Reasons To Be Cheerful, 1, 2, 3

Or should I have added “4” to the title of the post? Yes, four months before we are regaled with tales of Danny Welbeck‘s derring-do and if our recent history is anything to go by, five months until he breaks down. Which will be just as the January transfer window closes or be too late to do anything about it.

I know what you’re thinking: such cynicism in one so young.

Arsène had to deliver some good news on the injury front, although whether a player returning in December is good news is a debatable point. He had, of course, given the news we all knew that Aaron Ramsey was out until after the international break and Alex Iwobi for a similar period.

The situation has left him contemplating ‘gambles’ for tomorrow’s trip to Premier League champions Leicester City. Still without an experienced centre back, his comments identify that Laurent Koscielny is likely to start at the King Power. Wenger observed that it was too risky to bring Özil and Giroud back to the XI straight away “but basically with Laurent Koscielny I have no choice!” Not having learned the lessons of last weekend, he continued, “If I have to take a gamble on one, it’s certainly on him.”

The medical team is no doubt prepping the extra bed for the French defender as we speak. It’s a ludicrous situation to be in, not just from the player perspective but also the clubs. Quite why the English season had to start this early with no international tournaments of note, only the Premier League can explain.

It is however, what it is and Arsenal have known the date for the first match for months. Failing to be prepared for it falls squarely onto their shoulders. Wenger admitted, not for the first time, that he is struggling in the transfer market.

There’s more than a hint of Canute about Arsène in every sense when it comes to signing players:

“What I fight against is to think that the only way in football to deal with is to buy.”

In one sentence, the problem is identified. Arsenal don’t have internal solutions so have to sign new players; it’s that simple. It’s also been clear for a number of seasons but continually, the manager has refused to address the problems and now is paying the price, literally and figuratively.

The ‘official’ transcript refers to “paying over the odds” which is at the heart of the matter. A decision is taken on whether a player is over-valued and on that basis an offer is made or not. So far, so good. The problem comes when that initial valuation is out of kilter with what the market is setting as a price.

Arsenal are fighting a tide of rising prices and wages, a point Wenger freely admits. The club, we are told at every opportunity, is “not scared to spend money” but when you refuse to pay the price set in the marketplace, you are scared; Arsenal as a club, are paralysed by the fear of making a mistake with an expensive signing which doesn’t work out.

It makes you wonder why? Is it a natural conservatism in the manager and the directors or more sinisterly, a directive from KSE that they need to keep a certain value to the business to underpin borrowings elsewhere in the group? The longer Arsenal fight a losing battle against a tide of rising prices, the notion that KSE’s ventures in other fields are as much a problem as a lack of dynamism in the manager.

Arsène chose to point to his experience in the transfer market, underlining his willingness to trade. He has “made 400 transfers in my life” – including sales – with the inference being that we should trust his judgement. Sorry, it doesn’t wash when a squad isn’t strengthened.

This isn’t new for Arsenal. George Graham was culpable in 1991 when he failed to develop the title-winning squad, instead descending into a morass of mediocrity which became the hallmark of his reign in some quarters. It wasn’t; in the first half of his reign, the sides were as vibrant as Wenger’s but like Arsène, a misguided distrust of big fees undermined him.

Reports still suggest a deal is there to be done for Mustafi although his father claimed they were negotiating with “two or three” other clubs – it must be hard to keep track of – whilst the price for Gimenez leapt £16m in 24 hours, a rate of inflation which would make even an Argentinean politician blush.

Prices are rising Arsène; time to stop fighting the tide before the waters overwhelm you.

Finally a reminder that the Times Of Our Lives series on Dad’s Jukebox reached 1970 this week. The playlist can be found here.

68 thoughts on “Reasons To Be Cheerful, 1, 2, 3

  1. Its strange that all the other French players that play for English teams either played last week. Even Pogba was available!!!

    Why does dear old Arsene wrap ours up in cotton wool so much….

  2. Morning,

    I do wonder what our squad would look like if the current price inflation had happened a few years earlier. Would we have bought Gervinho or Giroud if we had been pricing them then at today’s market levels. Without a doubt both would have been hugely more expensive, so would Wenger’s valuation model have considered them too much of a gamble then? And I’m talking about how they were perceived prior to their Arsenal careers, not knowing what we do now about both players. There’s probably a few more you could add to that as well though, Campbell for instance.

  3. Hes been floating around wearing a life ring for years….

    Hey eveybody wellbeck is coming back soon, promise, so dont worry when i sign no one.

    Besides i could not find anyone to improve the squad.

    Zzzzzzz….someone wake me up when the wengercoma ends

  4. Ian:
    Its strange that all the other French players that play for English teams either played last week. Even Pogba was available!!!

    Why does dear old Arsene wrap ours up in cotton wool so much….

    To be fair kos looked like he was carrying an injury during the euro with heavy strapping around his knees if I remember correctly.

    But the issue is how we always seem to be firefighting and are reactive as oppose to proactive.

