by .

Feels like it’s been a while since we had a meaty David Ornstein drop – and it dropped harder than a hock of vegan ham.

Arsenal is channelling some of 2018 January energy as they look to consolidate their powers to mitigate risk heading into the final stretch of the season. New York Times writer, Sir David Ornstein, reckons we’ll pull money forward for Dusan Vlahovic if the player is game, though people in Italy seem to think the player isn’t really game.

You can say many things about Edu and Arteta, but when it comes to the sales pitch, and making sure the purchase is possible, we haven’t really missed that often. If Edu has to be pulled away from the family BBQ, rest assured, he’s not wasting non-grilling time on a player he’s not sure about. Also, let’s look to what Arteta said about Auba: He doesn’t have enough passion or commitment to be Arsenal captain.

I’m doubtful we’d go in for someone if we were their 9th choice.

I’m still a bit sceptical, but if you look at striking realities elsewhere, it does leave you a little more positive… because Dusan doesn’t have the best set of options right now.

Spurs just don’t have any money for big January moves, so count them out unless they bin Harry Kane

United has too many strikers as it is

Chelsea has sad Rom for the foreseeable, they are rich, but not rich enough to drop another £60m so soon (especially after Werner tanked). Tuchel has to make that one work.

Manchester City feels a little too right for Haaland, if not him, maybe Kane. Both signings won’t come sooner than the summer.

Liverpool don’t need a striker right now, I’m also not sure they are flush with cash

Juventus cannot possibly have any money, Fiorentina are not going to accept a 6-year loan deal with no intent to buy. Selling to a rival also isn’t cool for the home crowd.

If Vlahovic wants a banger of a project, there aren’t many more exciting than the one we have AND we have a little pawn called Lucas Torreira to make the deal more palatable for everyone.

Matt on the podcast made the point that a January signing is basically a 5 month preseason so the player bangs the year after. Serie A is played at a snail’s pace, Lucas Torreira looks a monster there, a player that couldn’t hack La Liga. So if we’re bringing in someone from there, the more time they get, the better.

There’s also talk about Iska and DCL if the deal falls through. All very similar in profile, though Isak does look to have that demon speed the other two don’t.

Granit Xhaka is out of contention for the weekend, which will give THE BIG MAN CHARLIE PATINO a chance to make his full debut against Forest according to Chris Wheatley, MBE. I know I said that Liverpool were a bunch of bitches for postponing our Carling Cup game, but let’s be real, if Patino is rolling in that first leg, we might be in a bit of trouble.

I know there are a lot of smug journalists out there saying football fans see bias where there is none and it does make me laugh because their job is to be curious.

Rick Parry, exLiverpool man, pushes their postponement over the line in the League Cup. Even if you are the laziest human in the world, can you not at least wonder if someone with deep affiliations might have bias? If I went into Government and gave a massive fat COVID loan to my old agency, would people ask questions? They would. Nothing is dodgy until someone does a bit of poking around.

For the record, Liverpool are on for their FA Cup game.

Manchester City has to play their game despite a massive outbreak.

Then I read that Arsenal were fined £20k for losing control of their players. United had a similar incident a few months ago, where is their fine?

Even the way the league maps fixtures is off. Spurs get new dates for Leicester when they are at their absolute weakest. Vardy is out, 4 of their players are at AFCON. Why aren’t Spurs playing Brighton or Burnley?

Arsenal haven’t played a big team after a European night out all season.

I’m going full tin-hat, but if you can look at how badly the league has implemented TV replays to help refs, do you not wonder how shitty their processes are for everything else?

We play this weekends game in an all-white shirt. Idris Elba, massive Gooner, is behind the idea.

“The idea that Arsenal are going to come out in an all-white kit and say ‘No More Red’ will hopefully make people think ‘Hang on, what’s going on here?’ – then look further and try and find out more,”

30 kids have died from knife crime this weekend, so let’s hope this has a positive impact.

Steven Gerrard has walked right into his first big deal and I gotta say, I love it. He’s signed 29-year-old Coutinho. I know Edu had a lot of love for the Brazilian, but Villa have walked right into the move and I couldn’t be happier. It’s quite odd watching Villa move in the market. They’ve gone from quite a clear transfer strategy to making some very odd moves that don’t look like they fit. Like I’ve said here many times before, every manager wants peak 29-year-old players, because it requires less effort to coach them. The magic of a proper club is to tell a manager they can’t make moves like that. Also… that Emi Buendia deal is looking like a solid dodge, right? They overpaid for him, dealt with swarms of agents, and accepted a sell-on clause that means they’ll have to get £45m-ish to break even.

Arsenal still need to do something in midfield, unless they believe Patino is good enough to cover. I guess we’ll find out this weekend. I’d love for us to bring in a player that might be the one to take over from Xhaka long-term, again, the idea of having someone ready for next season is a sexy one. That said, if the money isn’t right, Jack Wilshere would be my bet.

Ok, that is all I have my darlings, have fun in the comments, be kind x



Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Nigel Tufnel

    Your comment about broken promises is true, but is not relevant to Pedro’s supposition about Patino or an incoming player.

    I’ve been complaining that I wanted to see AMN play a lot more in midfield too, and I don’t like how he was handled by Arteta. I’m sure there was English clubs who wanted him, but we pushed Italy so in case he comes good, we won’t see it as much.

  2. China1

    If arsenal genuinely get a classy CM and CF this month it begs the question of what would be needed this summer

    CF position would be fine
    Wide areas would be ok if Pepe stays. He’s need replacing if he goes.
    CM would be fine.
    LB fine.
    RB I’m fine with chambers as a second choice tbh
    CB bring back Saliba
    GK I expect Leno will be out so we would need one

    So my expectation would be we may need a winger and a keeper if Pepe and Leno leave. In both cases I would not suggest we spend big. We just want good backups who can come in and do a job when required presuming we can’t afford anyone pricey

  3. Nigel Tufnel

    Great summary and description of our summer acquisitions, including the part about Nuno. I really want to see him more.

    AfC forever,
    You’re so right about the geniuses here believing the silliest clickbait… then they start wetting the bed about us losing our guys.

    They do it to themselves.

  4. bacaryisgod


    You might be right about Wijnaldum. All the stories coming out look to be from his side being unhappy with his role and playing time at PSG. However, it looks very unlikely PSG will let him go so soon after signing him. He’s also still playing a decent amount of the time for them.

