FIFA comes in handy with scouting the lower divisions

Football’s changed; gone are the days of lower league players making the grade on a regular basis, but in those days, English sides conquered the world with a predominance of Welsh, Irish and hell yes, even Scottish players. Back then if someone mentioned a third division player, you’d probably heard about him, but now all you get is “He’s got 86 pace on FIFA”, which means nothing in the context of the real world.

That said, managers and players alike use Football Manager to scout opponents so when Arsène instructed the scouts to go and look at the lower echelons of the football pyramid, they all played a game and reported back to Wenger accordingly. It’s not like the days when George Graham signed Perry Groves from Colchester, is it? Mind you, as much as he is the butt of a joke or twenty, he went straight into the first team and I wouldn’t question his work rate at all.

Graham had some success with Bould and Dixon signed from the Second Division (as was)

Arsenal capture of Cohen Brammal was exciting in that sense, a left field signing quite literally. A throwback. We don’t sign many players from the lower divisions and certainly not many from non-league clubs. And there’s a world of difference between signing a player and them making the grade.

That’s not to say he won’t do so, just highlighting the differences which exist. Like many – most – young players, it’s a gamble signing unrelated and callow youth. Brammal’s story – made redundant then sign for Arsenal the next day – sounds like the next instalment of the risible Goal films but it’s not, it’s just a young man living the dream.

Getting signed by Arsenal as a youth player is relatively easy. Making the first team is a different story. Gedion Zelalem is another promising youngster set to move to the Bundesliga and break hearts in much the same way Serge Gnabry did last summer. Borussia Dortmund are more in heat than a Japanese macaque monkey when it comes to the German-born, the US and Ethiopian eligible international.

While it isn’t certain, Zelalem is expected to leave the Emirates this summer when his contract runs out, if not before. Another in the academy production line, another to fail to breach the first team. My suspicion is that Jeff is the next one although, at the time of writing, I can’t remember when his deal runs out.

FIFA, a shining beacon in defence of football

The good of football won through when the FIFA council voted to expand the World Cup to 48 teams. The clubs were up in arms, blustering about how they were against it. Not that they knew why, they ranted, since they hadn’t read the proposals in detail.

A bloated tournament will, the ghosts of Fleet Street told us, promote mediocrity. The England squad saw the positives, relishing the prospect of their holidays beginning earlier than usual in a tournament summer.

Mediocrity has limits. The suits admitted to being unperturbed by reports that Nicola Sturgeon was ready to hold a referendum on whether Scotland should withdraw from FIFA; “They never qualify for the finals so why should we care,” they sniffed.

Despite ridiculing the draw for the inclusion of more ‘lesser’ nations, there won’t be any more matches in Gianni’s election winner as the 32-team segment of the tournament becomes knockout rounds.

If only he could have had a good idea like this when he was head henchman at UEFA, The Champions League could do with a facelift, tummy tuck and bum lift, and Gianni’s model might be the answer. Do away with seeding while you’re at it.

It will be interesting to see if it all goes ahead. The clubs are upset as it means they lose players earlier in the summer, making the seasons shorter. Maybe reducing the number of top flight clubs is the answer in England and Spain’s case? Turkeys and Christmas.

Or maybe it should be turkeys and Thanksgiving? The current proposal is that Canada, the USA and Mexico co-host the 2026 finals. If Donald Trump has his way, it will take a hell of a free kick to get around that wall.

’til Tomorrow

50 thoughts on “FIFA comes in handy with scouting the lower divisions

  1. Yup, the young lad was last week putting brake fluid and screenwash into cars on the Bentley production line, this week he will be using his £3,000 a week salary to put down a deposit on one of them.

    I was interested to see that the Ox has revealed Wenger’s choice of pre-match music in the dressing room, Frank Sinatra, I wouldn’t mind betting My Way is top of Wenger’s pops.

  2. “My suspicion is that Jeff is the next one although, at the time of writing, I can’t remember when his deal runs out”.

    I might be misunderstanding your meaning but you think Reine Adelaide is next out of the door?

    I’d be very surprised if so, given AW is so distinctly keen on him.