  5. There are so many things in our day-to-day lives for which to be cheerful, it is difficult to count them all. Health, family, security, future…they all count. But insofar as this applies to the football club we follow, I feel it is largely governed by the length of time during which our allegiance began. Those of us of more mature years, can recall bad times as well as good, each in equal measure. The younger element tend to be impatient for success and of course have no memory of times past.
    All things considered though, we have much to be thankful for. We live in the best country and follow the best football club in our world. We could do worse! 😉

  6. The Graham comment is perhaps more applicable than some people might wish to admit YW. First half of his reign his sides were indeed just as vibrant and exciting as anything that AW produced. Equally some of the impotent football produced in the second half of Arsene’s tenure has been as dull as ditchwater and as frustrating as anything we saw in the period 92-95. At least in Graham’s era we still regularly found a way to win trophies, something that Arsene has not been able to do nearly as well (three trophies in three and a half seasons, a cup double in 93 and a European trophy in 94, compares pretty well with two FA Cups in twelve seasons).

    And no, the top four trophy does not exist, so boasting of top four finishes is a nonsense.

  7. Wavey,

    Taking player price inflation into account how much would we have paid for Chambers, The Ox and Theo at today’s prices?

    Even now £17m for Chambers seems like a heck of a lot. Arsene doesn’t seem to be concerned about gambling on youngsters when in actuality a young player is far less likely to come good than an established one.

  8. I know that Wenger has had a rough ride on most blogs for the past few weeks, but just occasionally it does not hurt to mention that his problems are not always unique to him or is all his own fault.

    Ian, above, is the most recent one to question AW’s desire to allow Kos, and others too, to have an extended break after their Euro footballing extravaganza this summer, but he is not the only manager who has suffered players being injured as a consequence after an early recall [Rambo].

    What is going on? A North London proclivity to get injured – something in the air? 😀

    — “Mauricio Pochettino has said that he had no choice but to play Hugo Lloris when the Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper suffered a hamstring injury that will keep him out for at least four weeks.

    The Spurs manager picked the France goalkeeper against Everton last Saturday despite Lloris having only two weeks’ training after returning late to pre-season following Euro 2016.

    Lloris will be out for about a month, the same time as Aaron Ramsey, who also injured a hamstring in the game after a fortnight’s training with Arsenal.

    “If you give rest in training, and say you don’t want to use this player that was involved in the Euros and you have no positive results — the media, the supporters and the board and the president kill me,” Pochettino said. “They say you had international players and did not use them. There is nothing to win, always lose.

    “ Always it is the manager’s fault.”

    Perhaps Pochetino is acting as a ventriloquist’s dummy, with AW having a hand up his jaxi. 😀

  9. andy1886:
    nicky,

    Nicky, you have very few peers in the maturity stakes.In comparison the rest of us are mere spring chickens!

    I just do not see you as a spring chicken! 😀 It must take years to learn to be as consistent as you are, and with such staying power.
    Spring chicken? – more like rooster Foghorn J Leghorn. 😀

  10. HenryB,

    I have no qualms with players getting an extended rest, especially players like Lloris, Ozil, Ramsey, Kos and others of that ilk that are the core / foundation for the their national teams; the one issue that I had with Arsene is the fact that there was really no reason to start Ramsey. Here me out before you start typing.

    Arsene admitted (as he has before, see Sanchez last year and Ozil the summer Germany won the World Cup) that the player was short of fitness and training and if he was to be played would be a risk due to being pushed. Sure I get that, but he had other options, most notably Santi and Iwobi in that #10 role neither of whom went to the Euro’s and while Iwobi did start, why not start Santi who when Ozil is out is by far our best passer and tempo dictator in the final third?

    Spuds starting Lloris is a bit different because they really have no other options (Vorm is decent but no where near Lloris) and GK is a vastly different position than a CM especially one like Ramsey whose whole style is based on him outworking his opponents.

    O well, though because there is still the CB and CF positions that should have been dealt with especially since, as Yogi rightly points out, there were positions that had been identified for quite some time and the injuries to Gab and Mert didn’t help the CB situation and the CF situation wasn’t helped at all.

  11. Okay so, having thought about it, I have settled on my team I think should start against Leicester:

    Cech
    Bellerin—-Le Coq——-Kos——-Nacho
    ———–Xhaka———Elneny——–
    ——————Ozil*——————
    Theo——Campbell——-Sanchez

    *if Ozil is not fit then Santi starts…..

    I would start Le Coq because of his quickness and pace to deal with what will be a quick attack with 4 of Okazaki, Vardy, Mahrez, Gray or Musa starting.

  12. Saw that C. Apparently we’re making a final bid for him tomorrow. Why that couldn’t be today is beyond me.

    Oh wait, the source of the story is one of the biggest bullshit merchants going…

  13. Ozil won’t start. Sanchez on left, Ox on right, Theo in middle.

    I suspect Coquelin will be preferred ahead of Elneny with Chambers in the defence.