  5. Leedsgunner

    As I suspected At. Madrid are looking at Cedric as a replacement for Trippier but on loan.

    Instead of faffing about with loans – offer Cedric to them for a £2m and be done with it.

  6. bacaryisgod


    So far it’s shaping up to be our best transfer window in terms of arrivals, departures and renewals (including ESR) since the 1996-97 season when we essentially traded Anelka and Vieira for Hartson and Dickov and still made a profit. Of course we then sold Anelka a few seasons later and brought in TH14 for about half of Anelka’s sale price.

  7. Tony

    Ramsey had one stand-out season with the rest meh overall. Forever leaving gaps in midfield and his stupid Hollywood flicks he would pull faces after executing them badly most of the time.

    Only saving grace was vital goals in UK cup finals. Would be different if he scored 10 goals a season from MF each season.

    Very hard no from me for him, although Rambo Ransey’s acid tongue at times is missed by me. Hope you’re well mate.

    We seem to be doing our best to woo Dustan Vlahovic and convince him of the Arteta revolution that has only picked up since Auba’s demise. If I were the current 3rd best striker in Europe at the moment, I’d be thinking hard and fast and getting sound intel on the club and management, as well as taking a hard look at Arteta’s rancid man management with youth players not getting game time when any reasonable manager would have integrated them as Emery did.

    For 23 months Arteta was a train wreck on speed. He careened from one pile up to another; he couldn’t select the same team twice and still has no idea about in-game management.

    The last month when Arteta was forced into using Martinelli in place of Auba, so if Dustan Vlahovic has done his due diligence and if I were him, I’d wait until the summer to see what Bayern and other kings of Europe clubs are looking for. We’ll still be looking for striker then.

    Dustan is right to be apprehensive about the Arteta roller coaster revolution; it’s a huge decision for his next move. I’m surprised Arteta hasn’t decided to go for Isak because of Vlahovic’s lack of belief in Arteta and his future of our football.

    At DV’s age, he should be looking for an established winner of a manager – not a rookie who has stained the sheets too many times not being able to control his emotions ala his diet up with Klopp. You don’t have you look for for Arteta’s screw ups; there are far too many of them to be one offs or a learning curve. Because when you look closer the mistakes, you’ll find they are repeatedly broken by the supposed elite manager in waiting.

    We’ve been waiting for 24 months where if DV sees all the upheaval Arteta has brought the club, he will pass on us.

    Albert is our only chance to convince DV imho.

    23 days left so we’ll see what happens next in Arteta’s continuing, unfolding story. We have the players to get 4th, the team is playing far better moving the ball forward much quicker, as a team except Xhaka is very good at undoing the good we make for ourselves.

    Now Xhaka is our king pin for our MF because Arteta wants a striker first.

    As I’ve said since the summer TW where we didn’t get an elite-in-progress 24 yo experienced MF.

    We need a MF first same as in the summer. Arteta has acknowledged we’re short as he sends AMN on loan.

    It’s never easy trying to read between the lines of the clickbait and non-fictional transfer stories. It’s why I stay out of naming names and just positions we need filling.

    ESL is having a tough time getter a start recently because we bought Ode. Now Arteta wants DV, which will obviously limit Martinelli’s game time just when he’s catching fire as he did with Emery.

    If Arteta really wants DV, he should send Albert Stuivenberg to talk to the player and his agent. As is a man I’m beginning to have a lot of respect for.

    Shame he’s not our manager, really.

  8. bacaryisgod

    Sorry Tony, that just makes no sense. You say ‘at DV’s age, he should be looking for an established winner of a manager’ and then go on to say we should Albert Stuivenberg to talk to the player and his agent if we have any chance of bringing him here.

    Talent aside, I’m not convinced that Vlahovic will be a good cultural fit for the club. He might turn out to be the CF version of Unai Emery at the club. As far as his interest level goes, it’s all speculation right now, but if he’s desperate to play Champions League football next season, it makes sense to see where we finish this season before commiting to us. Of course, he could bet on himself making the difference to our Top 4 push and sign for us now!

  9. Tony

    Now worries Bacary, what I’m saying is Albert has more experience and seems a calmer influence than the hothead, Arteta. If a player wants to come to us, then no problem for Arteta to talk all enthusiastically about his vision for the future or our football.

    DV from reports in the papers (if true) doesn’t feel our progress/play matches his ambition. Basically, he’s not on board the Arteta train. Supposedly he’s waiting for a better club.

    So my meaning is if Arteta really wants DV, he’s better sending AS to do the winning over of the player and his agent instead of Arteta’s lip service, as our best chance of getting the player.

    Ultimately, as the 3rd best striker in Europe, he’d want an experienced manager of winning top honours or at least one that doesn’t keep making mistakes 2 years on.

    My concern is would DV hit the ground running from the slower Italian league? If he doesn’t, he upsets our current rhythm in scoring goals at will. Also, his temperament hasn’t been reported on, so if DV doesn’t hit the required heights quickly and Arteta’s benches him, what kind of reaction would Arteta get from Europe’s 3rd best striker. Would he break Arteta’s sacred NN’s if he’s mot playing regularly.

    Finally for me, it’s a moot point because we need to buy a top MF starter first, as in the summer window.

  10. Jay

    I became an Arsenal fan in August 1984. I’d just moved to England from Canada, did some couch surfing with friends, and then found a bedsit in Belsize Park. My local was the Washington on England’s Lane.

    I started talking to a guy named Nick, and of course the conversation got around to which club I supported. I didn’t really support anybody – there was no English football on Canadian TV at the time, except for maybe the FA Cup final.

    I said my friend Gwen, who I stayed with when I first got to England, supported Spurs. He said ‘fuck spurs, Arsenal is the only team to support’. This was the night before the new season started, so he took me to Highbury the next day to see the debut of Charlie Nicholas against Luton Town, and I’ve been Arsenal ever since.

    Sidenote – NIck’s last name was Hornby. Yes, I was introduced to Arsenal by *that* Nick Hornby.

  11. Tony

    “from the slower Italian league?”

    Just thinking about this again, I think Batistuta said here a while ago, the Italian league isn’t necessarily slower than the PL, it’s the pace and duration of the ‘intensity’ that’s different and unsettling to virgin PL players in the same way as it is to academy players getting their first PL minutes.

