On Özil, Rotation, and Huddersfield

The eve of destruction; that’s how this feels. Or at least it would be, were I inclined to believe the back pages.

Mesut Özil is a “shoo-in” to move to Manchester United, but then Arsène pooh-poohed that idea, until next summer at the very least. 29-year-old Özil was going to Barcelona until 30-year-old Lionel Messi declared the German was “past it”. Beyond his pay packet, it appears that maths isn’t Lionel’s strong point.

Unless of course, you’re 30 when you’re 29 but then again when you’re 30, you’re really 31. Don’t worry Leo; Arsenal Twitter isn’t good at maths either.

We’re moving toward the visit of Huddersfield Town at the Emirates. A curiosity of the fixture list means we face the club we beat in the 1969 League Cup semi-final immediately after facing the club we beat in the 1968 League Cup semi-final.

Özil is unlikely to be fit for this match. Arsène said he is a “little short” which is a harsh comment on the player’s physique. It’s not his fault that genes dealt him those cards.

The question for Wenger is how much to rotate the side. Personally, the only change I would make to Sunday’s team is to bring in Wilshere for Iwobi. I wasn’t impressed by the Nigerian international’s performance at Burnley; the wrong player for the team on that day.

It is a different type of game; I appreciate that, and Burnley were more rugged than Argentina and certainly more aggressive in their pursuit of a result. I don’t know; there are times when I find myself falling into the trap of expecting too much from younger players. It’s easy to do and subconsciously, I think it’s looking for some inspiration, some hope that there’s a bright spot for the future.

Everyone’s A Critic

 

Change is coming, or that’s what the press wants us to believe. Raul Sanllehi left Barcelona yesterday instead of Friday so eager is he to move to north London. What will do when he arrives? He’s leaving the Camp Nou as director of football, joining us as Dick Law 2.

It’s Ivan winning the battle for the future of Arsenal. Sanllehi won’t be a director of football as such; Arsène won’t allow it. He made it clear in 2013 that he wasn’t having such an appointment at the club. He didn’t just beat Ivan in the PR war, he stomped the CEO into the dirt, kicking dust into his face just for good measure.

The more these appointments occur, the more I think Wenger is in his last Arsenal contract. Mislintat last week, Sanllehi this; could the next one be a new chairman? One steeped in the history of the club, not the history of the club’s bank.

The new pair will coordinate recruitment between them; one scouting the players, the other taking care of negotiations. Is this a move to neuter Wenger’s procrastination? If he’s giving them a list of targets, some of his power is diminished as the final say in a deal is no longer his.

Interestingly, Wenger’s notoriously conservative valuations of players is given some balance by a man whose experience is at the top end of the European game. This is a leader who knows what it takes to get those deals over the line. It’s the experience we lacked previously.

It wasn’t all bad but we dropped monumental howlers. There’s a growing realism around the club that we are not a top four side at the moment. Top six, certainly, and that isn’t going to change without major investment this winter and next summer.

Sign Language

The elephant in the room is Wenger’s own deal. Coyness about his future met the initial tranche of questions recently, followed by a robust denial that talks with the club next summer were anything out of the ordinary.

His view has always been against a year-long farewell, which is fair enough. However, that’s only fair enough to the outside world. Internally, it’s a decision which must be communicated to the squad so the uncertainty which Arsène admitted undermined last season, isn’t repeated.

That is a long way off. We have Huddersfield and then Manchester United to look forward to.

Finally, a reminder that last week’s Records of the Week in 280 Characters is on Dad’s Jukebox.

’til Tomorrow.

 

88 thoughts on “On Özil, Rotation, and Huddersfield

  1. Morning All.

    Does it matter if Ozil leaves for ManU in January or the summer? I can’t see why it would, I can’t see him busting a gut to the end of his contract, it’s only human before anyone suggests that I’m being unfair on him. Sell, take the cash ad save it for the new manager 😜

  2. Andy

    Of the pair, Sanchez makes the least sense to sell in January unless we’re ready to invest in the same window. Ozil; tbh, I feel no attachment toward the player. Good player but not one who can dig the side out of the many holes we get ourselves into.

  3. andy1886,

    Think the difference between Ozil for Arsenal and Ozil for possibly Manure is that Manure would have the defensive platform not to mention Mourinho knows how to and did get the best out of Ozil. The problem he would face at Manure is Lukuka isn’t the clinical striker that Lacazette is but then again it would be interesting to see how Ozil would do with say Rashford and Martial.

    Funny thing is, Manure are dealing with their own situation with Mhkitaryn, who unlike Ozil simply hasn’t taken to the PL outside of a few matches since his arrival.

  4. Good stuff Yogi the man.

    If the reports of and Raul Sanllehi does arrive then I would venture to say that Ivan is putting in motion his plan and most importantly, for the first time I could see a situation where this is Arsene’s last contract because he will be evaluated on his performance. The other thing is that, I actually agree with you Yogi, Arsene before could give Arsenal a list and say this is what I want and what not; well now with Raul Sanllehi and Mislintat he gives them a list and they figure it out.

