On Alexis, Cup Runs And A Bit Pep Talk

zCaution is the watchword with Arsène not prepared to take unnecessary risks over Alexis Sanchez’s fitness. The Chilean isn’t ready for tomorrow’s cup tie at home to Sunderland and won’t be risked. “He’s not bad”, Arsène said. “But he’s not ready.”

Which is good. Not that he’s not fit – that is bad – but that the manager isn’t ready to risk his longer-term plans by rushing him back into the first team, a caution which had been missing on the opening day of the season when a patently out-of-sorts Alexis emerged from the bench to little effect in the defeat by West Ham. It may not have caused injury problems on the day but his appearance certainly set the tone for the season: here was a horse that was willing to be flogged to death, revived and then flogged all over again.

You do have to wonder though. If the fixture list were reversed with Sunderland and Liverpool swapping places, would Alexis be miraculously fit? I know what you are thinking but I couldn’t possibly comment.

Not that Arsène would admit to taking the FA Cup lightly; far from it. The competition, he reminded everyone, was there to be won,

The thinking is to give absolutely everything to qualify. We are the holders of the Cup and I know as well by experience that it is very important that you get in the competition and that you have a successful third round. It’s a tricky one, always, the third round.

Not always and whilst Sunderland are a Premier League side, neither manager has made any bones about the line-ups being rotated ahead of the midweek matches. When push comes to shove, if Arsenal’s squad isn’t deeper than the Wearsiders in situations such as these, there is something seriously wrong with the player acquisition strategy. I know what you’re thinking…

It’s normal for Wenger to rotate for these games, even without the distractions of Liverpool and Stoke. Yes, they are more important but as he has seen, when the Premier League chase goes to pot, the FA Cup isn’t a bad fall-back position. Back-to-back wins have cast Arsenal into a familiar role as a good cup side.

Since the mid-60s, that’s been true. The double-winning side of ’71 were the same, reaching cup finals from 1968 to 1972 in various competitions. Had Second Division Sunderland not won the semi-final a year later, Arsenal would have reached cup finals in six consecutive seasons. Not that all of them were successful; of the five reached only two were won.

Being a good cup side is no guarantee of success but there seems to be a logic in thinking that having tasted some success, the players will want more. It’s up to the manager to then step in with plans to give them the best chance of making that happen. Next week will tell us a great deal about where Arsenal are on that path. Whatever you may think of the competition in this season’s Premier League, the title is still far from being decided.

Arsène can’t afford to take things lightly tomorrow and I’m sure he won’t. He’s a professional and can afford to leave the arrogance, the over-confidence and over-inflated sense of belief in the side, to us. That’s what we’re there for.

Elsewhere, Chelsea are apparently sizing up Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a potential replacement for Eden Hazard when he limps off to Paris or Madrid this summer. I’m sure they will expect some reciprocity at having let us have Petr Cech for what looks increasingly to be a steal.

But my favourite quote of the morning is from an ‘Arsenal insider’. Don’t get your hopes up about Pep Guardiola being the next Arsenal manager. Even though the Spaniard is, “the perfect coach to take charge when Arsène calls it a day”, Wenger is “committed to the club until 2017 and maybe beyond”.  There’s some realism in the ‘insider’s’ thinking. “Guardiola”, our man from Highbury House reckons, “will have signed for someone else by then.”

Could it be that someone close to the manager is concerned that if it all goes to pot there will be moves to oust him? Not according to The Sun, the source for this tale. The piece states categorically that he knows the club won’t sack him, “even with Pep waiting in the wings”.

Well, that explains why Mohammed Elneny or anyone else hasn’t been unveiled yet: the Arsenal insiders are all too busy briefing the press.

’til Tomorrow.

98 thoughts on “On Alexis, Cup Runs And A Bit Pep Talk

  1. andy1886 says:

    Damon back with a bang, or a BOOOOOOM! in this case. Morning.

  2. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    Guardiola wants City to try to sign Barcelona playmaker Lionel Messi, 28, and defender Gerard Pique, 28, as well as versatile Bayern Munich player David Alaba, 23, and Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, 22.
    ( Sun )
    However, Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, 49, is refusing to give up his bid to land Guardiola as their next manager.
    ( Daily Star )
    How shit an owner do you have to be to offer the world and still get the bird? This Guardiola is growing on me.
    What about Claudio Ranieri Roman?

  3. Phil says:

    Morning YW,
    if you ever want Wenger to dig his heels in, it’s a suggestion of his successor.

