ROUGH DIAMONDS

by .

WELCOME TO MONDAY.

Quick breeze through today as there’s not much news to take on.

Alex Lacazette is being linked with a move to Atletico Madrid for the 387th time in his career. If you remember correctly, he was heading there before they landed a ban way back when… or something like that. The fee is rumoured to be about £12m, which I find exceptionally high considering he earns £180k a week, but look, I’d take anything at this moment in time.

I think we’d be losing a leader in the squad. Even when he’s playing badly, he stands up, and he never hides. I also think he has some very specific skills we might miss, like his ability to drop deep and roll as a playmaker. Still, if this summer is about reengineering for the future, swapping him out for Tammy Abraham would make a lot of sense. You can’t plan for a future if a player is out the door next season… you also have the post-February drag where there players hunting out a new move start preserving their bodies.

Arsenal has signed Mika Biereth from Fulham (via The Athletic). The 18-year-old banged in 21 goals in 21 games for the U18s last season, he also dropped 13 assists. The player will be picking up the gap left by Nikolaj Moller, who is moving on loan to FC Viktoria Koln for a season.

What do I like about this move? Mostly that a hot young prospect playing in England is entrusting their future to Arsenal. I’ve been writing for years about moving to a Dortmund++ model. The concept is really simple.

  • Hire in developmental coaches
  • Attract young talent with the offer of fast-tracking to the first team
  • Sell one of these young players for HUGE money
  • Put that money into even better kids
  • Rinse, repeat until eventually, this approach brings success

Obviously, things are a little more complicated than that, but we’re already seeing the impact this model is having on the club. Our best youth players are no longer leaving by not signing new deals (Kido/Okonowo/Balogun). Our best first team young players are committing their long-term futures to the project (ESR/Saka/Martinelli). We are attracting top young talent from the continent and they are saying things like ‘I want to play with The Smith’ or ‘I was attracted to the club because I was told the club was building around young guys.’

As I said yesterday, there’s always a lag between perception and reality. A number of Arsenal fans are still stuck in mid-November thinking… well, does it really matter if the players are showing what the project is all about by committing to the club? It doesn’t.

Obviously, there’s still work to do this summer and we need to have a much better start than we did last season.

Transfers need to flow…

I’m guessing there’s no movement on a centre midfielder because Granit Xhaka’s move to Roma looks to be in doubt.

It seems like there’s no movement on a CAM because Martin Odegaard does not sound happy in Madrid and there are Spanish journos leaking that he might leave on loan again.

There’s no movement on the keeper because it sounds like Arsenal are not going to pay £35m for Aaron Ramsdale. If the stories of £18m are true, is the move that bad? The player has been called up to England, he’s won back to back player of the year awards for relegated clubs, he has 75 apps in the Premier League at 23 years old, and Asmir Begovic likes him… remember when we liked Begovic?

“He’s already proved that he can play at the highest level. He’s got a lot of potential still to fulfil.

“The more he plays, the more he’s going to progress. So I’m not surprised to see him linked with some of the top clubs.

“What he’s done over the last couple of years shows everyone the quality he has.

“With his age, where he’s at, the potential is there to become an even better goalkeeper.”

Whatever is going on with Ramsdale, it seems like professionals like him, fans of the clubs he plays for love him, and we just don’t get it.

I think it might be because a lot of us had really hurt feelings over Richard Wright when we signed him from Ipswich and he was terrible.

Anyway, I refuse to get upset over a backup keeper…

What I do find interesting is that there was a massive amount of complaining when we were signing senior players… now we’re looking at players with potential to grow, we’re complaining about that as well?

Tammy Abraham is 23 years old, he scored 48 goals in the Championship, he’s scored 26 in the Premier League, his Champions League record is 13 games, 4 goals, and 3 assists… and people are spitting feathers over that. That is a high potential player, why wouldn’t we be interested in his profile? Adebayor joined Arsenal at 22, do you know how many goals he’d scored in Ligue 1? 22 in 80 games. He was absolutely appalling when he landed with us, but he was young, had all the right attributes, then he banged and became one of the most devastating strikers in the Premier League. If he’d had better people around him, he’d have made it to Drogba levels.