    As for tomorrow, I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Giroud and Jack get a run out. The interesting thing will be Ramsey because we ALL know his injury history and like it or not, he simply isn’t built to play 3 matches in a week. Personally I would play Ramsey against Huddlesfeld and be more defensive in midfield against Manure but we all know that Arsene’s first choice midfield pair is Ramsey/Xhaka so I think we might see one of if not both of Elneny and LeCoq tomorrow.

  5. Good day to you all, let’s not get into the way of thinking “it’s only Huddersfield, so we can afford to rest a few players”.

    Did anyone , Wenger included, watch their performance against Man City a team stuffed with attacking talent. They managed to hold off the Premiership leaders for much of the game and were unlucky not to get at least a point.

    Playing tippy tappy in front of their back seven is not going to get us the three points we so desperately need.

  6. Great post Yogi.

    We are already in 4th place and we are on pace to score 73 points so this has been a successful first 1/3 of the season. However, We need to collect as many points as possible in the good 1/2 of our season because we know that the bad 1/2 is still to come and the more points we have in the bank the better off we are. 3 league games in 7 days is a lot but we don’t really need to rotate that much because we have not been using the first 11 in any of the Europa League or the cup games. Our first 11 would very frequently have 3 games in 7 days in the past when they still had mid week champions league games so this is nothing new.

  7. I agree we orson. We can’t afford to drop points at home against a tram like Huddersfield and if we rotate the squad and don’t take this game seriuosly then we risk dropping points

  8. With regard to Iwobe I think its looking more and more like he is another in the very long line of Arsenal youth players who look good and catch the eye with their technical skill but they never develop the ability to produce “end product”. Our youth academy has always concentrated their efforts on developing players with technical skill and they are well drilled in playing Wengerball and they look unstoppable and run circles around the competition in the academy leagues. Unfortunately producing end product at the top level is very very difficult and the things they do in the u21 set up do not work as the defenders get better and the defenses become more organized as they move up the ladder.

  9. Orson Kaert,

    I watched and they were superb in not only their defending but their counter attacking too. The thing I could see happening is not whole sale changes but I could see Arsene viewing this as a ‘rotation’ match and see maybe Giroud for Lacazette, Jack for Iwobi, Elneny or Le Coq for Ramsey and /or Xhaka and maybe Sanchez starting but then having a strong bench.

    The problem that Arsene currently faces is that Ramsey is a player who simply can’t feature 3 times in a week physically, he will get injured, Jack could come in but for whatever reason there seems to be hesitation from Arsene to play him in the PL.

  10. The other funny thing for all the talk of Ozil not scoring goals, he is actually our best midfield goal scorer. Jack, Iwobi and Ramsey aren’t goal scorer and while Ramsey and Iwobi might get themselves into great positions to score, they rarely actual score goals.

  11. On the subject of our two ‘nearly departeds’…

    “Yes, I rule it out,” he replied when asked whether he ruled out Ozil and Sanchez leaving in January.

    “I do not think about that every day. At the moment, as long as they are here, they have to give their best for the team and for the club.

    “In my head, they stay until the end of the season and that’s a decision that was taken at the start of the season. Unless something unbelievable happens, I can’t see why that would change.”

  12. Bill,

    It’s only a success for the Arsenal hierarchy. As a fan I think it’s a disgrace that we are already out of the title race. City have been the runaway team this season, but I would have hoped that we would at least have made more of a fist of it. Winning only 2 games away from home doesn’t exactly help. Being in the top 4 at the end of the season has no appeal if we do no more than survive the group phase again in the CL. It may be great news for the accountants, but that’s about it.

  13. Jonny,

    It sounds like another plea for them to sign a new deal. “They aren’t going anywhere in January because I want them to stay”, says Wenger. He isn’t going to make them stay by force of will, so it would make sense to take some money for at least one of them in January.

  14. Wavey

    Man city is on pace to collect 108 points this season and there is probably not any other team in the PL in this century that could compete with what they have done so far. I think the Invincibles only collected 90 points in the 03/04 season.

    That said I completely agree with your comment regarding the clubs lack of ambition and it’s stagnation in this decade.

  15. Jonny,

    Yeah, and there was no way that Sanchez was leaving in the summer – until he almost did. Best rule of thumb is if the lips are moving it’s a lie 😉

  16. Jonny,

    I think its strange just a couple of weeks ago Arsene discussed a possibility and now he is putting his foot down or pleading with them to stay

  17. Bill,

    If you recall Arsene’s view is that a goal is just a final logical conclusion to any passing move. Hard to believe that we practice finishing at all, throw in our seeming adversity to focusing on defending as an art and all we’re left with is endless passing the ball around in the midfield.