  4. Phil says:

    I didn’t think anybody would see my comment to Bob as anything other than maintaining the Aussie / Pom chat.
    I am certainly not so parochial or stupid to suggest there aren’t any underwhelming Australians.
    Just look at our previous 4 prime ministers.( current one excluded )

  5. silvergunner says:

    Morning guys this weekend is really interesting. Wenger is sure to rotate to an extent. Most likely at full back and the wings I personally would love to see Adelaide and Iwobi given some time on the pitch.

  6. HenryB says:

    Your suggestion, Yogi, that the Arsenal Insiders are busy on other matters, and that is the reason we have not heard owt about Elneny recently is possibly true, [Said with arched eyebrow] but mayhap it is actually because the road to obtaining Home Office permission for him is not running as smoothly as we were led to believe.

    Could this be the precursor to another ready made excuse for not signing anyone – ‘yes, well, we tried to sign someone but the permission was not granted – maybe next year’. 🙂

  7. Damon says:


    That was precisely how I saw it.

    You didn’t think I’d let you have the last word in that conversation though, did you? 🙂

  8. Orson Kaert says:

    Good morning, it’s certainly disappointing news about Alexis, there must be a very fine line indeed between ready and not ready. I expect to read that he has suffered “a leetle setback” before Wednesday. Cynical? Moi? Never! 😀

    Still enough of all that, the sun is shining, the sky is blue just the day for a beach walk, Overstrand to Cromer and back I think.


  9. Damon says:

    Steady Henry

    Whilst Elneny is seen as “cheap” buy in the world of football, back in the real world, this is still a multi million pound transaction! Agents, lawyers, player and clubs all with an interest here.

    I fully expect the “wheels of industry” to be greased sufficiently for Arsene to get his man

  10. C says:

    So Arsene is set to rotate and Sanchez isn’t fit, that’s fine. I’m interested in seeing who gets the nod in midfield given Ozil more than likely won’t be seen and Arteta is “back” so does that mean we could potentially see Chambers/Arteta/Ramsey?

    With reports of Iwobi close to a loan deal, I would imagine that on one flank we will see Campbell and the other Adelaide (though I know most will want Ox).

  11. YW says:

    And what most want C, most will get unless the plan is to rest Ozil and play Ramsey further forward?

    Bellerin – Mertesacker – Gabriel – Gibbs
    Chambers – Arteta
    Ox – Ramsey – Campbell

  12. HenryB says:

    I suspect we can wave any thoughts of signing Aubameyang goodbye – not that I thought we would anyway – because Arsene has said Danny Welbeck will be back in 3 weeks.

    Then when the window closes and Danny has another setback – oops, it ees too late to buy now — maybe the summer.

    This speculation lark is good fun, innit? 🙂

  13. C says:

    “Not really. Ozil I don’t know but Theo Walcott is not overloaded with games.

    “He (Walcott) has not played too many games since the start of the season. He has been out for a while so he does not look like he needs a rest.

    “Everyone is available from last week. Arteta is available and will be selected because he played 45 minutes on Tuesday with the under-21s. Alexis is a bit short to be in the squad to more but is not far.

    “Arteta has been in and out since the start of the season. I hope he gets a consistent presence in the squad to perform again.

    “We go into a run of games where we need everyone available. Rosicky is not far away, Welbeck will be three or four weeks so hopefully we will get our players back.”

  14. Brevity says:

    I think that side is fairly close YW.
    Possibly Debuchy and possibly Theo and possibly Iwobi but something similar. Good enough to beat the Mackems I hope.
    Let’s see.

  15. Phil says:

    Freddie Ljunberg back getting coaches badges, working with the u15s.
    That’s bpgood to hear .

  16. C says:


    If Arsene didn’t kill Aubameyang to Arsenal then Aubameyang did it, speaking at the African Ballon d’Or (which he won over Yaya Toure), he said:

    “Let me say this first: I am not going to Arsenal,” he told ESPN at the ceremony. “Dortmund is my club and I am not leaving soon.”

  17. C says:


    I know, for all those that wanted Ramsey playing in “the hole/#10” role, well they will get their chance. The difference is that I think Theo will get the nod at CF over Giroud especially when you think about Arsene talking about Theo not having played enough matches to get a rest. Personally though I want to see:


  18. YW says:

    Did he say that? Haven’t had chance to look at his press conference yet.