Anyway, point is… young players don’t have ceilings. The point of having elite coaching is that you can take rough diamonds and make them shine. This is the direction Arteta should have been pushed down from day one, the club never should have allowed him the authority to say yes to older players.

Ok, that went on for longer than I expected. Let’s see you in the comments. x

373 Responses to “ROUGH DIAMONDS”

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  1. Dissenter

    Laca has one year left on his contract and the club didn’t want to lose him on a free transfer

    Why is that so hard to understand?

    It makes some sense to get what we can for him and use that money towards signing his replacement.

  2. IQ

    I must be mad because I think we already have more than enough attacking talent in the team. The problem we have is getting the ball up to them quickly enough for them to use their attributes and not playing a settled team long enough for them to play with each other.
    If we were getting the ball to them and they were flopping I’d agree we need more attacking players but how often do we pass the ball up to any of them in the attacking third? Most times they have to drop deep collect the ball and try to find a way through an opposing team that has had plenty of time to get into position.

    Xhaka is a good player but with him in the side you either take a risk or attack with one less player. If he joins the attack from midfield you run the risk that any counter down the left and we’re left with only the left centre back to defend as he is too slow to recover or he stays deep and provides no support to the left back when we attack. I would take Neves or Bissouma over him all day if we are going to persist with only two midfielders.

    If we really need a better ball playing right centre back what do you guys think of playing Chambers there instead and spending the 50m on White on a proper marauding right back in the mould of Tierney? Is White really that much better given that he had a functioning midfeld in front of him set up to defend and here he will have to play along our dysfunctional one.

  3. Rich

    Andy

    They may well be, who knows?

    He’s 22, he’s not the finished article, even though he improves us significantly in he immediate

    He’s the exact age + experience profile I want us to target, 22-25, good amount of experience, and has the potential to cross over into an elite player over the next 12-24 months

    Henry was dumped by Juventus
    Vieira dumped by AC Milan
    Pires chose Arsenal over Real Madrid
    Cesc left Barca as a 16yr old
    De Bruyne + Salah were both bumped by Chelsea
    We lost Gnabry + Malen, and we could lose Nelson + Willock
    City lost Sancho, who prioritised playing time

    If we get Odegaard, it’ll be because he’s publicly stated he wants to settle down at one club

    At Real Madrid he’s a small fish in a big pond, at Arsenal we’ll turn him into a world star, he’ll be one of our most important players in the best league in the world, and our best signing since Alexis in 2014

    Maybe at Arsenal he’s found his place, a manager who trusts him, and a platform to settle down, start enjoying his football, and develop

    Everything I’ve read about him suggests he’s a very grounded young man, with his head screwed on right, combine that with the level of talent he’s clearly got, and it’s a good combination for a successful career

    Providing he stays fit, and chooses his next move wisely, I’m in little doubt that he’s going all the way to the very top, he’s an unbelievable talent

  4. Pierre

    Dissenter
    “It makes some sense to get what we can for him and use that money towards signing his replacement”

    We already have a replacement …Balogun, who is more explosive, has more pace , is more powerful , has better movement and is potentially more potent in front of goal.

    I have always been disappointed with Lacazette movement in and around the box….

  5. Mee

    Odegaard is very one dimensional. The team needs dynamic players who will up the tempo and create room for spontaneity. Big No to Odegaard

  6. China1

    Dark hei I’m not in shanghai or I’d moan less. Shanghai is much better than here

    The problem is here you need to know where to go. The variance in quality is very high and doesn’t correlate closely with price much. Just trial and error to find the good ones.