  3. Morning

    Congrats to Cohen, tough to get noticed and even tougher in these times to get signed. Shame about Zelalem, its interesting that he is still only 19 years old and its not as though he hasn’t performed well both on loan and when called upon in the Cups. I do find it interesting though that for all the talk of Arsene giving youth a chance, the best of the lot have been shown the door and before some say, “Well look at Arsene’s record”, outside of strikers, you take a look and quite a few have actually impressed: Gnabry, Jack, Ashley Cole, Le Coq, Gibbs, Afobe, Pennant, Larsson, Noorvedt, Özyakup, Vela, Cesc and quite a few more.

  4. Jonny

    He was keen on Zelalem at one point as well. It’s hard to see Jeff fitting into the team at the moment or for the foreseeable future unless we have a big clearout

  5. Lucas Moura, yes please; at least if reports of Arsene being interested and he being a bit more “available” now that Draxler has arrived.

  6. YW,

    I would be interested to see how many more chances a couple of the players in front of him get. I actually think that Adelaide will do what Iwobi has done, found his way into the first team and finding a spot. The other part of that is, at leas for me, how many more chances do players like Ox, Ramsey, Jack get and how the situation with Santi works out.

  7. Morning,

    When an fairly accomplished player like Campbell can’t make the grade. Even though scoring goals and making assists with a outstanding workrate it just seems like an awful long climb to the first team for a offensive young player.

    Still find it strange that we went along with Theo and the Ox rather than Campbell (ofc theos 11 goals makes it easier😄).

  8. YW:
    Jonny

    He was keen on Zelalem at one point as well. It’s hard to see Jeff fitting into the team at the moment or for the foreseeable future unless we have a big clearout

    I imagine Ozil and Sanchez will be on their way soon. 😉

    Well I dunno, it’s all speculation but I get the feeling Jeff is going to be with us for a while yet.

    He looks a better all round player and more suited to the Prem in terms of physique.

    I could imagine us selling Ramsey in the summer too. I probably would.

    Mind you I am yet to be convinced – as I have been since the summer – that we will finish top 4 and, if that leads to AW’s departure, well who knows what’ll happen…

  9. I read a report by a Rangers fan on Zelalem. He described an average midfielder, slow, and easily pushed off the ball. Sounds like a lot of the Arsenal midfield from the last 10 years.

    No surprise he is departing. It seems he isn’t good enough, and may head down the path of Freddy Ado.

  10. G’day,

    I wonder if Zelalem has been making noise about getting a chance? If his contract is up in the summer and he isn’t keen on signing a new deal, you can see why the club would let him go now. If they are out on loan, the youngsters should sign up to new deals but they are not going to get much progress by playing at Academy level. I wonder if we will be arranging a loan deal for Bramall straight away?

  11. Pete the Thirst,

    You do realize that he is only 19 years old correct? Physically he will get stronger; what does speed have to do with being a midfielder? Cesc, Pirlo, Santi, and quite a few others including players like Xavi, Inesta who dominated both at club and country level in midfield were far from having any sort of pace, yes Inesta has a brilliant burst but being a futboler is much more than just being physically strong. Zelalem has a high futboling IQ and his range of passing is superb for somebody his age. Not to mention he featured quite regularly and was part of the driving force that won them promotion.

    Here’s the other thing, we aren’t talking about some Championship side or midtable side wanting him; Dortmund might literally be the best big club at improving and playing younger players in Europe presently. I wouldn’t just brush him aside because he might be sold. Take a look at Dortmund’s team and you could make a case that quite a few of our players you would swap for their players right now.

  12. Great post yogi

    We have seen over the years that the odds are always heavily against any young player coming thru the ranks irregardless of how technically skilled they might be. The fact that Zelalem is physically small and not very athletic further stacks the odds against him. Anything is possible but its hard to imagine that he could ever be an impact player in England.

    I think Jeff has a better chance the Gedion but the number of U21 players that have a lot of hype has long ago passed triple digits and 99% of those players end up in English championship or in a small team in a small league on the continent. Like it or not the odds are stacked heavily even against someone like Jeff. That said, I certainly don’t think we should jettison him. However, the one thing we can’t afford to do it hold a high leverage squad spot open for him. We tried that dozens of times during the early emirates era and then repeated the mistake in this decade with the English core plus Wojo and this year we did it again with Iwobe being handed the LW spot. If we have an open squad spot we need to buy an experienced player who has the chance to be a difference maker. Based on 12 years of solid evidence, if Cazorla leaves who gives us a better chance to compete, Jeff/Iwobe or an experienced player similar to Cazorla? That is a complete no brainer.