  19. C says:


    Aubameyang did say that at the Afican Ballon d’Or, I’m not sure if it was an interview or if somebody asked him about it but that was the response that a mate of mine sent me who knew that I really wanted Aubameyang to Arsenal to be true.

  20. Shosho says:

    Are there any notable realistic forwards you know of that would be good for Arsenal?

  21. C says:

    So it looks like Gnabry is staying at West Brom:

    “He is on a year long loan. We have a commitment with West Brom.”

  22. Phil says:

    So there is talk of Campbell being offered an improved contract of £60k a week.
    This surely must be more newspaper garbage.

  23. Damon says:


    Dunno, he’s a free agent in the summer. Sign him or let him walk for no beans in the bank, therfore. I, personally, think he’s done enough to be a squad player for a few years, possibly more.

    Regrettably, I imagine that £60k a week is probably what a squad player commands these days?

  24. C says:


    Why? He is out of contract in the summer, so we either offer him a contract or potentially lose him in the summer for free.

  25. Limestonegunner says:

    Wasn’t Campbell signed to a new contract just the year before?

  26. Damon says:

    What about that Polish lad, (total guess at sp) Kyrchowiak, or whatever, from Seville? Is that all dead now, or not?

  27. C says:

    Ozil doesn’t look likely to feature at all, which is very very good thing, given he wasn’t in any of the training photos I mean not even in the warm-up.

  28. C says:


    Would gladly take him but he just signed a new contract I think in the summer and is key to everything Sevilla does so I really doubt we would get him without paying a bit over the top for him.

  29. Birdkamp says:

    Joel Campbell hasn’t really done it has he? Fabulous against Olympiacos, but other than hard-running I haven’t seen much to his game since then. After a few nothing matches he was the worst player (tied with Flamini) on the pitch against SFC, when the onus was on our wide players to get us into the game as the mf was packed. A lot of the time he just doesn’t look comfortable with the basics of controlling and running with a football, but then he did spot two great passes in the CL games.

    I remember watching him for Costa Rica when we signed him and noticed back then that he had good vision. So what’s the problem? Is he naturally inconsistent, or is English football an issue for him? Does he need more room than he can get here?

    Or possibly this isn’t the best AFC side to judge him in. It can’t be a coincidence that none of our wide players have looked that good since we lost Santi. There’s a chance that they’re having to come deep to get the ball. Walcott has been playing way too deep I’ve found. Basic distribution – not the killer passes that Ozil provides, but the indirect, tempo-setting stuff – seems to be a big problem in mf at the moment. Maybe Elneny would rectify that.

  30. silvergunner says:

    Thanks for the info c
    Well Aubameyang remains a personal pipe dream.
    If Welbeck is back in 4 weeks then can’t see Wenger being in a rush to sign a CF but here’s hoping.

  31. C says:

    @Big Al

    I think you bring up a really good point in regards to Santi and really the difference in Santi and Ramsey. Santi is a player that gets the ball and is always available to the CB’s and defenders and then passes it to Ozil so he doesn’t have to drop deep but Ramsey is a different type of CM, he wants to join in the attack and because of that doesn’t always make himself available so the wide players as well as Ozil has to drop deeper.

    I do disagree with you though on Campbell. yea against Southampton he like everybody was shit, but he hasn’t done much since then because Ox has started the next 2 matches and he hasn’t done anything. I will disagree though, when he came on as a sub against Newcastle, he immediately made an impact both helping to track back but also in attack.

  32. Bill says:

    Great post yogi. Another slow news day. I like your line up for the game against Sunderland although I agree with C and we should start Theo instead of Giroud.

  33. C says:


    Yup, just a pipe dream but your not alone mate, trust I’m right there with you!

    If Welbeck is back in 4 weeks, my question is: Is it 4 weeks before he is back in training which then means its another 4 weeks before he features or is it 4 weeks until he is ready to play?

  34. Bill says:


    I think the problem with our wide players is that all of them other then Alexis are nice squad players and each has a somewhat different quality but none of them other then Alexis have ever really shown the ability to consistently provide the end product that would make them stand out

  35. Limestonegunner says:

    Interesting points about wide players coming deep since Santi’s injury. But as far as Campbell, hasn’t done it compared to what? We needed a forward in the summer but didn’t get one so we were stuck with a real backup backup type instead of selling/loaning him against his wishes. He did good things in those two CL matches–and kept his head up and worked hard. He’s not a great player but who really expected much. I think he has looked better because the Ox hasn’t been that effective either when he has played.

