CHOOSE CHAOS

by .

Apologies for the delay, but I am now with child, the heir to the Le Grove thrown has been born, and she shall inherit it all.

Before I crack into the post, wow, women are awesome. It’s been a rough year, but the circle of life truly is something special. Even more special that she decided to be born during the off-season. x

OK, let’s talk some soccerball.

We beat Everton.

It was a very preseason-ish friendly. Some sharp reminders of what you missed last season, some big ol’ kippers to the face when you realise how low we were, and how naive some of our hopes were (mine), and to cap it all off, a result that means next to nothing.

There were some areas of the game that I really liked.

Firstly, Gabriel Jesus really is a stark reminder that playing with forwards that can’t do it physically in this league is going to cost you 10 points. What I love about Jesus is he has all the build-up play and work-rate of Lacazette, he has finishing potential that will hopefully move closer to where Auba is, and he has the system understanding that no striker we’ve had over the past 2.5 years has been able to offer. He’s a very intelligent player schooled at the MIT of football.

Mikel Arteta called him ‘chaos’ and that is a leading comment. Chaos, until The OG Lord Of Chaos Nuno Tavares landed in the side, was not really something you would associate with Arsenal. What were we? Very structured, extremely organized, generally very difficult to beat… but there was nothing particularly unexpected about the way we played. No bang-bang, to joga bonito, very little of the stuff that made peak-Wengerball special. I think the manager recognized that and if you asked him he he thought being overstructured impacted us, he might say our inability to come back in games. I think we did it once, against Wolves, when THE AOP Podcast was at the ground.

To my mind, Arsenal are making a move on chaos this window. We are signing players that unlock doors with wild imagination, we are targeting players with power, pace, and explosiveness up front. We’re trying to bolster our weaknesses to give us more in the final third. Zinchenko means we don’t have to drop a midfielder into left-back to start play. Two inverted fullbacks means our #8 can roam into more advanced positions without exposing the team (Xhaka was doing that more at the end of last season and he did it against Everton). Having 5 players in the final third that can run, pass, control, and finish means we’re going to be a nightmare to play against.

Think about how balanced this squad will be.

You won’t be able to press us because we can move the ball around at speed with precision.

You won’t be able to play a high line because every single one of our defenders is a longball specialist and all of our attackers will be electric.

You won’t be able to sit back because we’ll pick locks and finish.

You will struggle to chase games because every player in our team can keep the ball.

If we add a Tielemans and a Leroy Sane to the mixer, what weakness do we have outside lacking experience?

I don’t see one.

Back to the game. Bill Saliba made his debut and he showed a lot of composure. What I liked about his afternoon was the maturity to not overplay. There’s a lot hype around the player. There’s a group of Arsenal fans that truly believe they discovered he was good and they are propping him up for every 6 yard pass. Saliba looks like he should be the best defender in the world and the strengths of his game mean he’s very friendly for a Youtube generation of scouts. He’s dominant, fast, he’s brave, and he looks like a superstar. What I do worry about is Oziltologist like hype that is surrounding him. It is going to be tough for him next year, let’s give him chance before we crown him the new VVD. I’m excited regardless, the fact he can drop in as a right back or a centre back and look comfortable in both positions gives me a lot of hope for the variety that we’ll have tactically next season.

Talking of a young kid and hype. Reuell Walters has dropped out of nowhere and seems to be drawing quite a bit of love from Mikel Arteta. He has all the elements we’re looking for, he has bundles of pace, height, sound technical ability, and he looks very comfortable on the pitch with the seniors. He should look for a loan this season like BNC did. But again, the quality of players coming from the academy is exceptional, even if we did pinch this one from Spurs.

There were some horrorshows. Hector just ain’t it these days. I love the man, I love what he was as a player, but he doesn’t have what we need at this level. Ainsley is in a similar boat. He has the technical level, he could be an elite back-up right back, but he doesn’t have the concentration for a centre mid and that is what he wants.

Eddie Nketiah had a solid game. He looked fit, he made great runs, he moved with the ball really well, and he gave a lot to the team. It was good to see Big Gabriel back in defence again, he’s said no to Juve apparently, so that’s that. I also thought Matt Turner looked a little more settled, it looked like he made a hash of a long looped ball, but I think that was a bit of a freak, and he saved it, so it doesn’t matter. He’s better with the ball at his feet than I think we give credit for.

Only other concern of the day was Ben White, Tomi, KT, and Vieira are doubts at the moment. Ben White is made of the same stuff Xhaka is, so I’m not worried about him… but the fullbacks are a big concern. They are too important to the team to be perma-crocks. Let’s hope we get the back-ups sorted or they get fit and stay fit.

Final piece: Zinchenko to Arsenal looks very likely at £30m. That’s a steal. There has been a bit of debate about where he should play. Arsenal fans are galaxy-braining this deal if they think he’s been signed as a midfielder.

