GETTING BACK TO THE TOP: THE REWARDS OF LONG TERM THINKING (LONG READ)

by .

There has been a lot of talk about strategy and where we’re going as a club. Some can’t see it, other don’t want to, but the wheels of progress turn regardless of the noise.

Some fans struggled with the proposed strategy because it knocked their preconceived notions of what you need to do in 2022 to get back to the top in the Premier League.

There were hard pills to swallow:

  • Our squad wasn’t fit for purpose utilizing any style of football. It was old, messily assembled, it had no creative players, and the culture was rotten.
  • Arsenal were no longer a big hitters when it came to finances. Any rebuild was going to be slow and painful by the standards of most.
  • The Premier League was now the most competitive league on the planet. There are 7 teams with the finances to compete for Champions League. The two top teams weren’t just wealthy, they were extremely strategic and longterm in their thinking. Every team was now rich, there were no givens, bar beating Norwich.

The only way Arsenal could get back to the top was to be honest about the above and concoct a strategy that played to our strengths as a football club.

Those strengths were:

  • Our academy, which produces top-tier talent. When you are building, there are bad days, but fans are more forgiving of local boys, so leaning into a point of pride was a key element
  • Our coach, who is one of the best developmental coaches in Europe (though inexperienced)
  • Our club, which has elite training facilities, unrivaled fans, a massive stadium, in the city of London, and good budgets outside of the nation-state clubs. These ingredients make us perfect for players on the rise because we are an appealing place to ply your trade.

The mission is to get Arsenal competing for the league in 2 years time and to make the Champions League and be competitive.

The strategy:

  • Grow talent out of our academy
  • Sign highly technical players 21-24, with 2 seasons worth of experience, with BIG character
  • Put them with a coach on the rise

Season one was about getting the culture right and bedding our players into a highly technical system. We delivered 69 points, enough for 3rd the two prior seasons. We made it back to Europe. That was a successful season based on the objectives at the start.

This upcoming season, it’s about adding quality to the squad, and making it into the top 4.

Our transfer moves this summer are being built off this brief from Arteta:

“We want to move to a 4-3-3 but for that, you need a lot of specificity in every position but now in five or six positions, we don’t have it.”

This is basically the list of incomings we have this summer

  • Lisandro (24)
  • Tielemans (25)
  • Vieira (22)
  • Jesus (25)
  • Turner (28)
  • Saliba (21)

Say it quietly, but this squad would basically be good enough for Champions League football right now.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the above list alone is probably the best window we’d have had in 20 years. It looks very complete, it nails the fan brief at the start of the summer… but is it complete? Maybe not. The Athletic truly believes there’s a chance we could still try for Raphina this summer. I know the Mikel Arteta will be banging the drum harder than anyone to get all the bits we need, so it wouldn’t shock me.

The ‘Tielemans interest has cooled’ will likely be a negotiation tactic, we saw it with Ramsdale last summer. The player wants Arsenal, the club wants the player, and Leicester management is probably still high off last summer’s LEICESTER ARE BETTER RUN THAN ARSENAL’ chatter propagated by Arsenal fans and want to make the move difficult. The reality is they cannot afford to let him leave for nothing. I think he’ll end the summer in an Arsenal shirt. Honestly, what a top, top signing that would be.

There will obviously be some transfer movement out the door but I don’t have the same faith some do in the money we’ll receive. Hector Bellerin is being chased by a club that think they can get him on a free, there is no way we should be exiting him for nothing, I don’t care how many trees he planted. Bernd Leno is a £20m keeper and we need to be compensated as such. I wouldn’t want to exit Ainsley, but he’s a Premier League player and we need to be doing better than £5m. There’s also a chance Granit could be on the move, though I think it’d be remiss to ship out someone of his experience after another really good season. No one is talking about Bob ‘lush hair’ Holding, but it’s hard to see where he’s getting minutes next season as it stands.

Most of the focus will be on the money we’re spending. Arteta will be running around with his proposals and spreadsheets. He probably knows as well as anyone – timing is absolutely everything. You want a raise, time it right, don’t ask after a shocking 3rd quarter. You want a yes on a new project, catch your boss early on a Friday when he’s dreaming of lunchtime beers and golf. If you want £50m for a player you didn’t have budgeted, maybe ask when his hockey team is about to play in the Stanley Cup Final. If KSE is a sports organization that is showing signs of extreme competitiveness at the highest level, there is no doubt that the more his other teams win, the more likely it is that Arsenal will win. WINNING IS ADDICTIVE. I don’t know how much of this shift in mindset is down to Josh, but bar their soccer, esports (they sunk £20m into Overwatch and no one watches it), and lacrosse team… all their major clubs are doing the business.

Now think back to the summer when people were spitting feathers about Arsenal not signing a substandard striker. Does anyone have regrets about not punting £75m on Isak to show ambition? Any Weughorst fans still in the building? Did this very website not say that the best thing to do would be to wait until the summer and spend the finite resources wisely? This summer is the reason why. If that list is pulled off, it’s better than anything that could have been done in January for a far more favorable price. Let’s also be real, I love Vlahovic, but he was going for £65m, if we get Jesus for £40m, it’s probably more of a NOW signing, with a higher chance of working out.

Ok, ok, I’m trying to weasel my way out of Tall Boy Summer Propaganda there, so you can shout me down on that… but, once again, we are seeing how different the world looks through a long-term lens. That £25m saving can go towards a Lisandro vs another Nuno-Tavares-like gamble. We will be better long-term because we waited. Remember, we have finite resources and a strategy that is honest about who we are. We cannot spend big money on average players, we are not that club, we have paid a heavy price for attempting that methodology. That is why we resisted in January.

Fans will give patience if there is a reward at the end of the wait. Arsenal didn’t reward in the past, but if this is what a dry January delivers, then maybe we should Trust the Process a little more often.

The job this summer was also to find 10 more points next season.

There were three ways to do that:

1. Add cover to the fullback positions

David Ornstein dropped exciting news about Lisandro, the Ajax defender we’re chasing down for £25m this summer.

The Saliba Ultras, bored, with nothing to shriek about are trying to make this transfer about their movement and how it’s the end of William, but this is more about Tierney. The player has been earmarked since last season as a left back and the club see him as big competition for KT this season. There’s a difference in style, KT is all about power, pace, and the legendary overlap. Lisandro is more viewed as a player you start the build-up from. He’s more comfortable on the ball and a bit more like a Cancelo, if that feels too ambitious, then let’s just say he’s a defender that can do what Granit can do when we put him at left-back but with all the pacey bits as well.

If we make this move happen, there is going to be a war on the left next season, and I’d be fully expecting the player to show us something new in this Arsenal system we haven’t seen before.

  • Saliba and Ben White are interchangeable at right back.
  • Ainsley could come back into the mixer at right-back cover.

2. Add cover in midfield for Thomas Partey

Youri Tielemans coming into our midfield gives us so much flexibility. The Belgian can play deep as a defensive midfielder, he can go box to box, he can even move into a more advanced position. Long and short: He is top, top quality.

3. Add decisiveness in the final 3rd

Fabio Vieira is being billed as one of the best attacking midfielders in Europe for final ball delivery. He was one of the most productive players in Europe last season despite having the lowest minutes of the big names.

I followed up with Jon and asked if he was overperforming xA. He is, but apparently, there is more than enough underlying data to suggest he is top, top class.

We’re most likely going to add Gabriel Jesus as our main striker next season. Is he short? Yes. Is he Premier-League-winning material that we don’t have? Yes. However you cut, even through the worst-case scenario grinder, he is going to be worth 18 goals and 7 assists next season. The thing I’m looking forward to with Jesus is we’re taking him from a bit-part player to superstar status. We’re making him the big dawg. That is a hell of a way to motivate a player if they are the sort of person that needs that sort of adulation.

Then add the incredible news that Eddie Nketiah has just signed a new 5 year deal and he’s taking the #14 shirt.

There’s no other way of cutting it, this move is fucking excellent news. If Arteta didn’t believe he could do a good job with Thierry Henry’s famous shirt, he wouldn’t have offered it to him. The number is symbolic to everyone, it’ll be a huge motivation for Eddie, and I think he’ll show us all he can deliver the goods needed.