    Japan is way more consistent

    But beyond that it’s a cultural thing as well. Here they have 1000 different dishes but people don’t have much concept of a well designed meal, it’s very much random for the most part. 10 dishes ordered but little if anything connection between them in terms of taste, order and nutritional value

    For example if there’s dessert it will sometimes be delivered first or in the middle. People eating hot and sour dishes then take a bite of cold mashed potato with jam and sprinkles (yea really) or a bite of cream cake, then within 5 seconds they’ve grabbed some spicy pork. Unreal combinations and not in a good way lol

  7. China1

    Iq I agree that an AM is for rotation with ESR who is already a good player whilst we don’t have a quality partner for partey (unless lokonga pulls out all the stops)

    It would be the most arsenal thing ever to sign a mega expensive AM like Maddison, then shunt ESR out wide, then the xhaka deal falls through and once AGAIN people will be wondering why our midfield is bad

    Replace xhaka before helping ESR. Doing it the other way round is like having a broken leg but you’re spending time at the hospital instead just talking to a doctor about how to solve those migraines you sometimes get…

  8. Pierre

    Andy
    Liverpool had 3 midfielders when they won the league who didn’t attack the box …I wouldn’t call them “boring as fuck) ..

    It’s too easy to say that having 2 holding midfielders are “boring as fuck”.
    if you have full backs that play high up the pitch then it is essential that you have 2 centre mid that can read the game and are positionally perfect , otherwise you leave yourself open to the counter.

    But I’m sure you knew that anyway.

  9. China1

    Having two deep lying CMs doesn’t necessarily mean you are less attacking

    If you play a 4-3-3 there’s like more onus on the midfield to get up and back. If you play 4-2-3-1 it can give the AM and two wingers more offensive freedom to take risks safe in the knowledge the midfield hasn’t pushed up too much as b2b players might (Ramsey was the ultimate culprit for this)

  10. Dissenter

    Pierre
    What do you think of Ode

    Regarding Laca
    I consider Balogun to be a long term replacement for Auba when his contract is due. Balogun is at least 3-4 seasons behind the likes of Tammy Abraham. If we knew what we were doing, Balogun would be out on loan in the championship. He needs to play 30+ games a season to hone his skills.

  11. IQ

    Pierre, Liverpool really only play with Fabinho as the holding midfielder. Henderson and Wijnaldum are very athletic and play as box to box. None of our midfielders are as athletic as either of them and thats why we have so much trouble moving the ball out of defence. Our only athletic players are all attackers who have to drop deep to compensate. Or Tierney who has to run the length of the pitch when we lose the ball, poor bastard.

  12. raptora

    Aouar can be our new Cazorla.

    https://pythagorasinboots.com/houssem-aouar-the-unpressable/

    HOUSSEM AOUAR: THE UNPRESSABLE

    Is the title of the fantastic article I just read on the Frenchman.

    “Though he plays at central midfield, he has the characteristics of a player playing higher up the pitch. From deeper positions, Aouar is an outstanding progressor of the ball from half-spaces. Overall, we find that in midfield, Aouar is one of the best ball carriers in Europe with unparalleled one-on-one abilities.”

    He is likened to Goretzka, Wijnaldum, Bernardo Silva.

    It brings me to my original theory.

    I believe that Arteta and Edu see Partey as a CM that was contending with Aouar for the same position in the team, meaning that we were always going for Xhaka profile of player, as in Neves/Locatelli links.

    That’s why our interest towards Aouar looks completely dead. It surely is the only football related explanation there can be to not pursuit a your #1 transfer target of last Summer, when his price has reportedly halved.

    There is still a lot of time to make a move but it doesn’t look as probable knowing we laid foundations a year ago so we only needed to follow on our interest this Summer to get the deal done.

    For me Partey, Aouar, ESR is a very technical, fast, agile and progressive midfield. Our goals scored will skyrocket with these 3 feeding balls to the attackers and breaking the enemy lines with their crazy good dribbling skills.

