On Ramsey, Gnabry, Kos & Wojo

This morning’s post feels like it ought to come with sound effects. The sort used in seventies ‘comedy’ shows where there was an element of suspense; der-der-der! That sort of thing; you’ll understand why later on, after the limbering up has finished.

Maybe you won’t understand or care even less by the time we get there. But all of that is for later. The internationals continued last night with Wales grabbing a creditable draw in Belgrade. Aaron Ramsey scored the Welsh, with a well-taken penalty. Very calm; let him take them for Arsenal.

It was immediately labelled a ‘Panenka’. This is modern football and we everything must be labelled, more so than in the past. Did we do the same ‘back in the day’? We were quick to hand out nicknames but pigeon-holing everything is a modern phenomenon.

I mean, we didn’t call free-kicks curled into the top corner, ‘Talbot’s’ or ‘Noddy’s’, did we? For the uninitiated, Brian ‘Noddy’ Talbot curled a free kick into the top corner of the Newcastle net in a 2 – 0 win on a Tuesday night. The following Saturday, again in front of the Clock End, he did this in the 3 – 1 win over Liverpool. A home crowd demanding Noddy shoot wasn’t enough warning for Grobbelaar.

Don’t let anyone tell you there’s no such thing as deja vu.

Immediately Ramsey’s goal appeared on social media, there was a deafening sound of anorak zips being pulled up to the neck and bobble hats being straightened. “Oh no, that wasn’t Panenka”, they cried, for the anoraks were up in arms, determined to restore purity to their label.

These are the same people who argue that Zidane’s wasn’t a ‘Panenka’ because it clipped the bar on the way into the net. It must be called a “Zizou”.

Get. A. Life.


A Ramsey goal is no longer the prelude to a celebrity death so quite a few are resting easy this morning. It is the prelude to a debate about whether he’s good, rubbish or not fit to wear an Arsenal shirt. Minds on the Welshman, are firmly made up with no room for manoeuvre.

You’re wrong, by the way, if you don’t think he’s a good player. We’ve just been using the wrong formation to get the best out of him, as Euro 2016 and the end of last season showed.

And it doesn’t take much for Arsenal supporters to be up in arms these days. Take Serge Gnabry…

[Cue comedy der-der-der]

…and Bayern did. The winger signed for them, having used Werder Bremen as a showcase for his talents. Nobody was surprised; it’s a move which has been mooted for some time, certainly since he left north London.

Some are bitter about it although I’m not sure why. He wasn’t a regular, he’s one of those on the list of ‘what might have been’. Very talented for sure but then so was Theo Walcott at that age and that one’s going well, isn’t it?

Many argue they’d rather have Gnabry than Ox which is fine, although based on a flawed comparison. For Gnabry’s career at Arsenal, read Ox’s; he would most likely have suffered the same fate – in and out of the side, with supporters on his back, ruing the way we let Ox leave on the cheap..

The reaction staggered me. He hasn’t even left Arsenal for Bayern – although not through lack of effort, it must be said – but now he’s signed for them. So what? Good luck to him; I hope he has a good career there and doesn’t end up like Fran Merida.


Laurent Koscielny didn’t improve the mood. Asked about signing for the club he supported as a boy, he refused to rule out a move to Marseille. DER-DER-DER! It was a betrayal; we’re losing Kos as well as Alexis, Mesut and OX – Liverpool are back in for him, apparently.

“But will I sign for them?”, he said. “I have no idea at all” came the answer to his rhetorical question. Not “I’d love to”, just a simple recognition that none of us knows what the future will hold, not even Mystic Meg.

Move along, nothing to see here.

And that’s more or less the same with Wojciech Szcznesy, although the Pole’s situation is a little different. Were there any other manager at the club now, I suspect the end of Wojo’s loan spell at Roma would herald a return to Arsenal as understudy to Cech.

But I don’t think Wenger trusts the Pole and Arsรจne doesn’t have a good track record of allowing goalkeepers redemption. Look at Fabianski’s Arsenal career for that one.

