Arsène Spins The Chamber With No New Strikers, Which New Goalkeeper Arriving?

dm2 No matter what season, irrespective of which one, any transfer window lends itself easily to the Dirty Harry scene outside of the bank. Staring down the barrel of the gun, a source will tell you they are the lucky punks; we are the trigger happy anti-heroes with consciences. Truth is, we can never remember if we have taken six shots or just five. Lose count in the excitement? I’m not sure we even care. All we want is the one in front of us to be right so we can proffer a credibility on the recipient of our footballing largesse. Trouble is that this years model is next years flop; all we think is, “I gots to know“…. The difference between this season and those previous is that we aren’t adding, “if we are going to sign someone“, it’s “when the next one is arriving“. According to local news, David Ospina is just that man with Arsenal agreeing a fee of €4m. Whether terms are agreed is another matter although according to Sami Khedira’s Mr20%, clubs don’t bother negotiating unless they have an agreement with the player so one assumes the Colombian will be announced as an Arsenal player tout de suite. Or will it be Iker Casillas, whose Mr20% made sure no-one forgot about him at the weekend. Ospina seems more likely but just a week ago, we were looking at Spanish right back, now it seems an Argentine addition is most likely. This with Jenkinson at the club and Fahti on trial. It’s a bit too crowded. In terms of the size of the squad, goalkeeper and central defence remain the positions where the numbers are light. Once those are resolved, signings are not looked at purely as “business to be done” but adding depth to the squad so that if a title challenge emerges, it doesn’t flounder under a tidal wave of injuries and end the season in a fight for a Champions League place once again. Arsène spoke after the win over Borehamwood, indicating that he would not be adding to the forward line,

Up front we don’t need any more. It’s not especially for numbers. We need a goalkeeper for sure and after that it depends on how our midfielders get through without injuries until the start of the season. Maybe at centre-back we’ll still bring one in.

I would disagree with the striker role, it will be the only position in the club where there isn’t competition for places which is not a good sign. That’s not criticism of Giroud but if he plateaus this season, where is the edge that will bring him out of the darkness? Not worrying whether Yaya Sanogo is going to usurp him from the XI. Giroud knows despite the player’s personal preference, Arsène does not trust Podolski either. Where is the external drive coming from to push the Frenchman to produce his maximum performance? As admirable as the manager’s loyalty to the player is, it is also a weakness at times. Little wonder then, that talk of Mario Balotelli coming to Arsenal has resurfaced. Like Luis Suarez before him, the Italian has divided the fanbase about his abilities and the potential disruption to the squad his personality might bring. It’s amazing what a photo in a Puma store around the time of the Arsenal kit launch will do. Personally, I don’t see any deal for him happening; even Wenger’s almost legendary patience would be sorely tested. Which leaves Joel Campbell until he leaves. Or stays. To be honest, the signings this summer make me more convinced that the Costa Rican is not going to be at the club this season. Looking at the squad, we have depth in the wider positions, especially when Walcott’s fitness returns. The question is whether Campbell is the right back up for Giroud? He worked hard in the World Cup for his country and you sense that will not be the issue; is he a poacher, an instinctive eye for goal or an eye for the spectacular goal. More importantly, is he capable of producing when his chances are restricted. It seems hard to conceive of a situation where he would usurp those ahead of him in the queue for the wider roles and Wenger has not been overly encouraging about Campbell’s future, let alone the prospect of him being selected ahead of the Frenchman. Ideally, we would have another striker. Comparatively speaking, we seem a little lighter but if we went into the new season without one, would we be running the risk once more of being overly reliant upon Giroud? If anything happens, are we capable of playing for five months without him? There would seem to be better options than last year and who knows, perhaps we can. But given the depth of the squad elsewhere, it feels a bit like Russian Roulette. Let’s hope not. To finish this morning a bit of a heads up. At 1pm GMT each day this week there will be a second post, a week-long reflection of “Arsenal in the USA”. It kicks off with reflections on a favoured match from Miami Arsenal. I’ll have to change the sign-off each morning. ’til Later.

186 thoughts on “Arsène Spins The Chamber With No New Strikers, Which New Goalkeeper Arriving?