    Just imagine a younger Cazorla with Partey instead of Coquelin in our midfield. We don’t need 2 DMs. We’ll dominate teams for fun with that midfield 3.

    Get Dumfries in and we get some much needed height in the team as well as one of the best attacking full backs in Europe.

  13. IQ

    If Aouar can replace Xhaka in the team I would much rather get him and Dumfries than Ben White. I think we will see much better attacking output from replacing Bellerin and Xhaka than upgrading our centre backs or attacking players.

  14. Steveyg87

    Multiple sources saying Ode is unsettled at RM. you can just see this happening, MA is playing with his job

  15. Dissenter

    Aouar looks like the type of player that will need freedom to operate, the type he won’t get under a robotic manager.
    His talent is undoubted but he may not be the right fit for Arteta. They’ll probably fallout before December if he comes to Arsenal.

  16. Rich

    Liverpool play 2-3-4-1 in possession

    Arsenal played 2-3-4-1 in possession post Xmas

    City, Chelsea, Brighton regularly do something similar, and Italy did something similar at the Euro’s

    There’s different variations of it, the whole point seems to be to get 5 attacking players into the final third, and then pin the opponents in

    Liverpool use their 3 central midfielders a bit deeper, and both of their full backs are playing more as wingers in possession

    Arsenal would do different variations of this, with just one full back kicking on, usually Tierney, with Xhaka covering the space in behind

    …………….….….Leno
    ….…….Holding Gabriel
    Chambers Partey Xhaka
    ……..Odegaard Smith Rowe
    …..Saka ……………….Tierney
    ……………….Lacazette

    Then out of possession we’d move to 4-5-1

    It’s why I think we’ll target a left footer to replace Xhaka if we sell him, and we won’t sign an attacking right back, we’ll sign someone who sits on the right side of three players in front of the centre backs

    Who has the recovery pace and athletic profile to cover the space in behind, can read the game well and win the ball back early, and build play from deep

    If we had both our full backs kicking on like Liverpool, then we’d need to drop one of our central midfielders much deeper, in order to cover the space in behind

  17. raptora

    Dissenter,
    I agree.

    I know Arteta is no Pep, but assuming he wants to follow in his footsteps, Pep has given all the freedom in the world to De Bruyne. Gundogan also had quite a lot of freedom to vacant his CM position and finish City’s attacks.

    A certain freedom is needed even in the most rigid of setups. The sooner Arteta realizes that, the better.

  18. raptora

    Rich: “If we had both our full backs kicking on like Liverpool, then we’d need to drop one of our central midfielders much deeper, in order to cover the space in behind”

    I assume that’s literally the biggest reason Arteta to pay 50m for White – his pace and the pressure he puts on the opponents early in the attack. This will hopefully allow our defence to move 10-15 m further up the pitch and be able to commit more players in the other team’s penalty box without leaving too much space between our midfielders and defenders that seemed to be a big problem with Holding in the team.

  19. Positive pete

    The only reason I’d consider giving Odegaard a shot would be if he either came with a years loan & option to buy at end or a steal at £35 plus add ons straight away.This would free up the dosh for Bissouma who would transform our midfield.Assuming Arteta/ Edu have any sense.Hmmm mmm….

  20. Pierre

    Dissenter
    Odegaard doesn’t really do it for me, I think he is a little overrated..
    Too one dimensional for a CAM for me.