Arsenal, it seems, have agreed to sell Szczesny to Juventus and we know this to be true because Gianluigi Buffon told us as much. Who are we to argue with a man on the inside?

Will Arsรจne take this opportunity to promote Emi Martinez? With Ospina leaving as well, it seems likely. The Argentinean is “the future of the club”, according to Wenger, so unless that was flattery completely misinterpreted by the young goalkeeper.

He’ll probably be a cup goalkeeper next season although as with being club captain, that role is something of a poisoned chalice.

Finally, there’s a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox. The next in the Jukebox Classics series is Echo & The Bunnymen; the originals of the songs they’ve covered. Enjoy.

’til Tomorrow.

A late addition: quite possibly the best thing on the web at the moment –ย 

62 thoughts on “On Ramsey, Gnabry, Kos & Wojo

  1. Warning! Attention! Beware!

    Orse is cantering around spreading dire ‘news’ just to start the day, as he means us to continue!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. HenryB,

    What dire news?

    All I’ve said is that Arsenal do not prioritise English players. I’m happy to see top quality players in Arsenal shirts, I just wish a few more of Arsenal’s top quality players were English for the good of our National side.

  3. Well, I totally agree with everything on that very well written Post, Yogi.

    It is odd that many – most? – Arsenal fans, including me, tend to fear the worst in the first instance, until common sense and the inevitable conclusion that nothing can ever really surprise any of us.

    Cesc had DNA problems and they could only be mollified by returning to Barรงa, which he appeared to regret very shortly thereafter – so Gnabry a reasonably talented but largely ineffectual player for Arsenal had itchy pants for Bayern – so what – I have the same ‘problem’ regarding tall, busty women. If someone had not mentioned Gnabry’s final destination, none of us would have noticed or cared.

    Rambo is a sensible, good – potentially excellent player – just to put my imprimatur alongside yours YW.

    Naturally, I will have the hump if we do not buy 2, maximum 3 very good players in this window. ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Orse,

    I responded to your earlier comment regarding the Academy being stuffed with o/seas youth players. Not true.

  5. Good morning Yogi and thank you for the post.

    With all the injury problems suffered by Gnabry and the fact that there was strong competition for his position, it no surprise to me that Wenger let him go. His career had stalled at Arsenal, he has done well to resurrect it and I hope he success at Bayern.

    I would like to see Martinez given a chance at knocking the ageing Cech off his perch, but for the reason given above I would be happy to see Wenger sign one of the young English ‘keepers everyone is talking about.

    I really don’t see how, or why, we should alter the teams style of play to fit with Ramsey’s particular skill set. I agree with you Yogi he’s not a bad player, just not that good to warrant the change. A better coach could help him adapt his skills to better support the rest of the team.

  6. I am not convinced that Martinez will necessarily be the GK understudy next season.

    There are 2 keepers who are decidedly English, if that is important, in Matt Macey and Ryan Hoddart both well thought of and both in the 6′ 5″- 6′ 6″ bracket so physically able to deal with some of the hulks that hurl themselves around box – take that as you will.

    But, I suspect AW will go out and buy a ‘name’ keeper – hope it is Butland, if so.

  7. First and foremost, Congratulations to the 2017 Stanley Cup Champs Pittsburgh Penguins!!! First back to back Cup winners since mid 90’s in the free agent era.

  8. Great clip from theTube YW.

    A group of us bumped into Jan Molby in Copenhagen before the Uefa Cup Final 2000. He is a huge Arsenal fan. Huge in many ways, he must have been getting on 20 stones when we saw him. But what a great player.

    Also saw Paul Walsh’s mug in the clip. Saw him around Xmas in my local boozer propping up the bar, which was strange.

  9. Good stuff Yogi.

    To adapt our style to fit Ramsey doesn’t make sense to me. Is he a good player, no doubt about it, but there is a reason why we are linked with midfield players to pair with Xhaka or no?