    I watched ’89’ this morning and the contrast is unbelievable. The endless perfecting of the defensive unit, relentless practising of free kicks (in the film the players state that they practised the FK that led to the first goal but that was the first time that it actually worked). Nutty said that he doubted modern players would have put up with it. Totally different mentality.

    I suspect that if you told that back four that ‘football is an art’ they would have called you a ponce and laughed in your face.

  18. C,

    Hi C,

    Agree with that. I´d be really surprised to see Ramsey tomorrow. That´s the very definition of
    not being clever; doing the same thing twice and expect a different outcome.

    I think we may see a somewhat different team given we´re playing Manure in the weekend. Kos achilles probably gets a rest and Wellbeck, Jack, Giroud needs playing time.

    There may be 4-5 changes compared to the Burnley game?

  19. Welsh Corgi Cardigan,

    Just because they need playing time is no reason to pick them. Giroud, in his last match, showed all the mobility of a traffic cone. Welbeck was obviously not fully fit and as rusty as a derelict Austin A 40, while Wilshire just kept running up cul-de-sacs.

    But I suppose that if it came down to a choice between Iwobi and Wilshire I’d have to go with the latter.

  20. Welsh Corgi Cardigan,

    Yup, its exactly what I’m thinking, I know it might sound and it feels like we shouldn’t have changes but Kos and Ramsey alone simply aren’t built to play 3 matches a week, people want to see Iwobi over Jack so that’s 3 changes already.

    Arsenal will probably have Lacazette not get the start given he doesn’t even like him to complete 90 mins let alone have him start 3 matches in a week; that’s 4 (Ramsey, Kos, Iwobi, Lacazette). Then questions have to be raised about really how many matches in a row can Bellerin and Sead play in a row before they start to suffer.

  21. Arsene on Lacazette:

    “First of all I would like to say that in my job you sub strikers more than defenders, because they have to create, they have to provoke, they have to be incisive in every run,” he told his pre-Huddersfield press conference.

    “Secondly, I think he adapts physically to the Premier League and I’m very happy with the work he does for the team every time he is on the pitch, and thirdly I do that as well because I have other options on the bench who are fresh and can give us another variation in our attacks.

    “Physically, the Premier League is very demanding. It demands a huge intensity of work and if you look at the other teams, they take off a lot of strikers as well after 70-80 minutes, between 60 and 80 minutes most of the teams change their strikers because first of all many times they have to work on their own up front against two or three people.

    “Up front you provoke and at the back you respond, so it’s completely different and much more exhausting physically and mentally.”

  22. Hey gang – yeah I didn’t exactly just fall to earth – it was very much offered without comment.
    I think we can all agree – anything that man ever says, is best taken with large buckets of salt. 🙂

  23. Welsh Corgi

    The majority of our first 11 have not played even a minute in the Europa League or league cup and that is probably not going to change for a couple months. The average first team regular on most big teams usually have close to 50 appearances in all competitions and some even more. Our first 11 are currently on pace to make about 35 appearances in all competitions. No reason to think any of our first 11 need to rest at this point.

  24. Wavey:
    Bill,

    It’s only a success for the Arsenal hierarchy. As a fan I think it’s a disgrace that we are already out of the title race. City have been the runaway team this season, but I would have hoped that we would at least have made more of a fist of it. Winning only 2 games away from home doesn’t exactly help. Being in the top 4 at the end of the season has no appeal if we do no more than survive the group phase again in the CL. It may be great news for the accountants, but that’s about it.

    Oi, Wavey!!

    Nothing wrong with accountants, you know, we are sweet natured, good looking and big.

    Oh, OK, 1 out of 3 isn’t bad!! 😀

  25. Orse,

    You are beginning to sound like moi — all this warning peeps about being too complacent as regards Huddersfield – and you are spot on. 🙂

  26. I posted this earlier today, but in case it was too early for the American contingent, I thought it an idea to repeat it. Me like.

    I pinched it from one of my favourite blog sites – I do not think they will mind — but it is a wonderful story!

    [Twitter thread]
    Jacques Joseph‏

    Arsenal’s class is international.

    I am a “soccer” coach in New York and last summer we hold our preseason camp at the Golden Goal Residence in Upstate New York. Golden Goal host many teams and organizations, including the Arsenal Academy Camp (Arsenal School USA).

    Arsenal’s camp was being held while I was there with my team. They had top classes coaches replicating the coaching from Hale End and London Colney. I witnessed some sessions and they were very impressive. Kids who registered for that camp had the new kit before it came out.

    There was also an organization/camp that same week who brought underprivileged kids from the Bronx to Golden Goal so they could experience a residential camp experience out of the city. Those kids were so happy to be there and were living a dream.

    When the organization learned Arsenal was there, they humbly ask Arsenal Academy if their coaches could give those young kids one afternoon session. Can you imagine those kids coming back home telling their parents they were coach for one session by Arsenal coaches?