  36. Limestonegunner says:

    That was to Big Al, of course–sorry! Forgot to address the comment.

  37. C says:

    On the subject of Sanchez, Arsene said that he is still not fit ready and a couple days away, does that mean that he won’t be fit for Liverpool?

  38. Limestonegunner says:

    I could also have just waited and said Ditto to Bill.

  39. Birdkamp says:

    C, yeah, a lot of Ramsey’s most effective work is done off the ball – doubling up out wide in attack (even from DM), making runs into the box and closing players down when we’re defending. When it comes to passing I hesitate to call him sloppy, but it’s definitely less tactically-minded than Cazorla’s. He’s more of an off-the-cuff kind of player than an architect.

    On Campbell, I’m talking when he was in the team. I think even pre-SFC he was struggling to make things happen. The whole side been winning games without really performing well for while, and for me Campbell came to typify that. I didn’t really see us looking dangerous on the right wing, or left when we swapped over. You know numbers don’t mean that much to me, but I’ve been struggling to see what he offers in an attacking sense. Arguably he makes us more solid down the right, although Bellerin has slumped a little since he got fit again.

    AOC is in trouble too of course. Kind of understand AW wanting to experiment with him just to try to bring us to life. My thinking is that the moment AS is fit, Walcott slots right, and Welbeck’s return pushes AOC and Campbell even further down the pecking order. But like I say, it might be nice to see both players in a team that’s firing a bit better before making firm judgements.

    Of course 9 from 12 is good Xmas form, but the performances don’t make it look like it will last.

  40. C says:

    Is it fair to say that Campbell has done more on the flank than Ramsey has this season? So if that’s the case, then he has been our most effective RW this season?

  41. Bill says:

    I think Theo is certainly capable of scoring goals and providing “end product” if he played on the wing opposite Alexis. However, I suspect Theo will move back to CF as soon as Alexis comes back into the team. We can get by with it for a short time but It would be a risk to regularly play our only good back up CF as a winger. Especially when he is as much of an injury risk as Theo.

  42. Damon says:


    ESPN have quoted Arsene as saying Sanchez won’t make the Liverpool game. Maybe the bench?

    With regards Welbeck, if he isn’t in full training after a year out now, there is no way he’s playing in a month’s time. He’s a month away from training, imo. Arsene always quotes the “back” date and means back in full training. Without wishing to be pernickety, he often uses the word “available” in these sorts of conversations, when he means they’re match fit.

  43. Birdkamp says:

    LG, I try to stay fairly open-minded about attacking players and see what the deal is once they’ve had a few games in a row, or reach an age when you’re expecting them to shoulder more of an attacking burden. I don’t visit very often any more so was checking the consensus on Campbell. The point being that he’s 23 and had a few matches, but rather than go from strength to strength has sort of stayed still or even gone backwards. That was my take anyway.

    And hopefully we’re at a point where a couple of players will be coming back, so the question would be whether he’s done enough to merit a starting position. I’m thinking well, not really, but at the same time he hasn’t had the best platform either, playing in a side that’s in 2ng gear at the moment.

  44. Bill says:


    It’s debatable which player has been our most effective winger. However I don’t think any of them has demonstrated that he stands out from the pack and I think all of them other then Alexis are best as squad players. I still think Ox has the most talent of the group and the most potential.

  45. C says:

    @Big Al

    Agree with all of that on Ramsey, the problem is that in our system and style of play, it seems that our CM needs to make himself available to the defenders and to “start” the attack. I tend to agree that his passing and I’ll take it a step further and say his first and possible second touch are “sloppy” but like you mention, what makes him effective is his off the ball business. I think Ramsey next to a “Busquets” type of DM would work because that would allow him a bit more “freedom” to run and find those little pockets before making the pass to Ozil instead of picking it up from the defenders then either spraying it outwide or slipping a quick pass to Ozil. I do wonder if that is why Arsene almost preferred him on RW.

    I think the thing with Campbell is that he isn’t really great at one thing but is good at a variety of things. He seems to slot in and be a really nice complimentary piece to quality players. He works extremely hard for the team but has enough quality to match his touch and vision to make an impact. Take for instance his ball he slipped to Ramsey in I think it was either Bournemouth or Newcastle after coming on as a sub (Ramsey missed it), he plays those balls quite often but I also think what he does offer is a player that likes to stay outwide which helps create that space in center of the park. I also think him making us more solid on the right is another part of him being a good player.