    I hope I got that right because I’ve assumed Italian football is slower.

    Very few players new to the PL hit the ground running. Ode did until his injury last season. Now he improving on that initial form and only what 22? If he keeps improving at 25 he should be elite or as close to as dam is to swearing.

    For now, I was wondering if Ode could play Xhaka’s position with ESR playing Ode’s on a pivot – with White/Gabs covering the DMF and us going to a back 3 when pushing forward?

    My worry is handbrake football is reintroduced when there is no need.

    Knowing Arteta will most likely play Xhaka, could Ode play with ESR filling the Laca position? Laca is great at what he does with his industry and work rate, but ESR has better vision and has found the net enough to continue doing so as well as feeding Martinelli.

    If Balogun goes on loan until the end of the season and Eddie is sold, we are light up front as well as in MF. Why sell Eddie when our biggest need is a quality MF? Eddie would be good competition for Martinelli and cover for injuries/fatigue. We’d also find out how well they can play together up top.

    One of Arteta’s continued downfalls that should be a vital strength is knowing when to let a fixation on a player or tactic, bad feeling etc go and use the plan B or a made up plan on the fly as the game/market dictates .

    As strange as it sounds being a real winner knows when to concede – learning from conceding and changing tact appropriately.

  12. DivineSherlock


    Its nice that you have so much to say about Arsenal but it really grates me to scroll past your long comments sometimes . Keep it short and sweet too

  13. Kalle O Haas

    Tony talk too much. Next thing we know you’ll start regalling us with how you’re on an expensive holiday in your expensive yatch on the coast of the Dubai desert no less!

  14. Samesong

    There something about DV that doesn’t fill me with excitement. I like my forwards with lightening pace. And when you see the clips he is barely getting past his man. Hope we don’t sign him.

  15. Habesha Gooner

    If we get a CM and a CF this January, which is unlikely, we would need to fix very few positions in the summer. We need one of Eddie on Lacazette to extend. If not Balogun needs to bang at Middlesbrough and be the back up next season. Pepe needs to be sold. Leno will also go. Chambers is out of contract in the summer. There are rumors on sky that Atletico want Cedric on loan with an obligation to buy.

    So basically we will need a tavarez kind of deal at GK and RB. And a decent attacking option in replacing Pepe and a back up CF if Balogun isn’t ready. 50 to 70 mil basically would get you that. And you can get that from selling AMN, Bellerin, Leno and Pepe basically. But that is only if we go big and spend in a CF and a CM in January. Then our team really starts to have very few weaknesses.

  16. Tony

    Devine – Duly noted.

    I don’t have the time to post on LG at other times just generally over my morning coffee. I tend to be scrolling through the day’s sports’ news stories not long after most have gone to sleep in the west depending on the time zone, and so have views to offer on what’s reported.

    Not normally a lot of traffic during my morning coffee, so I always felt I wasn’t clogging up traffic at peak UK times.

    I’ll add ‘Devine friendly* for the shorter ones if that helps?

    Ones that aren’t headed that way I would imagine 4 flicks of the wheel should see you past the tedium of having to engage the brain for longer than about 3 minutes?

    Just funning ya

  17. Bob N16


    ‘Arteta’s rancid man management of young players” although he is playing the youngest team in the league? – comes across as way too strong.

    ’23 months he was a train wreck on speed’ – surprised you’re giving him a month off the crazy train’.

    “better sending AS to win him over’- either tongue in cheek or complete misjudgement.

    After coming off a fantastic team performance with both attacking and defensive organisation clear to see, your attacks on Arteta seem a little anachronistic. They were so well set up last Sunday, the absence of the manager on the touchline was not noticed.

    I appreciate Vlahovic might well fancy more glamorous teams but if he and his agent can’t see the trajectory we’re on and they don’t want to be part of it then so be it – go for Isak or whoever. I like seeing our apparent ambition in the TW .

    Agree with you about Ramsay though!

  18. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal need to offload still a large number of players who are currently still on our books whether still in squad or out on loan. That is to some degree an impediment to our future

    However, in current circumstances Arsenal do not need a 25-27 first team squad since we are not playing in Europe, which means that we are not playing at least 10 additional games a season in midweek.

    The decision to offload AMN was the right one, but its timing in view of ANC Cup is not the
    best timing with three experienced midfield players missing.

    Arsenal are currently “gambling” for the game against Spurs in absence of both Partey and

    However, moving forward Arsenal’s recruitment requirements for this season and/or 2022-23 are not huge.

    The priority is of course two players in our starting X1 to play in CMF and CF positions, which will cost us the bulk of our transfer budget. Arteta has more or less acknowledged
    that this is our priority.

    Clearly there will be additional squad player requirements with perhaps 3 additional players

    For example if Leno leaves one assumes that he will be replaced with a cheaper option and
    similarly if Soares and Chambers leave they will be replaced by a low budget player costing
    what we paid for Tavares.

    It is also clear from Arteta’s recent comments that he still hopes to keep Nketiah. The fact
    that Aubameyang may well be on the way out of the club in addition to Lacazette may help
    to persuade this player to stay at the club. Bluntly we need two squad CFs not just one.

  19. Unoni

    I’ve been complaining that I wanted to see AMN play a lot more in midfield too, and I don’t like how he was handled by Arteta. I’m sure there was English clubs who wanted him, but we pushed Italy so in case he comes good, we won’t see it as much.

    Phil tuffnel

    I agree. I can’t complain too much as Arteta has gone with most of my wishes
    1) installing a creative heart beat in ESR and Odegaard (which was the biggest issue this team had when he took over)
    2) removing auba and going with laca to allow that heartbeat to flourish as auba was a one way ticket to turning the ball over to the opposition.
    3) sacking off leno. I was devastated when we sold Martinez and to me it signaled that (along with extending Aubameyang’s contract) that Arteta was bombing and could not see what this team really needed

    Now that he’s addressed those issues we are comfortably
    a tip 4 side and playing great stacking football with intent

    I do however feel he handled AMN and Pepe poorly and that if he opened to them a bit more then we have two huge assets in the squad
    I still think pepe has the ability to be best the wide forward in the league. He and Odegaard are blessed with more natural footballing ability than anyone else in the squad and I find it bemusing that such a goal threat isn’t harnessed more often.

