Choices For Arsène Ahead Of Trip To QPR

Arsene probably enjoys this type of selection headache
Arsène probably enjoys this type of selection headache

The weekend has all but arrived, the Football League has entered its final chapter for the season as Premier League season heads towards it climax for those whose fates are not already known. QPR know The Championship awaits next season. Along with Reading, their relegation came as no surprise and probably for the first time this season, the pressure is off them. Whether that works for or against Arsenal will only be known at the final whistle. By the time the match starts, it is more than likely we will be sitting in fifth place, the Europa League spot.

Which is brought into focus by Chelsea’s progress this season in that competition. The Champions League was a disaster for them but the club has the chance for a major trophy come May with that bringing about the ghastly prospect of them becoming the first English club to win all three of the European Club competitions. It is de rigueur to mock Thursday night football but the habit of challenging for trophies is a good one to have; it instills a confidence in the players and a winning mentality, something which has underpinned the recent run of good form.

Ahead of Saturday’s clash in West London, Arsène observed that his injury situation had stabilised, with all those present at last weekend’s match at Manchester United, fit for duty. Lukasz Fabianski won’t be testing the manager’s confidence in Wojciech Szczesny this weekend as he has yet to recover from his rib injury suffered against Norwich City. The decision for the visit of Wigan Athletic to The Emirates will be testing for Wenger; neither Pole has done anything wrong in recent times. No doubt this is down to the re-engaged mentality of the team as a whole but Fabianski would be rightly aggrieved at not being recalled when fit whilst his compatriot’s similar feelings at being dropped would be understandable given he has only conceded once in three games.

The immediate consideration is for the forward line. QPR at Loftus Road is a different proposition to Manchester United at The Emirates; does Wenger need the out-and-out central striker in Podolski or is the pace of Walcott going to be more suitable? To be honest, it is hard to see him changing the line-up; Gervinho did well for his twenty minutes or so but enough to warrant a recall? Whilst Podolski was muted against the champions, he worked hard and better strikers than he have failed to breach the United defence this season. His capabilities in the centre have been quickly dismissed and to be honest, I am not sure that he is Plan B or would want to be that but as a variation, we could do worse. And frequently have done in the past. Podolski is not a square peg in a round hole in the same sense that Aaron Ramsey playing right back but he is definitely ovular.

Key to the long(ish) unbeaten run has been stability, changes have largely been enforced on Wenger through injury or suspension. For that reason, I think he will stick with the German which is something Arsène hinted at yesterday,

He has the qualities because he is a good finisher. He has a good technique and because we have a game based on very quick combinations I believe he can be a part of that. Overall I am convinced in the coming games he will show it.

At the moment, yes [I will play Podolski in the middle]. A definite decision has not been made but if there is an opportunity then there is a good chance I will do it.

A three-match ban for your central striker seems what you might call ‘an opportunity’ to me.

The other decision to make is right back itself. Carl Jenkinson might reasonably be anticipating a first team recall following a run of uncharacteristic mistakes from Bacary Sagna that have been characteristic at the moment. Judged by his own high standards, the Frenchman has struggled and he laboured on several occasions with the pace of his opponents, most notably in conceding the penalty on Sunday. However, he has experience and in the next three games, this is going to be crucial and well be his saving grace. Arguably, Sagna’s best game this season came at The Stadium of Light as a makeshift centre back but I think that stood up more because of the unexpected nature of his appearance and the pressure the team found itself under following Jenkinson naïvety. It seems too soon to condemn Sagna’s career but a move from The Emirates this Summer looks likely or as Jenkinson’s mentor next season as the youngster looks to break permanently into the first XI.

’til Tomorrow.

65 thoughts on “Choices For Arsène Ahead Of Trip To QPR

  1. To some people Jenkinson is now a better defender than Sagna. Tell me a single footballer who has not made a bloody mistake before? RVP also made a mistake against us that made us to scored against Mantd. Because of that, are we now saying RVP is not a good player any longer? Ok, Sagna is not English, i guess.

  2. Morning YW encore une fanstique post comme habitude. It would be criminal to see Sagna dropped. His crossing has never had any great quality or consistency to it. However experience he has in abundance and it will be needed for last 3 games. He did have Nani n Valancia to cope with in the last match.

  3. The starting XI did well enough last week to be given another chance.

    Same intensity from the beginning again please.

  4. I would be very surprised if he changed any of the back four so Jenks and Monreal can look forward to an idle weekend.

    What I would like to see on the small Loftus Road pitch is the Ox starting. His introduction from the bench in recent games has invariably given a spark. He is a player who actually dribbles in tight spaces, get defenders twisting and turning, and I think against a shakey Rangers the man to really make a mark.

  5. I’ll be appy to see wenger stay. I’m so glad he has shown he does indeed still have his Mojo .

    Although it would mean prolonging the prospect of seing what will happen and how will they cope to all the akbs and especially the locals at George’s caff ….