  1. @MA

    Exactly! I mean if there was ever a player you would want on a ball that is loose in the box begging to be hit then Podolski is that player. Sometimes arriving late to the party lets you steal the show 😉

  2. So Gerrard has retired from International duty… it’ll help preserve his Anfield career.

  3. MLF

    No matter what the stats say, I don’t Ozil had a very good World Cup. He is not the sort of player who does all of the little things that go unnoticed. If he is catching your eye with lots of great passes or creating great opportunities on the counter attack then he is playing effectively the way he did when he broke through in the 2010 World Cup. However IMO if he is not catching the eye then he is probably struggling to make an impact and I don’t remember him doing anything exciting other then perhaps in the first game. I think the same thing can be said about his season for us last year for the most part. Past history certainly indicates that he is capable of doing more and hopefully this will be the season that he really shines for us.

  4. Miami.

    Swap arteta for cavalho and pod for Caz. Perfect.
    I think Caz doesn’t get forward enough and tends to step on ozil toes when lw.
    I’d asked gibbs to be more reserved to save pod having to track back so much.

  5. Pires on Sanchez to Arsenal:

    “His predilection for Arsenal [rather than Liverpool] is a big gesture for the Arsenal family.

    “I’m very happy because Arsenal board have signed a world-class star. I am sure Alexis will help to win titles. He played pretty well in the World Cup. I like his offensive skills and I believe he will fit very well to the system that Wenger has in mind.”

    “Wenger is a great coach. He gives you great confidence to develop your skills in the field. And there will be no problems for Alexis to fit in.”

  6. @Bill

    If Kroos had been wearing his shooting boots he should have had two assists in the final. Both balls were perfectly weighted to Kroos in space.

    I do think he had a quiet world cup, but many of the so called stars did. I do also think he was one of the best on show in the final, easily. My major concern with Ozil is that he is to timid to take on the shot himself.

  7. Pires on the possiblity of Theo/Sanchez/Santi starting up top:

    “I love it, but do not forget Olivier Giroud. He is the best striker in the world but it is very smart to score goals.”

    That last bit made me laugh 🙂

  8. Miami.

    I have always found that rationalizing why things did not work well last season and then saying this year will be different never works out that well. Perhaps if Podolski and Ox had not gotten injured then we would not have had so little production from the wings. Perhaps this season will be different but perhaps it won’t. The reality is that we did have Podolski, Ox and Santi all healthy for much of the second half of the season and we still struggled to get any consistent production wide left. Why leaves things to chance? Adding another goal scorer would be the proactive way to significantly decrease the need to cross our fingers and hope that this season will really be different. No?

  9. @Colts

    I don’t know a terrible lot about William Carvalho. The Portuguese league is out of my sphere of interest. Others seem to like him, so I’ll take their word for it.

  10. @Bill

    I disagree with you on Ozil mate. He does so many of the little things that go unnoticed but he does them instinctfully and with such little effort. When you think that as MA said, he should have had 2 assits in the final, plus another 3 just off of Goezte(2 in the group stage and 1 in the knockout round) coupled with the fact that he was playing out of position but still had an influence. If you look at the vast majority of the stats in terms of passing and final balls, he is near or close to the top. Not to meiton he actually put in a couple pretty good shifts defensively especially from corners where he is often one of the players that is held back by the half way line. Do I think he set the World Cup alight, surely not, but he isn’t nearly as bad as people think or want to think.

  11. @Bill

    Think about what you are saying for just a second. I mean think about it. To say that the players on the left are not in part influenced by other areas of the pitch simply doesn’t stand up. Football is a team game. You have to evaluate the team.

    No one can guarantee that any of those players I named to the left are going to perform, that is how life works, zero guarantees. But you cannot offer “The reality is that we did have Podolski, Ox and Santi all healthy for much of the second half of the season and we still struggled to get any consistent production wide left.” without acknowledging we didn’t from wide right either. The problem was last season we had a number of injuries to important 1st team players. Theo scored 5 goals and assisted in 4 more in 13 EPL appearances last term. The most important part of that stat though is that at the time he went down, he had scored 5 goals and assisted in 3 in 8 appearances. The lad was coming good, earning his new contract and Arsenal were dangerous (will aside from the City pasting). Theo’s play opened up other areas of the pitch for players to exploit, when we lost him we lost a huge goal threat.

    I think you are missing the larger picture. Hey, perhaps I am and I am actually open to being convinced otherwise. But, “why leave things to chance” is not really doing it for at this moment in time. We are always going to have to rely on the football gods to some degree. There are simply to many issues that could “possibly” happen to guard against.