    Ox is in trouble, I think the experiment of him playing centrally actually hurts his confidence more because he isn’t a neat and tidy player with good to great close control but a “push and run” type of player for the most part. I do tend to agree, once Sanchez is fit, it will either be Theo or Campbell on the right and once Welbeck comes back then Ox and Campbell drop further down the pecking order. I do think the one saving grace for Ox is that he is English.

  46. Mean Lean says:

    Chelsea’s wage bill highest in Premier League


    So our wage bill isn’t higher than Chelsea’s, just as I thought.

    In other news, it doesn’t sound as if Arsène will be rotating very much which I find quite surprising. At least judging from his comments which I guess doesn’t mean very much when talking to the media.

    With our very tough schedule coming up I was kinda hoping our strongest 11 (mainly) would be full recharged. Hopefully the weeks break would have given the players some extra life in their legs. Mesut Özil will almost certainly be rested though.

  47. C says:


    I don’t always trust ESPN but I do think that its looking more like a late fitness test for Sanchez which means he starts.

    Very observant there mate, but you do have make a great point about Arsene. So since he will just be returning to training say in February and then another month to get match fit, that means March. So if that’s the case then does Arsene look for an attacking player?

  48. Mean Lean says:

    “Is it fair to say that Campbell has done more on the flank than Ramsey has this season? So if that’s the case, then he has been our most effective RW this season?”

    Disagree. While I like Campbell and have done for some time, the best performances from the team came when Ramsey was on the right with Coq and Santi in the middle. Man United at home was our best performance of the season imo or you could argue the Bayern game at home was and that is how we played. I think we are stronger as a team with Ramsey on the right. Individually Campbell has been pretty good for the most part though

  49. C says:


    It is debatable and because of that naturally none has stood out but it will be interesting to see what happens going forward with Ox and Campbell. I still think Campbell is the more polished of the two and has shown more and been more effective for us so he gets the nod until Sanchez is back and then is the first attacker off the bench. The thing with Ox is when will he figure it out because he is getting further and further from being just “a youth talent” which means he must start producing. I think Arsene will more than likely start him on one of the flanks in the FA Cup so he must show something because up to this point over the past 2 seasons he hasn’t shown much.

  50. C says:


    This is the quote that seems to be the one that has spurred on Sanchez out for Liverpool:

    “Liverpool will come too soon, maybe for Stoke.”

    If that is the case then ESPN is right.

  51. blazon says:

    Aubame Yang
    in acceptable African slang
    says Bundesliga
    is where i will continue to figa’.

  52. Birdkamp says:

    C, yes, the problem we’re not talking about here is Flamini. He’s just not for me, not on any level, defensively, in terms of how he uses the ball or his match temperament. Just the other day he could have put us in big trouble trying to decapitate one of the Newcastle players. Pair Ramsey with a true, technical DM and you’ve got the makings of a purring midfield.

    On AOC, his homegrown status can’t be underestimated. I think every team apart from us needs more in their squad. This alone makes him pretty valuable, but I think teams recognise that there should be more to come from him. He was very good against Bournemouth, but dodgy last week. Tend to agree with Bill about his potential, but if players are coming back then he’s running out of time to make a consistent impact.

    I think he senses that he’s punch bag du jour among the fans, and it seems to paralyse him a little. What’s grating though is that he didn’t seem to take confidence from his Bournemouth performance.

    And yeah, for sure I’m not denying that Campbell has talent. And we may still be talking about a process of acclimatisation. Like I said, he’s got a very good eye for a pass. I think the worry might be about consistency – I just remembered the CC match against Wednesday. At the time I thought that would be it for him at AFC. Still, I guess for both AOC and Campbell the cup would represent a way back into the first team.

  53. C says:


    The whole team not named Ozil was different with Santi and Le Coq to be honest, they provide that security and as Big Al points out, our wingers have probably suffered from having to drop deep since Santi has been out. I wasn’t talking about the team as a whole because I think Campbell would do well on the RW if with Le Coq and Santi because like Sanchez, he would be able to press higher up the pitch. I would also say that Olympiacos away was one of the best performances we have had this season and Campbell was a huge part of that.

    From a RW position though, I think Campbell has been the most effective because as a whole he offers and has shown more and that is including the tracking back to help out as well as staying wide to create more space centrally.

  54. Birdkamp says:

    Tend to go along with that, ML. I think the right isn’t Ramsey’s best position, but when he plays there we’ve looked good. Granted of course that there are other factors, like Santi, Coaquelin and Alexis being in the side back then.