  6. Good suggestion from Anicoll. My main thought is where can we get goals? Who can score? So let’s maybe try and see what the Ox’s direct runs might produce. It’s a poor pitch so the perfect passing control game might not flow so well.

  7. Of course he’ll stay. He’s an honorable man. After that who knows. In the meantime I hope for two things: he really improves this squad so that we have a genuine chance to challenge next season in the league and that he is accorded the respect a man of such loyalty and greatness deserves from Arsenal supporters. Next season his name should be chanted at the Emirates the whole season as we battle successfully on the tenth anniversary of our last title.

  8. I think You misunderstood LSG: the hint is not that he might ‘stay’ but ‘stay on’. This is the first time to my knowledge that he has intonated as much – I think this is promising news indeed.

  9. Jonny,

    It`s only promising if there is significant investment on the playing side.

    Otherwise there will be more groundhog seasons like this one.

  10. “I answered that question already. I respect my contracts. I want to stay [on past 2014] if I do well and if I consider or the club considers that I do well, that is all.”

    I am [not] sure Wenger has said he wants or intends to stay [on past 2014]. I appreciate the Press Association journalist has inserted the words [on past 2014] and it creates a [headline]

    A headline saying “Wenger respects contract” would be less [punchy]

  11. Consistency is what makes you brilliant Yogi and that can also be said about Sagna.

    No lineup change for me unless Arsene continues rotating Gibbs and Nacho.

  12. Dropping Sagna would be an idiotic move were it to happen. Mistakes are made and as a side Arsenal have made more individual errors resulting in goals than any other team in the EPL (14). Consider that for a moment, of 36 goals conceded 14 were due to mistakes by an individual player. If Arsenal can improve their concentration, which largely they have in recent games then we should expect a solid defense with the usual suspects (including Sagna).

    I’m not sure how I would feel about Arsene extending beyond 2014, that said he has time to way lay my fears.

  13. Gonzalo Higuain up for sale, weren’t we linked with him a few years back? I seem to recall an Arsene love in with the chap… would he make you happy Bill?

  14. So the rumors in Italy have Manchester City already having a 45 million pound bid for Cavani rejected, I just cannot see Arsenal reaching for him given the cost.

  15. I’d be in favour of that too, Jonny. But it’s more ambiguous a situation. Some reports have been claiming he could leave this summer, which I’ve always thought was ludicrous.

  16. @MA

    I absolute love Gonalos and not only is he Android enforcer but a magnificent futboler. Tough tackler, brilliant passer, bosses the midfield, shields the back 4 and durable. Sign him but, not to mention a born leader as Lyon pegged him club captain even when he was still a youth prospect.

    I also saw the Jovteic deal done and reports in Italy suggest and start the same.

  17. I think it would be far too early at this stage for the club to make any decision on extending Wenger’s contract beyond his current deal.

    He deserves respect for his time and achievements at the club but I am not sure if he automatically deserves to stay in charge as long as he wants. This has been an up and down season and we’re up now so everybody in general is happy, not that long ago there was a different atmosphere bubbling under at Highbury.

    Sometimes change is needed and isn’t something to be afraid of. Not change simply for the sake of it, Chelsea style almost, but change to advance the club. I’m not sure we have really advanced in years. There has been issues such as player departures which affect this but equally there has been an apparent reluctance to spend. In order to dine at the top table of football you need to spend big. You can be 100% sure that Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea will all spend big this summer but we as fans hope we will, none of us are really sure. If we don’t then will we lose further ground and become members of the informal second league within the Premiership.

    Part of me thinks that culture of spending is never going to change with Wenger in charge.

    There is also the issue of succession planning and the person that the club have earmarked to replace him. If that man is available next summer then it may well just be time to force the issue.

  18. Of course Arsene will stay.

    The board will make him a fantastic offer on top of his £7 million per year as he is Stans and the boards cash cow!

  19. @C

    Out of interest I did a statistical comparison of the performances of Capoue and Gonalons. It would seem that statistically speaking Capoue would offer us a little more production in goals and assists. Now, I know statistics don’t always tell the full story but given the lack of ability to watch French Football it is all I have.

  20. Start Sagna please. yes he has been less than perfect lately but so have I. What I dislike the most in his game is his poor crossing ability. Jenkinson is much better in that regard but with Giroud in the stands I doubt we need a great crosser. Actually with Giroud in the stands I think Sagna is more likely to be able to hit a good cross to him. 😉
    I’d keep the Ox on the bench again. yes his star burns bright when he has been introduced lately. The same occurs when he starts a match. However after the first half I find he drifts out of the game. IMHO he doesn’t sustain the energy for the whole match. Perfect impact sub though.