We’re operating in a market right now where Richarlison, a player that has moped all season in an Everton side far better than its league position would suggest, is potentially going for £55m. A known disruptive quantity, going for mega-money, after a shocking season.

Eddie Kreuger (showing up in defenders’ nightmares) is a better player for starters and he totally fits our system. Just remember, he was our best striker last summer in preseason then Arteta buried him in the reserves. He didn’t let him back in when Auba was stinking out the place, he didn’t let him back in when Lacazette was dead on his feet not scoring, it was only the good luck of a COVID infection (ESR got his chance after the same thing) that Arteta came to his senses. Eddie could have moped like Richarlison, he could have mailed it in and waited for summer riches, but he didn’t… he did the job, scored some goals, showed Arteta what a fool he’d been… so yeah, he deserves this deal.

Just a reminder of how Eddie stacks up against the 4 top European leagues as a striker for the folk saying he lacks the qualities for the league:

Just a reminder of what his profile maps to in terms of rival talent.

To replace Eddie we would be taking a massive risk on a £35m striker if we were lucky. This is a huge deal for Arsenal and again, another reminder to the best kids in Europe, if you are good enough, you will play for The Arsenal.

The bonus part of the summer brief hasn’t been really talked about, but Matt Turner is going to be very interesting, he’s arriving from New England Revolution, the USMNT fans love him and say he’s their best keeper, and most MLS fans say he’s one of the best players in the league.

The player had this to say:

“The project they have going on there, [I want to be] an important part of the locker room, adding some experience – not a ton of Premier League experience – but national team experience, league experience and playing games in pressured environments. I’ll be an older head in the locker room, being 28.”

On his supposed weak passing:

“Definitely, the DNA of this team is possession-based and I believe that’s what they will expect from me when I get on the pitch.

“It’s the area of my game that some call a weakness but one where I’ve improved over the past few months. I’m connecting a few more passes, reading the game better and understanding the way I can hurt teams a lot better.

“We don’t play that [passing] style in New England but when I go with the national team, we do. When I have extended periods with the national team, I read the game better and make more passes.

We have no idea how good he is with the ball at his feet in the same way so many Arsenal fans called Ramsdale a hoof-merchant after Chris Wilder left Sheffield United. The most important thing here is we need a player that can push Aaron who has had a shaky 2022. One week he’s keeping a clean sheet against Italy, the next he’s conceding a bunch to Hungary. The focus of competition at Arsenal might help, especially if Arteta shows early on that he is prepared to drop Aaron if his form dips.

So, in conclusion… is there a single Arsenal fan out there that doesn’t understand what the strategy is going into this season?

I don’t think so.

If you can’t see it now, you are just not meant to understand things at a higher level, or you are trying to be an edgelord on Youtube to appease your teenage fans.

If you can see it, you’ll agree, that this is the best way for Arsenal to get to the top, because it’s sustainable, it’s exciting, and you can imagine where these players will be in two years time.

Say this quietly because I don’t want pelters, but I’d rather be bedding in these players in a Europa League environment, than a Champions League one. We’ll get practice against weaker teams, the young kids will get more minutes, and the first 3 months of the season won’t be played with young players wrestling with the physical and mental aspects of fatigue.

What I love the most about the way Arsenal are operating is they are opening the window on the fans that want to behave in a toxic way. Good news is oxygen for the fans that support the club the right way and it makes everything better. If you aren’t onboard with where we’re going, you do have to ask, what is the fu*cking point?

This is going to be a good season if all these deals can land, we can all feel it, right?

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347 Responses to “GETTING BACK TO THE TOP: THE REWARDS OF LONG TERM THINKING (LONG READ)”

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  1. Pierre

    Zacharse
    “BUT pete, don’t start using the fucking colorado avalanche to make a point on here EVER”

    What’s a colorado avalanche ?….sounds like an ice cream dessert..

  2. Nigel Tufnel

    Raptora,

    I posted yesterday, in Tielemans last 50 matches he started 27 in CM, and 18 DM. AM 4, midfield right, 1 time. So maybe like most of us, you just don’t pay as close attention to other teams players as our own. That’s nothing unusual. I’m the same way.

    Tielemans tackle stats are quite good from what I heard. It is acknowledged that he gets weaker defensively later in games though, but at DM you’d have elneny and 5 subs now.

    But you really should let the Bissouma thing go. The guy is not anywhere near the level of Partey or the squad we’re putting together.

  3. Nigel Tufnel

    Pedro,

    Ødegaard stats for chance creation per 90 minutes put him right with Bruno, a little behind Trent.. and like everyone else, far behind debruyne.

    Not bad, right?

    I love it when clowns who don’t even recognize talent criticize a player of class like Øde….
    Too many here embarrassing themselves with the anti Øde stance.

    But some of them see a footballing genius in Joe Willock.

  4. azed

    Pedro

    The evidence doesn’t support your theory that Arteta believes in Eddie.

    If Lacazette had managed to score twice in the second half of the season, Eddie would have been gone by now.

  5. bacaryisgod

    There are so many things to take issue with Pedro’s post, it’s hard to know where to begin, but let me take some positives.

    First, Edu and Arteta have proven they are able to renew deals of our young players. Eddie staying after the way he finished last season is a positive. Whether he kicks on from here will come down to his form, the form of those behind him and the system we play, but we had to keep him. If we can tie down both Saka and Saliba for the long-term, that’ll be great but if it doesn’t happen this summer, there’ll still be time.

    We’re in the middle of our transfer activity, so I’ll wait until it closes to see where we’re landed. I would have loved Tielemans but the talk is less positive around him. Loving the look of Lisandro and we should all give Fabio Vieira plenty of time to settle in before passing judgement.

    As a couple of posters have already mentioned, this really should be Arteta’s last chance to make Top 4. No matter how many times Pedro says it, last season wasn’t year one of the plan. By December, it will be 3 years and if he fails to deliver Champions League football (either through Top 4 or a Europa League win) then he’s simply got to go.

    That’s why we should be relaxed about this season. It will be great if he achieves what we all want, but we can no longer be apologists for him if he fails. No more excuses, like our English players were tired from the Qatar World Cup, etc.

    Finally, I don’t think Pedro has it right with our summer incomings. Edu has already signalled fewer signings this summer, so for us to pick up Tielemans in addition to Lisandro, Gabriel and Vieira seems unlikely. It would be a great win if it happened, but it looks like the smart money is on Tielemans signing a one-year extension with Leicester.

  6. bacaryisgod

    Pedro

    I absolutely see the stratgy and for the most part, support it wholeheartedly. I’m concerned that Arteta has no clue how to rest his players and that Saka will be more exhausted this season than he was at the end of last. Southgate has to take responsibility there too. I really hope Arteta gives Saka a full rest before the season starts. I would even have him sit out the first couple of games if necessary.

    I take issue with you treating the first 18 months of Arteta’s reign as if they didn’t exist. I think it sounds lovely to say our fans are unrivalled but we know that’s not true. But let’s focus on the positives-much more pleasant ground!

  7. Goobergooner

    A bit behind on the blog, but I’m definitely intrigued by Vieira. Martinez if he is coming in seems like a sound investment purely because he covers so many positions.

    I just hope at the very least. We relegate xhaka to the bench. Seeing the barn door hit him on the back on the way out would be my favourite piece of business for a few seasons if we can actually sell him that is. 😂😂.

    Also just a big old laff at the skirts having a cry on the last post because someone called Eddie a feather?!?!?;

    Grow a pair you puddings

  8. Mr Serge

    My eyes tell me ode is good and I don’t need to go to spec savers if we had a player that actually runs into the box and shoots ode figures would increase even more
    I can’t wait to see who we get but the targets that were are linked with get me all fizzy

  9. Gonsterous

    Eddie with the No.14 shirt. Safe to say, the next generation of arsenal fans will never understand why we hold that number in such great value.
    Going down this road, A day will come when its just another regular number at arsenal, like 32 or 35

  10. Dissenter

    A shirt number is just that, a shirt number.
    Maybe people will be satisfied if the club had issued the Eddie shirt as “014” instead of ‘14”

  11. Madhu

    Pedro good long read. To say that many of our fans don’t get the strategy is bit of a stretch and disengenious. What many fans are not convinced is your assertions that Arteta is the best young developmental coach in the world. There is not yet enough evidence to prove the same. Say what you will there is a perceptible drop in the output of young players like Martinelli, his defence leaked more goals and his attack seemed toothless most times. These are enough evidences to suggest that the jury is till out about Artetas ability to coach and improve young players. There is no doubt taht he is young coach and very ambitious. But unless he charts his own course rather than trying it imitate Pep it’s better for his own good. Instead of hyping his profile if we keep a honest view that Arteta is a exciting young coach with high ceiling then it would serve our purpose the best and his as well. This was one of the main reasons i backed him to join us before emery. Sports is all about innovation and freshness, so having a contemporary young coach with a high profile initiation and high ambition was the right profile for Arsenal’s coach after the long reign of Wenger. Let’s not overhype Arteta and undermine our own rebuilding strategy. Just like young players he will make mistakes and learn. The key is being humble, learn from mistakes and not be get caught in Hype.