Now, I was wrong about the Tall Boy Summer. It turned out to be Short Kings. So I accept that I might be wrong again. But this is an opinion blog, not a I HAVE TO BE RIGHT blog even though my hit rate is like, 99.9%.

Anyway, this deal is Occam’s Razor for me.

The simplest explanation is probably the right one. If the best manager in the world, who mentored our coach, thought he was a left back, and won titles with him there, then safe to say, he’s probably a left-back.

We are very specifically profiling a left-back that can build play. Zinchenko does that. That style of player is always going to be able to flex into a midfield role. Hence Martinez being a target. But just because you can play there doesn’t mean you will. Two things lead me to this conclusion:

  1. Arsenal fans struggle to grasp that their opinion of Granit Xhaka isn’t the one they carry at the club. He’s not seen as a problem. No one will call it a failure if this window ends and he’s still here. The player, for the clumsy faults, looks very good in our midfield when he’s next to Partey. He’s brave, hardworking, and he’s a leader. He’s the least of our problems. When we do replace him, I expect it to be a specialist, not an experiment.
  2. Zinchenko was immense in midfield against Scotland playing for Ukraine. The performance was outrageous. But you’ll find outrageous performances from Thomas Partey as a #10 for Ghana. The international game is different.
  3. In the Arteta system, the fullback inverts into midfield anyway. No reason to think he’s moving here for any other reason than he wants more than 1200 Premier League minutes a season.

If all of the above is wrong, I’ll delete it, and deny I ever wrote it under questioning.

Oh, maybe I do have two more things?

Lisandro Martinez, to United, for near £60m. Our starting bid? £30m. Do you REALLY think a negotiating team that doubled the value of a 5ft9 centre back in the space of two weeks looked at Steven Bergwijn at Spurs and said, fuck it, shall we just pay the same fee they bought him for because why the f*ck not? Of course they didn’t. Football fans really do believe anything they’re fed.

But, back to Martinez. It’ll be interesting to see if his tremendous heading ability translates into the Premier League. To my mind, at a certain level of competition, you are going to come up against physical barriers. Thomas Vermaelen famously had a tremendous leap at Ajax, but he was poor from setplays in the Premier League. The counter is Ben White, 2 inches taller, has been very good in the air. I’ll be keeping my eye on this. Arteta has gone out of his way to make sure his defenders are tall, it’ll be interesting to see how Ten Hag makes Martinez work.

Anyway, banter aside, they’ve got a top player there… but I’m happier with Zinchenko because we know what he’s about and he’s a total winner.

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That’s me done. xx

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283 Responses to “CHOOSE CHAOS”

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  1. Topside Northbank

    One more midfield signing and it’s pretty much the squad goes into the season in decent shape.

    Ben White would be ny cover for rb Tomiyasu failing that Bellerin if we don’t get a respectable offer for him keep him let him go on a Boman next season.

    Most seem very happy with getting Jesus and Zinchenko from City both 25 for a combined 75m negatives viewed as squad memebers at City.

    Well Ederson, Cancelo, Walker,Rodri, KDB,Silva and now Haaland apart pretty much every other City player are viewed as squad ones. They are all rotated including Foden, GundogenStones,Laporte,Grealish, Mahrez etc.

  2. Rich

    We need Tierney fit, he’s a much better player than he gets credit for.

    We need to get at least 20-25 games out of Tierney in all comps, Zinchenko can’t play 60 games for us, + internationals

    If we want to be successful, then we need 2 quality players in each position, and we need a strong bench.

    If we end up playing Zinchenko 3 x a week consistently, we’ll end up buckling him as well, then we’ll have 2 injury prone left backs

  3. kjelli

    We should use the fringe (inexperienced ) players in Europa, depending on the draw. I am
    talking AMN Patino Nuno and Reuell Walters. Can’t wait for the Chelsea game next weekend !!

  4. Carts

    Pacqueta is a very good player; defo a case of myopia from AC Milan

    Surely we’re at a point where we need to raise capital before we splash 40m of Pacqueta?!?!

  5. Dark Hei

    Rich

    Absolutely right. We need not just abled bodies, but those bodies need to be abled players.

    Both Zith and Tierny tick the requisite boxes.

  6. Emiratesstroller

    One thing is increasingly evident and that is the growing gulf between spending power and
    strength of the top six clubs and potential addition of Newcastle in the EPL.

    I think that it will become difficult for any other clubs to compete next season as has been the case in previous seasons.

    Also I think that the gulf between Liverpool and the other clubs in the frame will close this
    season.

  7. Ray+in+LA

    Congrats on your daughter’s safe arrival

    …her arrival in the off season may have more to do with you over-celebrating Lacazette’s late equaliser against Palace — or our 3-1 win over Villa — last October 🙂

    enjoy

  8. Positive pete

    Congrats peds.A beautiful baby goonerette!If the price for Paqueta is now a £24/27 million it’s a no brainier.Add Tielemans to the mix & we’re laughing 😆..