  21. You know thinking about the situation with regards to players leaving and those purportedly up for sale, we see a substantive reduction to our wage bill. If and it is a big if, the list of 11 players were to be taken at face value and you are to average out 50k per player per week; then we are looking at a 20% reduction on the 143 million wage bill. The most important element is that none of the names being mentioned, beyond Gervinho are actually contributing to the first team. Is this the start of the overhaul of the old system, timing would seem good. It is all irrelevant if we cannot shift players however.

  22. To some degree this does not stack up with the post where you state that we need to strengthen the squad and ignore big players. How can we lose Sagna without weakening the squad?

    Additionally, I think what we are missing from a really good side are RvP and Song, these were big players. So we either have to manufacture them or buy them and rather than allow good squad players to slip out the door we need to nurture them, encourage them (maybe with a few minor trophies) and use the big money to catch a big fish.

  23. Miami, one of my first posts here was calling to get rid of the ‘deadwood’. It’s a great idea if it happens. If it does it still is a year too late.

  24. @MA

    Part if that is because they have generally been asked to play a but different roles for club. Gonalos is asked to stay back almost like Barca does with Busquets but he can to forward and is a brilliant passer. Capoue is basically their whole midfield thus asked to for even more. When honestly couldnt go wrong with either but Capoue’s extensive desire to play for PSG is something when may have to contend with there whereas Gonalos that ALWAYS that an affinity to play for Arsene if he was to leave Lyon.

    Again i would take either and both would have an immediate impact IMHO.

  25. We need to get a striker who can deposit the rock into the back of the net. We have to win this sucker against QPR. It is a must. Major changes need to made next season. Let’s hope both Spurs and Chelsea lose. The Blues are finding their stride under Benitez.

  26. So you reckon the club can look forward to a 20% reduction in the wage bill Miami?

    I would be surprised if the AFC wage bill does not come in 15-20% higher this year, with the payments to new signings and the costs of signing up our English core on long term contracts bumping the figures upward.

    Wage inflation is still rampant

  27. Big weekend (again).

    I can’t really see the Spuds dropping points against Southampton, it anything less than three points for us could spell disaster.

  28. @GA

    BUT who saw them dropping points to Wigan. Southampton can because the, Lambert is just the type if striker who the struggle. I never thought i would cheer for Manure but i will be come sunday against the Chavs.

  29. @anicool5

    “So you reckon the club can look forward to a 20% reduction in the wage bill Miami?” I don’t really think, I was merely trying to interpret the available data in the event all the stated names from the news article were indeed to depart. The only given we know is that AA and Squillaci are done as Arsenal players.

    Wage inflation is indeed rampant, it is therefore pointless to predict what our wage bill will look like as a net result of incomings and departures. I was just saying that given the names involved at an average of 50k per week we are looking at annual savings of almost 29 million.

  30. I think i would play Sanga over Jenks in the last games if i had a choice. He had a stinker against United and it was alot more visible too since it was aginst United. Had he played like he did against a lesser team, it would not have been so visible.

    He may be off in 3 matchces, but he has the know how of fighting for vital points at the end of season. And experience is vital for the last 3 matchces. Hope we start Rosicky too…

  31. Heh if we sign Jovetic for 26M i hope he is worth it. It will be a huge signing for us with a massive fee…

  32. @anicoll5

    Even with wage inflation, I cannot see an increase of 15-20%. That said, who truly knows. The net effect of the new TV deal and the sponsorship from Emirates means more money will be available. The transfer values of those leaving will largely be quite nominal, if indeed homes are found at all.

  33. Rumors coming France and Lyon are if they sell is Gonalos they would want Le Coq and some cash.

  34. C – Yeah, I know mate. They could, its just that I don’t think they will. Wigan are fighting for their lives, Southampton’s season is pretty much over.

  35. @poodle

    12 goals in 26 appearances (league). I am not sure he’ll quiet the noise from some fans.

  36. @Poodle

    I agree Sagna is a fighter and if i trust anybody to fight for Arsenal and bounce back with him. Yea his crossing as if lately that been shit but his defending and understanding for the most part that been consistently good.

  37. I was just having a look at Manyoo’s Q3 results yesterday Miami – wages up +15.8% on 12 months previously, “other expenses” (whatever they are?)up an +17.2%

  38. @anicoll5

    Yeah, I caught those as well. The article I was reading suggested that it was in part due to the 250k per week RvP is on. There is no question that wage inflation is rampant, but isn’t that also why the EPL just signed up to their own FFP rules?

    Now I don’t know if RvP is on the reported 250k per week eages that the media seem to love to use. That said, if it is or indeed close to then his wages alone account for 13 million a year.

  39. The United quarterly wage bill quoted was 45 million, thus expanding that to annual bill in the region of 180 million pounds.

    The most interesting part of the United accounts to me is their continued strong commercial growth, they are simply a billion miles more attractive than any other EPL club as a commercial partner.

