turn the heat up for this one.

  50. Dissenter

    Lots of pundits are openly saying that Martinez is one of the best keepers in the league currently and attributing the 8 clean sheets Villa have had to him.
    There’s also a bit of Arsenal jibe in that commentary.

    I hope we don’t lose Balogun too because he’s the only one in the squad that can hold up the ball and bring others in the game.

  51. Bojangles

    DIssenter

    “I hope we don’t lose Balogun too because he’s the only one in the squad that can hold up the ball and bring others in the game.”

    I share your sentiments on not losing Balogun but what are you basing the rest of your comments on? He has only appeared for may be 1 hour in a few Euro games.

  52. Moray

    The next few games and the tx window will be good indicators of where Arteta and Edu are at and what they have learnt. They have very little goodwill left so there isn’t much wriggle room for them.

    We now have to be very canny in the transfer window. Adding in 30 year olds either on perm or load contracts is not going to wash any more. I’m sure one of the assets Arteta was hired for was a perceived strength in developing young players. He hasn’t done much of that so far. And, as has been the case for years now, our outs are as important as our ins – if not more so. Getting this cancerous dross off our balance sheet is critical, particularly considering our dwindling revenues. This is very much on Edu, who couldn’t even manage to get the players we needed to off on loan last window so let’s see.

  53. bacaryisgod

    Everyone is talking about Aouar or another creative midfield signing in January but I think our biggest need is to get a first-choice CB for next season.

    Here’s how it should play out:

    Need: 6 CBs
    Out: Mustafi, Luiz, Sokratis
    Remain: Holding, Gabriel, Mari, Saliba
    Questionable: Chambers, Mavrapanos

    -Mavrapanos hasn’t kicked on at Stuttgart so far this season (injuries haven’t helped). He’s under a long-term contract with us so another loan would be the best solution

    -Chambers might be the odd man out. His contract is up in 2022. We should sell him unless there’s any benefit to keeping him around as a utility player. I don’t think there is.

    This leaves us needing 2 CBs. One of them can be a young, promising prospect from the Academy. The other should be a top quality signing to play us our first-choice RCB. Whether we have the resources for this is a big question, but this should definitely be our primary focus if we can pull it off.

  54. Moray

    Bac, if we aren’t playing in Europe next season, the club may decide that 5 CBs is sufficient, particularly if our RB and LB have the ability to cover if required.

  55. Dissenter

    Bojangles
    How often does Liverpool try to pry academy players off our hands
    I remember seeing Martinelli play for a few minutes in the pre-season of 2019 and realizing we had a good player in our hands, same as watching Balogun for a few moments and seeing that he had different attributes from all the strikers we currently have in the club
    He may very well not be silver dust but at least he deserves an opportunity to swim or sink.

  56. China1

    We don’t need 6 first team signings to be a CL team again

    Emery was 2 points off third with a worse squad than this over 38 games.

    We all know the squad could be significantly better, but a bigger problem than the quality of our players has been absolutely dismal management this season. I don’t really like the idea that management tanks and the solution is buy loads of players. It’s a lazy and very expensive way out of a largely self induced mess.

    It’s time for arteta to coach his way out of this mess and stop asking for more cheques to cover for his mistakes

  57. Bojangles

    Dissenter

    You get no argument from concerning our need to keep Balogun, from the little we have seen of him (in the first team squad) we may have a player there, certainly looks more impressive than Nketia. I just queried your comment about him being the only player we have that can hold up play and bring other players into the game.

  58. Bojangles

    I’d like to see Balogun brought into the first team squad and given minutes off the bench (obviously that’s not happening ATM). Not sure if he’s ready to start for us yet though.

  59. China1

    I’m all for us getting in a quality partner for Partey, but talk of us buying wingers and backup RBs etc is kinda ridiculous

    We have Martinelli, Saka, Nelson, Pepe, Willian, ESR and as a worst case scenario even Auba as wing options and you’re talking of us selling one and buying a replacement Pedro? That would be an awful use of our limited funds. You could sell Pepe and Willian if you wanted to be aggressive about it and replace neither without us being short on wingers

    At RB we have Bellerin AMN Soares and Chambers. On what planet do we need another?

    At CB we have a whole team of options. We can lose 3 and survive.

    At CF we could sell one of our big names and promote balogun and not really be short

    We don’t have a league winning team but this talk as tho the squad is that bad is just deflecting away from a manager who has done appalling with the many tools at his disposal.