    Clearly coming thru the academy has not prepared the vast majority of our U21 players to be ready to make and impact on Arsenals first team. We as fans and most important Arsene needs to have some patience and let players like Jeff or Iwobe, Ox, Walcott, Bendtner, Sanogo etc etc etc etc etc etc get some experience and give us more time to evaluate how good they really are before we hand them high leverage squad spots.

  13. Arsene has been by far the most aggressive big team manager in the world when it comes to giving his youth a chance. We were all incredibly excited about the project youth era but that did not really work out. Next came the English core plus Wojo and that flamed out. Then came Chambers and sanogo and even this year we hand the LW spot to Iwobe. No other manager whose objective is to win big trophies would have handed the LW to a u21 player like Iwobe especially one who played mostly as a midfielder in the academy.

    We have 12 years of unimpeachable evidence to support the idea that handing high leverage squad spots to u21 players makes it harder to compete with the other teams who would buy an experienced player instead. I understand that we could not always afford to buy impact players in the early emirates era but the financial issues changed and there was no reason not to buy a someone to fill the spot we handed to Iwobe. We spent about $90M in 2016 and if spending more money was the issue, we could have sold Ox and/or Ramsey and/or Wilshere and/or Giroud and bought a less expensive more effective DM like Wanyama instead of Xhaka and used the extra cash to buy a CF or a better LW.

  14. Welsh Corgi

    We disagree about Joel Campbell being an impact player but I agree completely that the its an long climb for an attacking u21 player to being an impact player with the first team. First and foremost we over rate the vast majority of our younger players. The level that they finally end up at after leaving Arsenal proves that beyond any doubt.

    The second problem is that its always a risk to hand an important squad spot to a young player. Most of the time is does not work out. With all of the money in world football big teams and even some of the smaller teams can buy experienced players and they don’t have to take a risk with a developing player. Barca bought Suarez and Neymar and Rakitic when they had to replace critical players. Its harder for any team to compete if they use a developing player on a regular basis. A team like Munich that has been utterly dominant can probably get away with it but in a league like England that has a highly competitive top of the table, you put your team at a disadvantage when you give the LW spot to Iwobe instead of buying an experienced player.

    Most of us want Arsene to give his young players chances and he does that more then any other manager in the world. However, we also want him to be ambitious and win some big trophies. Like it or not, winning big trophies and giving youth a chance have become competing goals and its proven to be almost impossible to have it both ways

  15. Bill,

    You are terribly wrong my friend. Barca has handed quite a lot of match time and have bought quite a few of their youth into the first team. Dortmund BY FAR AND A WIDE margin have played and bought youth players. Klopp and Tuchel BY FAR have played and won with youth more than Arsene since Klopp arrived at Dortmund. The team that won for Klopp was made up of Gotze, Hummels, Sahin, Lewandowski and quite a few others. Look at Dortmund now, Aubameyang, Reus, Dembele, Pulisic Weigel, Bender, and those are just off the top of my head. I think Arsene due to project youth was looked at and viewed as a manager who understand and knew how to develop youth but since then, he hasn’t been able to not only develop youth but truly bring them through. Sure Bellerin, Sczny, Le Coq, Theo and a couple others had made an impact at not just Arsenal but other clubs in Sczny’s case; but I would argue that Arsene, while he wants to develop youth, simply can’t similar to the first team.

    Sure Iwobi has come through and done brilliantly, but you say that other big clubs don’t hand starting jobs to youth; take a look at Bayern, Sanches, Kimmich, Coman Bernat are all players that came to Bayern young (some still are) and have played a key role for them not just this season but under Pep as well. Look at Muller, he was placed into the first team prior to Pep when some thought that he wasn’t ready and needed another year and has since grown and developed into one of the best strikers/attackers in world futbol. PSG, they played at one point a young lad named Veratti who has become one of the most dominant CM’s in Europe, Raboit who is as talented as any pivot, a young Lucas Moura was 20 when he moved and went straight into the first team, Marquinhos another one.

    I think you underestimate how many big clubs actually play youth / younger players because the focus is generally on the world class players they have. The biggest difference is that those playeres continue to develop and improve and while they play and feature quite regular (many as first XI players) they are surrounded by talent and that is where Arsene has failed in his quest; to not just develop the players like Ox, Ramsey, Gibbs, and others but surround them with top talent.

  16. Damon,

    Saw that, it makes sense but I would venture to say that it might be better to send him to Germany and allow him to find, one of the many clubs, that seem to be interested in signing him.