  21. Rich

    Raptora

    That right sided defensive midfield role, was where White played the majority of his football last season for Brighton

    Where I’ve got Chambers playing in the above example

    White did play as a right sided centre back in a back 4 for Leeds, so he might play there

    We’ve been linked with Tyler Adams of RB Leipzig, who statistically plays a similar role with a lot of pressures, and winning the ball back early

    I don’t think we’ll sign a right back who kicks on like Tierney + Tavares, either Ben White or Chambers will play that role, or we’ll sign a specialist

    Reece James plays a similar role for Chelsea, and Cancelo plays a similar role for City

    If we want to move our team 10-15 yards up the pitch, this is the way we do it

    I have a sneaky feeling we’re trying for Camavinga, there’s been a few reports, his inexperience could be an issue, but stylistically he’d be perfect on the left side of the 3 in front of the centre backs

    Where Xhaka would sit quite deep, someone with the athletic prolific of Camavinga, could press much higher

  22. andy1886

    Pierre

    “Liverpool had 3 midfielders when they won the league who didn’t attack the box …I wouldn’t call them “boring as fuck) ..”

    It’s not even remotely comparable though is it? Liverpool are a far more dynamic and attacking side. Let’s look at the most basic of stats:

    PL Goals scored by Liverpool MF players 2019/2020 – TOTAL 21 Goals.

    PL Goals scored by Arsenal MF players 2019/20 – TOTAL 4 Goals (and that’s generously including Ozil as a midfielder).

    Now unless ‘Pool’s midfielders were firing in rockets from outside the box those figures suggest that actually contrary to your claim Liverpool midfielders DID in fact attack the box far more often than ours and the comparison is a nonsense.

  23. Pierre

    IQ
    “Pierre, Liverpool really only play with Fabinho as the holding midfielder. Henderson and Wijnaldum are very athletic and play as box to box.”

    I tend to disagree, to me a box to box midfielder is someone who arrives in the opposition box like lampard or even Ramsey…willock is a box to box as he makes the late runs into the box.
    The 2 Liverpool players rarely venture into the box.

    Neither wijnaldum or Henderson are players that get ahead of the ball for Liverpool, the play is always in front of them.

    I would say wijnaldum played box to box for Holland as he often appeared in the opposition box and scored a few.
    At Liverpool he rarely ventures into the box unless they are chasing the game.

  24. Mb

    I would say no to Odegaard. Smith Rowe is better than him any day.

    I guess the only reason Arteta wants him is because he will do exactly what he say.

    This micromanagement needs to stop during the games.

    You tell your game plan. Let them play. If you someone improvise, fair enough. If that pays badly, they beer the consequence in the dressing room.

  25. raptora

    Mb: “This micromanagement needs to stop during the games.”

    Wholeheartedly agree. More than anything else, it shows insecurity and badly conducted trainings.

  26. Mb

    Give Willock a run of games, and he will do much better than everyone think of him.

    Selling a player who scored 7 in 7 matches for a lower team to then buy someone else and pray that he do the same?

    Doesn’t make any sense to me.

    Regarding we can’t keep everyone, we can. 30k/week is not a problem, giving 200pw to chelsea reject is.

    Loan some where they can get game time.

  27. CJ

    “For me Partey, Aouar, ESR is a very technical”

    Soft as cheese too. And Bissouma is not just another DM. This the bias showing here. Big black French African?must be a “DM” or “destroyer”.. Partey can play the role of ball recycler at the base (tbf we haven’t seen the full spectrum of his skills, whatever Xhaka, Neves can do Partey can do it with the added advantage of superior athleticism) Bissouma will play as the defensive B2B. Both of them allows the front 4 way more freedom.

  28. Dissenter

    Mb
    I wouldn’t say ESR is better than Ode, however I wouldn’t.t disagree with you is you had said Ode is no better than ESR.
    Ode was underwhelming as f**k during his loan, one footed, mono-paced and far too scripted.

  29. andy1886

    Pierre

    “The 2 Liverpool players rarely venture into the box.Neither wijnaldum or Henderson are players that get ahead of the ball for Liverpool, the play is always in front of them.”

    In the title winning season you mentioned both Henderson and Wijnaldum scored 4 PL goals each – just to remind you that our entire midfield scored 4 goals that season.