  9. TR7

    I think we need someone who can replace Partey when he is injured. Last season Partey’s absence cost us top 4. Not sure whether Paqueta can replace Partey, looks more of an attacking player than a traditional CDM. Even Tielemans doesn’t fit the profile of midfielder we need.

  10. Stewart

    Dear Pedro – many congratulations to you and Mrs Le Grove. Wishing you and your daughter every happiness 😊

  11. Dissenter

    All these talk of Paqueta when we just bought Fabio Vierra
    Vierra was brought in to play as a central midfielder who can be effective against deep blocks.
    He’s energetic and can find a pass to open up games. We just spent £34 million.
    Paqueta ain’t coming. He’s just newspaper talk

  12. AFC Forever

    Pedro

    Congratulations to you and your partner/wife on your little baby girl. Hope you are all doing well.

    I imagine you are both buzzing right now, it’s an emotional thing bringing someone into the World. I still remember my kids being born like it was yesterday and not 30 odd years ago. Still brings tears to my eyes. Best feeling in the world.

  13. AFC Forever

    TR7

    “I think we need someone who can replace Partey when he is injured. Last season Partey’s absence cost us top 4”

    It was a big loss especially when you consider the difference in points per game with him in the team. If he had stayed fit we would have finished third based on the ppg. Missing a third of the season is massive, there are 36 points to play for. It does concern me because from a team perspective he has massive influence on those around him. We just have to hope he is going to be able to do a full season because if he does, along with the new signings we’ve made, we could have an excellent season.

  14. Berg10kamp

    If zinchenko signs I would say we had a pretty decent summer and need to start moving on players before we can add more. A CM and winger would do but don’t see it happening unless we offload the likes of pepe and Xhaka

  15. China1

    Pedro I hope the mum is well

    In these times we have so much excitement for the baby but hope her mum is doing well too. Mums are the best

  16. China1

    Nigel no one refutes that his team mates like him and managers like him because nobody thinks that’s justification enough for him to be a starter at a club of this size

    It’s like when people trot out the ‘he’s professional. First one tk training line’.

    All true. Very good.

    Can the players on the pitch, when the going gets tough, look to him to light the way and dig them out of trouble either by inspiring them or stepping up with exceptional quality – and do so regularly?

    If the answer is no, it doesn’t mean much. El neny is also a perfect professional who is loved by all. He’s also understood to be a limited player who should only have a squad role. Nobody pretends he’s more than he is, dunno why granit gets to

  17. Rich

    Diss

    Depends if we plan on permanently moving away from a double pivot in midfield?…

    When you look at the profile of defenders we’re signing, it would strongly suggest we are.

    We bypass the midfield by going directly into the final third, by pushing our defenders high, and ensuring they have the technical quality to keep us there, and the physical qualities not to leave us defensively vulnerable.

    If we’re going to be playing consistently with 2 No8s, and develop a consistent style of play, then we’ll need 4 players who can operate at a high level in that role.

    We’ll likely need outgoings first, numerically we’ve got too many midfielders:

    Partey, Elneny, Torreira
    Xhaka, Sambi, Niles
    Odegaard, Vieira

    We’ve also got Smith Rowe who should get some games centrally, even if the majority of his games come from the left

    If we get a few out, we can certainly make space for another attacking midfielder.

    ……….Ramsdale
    … ..Saliba Gabriel
    Tomi Partey Zinchenko
    Odegaard Paqueta
    .Saka…………..Martinelli
    ….……..Jesus

    With Zinchenko who’s statistically a ball progressing machine, we don’t need Xhaka to drop deep to get the ball up the pitch

    I don’t mind Xhaka (brain farts aside), but he’d be wasted in that more advanced role, we want a player in there with some cutting edge + end product

    Across what will hopefully be a 60 + game season, we could certainly do with another attacking midfielder.

    I don’t know Paqueta, but if we can get another elite technician in that area, who can chip in with a combination of 15-20 goal contributions in all comps, that would take us closer to the 90-100 league goals we need to compete at the very top:

    60 potential games
    2 x 8 positions
    120 starting positions for our No8s

    Odegaard 40 games
    Vieira 30-35 games (centrally)
    Smith Rowe 10-15 games (centrally)

    That’s 80-90 starting positions, we’d still need another No8, for 30-40 games.

  18. China1

    Arsenal play football. We don’t do bar fights. If the justification for liking him if what he’d do in a bar rather than what he does on a football pitch that I dunno how to break it down how badly skewed that opinion is

  19. Habesha Gooner

    I think Tielemans is the most sensible choice. He has been playing in the PL for years and he wants a step up. And he is very much capable of that.