  17. I know most won’t care but congrats to Kelly Smith on a brilliant career for our Arsenal Ladies. 5 FA Cup, 1 CL crown and an England legend.

  18. C,

    Yes of course Zelalem could improve. Using Cesc as a comparison is a good yardstick. We’ve all seen a lot of Fabregas, and he impressed from early on. He didn’t have any pace, but made up for it with his passing and control of the ball. He wasn’t easily pushed off the ball.

    From the few times I’ve seen him Zelalem hasn’t impressed me. He was name-checked by Wenger a few years back as the reason we didn’t need Cesc. I expect he hasn’t developed as Wenger hoped, otherwise he would be in the first team squad. When he played in the Youth Cup against Chelsea he was dominated in midfield by a number of the Chelsea players.

    I thought Gnabry would make it at the top level, I don’t think Zelalem will.

  19. C

    In this decade when Barca have had a huge number of heavily hyped attacking players in La Masia but when need to replace one of their important attacking players in the starting line up they buy Neymar, Suarez, Rakitic

    Dortmund won in Germany with a whole bunch of their own younger players and Barca did the same with the Xavi generation and Fergie with the Beckham generation. However, those are clearly exceptions to the rule and those events have been more about good luck because they are not repeatable events. Arsene tried to build a Xavi generation in the early Emirates era and with then tried again with his English core. Additionally, all of those groups of players you described were developed early in the previous decade or decades before the big money really hit world football. The big teams have almost always given themselves the advantage by purchasing the best impact players at nearly all of their positions. That has become even more true in this decade.

    We compete in England and how many of the top English teams are building there own players? Like it or not we put ourselves at a disadvantage compared to them by using a significant number of high leverage minutes to try and develop a player like Ox or Iwobe

  20. Pete the Thirst,

    I agree but lets not forget that unlike so many of the other Youth Cup teams, are teams are generally really young; most playing players in that 19-21 range where most of ours are generally 16-19. I get what you are saying about physically not being ready and I’m not saying that physically he is ready but to dismiss him at just 19 years old I think is a mistake.

    You can compare him with Cesc as far as skill set but I think our current team, especially in midfield is quite different to when Cesc came to Arsenal. Cesc was kind of the “start” of project youth, the Invincibles were being shipped out and our midfield was basically Cesc, Nasri, Denilson, Song, Mozart came in as did Helb but Cesc was ready. Zelalem’s passing range and futboling IQ is quite high for a lad his age and he is still developing. I get both sides of the discussion, I really do but I think it should also be noted that Zelalem isn’t linked with some move to a mid-table side or even a Championship side, he is being linked with Tuchel’s revolution at Dortmund where he is, at present to me at least one of the best managers at combining experienced players with really talented youth. Pulisic, Dembele, Weigl are all players that are really talented youth that Tuchel has put his faith in and they have flourished. I think Zelalem will fit in quite well with their style of play.

    Gnabry, I think he is most certainly one that got away.

  21. Bill,

    I think your missing what I am saying, its not them building a whole team around youth, quite the opposite, they are building strong teams and playing youth players at certain positions. You talk about Barca, sure they bought Rakitik, Neymar and Suarez but lets be honest, they still have quite a few La Masia players such as Sergi (RB), Alba (LB) that have come through and are playing key roles as first XI players. Bayern have build a strong squad but you see Sanches, Coman, Thiago, hell even Muller that have come through and are playing key spot; PSG handed over their midfield to Veratti and if not for Rabiot getting injured, he would be sitting alongside Motta and Verratti. Athletico under Simeone, he has brought and played youth in key spots, see Koke, Courtious, and a couple others.

    You talk about English sides, I think England is completely different to most of Europe on several fronts including youth development; simply put England has let the money ruin the game and because of that the youth have suffered and most of them fail because they aren’t developed properly. Its why other countries youth are more coveted than English, no sense of entitlement, just developing them and letting them play. There is a fine line between buying all the talent and grooming young players.

    Arsenal’s failures have nothing to do with playing youth, the failures lie in so much more like not bringing in talent to help develop the youth. For all the talk of our current squad, how many would actually be wanted or coveted by other clubs; Ozil, Sanchez, Xhaka, Mustafi, Bellerin and that is probably it. Our “British Core” well I think that was as much Arsene’s fantasy as anything, you can’t build a team around a bunch of players that don’t develop because, unfortunately, they are always injured.