    And obviously the way forward is him at CM.

    But that’s definitely the best way to go about assessing a player’s performance, rather than looking at his numbers: If the team performs better with him in the side then there’s a good chance that he’s right for the job.

  55. Birdkamp says:

    And clearly, if there’s a possibility that the wide players are struggling because of what’s going on in CM, this will have occurred to AW, the coaches or team of analysts or whoever. So it might not be the end for any of them, especially if we want to keep our CF options and rotate Giroud with Walcott, like we did earlier on.

  56. Phil says:

    My original point on Campbell, given he was already under contract, was that he hasn’t done anywhere near enough to justify an increase on his wages so soon, unless he was completely low balled to start with.
    He has had one good game, and glimpses in others.

  57. Wavey says:


    Sanchez missing this weekend is not a disaster, but it will be a shame if he doesn’t make it for the Liverpool match either. Liverpool have a lot of injuries, especially across their defence, and it would be a good game for Alexis to get up to speed again.

    I would not be surprised if AW announces that Welbeck has had another set back the day after the transfer window closes. Either our press office are clueless about these things, or the club just doesn’t give a shit.

    Aubameyang was never really likely to move in this window. Dortmund will likely wait until the summer when they know that the following season he will be off to the ACN. They can ship in another striker at that point with the big money they will get for Aubameyang. Especially after he wins the Bundesliga golden boot ahead of Lewandowski.

    The Elneny transfer saga crawls on with the club once again looking a bit stupid because we seemed to have tied down a player at the start of the window, but still haven’t managed to get the deal over the line yet. It sounds like Elneny won’t be available until the Stoke game at the earliest. So it will have taken over half the transfer window to get the job done. Don’t the scouting/transfer teams sit down before each window and consider these things, or do they just wing it? If the signing of Elneny was going to pose a problem we should surely have been working on someone else? We have had enough experience of getting work permits for players that we must have realised this would be a problem and either planned ahead, or targeted someone else. Its sad that the poor lad’s start to his Arsenal career is already tainted by careless management of the transfer.

    Tickets for the match tomorrow have been placed. Happy days.

  58. blazon says:

    Ramsey has a particular skill which arguably you could put on the same level as Ozil’s defense-splitting diagonals and Alexis’ joie de vivre…played centrally and not artificially restrained he somehow has the innate ability to ‘show up’ in the opponent’s penalty area wide open. You might say he does this on average about 4 times a game. It is a priceless attribute.

    It is high time we weighted this at its proper value. He needs to be a fixture every week in this position. Other more secondary players need to be moved if necessary to accommodate him. Do that, consistently, he will give you 15 to 18 goals a season such is his talent. It is absurd this has not happened already and he can still be parked out on the wing.

  59. C says:

    @Big Al

    O lets not even start on Flamini, didn’t think he was up to the races last season and barely the season before. That is part of the problem though, Ramsey was at his best when he would help start the attack then get the ball to Ozil and then make those late runs, I think he is given to much attacking freedom and with that he tends to forget to do the basics in midfield. I know people crushed Lampard when he commented on Ramsey but I think Lampard was spot on when he talked about Ramsey won’t take that next step until he is more disciplined in his game. Maybe Elneny is exactly what Ramsey needs given Elneny by all accounts is always available to defenders and one of his strengths is his range of passing. but in order for Ramsey to maintain his midfield spot, he must excel at the basics first and everything else will come.

    Ox’s homegrown status looms large for sure. Does he have talent, absolutely (though I tend to disagree with most on how much) but the thing is, he has to start showing more because I think more than any youth winger, Adelaide has the potential to play sooner rather than later but also should Arsene bring in an attacker this summer than it will be Ox who gets pushed further down the pecking order. If you really take a look at Ox over really the past 2 season and more specifically when he gets a run of matches, his performances generally give you 1 match were he puts it together accompanied by several matches were you see why he is fighting for a spot on the bench. Personally I think he is best suited to come on late in matches and run at defenders but not from the start.

    Tend to agree though, up until this season he has been a fan favorite and supporters simply are tired of saying, “Well he is still young and talented and will turn the corner” but then you watch him and forget that he is even on the pitch.

    I think there were quite a few that thought Campbell was done after that match, and a very very few of us that kept waving the flag. I think the thing that has to be remembered about Campbell is that this is really his first extended and consistent run of matches not only for Arsenal but in the PL so there is some consistency and acclimating still needing to be done. Am I saying that he is a bang on starter, no not at all and I am probably the biggest Campbell flag barer on ACLF; but I do think that at present he is and should be first choice RW because he has shown but not only that his defensive work rate is something that really does help on the RW especially when you consider that teams are waltzing through our midfield at present.