    Arsenal not only said yes, but took it to an higher and unexpected level. They ACTUALLY ADDED ALL THE KIDS TO THEIR OWN RESIDENTIAL CAMP FOR FREE!!! Those underprivileged kids got top coaching from Arsenal for a week and went back to their neighborhood with the new kit!!

    Some of the kids were crying and most of them could not believe it! Some kids thought it was a prank lol. Let me tell you it was very moving and I was very proud of the club I support… although I wished I would have got that kit too lol!!

    Proud to be a Gooner!!

    Me too.

  27. Andy @ 2:25

    “If you recall Arsene’s view is that a goal is just a final logical conclusion to any passing move.”

    At the start of the Emirates era Arsene broke up the 03/04 title and decided to go a different direction. He moved away from a highly effective counter attacking ethos towards a system that featured technical skill, creativity and passing as the critical elements our attacking football, He hoped goals would take care of themselves and he also believed that ball possession was the key to solid defense. Those were the fundamental tactical premises of total football that Arsene used to build Wengerball. It gave us some beautiful football and we looked great at times but it was never going to work on a consistent basis.

    Clearly the Emirates era has been a shambles on the defensive end of the pitch but we were supposed to compensate for the defense by playing attacking football. However, the critical element of great attacking football is actually scoring goals and its does not matter how many lovely passes you make. The reality is that despite our repuatation as an “attacking team” we have never been a high scoring team in the Emirates era. Even at its best Wengerball never scored enough goals to justify our belief that we could simply outscore our opponents.

  28. Bill,

    You’re not taking into account other circumstances. Koscielny’s cronic injury record. Ramsey’s cronic injury record, Ozil’s current illness. sooner or later there’s bound to be a red card or two.

    Statistics are all very well but random events can make an absolute mess of them.

  29. Orson

    Fair enough with regard to Kos and his chronic Achilles problem. Starting Mert in one of the 3 games might be best. I see no reason to to rest any of the other regulars if they are healthy. Özil obviously should not play if he has not recovered from his mystery illness.

    Ramsey is healthy now but he can pull up lame at any point no matter how many minutes he has been playing. He certainly can not be anywhere close to the mythical “red zone” right now. At some point he is going to pull a muscle no matter if we rest him or not so it makes more sense to use him while we can. The idea that resting now will somehow save him and make him fresher and less likely to get injured later has never worked out. We have talked about this at the beginning of every season when Arsène tends to keep his best players off the pitch for longer then other managers after a summer international tournament. The extra rest at the start of the season has never helped our players to play better or avoid injury later in the season. You can’t put rest in the bank and withdraw it when you need it later in the season.

  30. Bill,

    We all know that statistics can be beautiful – and who can refute the notion that data is entertaining — but beware, statistics are like sexy bikinis, because what they reveal can be enticingly suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.

    Tools used to interpret stats can help extract the truth from data — but just looking aimlessly at stats does not achieve a viable resolution to perceived problems.

  31. HenryB,

    Saw that story and it warmed my heart and gave me even more reason to believe that futbol even in its current form is a beautiful thing and money won’t and can’t corrupt all people involved.

  32. After finding this article:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/sports/soccer/arsenal-arsene-wenger-analytics.html

    I’m seeing the club’s and Wenger’s actions and decisions in an entirely different light.
    The benefits of the systems being put in place– and decisions made based on those systems– will take at least another season to bear fruit.

    I can attest to the level of success a club that invests in this fashion can reap.
    Here in the states, the Major League Baseball Houston Astros (my hometown team) lost over 100 (of 162) games each season from 2010 through 2013. After adopting the same style and depth of analytics– that it appears Arsenal did 2 years ago?

    The Astros won 101 games this season and the World Series Championship.
    Further, they are poised to win it again– possibly more than once thanks to their robust ‘farm system’ (‘academy’). This team has, like Arsenal appears to have– taken an analytical statistical model and expanded upon it.

    After having read the above article and looking back at many of puzzling aspects of the last 2 years? I’m now feeling positive about prospects for the club. And– am now confident Arsenal has thoroughly weighed the values of Sanchez and Ozil playing out their contracts.

    I also now believe that Wenger isn’t going anywhere for possibly several years.

    jw1

  33. So far our first 11 has played significantly fewer minutes then the average first 11 player on almost every other big team in the world. Our starting players will even have fewer minutes that any of the mid table or lower table PL teams who tend to use more starters in the league cup and early round FA cup games

  34. Ohh — that 89, Andy …… as if I would ever pull your leg! 😀

    26th May. —- still review that too — beautiful.