  30. CJ

    “There’s different variations of it, the whole point seems to be to get 5 attacking players into the final third, and then pin the opponents in”

    This! Conte is so good at it. Basically a 5-5 formation.

  31. Dissenter

    Odegaard’ s loan at Sociedad is often used as the reason why we should sign him but then they mitigate Willock’s excellent half season loan at Newcastle.

  32. Matt

    I wish I got what people saw in Odegaard. I think people are swayed by the myth of a 16 year old who signed for Real Madrid. If you judge purely on what you saw from him last season, I can’t see how anyone can be that excited by the prospect of him coming back. He did OK, no worse, no better. Do you think fans of other teams will be quaking in their boots at the idea of him coming back to Arsenal?

  33. Sid

    The 2 holding midfielders in our system boring and closer to Athletic Madrid nothing like Klopps gegenpress.
    The idea of Partey pressing would land him on a wheelchair

  34. raptora

    CJ: “Soft as cheese too.”

    It has it’s downsides, I won’t lie about it.

    It’s up to the people in charge to decide which is the ideal midfield 3 in their eyes.

    1. Partey, Bissouma/Anguissa, ESR;
    2. Partey, Aouar, ESR;
    3. Neves/Locatelli, Partey, ESR.

    Aouar can be someone like Renato Sanches.
    ESR can be Maddison, Odegaard.

  35. Sid

    Gary o’driscoll has enough work taking care of tierney, ESR, Partey
    Theres no need of adding Odegaard on his roster

  36. IQ

    Pierre, you are right. I used the B2B term wrongly and should probably just have used athletic. I do agree though that the closest midfielder we have to those two is Willock and we should give him a chance to play alongside Partey and Xhaka.

  37. Elmo

    “Ode was underwhelming as f**k during his loan, one footed, mono-paced and far too scripted.”

    That’s what I find so weird about the change in tone. An old episode of the podcast from the closing weeks of the season happened to autoplay after I was listening to the latest episode a couple of weeks ago while driving. Pedro and Johnny were in agreement that Odegaard was an underwhelming player who lacks the ability to take the game by the scruff of the neck, and it wasn’t worth spending significant money on him. Somehow over a matter of weeks this has been forgotten and Odegaard re-imagined as a dreamy talent who would be a big reach for us as a transfer target.

  38. Steveyg87

    If Odegaard comes in, you can consider any Maddison deal dead in the water. That’s my main concern. Get Madders in to create a buzz around the club and start focusing on offloading.

  39. CJ

    Raptora we should do deals for Bissouma and Aouar and move on. I like Locatelli but sadly he hates travel. Aouar and ESR can be interchangeable between The left half space and the centre. Contrary to what most on here are saying ESR’s game never dropped off when he played on the left. Wenger used to play Cesc/Rosicky/Hleb, Cesc/Nasri/RvP, this team needs more technically secure ballers ahead. ESR/Aouar playing from the right or left half spaces frees Saka/Pepe and Auba from build up duties. It’s simple

  40. GoonGoonerGone

    ‘We will turn Odegaard into a world star ‘.
    If this statement was not so funny, I would have started crying.
    Some of you who think Odegaard will become a world star need to give me some of what you are smoking.
    Odegaard and ‘world star’ equals delusion, the same kind of delusion that Arteta will become a top class manager.

  41. Almuniasaynomore

    Kroenkephobe,
    Your song yesterday has prompted me back into lyric changing action.
    For this one Tets and Edu have teamed up for a duet( think Hoddle and Waddle, ‘Diamond lights’) except Tets is immaculate in black suit , crisp white shirt, Edu is his foil in white suit, black shirt. Both have too many shirt buttons open to be taken seriously and are wearing oversized sunglasses.