  60. Phil says:

    Are you suggesting starting Campbell ahead of Theo?

  61. C says:

    I will say this about the Elneny transfer, to be fair to Arsenal, some how Itrube hasn’t received his work permit either for Bournemouth.

  62. Birdkamp says:

    Blazon, the problem has been about personnel in the other CM spot. OK, Ramsey-Cazorla is a non-starter, Ramsey-Coquelin doesn’t offer enough measured distribution in my eyes, nor does Ramsey-Flamini. What he needs is a specific kind of partner in the DM spot, one that sits in, defends and dictates our passing game. Style-wise, Arteta is his most natural partner, but Arteta is obvs in career twilight and has been injured for the best part of the last 18 months.

    There’s a good chance that we’ve scouted Elneny with this in mind of course.

  63. C says:


    No not at all. On the RW ONCE Sanchez it fit goes Theo, Campbell and Ox in that order for me.

  64. Birdkamp says:

    C, I think AOC had a good run in the side between December and February if I recall. He was on the right when the team really started to turn it around and play well, vs City for instance. I think it’s the best and most consistent he’s ever been, but again it was curtailed by injury.

    Numbers-wise it doesn’t look impressive, but this had a little to do with attacking responsibility – you know certain players forwards will have supporting roles and others will have the task of making the final pass or getting the ball in the back of the net. It all comes together to form a functioning unit. At the time AOC’s dribbling and passing ( very intuitive and underrated, apart from when he switches off!) gave us a useful link between defence and attack.

    I know that we both agreed that Ozil was important when he came back from injury in the new year last season. It didn’t show up in numbers, in the same way that AOC’s contribution wasn’t quantifiable on paper. I stick to my guns on that point. I liked what he was doing.

    But whatever, he’s gone backwards a little bit this season. Once a player gets to 22 you don’t really want to be talking much about potential anymore. Even if there is still time.

  65. Wavey says:

    So is the UK Immigration Service not fully up to speed yet following the Xmas/New Year break? Would not surprise me as the civil service are a law unto themselves. Bournemouth have suggested that Itrube will be cleared in time to play on Tuesday. It would be embarrassing if a player who has only turned out at U21 level for Paraguay ends up getting his WP ahead of a full international for Egypt. Paraguay are 47th, but he’s not a full international.

  66. C says:

    @Big Al

    I do wish that we would go after Rabiot, he is a player that I know we both admire and offers that bit of physical presence accompanied by that brilliant range of passing.

  67. C says:

    @Big Al

    There is no doubt that he has shown flashes and had matches were you look and go, “My god if he continues to build on this form we truly do have a top class player on our hands.” but then the next match he goes missing. I don’t want you or anybody to think that I don’t like Ox or think that on his day, his power, pace and dribbling are at times unplayable, but we also have to be realistic and also need him to not only show more but be more consistent.

    Agree, at 22 years old while there is still plenty of time, you need to start showing more consistency and not still be considered potential. Again though and I think its the point that both of us fully agree on, he has to start showing and coming good for fear of dropping further down the pecking order especially with Elneny coming back in the fold as well as the return of both Santi and Le Coq means more Ramsey on the flank.

  68. C says:


    While Iturbe is a Paraguayan, he is actually playing declared him self as an Argentine international so that may also play a part in all of this. Even still though, he has only turned out for the Argentina U21’s if I’m not mistaken.

    I only know this useless fact because it was a major deal in South America as there was a MAJOR falling out between Iturbe and Paraguay.

  69. silvergunner says:

    Ox is a conundrum isn’t he on paper should be amazing and yet his passing and 1st touch let’s him so often.
    Ramsey needs to become more of a team player both in terms of defensive responsibility and team goals, I know I will get shot down for this but at times he does have the air of a “glory hunter”. He is capable of being so much more and that’s perhaps part of the reason why AW put him wide right as he know deepdown he goes looking for that goal.

  70. blazon says:


    I buy all that. Let’s hope our Egyptian friend was acquired with that in mind.

  71. Limestonegunner says:

    It is interesting to see where Theo will go. Last year AW would not play Theo on right. He got a chance centrally and did pretty well until injury allowed OG back in. Has Theo learned to defend better and work harder (part of the reason he has been dropping deeper)? In that case, he might find his place back on right. Last year perhaps Bellerin needed the protection. But, tbh, Bellerin is slumping a bit right now too since his injury.
    RW–it’s up for grabs now!