  12. Tom

    “Azed, and if your sister had a dick she would be your brother”

    Bob, No she wouldn’t. She’d be his sister with a dick.
    Welcome to 2022.

  13. Naija+soccer

    If Arteta can combine all his resources including his time with Moyes, Wenger and Guardiola to then create his own identity out of these then he can go places. When I learned that Erik Ten-Haag learned his style from Guardiola indirectly I was amazed and developed even more respect for him, as hes created his own identity from his experiences/resources.

    Arteta cant be a cant be simply a copycat or imitator of Guardiola or Mancity. There’s only one of each.

  14. Sly

    Very balanced post Madhu
    Thanks for that
    For the record personally I’m neutral on Arteta. I’ve seen some good qualities with him but has been well chronicled on this commentary bad and concerning traits also
    Let’s see how we come out of this TW and see how we shape up during the season and hopefully tets can get a good tune out of this team

  15. Moray

    “Say this quietly because I don’t want pelters, but I’d rather be bedding in these players in a Europa League”

    Shame we aren’t out of Europe completely. Would have given us a chance to concentrate on one thing and qualifying for CL. What?

  16. Moray

    It seems fancy clothes Bellerin is trying to cancel his contract with us. We gave a simile issue with Torreira. Can we please stop loaning our players to cheap and worthless European sides who haven’t a chance of meeting their commitments. Monaco also can fuck off. They’re getting Guendouzi for cheap and still try to play mind games with Saliba.

    If a player is messing around in future tell them they will be playing with the women for the season. No more messing around.

  17. Gonsterous

    Dissenter

    A shirt number is a shirt number unless it was made famous by one of the best player to ever grace the club.
    A player who single handedly brought millions of fans to the club and who raised the esteem of the club to new heights.

    We don’t talk about the no.4 shirt that Viera or cesc wore. We don’t associate a number when talking about Wright or Mr. Arsenal tony Adams.
    We associate a shirt number with only one player in our history and there is a reason for that and we have to respect that. No one talked about the number 14 before Henry. Its why its important and a part of the culture of the club. I’m not saying we should retire the number but we should preserve it and not hand it out like a regular number to the likes of theo and Eddie who have achieved nothing yet and try to fill the shoes of an icon of our club

    A little respect is all I’m asking. Not some cheap gimmick to get someone to sign a contract. Sign the contract and we’ll let you wear the prestigious no 14 shirt. JUST NO!

  18. Siddeeq

    “”Bob N16June 19, 2022 00:35:17
    Azed, and if your sister had a dick she would be your brother””

    We live in a gender neutral/ non binary society Bob N69, get out from under that rock.

  19. Emiratesstroller

    Gonsterous

    Football is a business, but that does not mean that the modus operandi at Arsenal is not the
    right pathway for the Club.

    The management at Arsenal are developing a young team/squad. Such a policy requires patience from the owners, management and the supporters as well. Rome was not built in a
    day.

    There was a lot of dead wood at the club, which needed shifting. My guess is that this will
    be the last transfer window where we will see volume arrivals and departures.

    From season 2023-4 onwards I expect Arsenal to follow the Man City and Liverpool model
    of recruiting highly selectively one or two top quality players.

    Football recruitment and development is not an exact science and there will be mistakes
    down the way, but on a personal level I prefer to see Arsenal recruit young players aged 19-22 rather than the quick fix recruitment of Spurs and Conte recruiting players aged 30+.

    As a supporter and season ticket holder of many years standing I have watched many highs
    and lows. My expectations are therefore different from many who post on here, but I do see
    an upward trajectory for the club.

  20. Gonsterous

    Emirates

    Sadly we moved deadwood to bring in other deadwood. Its why we were stuck.

    Willian
    Mari
    Cedric and co were all backwards signings that backfired. Sure, it was an educated gamble from a rookie manager and hopefully he learns from his mistakes

    I only pray he looks back on this season and realizes where he made mistakes and doesn’t spring to conclusions of not having a good enough squad because if we are being honest with ourselves, our players played well last season and 4th was in our hands.

    ESR playing more centrally would have helped. Having martibelli up top for some games when laca was firing blanks may have helped. Rotating and keeping players like tavarez match fit would have helped.

    If we continue to see similar mistakes next season, I don’t think arteta will make it arsenal, not in his early years as manager anyway.

  21. Madhu

    Thanks Sly
    I also believe that we have progressed last year eventhough it hurts that we lost CL by fine margins. Arteta one only hopes would have learnt from last year and willl not repeat the same well documented mistakes which have been alluded to by everyone and Pedro. So i was comfortable with Arteta signing a new contract.
    Next season for me personally progress means closer to 80 points with a goal different of 30 or thereabouts. With two bites of cherry for CL places either a CL place or a cup win would be good. That’s my expectation and i am willing to die by that hill.

  22. curse

    nice post Pedro,

    Squad starting to shape up aye, soon we’ll have quality all round with many interchangeable options.

    Shout out to Eddie, I like that hale enders are getting the big numbers, nice touch.
    I’d rather him have it than Auba or Theo…

  23. Northbanker

    Just hoping Pedro is right as Tielemans will be vital to ensuring we can kick on next season

    I would still like to have seen us sign Hickey but get that Martinez may be more adaptable to the plan

    Now we really need a big week ahead – let’s get these 2 signed plus Jesus or otherwise we’re going to end up signing deadline day players which is a disaster for pre season prep

  24. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Good read Peter…

    So good I’ve just gone back and read again.
    So the players up for grabs are
    Bellerin
    Torriera
    Holding ?
    Amn ?
    Pepe

    Realistically were be lucky to nick around 40-45m.
    Apart from Pepe others ain’t got value have they

  25. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Fair play to kse
    They have bought into the arteta idea big time.
    There will be hic ups all over the season ..
    Maybe the first game will go against us.

    Let’s all get behind the team .unity is the key

  26. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Bob.
    Yes.
    He’s got a lot of experience, I think he’s on a few years left of contract , it just that teams treat us like a car boot sale when it comes to selling

    We won’t get the 20m that was offered for amn again.

  27. China1

    I’d have so much more respect for ozil if he’d just be honest

    He’s spent the last 4 odd years falling out with his clubs, managers and team mates then constantly deflecting blame

    We all know he’s talented as hell, why not just be honest that he fell out of love with football and is just coasting the last few years to build up cash for his real passion which is gaming

    Lower expectations, ask for a salary which is realistic in light of his obvious lack of effort and then he won’t need to permanently piss off everyone and their uncle on the way

    Instead he and his agent are in permanent attack mode blaming everyone and every thing for the same issues over and over again. Meanwhile his agent let slip after he retires he’ll become a pro gamer…

    No kidding. I could’ve told you that 3 years ago. If only he would stop fucking around and causing trouble for everyone else people might be supportive

  28. Pierre

    https://twitter.com/jessinhotweets/status/1538289216391483394?s=21&t=h8XnPFP2sr792foEqlpDGg

    Xhaka in the top ten for shot creating actions tells me that this graph is a bullshit way of judging a players creativity level.

    We should all know how it works by now , Odegaard or xhaka receive the ball 40 odd yards out , they play a 5 yard no risk pass out to saka on the right or Martinelli/Smith Rowe on the left , they cut inside and have a shot = a shot creation action.

    Xhaka being in the top ten for creativity in the ptemier league is laughable, we are lucky if he has 2 assists a season..