  20. Unoni

    No to Ramsey. Yes to Jack Wilshere. Even if it’s only short term, no other central midfielder can control the flow of the ball like he can

  21. Tony

    ” They were so well set up last Sunday, the absence of the manager on the touchline was not noticed.”

    Not little anachronistic, Bob. Probably a lot, but I tend to be a lot more gung ho here because to assess the now and future potential, you must first analyze the past, so mistakes are not repeated. If they are, then they are repeated by others dismayed by such poor managerial behavior

    No, for me, there was a far calmer guy directing players waving less frantically in Albert Stuivenberg who acquitted himself well. That and we were playing potentially the best club team in world football, so would need to have Arteta’s tactics well drilled.

    Where your argument dips a bit or maybe a lot is that it’s a few games vs 23 months.

    My thoughts on Arteta’s TW priorities and dealings are very similar to many. Had he not sold Emi, I believe he would have been the difference in saving 6 points to have gotten us EL cup football this season.

    I’ve been very positive in my praise of the way we are playing and the players.

    My only complaint was we played Xhaka who did as I had posted prior to the game. Had AMN played or Lokonga in Xhaka’s place and hauled off if either were off the pace more than Xhaka, who basically filled gaps, but did nothing of note before the penalty. His game stats were shocking.

    So for me, Bob, Arteta worries me because he’s still making mistakes – many of them repeatedly since Arteta joined us.

    I’m loving the football just not the manager. If we don’t make 4th, then Arteta will have blown it for me. We have the players, as was proven against City, but can Arteta keep getting that performance repeatedly in away games because that’s where we’re going to gain 4th?

    I honestly don’t see Arteta winning the PL or CL with us. So, I just invest my emotions to match days.

    As for DV? My thoughts are above ask why a top 23/4yo high ceiling MF player is absolute priority? It’s hard not to be critical of Arteta when he’s making the same mistake in the summer window.

    Torreira was knocked all over the place and he’s more bulky that Patino, so that’s a worry for the kid who looks like he has the heart.

    I don’t know about you, Bob, I’m tired of playing patched up mix and match midfields?

  22. Unoni

    SamesongJanuary 8, 2022 07:10:40
    There something about DV that doesn’t fill me with excitement. I like my forwards with lightening pace. And when you see the clips he is barely getting past his man. Hope we don’t sign him.

    As long as he can link play and bring the others into the danger areas as well as Lacazette then we will score goals
    Just look at how Odegaard ESR Saka and martinelli have come to life feeding off him rather than doing all the grunt work for an auba tap in.

  23. Unoni

    Torreira was knocked all over the place and he’s more bulky that Patino, so that’s a worry for the kid who looks like he has the heart.

    Scholes, cesc, wilshere, cazorla, David silva all dictated play from the middle superbly despite their diminutive stature. Let’s see if patino can play first of all. The meat on his shoulders will come

  24. Unoni

    As for DV? My thoughts are above ask why a top 23/4yo high ceiling MF player is absolute priority? It’s hard not to be critical of Arteta when he’s making the same mistake in the summer window.

    This I agree with. If we are to recapture the imaginative football that arsenal was once renowned for then a technical midfielder who dictates play is the next piece of the jigsaw

  25. Tony

    ‘Scholes, cesc, wilshere, cazorla’

    Not sure I was clear about Patino.

    My concern is that he’s played before he’s ready more than his size.. The cameo he had was gilt edged with the goal for the lad who had to be there to score it. It’s ok letting him get minutes later in games when the bullies are either on yellows or tiring.

    Patino is certainly highly thought of, but as you say he has to earn his place as ESR and Saka before him. To have to play him as a starter now could well damage the lad physically and or mentally.

    There is no need for us to be forced to play a youth if Arteta buys a MF this window and not a striker or keep AMN.

  26. Emiratesstroller

    We are still playing in January two games per week, but thereafter there are likely to be very
    few midweek games unless we experience cancellations or FA Cup replays.

    So to be realistic Arsenal do not need more than our starting eleven and bench to cover most
    games unless we have an illness or injury crisis.

    Arsenal are gambling on our requirements for this month but not realistically beyond.

  27. Unoni


    Got ya
    That clears it up. As the old adage goes, if you’re good enough you’re old enough. Not everyone steps in like JW or cesc at a young age but if he can hold the fort and gain valuable first team experience this season until we bring partey back then it’s a win/win. Even more so if wilshere can come back into the fold as a technically superior back up option in the absence of partey for cup games

  28. Unoni

    So to be realistic Arsenal do not need more than our starting eleven and bench to cover most
    games unless we have an illness or injury crisis.

    No but if we regain our European position next season then we will need a squad capable of maintaining that. I don’t expect us to be challenging for anything next season but it’s no good getting back into the champions league only to lose out the following year due to limited squad options
    As things stand I feel we have something very close to being able to achieve that anyway. If we can keep Lacazette for another year and bring in another cf and midfield player (better than our current options on the ball and reading the game) then I’d be very happy

  29. Sid

    Assuming Vlahovic is good enough, he still needs atleast till 2023 to adapt to teamates and the league.

    Thats why Diet Pep prefers Dominic lewin

  30. Bob N16


    Like you, my main issue is CM and Xhaka’s continued employment – I’m sick and tired of his inadequacies costing us. His strengths are not sufficient to compensate for his f*ck ups! I understand that last summer there were many issues to deal with and the intention seemed to be to upgrade Xhaka as well. Lokonga came in to play Ceballos’ minutes and to get use to the PL and hopefully take over Xhaka’s starting position.

    I’m sure if they see a CM fix they’ll go for it but it’s quite possible we’ll attempt to get Top 4 without an additional player. It is fanciful to think Patino will just come in and be able to play regularly in the PL.

    If we have the majority of our first 11 available to play then I think top 4 is more than realistic. Where I will give Arteta some leeway is if 3/4 of our best team have medium to long term injuries – TT, Gabriel, White, Partey, Saka, ESR, Martinelli. The replacements will weaken our team to such an extent that we may drop too many points.

  31. TallestTiz

    Having watched Isak and Vlahovic, interns of play pattern fitting into Arsenal’s current system, I don’t really fancy any of the two. Haaland would be the perfect fit, but it’s a stretch.
    However if I’m to make a choice between Isak and Vlahovic, if definitely take Vlahovic although I wish he was right footed or uses his right foot more often.
    He looks too one footed for my liking

  32. Terraloon


    We are still playing in January two games per week, but thereafter there are likely to be very
    few midweek games unless we experience cancellations or FA Cup replays.So to be realistic Arsenal do not need more than our starting eleven and bench to cover most
    games unless we have an illness or injury crisis.