    I wonder if people are realizing that if Arsene buys a GK, then those are taking funds away from other positions of actual need. We don’t need to buy a GK: Martinez, Macey and Hoddart are all good young GK’s.

  10. Orson Kaert,

    I would actually beg to differ, if you look at our youth, quite a number of them are English.

    Maybe just my thinking, but the problem with many English players are two-fold: not good enough and feel entitled. Outside of Rooney and Ashley Cole, there really hasn’t been an English player that are good enough recently. Sure players like Jack, Barkley, Sturridge, Sterling, Carrick and a number of others are talented but that is really were it ends. The entitlement thing is interesting because part of it is many of them reading the headlines thinking they have made it when in reality, they haven’t, see Barkley.

  11. Pep conitnues his Citeh makeover with reports saying he is close to signing Mexican international Hirving Lozano who at 21 years old has been in impressive form scoring 22 goals in 69 but will go on loan for 2 seasons.

    Pep also is set to send Hart on loan to West Ham if the two clubs are unable to come to terms on a permanent transfer fee this summer.

  12. Andre Silva going to Milan for ยฃ35m is an absolute steal for a CF that at 21 years old can just about do it all. Able to play across the front 3 or as a 2nd striker.

    The other part is that, IMHO it has sort of set the market.

  13. Great post yogi

    Letting Gnabry get away was a mistake. Arsenal should have sent iwobe on loan and given him some of those league 2000 minutes that Alex played. It’s almost always a mistake to use a U21 player in a high leverage squad spot and handing Iwobe the starting role was a bad idea.

  14. Iwobe is not a bad player but I think we need forwards to be at least a threat to score. Unfortunately Arsene is enamored or technical skill and creativity and he will almost always favor a player such as Iwobe instead of a more direct player such as Gnabry or Perez.

  15. Arsenal’s Eastern European scout Pavel Kurcherov on the rumors of Aleksandr Golovin:

    โ€œThis player is not talented enough for European level and itโ€™s unrealistic to discuss his transfer to a top EPL club,โ€ he said.

    โ€œAlexander would need to improve his football in general, as well as his physical, psychological and mental attributes.โ€

    He would not be developing there in the same way he would in England or Germany and he definitely needs to move to a club of different level and pressure where he can take the next step towards making it at the club that is buying his transfer.โ€

    โ€œIn terms of pressure and physical battles, itโ€™s no different to the Russian Premier League and would be a good experience for Golovin.

    โ€œTo play in front of packed crowds under his former coach for a couple years and then move on to a mid-table EPL club would be the right move and anything can happen.โ€

  16. There have been literally hundreds of players like Gnabry who have come thru our youth set up and left but before Gnabry there is not even a single one of them that we wish we could have back. The vast majority have been totally underwhelming after they left. Right now it looks like letting Serge go was a mistake. However, It’s still not a slam dunk that Serge will ever replicate what he did this season or that he will ever be more then a back end of the squad player for a big team. It’s a big step going from being a good player on a relegation threatened team to becoming a useful player on a top of the table team.

  17. Yogi

    I agree with you about Wojo. If we had gotten a new manager I suspect wojo would have come back. However, its hard to blame Arsene for not trusting him after watching the 5 years of frustration and inconsistency. Wojo is another example of why its usually a mistake to hand a high leverage squad spot to a U21 player.

  18. If we had bought an experienced in 2010 and sent Wojo on loan and let him work out his youthful inconsistency and gotten his head on straight somewhere else instead of our first team then it all might have turned out differently.

  19. Bill,

    Can’t argue with any of that. I still can’t understand why we wouldn’t put a buyback clause into the contract as standard though. We had the opportunity to take Cesc back, but didn’t activate the clause. Maybe that was a mistake, but at least we had the option to take him back. I guess it may cost something in terms of the fee we get, but there are several ways to set it up (e.g. first refusal on sale, or being able to activate a repurchase arrangement). Not sure how Chelsea arranges them, but I guess they had some kind of arrangement on David Luis which allowed them to make a ยฃ20m net profit on the sale and buyback. Money laundering anyone?