  29. Emiratesstroller

    Pierre

    No-one suggests that Xhaka is a brilliant player, but he is not half as bad as you and others who slag him constantly suggest. The guy at least turns up, is seldom injured and does his best.

    Contrast that with your “favourite” OZIL who devoted the latter stages of his career by pretending to be injured and seldom made an effort when he played. For all his talent he
    became and was a “con artist” who was very poor value for money.

  30. Un

    Tellingly look how low chelsea and Liverpool midfield
    Is

    They prefer to use their full backs to create. I wonder if Tierney and tomi were fit all season how this graph would have finished for us. Would we have gone wide more or less with our more solid full backs there

  31. China1

    Maybe let’s say the squad has taken shape after we’ve successfully signed the players we need

    Going into the summer we were in desperate need of a CF, CM, LB and GK

    as of now we’ve signed a GK and AM…

    Once a CM and CF is in we can start saying it’s a good window. Until then it’s not yet.

  32. Un

    Pierre

    Assist aren’t the only way to measure creativity. In fact I’d argue (as you have before) that the pass or dribble which creates the assist is of teen the most vital in any given passage of play in creating the goal. The guy who lays the final pass on, more often, is the guy who’s left with a simple cut back or 5 yard pass. Unless you’re DB10 who’s assists were always forwards passes through the bodies

  33. Un

    Pierre mate
    You’re into even more of a loser with Ozil than I am with wilshere. Let it go mate. It’s over. We can all bond over a shared love of Emile smith Rowe, even if your old loyalties to defending ozil won’t allow you to offer a shred of praise to Odegaard

  34. Ishola70

    Isn’t there anyone to ask about this Vieira kid other than a stat merchant?

    Someone who has actually watched him play in games rather than pouring over numbers.

    These people are not football experts anymore. They masquerade as such in a gluttony of figures.

    Also this line of long term and patience. It will only last for a period and if expectations are not met within a certain time then it will get thrown away. Also the football that is actually played. Arsenal were not one of the more entertaining sides to watch season just gone. There was an air of churning out results rather than dazzling. This is important.

    Arteta needs to get his team to play more expansive football and this will be time when you can say that yes a strategy and plan is in place that looks like it is going to work. Not squeezing lemons as Arteta refered to his side season just gone.

    Otherwise this plan and strategy is in danger of always falling short.

  35. Ishola70

    ES

    “No-one suggests that Xhaka is a brilliant player, but he is not half as bad as you and others who slag him constantly suggest. The guy at least turns up, is seldom injured and does his best.”

    You are as changeable as a British summer.

    A few days back you were stating on here to sell him.

    Your inconsistencies over him are very big.

  36. Pierre

    Pogba 9 assists last season
    Odegaard 4 assists
    Xhaka 2 assists

    And yet pogba is languishing at the back whilst Odegaard/xhaka are in the top 8.

    All this graph actually proves is that shot creation stats are pointless unless it is for big chances created, meaning i presume that a player has created a one on one chance with the keeper..

  37. Habesha Gooner

    The strategy is right. We are going for players under 25 with a lot of potential and ability. And I hope we get all those players plus Raphinha. We would be tough to keep out and our defense would be a lot better. We have every chance of making in back to CL.

    But that level of investment means that Arteta has all but run out of excuses. At the end of this window, if Pepe, Leno, Bellerin, AMN, Mari, Torreira all leave and all these players come in, the every player in our squad will have been signed by Arteta or he has given them a new deal.

    There is already pressure on him to get top 4 next season. This level of investment will mean that there will be no excuses for him not to make it. I am hoping he doesn’t but if he fails, he would need to leave. We will have to search for another possession based coach who will value most of this squad and how for top 4 again with that coach.

  38. China1

    ‘I’d rather be bedding these players in the EL’

    Lol the barefaced cheek of this lie lol. Get REAL mate lol

  39. Ishola70

    Habesha Gooner
    “The strategy is right. We are going for players under 25 with a lot of potential and ability.”

    You need more than just the players to get the overall strategy right.

    You need a footballing philosophy and style to go along with it.

    Arsenal need to improve on the actual football being played. Then we can say yes this looks very promising.

  40. Habesha Gooner

    Pierre
    A big chance created is also indicated by XA. Odegaard was in the 72 percentile in the expected assists chart from the top 5 leagues. But his assists number is 4 which is in the 34th percentile. That means the players he is assisting aren’t finishing off their chances.

    He was also in the 88th percentile for key passes, 82 percentile for passes in to the final third, 86th percentile for passes in to the penalty area, 88th percentile for progressive passes.

    So you ignore all that to slander Odegaard. This all points to a top attacking midfielder. If you were to say that he hasn’t performed in some games that a high press was used then you would be right. But over all he was very good.

  41. Siddeeq

    Portugese Viera is similar to Ivorian Pepe, if he cant press, Generational will quickly bin him, doesnt matter his offensive output.

  42. Habesha Gooner

    Is hola
    It has been my main criticism of Arteta since he took over. But I have seen flashes of a playing style last season instead of winging it. I am hoping it will develop next season too.

  43. China1

    With Ode I’d like to know how his stats are balanced over the various games of the season

    Is he putting up similar numbers across the games or is he beast if the games he plays well in and not doing much else in the others and the stats average out as good?

    I suspect it’s the latter. When he’s good he’s great. When he’s not great, he’s quite average

  44. Habesha Gooner

    China
    😂😂😂
    Total lie. Thses players would have had more motivation to play in the CL. And they would test themselves against the best. Pedro is just subtly trying to defend Arteta there.

  45. China1

    This is another issue with taking an average of stats over the course of the season

    Just look at Jesus – his goals scored over the course of the season wasn’t *that* bad until you realize half his goals came in a single match.

    You can score 100 goals a season but if they all come in one game they’ve only contributed to 3 points in the season.

    As always, stats get thrown around but they’re over simplifications of something complex

  46. China1

    It wasn’t too subtle habesha mate lol

    As someone else said it smells just like the old ‘it’s better not to be in the EL so we have more time between games’ line that was thrown around to excuse coming 8th the year before. Which also didn’t do us any favors whatsoever and we still had a whole post dedicated to how unfair it was against us with the fixtures in a season when we had no Europe and went out of the cups early, whilst Utd also ranked their season. Absolutely everything fell into our lap to come 4th and now we’re saying it’s better we came 5th. Such things cannot be said with a straight face

  47. andy1886

    A ‘Big Chance’ is when the recipient would be more reasonably be expected to score than not, that is 51%+ chance of scoring. A ‘Chance’ could be a 1% of scoring.

    Odegaard is in the top three for ‘Chances’, but only 40th in ‘Big Chances’ (source Premier League official stats). This means that the vast majority of the chances that Odegaard creates are low quality, which explains why he has low assist numbers.

    Studies have shown that it’s better to create a small number of Big Chances than lots of Chances, so we need Odegaard to focus more on the quality than the quantity of chances he creates. It also shows why the focus on the latter rather than the former is misguided.

  48. Wicked Willy

    Pierre, do you not think that having Ronaldo to finish the chances rather than Lacazette, Pogba was somewhat advantaged?

    Ronaldo scored exactly the amount of xG he was supposed to. Laca on the other hand only scored 47% of his xG.

    If you factor that in, then they’re actually equivalent, and there’s absolutely no doubt that Odegaatd is a way better presser, meaning he is more valuable to the team.

    Then there’s the fact that Odegaard scored 7 goals versus 1 from Pogba.

    Oh and then there’s the fact that Pogba’s pass completion rate into the box is 55%, whereas Odegaard’s is 65% (eliminating the sideways pass to Saka argument).

    Odegaard also made 104 tackles versus 62 for Pogba. Even if you factor in aerial fuels, for which Pogba is stronger, Odegaard still comes out on top in defensive metrics.

    Then there is the fact that Odegaard cost £60m less and we are paying about £10m a year less in wages.

    I think it’s safe to say that not only is Odegaard a better player, he is also WAY better value, and he hasn’t even reached his peak.

    He’s also not yet at the peak of his career (25-29)

  49. raptora

    Speaking of Ozil:
    “He will go more into eSports, play himself and maybe become an eSports athlete,” Dr Erkut Sogut told the Daily Telegraph.

    “He’s really good, to be honest, at Fortnite and I think one day I wouldn’t be surprised if he is competing.