    Enlighten me how will you know if you are going to get illness, or an injury crisis? If the squad is down to its bare bone all the good work to date could fade away in a blink of an eye

    It’s why clubs have such big ( in numerical terms ) squads

    The last three rounds of the FA ( including the final ) all have league games scheduled on the same days.. Villa away on 19/3, Utd home on 23/4 and Newcastle home on 14/5. It’s not just about Arsenal progressing. If any of those three clubs progress they will be otherwise occupied on the scheduled dates then that almost certainly will see games in midweek .
    There hasn’t as yet been a date set for the Chelsea away game which almost certainly will be midweek

  33. DivineSherlock


    Yeah thats probably better *Divine friendly* tags . xD
    I fear Xhaka vs Spurs though , his tendency to dive into rash tackles and what not , I hope we bring somebody soon( on loan or whatever) Its gonna be a fiery encounter for sure and Conte will target him .
    Also interesting to note is Coutinho took a pay cut to join Villa , Xavi confirmed this . So definitely not a Willian thing .

  34. Pierre

    “definitely take Vlahovic although I wish he was right footed or uses his right foot more often.
    He looks too one footed for my liking”

    Some of the greatest footballers in the world were left footed and used their right foot just for standing on.

    Maradona, Robben, Bale , Liam Brady , Puskas , Messi, Hagi ,Roberto carlos , Ozil and to a lesser extent RVP, Ashley cole , giggs , so i wouldn’t be too concerned about a striker being one footed.

    If Vlahovic has a left peg like RVP that’ll do for me., the question is …is it as good .

  35. Tony

    Looks like we’re very much on the same page, Bob, re players incoming.

    As for being forgiving if we fail through injuries to multiple players when to be fair it’s the same for all clubs. Just means kids have to step up earlier pretty much what Emery had to do.

    No safety nets, Bob, and as we say in the MC world: ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ – Behave Sid!

    2 sensible decisions Arteta can make now.

    Buy the CM we need now and keep and play AMN until Partey comes back hopefully free of injuries. If AMN really wants a loan for playing time, then let AMN go after AFCON finishes by prior arrangement.

  36. Left Testicle

    Surely we have a midfielder lined up. It wouldn’t make sense to release AMN at the same time as Partey and Elneny, but this is Arsenal and sometimes logic goes out the window.

  37. Rich


    We’re aiming for 2023/24

    The cycle of the Liverpool current team was unlucky, because they came up against a brilliant City team, but they still won a PL title + CL

    They lost a CL final, Europa League final, League cup final, and finished second on 97 points

    They’re still a very good team, but if you look at the ages of their players, the cycle of that team now looks over, and they’ll need to take a few blocks out, and then build again, that current team have the quality to win cups, but I don’t see them competing for the League again

    We’ve put the foundations of a new team in, we don’t need to add much, it’s definitely a case of quality over quantity, securing the Crown Jewels , and then building on cohesion + experience as we go

    Next season will be about top 4, while juggling Europe and the domestic cups simultaneously, this season was about securing minimum Europa League, and at least be in the mix for 4th

    2023/24 – 2025/26, will probably be the cycle of that squad of players, before we start dipping, and need to freshen things up again, which will likely bring instability + inconsistencies during that transition

    Sir Alex Ferguson once said, “If you don’t change your team every 5 years, then they’ll change you”

    We need to get to the point of evolving our squad on average with 2-3 players every season, evolution not revolution

    It’s why our squad planning is vital, we need to become much more astute at recognising when to dump a player about to dip, and recognising when a young players career is about to take off

    We also need to start using the loan market much more astutely, so we don’t have to always move externally to replace ageing + declining players, and we have internal replacements already lined up, who’ve been through the majority of their teething stages + development at other clubs

    Football will always be about trophies, what’s imperative is we win at least 1 title, and get a few others trophies during the cycle of each team that we create

  38. S Asoa

    Academy players irrespective of their ceiling have “ to earn their place “. Agree that they will not shine at first 10 minutes cameo. At that level there is chemistry that needs to develop along with the young graduates getting the feel of the physicality at professional level. Daring to tell this because am running a team at Professional level since last 3 years , a team brought up qualifying at various stages within 4 years.
    Wish people would not play out the AFC handouts as gospel truth. He is a bit extreme, but agree with lots of things Tony has said, which could appreciate from first hand experience.

  39. Just Another Customer

    yeah need to keep and add to the core players unlike what Wenger done with 07/08 squad letting it run out of steam

  40. S Asoa

    See how instead , players purchased by the manager are given umpteen chances to fail . That understanding has not been given to youngsters who might become regulars or at least squad players saving money. It is for the Club President or DoF to intervene. Coaches do have their prejudices, which is expected since they are day in , in touch with players, who might be difficult. DoF or an owner like Abromovich then steps in. That’s why Chelsea has been such a success

  41. Bob N16

    Tony, sure ‘same for all clubs’ but it isn’t in any given season.

    Liverpool’s PL points tally, where they just scraped into a CL place in the final few games of the season, was primarily caused by VVD and other CBs all being missing for large chunks of the season. They had to put midfielders in the centre of their defence which clearly affected they midfield.

    My point was that we should finish 4th unless we have more than our fair share of injuries in key positions. Apart from at LB, any replacements for our starting defence would weaken us significantly. We can afford one of Saka, Martinelli, Odegaard, ESR to be injured but if more than one goes down it’ll considerably affect our attack unless Pepe steps up. In CM we know that if Partey is out we’re much worse off.

    There are mitigating circumstances if we fail to make top 4.

  42. Positive pete

    Much of the criticism still levelled at Arteta conveniently fails to recognise the absolute mess he inherited.Somewhat overlooked.Of course he’s made mistakes & still does.What manager doesn’t.But don’t let blind hatred cloud the progress that’s been made & please don’t insult our intelligence by inferring any progress made was in spite of Arteta..
    Would prefer it if our over critical fan base with their sly digs would look to the future with a bit more optimism.We’re on an upward trajectory.There will be dips.Deal with it.