  12. @MA

    He is a bigger lad standing 6’2″(1.87km), very physical in his style and a tough tackler but not a wreckless or dirty tackler. Good range of passing both in the short and hitting the long balls. His athleticism is similar to that of Khederia as far as both powerful, quick and good pace from sideline to sideline to cover for FB’s. He is only 21 years old so he will only get better as the years progress. From what I have seen of him, you can tell why people want to compare him to Viera(like so many others) but he is much more defensive and a deep lying playmaker that has the ability to have those powerful runs forward.

  13. That’s all very well but what I want to know, Yogi, is why have you dated today’s Post as the 20th July?

    Is this another cryptic clue in cracking the incomprehensible headline film connection to today’s (aka yesterday’s) Post?

    We need to know.

  14. @C

    I think he has been linked with United in the past? The name sounds familiar for some reason.

  15. Bill, @ 4:20

    Your question/suggestion that we need to sign another striker has been rendered rather superfluous by Wenger’s clear statement, on Saturday, that he will not be buying another striker – hasn’t it?

    However persuasive you undoubtedly are ( Miami not withstanding) 🙂 I am afraid Mr Wenger has remained unmoved by your dissenting opinion on strikers! 🙂

  16. Miami. C

    OK. I certainly don’t think Ozil has been at his best for us last season or at the WC. You would have thought the system Germany played would have highlighted his game. Hopefully what appears to be a drop in form is temporary. Perhaps this season will be different. I hope you guys are correct and time will tell how it all works out. Playmakers who don’t score are not very useful if we don’t have the scorers for him to pass the ball to, and that’s another reason to add some more firepower and finishing skill to our front line.

    IMO, it’s a false argument to say that If Kroos was better then Ozil would have had 2 assists. If every player such as Kroos or Goetze had his shooting boots on correctly in every game then the the scores of most football games would probably be closer to 10 – 10 rather the 1 – 1. That’s not realistic to expect anyone to bury every chance they get.

  17. @MA

    Yes, he was linked with them the past couple of windows not to mention many futboling heads and people couldn’t understand why the Portuguese manager refused to start him in the World Cup.

  18. Miami. Nor me to be honest.
    The little I have seen convinced me its what we’ve been missing. I want a beast that can match matic, yaya etc…sure he can play cb also

  19. I agree that podolski shouldn’t be written off completely, he certainly didn’t hit form last season and looked lackluster in terms of workrate but he still might add value in a 442 or a 433 where he has less defensive responsibility.

    The 2012/13 season he linked up very well with Giroud and seemed more often that not to be in the right place at the right time, I wonder whether this was helped by having Song in midfield who was better able to cover some of Podolski’s defensive duties on the left freeing him to roam more centrally?

  20. Miami,

    If that story about Negredo is true, it will not affect City’s plans, as they had to get rid of him in this window because part of the punishment for breaking the FFP rules was to restrict their CL squad size to 16, and with him their squad numbers 17.

    They will probably have to keep him until January and then get rid, as no one will buy a pig in a poke, or a player with a duff foot in this window.

    [I hate to sound like a wimp, especially as you my esteemed blog friends are always so sure of your facts, but I have to add a qualifying addendum to the above, as my count up of their squad size may be wrong!) 🙂

  21. Umm,

    Can I front up (my language is becoming more Limey as time goes by) 🙄 that I don’t have time to back track and read all your comments, all the way through, so I am not sure which of you thinks Özil is a yea or a nay, but, for me, he may have not been in top form for all the season, or for all the WC, but he is still miles better than 99.9% of every other player in his position.

    Just saying.

  22. “IMO, it’s a false argument to say that If Kroos was better then Ozil would have had 2 assists. If every player such as Kroos or Goetze had his shooting boots on correctly in every game then the the scores of most football games would probably be closer to 10 – 10 rather the 1 – 1. That’s not realistic to expect anyone to bury every chance they get.”

    Right. But then you cannot say Ozil played badly when he created those chances for players to score can you? You want to punish him for not doing more but where he does it doesn’t count. All the player can do is create chances and for those around him and score when the opportunity presents itself. He did that, to some degree or another. By the way, he played every game for Germany and won the world cup. Not to shabby.

  23. Seems I have stopped the flow of the afternoon gossip circle 🙂 or is it the time lag from the US?

  24. @HenryB

    He was third choice as well behind Aguero and Dzeko. Still, his break will have got City thinking especially as Aguero has struggled to stay fit.

