Decisions, Decisions & From The Vaults: 1949 – The FA Cup’s First NLD

hiac

I’ll start by posing a question. Or two, to be precise. Why the hell would anyone to buy a selfie stick and more to the point, take one to a football match?

They’ve gone the way of the rattle, the stock image of any football match in a monochrome world before it became a weapon to use on the terraces and all manner of objects which some have latched on to down the years, through to inflatables and the more sinister snood. The Premier League moved to ban them; it’s a shame that they can’t ban the concept of the selfie entirely…

Yes, it’s that quiet.

Arsenal’s transfer activity was given a boost yesterday when the latest wunderkind made it clear that it was his intention to join the club. Krystian Bielik, about whom everyone is becoming a YouTube expert, was quoted as saying,

I’ve made a decision to join Arsenal and I’m not going to change it. I am looking forward to an agreement between the heads of the clubs. I realise that the negotiations may take some time.

I am, however, confident it will happen soon.

It might be quicker than he thinks. Reports this morning suggest that having been rebuffed with a bid of £2.3m, Arsenal are to return to Legia with a further £1.7m of petty cash to turn their heads. If true, it undermines the circulation of the lower figure being not short of double the amount. Or raises awkward questions over the negotiating techniques employed by the club, depending on your viewpoint.

There is no issue with continuing to feed the youth academy with players. It’s a necessary process to augment the squad. We know not every player is going to make the grade although at 17, this sort of investment might be expected to bring those returns.

It only becomes an issue when investment in youth comes at the expense of deficiencies in the first team squad. We know there are holes to be filled; if we see it, the manager is more acutely aware of it given he has to fill in the teamsheet every week.

Squad building is a tricky process in football. Reality is so often detached from the stories in the media. Chelsea’s imminent signing, Andrej Kramaric, mistook the shimmering glass edifice of John Lewis in Leicester for the bright lights in London, popped into a taxi to the nearest club and now finds himself in a relegation battle. Xherdan Shaqiri so long linked with Liverpool, had a nasty shock yesterday to find the Premier League club hot on his trail was in fact Stoke City. And they have reportedly met Bayern’s asking price.

Time for a step back. Of course the club could act faster. Arsenal’s reputation as a club which leaves its business to the last minute was not easily won; it took years of stretching transfer windows beyond their close to gain such a label.

It’s this which is the biggest millstone around Arsène’s neck. Last year’s title challenge floundered on injuries; the solution was a panic-driven move for an already injured midfielder. The previous signing had beaten the club’s transfer record; from the sublime to the ridiculous.

With other clubs addressing their deficiencies in what seem forthright manners, Arsenal are quiet. It doesn’t mean nothing is happening, it means we know nothing with opinion and the rumour mill as the biggest sources of information. It’s a world away from Arsene’s observation at the AGM,

We will try and rectify that in December ahead of the transfer market in January.

Would that it were so simple.

With a couple of Premier League games this month and an emminently winnable FA Cup tie at Brighton, maybe the urgency to strengthen the defence lessened as Koscielny returned from injury. I assume that Arsène’s updates always pointed to the Boxing Day trip to West Ham as a realistic target. That knowledge, combined with an inherent loyalty to his players, may have slowed his desire for new blood.

Fair enough, he is paid his salary to make decisions. With that comes the criticism when it goes wrong and hindsight empowers a million I told you so‘s. Easy to be wise after the event, uncomfortable with the realisation that has been a consistency in the demands for defensive strengthening over several seasons.

We shall see. Nearly four weeks remain in the window and only three games to play. The earliest any new signing will debut is against City and to be honest, unless it is due to injury, I think that unlikely anyway. Maybe that influences the club’s thinking. Who knows?

We’ll just sit on the sidelines hoping and being hopelessly ill-informed. That’s the lot of the supporter; the eternal hope.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

From The Vaults

A journey into the past, when the FA Cup Third Round was played on one day unless the weather or policing dictated otherwise. This time, 8th January 1949 was the first time that the two North London clubs were drawn to face each other in the competition. Given it was the 103rd first team fixture – depending on how you define such matches, of course – the surprise is that pair had not met in the FA Cup previously.