  43. Leedsgunner

    Our EPL standing has to be the measure on which Arteta is judged this May.

    Domestic cups are nice days out for everyone but progress has to be seen in the league.

    Therefore with that in mind I don’t want to see any of our regular and strongest players on the field, in the starting line up versus Nottingham Forest.

    My side to face them?


    Cedric Mari Holding Tavares

    Sambi Chambers

    Pepe ESR Nketiah


    Kido Taylor Hart
    Salah Eddine

    I know the clamber for Patino to be given his first start will be huge but I think it’s better to ease him gently – bearing in mind we are so desperately short in midfield.

  44. Jamie

    “Much of the criticism still levelled at Arteta conveniently fails to recognise the absolute mess he inherited”

    He didn’t inherit an absolute mess.

  45. Samesong

    Positive Pete

    Why don’t you tell us who you would want to sign for us instead of the boring Arteta defence. Arteta doesn’t need you to defend him.

  46. Positive pete

    First up Jamie.Are you serious? Didn’t inherit a mess.Now you’re taking the piss.& samespng.True Arteta doesn’t neeed me to defend himself.But he’s hardly going to come on here & do it himself is he?lol! What sickens me is that you get the sense that there still an element,let’s refer to them as theyre popularily known by ,the Bedwetters who just can’t help themselves & are awaiting the slightest slip,blip,mistake with baited breath.Any compliment going his way is backhanded.Through gritted teeth.Of course you’re entitled to your opinion of him.Shame it’s so lopsided.

  47. Unoni

    I find the water carrying for emery astounding. Arteta turned us from a team lucky to be mid table to a team nipping Chelsea’s heels at third. Comfortably outplaying city and offering an actual identity, something the chameleonic emery could never achieve even with a £200m spend in 18 months

  48. Jamie

    “First up Jamie. Are you serious? Didn’t inherit a mess. Now you’re taking the piss”

    I’m not though. This from Pedro in August 2019 after ‘Don Raul took our summer from a 3/10 to an 8/10’- a few short months before Arteta took over:

    “What all these players offer Emery is choice, and with that, no excuse for not making the top 4 this season.”

    Some absolute mess he inherited. Tell Pedro he’s wrong too while you’re at it.

  49. Unoni

    ’m not though. This from Pedro in August 2019 after ‘Don Raul took our summer from a 3/10 to an 8/10’- a few short months before Arteta took over:“What all these players offer Emery is choice, and with that, no excuse for not making the top 4 this season.”

    Yes and with those squad “improvements” came a severe reversal in performances. Of all those players brought in under emery, who still commands anything close to a first team place? Martinelli. Tierney. That’s it.
    The squad, while not short of quality was more of a mess when emery left than what he inherited. He removed the creative heart beat of the side (6x attacking mids) and replaced it with barely there functionality predicated upon almost total reliance on auba and Lacazette to exceed their XG. A formula which could not and did not last very long at all.

  50. Unoni

    The mess being referred to was more of the mismatch of squad players and the total lack of anything close to cohesion, philosophy, team ethic and leadership

  51. Fancealot

    Seems most people here are extremists.
    Either you can’t see no positives with Arteta’s reign or you can’t see no negatives with Arteta’s reign. There should be some balance in my opinion. Has Arteta made mistakes, sometimes huge ones both on the pitch and off the pitch? Certainly! Has he made good decisions, sometimes great ones on and off the pitch? Certainly!
    While I ain’t totally convinced by him yet, I can’t look past the downward spiral our club has been in for years now.To name but a few, our club was (and still has some ) filled with deadwoods – not just ability wise, but mentality and maturity wise with the wrong footballing culture approach. Arteta at least is making changes in that regard. Don’t wanna bore you all with a long post, but I employ whoever has read this to exhibit a bit of patience till the end of this season before passing out judgement. He was/is a rookie learning on the job and that ain’t his fault, Arsenal gave him the job…

  52. Bertie Mee

    Arteta took over in December 2019 with the club falling apart.. The last days of Emery were an utter disaster . Look at the defensive performance against Southampton a fe2cweeks befor3 he left. We could have conceded 8 that day .
    While Emery and Sanllehi were at the club we were in grave trouble . Turning tgat around to win the FA Cup in 2020 was Arteta’s first big achievement . He then had an awful autumn but since Boxing Day 2020 we’ve been on an upward curve. ( with blips ) . So it’s not an exaggeration to say he inherited an absolute mess. In November 2019 I went the ladies NLD and remember being so pleased to see an organised defensive performance. If Emery had stayed we were in grave danger of relegation

  53. Rich


    He kind of did, unless you think this squad of players were significantly better than 8th + 8th, and were a group of players on the way up, with still plenty of room for further progression

    We were a club without an identity, with a unbalanced squad full of dross, combined with disinterested mercenaries who’d downed the previous manager, and almost downed Arteta last 13 months ago as well

    We’ve had to change the culture, clear out plenty of excess in a dead market, put the foundations of a new team in place, that’s full of young players still learning the game

    Success isn’t built over night, particularly in a league as competitive as this one, when we’re starting from a low ebb

    We’re now at the beginning of a new cycle that should become truly competitive over the next 12-18 months, and then compete at the top for around 3 seasons, providing we make some very astute decisions along route

    You could argue we slightly underachieved last season by a few points, but ultimately it was fine margins

    Clearing up past mistakes, in which we’re still in the process of doing, then building a new young team from scratch, was always going to take time, and involve plenty of inconsistencies

    Even with a young player like Saka who’s the very best of them, there’s been an offset, he’s now bagging a few goals, and I don’t think he’ll look back from here

    But to get him to this stage of his development, has taken us 2 years of consistent football, it’s imperative we tie him down, and we’re the ones to see the benefits of that education

    Signing a striker + midfielder this month just brings the project forward 6 months, and that’s why we’ll likely try and do it, giving signings half a season, then a full pre-season to settle, and develop an understanding with their teammates

    Compare our squad now, to the one Arteta inherited, this is a squad of players that’s largely on the way up, with plenty of room for growth, littered with consummate professionals

    This was the team that lost the Europa League final to Chelsea:

    ….Sokratis Koscielny Monreal
    Niles Torreira Xhaka Kolasinac
    2 good strikers at the peak of their powers, but other than Niles + Torreira, there was no room for further growth

    This is our team now:

    …….White Gabriel
    ……Partey Xhaka
    Saka Odegaard Smith Rowe

    Partey, Xhaka, Lacazette are either at their peak or past it, but the rest of the team are players who’s best days should be ahead of them

  54. Samesong

    Apparently a €20m bid made by Arsenal for Palmeiras midfielder Danilo

    And reports bid rejected as player has contract up to 2025 with a 86 million buy out clause

  55. Pierre

    Ross Stewart has won 125 aerial duels this season.