  20. I am a big fan of Ox but he has been on the cusp of greatness for the last 6 years and his play during that time has been very inconsistent. We have given him a lot of minutes that could have gone to a better more experienced player. He is another player who should have been on loan for his U21 years instead of taking up a important squad spot and all of those minutes.

  21. For all the talk of Szczesny, can anybody name a GK that wasn’t inconsistent when they were a young GK? I mean people ALWAYS praise Lehman but forget he got run out of Italy after ONLY 5 appearances for Milan and he was 29 at the time. Has there really ever been a GK that has been consistent at 21-24? I mean, lets be honest, de Gea was set to be run out of the PL if people remember because he struggled so bad up until the 13/14 season when he was 24 years old.

  22. I’m fully convinced that Bill hates the youth ๐Ÿ˜‰

    He is always banging on about handing U21’s high leverage spots, so how do you explain handing Giroud, Ramsey, Gibbs, Le Coq, and other senior players high leverage spots and them failing to perform consistently?!?

  23. Bill,

    I don’t think Oxlade-Chamberlain even approaches greatness, let alone being on the cusp of it. He is worth a place in the first team squad but only as a utility player. Neither he nor Wenger know what his best position is, witness his use as a wingback when the manager expects him to eventually play in central midfield.

    He has surely been at the club long enough to have developed into his best and future role, perhaps under a better coaching regime he would have settled into a recognisable midfielder of one kind or another.

    For the sake of his future career he probably needs to move on, but with a reported new contract worth ยฃ100,000 per week on the table, that seems unlikely.

  24. Orson Kaert,

    Ox has been making noises that he is happy to be getting game time as a winger and/or wingback, but wants to eventually settle in the central midfield role. He sees himself as emulating Gerrard which sounds a little bit like a come and get me Liverpool request. By the time Gerrard was his age he had already nailed down the spot in the middle of the pitch at Liverpool. As you rightly say, he should have developed into his best role by now. I do agree that part of the issue is down to the coaching and I suspect that Jack has struggled for some of the same issues.

  25. Wavey,

    That is where we disagree at my friend, I think most of Jack’s issues (well outside of his unfortunate injury history) is the fact that he has been unable to adapt his style. I think the same is with the Ox; they only know how to play one way adn they haven’t adapted despite given every opportunity to do so. For example, Ox plays the same way on the flanks as he does centrally even though on the flanks he can sometimes get away with ceeding possession so easily in bad spots because its on the flanks, centrally the opposition scores a goal. Jack even now runs into cul de sacs but doesn’t ride challenges. I actually think that both of them are squad players. If Liverpool really are offering 40m for Ox, if I trusted Arsene I might think about it.

  26. Giroud on all the talk about him:

    “To be honest with you, it’s a bit tedious. It’s been the story of my career. People have always questioned me over the years,” the Arsenal striker told the Daily Mail. “It does get to you after a while, especially because you’re doing the job on the field.

    “But this is what also helps me to stay alert and focused on what I have to do.

    “I’m not really asking myself any questions about how popular I am. The pseudo-debates don’t really capture all of my attention, to be honest.”

    “Obviously a forward is judged on what he brings to the side, how he is involved in the game. But a striker’s also there to finish,” Giroud added.

    “I have to put it away and I’m doing that. I have a good ratio and I hope to keep climbing up the hierarchy.”

    Not for nothing but having scored 98 goals in 226 appearances since signing in 2012; well Giroud I think its pretty fair for you to be criticized.

  27. Wavey

    I agree completely that there should have been a buy back clause on Gnabry.

    The problem is that its been almost impossible to predict which youth players are going to be good enough to actually play on the first team. 5 years ago I doubt anyone would have predicted Harry Kane would be a double golden booty winner.