    Paqueta is untested at CM and we wouldn’t exactly know what we are getting. His numbers for pressure, defensive actions and passing is very good though and that tells me he can be a CM if given the opportunity.

    I don’t care who it is between the two though as long as there is a clear upgrade on Xhaka. We can’t be stupid enough to go with him again as a starter. Let him fight for his place if he is as good as some people make him out to be in Le-grove. If we sign3djone of them, my guess is he will leave at the end of next season because he couldn’t bench one of those CMs. The fact that he stayed this long is because of a lack of genuine quality.

  20. Dissenter

    China1
    Respectfully], I think you’re deluding yourself intentionally if you don’t realize by now that Xhaka is central to whatever Arteta is trying to do at Arsenal.
    The manager has stopped him from leaving twice. He obviously values him as a team leader and professional. Xhaka is the one that channels Arteta. He’s also respected by his team mates.

    Whatever you think of him, how much loathing you have of him does not matter It’s not about what the fans think in this particular instance. Xhaka is the manager’s prerogative player. He’s the one you have to look past for your sanity.

    The manager values him so factor that into your Arsenal zeitgeist in 2022. Living in Xhaka-denial isn’t good.

    Xhaka isn’t going anywhere.

  21. Leedsgunner

    Many congratulations Pedro!

    May your daughter bring you many happy drawings of how she loves her parents, but especially her daddy… and then the Arsenal.

    Then when she hits her teenage years she’ll probably start supporting Spurs but don’t worry… it’s just a phase.

    My lad started his football journey supporting Man Utd after Van Persie left for them but then watching Auba’s Arsenal beat Chelsea to win the FA Cup brought him to his senses.

  22. Dissenter

    If we were planning in signing Tiellesman, we would have done it by now.

    Leicester are not going to be bullied, they’ve seen us spend above market rate for the city players so the idea that they will fold over is not plausible.
    Arsenal know everything about Tiellesman, … and yet they tarry. There has to be a reason for that..

  23. Ken

    You’re wasting your time trying to use logic China. Nigel comes on here shouting into the ether about haters and losers if anyone expresses an opinion remotely crirical of anything related to Arsenal but yet it’s ok for him to “hate” on Saliba, not because he actually knows him personally or anything, it’s more that he just has a feeling in his piss that he’s “arrogant”. Of course in reality if Pedro hadn’t regularly mentioned Saliba Ultras in a condecending tone, Nigel wouldn’t hear a bad word said about him.

  24. Rich

    Diss

    Very simple reason, we’re massively overstocked in midfield:

    Partey, Elneny, Torreira
    Xhaka, Sambi, Niles
    Odegaard, Vieira

    Every time we sign a midfielder, without selling one first, we further decrease our already weak selling position.

    Tielemans is into the last year of his contract, maybe they’re gambling that someone will pay what they’re asking, and they might be right.

    But the closer they get to Sept 1st, with no intention from Tieleman’s to extend, the more edgy they’re going to get, they’re not in a financial position to see him walk away for free next summer.

    I don’t know if Tielemans is our top target, but there’s plenty of good reasons why we’re yet to move.

  25. Pierre

    Personally, I think Eddie should start.
    Arteta needs to learn from his mistakes , and he even admitted that his big mistake last season was to leave Eddie on the bench ..

    It shouldn’t be a choice between Jesus and Eddie, they both should start.
    I believe they could build a fantastic on field partnership if given the chance by Arteta.
    I just hope next april we are not hearing the same regret from Arteta for failing to recognise what Eddie can bring to the team

  26. Dissenter

    Rich
    ‘ But the closer they get to Sept 1st, with no intention from Tieleman’s to extend, the more edgy they’re going to get, they’re not in a financial position to see him walk away for free next summer.’

    Yes but that brinksmanship works both ways.. Arsenal will also be desperate at the last minute and other suitors will show up, like you said it’s a clearance sale.

    It’s obvious that Arsenal can do a deal on the quick; we’ve seen it with the Vierra and Zinchenko deals. I think Tiellesman isn’t the type of midfie they are seeking. Reportedly we even made enquirers about a certain midfielder at Lazio that would have cost double.

    ..even though Tiellesman is there, supposedly reading for the picking..

  27. Habesha Gooner

    Dissenter
    I think Tielemans is the backup choice to whoever we are targeting. The Paqueta rumor has legs. And I think we will try to sign Paqueta and if we can’t we will go back to Tielemans and sign him for the asking price of around 30 mil. Leicester haven’t got a lot of bargaining power. Surprisingly, there aren’t multiple teams trying to sign him besides being in his last year. That will give us and may be United (if they don’t land De jong) the edge in negotiations.

  28. TR7

    I think in case we really want to sign Tielemans then we better pay up £25M and integrate him with the squad as soon as possible. It’s very important for a midfield player to get used to playing styles of those around him.

    I think Toerrera, Lokonga and Niles will definitely have suitors for loan deals if not for permanent sale. So, we need not hold up Tielemans signing if Arteta really wants him.