  25. That’s not realistic to expect anyone to bury every chance they get. Except of course if they are called Giroud, in which case they must be blamed not only for the chances they fail to bury but also for the ones they fail to create for themselves.

    Much of the problem is caused by naming. If Walcott scores 25 goals next season does he become a striker, or does he remain a winger? Remember his 3 against Newcastle when he started off through the middle? The first was taken Henry style from a run that started on the left wing. The second from a central position after a goalmouth scramble. Then Giroud came on and Theo went to the right wing, where I’m pretty certain he provided two assists for Giroud before going out to the left wing and scoring his third from out there.

    So I think we are short of strikers if we only count Giroud and Sanogo as strikers and we only play that kind of rigid system, but richly blessed if we think in terms of attackers who score goals from a variety of situations, as was the case with one of the best, TH14.

  26. Ozil is a top player, to say otherwise shows a complete ignorance of football and how rare vision and technique like that is. We are lucky to have him, sure he had an average season in parts but some perspective please. If we are honest the whole team suffered a dip last season at the same time.

    Who would anyone rather as CAM? I bet you’d struggle to think of that many who are proven and who would consider coming to us (no I don’t mean 1 good world cup or 100 assists in the Kenyan amputee league)

  27. @BIll

    I think Ozil’s struggles last season are something that we have seen time and time throughout the years watching not just EPL futbol but watching players from all over Europe move to a different country. Ozil is a playmaker, a creator a genius but if he doesn’t have the players around him to finish off his genius people will question his influence on a match when in fact he is so often putting the players in perfect positions to succeed but being let down by those players. The thing that I do wish Ozil would do is score goals like we all know he can but I’m also fully aware of the fact that not all players are built like that, and some are just masters of the pass and creating magic.

    Ozil is similar to players like Stockton, Magic Johnson as a basketball reference or like a great QB.

  28. Don’t forget that Shitty still have Jovetic that they intend on using more and more this season should he be able to stay fit.

  29. Agree with that, Foreverheady, because putting labels on players is now seen as de rigeur, but modern footballers and modern tactics call for players to be multifaceted and one minute they are ‘x’ (say a winger) then they are ‘y’ (say a CF), or full back and then winger – so to judge any player as if they are regimented into just a single position is a false premise.

    I guess that is what you were implying FH? 🙂

    Anyway, as a former (?) wicket keeper you have big cohones showing up after that dreadful cricketing performance by Engerland! Oh, yes, some of us from NYC know a bit about cricket – and we knows rhubarb when we sees it!! 😀

  30. Henry

    I agree that we won’t sign another striker so this is all a theoretical debate. However, this is a sports blog and if we were not allowed to discuss stuff like this then we would quickly run out of things to talk about everyday. I am trying to make my case for why I think Arsene is making a mistake by not signing a striker. Besides if only Arsene would listen to me now and again we might have won a few more trophies. 😉 😉

    (I put 2 winky things there for a good reason).

  31. The following can play center foward at an adequate level (to varying degrees): Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott, Campbell, Podolski, Sanogo. Yes, many of those on the list will play in wider areas, but all can play center forward. Top priorities on my shopping list would be:
    1. Defensive Midfielder
    2. Central Defender
    3. Left back for depth (I don’t really trust Monreal back there anymore)

  32. Bill,

    I would not want to spoil your fun, or in anyway dream of censoring your most enlightening suggestions, about strikers or anything else!! 🙂

    It was just an effort to be amazingly helpful —- and to take your mind off any soreness in your ancillary regions after riding a nag up in the mountains — :devil:

    You know I am a goody two shoes in these matters. 😀

  33. @Yogi

    Did you get an invitation to attend the Puma launch? I notice other bloggers did.

  34. Bill,

    When I inadvertently mentioned ‘devil’ I meant 👿

    (Note to self: ‘Phew, the mask almost slipped there!) 😀

  35. Looks like everything with Ospina has been wrapped up and he could be announced as early as tomorrow. 4M transfer fee is whats being reported and that would be good business.

  36. C

    Ozil had an OK but not great first season for us and you can blame that on adaptation but he has been playing for Germany for a lot of years and if he had been in good form for the national team I think it’s very unlikely that he would have moved out of his preferred position. The point is that from all indications his form has not been up to the high standard he set for a while now. Hopefully a temporary blip but time will tell.