    Obviously you can’t do this but if you just make a blanket prediction that none of the our U21’s will ever become impact players with Arsenal then you will be right more then 95% of the time and those are pretty good odds. The fact that it is so difficult to predict and we have had very little success when we do put one of the U21’s into a high leverage squad spot is why I advocate stockpiling as many as possible on long term loan spells and let time sort out which ones might have a chance. It’s not a perfect solution but its better then what we have been doing

  28. Orson

    Ox has been around the squad for 6 years and we still don’t know for sure which is his best position or how good he really is. That is another it makes no sense to use the first team as a developmental lab for players like Ox. We can’t afford to let them play thru the struggles and inconsistencies.

  29. Szczesny said after Poland’s game on Saturday:

    โ€œThe rumours about Juventus? I do not read newspapers and do not know if these rumours are true or not. After my loan to Roma, I will return to Arsenal, the owner of my registration, the end of the matter. Now I just think of my holiday in America, the rest is not important as last season was stressful.โ€

  30. –“perhaps under a better coaching regime –perhaps under a better coaching regime -perhaps under a better coaching regime ……….

    Fuck me! Repetetive or what?????? ๐Ÿ˜€

  31. C,

    You may not believe this — but I can predict exactly what Blogger X, or Blogger Y is going to say, to say, to say, to say …. ๐Ÿ˜€

    You are totally loyal to players you rate — and friends you have — ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

    [But, say something rubbish, so I can argue with you … fat chance!!] ๐Ÿ˜€

  32. henryB,

    Hey mate, I will have to start mixing it up on you then. If Marseille were to offer anythinf north of 20m for Kos I would sell him in a heartbeat (and I’m being so serious about that too)

    I do think certain things we all defend.

  33. C,


    Kos has been, and still is, to an extent, excellent – but his chronic injury problems are beginning to show .. and he is not the same superb CH. he has been for years!!

    You will have to try harder C, mon ami. ๐Ÿ˜€

  34. C,

    Have you ever watched “The President Show” — it is absolutely awesomely funny.

    If you haven’t, yet — you have got to see it!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  35. Orson

    Ox has the ability to be a true impact player which is what I meant by his being on the cusp of greatness. He changed the game in the second half during the FA cup semifinal against Man City by running down the flank with the ball at his feet and moving the ball into the attacking zone before the defense could set up. Very few players have the potential to change the game almost by themselves. He probably has as much or more potential upside then any player who has come thru our youth ranks in the Emirates Era. However, talent and potential do not win games and he has never really become the player that we all thought he would for whatever reason.

  36. Henry

    I don’t hate youth players but I strongly disagree with the way we have used them over the years. Arsene has been more aggressive with giving important squad spots and high leverage minutes to our younger players then any big team manager in the world. No one can doubt that giving all of those minutes to inexperienced players has made it more difficult to win consistently. To make it worse there is no evidence to suggest those minutes have helped our younger players. Our record with developing those youth into impact players has been very poor. How can anyone be happy with a what has been a lose/lose situation for the team and the younger players.

  37. henryB,

    Damnit! Even if we did not bring in another CM, I would sell Le Coq to the highest bidder because Maitland-Niles is a better player and while he doesn’t go to ground, he reads the game, especially defensively better than both Ramsey ans Le Coq right now.

  38. C

    Even if we sell Le Coq, Maitland-Niles is still behind Xhaka and Elneny on the depth chart. Why would you want to bury him at the back of the squad when he could go on loan and play regularly on a team in the Championship or may be even a PL teams in the bottom half of the table that needs some midfield help?

  39. Neither Wojo or Chambers or Gnabry would have rebuilt the forward momentum of their careers if they had been sitting on our bench this season.

  40. I guess twitter is shitting up a storm about Fabregas coming back to Arsenal?

    I don’t think he would like to come back because he will not be a regular or his game time maybe exactly as it was at Chelsea.

    To reiterate YW post, Wenger doesn’t give 2nd chances to players who left the club voluntarily.

  41. Pistol Fish,

    I think every one of those had some pretty different circumstances.