Off the back of a disappointing festive period which had seen a solitary point gained from three matches, Arsenal would have been relieved to be facing a team from the Second Division. Rivalry existed but even so, most would have expected the comfortable margin of victory achieved.

’til Tomorrow.

click to enlarge

08011949 THFC FAC

70 thoughts on “Decisions, Decisions & From The Vaults: 1949 – The FA Cup’s First NLD

  1. Morning YW, in Arsenal’s case hindsight is rarely needed, take out Arshavin and Monreal from the last five or six January transfer windows and a prediction that we would sign absolutely no-one of any use would have been 100% correct. An assumption that 90% of Gooners have been regularly making shortly after the close of the summer window for many years now. It’s all as predictable as our annual fourth place scramble. Go on Arsene, prove me wrong.

  2. Having checked the records the two aforementioned players (Arshavin and Monreal) are the ONLY first team players we have signed in January since 2006 when we signed Theo, Diaby, Adebayor and Vela (went a bit mad that year it seems) . Does any other PL club have such a poor record for January in the last eight or nine years? I doubt it.

  3. Let’s hope he can put past trends in January behind him and address the deficiencies we still have in defence and midfield although I think cb is the real area we should do all we can to get the best we can this window.

  4. Have to agree with Andy in that the club has been making it easy to be correct with foresight. Repeated patterns and obvious problems needing solutions. Once the window is closed, I’ll try to bear up and look on the bright side, support and hope for the best. But while there is an opportunity to improve our complement of players, I think I can only muster up grumpiness at this quiet approach.

    True injury returnees can help, but probably not as much as will be touted in justification for holding fire. The squad was incomplete and unbalanced already at the outset of the season and business unfinished. So it would be dereliction at this point to claim the players coming back are all that are needed. Plus we are sending several out.

    Who genuinely is ready to be promoted? And if we are stocking youth, how about buying some young defensive prospects in addition to a Chambers since we clearly have a dearth in producing centre halves. We have brought through a midfielder (Jack), a left back (Gibbs), and arguably a GK. Really that’s not a whole lot right now. Perhaps Chambers is destined for central defense now and not midfield, hence the Legia lad?

  5. Had to look it up, Bob. The extendable rods used to hold up cameras and cell phones. Could be used as batons, weapons, apparently. Latest attempt at nannying the football supporter, it seems.

  6. Maybe put more effort into making sure blocks of seats in home support sections aren’t being sold to away supporters who belligerently berate home supporters for cheering their team and are then backed up by the Stewards who eject the home fans. That might improve the experience and safety of people a little more directly. Still think that account by Bergkamp’s the Man was pretty chilling.

  7. The transfer market and talks of youth, 2 things that i don’t mind having a chat about.

    I think the main issue, as Yogi alluded to is the fact that Arsene can’t seem to both focus on bringing in talented youth and talented senior players at the same time. From all reports and the lad himself, he wants to come to Arsenal and I hope he does because he is widely considered one of the best and most talented youth in Europe. The problem that I have, is the fact that we seem to be focusing solely on bringing this lad in(naturally I don’t know what happens behind the scenes but I sure as hell would love to) but should have been focusing or already had brought in both a CB and DM/CM( I have no faith in Jack staying fit and I’m not sure how Ramsey will come back and surely Santi at some point is going to break down) because we are clearly lacking in both of those positions.

    Above all, it seems that again, the clubs around us and we are battling with for top 4 have identified both areas of need and players they want and are trying to make it happen.

    Go Arsene, Go Ivan, hell just somebody go and bring in the talent and players we need.

  8. “There are a number of strong centre-backs whose contracts are up in the summer, with Vlaar (6.82 WhoScored rating) among those, along with the likes of Ajax’s Niklas Moisander (7.11), Winston Reid (7.16) and former target Fabian Schar, the young Swiss having earned some commendable ratings in the Champions League in recent seasons.”