    I’d like us to sign a quality partner for Partey in Jan and nothing else. Arteta the generational coach needs to do a bit of that so called generational coaching rather than just buying a whole new team when he tanks the one he has. It’s almost comical to suggest we should be replacing so many players when our manager is supposedly so good at coaching

  60. Dissenter

    Bojangles
    Laca is a hustler but he’s very poor at holding up the ball.
    He huffs and puffs a lot but tends to lose most one on one battles with central defenders. He can;t play with his back to goal to start with and struggles to spin defenders too.

  61. Time Up

    I feel sorry for Arteta. It’s bad enough the job is too big for his coaching abilities. He has (like Uni) to deal with a culture of players power in the dressing room of sitting on you contract without being accountable for your performance.

    It start with Arsene and his cuddling of Diaby and Jack among others. Arsene gone and Ozil took over as the leader of this culture. Now you can see Kolasinac staying on his contract for the next season and few others. This culture and players power had to change, even if we have to pay those players off and start again, or we’ll never move forward.

  62. Dissenter

    Bojangles
    I wish we kept Giroud
    It’s amazing how s some players our fans despised now command the full respect of rival fans.
    Giroud is a ball holding machine whose contributions to building up play was massively underrated when he played for Arsenal.
    I honestly believe that had we kept Giroud and combined him with either of Laca or Auba [not both] we would still be a top 4 team.

  63. Guns of SF

    Eddie needs to be sold with Pepe…
    We need to cut the team size anyhow…
    These 2 have had chances and not performed. No time to keep wishing and hoping… what you see is what you will get….

  64. Goobergooner

    I duno why everyone wants martinelli in the middle instead of Auba. (Yes he is good there, but why waste Auba considering he has a new contract and has piggybacked this club out of a proper shit fight the last 2 seasons).

    None of our attacking players have been in form this season. And it’s not because they just hit a brick wall In terms of quality. It’s because the manager has no idea how to best utilise them.

    If we are playing 433, and not a flat middle 3, you would want martinelli on the wing as he has that desire and work ethic to get up and down the pitch while still being effective at the front, which Auba isn’t built for.

    Having esr behind Auba, with martinelli left and saka right is a goal scoring front 4.

    We play lower/ ground crosses and cutbacks with auba on the front foot and he will be all tap ins like he was at Dortmund. He’ll get 20 goals from now to the end of the season if we play like that.

    Martinelli and Saka are great at getting in behind. We just make the mistake of lobbing balls to players who are weak in the air.

    The right manager would have us playing way better with the ball than Arteta is right now.

  65. Goobergooner

    Diss,
    I said that at the time too. Why not utilise even Laca and Giroud. We wouldn’t have had to shell out for Auba.

    But we should have got Auba first and not got Laca in hindsight.

    Imagine Giroud flicking through balls to an onrushing Auba. We would be so solid in behind a defence.

  66. Time Up

    Tony Pulis has been sacked as Sheffield Wednesday manager after 45 days with only 10 matches in charge with the club next to bottom of the Championship.

    Now all we need is for the boring on at the Spud to retire and football can be beautiful again. Oh, Fat Sam is back.

  67. Goobergooner

    Giroud was always lacking a a more mobile pure goal scorer next to him. Either on the wings or as a cf/st partner.

    Or even just to mix it up against different defences.

  68. Emiratesstroller

    I don’t think that the problem with Balogun’s contract is altogether the fault with Arsenal.

    As I have pointed out before the club has got 5 players on the books with the same agency, which is Elite Projects. Four of these players are Saka, Nketiah, Nelson and Balogun. Also
    on the books is Iwobi.

    Looking at the finances of this agency I think that the likelihood is that it serves their purpose to wind contracts down and then demand for themselves a large fee for players to
    either sign with their current club or move elsewhere.

  69. Pierre

    Pedro
    “Pierre, doesn’t sound like it was an accident if you listen to his prezzer.”

    Put it like this , if Willian and Aubameyang were fit to start would we have seen Martinelli and Smith Rowe in the starting line up…..i think the answer is no chance..

    The pity for me is that Lacazette benefited from the inclusion of having Martinelli, Smith Rowe and Saka supporting him, when it could have been Eddie or Balogun who had the benefit of playing in front of 3 hungry, skilful , athletic young players.

    If Eddie or Balogun had started we would be further down the road of having a young vibrant attack who could change the course of our season…

    4 offensive , hungry players who can press with intensity with 2 central midfielders who play on the front foot.

    Lamptey at right back would be a superb addition, with Tierney on the left who is looking fitter and stronger with every game he plays.
    Lamptey and Tierney as full backs opens up a lot of possibilities going forward..