  40. @GA

    I understand they have nothing to play for but players like Lambert dont allow their teams to slag off.

  41. I think against QPR i would start Mozart Arteta and Santi with If wide left then bring in Ramsey to help kill off the game.

  42. I made find the notion of having an official Asian noodle partner for the club hilarious – in fact it is totally ridiculous – but hats off to Pa Glazer

    He has brought a whole new perspective to commercial deals and screwing the very last dollar/yen/Euro out of the market

    Given the screwing he has given Manyoo over the past few years it is good he see he is even handed

    He deserves a statue – sponsored obviously

  43. @anicoll5

    I enjoyed reading that 🙂

    There is no question that the Glazer family have taken United in to marketing areas quite far outside Football, but it has been a successful model. Whether the sponsor is an Asian noodle provider, a car giant or a beer maker they have generated significant funds. They have agreements with 13 global brands out there regional or local models.

    “He deserves a statue – sponsored obviously” probably Metal Workers of America

  44. @C

    Ramsey needs to be there from the start, he is our motor man in the middle and his energy is usually what drives us.

  45. @MA

    I was thinking that but with Mozart Santi I want to attack QPR and bury them early as they have a couple of players who can produce magic in Taarat and Remy. I do see Podolski getting a brace though as his movement and work rate will wear down Samba or whoever starts at CB for them.

  46. Fabregas’ return will probably be determined by the bean counters. it will depend on the transfer fee and his wages. Chelski and Shitty we are not.
    I’d like him back. We need a midfield general and a destroyer. Cazorla for all his talet and skill doesn’t create enough chances. that isn’t his fault IMHO. His work rate is tremendous but he needs someone to be able to play off him. He’d be great with Barca because he’d have fellow magicians to play off. He buzzes around but it seems he never has someone on the field that gets what he wants to do (or isn’t capable of being able to keep up with him). Imagine if he had Bergkamp with him – deft killer one touch give and goes…i doubt Cesc is the answer ofr him. He needs a David villa type.

  47. hmm i cant help but think that if Le Coq was a brit he would be a vital piece of our new looking Arsenal. He has potential to be that good. But maybe the plan is that Yennaris will step up and slot in there in a couple of years?

  48. @philmar well they are different players no? cesc was a “conductor” type of player imo.
    Cazorla is more direct maybe? Kinda like Jack atm? They both dribble and push game forward but non have showed the vision and ability to spray passes like Cesc did(i dont think so anyway, but feel free to correct me if im wrong).
    Non of them really “dictates” the tempo of the game like cesc did.
    But if we are to build our team around Jack as CAM then maybe we will change our game to suit him? which means we wont need a cesc type of player anymore. Cos Jack is not Cesc. We bought players to compliment Cesc remember.
    Jack will need other type of players around him with other qualities, we will buy players to compliment Jack.

    Anyone got any clue what type of players that will be? Cos i think they will be different than the ones we surrounded Cesc with. Well they must be as Jack and Cesc were different players, infact they played very well together as far as i can remember…But then Jack played behind Cesc?

  49. @Philmar

    I agree about Santi but if you watch him and Mozart they are brilliant together was times but you can also tell they are learning each other. That is why i have been vocal about constantly playing them together when possible.

  50. so the new “mr Chelsea” is a crazy brazilian with the name of Luiz? Well atlest he seems like a more decent bloke than their previouse captain. Off the field altest…

  51. Agree about TR7. I was rather upset at the turn of the new year when he was not being started, especially during the failed cup runs when the fixtures were fast and furious.

  52. Yogi, a very nice write-up for the weekend!

    Your archive is the equivalent of a daily diary, for the move from Highbury to The Emirates. IMVHO, essential for anyone wishing to compare the then current view, to the present and more informal views prevailing.

    The great advantage of MUFC and the gaggle of companies, that comprise that enterprise, publish quarterly accounts. The quarterly and Final Accounts, give a mass of detail that are not available for The Arsenal.

    For instance, we are given the match day revenue and the type of games played for that quarter. A match day revenue of £34 millions for 10 matches, makes it a back of the envelope calculation for the 4 cup games that were played. ManYouknowwho, retain only 45% after expenses, while the FA and the visiting clubs take the remaining 55%.

    In comparing any two companies, one eliminates or tries to, any differences. The headcount for employees is one of the first, and for this club it is 792 and about 2,000 matchday temporaries. Considerably more than The Arsenal, and one should ask the question – why?

    ALL the EPL play 38 games, and at least an FA and League Cup games, which can be home or away. In simple terms, all the EPL clubs are different desert apples.

  53. Apparently in addition to being a bit wasteful, Jovetic gets injured a lot. Always in and out. 26 appearances is 2/3 of league matches or so.

    I’m a bit dubious.

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