    So says the Guardian. So those are the bargains to be had. Perrin is highly rated but 29, so good for just 2-3 years perhaps. Varane, Huumels, and Godin are probably unavailable at prices we would contemplate.

    So Perrin would be fair. If we just do that level of business for CB, then I really would want us to go in with a huge offer for Schneiderlin and just prose him out of Soton with a big wage and fee deal. He’s proven in the PL and fits our needs and style well, plus he isn’t CL tied and helps us match up against the top teams. We should have bought him this summer and now have to pay more–that’s what happens when you delay and haggle just too much. His value is now much greater and our need even clearer.

  9. Just prise him, sorry! Not prose him.. If only it were so easy! We’d put Yogi on the case–the man can churn out entertaining and persuasive prose when there is no news like nobody’s business. The player would be ours in no time! AW is clearly good at sweet talking players–if he backed it up with cash more often, we’d be getting somewhere much faster.

  10. Afternoon chaps

    We will try and rectify that in December ahead of the transfer market in January

    I understand landscape changes within the squad needs on an almost daily basis and that AW will certainly not announce his every transfer intention, but….

    This is the last formal transfer announcement (unless I’m mistaken) made by the club. I appreciate that there many facts that I’m not privy to in this instance, however. With the facts made available to me, I can only reach the conclusion that the club as a whole have failed to meet their own set goals tor the start of this window. We are already playing catch up

    I also note a number of clubs considered and those that shouldn’t be but actually are our current rivals have also thrown their hat into the CB ring in today’s media.

    The competition just grew a little fiercer.

    Bravo AFC

  11. @LSG

    I agree with you except on the Perrin thing. No need to get a stop gap, I say take the 10M or so and go after van Dijk or Schar. No stopgap for me but would gladly have a young talented CB for the rest of the season. That way if Arsene doesn’t buy a DM until the summer we can just stick Chambers there and then bring in Scheiderlin, Gustavo(who I doubt with Wolfsburg 2nd), Kondogbia, or Imbulu in the summer.

  12. @Damon

    “I can only reach the conclusion that the club as a whole have failed to meet their own set goals tor the start of this window. We are already playing catch up”

    Isn’t that the problem so often with Arsenal recently, they don’t meet their own set goals and are always playing catch up. Arsene said we needed a defender yet failed to address it, they say we wanted to push on for the PL title yet we have digressed, Arsene says we need a midfielder yet nothing. Its just so frustrating, again I don’t have all the info and what goes on behind the scenes but it is frustrating.

  13. C

    Absolutely. The issue being that AW really identified in the summer that we needed a CB when he let TV5 go and made a balls up. Can happen to anyone, but to not then address it before the window opens is gambling at best and “fill in your own blank” at worst. The fact it is repeated failure is where he’s losing part of the fanbase, IMO. Obviously, the repetition of failure is in the well documented various areas, not just this one.

    I pointed out yesterday that Van Gaal appears to be making good headway into building a squad. I see them as in a similar position to ourselves now, squad wise. A number of excellent and good players, but with various first team and squad holes to fill.

    My point would be that Van Gaal has worked quickly, with a blend of specific targeting, opportunism and pragmatism to improve what he’s got in each window thus far.

    I would suggest that, aside from Sanchez (although the Suarez deal in might have distorted this), we only act with opportunism and/or penny pinching these days. The gap will not only be bridged soon, but they’ll be away into the distance again

  14. Go Sir Chips. 🙂

    Happy about buying a quality youth. The odds are stacked against each individual player so the more good ones you have the better your chances that one will work out. Logically there is no reason why this should have any effect on the search for first team players.

  15. @Damon

    You are spot on, and to add to that I think it is the fact that Arsene was so direct and clear in the areas of need and to not have something done after identifying it in the summer as a problem area is nothing short of neglect. To watch the sins of the past time and time again is frustrating and the fact that Arsene and the BoD seems to be continent with where we are is playing a part in Gooners everywhere being so discouraged or “accepting” of where we are at.