    “He owns a team – M10 Esports – and he has players. He has a gaming house in Germany. He has football, like FIFA, and Fortnite.”

    He should have left football years ago. It’s not like he’s been a professional football player in a while anyways.

  50. Pierre

    I wonder who’s position Fabio Vieira will take ?

    Strange, don’t you think that we have spent 30 mil on a playmaker when we have supposedly a top 5 creative player in Odegaard.

    Where will Fabio fit in , the no.10 position, meaning Odegaard drops back .

    Maybe we will play 4-3-3 with Eddie/jesus up top and saka and fabio out wide , though this would again mean that Odegaard plays a deeper role which takes away the burden from him to actually create goals and he can turn into a xhaka mk 2 and happily recycle the ball from one side to the other whilst pretending to press the opposition without quite getting close enough for physical contact.

  51. Howard

    Nigel Tufnel

    Odegaard flops in all big games. Fact. You can check. He’s only good against below the top 7 teams. Fact.

  52. andy1886

    Is it a coincidence that Odegaard was 40th in Big Chances and also 40th in Assists? Saka created significantly fewer chances but was 19th for big chances and 15th for assists.

    Odegaard 6 Big Chances 4 assists.
    Saka 8 big chances 7 assists.

    Seems pretty clear that ‘Big Chances’ is a far better indicator of success.

  53. Pierre

    Willy
    “I think it’s safe to say that not only is Odegaard a better player, he is also WAY better value, and he hasn’t even reached his peak.”

    I wasn’t judging who was the better player, i was making the loint that pogba had 8 assists but according to that graph is lacking creativity, whilst Odegaard had 4 assists but is regarded as a top creator in the league .

    Taking into consideration that Odegaard played more than double the games than pogba i would imagine, proves that the graph is bullshit , having Xhaka in the top ten is confirmation of that

  54. Chris

    Not that I take Twitter threads as gospel (obviously) but there is a thread on Lisandro Martinez that is certainly intriguing. Seems to be a technical defender who can bring the ball forward quickly and beat a press with ease.

    Another CB who is <6ft though. And if he is being eyed up for left back he hasn’t played there much in his career apparently so a big jump from centre back in Dutch league to a new position in the PL.

    There’s lots to like about him though reading that thread. Although it would surely be the end for Holding at Arsenal if he came.

  55. Un

    Pierre

    Is it not possible to have more than one creative payer in the squad?
    Wenger usually had 4-5 quality creators at any time
    We currently have 3 (all aged 23 and under) with vieira now coming in to make it 4
    Wenger always had a wide playmaker a deep playmaker and a traditional 10 around the box

  56. Wicked Willy

    Pierre,

    Fair play. But it still doesn’t take away from the fact that MO had more goal contributions than PP, and I would hazard a fairly confident guess that most of the man Utd forwards have a better conversion rate than Laca! That is however unsubstantiated 🙂

    Nor does it take away all of the other points that I made.

    When you take the analysis in the round, I don’t think there can be any debate about the overall effectiveness of MO Vs PP when measured statistically, and as previosuly stated, once value is factored in, they’re in different leagues.

    And of course age.

    This is not an invitation for you to find some example where I can be proved wrong. Instead, I invite you to speak of the overall effectiveness of the players based on all metrics, whilst acknowledging value considerations as well.

    Now, you may not consider the age thing important, but I do. Odegaard has now played 80 games in La Liga and the PL. This is now the point where I would expect to start seeing him increase his output (KDB had has breakout season at Wolfsburg in his 24th year for example), and I would expect that upward trajectory to continue for the next 5 years. That’s why we bought him, so that he could grow with the team. I’m obviously not saying he will hit KDB levels, but I do expect him to become one of the most highly rated number 10s of the next decade.

  57. Emiratesstroller

    There is far too much emphasis on the “final pass” which results in an assist. Often these are
    no more than short passes which any footballer in the right position can deliver.

    Xhaka is not a forward, winger or attacking midfielder. So the expectation that his assists record should be better than it is is plain daft. What Xhaka is very good at doing is producing
    long accurate passes. He is probably better at doing this than any other player at Arsenal.

  58. Bob N16

    I imagine, from the little I’ve admittedly seen, Viera will either come on for Saka or Odegaard. If we’re pushing for a goal, he could be an attacking option replacing a more defensive minded No8.

    If you can receive the ball when you’re tightly marked and turn away with quick feet and movement, you’ll be an asset.

    I have no idea how well he can defend or press.

  59. Bob N16

    Odegaard needs a decent midfield behind him to flourish. When Xhaka and less often Elneny were playing behind him, the opposition found it too easy to just focus on him to nullify his creativity. Lacazette also dropped too deep and didn’t provide Ana attacking outlet.

    In particular when Partey was playing, he benefitted from the greater movement and fluidity to combine extremely effectively. When it was just Saka it was far too predictable.

    It may sound like I’m an apologist for Odegaard but I think I’ve seen enough to know that if we get the right players around him he will sparkle more often.

    To the guy who said he went missing against the top 7 teams I would suggest you remind yourself of the first half home performances against Liverpool and City to see what could be possible!

  60. Emiratesstroller

    Ishola 70

    I am not changeable as you suggest. I made it clear that I consider Xhaka an average player.
    That applies also to Elneny as well.

    Both these players could have been replaced and upgraded down the line. However, three managers have for whatever reason chosen not to do so. So perhaps they see something in
    the players which we don’t see.

  61. Spanishdave

    You can prove anything with stats so just a waste of time.
    The league table is the only indicator of where you are going.
    Arteta blew his chance by playing the wrong tactics and lost those three games in a row at the end of the season.
    We will never get top four with him, he stifles natural talent

  62. Freddie Ljungberg

    https://youtu.be/yNEe1Ey5mwU

    Gabriel full season vid.

    By far out best defender and the best CB we’ve had in many years, I don’t get the negativity around him from some.

    Sure there’s room for improvement but he’s a baby in CB terms.
    He really only needs to improve on concentration to be an absolute beast, everything else is there already.

    Hope we get Lisandro signed.

    Tomi Saliba Gabriel Lisandro would be a fucking wall.

  63. Freddie Ljungberg

    “🇵🇹 Fábio Vieira completed 0.81 through-balls per 90 in the Primeira League last season.

    The only person who completed more in the Top 6 leagues… was Lionel Messi.”

  64. Habesha Gooner

    China
    To be honest he wasn’t playing that well when he first joined in the beginning of the season. He scored at Burnley but he was having poor games. And he was even dropped for Lacazette as a 10.

    But since he scored three in a row, from the top of my head I could point out the games he didn’t play well in. I would say Palace away, Newcastle away, Spurs away. Those are the poor performances. But there has also been top performances against city and Chelsea, Liverpool too (except that chance he missed).

    Next season, he will get more consistent imo.

  65. Gbat

    I find it a bit unfair to judge players on assists. For example Harvey Barnes had 10 assists off an expected assists of just 4.

    I really like look of the players we’ve been linked with. It’s clear we need better squad options especially with Europe and the 5 subs. The clubs we’re trying to catch up to have plenty of options of similar quality. For example only Bernardo Silva of the so called attacking players started over 30 League games for city.

  66. Pierre

    Un
    “Is it not possible to have more than one creative payer in the squad?”

    Hopefully yes, I reckon it all depends on the fitness of Partey .
    When he was playing he was holding the middle by himself with xhaka and Odegaard playing higher up , and it worked quite well for a period until partey was injured .
    We then had to revert back to 2 holding midfielders as none of the others were good enough to hold the midfield by themselves..

    So yes , there is a possibility that with partey fit we can play Odegaard and fabio either side , which will on paper make us a very offensive side which will probably mean our full backs will need to be conservative in their attacking play …

    I’d still prefer smith rowe to play instead of Odegaard, meaning he can play alongside saka.

    A line up of
    Ramsdale(no one else)
    Tomiyasu
    White
    Saliba/gabriel
    Tierney
    Partey
    Fabio
    Smith rowe
    Saka
    Eddie/jesus
    Martinelli

    Looks good offensively , will score and create that’s for sure.

    For those who think it wouldn’t work , think back to when we only had partey holding the midfield with xhaka higher up the pitch..
    It’s just a matter of dropping xhaka for fabio and Bob’s yer uncle , the goals will flow.