    Thierry was a Legend, Campbell not by his choice, and Flamini was on a free again, I think and we needed someone desperately at that time in his position.

    But Nasri, Adebyor, Song, Hleb, etc….

    I’m not saying it’s impossible, but Wenger had a spot for Fabregas. I’d think Wenger would have felt betrayed at that moment when Fabregas decided to leave for Barcelona.

    Who knows, maybe he would take him back…..Who is going to be on the bench if he played?

  42. C,

    And that’s where I think proper coaching would have helped them more. Wenger seems to rely on spotting natural talent and fitting it into the team. Because of his tight budget policies he largely tries to do that by spotting potential young talent and shipping it in on the cheap. Players like Cesc and Bellerin are naturally talented players, but Ox and Jack needed to be developed otherwise the raw potential is wasted. I genuinely believe that under a better coach they would developed better. As it stands they still have raw talent, but it might be too late to shape them.

  43. Henry

    It may be a bit repetitve, but its been an issue at the club for some time. We are poor at developing young players and you can see on the pitch that some need help. Ox, Jack and Iwobi are all players who show great potential, but seem to have been left to their own devices. Not all players are world class and automatically develop their potential. I think for players like Jack and Ox it may be too late. Ox has a role to play as part of the squad, but I’m not sure we missed Jack that much during the season. He isn’t up to being the Santi replacement we need at the moment, so it right to persevere with him?


    The answer for any team looking to develop players through its academy is an extended loan policy and buyback clauses as standard. As C said, teams across Europe use them much more than they are used in the UK. The press are talking up the two Chelsea defenders who played so well in the U20s WC. Chelsea are sensibly looking to send them out on loan again rather than trying to blood them in the first team too early.

  44. Wavey,

    I know, the ‘Orse, from elsewhere and he has a good sense of humour, so my comment was somewhat tongue in cheek.

    [Actually, I know a number of people from other blogs/other times under different nom de guerre.] ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. Watch tonight’s France v England match and you will be able to judge for yourselves the quality of Wenger’s number one striker target. Alexander Lacazette. Apparently Wenger has been quoted a fee of ยฃ48.7 million (โ‚ฌ55 million) plus ยฃ10.6 million (โ‚ฌ12 million) in add ons.

    Also on view will be Kylian Mbappe, Wenger has already offered Monaco ยฃ88.5 million (โ‚ฌ100 million) which has been rejected. There is a reasonable chance of an increased bid being accepted as Arsenal are willing to pay cash up front, something Real Madrid are not able to do.

  46. Incidentally, there was no chance of Wenger moving to PSG this summer. The French leagues governing body does not allow coaches over the age of sixty-five.

    Claudio Ranieri, who turned sixty-five last October, is seeking special clearance to take over at Nantes.

  47. Steptoe and Son, a great sitcom from the sixties. Wilfred Bramble and Harry H Corbett, as the rag and bone men Albert Steptoe and his son Harold from Iron Drum Lane in London’s Shephards Bush.

    Just a pity the catch phrase applied by Harold to his dad, “you dirty old man”, stuck too well. Wilfred Bramble was arrested and charged with “persistent importuning for an immoral purpose” in a public lavatory.

  48. Morning,

    There’s a story in the Times indicating that Wenger will keep all of his existing backroom staff for the next season. So much for a ‘catalyst for change’. The only change has been that Wenger has been given another 2 years to do exactly what he was doing before. Truly a joke.

  49. Wavey,

    All so predictable. Can anyone give a serious and rational argument why we should expect next season and the season after to be any different to the last decade or so when we’ve changed absolutely nothing?

    Looking forward to Billy Bullshit (Ivan) trying to spin his way out of this one.

  50. Orson Kaert,

    On the wall in my toilet (at eye level, for a man standing, if you follow) is a poster for the film “A hard day’s night”. Over many years, I have wondered if I would ever have the opportunity to point out the correct spelling of Wilfrid Brambell … thank you Kaert.

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