  29. KAY Boss

    Congrats Pedro! I’m in tears as I lost mine 3 days after birth. Hope mum is doing great.

    We’re where we are because of indecision with regards to certain players. AMN should have been sold when Wolves made that £20m bid for him. I’ve never been convinced with his play. ESR, I’m sorry to say should never be a player to pin our hope on. Personally would have taken the £30m Villa offered (if we could get more from them) for him, gone to the market and upgraded the team. It’s sad but truth be told, he’s never going to be a regular player for the team. He’s on the Ramsey/Wilshere trajectory. At times sacrifices need to be made for the betterment of the team.

  30. Rich

    TR7

    The issue we’ve got is that Bellerin, Torreira, Niles, Leno, Nelson

    Are all into the last 12 months of their contracts, unless we can strike up demand, and start off a bidding war

    Then Arsenal are going to start getting edgy pretty soon.

    The sooner we resolve the futures of those players, the sooner we’ll have room to manoeuvre ourselves,

  31. TR7

    Rich

    Betis and Fulham have been strongly linked with Bellerin and Leno. I think they will eventually be sold.

    In my view Niles is better than Cedric and Tavares as a fullback. But I guess Arteta doesn’t rate him, so we will have to wait and watch.

    Torrera and Nelson don’t seem to have many suitors. Nelson can be released on free if we indeed want to offload him.

  32. Pierre

    Sadly , we missed out on Bissouma , meaning we will probably panic and bring someone in who is not of sufficient quality..

    Bissouma is hard as nails , is press resistant, has quick feet and has a high technical level, i can’t believe that A&E wouldn’t consider Bissouma at a bargain 25 mil..

    Instead Arsenal fans are still facing the prospect of granite xhaka being the first name on the team sheet when the new season starts.

  33. Tom

    “Conte is indeed building a very good team.”

    Oh no! TR7, you’ve just outed yourself as the Spurs supporter.
    Expect a strong rebuke from Murky and AFC superman, any minute now.

  34. Tom

    “Sadly , we missed out on Bissouma , meaning we will probably panic and bring someone in who is not of sufficient quality..”

    Pierre, Arsenal couldn’t go near Bissouma, if Partey allegations had been known to them from last year, as some rumors indicate.

  35. Jonnygunner

    Mr SergeJuly 19, 2022 13:28:21
    Fuck spurs
    On another note we are full as a squad at the moment until we sell a non HG player we won’t be able to buy another

    Mr Serge, fuck Spurs indeed,but like most I would think, I always keep an eye on who our rivals buy and sell. Always good to know what the enemy is up to.

  36. China1

    Dissenter if your point is that Arteta likes him so me thinking he’s not good enough doesn’t matter and isn’t worth saying, by the same logic fans might as well never voice an opinion on anything because only the club can control what happens and we can’t (outside of major protests etc)

    It’s reductive

  37. TR7

    Tom

    City of course are the run away favorites for the league but in my view Conte’s Spurs can leapfrog Chelsea and perhaps Liverpool too this season.

  38. englandsbest

    I doubt that any PL Club has completed its ‘ins’ and ‘outs’. And with weeks and weeks before the window closes, anything can happen at any club.

    I think we can expect a flood of ‘outs’ at Arsenal – and that may influence who the ‘ins’ are. For example, the sale of big Gab to Juventus is not unlikely, and if that happens we can expect Melo as a makeweight. In which case, the Belgian midfielder at Leicester may come as a ‘free’ next summer.

    And then there is the 70% limit on wages, transfer fees to revenue. That is bound to mean bargains before the end of the window.

    Under the circumstances whatever was paid for a player bears little relation to what he is worth now. Whereas his wages matter a great deal.

    On the other hand, Pepe may stay (I stil lbelieve he can shine), in which case a new winger will not arrive.

  39. Dissenter

    China1
    No, it’s not reductive. It’s pragmatism and getting over your Xhaka grieving to finding peace somehow.

    It doesn’t take even the faintest praise of the guy for a sea of rebuttal posts to come tumbling in from all sides. The footballing rationale of the dislike is vastly true but at the end of the day. He’s going to be here. Surely you know that by now.

    I’m not asking anyone to like him, I barely tolerate him but at some point, don’t you have to move on to how we can succeed, in spite of Xhaka?

    All these posts of us selling Xhaka is plainly denial of what is obvious because the people making the decisions don’t see him like many fans do.

  40. Tom

    TR7, that’s why Conte was such a bad appointment from our stand point.
    He wasn’t gonna take shit from Levy and bluff him the way Jose and Poch did. Either give him all the players he wants or he’s off.
    That might make him dangerous for them long term…………….but short term for everyone else.

  41. redbro14

    Sun newspaper apparently reports today that Zinchenko has still not made his mind up wether to leave Manchester City. Seriously……..not sure wether to believe this…..