  37. Henry.

    It’s really not my fault anyway. You started the discussion about getting another striker in his post, so blame him. 😉

  38. Henry.

    Sorry that was supposed to say:

    Yogi started the discussion about strikers so blame him. Spell checker screw up. I can make excuses for myself.

  39. @Bill

    The thing is that all of Ozil’s struggles are down to him to be honest mate. Part of it is yea a dip in form but part of it is simply the players around him. Now I’m not saying he hasn’t played poorly at times because I even mentioned he struggled a bit but lets be honest here, for Arsenal last term he was playing with no strikers outside of Giroud for long stretches of the season and Giroud doesn’t play to his strength and doesn’t finish the chances that he was creating. For Germany he created the most chances in the whole of the World Cup while playing out of position and for the most part playing second fiddle to the Bayern crew. Will he bounce back, ofcourse he will but make no mistake part of the issue isn’t Ozil part of the issue is the players around him.

    Again I point to the fact that would this discussion or even some of the discussions from last year be going on if the players around him for finishing off the chances that he was creating for them, I highly doubt it! If Ozil had led the World Cup in assists like he should have, would people be criticizing his World Cup performance, I highly doubt it! The point I’m making is that while he can certainly get better and back to his best, he is still doing what he does better than everybody that plays the “creator” on their team for both club and country. If this is Ozil struggling, then FFS they better start designing his statue now 😉

  40. I still cannot help but feel we have missed out with Remy, that type of flex across the front three would have added significantly more depth.

  41. @Jonny

    Pires said it about Giroud, we will never understand the World of the beautifully chiseled French models 😉

  42. Miami

    Someone like Remy is not what I would have hoped for but if he was the best striker that was available we should have taken him.

    C.

    I hope you are right.

    I have never been a big fan of playing someone who does not score very much in the “#10” position. I suspect that’s why Madrid felt Ozil was expendable and along with his relatively tepid form it’s probably part of the reason why Lowe put Kroos in that position for Germany. #10 in is the “midfield” position that should get the most chances to score just because of how far forward they set up. If you have plenty of scoring from elsewhere such as Barca or Madrid then it’s not as important to get scoring from the midfield. However our current team does not resemble Madrid or Barca or even City or last years Liverpool with regards to our firepower upfront. Hopefully Ramsey stays healthy and his otherworldly finishing from last season can be repeated so we can get some goals from the midfield.

  43. @MA

    Even if it wasn’t Remy, another striker/winger that would have given us depth across the front 3.

  44. I don’t love Remy in the sense he would come on and make an immediate title winning contribution. But given Arsenal’s proclivity towards injuries, that type od player with true flexibility to play anywhere across the front three would have been great to have in the bank. Liverpool I think will have grabbed a useful tool in what is appearing to be a large toolbox. Whether it is the right tool box for the occasion remains to be seen.

  45. Thanks C, I gather but I may have more insight than you think,

    Before she fled to the other side of the world my ex and I would meet for drinks with her bezzy mates, fellow antipodeans, Grant and Cat. Grant was a sweetheart of a man but seemed to suffer from an undiagnosed optical condition. Every time we met he would refer to me loudly as ‘Giroud’ – utterly unshakable that I was his doppelganger.

    I am sure that Bob and Yogi will contest, quite rightly, that any remote similarity ends at the hair – possibly the Roman nose. Even that is a stretch. Though it is arguable I am more composed when facing goal.

    I always laughed and protested, whilst quietly ruing the fact that this hallucinatory sickness chose to delude a burly bloke, rather than an impressionable wench with an absence of morals and an abundance of curves.

  46. @Bill

    That’s part of the issue possibly with your thinking, not all #10’s are made the same. Some like to score goals i.e the way Cesc played for us, but some are brilliant doing what they are built to do which is create for others around them and will pitch in the odd goal here and there. NOBODY was questioning Ozil or his style when he was creating chance after chance and had the players around him to finish those chances when he would afford them the opportunity which is early and often. Now all of a sudden since he isn’t the goal scoring type people question his performances even though everything from stats to his influence says otherwise. If you watch, he makes everything look easy so his performances are never going to be all action and him running a million miles and making last ditch saves and what not. He kind of glides around the pitch making life easy for the players around him and frees them up to do what they do best.