  22. C

    You are conveniently ignoring the fact that Dortmund are currently in 6th place and 12 points behind a Munich team which did not really hit its stride in the first half of the season. Is that really the sort of youth based revolution that you want?

  23. Bill,

    I’m not ignoring that, but you are also ignoring the fact that the Bayern side you are talking about feature Kimmich, Alaba, Sanches are key players for them and are all or were brought through or bought young. Or the fact that Madrid are playing and starting Varane, Asensio, Kovacic, Morata who are all young players that they bought (Kovacic or Varane) or brought through (Asenio, Morata prior to him leaving for Juve). Or Barca with Sergi Roberto, Denis Suarez, Rafinha, Digne are all players that they have either bought young or brought through. I could do this with every big club, the point is, they aren’t building their teams around these players, these player are put into and starting for these sides and are pieces not key cogs. All of them have talented players that get all the recognition and if you are the more casual observer of non-PL futbol you generally would see that.

  24. C

    I agree that we have done a poor job of developing youth players but very few of the big teams in Europe have been successful in this decade with developing their own players. You use Barcelona as an example and they have added some squad players from La Masia but even they have not been building their own superstar attacking players since Xavi/Messi/Iniesta. They buy Ibrahimovic, Sanchez, Villa, Neymar Suarez and Rakitic and then fill in some of the squad positions behind those players with La Masia grads. The other problem with your logic is you use Barcelona as an example and there is no one who would suggest we are as good as they are so it is folly to use them as the measuring stick.

    You said yourself things are different here in England but we have to compete with English teams. For whatever reason we have almost always fallen short when we try to build impact players from U21’s and we have put at ourselves at a disadvantage when we keep a player like Ox or Iwobe in a high leverage squad spot instead of buying an experienced player. Even Barca would buy someone if they needed a new LW. We want arsene to give players like Ox, Iwobe, Akpom or Jeff chance and he has done that much more then almost any other manager but that makes it harder for us to compete and we can’t have it both ways. No one can dispute that.

  25. C

    I have no problem with buying an experienced impact player for the starting 11 and most of the important back up spots but then using a few younger players to fill in the squad.

    The thing that I disagree with is handing a starting role to Iwobe or giving Ox all of these high leverage minutes for the last 5 years. Wojo as the #1 GK in 2010 was a huge mistake and we compounded the mistake by hanging on to him for all of those seasons. If we were going to keep Iwobe, he should have started the season somewhere down the depth chart in midfield. Building a squad based on the belief that Ox was on the cusp of greatness and this was going to be the year that he was going to come good is self defeating.

  26. Bill,

    I’m not disagreeing with, I’m saying that Arsene’s lack of investment in the squad has played a part but to say that our youth is the problem is a wrong if you ask me. I think the biggest difference is that when players aren’t able to stay fit or develop, Arsene continues with them instead of allowing them to be dropped from time to time (that goes for senior players as well). The other part is that with investing, its about bringing in talent that will help the younger players as well as further enhance our squad.

    Playing Iwobi on the LW isn’t the issue, not purchasing a top CF is the issue.

  27. C

    I will be surprised if you don’t tell me that you want Jeff to be promoted to the first team and get some regular minutes next season and you will want Iwobe to get a signficant number of minutes so he can continue to develop. I know you were a big fan of Iwobe as our starting LW. To each his won but my own feeling is that if we are serious about making a title challenge then we should buy someone good to replace Cazorla and buy a better CF or LW to fill that hole. If we keep Ozil and Sanchez and buy a couple of impact players at those positions then there are almost no way that either Jeff or Iwobe are going to get minutes. You can’t have it both ways.

  28. Bill,

    I have made my feelings known on both Adelaide and Iwobi, I actually think both are more effect and should be playing more than a couple others that I won’t mention. Again, I said all summer and have said time and time again that we should buy a CF or LW so we are in agreement there. I find it a bit humorous that Iwobi has played well and deserves more mins than some of the more senior players.

  29. C

    Instead of buying a CF or a LW Arsene decided he could get by with Iwobe and Walcott and back them up with Ox. I know you were excited and in favor of starting Iwobe at the left wing but if we had bought a CF or a LW then Alex would not have gotten minutes. To me it seems like a no brainer to believe that we can’t have it both ways. I hope that makes sense.