  67. TR7

    Pedro

    Posting that chance creation stat from Twitter is not going to change my perception and assessment of Odegaard.
    Chance creation statistics can be very misleading just like shot on target stat or any other stat for that matter.

    Ode is a safe recycler with decent work rate, nothing less nothing more. I repeat you will come around to the view that he is not the solution to our creative issues. ESR is a far more dangerous and effective playmaker.

    After Xhaka, it’s Ode who I want to see demoted to a bench role. If Ode and Xhaka play majority of our games as starters I guarantee Arsenal will again miss out on top 4.

  68. Pierre

    Let’s hope that Matt Turner is decent as we may need him if Ramsdale continues letting in 50% of shots on target as per 2nd half of the season.

  69. China1

    How is it defined that a player has a more than 50% chance of scoring?

    Who is making the decision to discern if a chance was a readily scorable one?

    If it’s a person then they can judge the nuance of the situation – however it’s still subjective and prone to disagreement.

    If it’s a computer it is incapable of understanding the nuances of the situation. A pass is played to a player on the penalty spot. Is this a goal scoring chance?

    Does the computer recognize that he receives the ball with his back to goal and still has work to do to even get a shot off? Does the computer understand if the ball was passed to his weaker foot? Does it recognize that two defenders are right next to him, forcing him to take a snap shot rather than pick his spot? Does it recognize that the pass was hit very hard and was difficult to control cleanly? Does it recognize that the timing of the pass meant the striker was actually slightly off balance? Does the computer recognize that the keeper charging him down is an elite shot stopper? Does it take into account the fact that a good chance for one player (Henry) is only a half chance for many others (welbeck, Chamakh, 2022 laca…)? Does the computer recognize if the pass to the striker was under hit and made getting a shot off difficult? Or that the ball is bouncing awkwardly? Or spinning? Or that a defender is leaning into the striker just as he was trying to get a shot off?

    I’m sorry but do not trust a computer to tell you any of those things because it frankly doesn’t know. And these and countless other variables are all fundamental factors in determining if something is a chance, a half chance or not a chance – and none of these can even be conclusively defined anyway because all 3 exist on a continuum of grey area.

    There is no such thing as a 51% chance of scoring

  70. TR7

    All you need to do is to watch chance created videos of KDB and Odegaard to realise how misleading chance creation stat can be.

  71. China1

    This is why some players could look much worse than they are in the stats and others can look inflated

    Whilst the stats collection in those days was far less than these days, I can tell you with 10000% certainty that DB10 would get crushed in most of the stats by Ozil. Yet Ozil wasn’t fit to lace DB’s boots. And that’s a fact.

  72. Un

    Bob N16June 19, 2022 10:08:32
    Odegaard needs a decent midfield behind him to flourish. When Xhaka and less often Elneny were playing behind him, the opposition found it too easy to just focus on him to nullify his creativity. Lacazette also dropped too deep and didn’t provide Ana attacking outlet.

    BobN16

    Spit on
    He also needs forwards who will actually run in behind to receive his passes rather than drop deep (laca) or hold your run for the 6 yard cut back (auba)
    The more variety, movement and technical quality tis team possesses the more the vision of players like Odegaard and vieira will be utilised

  73. China1

    2 seasons ago these statisticians had xhaka in the team of the season.

    Now I don’t care how much Xhaka might have been less bad than in the old days, there’s not a football fan on the planet who watched any matches that season and thought he was *anywhere near* the team of the season

    But there’s a database which mentions something or other about progressive carries or long range passing or god knows what and bang there you go. Absolutely world class. He wasn’t even the best CM at arsenal that season… and our CM was piss poor…

  74. TR7

    “Odegaard needs a decent midfield behind him to flourish. When Xhaka and less often Elneny were playing behind him, the opposition found it too easy to just focus on him to nullify his creativity.”

    This is a bogus argument which is made far too frequently and repeatedly. Great players raise the level of those playing with them rather than it being the other way round. Santi Cazorla made Coquelin look much better than he was.

  75. China1

    That midfield was something like KDB… Bruno Silva and Xhaka 😂😂😂

    Spot the odd one out if you can

  76. Un

    Pierre

    I love that line up.
    I wouldn’t cry if vieira came in and took odegaard’s spot btw
    I just think Odegaard isn’t given due credit. Yes he’s inconsistent but so is ESR
    Both have the ability to be absolutely world class playmakers in their own way.
    Vieira, I don’t know. I’ve only seen clips but from what I have seen he loves a slide rule pass from deep so we need runners to make the most of him

  77. TR7

    Even Bruno Fernandes is a very overrated midfielder. His numbers are great but his impact on the game is nowhere as outstanding as his numbers are.

  78. Un

    Tr7

    Bergkamp became a different beast with anelka overmars pires petit Henry and all to play off
    His link with Freddie for 3-4 years was immense (once they’d learned each other’s games)
    This team needs more technical players to bring the best out in the ones we already have.

  79. Pierre

    To have a playmaker who can see the pass inside the full back would be a dream for the likes of Eddie , saka , Martinelli and jesus.

    It is a pass that creates aĺl sorts of problems for the opposition and city are the masters at it.
    It’s all about timing and weight of pass and hopefully fabio is the one to deliver.

    Aubameyang’s goals dried up because we lost the one player with the ability to play the ball inside the full back , if we can bring that back into our game then Eddie has the movement inside the box to finish the move.

    To achieve this to perfection, a team needs top quality overlapping full backs or failing that we would have to put saka on the left and Martinelli on the right so they can pull the ball back or hit the corridor of uncertainty with their favourite foot.

    Getting behind the opposition defence causes problems, this is something we have struggled with , probably because saka and Martinelli both like to cut inside onto their favourite foot and our full backs are never advanced enough to receive the ball so high up the pitch…Bellerin was our last full back who would time his run well to receive the ball inside the full back.

  80. China1

    It’s true that elite players look elite under any reasonable circumstances

    Put a 18 year old wilshere or a 17 year old cesc in any game last season and we’d have all been purring

    Not that I don’t rate ode. He is good and he was better than the season before which is promising. I like to hope there’s plenty more to come from him and I like what he’s about in general. He just needs more consistency and that’s basically it. When he can maintain his good levels in 80% of games he’ll be an excellent player. Right now it’s probably more like 60-65%. Let’s hope he continues to kick on this season as he has loads going for him

    But yeah let’s not expect statistical algorithms designed besides on dubious and subjective criteria to tell us anything about him which our eyes cannot readily see. If he was an elite chance creator already we’d all know it because it would be obvious. On a good day he is that player and can be quite brilliant. But he’s not consistent whatever the stats say doesn’t matter. We can see it with our own eyes

  81. Habesha Gooner

    No one is saying Odegaard is in KDB’s level. Not a lot of players are.

    Odegaard isn’t only providing creativity, he is also offering control of the game. Ask Chelsea and United fans and they will tell you they rate Odegaard. We are better at controlling the games we play in since he has been here. Not only that, Xhaka has looked good because Odegaard shows up for the ball a lot. He takes up the right attacking midfield position a lot. But he is always available.

    People might call that recycling but I call it controlling the game. He is also creative in the right positions. He has created a lot of chances last season and for the first three months he wasn’t up to speed either. Next season will be much better for him and us. He is part of the reason we went from 8th to 5th with a 69 points haul. And a lot of fans seem to think so too since they voted him as the 2nd best player of the season.

  82. TR7

    Ode played far more number of games than any other attacking player except Saka. No wonder those two were voted top two by fans.

  83. G

    I don’t need stats to see Ode is quality and is just going to get better.. for those who think he just plays safe passes need to watch him again or if you can’t see it then give up watching him all together

  84. englandsbest

    It’s still hard to believe that Qatar WC – an utterly corrupt and ludicrous decision – will really happen but, barring some apocalyptic event, it will. The effect it might have on PL coming in the middle of the season is scary and unpredictable. None of us need telling how well-laid plans can be wrecked by injuries, fatigue and so on. So any forecasts of how the season will end is more than ever guesswork.