    Will Ozil EVER be the type of #10 that scores 15 goals like Bergkamp or Cesc was before him, probably not and we should all be okay with that, but will Cesc ever create as much as Ozil and bag 15-20 assists in a season like Ozil has done regularly(minus his first year with us even though he should have had more than what he finished with), no.

    Is it Ozil’s fault that Podolski and Theo were long term injuries and Giroud spent most of the match passing is back to Ozil like the futbol was a bloodie hot potatoe, no its not. You speak of the German squad and Kroos being played in the “#10” role but guess who was creating all the chances for Germany and had the 2nd or 3rd most touches in the final 3rd in the whole of the World Cup behind only James Rodriguez and possibly Messi, yup it was our Ozil so while he wasn’t playing centrally he was still the hub that made Germany’s creativeness flow. I actually think that the reason why Kroos was played in teh #10 role is because Lowe wanted to keep the Bayern midfield intact hence why we saw Lahm/Schweinsteiger/Kroos start in midfield even though Germany was clearly a better side with Lahm at RB not to mention Germans EVERYWHERE questioning the decision.

    If you want an analogy, look no further than basketball. There are several different types of PG’s throughout history. Ozil to me is like Cousey(since your an old timer :-), no disrespect though) was he a brilliant player possibly the best at his position at the time and probably even of all time, yes; but the thing that made him special wasn’t that he was a great scorer but because he was the best creator and knew what, when and how to give the ball to his teammates for them to score. That’s Ozil, he basically says “Here I did mostly all the hard work and I set it up perfectly for you to score the goal and get the glory” unlucky for him we didn’t have the players fit that could take advantage of his gratitude and now your questioning and wanting him to do even more.

  47. @Jonny

    Well, my many aplogies for holding you at such low standards. Maybe Pires has a mistaken Giroud for you when he speaks about “world’s best striker” then 🙂 especially if your composure in front of goal is better.

  48. I may have overstated that bit but I am better from 4-6 yards than Gerv.

    Though something of an ornament at all the other stuff – especially running.

    I could sling a cricket ball pretty fiercely but poor at football and beyond tragic at rugby.

  49. Another striker gives us that bit of extra depth needed.

    Giroud manfully played through the whole season but to do it again is a huge ask & depending on form & fitness we really should have another alternative.

    Neither Walcott or Sanchez are natural line leaders & Sanogo is miles away IMO. Akpom is a couple of years away yet, too.

    I`m hoping Arsene makes a surprise signing here. Someone a bit left field but of sufficient experience to make a difference.

  50. C.

    Certainly there are different types of #10 but the ideal player is a creator and a scorer and having that scoring is a big plus. Hopefully Ozil will get better over the next few years. In the last year Madrid sold him, he didn’t have a great season for us and then he got moved out of his most favored position for the German team in the World Cup. You and I disagree but I think the vast majority of non-arsenal fans who don’t have an axe to grind thought his World Cup was tepid at best. Does that not even raise a little bit of concern in your mind?

    Bottom line is in reality “the truth” (whatever that is) probably lies somewhere in between your view and mine.

  51. @Bill

    It doesn’t raise a concern in my mind because as we say “stats done lie” and when you are a creator and you create the most chances at the World Cup, shouldn’t it raise a concern and possibly say “maybe the German players around Ozil were up to their best if he created all these chances and some how wasn’t the top assist man at the tournament?” Don’t get me wrong, I have my gripes with Ozil but to think that even after not setting the world alight last year due to assimilating to a new country, city and squad, not playing in his favored position he was still the top goal creator and 3rd most touches in the whole of the World Cup in the final thrid at the World Cup and people are doing everything they can to discount that should probably raise more questions about the people talking about it, no?

  52. C

    Unlike American baseball, I think stats in futbol are often very misleading. We have talked about that many times in the past.

    I am glad you are confident and don’t wonder at all about why things have played out the way they have in the last 12 months. I hope your confidence is rewarded. I only followed Ozil peripherally before last season but the all the stuff that has happened since I took a big interest in him has not filled me with the same level of confidence. I hope that the next couple seasons prove my concerns to be unfounded.

  53. @Bill

    It should have filled you with confidence, just think in his first season with Arsenal he did what so many others have done over the last 8 years…………inspire them to lift a trophy :-)! That fills me with confidence because if he can do that in his first year, imagine what he could do with a full supporting cast for a whole season in year 2!