  35. Bill:
    So far our first 11 has played significantly fewer minutes then the average first 11 player on almost every other big team in the world.Our starting players will even have fewer minutes that any of the mid table or lower table PL teams who tend to use more starters in the league cup and early round FA cup games

    Bill, what does it all mean? Fewer minutes? — are we supporting lazy bastards? or do we have more players sent off in the early stages of the game, in every competition? Or is Andy correct — it’s all bollocks? 😀

  36. I know Ramsey divides opinions but if we sit him on the bench against Huddersfield he is probably no more or less likely to pull a muscle against ManU. If he does sit out the mid week game and does pull a muscle against ManU then we will lost 90 minutes that we could have used him when he was healthy against Huddersfield. It might be different if he actually needed to rest right now but no reason to think he should need to rest this week.

  37. Hi, C, me too — all those deprived kids given an unexpected treat — we (the club) should do more of that — and the other billionaire-owned clubs too.

    It is a moving story — and great respect to the guy coaching those young kids in the art of ‘soccer’. 🙂

  38. Had you seen this update, C?

    — “Raul Sanllehi left Barcelona to join Arsenal due to the Spanish club’s failure to sign Jean Michael Seri from Nice, according to reports. Sanllehi, who had spent 15 years working behind the scenes at Barca, was confirmed as Arsenal’s new head of football relations on Tuesday. Sanllehi had played a key role in the deals that brought Luis Suarez and Neymar to Camp Nou, but ESPN claim that there are two key reasons why he has opted to join up with Arsene Wenger at Arsenal. The first was Barca’s inability to conclude their for Seri this summer, a transfer which he was heavily involved in.

    The second reason was down to Barcelona, who felt that Sanllehi could have done more to prevent Neymar’s departure to Paris Saint-Germain before the start of the season.

    ‘Raul’s appointment (at Arsenal) is another important step in developing the infrastructure we need at the club to take everything we do to the next level,’ Arsenal’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis told the club’s official website. ‘Raul has extensive contacts across the football world and has been directly involved in some of the biggest transfers in Europe in recent years. We look forward to him bringing that expertise to Arsenal.”

    Well if Arsenal allow AW to phaff about in the transfer windows, then I do not see that appointment lasting too long.

  39. HenryB,

    Yup, gave me hope that there is still a lot of good in futbol and kudos to both Arsenal and that coach for that move.

    I like you wish there was more being done. I remember the in 96 when I was just a pup learning the game and MLS was in its inaugural season, DC United held a similar camp but the players themselves coached the camp and as a young defender and midfielder imagine the likes of Eddie Pope and Marco Etcheverry instructing you. That is when I started to believe and even through all the financial bullshit, Arsenal and that coach still keep me believing.

  40. Andy,

    Here is an update that might help other blogger friend on here to see ’89’.

    ’89’ the film was released last week and it’s a wonderful look back at one of the greatest moments in the history of Arsenal football club.

    It was also made available via OurScreen.com, which allows fans to set up screenings in their local cinema, and once enough tickets are sold, the film is shown. It’s sort of like crowd funding but for movies.

    And such is the reach of Arsenal fans, and the popularity of the film itself, 89 has broken the record for the most successful documentary ever to be released through the Our Screen platform. What we can do via Twitter, we can also do in cinemas – it’s nice that it can translate to real life.

    It has had three times the number of screenings confirmed than the previous record holder, with nearly 30% of screenings being organised outside of the traditional Arsenal heartland of North London – including South London, East London, Norwich, Liverpool, Kent, Belfast, Bristol, Nottingham, Brighton, Cambridge.

    It’s an illustration of how widespread and awesome the Arsenal community is, and there’s still time to set up your own screening if you can get enough people to it. Simply check out https://www.ourscreen.com/film/89 and take it from there.

    Lee Dixon, executive producer on the project, told us, “I’ve been blown away by the response to 89 on the big screen. Watching it with an audience is an experience I’ll never forget.”

    It is, of course, available now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download from all the usual outlets like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and more.

    Watch the trailer below, and I’ll see some of you at the screenings in Dublin on December 11th when we’ll have a Q&A beforehand with Lee Dixon and fellow producer Amy Lawrence.

    Got mine already!! 😀

  41. I used to hang out in Honolulu for some years, some work, some looking cool for the girls, and I realised I was missing out some, because those girls were falling head over heels for soccer.

    There were more and more girl school soccer teams and informal teams being formed too and boy they were really into it — so I went back to NY to try my luck there — work — of course! 🙂

  42. Bill,

    I could argue that he is more likely to get injured given the shorter recovery time and given his past history. I could also argue that a player that is known to struggle with hamstrings, playing 90 mins on Sunday and then again on Wednesday and then more than likely again on Saturday is not only shorter recovery time but also given his style of play and the amount of energy and strain on said hamstrings, he is actually more than likely to get injured. I could also argue that if you were talking about a player like say Cesc who covers less ground and normally sits and sprays passes then one could argue that he should be fine but a player like Ramsey whose WHOLE style is predicated on out-working the opposition and having a bigger motor, I could see him being out 3 months.