    To put that into context , Tomiyasu has won the most aerial duels for Arsenal this season with 43 , Aubamayang 25, xhaka 16 , Lacazette 15.

    The premier league league highest is chris wood with 93..

    For a back up striker someone like Stewart would do a similar job as Giroud , he is technically more than good enough and would cost next to nothing

    Scored 17 in 24 this season.

    Another couple today, should be a hattrick but they gave his first as keeper own goal which was a bit harsh.

  56. Jamie

    It’s weird how a squad can go from being good enough for a top 4 finish in August, no excuses, to an absolute mess with deep deep systemic/identity problems before the following transfer window even opens.

    That’s the internet for you.

  57. Unoni

    Every squad under emery and Arteta was capable of a top four finish.
    The difference was that emery took a squad from 5th to 11th and left them totally demoralized and disjointed and a novice coach took over, won the FA cup beating chelsea and city in the process (so still highly capable) and then had to adapt quickly and learn from his mistakes. This is mid way through Arteta’s second full season and we are forth and looking very good with promise in every single position. At this point under emery we were on a life raft, totally adrift with no sign of land. Now we have an identity, clear guidelines, leadership on and off the pitch. The difference is night and day.

  58. Positive pete

    Danilo ffs! Has to be a wind up.You can’t even get a decent 3 minute compilation video.Basically does nothing & offers nothing.Maybe it’s a tax dodge.

  59. Rich

    Positive Pete

    Are you suggesting that there can’t be any big talents out there, unless they don’t have a decent 3 minute YouTube compilation?

  60. Jamie

    “Every squad under emery and Arteta was capable of a top four finish.”

    If you believe this to be a true statement, then Arteta has already failed you twice, quod erat demonstrandum.

  61. Pierre

    “. He removed the creative heart beat of the side”

    Emery did tragically mis use our most creative player, Arteta rectified that by making Ozil a permanent fixture in the side , and the side were doing rather well i have to say , there were no complaints of a lack of creativity that’s for sure .

    However the non negotiables came into operation when ozil questioned the wage cut during lockdown and our creativity nose dived to a disastrous level until smith rowe saved the day 8 months later around Christmas time .

    So did Arteta inherit a mess , of course not , he created a mess with some very poor decision making around that time that led to the worst football i have watched from Arsenal in my lifetime , and i have watched some pretty rubbish Arsenal teams over the years.

    It was a very long list of poor decisions that created the mess, but fortunately, he has a very good crop of kids that have done more than anything to turn the tide and now the football is a joy to watch.

    Was it always a youth project….of course not .

    You don’t sign cedric, willian, Mari and give new contracts to xhaka , luiz and Aubamayang and offer mustafi a new contract and then pretend it was always a youth project

  62. Mb

    You don’t sign cedric, willian, Mari and give new contracts to xhaka , luiz and Aubamayang and offer mustafi a new contract and then pretend it was always a youth project.

    I don’t really agree to Pierre about Ozil but otherwise most of things he says makes lot of sense to me

  63. Time Up

    I just hope Arteta is not going to be like a father to someone, he’s too young for that. Besides, Pedro is already in love with him. No, not as a father.

    Arteta’s signed, Willian, Mari and Cedric, turned down 24 mil for Xhaka and extended his and Auba 350 a week contract. Only when Edu forced him to sign young did he changed.

  64. Time Up

    Oh dam,

    Me and Pierre saying the same thing. I’ll sue Pierre for living in my head for free.

    He missed the Pedro’s love for Arteta part though.

  65. Berg10kamp

    Signing players does not soley rest with Arteta, these things are discussed and agreed upon depending on the goals and vision of the club. When he joined the aim was to make europe and buy experience and retain the experience we have. He made a bold move and switched to youth mid season and we finished better than what we would have. The board saw that he can be trusted and have now bought into his vision of youth. If you cannot see that then I don’t know.

  66. Bradybunch

    Even with the Willian disaster class , and the disappointment of no Europe, what Covid did was create a perfect European market for kicking off project youth. Josh dared. Edu and Arteta shot, and scored big.

  67. Berg10kamp

    All the players signed last summer was chosen by arteta and edu after they were given full control over the transfers. And we all know edu listens to arteta so we can say these are all his signings.

  68. Raulishuss

    Pierre only sees good in ozil,wenger,willock and eddie nketiah. Not to worry though arteta is showing him up to be as clueless as the wobs(obssessives according to him)

  69. Unoni

    If you believe this to be a true statement, then Arteta has already failed you twice, quod erat demonstrandum.

    Not really, no. You can’t expect a man who’s never coached before to turn 11th place into top 4 after inheriting a totally demoralized squad who’d been trained to forget everything they knew under emer
    And then re-educated to leave a gaping hole in the middle of the pitch and if we get it at the other end to just cut it back.
    Last season, yes I was underwhelmed and after letting Martinez go, giving auba a bumper new deal and totally bypassing the creative engine in the transfer market I was certainly having doubts about Arteta.
    However he’s proved that he can learn and adapt quickly by bringing ESR and Odegaard into the fold, moving quickly on Ramsdale and casting Auba aside (finally!!) in the process, proving he can put the team above his ego

    In short, the squad was always top 4 capable only now we have the balance, identity and leadership to take the step.

  70. Unoni

    Was it always a youth project….of course not .You don’t sign cedric, willian, Mari and give new contracts to xhaka , luiz and Aubamayang and offer mustafi a new contract and then pretend it was always a youth project

    I agree, I was throwing the towel in on him myself but he’s proved that he can rise above his own ego if his initial ideas don’t pan out and now things are going very well for us. Wether by design or accident, I’m very excited about arsenal again. We’ve got a great blend of homegrown and foreign talent, all prime age to step up and many if not all are capable of becoming world class players.
    As arsenal fans it’s nice to have something to look forward to again rather than the misery we’ve experienced since wenger got the boot

  71. Berg10kamp

    Yes we played some pretty boring football for a while but a Championship winning side needs a good foundation and a solid spine. The boring football was us getting the fundamentals and base right, defending better and conceding less, cutting out silly mistakes. Once that happened the team gained more confidence and trust in the defence especially ramsdale being so outstanding. Now the attackers know they can attack with confidence and risk as they have the belief that if they turn the ball over their back five got them covered. Believing in your defence makes a big difference to a team and gives them a lot of confidence to try things outside of the safety and relinquish the fear that they might concede.