  54. Facts aren’t misleading. How people may choose to use them might be. Interpretation of a fact may give rise to questions, but a fact is just that, a fact. Of course if a fact is not actually a true fact then it shouldn’t actually be called a fact 🙂

  55. @Lime

    You off to watch Toronto play Spuds? I hope Toronto win, they should at least be further ahead in respect of match fitness.

  56. Bill

    If you cannot be excited about the prospect of a player like Ozil at Arsenal, then I am even more sorry for you than I normally am. 🙂

    Him as well as Alexis and a fully fit Theo? Wowzers in my trousers! I can’t wait to see that happening!

  57. @MA

    I watched the Seattle v Spuds match on TV, I must admit, more clinical finishing and Seattle would have given them problems.

    It was great to see Alonso from the Sounders go after Soldado after a high boot, De Jong style to the chest.

  58. @MA

    Did you know that Kramer was actually on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach but is actually set to go to his parent club is actually Leverkrusen? Apparently he is on a multiple season loan that is set to end at the end of next season.

  59. “Up front we don’t need any more. It’s not especially for numbers. We need a goalkeeper for sure and after that it depends on how our midfielders get through without injuries until the start of the season. Maybe at centre-back we’ll still bring one in.”
    ———
    Where are these quotes from YW? I only ask as they are not even remotely similar to the recorded quotes I heard from AW after the Boreham Wood game. In fact, he said the opposite! That there was much more work to be done in terms of in-comings.

  60. I think (unless there is a recording somewhere!) those “quotes” have been messed about with by the Daily Excess; he DID say “I will sign a GK for sure” but the rest is either taken out of context or completely made up.

    Why would a tabloid, sensation seeking, hit whoring tabloid rag do that you ask?

    Well, I just don’t know… Hmmmm 🙂

  61. Haven’t read the comments yet so apologies if it’s already been mentioned but Arsene has tried both Gervinho and Walcott as a CF so it’s not impossible if Arsene wants to move away from a traditional target man at some point but at the same time I think many overlook what Giroud provides for the team instead focusing on his goalscoring. I think we as football fans tend to stick labels on everything.

    Giroud for example shouldn’t be playing with his back to goal, he should be latching onto through balls and scoring 30 goals. That just isn’t realistic because that can’t be what is asked of him, simply because it isn’t his game. Even though Theo starts from a wider position he is supposed to be our true number 9. The player who runs into through passes or flicks.

    Giroud is the battering ram that links midfield and wide strikers together and does so very well. The proof is in his assists which I’m sure is better than most of the top scorers last season.

    The way I see it is that the manager has to create a balanced team and it doesn’t matter which player is scoring the goals or making the runs etc it just has to work. Giroud isn’t technically the best player in our squad, he isn’t the fastest but he has an important role for the team and not only does he do it well but he is improving.

    Having said all that, I would very much like to see how the team sets up and plays with Sanchez as a centre forward. Arsene calls him a striker and said he wants a striker who can play wide and central. With Theo right and eventually Ox (I hope he stays wide) on the left then we have three attackers blessed with real speed and two players with wonderful movement, movement that I would say cost us the title. We played through long stretches with players who wanted the ball to feet. Two players in the team (at least) would make us a different animal I reckon/hope.

  62. 25 man squad + (5 youth players who should be around the first team this season)

    GK – Szsc, Ospina, (Martinez)

    RB – Debuchy, Jenknson, (Bellerin)

    LB – Gibbs, Monreal

    CB – Per, Koscielny, Vinnie new Chap Jones, Miquel

    DM – Arteta, Flamini, Diaby

    CM – Ramsey, Jack, (Zelalem)

    AM – Ozil, Santi, Rosicky

    RW – Sanchez, Walcott, (Gnabry)

    LW – Podolski, Ox

    CF – Giroud, Sanogo, Campbell

    Next to CBack priority I’d be most worried about Sanogo who frankly could benefit from a loan. We could in turn benefit from someone like Michu who won’t cost much these days, has plenty of PL experience, retains some of the height of Giroud and can add a bit of nuance up top. Crucially he is also versatile and can replace either of Podlski or Rosicky a season down out at LW or in midfield.

    Otherwise our squad looks well balanced with a good mix of youthful promise and wiser older players plus a number just entering their prime.