  43. Bloody hell’s bells.

    Arsene Wenger has missed out on some incredible players during his time at Arsenal, but Antoine Griezmann’s tale of a failed transfer to the Emirates will no doubt enrage Gunners supporters.

    The France international – who is continuously linked with Manchester United – opened up on how a move to the Premier League with Arsenal broke down back in 2013, with his former agent Eric Olhats in regular contact with Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi. Grimandi had told Olhats that Wenger was keen to sign him, and the Atletico Madrid forward – then of Real Sociedad – ‘put aside all other offers’ in order to keep the path clear for him to join the English giants.

    But Wenger missed his chance to land the Frenchman, and Griezmann has ruled out a move to North London in the future. He wrote in his new autobiography: ‘I waited, I waited, and I kept waiting … when there was no news, Eric called Grimandi, who said that the manager was still interested in me [and] to keep waiting. ‘Finally a few hours before the transfer market closed, he let us know Arsenal would not make a move!!
    – ‘I don’t like to be told something and for it not to happen. ‘So when Eric told me later that the London club were interested again I told him “Forget it, after the blow they gave us.”

    If Griezmann’s account of events doesn’t frustrate Gooners enough, a look at Arsenal’s transfer history that summer almost certainly will. While they targeted Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Gonzalo Higuain, they ended up with Yaya Sanogo… Ouch!

    Bollocks — I did not know that!! Makes me want to swear.

  44. C @ 5:18

    I think that your arguement goes against the admittedly anecdotal evidence from many years of having players who tend to get muscle pulls and other soft tissue injuries. Its anecdotal but players like Ox, Ramsey, Gibbs, Arteta, Walcott, Debuchy, Kompany, Aguero, Phil Jones who tend to struggle with those sort of injuries seem just as likely to get injured no matter how much they are used. Our starters have 8 days off after the ManU game. In past years when we played midweek champions league games our starters would regularly play 3 games in 7-8 days so why is this different? The reality is our starters are better rested at this point in the season then any season in the last 20 years. .

  45. Its just my opinion but you rest players when they need rest. Prophylactic rest when a player does not need it with the idea that it might help when the player is really tired sometime later in the season has never worked out. The idea that prophylactic rest will prevent injuries has never worked out for us either. In the past we have heard that Arsene over uses his players but compared to other big team managers the truth is the opposite. He has always been more aggressive with resting players at the beginning of every season and he has used his first 11 less in the leauge cup and FA cup games then almost any other PL manager during his time

  46. jw1:
    After finding this article:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/sports/soccer/arsenal-arsene-wenger-analytics.html

    I’m seeing the club’s and Wenger’s actions and decisions in an entirely different light.
    The benefits of the systems being put in place– and decisions made based on those systems– will take at least another season to bear fruit.

    I can attest to the level of success a club that invests in this fashion can reap.
    Here in the states, the Major League Baseball Houston Astros (my hometown team) lost over 100 (of 162) games each season from 2010 through 2013. After adopting the same style and depth of analytics– that it appears Arsenal did 2 years ago?

    The Astros won 101 games this season and the World Series Championship.
    Further, they are poised to win it again– possibly more than once thanks to their robust ‘farm system’ (‘academy’). This team has, like Arsenal appears to have– taken an analytical statistical model and expanded upon it.

    After having read the above article and looking back at many of puzzling aspects of the last 2 years? I’m now feeling positive about prospects for the club. And– am now confident Arsenal has thoroughly weighed the values of Sanchez and Ozil playing out their contracts.

    I also now believe that Wenger isn’t going anywhere for possibly several years.

    jw1

    @henryB for further details as to Griezmann – follow the link in the above…

  47. I would keep an open mind about this guy to be Arsenal’s next manager.

    Arsene Wenger is understood to have identified ex-Gunners star Giovanni van Bronckhorst as the ideal option to act as his successor when the time comes. At 42 years of age, he currently manages Feyenoord and even led them to win the Eredivisie last season.

    The Frenchman is aware of the growing frustration surrounding his inability to win trophies. Although his contract got extended last season, Wenger may have to hang up his gloves soon and whenever that happens, the manager is keen on Bronckhorst taking charge at the Emirates Stadium.

    What Wenger has achieved with Arsenal is iconic but every good thing comes to an end and it is quite obvious that legendary manager is nearing his saturation point. But is his former player Bronckhorst worthy of taking up the mantle?

    Van Bronckhorst was one of the best defenders Arsenal ever had. He was brought into the Premier League by Wenger in 2001 and he spent two seasons at the club while also winning two trophies. However, he eventually joined Barcelona and from then on played under some influential managers like Guus Hiddink, Dick Advocaat and Frank Rijkaard. After retiring as a player, he tried his hand at management and is working wonders with Feyenoord at the moment.