  30. Bill,

    Arsene didn’t buy a CF because we have Giroud, Welbeck even though he did bring in Perez. Re-signing Giroud to mean means that we won’t be bringing in another CF this summer either.

  31. Does anyone else think that Iwobi might end up being the Santi replacement and we mend and make do for the couple of years it’ll take for him to be ready for the central role?

  32. C

    You know I am 100% in favor of selling Giroud and buying a better player. However, that is not the point of this discussion. The reason Iwobe was in the starting line is because we did not buy a better CF which opened the LW.

    Buying a top quality experienced player to replace Cazorla and resigning Ozil will almost certainly give us a better chance to compete next season but it will leave very few minutes for Iwobe and hopefully almost none for Jeff. Additionally, there would no point to keeping someone like Zelalem who has even less chance to be an impact player then those 2 around the first team. No?

  33. Bill,

    I get what your saying but Iwobi isn’t the reason we didn’t sign a top CF, we have Giroud, Welbeck who Arsene views as our present and future CF. That is why he didn’t buy a top class CF, it had nothing to do with Iwobi, the LW was opened for Iwobi because of this not the other way around.

    Since when does a 19 year old’s future get decided when he is 19, I thought players didn’t truly mature until later than that? sure there are some who are so gifted and talented that they will force their way into the first team at that age, but the lad is 19 years old; hell I can’t think of many 19 year olds that have forced their way into the team and the few that have are world class players or a notch or two below that by 23, most don’t at 19 years old. I truly think that there will be emins for Iwobi and Adelaide as midfielders #2.

  34. Damon

    I am fully in favor of thinking long term with the idea of Iwobe as the Santi replacement but 100% against trying to get by for a couple of seasons.

    How can we have any credibility if we complain about Arsene not winning anything and then encourage the idea that we will have a player in a critical position for a couple of years who might not give us a much of a chance to compete? What if we wait a couple of seasons and then Iwobe develops an chronic injury issue or does not work for any other reason and then we have to wait a couple more seasons until we find someone else. Just like I said with C, we can’t have it both ways.

  35. C

    I agree that a vast majority of players are not mature at 19 and that is exactly the point I have been banging on about for years. How many times have you told me age is just a number and it does not matter?

    With a rare exception we probably should not be using “immature” 19 year old players in high leverage positions if our objective is to compete for big trophies in England.

    Damon:

    If we buy an impact player for the Cazorla position it will give us a better chance to compete for the title but it will make it tougher for Iwobe to ever break thru at that position. I think if we really want to compete for titles in England we have to accept that its going to be very tough to build our own impact players and some of the younger players we like will never get the chances we think they deserve.

  36. Gnabry may turn out to be a player we wished we had back and if so he will be the first significant miss in about 10 years.

    The only way to avoid missing a player like Gnabry once every 10 years would be to give all of the dozens and dozens of players with potential enough chances with the first team. However, if we do that then there is no way we can even compete for the top 4 much less for the top of the table.

  37. Bill,

    They aren’t ready match in and match out but then again, I have also said that senior players are equally to blame. I have NEVER said that we should build teams around youth or young players but playing them surrounded by more senior players, that’s the best way and that is what I have said for years and will continue to say. Blaming one player for the failures of a whole team is madness especially when you consider that Iwobi is playing and contributing but what about other senior players that have let us down for years on end.

  38. C

    I am not blaming Iwobe or Ox or Sanogo etc etc. However, we are in the league with the most competitive top of the table in European football and starting someone like Iwobe on the LW or giving Ox all of those high leverage minutes for the last 5 years instead of buying a better wide forward has caused a self inflicted increase in the level of difficulty. Can you really disagree with that?

  39. C

    Just between you and me I think the reason Arsene handed Iwobe the starting LW job is that for better or worse he still is a youth friendly manager and he would rather not buy a player as long as he is confident that he can hold on to the top 4 spot.

  40. C

    I have not watched Moses play enough to make an informed decision.

    Compared to Ox, I think Iwobe was more effective for the first 1 1/2 months of this season but neither have been effective for the majority of the season so now its basically a toss up. The reality is that we should have bought a better CF or LW last summer and neither should have gotten the number of minutes they have been given.

  41. I see that City have been charged by the FA for not updating information on players whereabouts for the drug testers.

    It’s possible that we could end up getting top four following a City points deduction, but I suspect that’s not likely. Probably a fine which means nothing to them anyway.

    But it would be ‘Arsene’s Luck’ if that did happen.

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