    Whilst we add from market, we should also remember the players before us 9such as Campbell who is at the same age as ramsey and Walcott when they improved by leaps and bounds, or indeed the great Henry). Room must be given for an organic development as we are also a team that produces our own (Jack will also likely improve this season)

    Interesting to note that 22 of the players in the squad of 30 listed (minus the unknown Cback) are from just 4 countries. UK, germany, Spain and France. We have just 5 french players (contrary to what the facile media like to portray with their out dated facts) as oppose to 6 British players.

    Dm can wait next summer. Unless it is a Khedira opportunity buy to replace Arteta early, we are better off with the familiarity of Mikel ahead of Per and Koscielny particularly as we are also introducing Debuchy to the defensive set up. As last season has amply demonstrated (courtesy of Spurs), too much change is not good.

    Plus no mvila, Gustavo, Wanyama, Scheiderlin. Clearly media inventions of quality.

    Rather some fans take note of the gem right before their eyes in Campbell who has followed a good campaign in greece with an excellent outing for an over achieving Costa Rican side. he holds the ball up well for 5’10 frame, has ample speed and a good first touch not to mention an eye for the assists. @22, he has had a better world cup than the great henry in France 98. yet some would prefer him sold or on loan. Simply perplexing. Sanogo on loan is a better option. Keep Campbell, Giroud and get us a Michu.

  63. No way, MA. But I do hope Toronto crushes Spuds. Defoe in TO plays his old team Spuds while Thierry Henry in NY plays his old club The Arsenal! No comparison!

    I’ll be in NY visiting family, but alas no ticket.

  64. Coquelin.

    Not sure if he would be sold or will get a chance on the periphery.

    The thing is he is at the age at 23 where he either comes good for us or has to move on.

    He isn’t a bad player but needs a bit of maturity for the position he finds himself likely competing on.

    We would need another DM down the line in a season to replace Arteta but with Flamini also encroaching on 30, there is opportunity for Coquelin on the periphery.

    Interesting to note at Boreham wood how Wenger set up two different teams on either side of the half which mirrored each other in terms of players vying for possible positions in the squad (bearing in mind we still have close to 11 first team players or more to come back in!)

    hence :

    Diaby/Zelalem. Different players and different level of experience but somewhat similar in playing an accelerator role for us in midfield.

    Jenkinson/Bellerin. Bellerin was the more impressive as he has improved tactically in defense but also adds creativity going forward where jenkinson is still a little lose on the ball. Also like the way Bellerin whips the ball in (3 good crosses in the second half) architectured where jenkinson 9the media’s darling) tends to put them in blind. Still feel jenkinson will feature this season but he will be under pressure from bellerin and under scrutiny from Wenger.

    Coquelin/Flamini. Again, feel that Coquelin will be under close watch and it is a make or break season. If he impresses he could be an option for Flamini’s replacement in due course but it is a difficult one because Flamini has a good couple of seasons left and Coquelin will want to force the issue now.

    Miquel/hayden. i feel they are both quite similar in capability and are vying for the fourth choice Cback. To me, Miquel on the back of a decent campaign with leicester gets the nod on account of experience and Hayden this season could benefit from a loan spell with time on his side. Miquel again is 22 and close to make or break this season.

    As mentioned above, looks like Sanogo still needs to find his feet and Wenger will watch him closely through pre-season with I believe still a possibility he might add as insurance up top late on if he is not convince with Sanogo.

    Akpom is an interesting one as he was clearly out there to impress and frankly did a great job. but think Campbell gets the nod over the course of a great season with Olympiacos and a world cup which has him on greater experience. plus I do not think Akpom is as good as campbell holding the ball with back to goal.
    Will be watched eagerly by Wenger too on return.

    Olson did well to but looks like he will be a season or two away from contending bearing in mind the competition in midfield and his age.

    Think Gnabry, Zelalem, Bellerin could benefit from being in and around the first team for first half odf season with appearances in league and (at least) early stages of the FA cup.

    The organic development at Arsenal is part of the allure of the club. We grow our own.

    It would spoil my enjoyment personally as an Arsenal fan without the ever present promise of development in the team.

    Also to watch jack at 23. It is the age when Ramsey and Walcott (remember Hansen said he had no footballing brain) develop as it was with a certain Thiery henry (not to mention Lukaku and Sturridge). Ditto Campbell.

    Not everything should be about spending money buying the shiniest new toy.

    The future as always interesting for Arsenal.

  65. Jonny a Giroud doppleganger?

    Not unless Giroud has been on a salad and water diet since last i saw him and had decided that all those muscles didn’t suit him.

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