    Van Gaal is one example, Mourinho is another and the way he has essentially turned the Chavs around in what, 2 years into his own image, buying and filling in the holes in the squad while also putting players like Terry(who just 2 years ago people were writing off) in position to get the best out of them. I would even say look at Athletico and what Simeone has done over the past couple of years especially in the striker department where people forget that he has now sold Falcao and Costa and has now brought in Manzudiac(18 goals in 23 matches or something like that).

    We are presently in a heated battle for a 17 year old(though ultra-talented) DM while our rivals and competition are off trying to fill the holes in their first team. That’s the difference.

  16. @silver

    They really have. Nabbing Podolski and Shaqiri on season long loans both with options to buy at the end of the season.

  17. Sorry about your Steelers mate, but without Bell you werent the same team. lambeau field should put paid to our SB aspirations this weekend.

  18. Yea I know, Bell is a big piece of what we do and without ANY sort of game-changer at running back, we were doomed. Most people think that, but I actually like your chances of winning at Lambeau especially if Rogers’ calf doesn’t hold up.

  19. Good to see another youth headed out on loan, this time 20 year old GK Matt Macey has been loaned to Accrington Stanley

  20. It’s a curious thing. AW recognizes and acknowledges a need. Then as time passes, he finds ways to talk himself out of addressing by rationalizing “like a new signings or playing someone out of position somewhat successfully or promoting a youth player who subsequently doesn’t make the grade once the window has passed by and opportunity gone. It’s just very strange how this goes.

  21. Oh yes, the selfie stick… One of those things of modern parlance the sooner forgotten the better, which is what promptly did!

  22. @LSG

    The frustrating thing is the fact that it was identified in THE SUMMER prior to Verm being sold and yet still nothing.

  23. Now look at this sham. So apparently the PL has CLEARED Shitty of ANY wrongdoings in the Lampard deal because apparently he has NO AGREEMENT with New York FC.

    What a fucking joke.

  24. Ok so clearly bored to shittttt at work so here is who I would go for this transfer window…
    Emiliano Velázquez’s – cb on loan from Athletico Madrid at getafe
    N’Golo Kante – dcm at caen

  25. We are only short on a CBack at present.

    CF – Giroud, Welbeck (Both fit)

    RW – Walcott, Ox (Both fit)
    LW – Alexis, Campbell (Both fit)

    AM – Santi, Ozil, Rosicky (Two fit, Ozil returning)
    CM – Jack, Ramsey (Ramsey returning, Ox and Rosicky can fill)
    DM – Arteta, Flamini, Coquelin (2 Fit, Arteta 2 weeks away questionable)

    LB – Gibbs, Monreal (Both fit)
    RB – Debuchy, Bellerin (Both Fit)
    CB – Per, Koscielny, Chambers (Koscilelny Tendinitis in and out, Knock to Per would be disaster)

    + Diaby (perpetually not available)
    + Gnabry (probably won’t get much of a look in)

    So actually, we are in better shape than made out. We have a big squad by any means.

    Qualitatively, DM is not the strongest but Flamini has improved over recent games in Arteta’s absence. Depending on Arteta return date, it will bear on whether we need to replace in DM early or more likely wait to summer.

    Cback is a big gap BC if Per gets knock, I think we will be up shits creek.

  26. Arseblog has a good name for the player we need to find (Best of both worlds)

    He’s either a Midfender or a Difielder.

    I would lean toward Difielder (Like possibly Van Djik) but a Midfender is better than nothing. And then there is loan as an option as well your Kallstrom.

  27. A couple of problems with your summary there Santori. If Rosicky is covering CM then you can’t have him covering AM as well, same with the Ox who if he covers CM then he cannot cover RW also. As neither of your CM’s are fit then both are required to cover there. Apart from which the Ox is carrying a knock I’m pretty sure, and Walcott isn’t 100% up to speed yet as you will have seen against Hull. And sooner or later Alexis is going to need a rest too. This of course still assumes that we will not get any further injuries in the next few weeks which on past form is rather unlikely.

