Hottest centre backs Edu SHOULD be looking at (long read)

by & filed under News Review.

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Mike McDonald back with a BEAST of a post about the hot centre backs of Europe. Pull out the popcorn, you are about to be educated. (Find him @Mike_MMcdonald)

Arsenal Football Club will be only be transformed when they correct three issues that have been largely ignored for over 15 years.

The right coach, a solid defensive unit and football that is 50% ‘off the ball.’

I’ve researched centre back options and with that said it’s fair to say that we may have our answer at the club already.


1 week, 1 month, 1 season. No one can agree the timeline

by & filed under News Review.

The media is alive like a pit of vipers, all looking for their hot take on a story they don’t yet have. A little like some of the nonsense that was fed into the airwaves when we were hiring for the Wenger replacement. It makes for interesting reading, dependent on how you want to spin it for yourself.

The through-thread I’m hearing is quite simple: We don’t have a plan.


Mourinho team set wheels in motion, can Edu resist?

by & filed under News Review.

I think it’s pretty clear that Unai Emery is finished as Arsenal manager.

The players don’t seem interested in his garbled vision, the fans aren’t attending games, and the press are now hoovering up leaks and turning them into missiles.

Emery hasn’t helped himself. He didn’t learn anything from last season. He genuinely believed all his ideas lacked were better players. Now he’s backed into a corner, he’s sending not so subtle messages to Raul and Edu that he’s unhappy with his lot.

  • Lucas Torreira as a 10
  • Xhaka as DM
  • Mesut Ozil as a deeplying playmaker
  • Kolasinac to chase important games over Nicola Pepe

Even worse for me is there’s no repentence in his press conferences. He told the world that he thought his tactical approach was correct yesterday. We shipped 25 shots, and had our total shots on target (4) doubled by a Wolves team that play on the counter. Nothing epitomises the miserable vision of Emery quite like being pleased with the output of such a coarse game.

Lots of fans think he has the Leicester game to keep his job. For me, it seems foolish to give the manager one game to change his fortunes, if we’re at this stage of the season and we’re at that level of consequence… just bite the bullet and let him go.

The top 4 is well within our grasp this season, OGS is an absolute disaster and there’s every chance Chelsea will falter. I’m also unconvinced Leiecester will be able to navigate injuries to key players. Arsenal can’t wait until January to make the move, the only problem is this: Who do they hire to replace Emery?

We are on track to replicate the disaster-cycle of United.

Arsenal hired a middling manager in Emery, when they should have taken a chance on Arteta and football of the future. That now means that Edu, a man who doesn’t seem to be too adept at navigating the media, has to make a strong decision on the next manager. If he’s brave, he’ll bring in someone young who can build a competitive club over 3 years. If he’s weak, he’ll go two feet in to the ‘WE NEED A WINNER’, this my friends, will be mistake number two… and we are not big enough or rich enough to survive mistake number 2.

I don’t mean to sound draconian, but unless Jose Mourinho has had an extreme change of mentality, he is going to be the ultimate arsonist. Emery won’t last past Christmas because he has the charm of a bag of giblets. Jose Mourinho will fail slower, but it’ll take public sentiment longer to shift against him.

He’ll come in, say the right things, he’ll likely reinstate Mesut Ozil and shape us up. He could very well be the right sort of caretaker to take us to top 4. My worry is what comes next. We’d not be buying into a brand of football that could surpass Pep G or Jurgen Klopp. We are literally skint if we don’t make the Champions League… even if we do make it, we don’t have the sort of funds that are going to satisfy one of the most glutnous managers the world has ever seen.

We’d be playing negative football, we’d have a manager bigger than the club, and we’d be trying to rekindle yesteryear… because Jose Mourinho is Arsene Wenger but in 2013.

I can’t believe we’d go down that path, but then again, I couldn’t believe the club published Xhaka’s awful apology in the matchday programme. Where was club leadership there? Who signed that off?

… likely the same person who’d say, ‘I know the history, but fuck it, Jose will get us top4.’

Bit here’s the thing. It won’t take much to get the fans on side. The papers are already working the PR angle for him.

‘Jose has a point to prove’

‘Mourinho wants to add a 3rd Champions League title’

‘Hungrier than ever, Jose refuse jobs in Europe’

On paper, he’s the best available. He’s on TV for a reason. He’s getting caught in the corporate box because he can smell the inexperience in the Arsenal leadership team.

It’s not beyond Raul either. His contacts brought Emery to Arsenal. He interviewed a sacked manager that couldn’t speak English, boasting a poor track record with big players, with zero ability to build a defence, and thought damn, this guy is a sauce monster, let’s hire him anyway. He met 10 managers better than Emery and landed on… Emery. If you make a decision that bad with 3 months to play with (longer, because he’s been in the game 15 years and knew he was coming in with the Wenger replacement remit), can you imagine the disaster of him doing something in the moment?

I really fear this one people, I really do. It’d be the smelliest Arsenal hire of all time. He’s a saucy guy, I’d love to believe he could reinigorate his ideas and his approach… but nothing, and I mean nothing, suggests he’s about to do that.

The only thing that might stop Raul in his tracks is the reality that Mourinho won’t just bring the team down if it goes wrong, he’ll bring down everyone. He’s the ultimate footballing arsonist, and maybe he’s what Josh needs to really start paying attention to fixing the club in a serious way… namely, getting a blue print and working towards a truly ambitous strategy that goes beyond: ‘Get Champions League football’

Building an elite football club is not going to happen if you think season to season. We have to think like Amazon did in the beginning. Have a longterm vision with a specific vision of how to achieve it… then attack it in 3 year blocks. Don’t tell me Emery fit into any sort of longterm visioon of football, he’s an Everton manager at best and can’t even speak the language. Time for a rethink. Time to see if Edu is made of something deeper than incredible good looks and crisp white shirts.

The next managerial appointment will tell you all you need to know about who we now are as a club, and where we’re going.

If it’s Jose, brace for impact… it’s a statement that tells you we are going nowhere in the next 5 years.

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