  42. TheBayingMob

    Congrats Pedro … I have three girls

    Just to balance things up, I fundamentally regret having kids. I never went into with the right attitude or reasons. I mean I love them and support them, I want the best for them, will do anything for them … but I regret it. It’s the one thing I would change if I got that genie wish to go back and do it all again.

    In other news, Zink now having second thoughts?

  43. Pierre

    Un
    “What formation would you use to accommodate both Jesus and Eddie? 352? 442? 433 with Jesus and Saka wide?”

    With the players we have at the club at present , possibly a 4-1-2-3

    Partey at the base of midfield, Vieira on his right, smith Rowe on his left , a front 3 of jesus, Eddie, Saka who can all interchange position..jesus striker or right wing…
    Saka left or right wing …eddie striker or left wing.

    If paqueta is signed then he can play the no.8 role.

    Of course, no one knows how vieira or paqueta will fit in, if they struggle then the reliable Odegaard can come in..

    What i expect to see for the opening games are nothing like my selection …will probably be partey, xhaka, Odegaard, saka, Martinelli, jesus ,

    Fortunately, we have a nice run of early games which should see us top or thereabouts before we play the top teams.

  44. nwm

    Pedro

    The best manager in the world has praised Zinchenko’s mentality for remaining focused while not playing in his best position.

  45. China1

    If we don’t sign a CM I’m not sure that it’s obvious

    I don’t make my comments because I expect him to leave, I’ve always assumed he would stay and start most games next season. The same assumption I’ve held every year since he joined

    And every season without fail I’ve assumed in no small part because of that our midfield will not be the level we need and he will be at a bare minimum part of the problem.

    And I’m saying bluntly that it will again be true this season if he again remains a regular starter as I fully expect. And it will again be a mistake from the club if that’s the case

    As for people criticizing him, it’s because we spend all this time making huge offers for vanity players like an elite winger before we even have a great midfield. Of course that attracts concern

    And people run out with these comical lines about how he’s not part of the problem despite admitting he’s not good enough to be a starter and will be (lol) or how he’s a good leader because he’d back you up in a bar fight. It’s just farcical at this point

    But despite my complaints I expect this to be the outcome and I expect us to be a full 7-10 points lower than we might have been come the end of next season because once again the midfield just isn’t quite good enough.

    And if the club does what needs to be done and buys a quality CM I will say a huge thank you. If Arteta has a clever alternative that works out (vieira as an 8, or lokonga suddenly kicks on big time, zinchenko put there permanently) I will say great job Arteta. Or if xhaka is in and around the first team and is top quality, I will say awesome great job just as I did when he had his two great games vs Chelsea and utd last season. But until any of those 3 scenario happens it’s ground hog day on the midfield and it’s the most irritating boring and consistently accurate ‘I told you so’ that I come back with on this every damned season when people excuse and justify how he’s still in the starting 11

  46. TheBayingMob

    Matt

    They won’t!! You can add that to the list of certainties in life along with death and taxes. Lololol

  47. Nigel Tufnel

    China,

    Relax. I’m not telling you to like Xhaka.

    I’m telling you to let go of hating the man. The barfight comment was not meant to support him continuing to start for us in midfield.. it’s about his mentality that his teammates and managers may admire.

    If you’ve ever been around a group of men in real competition maybe you would understand those qualities that make a guy admired and liked as a teammate.

    Someone was screaming here last week that they’ll hate Xhaka forever because he flipped off the fans and threw his shirt on the ground a few years ago.

    I’ve moved on from that. We’ve all had our moments of madness in life on occasion.

    Except you, you’ve never done anything you regret in a hot moment. Easy to avoid those moments typing comments on blogs.

    You didn’t choose to mention the Partey social media post which I thought was something nice for a mate and the squad.

    I end most of my transfer comments with “now let’s get that CM to replace Xhaka”…. so I don’t have to join in the constant barrage against our own player to win some legrave credibility.

    We get it. You don’t like Xhaka. Very edgy opinion.

  48. Leedsgunner

    Rich

    On paper we’re overstocked but in reality we’re do with strengthening.

    Partey – on his day our best player but off field issues may affect his form and availability going forward, events yet to unfold.

    Torreira – doesn’t want to be in London anymore, shame because he excels at playing at the base of the diamond, could have become an able deputy for Partey

    Maitland Niles – unproven in the middle of the park, more about what the wants and thinks he should play even though he has a good body of work playing as a full back

    Odegaard – generally very good, but could improve his consistency

    Vieira – unproven in this league, comes with a big reputation among pundits of the Portuguese league

    Elneny – good for an occasional game or two but form drops of if played for a stretch of games

    Sambi – showed definite signs of promise but needed to be given more game time.