  28. Reports have Celtic wanting 10M for van Dijk!

    Arsene and Arsenal, go, make this happen! Bring us the talented rangy CB/DM taht we want and so desperately need!

  29. The bigger problem with that summation is that, excepting Santori, not one person on here, nor the greater percentage of Arsenal fans, neutrals, writers, pundits, commentators, bloggers and ‘experts’ alike would agree with it.

    I don’t advocate we should buy players for the sake of it, but subscribing to the idea we are just one player short and that Flamini & Coquelin are anything more than middling on a good day (FFS one is a championship player and the other ought to be) is the viewpoint of the ultra-myopic, whilst sporting rose tinted spectacles.

    Arteta was a good player and a pretty good signing but, as has been said to death, he is not a DM and he is not as good as he was 2 years ago. He did an incredible job adapting to the role and would have made a decent back-up for the position, but a specialist replacement should have been sought a long time ago.

    Instead of finding a specialist we have plugged the gap with substandard, bargain-basement, make-do options. No other top-clubs would dream of operating this way.

  30. So can someone give me the juice on this Dick van Dyke character? What’s his pedigree and is he the commanding presence we have been yearning for so long?

  31. 6’4″, tall and rangy CB but with both good pace and quickness. Only 23 years old but has 53 appearances for Celtic having being bought for on 2.6M from Groningen. He is a commanding CB from what I have seen and was the leader of the defense for Celtic that set a record for longest time without conceding a goal(random stat I just found). Strong in the tackle and more than capable in the air both defending and on free kicks. Attacking wise should he play DM with both feet, good passer of the ball and is a powerful lad. He has a really good shot on him as he tends to take Celtic’s free kicks from close range. He is young, talented and hungry, more than capable of pushing both Kos and Mert for a starting berth and not coming in simply as a “3rd choice” CB.

    Celtic are reportedly only wanting 10-12M for him.

  32. @jonny

    He doesn’t have experience at DM, but so many people think that he can play play there because of his ability on the ball and his reading of the game. He has pace and quickness to play there.

    Personally I wouldn’t mind paying 10M for van Dijk and then 25M for Schneiderlin now or in the summer and if not Schneiderlin than one of Kondogbia, Imbulu, Cavarlho.

  33. Van Djik is also I believe not cup tied.

    Like I said, he is perfectly gettable for 10-12m ball park. 23yrs which is a good age, sufficient experience and just about getting into that period where he becomes fully form as a player.

    The player that most concerns me is Per. If he gets a knock, I don’t think we have a player of his ilk. Van Djik adds height at 6’4.

    This is important since most of our goals this seasons have frankly been from crosses. We have been positionally poor and not able to react to crosses from set pieces, crosses or wide areas. Per himself has been culpable but that is as much bc of the uncertain nature of the back line.

    Krystian Bielik deal may be going through. Could be the midfield reinforcement albeit at his tender age (of 17), likely one for the future. Good frame at 6’2, the sort of height we could do with against certain teams. Bit of skill around the ball. Probably a Diaby replacement if anything since Abou is as per usual absent.

  34. 25m for Schenidelin is silly money. he isn’t that good.

    Unlikely.

    We have Arteta(2 weeks away), Flamini and Coquelin.

    If Bielik comes in and someone like a Van Djik, DM is more than covered.

  35. ITV have ‘laid off’ Andy Townsend! Good news and surely a result of his coming top in the worst commentators poll.

    Now lets get rid of Michael fucking Owen.

  36. Well said, Jonny!

    And re, van Dijk, inquiring minds want to know the answer to Jonny ‘s question. Anyone, anyone?!