  70. China1

    Anyway I’m just praying we have saka martinelli and ESR in the front 4 again next game. Set the kids free. I don’t think they are going to let us down

  71. China1

    Girouds problem wasn’t that he wasn’t good enough for arsenal, it’s that he wasn’t good enough to replace the strikers who came before him.

    Wright, Anelka, Bergkamp, Henry, RVP. He’s never been in the same league as these players and at a time when the arsenal team was getting worse rather than better, more than ever we needed a Cf who could put the team on his back as RVP had done before him and Sanchez was doing at the time. If you put giroud alongside Henry in 2004 no one would’ve been unhappy with giroud, but with xhaka Ramsey ozil bellerin mustafi etc behind him there was no cushion or tolerance for giroud having any shortcomings.

    But he was always a very good player – just wrong player in the wrong place at the wrong time to get recognition for it at arsenal.

    Put him in the team with Saka putting in crosses, auba alongside him to score off his knockdowns and flicks and martinelli out wide causing havoc and you’d see giroud look like a very good player. Not that I’m suggesting we resign him btw

  72. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre

    Why do you think that Lampetey is such a great acquisition? He is a relatively inexperienced
    player with probably 20 games in EPL and at 1.64 tall is rather small.

    Bellerin may not be the best defender on the planet, but when he played behind Saka against
    Chelsea he looked a significantly better player than he did behind Pepe or Willian.

    Frankly I would rather hold onto Bellerin and focus on improving other positions in the team.

    The priority for me is shifting out the dross in our squad first and then recruiting selectively
    players who are a genuine upgrade on what we have got.

  73. Goobergooner

    Yeah es I’m with you there.

    Bellerin isn’t the best RB, but we need to improve the midfield first and foremost. Then number 2 keeper. We are totally screwed if runnarson plays any pl match.

    But it really does depend on how much Barca are willing to pay for him, if indeed they actually want him.

    I’d happily sell and slot Amn in there, we still have a back up option to him too in Soares.

    We really should have sold Amn in the summer and used that money for buendia.

    Aouar looks great, but we need proven pl level players not potentially another Pepe situation.

  74. Pierre

    Stroller
    “PierreWhy do you think that Lampetey is such a great acquisition? He is a relatively inexperienced
    player with probably 20 games in EPL and at 1.64 tall is rather small.”

    Simple … I’ve seen him play.

  75. Useroz

    ES

    Media says the Barca president gonna be would take his dear child Bellerin back to Nou Camp. Kind of an election promise etc.

    On that basis the reports are saying we (well, City and United too) are sniffing around Lamptey.

    I suppose we’d get by rotating AMN and Soares as money is tight. But either is long term and need to be revisited once fund becomes available.

  76. Gonsterous

    I don’t tthink it is sustainable to keep adding 50m players, that’s a huge gamble with a massive wage bill.
    We need to be targeting young, exciting players, who can use arsenal as a stepping stone to bigger things. We need to get back to being a feeder club instead of feeding off scraps and rejects.

    Only after we have established ourselves as a feeder club can we divert into being a top team.

    It’s not rocket science, to win the PL, you need a mixture of youth and experience, younger people biting on the backs of older players but learning from the experienced heads. Don’t see that at arsenal, we seem to be all for buying our way into the CL which is a costly gamble.

  77. Pierre

    I would put Lamptey up there with Martinelli as a player with infectious enthusiasm for the game, which rubs off on their team mates.

    Of course they are also both very good footballers as well..

    Lamptey being small is a drawback but there is strong possibility that he would be our only small player as players like Willian, Cedric and Torreira will be fringe players at best.

    If , and it’s a big if, barca want Bellerin and Arsenal want Lamptey, then for me it is an upgrade on the right back position with little or no outlay.

    If Bellerin is not going then of course Lamptey will not be coming in.

  78. Emiratesstroller

    Frankly I am sick and tired of Arsenal going out and spending silly money on the latest player in fashion as we have done with Pepe and Saliba who cost us £100 million based on one year
    performance.

    I am willing to bet that we sell Bellerin we get perhaps £25 million for him and land up having
    to spend almost the entire fee on Lampetey. Brighton are not going to sell him cheap to us.

  79. Pierre

    To me, it was noticeable that Saka enjoyed playing more with his contemporaries at the weekend.

    Smith Rowe was very tidy on the ball, played it simple but early.
    His game is about one and 2 touch football, pass and move , give and go …he is a player who is always on the move which creates space for his team mates..