    Xhaka – solid proven performer, prone to cards and sendings off because lack of mobility means he’s caught out often and he tries to make up for it by making a desperate last minute tackle. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if he left, especially if this meant we could get someone like Tielemanns in.

  49. David.D

    Congratulations Pedro on the birth of your Daughter and best wishes to the 3 of you.

    I’ll never forget my Daughter being born. I blubbed like a baby and when I held Her in my arms we just shared an incredible stare. 2 pairs of big brown eyes peering at each other and a lifelong bond was forged.

  50. AFC Forever

    David.D

    There’s nothing like watching a new arrival enter the World. I would have liked more but after a miscarriage called it a day at three. Pedro’s got some wonderful times ahead of him and a few sleepless nights!!

  51. DigitalBob

    Many congratulations to you and partner Peter! Another Gooner to join our ever-growing army eh!!
    I hope both mum and baby girl are doing great. How does it feel now that big arsenal filled heart of yours is filled with so much more??

    On a separate note, I’m very sorry for your loss Kay Boss, thoughts and prayers with you and your partner.

  52. Nigel Tufnel

    I like Rich description of needing a Xhaka replacement with cutting edge and end product. A little added mobility would be nice too.

    I think that’s what most of us want in that position. Leaving it till last is what’s worrying. For me that was the most obvious need to improve the lineup from last season.

  53. Janky

    The biggest issue with Xhaka is he’s too slow. He’s not fast enough over five yards or at the top end.

    He certainly makes mental missteps, but the killer trait is he doesn’t own the pace to correct for them. Thus the numerous Xhaka cards.

    Remember the Kung Fu kick?

    I don’t hate the guy, was actually excited when we signed him, but he’ll never be fast enough not to cause trouble at the highest levels. If that’s where we’re headed, and it looks like we are trying, then he needs replacing.

    That’s not harsh, just fact.

  54. Nigel Tufnel

    Ken,
    You sound like a Saliba lover. That’s fine.

    I’m not sold on him because his commitment seems to himself rather than Arsenal (my impression).

    To have a functioning team, players need to fit into the collective quite a bit. No prima donnas. Arteta understands this.

    I hope I’m wrong about him. I will be happy to say that if he turns out to be a good player for us. He’s a big talent.

  55. Rich

    Leedsgunner

    I’d definitely like us to improve our midfield, or upgrade any area of the pitch.

    But if Zinchenko arrives, we’ll have a 33 man squad.

    Purely from a numerical + wages standpoint, I think we’ll need to get some players out, before we enter the market for anymore incomings.

    Hopefully while we’re trying to clear the deck, we can get to work on extending some important contracts, Saka + Saliba being the main priorities, who are both into their last 2 years.

  56. Karsa

    If we are to clear some players I doubt many will go before the last few days of the window. The type of teams that will be in for unwanted players will be looking for late cut price deals at best.

  57. Nigel Tufnel

    Pierre I love Eddie and I believe he’ll get enough chances to prove himself.

    If we don’t add another wide player, that could mean more time for Eddie if there’s any injuries among the forwards. There will be sup appearances when we are tied or behind, needing goals. Even subs in for Jesus to get rest if we have good leads.

    You need to think of what’s best for the team, not what’s best for Eddie. Starting both Eddie and Jesus does not seem optimal in theory.

    All opinion of course… but don’t over focus on your favorite player.

  58. Tom

    “People are going to realise the ‘meek’ persona Arteta was painted with for no reason… wasn’t true.”
    Pedro, I don’t remember anyone ever calling Arteta meek.
    Where are you getting this from?

  59. Nigel Tufnel

    “Conte is indeed building a very good team”.

    I don’t worry about Spurs moves. Arsenal are building a very good team also. Spurs are on their last legs and bargain hunting.
    Any big clubs that were in for the players Spurs have signed?

    I wouldn’t take a single one of their buys this window. Creaming over Spence when you’ve seen him play twice is typical grove nonsense.

  60. Tom

    Dissenter, unless Arsenal drown Zinchenko in £ he’s not coming here to play second fiddle to anyone and definitely not to KT.
    Hell probably start somewhere in mid

  61. David.D

    AFC
    Sorry to hear that you lost one of yours.
    Must be heartbreaking.
    My niece is a midwife.
    It is so easy to think of the joyous times of a successful birth but sadly there is the other sad side.
    I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child at birth or during pregnancy.
    My utter admiration and respect at the strength shown through painful times by so many.

  62. David.D

    My Princess will be 17 in December.
    Taught Her to ride a bike.
    Now giving Her pre driving lessons. How time flies!

  63. Dissenter

    JJ
    “Not sure I understand this Martinez height criticism. Isn’t Zinchenko the exact same height?”

    He’s not going to play center back at Arsenal, Lisandro is expected to play CB at United.

  64. Nigel Tufnel

    Some grovers trusting the Sun over Ornstein and Fabrizio about Zinchenko.