  72. Havyn

    Ozil had already fallen football wise before Arteta so I don’t get what you’re talking here. Tell me the assists from Ozil from 2019 to 2020. The guy was just poor

  73. Berg10kamp

    Ozil wasn’t kicked put for performances, it was more for his attitude and commitment. Case in point is guendouzi, good young player and put in a shift but got kicked out for attitude. That’s what I like about arteta, he doesnt take shyt. He can accept bad performances or lack of form but disrespect he does not. Whether u disrespect him, the players, the club, the rules that is his non negotiable.

  74. Pierre

    “Ozil had already fallen football wise before Arteta so I don’t get what you’re talking here. Tell me the assists from Ozil from 2019 to 2020. The guy was just poor”

    Must have been a coincidence that our creativity fell off a cliff when ozil was frozen out of the team.

  75. G8

    Newcastle United out of the cup @ home courtesy of the almighty Cambridge United!
    Khasoggi must be laughing in heaven!

  76. Mb

    “”He can accept bad performances or lack of form but disrespect he does not.””

    Oh, that’s why William played a full season doing nothing!

    It’s football, there will be egos and attitude. I have seen Mane fighting with Klopp after a substitute. A good manager will fix that part too.

    I’ll always be furious with Arteta regarding Guendouzi.

  77. Bradybunch

    When you only have one first team no. 10 in the squad, that’s not really a surprise.
    Willian was shit, ESR was injured, and untested. Booting Ozil was going to cause short term pain. But he was one the the key ingredients in a bad recipe. Good riddance, take the pain and build. Well done Arsenal.

  78. Mb

    Mr Serge

    Nope he was not. He was even playing for Arteta till the Brighton incident happened.

    Tell me frankly, was it not worth just keep him instead of buying Lokonga? If anyone, it should have been Xhaka sent on loan

  79. Unoni

    Yeah Guendouzi is a waster
    Never understood the idea that he was an elite midfielder in waiting. Didn’t see it myself

  80. Unoni

    SidJanuary 8, 2022 17:00:33
    Kicking out the alphas has left the team with meek lambs

    Out of curiosity, who are these alphas?

  81. Jamie

    “Not really, no.”

    Yes really, Don.

    “You can’t expect a man who’s never coached before to turn 11th place into top 4 after inheriting a totally demoralized squad who’d been trained to forget everything they knew under emery”

    I didn’t ‘expect the man to finish top 4’.

    You did when you said ‘every squad under emery and Arteta was capable of a top four finish’.

  82. Pierre

    Frantic is the best way of describing Newcastle’s football , no patience , no composure and a team of individuals..

    The new management look clueless , which for me is surprising as the least they should be able to do is make them disciplined and organised..

    I can’t see Eddie howe lasting until the end of january, to have Newcastle playing worse football than befrire they arrived is an achievement in itself..

    I watch them shaking my head at the naivety in their game as they are not a bunch of kids, they always look for the difficult ball .
    shelvey ways looks for the hollywood 30/ 40 yard pass when a 5 yard pass wouukd suit the team better.
    St maximun is an all or nothing type player ….usually nothing .
    Frantic kick and rush football

  83. WengerEagle

    Van Persie was actually good on his right peg too, not a surprise that got past the football savant that is Pierre.

    Could show plenty of great RVP goals with his right foot. It’s just that he was so good on his left it gave some the impression that he was one-footed.

    Same goes for Messi. Imagine putting his right foot anywhere near Ozil’s, lol.

  84. WengerEagle

    In fact, as per Opta Joe by the end of the 2013/14 PL season, Robin Van Persie was the ONLY PL player in history to score 35 PL goals with both his Left Foot (88) and Right Foot (37).

    So 40 of RVP’s PL goals came with his weak right foot by his last season there.

    Not bad for somebody who was poor with their weak foot eh?

  85. Pierre

    “Van Persie was actually good on his right peg too, not a surprise that got past the football savant that is Pierre.”

    Maybe you should have read my comment properly, as i said to a lesser extent RVP, meaning that he was very good with his left foot ( he was) but didn’t use his right foot just for standing on.(he didn’t)..

    One can make themselves look a fool weagle by misrepresenting what someone else has said …

  86. WengerEagle


    He was statisically the highest goalscorer with his weak foot in PL history by the end of his stint in England 6 years ago, for all I know he still is.

    Why even place him in your absurd list?

  87. WengerEagle

    ” as i said to a lesser extent RVP, meaning that he was very good with his left foot ( he was) but didn’t use his right foot just for standing on.(he didn’t)..”

    ‘To a lesser extent’ still implies that RVP was poor on his right foot which still is a laughably dense thing to claim.

    But yes, it is I who is digging…

  88. WengerEagle

    Everton are poverty under Rafa.

    Even with absences they have been dreadful for the longest time. Safe to say you can add Rafa to the elite managerial scrapheap if it was ever in doubt.

  89. Karsa

    AMN claiming Mourinho is ‘one of the best managers in the world’.

    If there were any doubts about his judgement that should settle it.

  90. The Bard

    If we sign someone great but its no big deal if we dont. We are an outside bet for 4th and below that does it really matter if we’re 5th or 6th ?We need to be playing a lot better more consistently to get players interested in joining us. What I hope we’ve learnt is not to spaff millions on short term fixes like Willian.

  91. Tom

    Karsa were you expecting AMN to say Mourinho is a has been whos tanking at Roma but I don’t really care because all I want is some playing time?

  92. TR7

    Eddie Howe has always been one of the most overrated managers in the league, never understood the hype really.

    Potter, Hassenhutl and Brendan are really good managers though.

  93. TR7

    “there were any doubts about his judgement that should settle it.”

    Had Mourinho rated Xhaka enough to cough up €12M for him Xhaka too would have also hailed him as the best in the world.