  72. blazon says:

    Harry Kane
    Galactico? Insane.
    but what would ‘Arry say?
    a lovely boy, i saw this all the way.

  73. Limestonegunner says:

    Al, I certainly don’t think Campbell starts ahead of a fit Welbeck or a Theo who is doing his defensive duties. But Bill is right that Theo gets injured a lot so he might just play CF when Alexis is back. That’s still off in the future–maybe back for Stoke. We’ll see. But he has done better than Ox so far. If Santi was back, probably Rqmsey would be on the right.

    I think we have needed a forward for some time. And I agree entirely with Damon. DW is not going to be starting a ton of matches in February after a year away from football, practically.

  74. C says:


    With a fully fit Theo, Sanchez then I agree they go on the flanks. So against Liverpool I would want to see:


    If Eleney and Sanchez aren’t available then Chambers and Campbell come in.

    Against Stoke I would want to then see:


  75. consolsbob says:

    “Why us, Sarge? Why us?”.

  76. C says:

    Interesting reports have Afobe set to join Bournemouth.

  77. andy1886 says:

    Re wage bill:

    “It means Chelsea’s wage bill was the highest of all the Premier League clubs at £215.6m, compared with £190m a year earlier.
    Manchester United came second with a £203m wage bill, Manchester City third on £193.8m and Arsenal fourth on £192m.”

    So little to chose between the top four tbh. I’m surprised we’re so close to City though, they were supposed to be the club we couldn’t compete with on wages. Looks like a silly argument now.

  78. C says:

    Klopp taking the FA Cup a bit lightly because all of his players are getting injured amd now they are down 2-1 to Exeter.

  79. santori says:

    Funny all this nonsense about Flamini and Campbell as per usual and yet they saw us through some very important games Olympiakos and City to start.

    When you consider we had similar melt downs as in Soton when Coquelin was in the team, puts things into perspective.

    Campbell (and Ox) can get better. Its always a zero sum game for the arm chair generals. They operate on every thing being the same. Matic was world class last season. What has he done this season? Hazard?


  80. santori says:

    And for the dillusional, you think Elneny will come in and immediately play?

    he needs time to adjust to the team.

    This isn’t FIFA16 mate.;)

  81. Brevity says:

    Good result for the 2nd longest serving manager in the league. And he’s looking forward to a nice pay day in the return.
    Nothing in the Deeney / Ox rumours it seems. Can’t see a single good reason we’d sell Ox to the Chavs. Or buy Deeney really, although he seems a good honest forward.

  82. Brevity says:

    No doubt Elneny is one for the future given his age but he’s also been bought because we’re short in that area or so AW said. I’d be surprised if he didn’t start at least one or two games in Feb / March. That’s hardly delusional.

  83. Phil says:

    Well I must say, my arm chair is pretty comfortable.

  84. Phil says:

    It’s probably more delusional to expect him to get his WP.

  85. andy1886 says:

    Well one definition of delusional might be to imagine someone played in a game that they didn’t in order to support an argument…..

    “When you consider we had similar melt downs as in Soton when Coquelin was in the team, puts things into perspective.”

    Err, nope, he didn’t play in that game at all, he had been out injured for about a month at the time. Flamini played though (lol) and was subbed off for Chambers after 73 minutes.

    Team (from BBC report):

    33 Cech
    24 Bellerín
    04 Mertesacker
    06 Koscielny
    18 Monreal
    16 Ramsey
    20 Flamini (Chambers – 73′ )
    28 Campbell (Oxlade-Chamberlain – 64′ )
    11 Özil
    14 Walcott (Iwobi – 78′ )
    12 Giroud
    03 Gibbs
    05 Gabriel
    13 Ospina
    15 Oxlade-Chamberlain
    21 Chambers
    45 Iwobi
    54 Reine Adelaide

  86. Brevity says:

    Nice interview with Frank McLintock in the Fail Online today.
    Good to see he seems to be enjoying life.

  87. Phil says:

    Nice research there Andy.
    That’s about 2 days running where a little fact finding might have salvaged him.

  88. Phil says:

    I am tempted to pull out my well used Zulu dvd and watch it again tonight before the football.

  89. Phil says:

    Gee it was the Southampton game? Not that long ago to make such a glaring mistake.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: