Transfer Gems, Everton Preview & Which World Champions Return?

It’s Saturday and for 2014/15, the kick-off time of 5.30pm is more familiar than its’ more traditional counterpart. In fact there is a little under a month before the trip to Villa Park where Arsenal will be hosted at 3pm on a Saturday; how the influence of television has changed the face of football for generations to come. In the meantime, this morning’s playlist, Something Good Can Work, can be found here or in the right sidebar under Dad’s Jukebox, with its older brothers here.

There are times when I will freely admit that the transfer window and it’s speculation. It was an irritant, more because people got so easily and willingly it must be said, sucked in by the rumours of purchases. The fallout when those deals never materialised was and still is, baffling; if it seems too good to be true, it is. Never more so when the French media reported that Arsène had taken time out from contemplating his navel to contemplate bidding £32m plus Olivier Giroud for Edinson Cavani.

It isn’t going to happen, the usual stumbling blocks of fees and wages surfaced as did the concept that swapping a striker for a striker leaves Arsenal desperately short of attacking options. Or as you and I would call it, exactly where we find ourselves now. Having made what can be best described as a slow start to the season, if Arsenal possessed a player capable of challenging Giroud for his place in the line-up, it’s fair to say he would not be on the pitch at kick-off today. For whatever reason, the French international is taking longer to regain his match fitness than others. In that sense, it will be interesting to compare his endeavours to those of the Germans involved today.

Which ones remains to be seen. Reports this morning suggest that Podolski has been left out of the squad with Wolfsburg and Juventus added to the list of suitors. The player will train today at London Colney which suggests more that he is not ready for the game and more to the point, we have numbers in that area of the pitch. Podolski could of course, play centrally instead of Giroud but Arsène has made it clear that he doesn’t trust or believe in the player as a traditional centre forward.

Arsenal return to the scene of what the manager believes to be one of last season’s biggest crimes. Goodison Park saw Arsenal overwhelmed physically and mentally,

“We were a bit bullied. In the quality of our performance – and even more than that in mental resistance, the steel on the day – that was one of our low points.”

It’s impossible to argue or put a contrary case to his words. The scoreline may not have been as emphatic as those at Anfield and Stamford Bridge but the manner of defeat was. Everton exploited Arsenal’s mental weaknesses, scored early and doubled their lead before the interval. It isn’t something Roberto Martinez expects to repeat so easily this time according to his press conference this week although he is targeting once more, an early goal to put the visitors onto the back foot.

Looking at the players named by Wenger as playing last season, a number of changes can be expected today. He has two big decisions to make, both involving the World Champions I expect him to name in the squad. The first is whether Laurent Koscielny partners Per Mertesacker or has his Achilles injury got to the point where rest is demanded, giving Calum Chambers the opportunity to continue his run in the side. Arsène’s preference would be to field the experienced pairing and I think he will, giving the French international a rest on Wednesday if that is what his injury dictates.

The second concerns Mesut Özil. Santi Cazorla has been criticised for his efforts this season, like Jack Wilshere it would be unfair to do so in isolation because the whole of the midfield were very ordinary last weekend and in midweek, the Spaniard made some good runs but was not picked out as teammates preferred to use Alexis Sanchez’s pace on the other flank. It gave the appearance that Cazorla was ineffective. That’s not to say he wasn’t below the standards set previously but not as bad as is being claimed. Certainly I don’t see it costing him his place in the starting XI.

Wenger was careful to make the point that the Germans would lack competitive edge on their return to the side and I wonder if Özil, despite playing the most minutes in the World Cup, is going to be the one who returns via the bench. The concern would be that his lack of match sharpness may be exploited in terms of a lack of support for Nacho Monreal who was hopelessly exposed in last season’s corresponding fixture, left to deal with Everton attacks as Podolski was noticeable by his absence in defence.

Aaron Ramsey likes to think the players are more “streetwise” this season; there wasn’t much evidence of that in the opening game, just more of the dogged persistence that put them in the position to find a late equaliser in the first half and his own late winner. The midweek trip saw a better performance, indicating that the players are finding their feet this season and beginning to gel despite the absences of key players. Ramsey was keen to emphasize that the mistakes made in April’s meeting cannot be repeated; if nothing else, the manager can take comfort from the fact that at least one of the players has listened and taken on board his thoughts on the subject.

With Mikel Arteta injured in Istanbul, Mathieu Flamini will be given the opportunity to stamp his authority on midfield and if he is going to do so on an opponents leg, hopefully out of sight of the officials. It leaves the starting line-up,

Szczesny; Debuchy, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Flamini, Wilshere, Ramsey; Sanchez, Cazorla; Giroud

I am sure that Arsène would love a repeat of the last two visits to Goodison Park which were the first away trips of the season, a 4 – 1 victory in 2004 and 2009’s 6 – 1 drubbing.

From The Vaults

A relatively recent match report, from this day in 1995 when Arsenal travelled to Goodison Park having drawn the opening game of the season with Middlesbrough at Highbury. The opening paragraph of The Guardian match report could certainly be applied today from an Arsenal perspective. Let’s hope the outcome is as welcome.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

19950823 Everton 2 - 0

 

342 thoughts on “Transfer Gems, Everton Preview & Which World Champions Return?

  1. Yeah, it was an experimental line up for sure.

    I really like AOC, but he can be so sloppy under pressure and I think the opposition knows it now. Chelsea targeted him, and I had the feeling Everton were doing the same today. Think he’ll come through it, but it’s something to look out for.

  2. Great result.
    Great comeback.
    Hats off to AW, Giroud, and the rest.

    Glad they stuck to their principles.
    Away fans were fantastic..even when losing these real supporters were on their feet bellowing out support.

    Team should be commended for two back to back come back wins.

  3. Agree about the Ox but he’ll just have to develop his response to such situations. I’m confident he will: I think.

  4. What was good was that we handled them much better defensively. Maybe they played within themselves at 2-0, but we were much better at staying in front of them. Even when we were caught on the break, we managed to get a man back in front of them. There weren’t many shots from Everton which suggests the boys at the back did their jobs very well. The first goal was a bit of a disaster again and we can all argue about the second goal.
    Hoddle saying we had no one able to hold the ball up for us in the first half. He is absolutely right and Alexis does not provide and alternative in that role, so do we change our tactics or get a decent alternative to Giroud in? If Giroud is not fit we do not have an alternative at the moment unless we change tactics and formation. All we did today was try to play the same way we Alexis instead of Giroud. If that’s how we are going to go for the rest of the season we need another striker, or we will run Giroud into the ground again.

  5. Bird

    I thought i was the only one who noticed it, he’s passing is so sloppy and erratic. It’s like he’s not relaxed.

    Maybe game time and rustiness.

  6. Dgob, I’d like to think it’s just a question of getting some minutes, and a bit of confidence. I’d consider holding him back until we’ve got a very winnable home fixture or something. I just looked in the fixture list and we don’t have on of those until November! What a schedule.

  7. Well, I was not expecting that result – and as their second goal was wrongly allowed as it was offside makes the comeback even better.

    I bet C says that Giro was lucky. 🙂

    Hope he keeps on being ‘lucky’.

  8. now imagine if everton’s second goal had actually been ruled offside and we got the 3 points here? a lot nicer me thinks…

    Officials get your act in order!

  9. Wenger saying Giroud stretched his ankle at the very end of the match. They will clearly have to have a proper look at it, but Wenger saying it doesn’t look good.

  10. Moe, I think Alexis left and Walcott right is how it’s shaping up.

    And yeah, after today I wonder if AW’s reconsidering the CF situation – it seems we struggle without that presence. Giroud scored a very difficult header, but missed two relatively presentable chances. He’s a bit of an enigma really; technically he was superb today, but we need him to be much more clinical.

    So what now? Play him despite his limitations, and hope Sanogo matures enough to rotate and keep him fresh?

  11. must suck to be Everton though. 2-0 up against the mighty Arsena for 83 minutes. Tamed us properly, for then to draw comes the 94th minute. Waste a 2-0 lead! that must feel so rotten!

  12. this is not “giroud gets gunners off the hook” its more Everton wasted a 2-0 lead and properly bottled it!

  13. The good news is that we’ve seen the best of Besiktas and they haven’t seen the best of us. If we play against Besiktas like we did in the second half today it should be job done.

  14. I hope people can see what Giroud offers the team now, the unwarranted criticism he has received this last week has been a shock really. he has taken the flack for the lack of signings that people think we need.

    I hate being a smug bastard , no one likes a smug bastard but whats good for the positivistas is good for the gander. I did say Giroud would score against Everton, sod it if I have to confess my wrongs i’m confessing my rights.

    anyway but for Wenger starting with 5 five foot midfielders we would have won the game. second half we done them with a proper formation, I don’t think wenger will be using that first half line up again.

    ramsey 2 in 2 eat that cesc.

    title is on.

  15. Wilshere and Ramsey midfield does not work, just no. Too much dribbling and hanging onto the ball, both of them.

  16. A tale of 2 halves for sure! I was just disgusted when they got there 2nd goal, but AW pulls a rabbit out of his hat at HT, and we nick a draw, I’ll take the 1 point any day away from home vs. top 6 talent, any stinking day y’all!

  17. If Giroud is out for a longer period of time we are FUCKED! There is no way we can live without him. He is the main striker. There is currently nobody at the club even close tho his level. What he does well he does really well. Sanogo is out too so that is a proper crisis.

  18. when it comes to Jack AW could atlest play him on the wing like he did Ramsey. Atlest if he had a stinker it would not effect EVRYONE.

  19. @Henry

    I will give credit where its due, well taken goal by Giroud no doubt about it. Problem is, our performance and the problems at present are still the same. I will take the point and well taken goals and fight.

  20. Ramsey is the most important player at Arsenal.

    How many times did he save our bacon or turn up when we need him?….

    His transformation has been astonishing.

  21. Dukey

    Respect for sticking with him. Giroud is deservedly a member of the squad. I still think we need a genuine number one CF. Giroud is not it, he is a good player and he does a great job for us. If he is slightly under the weather for whatever reason we get nothing from him. I was pleased for him today because he came off the bench and got involved.

    Am watching the Chelsea game on Sky. After some over elaborate play form Chelsea the commentator happily pointed out that they were trying to put on the style against Leicester. I think they usually call that trying to walk the ball in the net when it comes to Arsenal.

    I will say that they’re movement off the ball is fantastic. With a packed defence in front of them there are always options on and the passing is quick and accurate. We have been guilty of being very static in our attack and it becomes really noticeable when the man on the ball starts to wave his arms asking for options.

  22. Dukey

    It does make you wonder though, after Girouds last two poor performances whether being benched actually gave him the incentive to come on and give 100%. Having some competition in the team could have results.

  23. I agree we could do with another proper option upfront. but Giroud will score goals in this team. sanchez needs to be deployed on the wings, totally wasted upfront. either way we have too much class now to be too worried. we have the best midfielder now in the league, the best wingers in sanchez and theo…

  24. told y’all girouds a kitchen sink player…
    great come back….the game changed when lukaku had to go off and we could get forward without fear of being bummed at the back..
    fuck knows what happened with their second goal it was like something from a benny hill sketch..
    lukaku send bfg pissing and im looking at the ref and thinking what the fuck you playing at….

    then chambers makes a typical rookie error and goes flying into a tackle hes never going to win when he should have stayed on his feet and force lukaku to slow down or keep on the wing so the rest of the boys can get back..pers already down, chambers throws himself down, thats your two CB’s out of the game on the half way line – and im thinking what the fuck you playing at..

    then stevie wonder could see it was offside so im looking at the linesman and thinking what the fuck you playing at

    and to top it off it goes under chezzers legs from about 10 yards out and im thinking almunia v orient….what the fuck are you playing at..

    credit to wenger and the boys though, he threw the kitchen sink on at half time instead of 80mins and went for it…

    weve got a lot of issues to sort though..that left hand side is just a black hole at the minute and weve got about half a squad who just arent anywhere near fitness levels expected and i would like to know why when we only had one player who played pretty much every minute in the summer..

    lets get besiktas out if the way and sort out those problems weve got…including a striker…

    but its a good sign that we look so disjointed and we cant defend, attack or control a midfield properly but we aint getting beat…but we need to find some rythym soonor it wont be long before we do get beat..cant keep playing like this and getting the results, someones gonna end up shafting us..

  25. Some post match comments from Arsene:

    on Giroud…
    I have more strikers than before so sometimes I can give them a little rest. Giroud has just played one game since the World Cup so I gave him a little breather today but I knew we were dominating the game in the second half and we needed some physical presence up front and he did that very well in the second half.
    on looking more threatening with Giroud…
    We looked much more dangerous because we were not in a counter-attacking situation. We were in a dominating situation where of course you play 10 against 10 in one half and his presence is very important.
    on Alexis’ performance…
    I wouldn’t like to go into any individual assessment. At the moment he is not completely ready physically but I don’t worry about him.

    Is he saying he’s happy with his striking options? I don’t see how he can be. What are his options outside of Giroud? Who will he trust in that role? We saw him decide Podolski wasn’t the man for the job, so how long will it be before he decides Alexis isn’t? Maybe Alexis works in a 2 striker set up, but he doesn’t look like he will be the man to play the lone striker role in the Premiership. He’s a winger and I don’t expect to see him as part of a 2 man strike force because we don’t play that way. So our back up is Sanogo. That is really scary!

  26. Deep breath everyone. Everton took a total of 8 shots; one was from beyond the halfway line, and one of their two shots on goal was offside. And that’s with Kos and Gibbs out. Four months ago at Goodison we were on the wrong end of 3-0.

    That said, I agree the attack could be much better. Good to see Campbell get on, I thought he was positive. On to the next!

  27. I was there at the Blind Pig in NYC. I was excited by the lineup. Until Everton’s goal, I thought we looked much better than we had in the last two games. My only consolation after the second goal was that Wenger would have to buy players. There was no way we were going to win.Sanchez seemed far less impressive in the center than in the wing. I was relieved when Wenger substituted Giroud at halftime, rather than waiting for the hour.

    My feelings about Wenger swing with my moods. When I’m up, we are so lucky to have him. When I am down, I better take a break from Twitter before I am told to ship out. At least on my twitter timeline, criticizing Wenger over Podolski’s likely sale, lost me 15 followers. Some of the responses evoked memories of my day’s at Vietnam War protester. Love the US or leave it. Unhelpfully, I retorted I didn’t trust the president, Congress, Supreme Court, God, so how could I possibly trust Wenger. I hate abusing players, but that is very different from rational criticism. Arsenal is a football team, not a religion. My devoutly Catholic Dad told me God loved heretics the best because they took him seriously. A Manhattan pub is very different from Twitter. The guy behind me blunted my negativity because his was so much more profane.

    Following Arsenal fans on twitter I am seriously beginning to question my manic depressive diagnosis. The Giroud haters were so vehement after the last game that I was profoundly grateful the British do not share American’s passionate love affair with guns. Sometimes twitter feel like a discount loony bin.

    My Arsenal Twitter account has made me feel part of the Arsenal family. I will be taking the next step and commenting regularly on here. Goonerholic has been very supportive of me. I’m Mary Jo Koch; my twitter name is the Flameproof Witch @BipolarArsenal. I began this account the weekend of the FA Cup. I had been retweeting most of the time, but now I am mostly writing my own lines, mostly about Arsenal but also about everything else.

  28. Fascinating stuff, Mary Jo. 🙂

    A fantastic manager named Bill Shankly, long dead now, made ‘football’ comments that chimed with many fans, one of which might put things in perspective;

    “Football is not a matter of life or death – it’s much more important than that!”

  29. BirdKamp @ 7:49pm,

    I agree but we could continue to bring him on from the bench. I think his strength and speed are best used when the other team are a little tired (as with Besiktas) and if we then increase the time he gets that will hopefully provide a platform for game time and the increase in confidence. The intense fixtures list should make this possible.

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