  37. Really, Santori, Jonny has rebutted your claims already and you go on repeating them. No point. Fingers in our ears.

    Evening Ras. Picked the last bucket of carrots today but, for the future. Pruned my vine and planted the first batch of early broad beans in the polytunnel. Spring is coming. Always good upto get back out in the garden. Soon the propagator will be brimming with young peppers, chillies, aubergines and tomatoes.

  38. I would take Schneiderlin in a heart beat, clearly better than the trio of Arteta, Flamini and Le Coq. Arteta I have always admired, solid if not specular player that filled a role for us well but his legs are not up to the pace of the game like they once were. Flamini was always a stop gap and should have been considered a versatile squad player, to cover various positions, not a starter. Le Coq I feel hasn’t done terribly, though he avoided punishment for a rather unfortunate attempted tackle in the last game. Right now he would be my choice in the middle simply because we have terrible options there.

    Ilkay Gundogan is the one interesting me right now given his situation at Dortmund, won’t help for the CL this season of course but he would be one hell of an update in the DMC role.

    Krystian Bielik is a boy in a mans body, at 6′ 2″ he is lean and would definitely struggle with the rigors of the game in the EPL. That said, you can see why a team like Arsenal would be interested, his physical nature is a departure from the usual Arsene suspects.

  39. None of that of course answers the most obvious need, CB! Reid had a poor game against us, much like Song, both seemed more intent in trying to show something than just playing the way they have been this season. I know I’m a Kiwi and all, but I like Reid a lot has a CB.

  40. I don’t see the problem with any prospective player being cup,tied. We aren’t going to win the thing anyway and surely we are investing in a player for several years. We shouldn’t take a lesser player just because he can play a couple of games in the CL this year.

    Just a cop out excuse.

  41. Not wrong Bob, in fact I have been watching the coverage via cricinfo.com. Baz has been impressive and I was gutted to see him slip 7 runs short of the fastest double century. Still, for me the man of the moment has been Kane Williamson, 24, what a talent. Boult, Southee, Milne, Henry are all showing fine form with the ball in either texts or ODI. Bloody good time to be a Kiwi cricket fan after all those years of obscurity.

    How you feeling about England? I saw Cook was sacked from the ODI side.

  42. Bob, you seen Milne bowl? Remind me of Shane Bond, was getting the ball up in to the 150 kph regularly whilst playing Pakistan in the One Internationals in UAE. Henry another young lad sharing the ball was aroun the 142 kph mark. Add them to Boult and Southee and I feel there is reason to be excited.

    Dallas also won a playoff game… predicted to be 4-12 by many so called experts they instead went 12-4 and finally made the playoffs.

  43. Williamson is the real deal. McCullum’s mahoosive century the other day was one of the most brutal i have seen – simply jaw-dropping.

    English cricket is in flux. Cook should have been dropped from ODIs a long time ago. Still other than the negative impact on his test form, I could not care a jot – ODI and 20-20 are just sideshow distractions. They don’t even count as ‘cricket’ in my world. Like most, I predict a mediocre showing from England in the WC, NZ could be worth a cheeky punt.

    Of more interest is the summer tests. The test team is shaping up but I am not quite convinced we are up to taking Australia – we need a few more batsmen to really stand up. Warner & Smith are in the form of their lives. It promises to be a wonderful series.

  44. I agree for the most Jonny, but I have always enjoyed the one day game. T20/20 makes no sense to me, but many purest would say the same of one day internationals. I use to love days sitting on the embankment at the Basin Reserve… whether Test or ODI… I recall the chants like “You Fat Bastard, You Fat Bastard, you ate all the pies”. If you love cricket it is one of those venues you need to go to, relaxed, maybe to much so but always a great place to park your butt as you imbibe the odd alcoholic beverage on the sly. Only kicked out once, and that was on my mate not me.

  45. @CA

    Gundogan, thats an interesting one. He seems to not want to sign another contract at Dortmund with a crowded midfield they have their but would walk into our midfield. If he comes and can regain form it would be a massive get but the question would be how much would they want and would Arsene actually pursue him?

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