    ‘Absolute Beginners’ by David Bowie
    MA: I’ve nothing much to offer
    Edu: And I’m just kind of fake
    MA: I’m an absolute beginner
    Edu:And I’m not absolutely sane
    Both:As long as we’re together
    The rest can go to hell ( turn theatrically to gaze at each other)
    I absolutely love you (immediately face back to the audience)
    But we’re absolute beginners
    Now with the window open
    We’re nervous all the same

    MA: All the summer long
    Edu: We flew through our millions
    MA: We laughed at the commotion
    ( Close up of a winking Edu)
    Edu:I should be in films!
    Both: We’re the reason
    We’re going through these hard times
    MA: I laid down the hard lines
    Edu:It’s absolutely true!
    MA: Nothing good will happen
    Edu:No deal I can’t break
    Both: Oh we’re absolute beginners
    And it’s your club that’s at stake…….

  42. Dissenter

    Elmo
    Pedro tries to figure what Arteta is about to do and then sets himself up to reasonably argue for that position.

  43. Pedro

    Diss, you set up to do the opposite and it is very amusing each time you do so.

    ‘Arteta should learn from Dortmund how to handle Auba ill-discipline’ up there with the best this summer.

  44. Pedro

    TR7, think you are way off the mark with that. Odegaard is a top talent. Great ball carrier, brings others into the game, good final ball… and he’s 22 years old. Plenty of room to grow. Suspect he’ll be quite a bit better if he doesn’t have to drop so deep to make things happen with the ball as well. Certainly not an 8th placed player… we saw that by how the points shifted when he was an option.

    He’s also a leader behind the scenes and we certainly need a bit of that.

    Maddison obviously the star option, but Odegaard is hardly picking up Charlie Adam’s on a free.

  45. Kroenkephobe

    Almunia
    Sweet – you’ve not lost the knack geezer. That one covers both genres and reads like a musical skit. Brave too to bring in a Bowie track that was not exactly a roaring success. I wonder if that track ‘kooks’ from Hunky Dory might be one for the future.

    I’m hoping that someone like Terraloon with his financial prowess and acumen will do a Louis Walsh and manage us as a boyband – we’d be a 5 piece Irish-Anglo combo with Weagle, Marc and Pedro. Tony twiddling the knobs and setting the soft lighting so that we sounded like Mantovani and looked like early 60s Elvis. Old cunts on the block.

  46. China1

    In his fixation with xhaka locatelli and neves it’s clear that arteta likes players who remind him of himself, albeit with vastly differing levels between them all

  47. Almuniasaynomore

    Kroenkephobe,
    Not sure the other 3 ‘members ‘ would appreciate being lumped with the old cunts! Love Bowie, that’s not one of my favourite tunes by a long shot but my better half was playing it this morning and the idea grew, you know yourself.
    I just have to divorce myself from Bissouma, Neves, Locatelli, Ramsdale et al, head wrecking to try and make sense of it all. At the same time I cant just switch off from le grove/ arsenal. So this is where I find myself, sketches and songs!
    I enjoy it though. Cornered poor old Wenger Eagle last night as I rabbited on about keepers( my favourite topic). Cant stay away even in the middle of tw hell.
    Now I’ve one for you. Been delaying this for a while cause the actors one took a life of it’s own, I was waiting for Pedro to bin me for turning his blog into IMDb. So let’s quietly turn to top 5 actresses. In your lifetime. So I’m beginning in the 70’s but you feel free to use the 60’s. Here’s my problem. When I was thinking this through I realised I was really struggling to separate acting talents from looks. Genuine question,does that mean I’m sexist? Anyway I’ve got my 5,won’t tell you til you’ve had time to mull over your own.

  48. China1

    Charlize Theron is for me an exceptional actress and also happens to be stunning – age is finally beginning to catch up with her just a tad

    Not sure about the other 4 but then I struggled on the actors as well

  49. Almuniasaynomore

    China,
    Thank you,coming from you that’s high praise. But as Johnny Cash would say ‘I’ve walked the line”.