    For Smith Rowe to remain in the side Arteta has to use the 4-2-3-1 system unless he uses a 3-5-2 wing back system instead of the negative 3-4-3 which doesn’t use a CAM.

  80. China1

    If Barca offer 20+m for bellerin then just take the money and promote AMN and we will be no worse for it and will probably be better

    Then use that 20m towards someone in a more needed position like CM

    Or if you sell Bellerin and buy a RB you have to move AMN to be a DM option instead.

  81. Henry19

    Emiratesstroller
    “Pierre Why do you think that Lampetey is such a great acquisition? He is a relatively inexperienced
    player with probably 20 games in EPL and at 1.64 tall is rather small.”Simple … I’ve seen him play.”

    Pierre
    “Smple … I’ve seen him play.”

    That makes him even more likely to be shit.

  82. Emiratesstroller

    Last year there were so called expert posters on Le Grove raving about Aarons as the replacement RB for Bellerin. At least he was 1.78 in height.

    I watched him play on a number of occasions for Norwich and frankly he was not a patch on
    Bellerin and I suggest the same is the case when we discuss Lampetey.

    As Gonestrous suggests we should focus on “improving” the positions which need upgrade.

  83. Pierre

    Henry19
    “Pierre getting carried away after winning one game in 8.
    The blueprint for success lies not in enthusiasm but sacking the manager.”

    I’m no defender of Arteta, I prefer talking about the players than sacking the manager….any idiot can come on here and say Arteta is shit and should be sacked as you have proved.

  84. China1

    It’s quite funny if Barca are serious about bellerin tho

    This is a player who’s been average at best for about 5 years now. Occasionally he’ll play well but usually he’s some way off the pace and has been for years

    The fact he’s had interest from PSG and Barca in the last 12 months shows they’ve really not been paying attention. Bellerin is literally still living off his rep he built as a teenager. It’s nuts that he still has admirers at the top end of football

  85. Emiratesstroller

    China 1

    Whatever is your opinion of Bellerin the right back is and should not be the priority position
    for replacement.

    There are several other positions in starting X1 and team which need upgrade.

    Okay if Barcelona offer silly money for him eg £50 million that is a different matter, but that
    is not going to happen. They will offer the same money as PSG were willing to spend ie £25
    million.

    Lampetey is probably worth £10-15 million based on his current performance level. I doubt
    that we will get him for that sort of fee particularly if clubs like Man City or Chelsea are in
    the market.

    Man City can afford to spend £25-30 million on their second or third string full back, which
    is probably the level of Lampetey in their team!!

  86. Goobergooner

    Our board used those mega money signings to placate the fans.

    What a lot of good that did.

    The board has zero clue when it comes to football. It’s shocking really.

    All we wanted was a manager with proper experience and the ability to demand respect from a rowdy bunch of Misfits and align the squad to the “arsenal values” they keep flapping on about;
    As well as getting in players who show desire and commitment to The Arsenal cause.

    The last few windows of Wenger and the amount he spent was well earned by him. But he spent so fucking poorly.

    The fact we got in Raul who led Barca to one of their worst periods in like the last 3 decades shows how clueless Gazidis was.

    He obviously thought ‘sweet, he’s from a better club than us, he must be good’.

    The only way we are getting to the top short term is mega funding.

    The only way we are getting to the top long term is getting in the right football people behind the scenes and in the manager’s position.

    We aren’t looking very good at all in respect to being a title contender.

  87. Sid

    ‘I would put Lamptey up there with Martinelli as a player with infectious enthusiasm for the game, which rubs off on their team mates.’

    Mooy and Fleck?

  88. James wood.

    Tony PULLIS is available.
    After being sacked from
    Sheffield Wed after just
    10 games.
    The 10 club -11 with one
    return to Stoke is said to be
    devastated.?
    😳😳😳😏😏😏

  89. Chika

    Arteta: ‘It’s not that we had to play them [youngsters], we had enough senior players on the bench that could’ve played.’

  90. Goobergooner

    Give me mooy any day! (As an Aussie I need to see one play for arsenal) not up to required standard but he is definitely a pl level MF better than our fit players ATM.

  91. Jamie

    “I’m no defender of Arteta”

    Incredible how casually Pierre lies. Literally just 3 days ago:

    “Arteta was ridiculed for his recent press conference regarding percentages (or similar) ,but i knew what he meant and today could be the turning point in our season”

    No shame in defending Arteta, plenty of shame in lying about it.