    Some will take this as an advance excuse for Arteta failing to make top 4. It isn’t because – setting Qatar aside – here are reasons why my belief is that Arsenal will end the season 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th:

    The signs are that Edu will sign all Arteta’s transfer targets.
    Taking the current top 4, Tottenham under Conte are likely to improve – but Chelsea are likely to decline. A question mark over Liverpool, key players have passed their best. Man C? How good is Haaland?

  85. Emiratesstroller

    Englandsbest

    Arsenal will be in the mix for a top 4 finish next season.

    However, there will be 5 other clubs competing as well in Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd, Chelsea and Spurs as well. Newcastle will also start moving up the table providing they are able to recruit the right players.

    Arsenal’s potential weakness is that it is a youthful squad and the lack of experience might
    affect us particularly with a congested season and a World Cup bang in the middle.

  86. Wicked Willy

    Bob,

    Good analysis. We have to consider how the whole system works, not just fixate on individual components. This is why I’m ok with Jesus up top, and why adding Vieira and potentially Raphinha excites me, with Tielemans and Partey in support, and Saliba and Martinez playing progressively from the back. It all adds up to a super front fronted, press crazy team that will create a lot of dangerous transitions, and a team that has the technical capability and complimentarity to exploit them.

    We don’t need a 30 goal a season striker if the goals are getting shared around. Jesus will score enough to keep all but the most ardent haters at bay, but he will also create nightmares for defenders that our fantastic four (soon to be six) can have a field day with.

    As I said a while back, I don’t need this to be the perfect team yet, I just want it to be sufficiently better than what we had last season, and that is exactly what we look to be getting.

    We can then add the icing to the cake next summer, and our team of young guns will be firing bullets like Billy The Kid.

  87. raptora

    I’d really like to bring a CM though.

    More on the defensive side – Anguissa, Sangare, Koopmeiners (looks too Xhakaish tbh)

    More on the offensive side – Milinkovic-Savic, Gundogan, Zinchenko, Carlos Soler, Matheus Nunes, Fabian Ruiz, Mikel Merino, Tielemans ofc

    I heard Wolves are ready smash their transfer record for Sporting’s Matheus Nunes but the player is waiting for something better. Pep said he’s one of the best players in the world. Maybe he’s waiting for us.

    Anyways, a lot of options in midfield, like in every position their is a risk, but in football the midfield area is almost always the deciding factor. I can’t understand why we haven’t upgraded there in so many years.

    We’ve bought one big boy in Partey and that’s it. We need to give ourselves the chance to have a top class midfield – a healthy Partey makes the cut, but what about the guy next to him? It’s somewhat understandable to have Xhaka and Elneny as backups if your starters are top talents. We are just not giving ourselves a chance to dominate games. City’s force is the midfield. We have to invest there finally.

  88. China1

    On his day ode is class tho. Some of the blind passes and flicks were ozil (when he could be arsed)

    I also think he is actually a victim of the arteta setup because the strategy is horrible donutball which is inefficient and completely stifles our central game. Apart from playing it wide or back there was nothing central on for him to be looking at until Eddie came in

    Ode will have way more fun when we have an 8 who can break beyond him towards the box and CFs who are actively trying to break the lines. I’d also like to see saka and Martinelli running ahead but more narrow and let the FBs own the touch line

    With lots of runners more centrally I think it will be a fair chunk easier for him to influence games and be more consistent

    Tldr arteta ball sucks and ode will find it easier if we have more runners and go more narrow

  89. Tom

    I did this exercise /experiment with my son (who played collage ball at the time )after one of the games Arsenal lost in Wenger’s last season when Ozil got absolutely murdered in the media for having a supposed stinker, where I made him pause play each time Ozil got the ball and asked him to tell me where the next pass should be made.
    Surprise, surprise, he couldn’t point to a single mistake in Ozil’s decision making or execution even though he was all too happy to repeat medias talking points before hand.

    I’m a 100% certain the outcome would be exactly the same if I rewatched most Odegaard Arsenal games with Pierre or the few other Ode critics on here.

    Once you get over the fact Ode , like Ozil, won’t take players on and dribble past them, there’s actually very little you can attack him for in his overall game.
    The idea that he can’t spot a run and find it with anything other than a five yard pass is absurd.
    If you played at any level you’d know a run dictates the pass anyways because the ball travels faster than even the quickest runner.
    Arsenal attack under Arteta leaves many asking questions but Odegaard isn’t the main culprit.

  90. Goobergooner

    “because it’s sustainable, it’s exciting, and you can imagine where these players will be in two years time.

    Say this quietly because I don’t want pelters, but I’d rather be bedding in these players in a Europa League environment, than a Champions League one. ”

    How does saliba fit into this. Surely then you were correct. His loan to Marseille wasn’t the right move. He should have been here “year 1” acclimatizing to the league and his team mates.

    (I think his loan was obviously great. But I’d definitely have preferred to see him here *whether Arteta gave him an actual chance is another question altogether if he stayed.)

  91. Un

    TR7June 19, 2022 11:00:21
    Even Bruno Fernandes is a very overrated midfielder. His numbers are great but his impact on the game is nowhere as outstanding as his numbers are.

    Mate
    Doesn’t this contradict the assessment of Odegaard though who probes for openings?

  92. Wicked Willy

    Raptora,

    How much is this Nunes expected to go for? He seems to be even more highly rated than Vieira and Vitunha, which is crazy!! The key questions for me are: how much? Is he suitable for our system? Is he too young for an impatient fan base (and manager)?

    The romantic in me wants him and Vitinha so we can have an all-star midfield trio to support Partey and Odegaard, but the pragmatist in me feels peeps a bit older are needed.

    Will check out your list in more detail.

  93. China1

    It’s a bit is a misnomer to say ‘when you look past that he won’t take on his man…’

    Why should that be looked past when he’s shown countless times that he’s perfectly decent at taking on his man. This is precisely part of where he needs to improve at – risk taking. He has the tools and he does use them very well, but he often prefers not to take that risk.

    There is no swatting away that he doesn’t take on players as often as he could as tho that’s just an acceptable given. He is a smart, very technical player. There’s no reason he cannot exploit that more often except that he’s relatively risk averse

  94. Siddeeq

    Theres NO getting over the fact that a player cant dribble, its as AWFUL as a player that dribbles and creates chaos then his decision making on the final pass is bad

  95. Siddeeq

    Players like Ozil/Ode CANNOT carry the team. Once Santi left Ozil faded
    Players like ESR/Saka carry the team.

  96. raptora

    Tom: “Once you get over the fact Ode , like Ozil, won’t take players on and dribble past them, there’s actually very little you can attack him for in his overall game.”

    So when you forget that he plays in snail’s pace besides that he’s actually doing well. Okay.

    “If you played at any level you’d know a run dictates the pass anyways because the ball travels faster than even the quickest runner.”

    Like we were being told that Giroud was holding Ozil back and imagine if he had a faster player to pass to -> lo and behold both Laca and Auba arrive and in his last 2 seasons for us he achieves a total of 6 assists in 58 games.

    Truth is snail pace players need someone like Alexis to be useful. All action hero who does everything on his own he just needs passes to come at him over and over again. But why should we be stuck with someone that needs the perfect setup to shine?

    There are silky players out there with better end product than Odegaard who are also dynamic, dangerous, not afraid to go in the box, not afraid to make the risky pass.

    Do you know who is sitting in the 13 percentile compared to midfielders in the top 5 leagues in Pass Completion percentage? The best playmaker in the world – KDB.

    Recycling the ball means nothing if you don’t go for the killer pass. Obviously Ode is going to have a lot of “chances created” or “shot creating actions”, every attack goes through him, he makes a 5 yard pass then the receiving player decides to shoot or dribble and shoot and there we go. He doesn’t create big chances, he is supposedly our most creating player (total jokes) and it’s literally his job to create.

    The eye test is that he’s slow, doesn’t dribble, doesn’t go in the box not nearly enough to try to get at the end of a cross, perfectly happy to recycle the ball and let the other players figure something out.

    I’m willing to give him a chance though. When he scored in 3 straight games I thought he finally grew a pair to have a go in actually finishing the attacks by making himself available in the box, or just by being there. Then by the last months of the season he had entirely eradicated this in his game. If it was him who reverted to his previous ways or it was Arteta, I’ve no clue, but he was pretty average in the last months and I hated the fact that he was never dropped for a game or two.