    In fact, he appears to be emulating Wenger’s vintage style and philosophy at the Dutch club. And perhaps it is a good thing that he is so similar to the Frenchman. Wenger in his prime was an unstoppable force to be reckoned with and has taken the Gunners to great heights during his time at the club. Of course, the age factor has caused some troubles for him and so has his over-analytical mentality when it comes to procuring new players in transfer windows.

    That said, it is a true testament to Van Bronckhorst’s short but sweet managerial career that Wenger has identified him as a worthy successor. One might argue that he has hardly had time to prove his mettle so far but the fact remains that very few managers can boast of winning a league title in their second season in charge. Hence, he could truly take the Gunners to higher levels especially since he has spent time at the club as a player and his style is also very similar to Wenger’s fiery vintage times.

    That does make him a viable option that is definitely worth considering and with growing frustration over Wenger’s tenure, Van Bronckhorst might just be a step in the right direction.

  48. Bill,

    Yes but if Ramsey really is first choice then why put him in unneeded risk when you could simply start Jack who you admitted needs match time. You also have to recall that during those CL seasons, we have seen some strange line-ups from Arsene and I don’t mind to sound rude or anything but I could give two shits about non-Arsenal players in this particular situation. Yes they do have days off after the Manure match but WHY not rest Ramsey and start Jack or Elneny, that makes as much if not more sense than just running Ramsey out there with not only his history but the likelihood (and I’m not wishing it but going on past history) of him pulling his hamstring and then that would force Jack or Elneny to start against Manure. If Ramsey is the player more counted on then giving him a rest or rotating makes sense.

    Also mate, if you think other managers are resting players then Exhibit A, Chelsea v Liverpool over the weekend with both coming off mid-week CL fixtures in a high stakes match the teams where:

    Liverpool: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Klavan, Moreno, Milner, Henederson, Coutinho, Salah, Sturridge, Ox

    Bench: Karius, Robertson, Alexander-Arnold(first choice RB), Lallana, Mane, Wijnaldum, Firmino (the last 3 are undisputed first choice)

    Chelsea: Courtious, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Zappacosta, Drinkwater(fresh off injury), Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso, Hazard, Morata

    Bench: Caballero, Rudiger, Luiz, William, Cesc, Moses, Pedro (Luiz, Moses, Cesc and Pedro are first choice in their respective positions)

  49. Welsh Cardie,

    Are you still in Portugal? Whereabouts?

    If you have your own villa out there — you will be my most bestest friend ever. Just saying. 😀

  50. Bill,

    Yepp, but we do have some recurring injury issues. Oks Achilles, Ramsey’s hamstrings, Jacks wrists. It do make sense to show some precaution going to Saturday’s game.

  51. If you want to see further rotation just for rotation or to help preserve players, take a look at what Pep is doing with his forward line, he is rotating Jesus and Aguero quite regularly not to mention Sane, Sterling, Bernardo Silva

  52. HenryB,

    Hello Henry,

    No, just got back to cold, dark, frozen Sweden. I was in Algarve and I’m looking for a place there as winter’s coming😀.

  53. Welsh corgi cardigan:
    HenryB,

    Hello Henry,

    No, just got back to cold, dark, frozen Sweden. I was in Algarve and I’m looking for a place there aswinter’s coming😀.

    You could still be my bestest if the Algarve reaches fruition!! 🙂

    Wot r u doin in Sweden? Are you a Welsh Swede, or a Swedish Welshman — or wot?? 🙂

  54. The difference between us and the other top 5 English teams is their first team players were used mid week on November 22/23 in the champions league and they will need the first 11 again in the champions league in mid week again next week on Dec 4/5. On the other hand our first 11 sat out the game against Koln and the will sit again when we play Bate next week. Those other 5 teams have 2 more games then our first 11 that they have to deal with during the same time period.

  55. C

    The other question is were all of those players who sat out a game healthy? No one is suggesting that Arsène plays someone who is not healthy and even I think it’s a good idea to give Kos one of those games off. Özil still is sick in bed so right there is significant rotation.

    The one thing we do know from past history is that we put ourselves at risk for a surprise bad result if we take our foot off the gas for any league game. we need to put as many points in the bank as we can especially the home games against mid and lower table teams.

  56. Bill,

    Nope, the Liverpool players actually came into the match. It was simple, Klopp and Conte rotated because they realized that their main players can’t physically play in every match especially when you consider that they are playing midweek, weekend, midweek weekend and they aren’t CC or FA Cup where you play the B squads in the early rounds but its PL matches so rotation is necessary.

    I know you want and think players can play every match but they can’t, hell Barca even started Messi on the bench against Juve in the CL to give him rest. I’m not saying completely drop them from the match day team but not starting them and bringing them on is something completely different.

  57. C

    Players can’t play in every game but so far our first team has only played in 13 of our 20 games. In the other 7 they have not even been on the bench. We have been using extreme caution with our squad and its almost certainly the most rested our squad has been at this point in the season in the last 24 years.