    Suckers.. they got you to click on a story that was meant specifically to draw worried, gullible Arsenal fans to click.

    It worked.

  65. Northbanker

    JJ ”Not sure I understand this Martinez height criticism. Isn’t Zinchenko the exact same height? “

    Yes think they’re both 5’9” but we’re not intending to use him as a CB – United are

  66. Nigel Tufnel

    Tom,
    Spuds are building around the same 2 players as always. Both 30 ish? Conte is a great manager, they’ll make a little run, but that squad is going nowhere moving forward. People worrying about spurs are just weak minded and fearful.

  67. Northbanker

    Nigel – China isn’t the only one who doesn’t like Xhaka. IMO we will never reach top heights with him in the team. He is too slow and too limited a player in what should be a key area of the pitch.

    I am hoping we get an outright CM to not only displace him but agitate him for a move out

    We will shortly have Zinchenko (touch wood) and it clips be him but if he is going to also cover for KT then he is going to be a LB for at least half the season every year . So that isn’t enough which is why I hope and pray we buy Tielemans and forget all this nonsense about needing a winger

  68. Markymark

    TR7 and TT – you’re both Spud Trolls end of.
    If In some odd way you don’t consider yourself Spud Trolls but actual Arsenal supporters then consider this question.
    If your greatest player ever bought into the Premier (Perisic) scored the winning goal against Arsenal would you be tempted to crow about it? To rub our noses in it ? To show your superior knowledge? If yes then imo you are on the 5% freak scale.
    Cmon tell us you’d be pissed off about losing to the Spuds.
    You’d love it! Total embarrassment the pair of you

  69. Tom

    Bob, bait?
    The man wrote two paragraphs on Spurs and I just asked a follow up question.

    There’s an interesting dynamic going on here.
    Pedro writes 1000words essays on Tottenham regularly but he’s not the obsessive one.
    I answer to one or two points in his articles , and I’m the one being obsessive.
    Couldn’t make it up if I tried.

  70. Northbanker

    If we did sign Tielemans then it begs the question where exactly would Zinchenko play until injuries start occurring

    If he can play LB and CM well, then it does it seem a stretch to me that he could also play DM

  71. Tom

    Murky. TR7 is obviously a bigger man but I don’t mind responding to trolls.
    I just wish you were a bit of a challenge and not a complete numpty.
    Up your game and then we’ll talk.

  72. TR7

    Tom

    Let’s hope Arteta and Edu are smart enough to not believe that Spurs are on their last legs and prepare well for what is going to be challenging season once again.

  73. Tom

    Murky, the only one who’s on a freak scale around here is the one who takes a completely nothing, throw away comment like “Perisic is a good, low risk signing” and turns it into” the greatest ever player bought in the PL”

    Definitely higher than on 5% though.

  74. Dunchirado

    Do not underestimate Conte. He has literally done very well when given the players he want and Tottenham has given him that

  75. Tom

    TR7, they are.
    Arteta would sign another five players if Stan let him.
    He’s said so every TW.
    Posters pretending Spurs aren’t going to be a challenge again are just virtue signaling

  76. Dissenter

    Conte is an accomplished manager, no doubt.
    This season will be super t 0gh and more open than ever.
    -City have taken too many risks with the players they allowed to leave.
    -Liverpool are little bit weaker without Mane.
    -Chelsea won’t be the same without their Russian mascot
    -Spurs have Conte as focal point for whatever the eff they are doing
    -United have Erik ten Hag and they are giving him players he wants. Ericksen is going to be a big hit for them.
    -Newcastle are going to be in the mix for European places
    -Westham have gotten stronger

  77. Markymark

    That’s right rusty banger TR7 – negative IQ. Got me there, what can I say ?
    TT – remind me what does the first T stand for ? Cmon you haven’t answered the question , If Spurs turned over Arsenal would you be gutted ? More likely sitting back with a big fat grin

  78. TheBlaster

    Off topic from actual football, but the Away shirt is totally reminiscent of the famous black and gold Formula 1 JPS Lotus 79 car

  79. izzo

    Spurs signings are not good. Literally cannot understand anyone on here saying they are making the right signings. You can name Bissouma all you like but not convinced he’s good enough to hold their midfield for the season. Just overrated and crybabies whining because we didn’t sign him. There are plenty players like him we can just pick up from France that would do what he does even without prem experience. people crying over Djed Spence? He can’t even defend and you only saw him luck his way into a performance against us in one game and Brook Norton Cuffy looks a far better player going forward. Weirdos! Get over your Spurs obssession they’re irrelevant and aren’t winning shit.
    Also Kane is 29 this month so quit throwing his age out as 28 like he’s young or something. Overrated ponce that gets a free pass from the refs.

  80. Carts

    Agree 100% – passing up £20m from Wolves was crazy.

    That said, did AMN also reject them or was it just arsenal who rejected the offer?