    But I don’t like the fact that in the AM role, we have a slow, safe guy so we have to have speedy players ahead of him to compensate for his lack of pace and ambition when slow, safe guy could be the CM and not the AM. AM should be a goal threat or a dribbler or an assist machine.

  97. Tom

    There’s a only a handful of players worldwide who can carry a team at a CL level.
    They cost hundreds of millions in transfer fees and their wages exceed £300kpw.
    Arsenal don’t have a single one.

  98. Habesha Gooner

    TR7
    Playing the most games doesn’t make you the best player of the season. Odegaard was actually good in most of these games. Just like Saka. That isn’t a good argument to make.

    I understand the criticism that he doesn’t take more risks with his passing. But I think that is due to his confidence levels. On his 6 months loan, he was very safe. And now he has grown to take more risks and his numbers actually got better. And I am expecting it to be even higher next season with a better squad.

    I agree he has played poorly in some games where we were pressed relentlessly. But it isn’t just due to him we lost the midfield battles. And I believe he is press resistant due to the body feints and the disguise he makes in his moves. He will show that more this coming season. I say that because I have seen him play well against two of the best pressing teams in Liverpool and Man city.

    One thing I agree though, he isn’t a powerful runner. He uses his brain more. He has okay pace for a midfielder like David Silva or Ozil. He isn’t going to go on a lung busting run to score a solo goal. But over shorter distances he can be brilliant.

  99. Wicked Willy

    Raptora – your boy Nunes looks like he’ll thrive in the PL

    Tom – not yet, but both Saka and Martinelli look capable of carrying a team in the CL in due course, and I’m not discounting the possibility that Odegaard could do the same.

    I sincerely hope we’re in a position next summer to buy the best of the best to supplement the great foundations we are building

  100. Pierre

    To play the killer ball , you either have it or you don’t…you can’t teach it and you can’t learn it, and if you have it you need to be brave enough on the ball to use it as more often than not the killer ball fails.

    The window of opportunity to play the killer ball at the top level is only open for a fraction of a 2nd and then it is gone.

    To get the killer ball right , the player first has to recognise the opportunity, he then needs the technique to play the ball at the correct weight , at the correct speed, with the perfect timing….if he gets any one of these wrong the chance has gone.

    With a lot of players , the easy option is to ignore the window of opportunity and play the safe pass , this is due to a fear of failure.

    When Wenger left , ozil became this type of player, he became a safe player and only occasionally would he attempt the killer ball , Odegaard fits into this category.
    My argument has always been , why replace Ozil with a player that only does what Ozil was doing.

    Smith rowe came in for Ozil and i was delighted to see a player that jad a real connection with the front players but the signing of Odegaard changed all that , maybe fabio is the player to increase our creativity as it is a fact that our creativity has declined year on year the fewer games Ozil played.

    There is an argument that the creative player needs movement up front and that is why Odegaard’s assists are so low..
    I’m not sure anyone can say that Aubamayang doesn’t have the movement in the box , for me he was the master at finding space in a crowded penalty area similar to Eddie this was always , an area that Lacazette struggled with.

    As yet , i haven’t seen any connection between Odegaard and Eddie other than Eddie creating more real chances for Odegaard than the other way round.

    A large percentage on le grove like busy players like Odegaard , i prefer the more cultured , intelligent creative player who can find pockets of space to affect the game, the old adage of let the ball do the work still works for me.

  101. Tom

    “Recycling the ball means nothing if you don’t go for the killer pass. ”

    raptora, I tell you what, if you can produce clips of Arsenal players making decisive runs in the final third ignored by Ode who makes a safe five yard sideway pass instead, I’ll send you $50 per each example.

    Should be easy money.

  102. raptora

    In a 4-3-3:
    _________Partey_________
    ______Ode_____CM_______

    This could be worth exploring in a similar way to:

    _________Rodri__________
    _____KDB_____Bernardo__

    Then Ode will be a CM which he was for a while this season tbh. But the 3rd player will have to be very capable in attack. And it might just work well. I’m guessing that’s Arteta’s plan.

  103. Freddie Ljungberg

    Not sure why we’re not in for Nunes, 34m valuation from Sporting, would be perfect at CM for us and won’t cost that much more than Tielemans.

    Portoguese and Brazilian citizenship so Edu should be all over that one you’d think.

  104. raptora

    Maybe it will be:

    _________Partey_________
    ______Ode_____Vieira____

    Sounds like a plan but then Tielemans rumours should be dead and buried.

  105. raptora

    I read that Wolves are paying £42-43m for Nunes and Sporting is supposedly gucci with that. The player is not accepting yet, he wants to go to a better club. Very understandable tbh.

  106. Freddie Ljungberg

    Rap

    I saw those numbers too but think that was in Euros. Read that Wolves couldn’t afford him because sporting wasn’t budging on their 34m pricetag.

    either way he would be perfect next to or instead of Partey (when he’s injured)

  107. jwl

    Just read on Twitter ~

    Cesc Fabregas, Denilson, Vito Mannone and, quite likely, Aaron Ramsey, all available for free this summer…

  108. Tom

    If you combined Pierre and raptora’s Odegaard description you’d get a picture of an uncultured, unintelligent, slow paced sideways passer who lacks any vision for a killer ball.

  109. Wicked Willy

    Pierre,

    Did you not see Odegaard at Sociedad? He was playing those passes you are talking about for fun. My feeling is there was better, more cultured running from the likes of Oyarzabal. It was some of the best slide tule passing I’ve seen, and it’s what convinced me he could help break down defences for us.

    It may be that Arteta’s desire for ‘control’ is leaning him towards playing more safe. It could simply be an intermediate strategy until we have technical security all over the pitch. Or it could be Odegaard just needs another year to totally master his craft.

    No one is claiming he’s the finished article. I guess some of us see a very good player who could turn into an absolutely great player and it excites us. Especially as his pressing is so good, which means he’s not the luxury 10 that is so difficult to carry in the modern game.

    Having said that, Vieira clearly has something about him which is very exciting, and a little bit different. I really celebrate that.

    It will be wonderful to see how this all unfolds.

  110. Batistuta

    Long term strategy and all is great for the club. The football on the pitch has to be better next season but if we don’t get top 4 next season, we have to be shot of the manager

  111. Tom

    Arteta’s goal for this season is top four.
    Conte’s goal for this season is to challenge for the title.
    If Arteta misses his goal Arsenal will play in Europa again.
    If Conte falls short, Tottenham will most likely make the CL again leaving the club in a better shape for the next manager than he found it.

    Long term vs short term thinking.

  112. Batistuta

    Like the direction of the profile of players we’re signing and glad the club is backing the manager so it’s a season were there really can’t be any excuses for failure really.

  113. Freddie Ljungberg

    Arsenal with Thomas Partey starting last season:

    ◎ 23 Matches
    ◉ 56 Points
    ◉ 2.43 Points per game

    Arsenal without Thomas Partey starting last season:

    ◎ 15 Matches
    ◉ 13 Points
    ◉ 0.87 Points per game

    This is why we need someone that can both play with Partey, when we need to be more compact in midfield, against physical opponents or the top teams, and hold the midfield down by himself when Partey inevitably gets injured.

    Not sure Tielemans is that player, it’s 100% sure that no one at the club now is though so we need to bring someone in there.

  114. Tee

    “Conte’s goal for this season is to challenge for the title.”

    .lol @ the above. Who is he challenging for the title? Guardiola or Klopp? With that Tottenham team?

    Most he could so is to fight for top 4 again.

  115. Howard

    Pierre
    I like your line up. Perfect.
    Odegaard is overrated.
    Slow the game down
    Take too much touches and lose the ball as a result
    Often bullied off the ball
    Poor shooting ability when a chance comes up

    Should not be captain

  116. Tee

    These super agents can sometimes do the scouting work for our club.

    If we continue to chastise this (it’s now the norm) then we could be left behind

  117. Freddie Ljungberg

    Tee

    I have no problem with it either, a necessary evil sometimes to get access to the best players.

    Pedro has made a big deal of it in the pasy when it suited him though, doubt he will now.

  118. Tee

    “Odegaard is overrated.
    Slow the game down
    Take too much touches and lose the ball as a result”

    Do you people blink at all before stating these unfounded claims as facts?

    Any stats to show how often he lose the ball?