  58. HenryB,

    Hello Sir,

    Well, I’m a Swede by habit and nature (even though I’m partially tired of it). The welsh connection is however quite close and is four legged, with tail and called Morrison🙂.

  59. Spuds miss the chance to reclaim fourth place, what more incentive do we need to put on a top performance against Huddersfield than opening up the gap.

  60. HenryB,

    Henry, I heard that Wenger was in for him some 18 months ago and spoke to him on the phone but Greizmann basically told Arsene to do one…

    I’m a bit surprised, given the history, that he’s still being linked to Arsenal in certain sections of the press as I suspect that that one left town a long time ago.

  61. YW,

    I have just read the first two comments and you fellas certainly know how to deflate tyres, take the wind out of our metaphorical sails.

    Surely if we just say Ozil is shit then really by extension nearly all our players are shit. And if we don’t support our players what is the point of supporting?

    You may say we support Arsenal the club but it makes me wonder what is the point? Ozil is rubbish? Ok we buy someone better – do we support him more now?

    Maybe I miss the point sometimes and we are all supporters so we can put our players down as they are our players. I am not naive enough to think we can’t criticise a performance often enough to write off a player. I am not convinced by Iwobi but I don’t put him down. As I know I will be the first to say thank you when he finally scores a goal ( he must have the worst assist/scoring ratio of any top player in EPL)

    But Ozil? Can’t wait to see the back of him. Rubbish. Nicking a living. If we don’t support a player like Ozil through thick and thin. What’s the point.

  62. I agree with you on same team with JW replacing Iwobi
    Alexis stays left as prefers and JW probably prefers right but drifting etcetera
    Maybe his last ever chance to make an impact in this rarefied atmosphere

  63. Arsetralian,

    I seemed to have missed the comments claiming that Ozil is rubbish. The general consensus seems to be (as discussed on here recently) that he is a very good player but perhaps not the best fit for AFC.

    As for Iwobi I guess you missed his goal when we played Brighton on October 1st 😉

  64. andy1886,

    Morning Andy

    Was that the deflection goal ?? I do forget and I am sure I liked it

    EPL 7 Games 1 solitary goal zero assists 9 shots

    As Bill would get busy on – poor return

    And certainly compared to Ozil who you can’t wait to jettison and boot him before he leaves

  65. andy1886,

    I am pretty sure Ozil not busting a gut will produce better stats than Iwobi

    So yes we would miss him

    I enjoyed his performance v Spurs personally as enough hard evidence to keep supporting him

  66. Welsh corgi cardigan:
    HenryB,

    Hello Sir,

    Well, I’m a Swede by habit and nature (even though I’m partially tired of it). The welsh connection is however quite close and is four legged, with tail and called Morrison🙂.

    I like Swedes! 😀

    I like dogs! 😀

    Now all I need to cement our friendship, is for you to buy that Portuguese Villa and invite me.

  67. Arsetralian:
    HenryB,

    Nice

    Hi Arsetralian,

    I had no reason to use the quote option, but I like one word descriptors like ‘Nice’ when associated with me — altho I am not sure of the context — but I’m not picky!! 😀

  68. Arsetralian,

    You are probably talking about the tone of comments referring to Özil, rather than specific words, but in any event I agree with you (and I am sure C would too) 🙂 — that we would be less of a team without him — he is an excellent player, and we do not have many of them.

    My view is also similar to Andy’s, but with a different take — if Özil does not ‘fit’ Arsenal as we are, and for the sake of argument let’s agree with that — then the solution is to get rid of the one’s who are just not up to it — and keep him. 🙂

  69. HenryB,

    Yes the tone
    First comment of the day
    After a great win vs Spurs where he clearly played his part (and has before)
    To say basically F off Ozil we don’t need you
    An unedifying spectacle from a great comments site

  70. Today’s malignant opus has arrived. https://wp.me/p3nJ9V-6OA

    No-one said “Fuck off, Ozil” bar you Arsetralian. However, I’ve made it clear all along, that:

    (a) I’d rather keep Sanchez than Ozil
    (b) I’d rather keep Sanchez than Ozil if we’re selling one in January
    (c) Sanchez brings more to the side than Ozil, e.g. goals.

    Ozil is NOT a Wenger player. He’s great to watch, infuriating by going missing in more big matches away from home than he turns up, but in my view, an extravagance for a squad which isn’t a title-winner nor built around a powerful midfield.

    If that means I’ve told him to “Fuck off” then quite a lot of our players are getting the same treatment. It’s a short list of players that I would be upset to see leave the club at the moment. Very short. The squad is unbalanced and definitely not constructed with 3-4-3 in mind. Yet, despite Wenger’s inference in the summer, we’re not going to ditch it. Why then, did we not move heaven and earth to rebuild in key positions.

    One for the manager, that.

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