  50. Almuniasaynomore

    China,
    You see that’s my problem right there. Charlize Theron has been on my list of the worlds most beautiful women since I first laid eyes on her. So how do I put her in my list without acknowledging that it’s her looks that I consider her main talent.?

  51. Aaron

    All this talk of two holding mid’s is boring.

    Our offensive players need someone to create for them, as we do not have many players who can create in the oppositions final third when the defenders are set up in the marking zones, or from a quick transition from a counter attack from deep in our own half, or getting a turnover high up the pitch. We did in the buildup of Balo’s goal last game.

    Who is going to provide the through passes, move the ball forward quickly, turn with their back with the ball and blaze past the opposition? Not Ode, that is for damn sure.

    ESR can’t play them all, simple really, and the powers that be better figure it out.

  52. Valentin

    Almunia,

    Don’t fall for the “I am too beautiful to be recognised for my talent” excuse a la Jessica Biel. Great actresses don’t have to be plain to be talented. Being plain meant that they had to work double hard to be recognised and that in all likelihood they are better at acting than a former model who never had to work hard to get a role.

    In no particular order, I like the following actresses:

    Meryl Strip: I think that she is not risking as much as before
    Charlize Theron is beautiful and very talented
    Viola Davis: on stage, she can be mesmerising
    Linda Hamilton is underrated for me
    Emily Blunt
    Sissi Spacek
    Angelina Jolie: I tend to block the media furore about her private life. She can act and she has been in some good movies but very few great movies.

    Special mention to Anne Hathaway and Hillary Swank.

    There are others actresses who I think are great, but I could not see play some roles. We had the same discussion about actors a while ago, some actors pijeonholing themselves (deliberatedly or by accident) in type of roles in which they excel.

    Mattbew McConaughey being the prime example of an actor who until recently I never thought could play anything else than the pretty boy in a romcom.

  53. Valentin

    As Pierre has explained numerous time, Arteta wants his two CM to protect the defense. So unless Arteta has had an epiphany and changes formation, anybody expecting to see our central midfield to play pretty combination pattern is likely to be disappointed.

    Personally I don’t like his style of football, but I would settle for a quicker version of what we played last season. When played centrally with Lacazette, ESR can act as an accelerator for our play. Without him or somebody of his ilk to quicken the pace, we are turgid and lateral without penetration.

  54. China1

    Almunia did you ever see her in arrested development season 3 fuck me that was hilarious

    She looked absolutely smoking then in her absolute prime and the plot line was hilarious that she was a British girl with significant mental developmental issues (she had the mental age of a 9 year old or something) but the main character though all of her unexpected behavior was just because she was British and the British must all be like that 😂😂😂😂

  55. TR7

    Pedro

    You are judging Odegaard in isolation. You may think he is a talented player but you got to ask yourself how much does he help Arsenal given the way we play.

    Our wingers (Pepe, Willian, Saka ) do not make off the ball runs. They all wait to receive the ball from either our fullbacks or our CAM/CM. If they were in the mold of Theo Walcott with blistering pace and ability to make great off the ball runs, Odegaard would have done well for us feeding the ball in to them. But with Saka, Pepe and Willian all waiting to receive the ball, Odegard does little else than making regulation passes to them. Why ? Firstly because he can’t beat a player on his own by dribbling. Besides, his passes are not probing passes. They don’t draw a defender out of his position. He is very easy to defend against. He looks easy on the eye but he is quite one dimensional. Arsenal need a different kind of CAM.

  56. Ray+in+LA

    if two seasons is a reasonable argument [and I believe it is] then two quarter seasons for odergaard is also a reasonable argument

    before the international break he was quite promising and after the break he was not effective and easily pushed off the ball

    we need someone robust as well as creative in that position

  57. Ray+in+LA

    someone I think it was Raptor recommended Dumfries as a Tierney equivalent for RB — at 18 million seems plausible

    I prefer the other gaard — Damsgaard the Danish midfielder — for 30 million

    better use of 50 million than White