  14. Umm, hopefully Yogi will not notice the following comment as it could result in my ostracisation from good company, or at least from ACLF, but you know what they say – fools rush in where angels fear to tread – I am by no means an angel. 😀

    As usual today’s Post is good, and straight to the point, and despite Yogi himself saying it was another daily dose of cynicism, I have to say that I do not think there is anything in it that is cynical.

    What i do cavil at, a tad, is using part of a quote to make a point that in and of itself may not have needed it, and so I am going to show the full quote, which may show a different slant from that which the first sentence may indicate.

    “What I fight against is to think that the only way in football to deal with is to buy.
    It is right when you need the players, and you identify the players, and we are not [then] scared to spend money, but to buy in itself is not a quality, but to buy the good players is a quality and I think this club has been built on that”.

    English is not Wenger’s first language, and tho he is a very good linguist, sometimes he is a little clumsy in expressing himself.

    Buying to stop fans complaining = Bad.
    Buying average players to stop fans complaining = Bad.
    Buying quality players for the benefit of the team = Good.

    Before someone busts a blood vessel, I am not saying that summary is accurate – I am saying that clumsy English leaves itself open to interpretation – and interpretation makes for many differing views on what was intended.

    Wenger should finish all his interviews by adding the codicil; — ” I know you think you understand what you thought I said but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant” — it would make his job so much easier – or alternatively he could just keep his mouth zipped. 😀

  15. YW,

    Yea I saw the source too and it was worrying that he is the source because well, he is as you say, “the biggest bullshit merchant going” but at this point there has to be something. I know I am in the minority but I still think that Mustafi will be an Arsenal player.

    The question I have is why not after last weekend we pay what is required given quite a few CB’s this summer and last who are less experienced and less highly rated though are older have gone for more.

  16. I too have no problem with our players getting a decent rest after the euros. After a long and demanding season followed by the Euros, both the body and mind need a rest.
    I am convinced that those who are played without a decent( 3-4weeks) break will struggle in the back end of the season,if they don’t break down first.
    Which is why:
    1/ starting Ramsay was idiotic when there were choices. Eg Santi, as C pointed out.
    2/ before the BFG went down we needed a new experienced CB signing. This didn’t happen.
    3/ We needed a new striker. This didn’t happen.
    New signings early on would have allowed Wenger to not take unnecessary risks.
    Now he is at the roulette table not sure whether to bet on red or black.

  17. YW,

    Ozil probably won’t start so if that’s the case than Santi starts there. I actually think Sanchez will continue at CF and Theo on the right. I know I might again be in the minority but I thought apart from Ox’s goal, he was quite poor. Campbell probably won’t start given he seems to have royally pissed off Arsene by actually playing well, but if not Campbell then why not start Akpom at CF with Sanchez on the left.

  18. I would start Akpom, with Alexis and Theo either side.
    Thought Alexis looked uncomfortable in the striker role on the weekend.

  19. Phil,

    Think part of that is because Ramsey isn’t the type of #10 that likes to play through balls and dallies on the ball too often plus we were playing too many long balls up to him and not taking advantage of his movement.

  20. andy1886,

    Yeah, I do wonder if Wenger would have been willing to pay up for young English lads if the mark up had been based on today’s market. I agree though that Chambers’ price seems toppy given his relative inexperience and lack of progression and if Wenger was willing to pay that maybe he would have stumped up for Ox and Theo at current prices. Which really does raise the question as to the basis for his decision making as age and potential resale value may have a higher weighting when he decides to buy. He also believes in the English player mark up being worth paying up for.

  21. HenryB,

    Henry, I understand the quote but I also believe that after 20 years in this country and being an educated and thoughtful chap that Arsene is being knowingly disingenuous.

    Nobody, absolutely nobody, is suggesting that “the only way in football to deal with is to buy” It’s an idea that quite frankly only exists in Arsene’s mind as a way of deflecting criticism. Does he really believe that for example if we had a young prospect in the mould of Adams or Keown that the media would be haranguing him to buy? The reaction to Bellerin’s success is proof that it’s not the case.

    Secondly, if he was actually able to organise us better defensively then perhaps we could manage with the resources we already have. Teams have got by with a lot less. I’m pretty sure the pressure would be considerably reduced had we secured say a 2-1 victory last weekend rather than shipping four goals in a relatively short space of time.

    So no, nobody is suggesting that buying is the only option and Arsene knows that very well. The reason that it’s being pushed so heavily is that Arsene seems to be incapable of resolving the defensive issues we have in any other way. It’s a message for the gullible, and one that he should be challenged on.

  22. Hi C,

    My comment at 12 : 43 was a pretty straightforward one pointing out to Ian, and others, that Wenger is not alone in having his decision to include, or exclude, a player following the Euros is not unique to him.

    The article recording the stress that pochettino is also experiencing in making those decisions seemed apt, and he is feeling pretty cross about it.

    You are entitled to your opinion as to why you find fault with Wenger, of course – but that has nothing to do with what I said.

  23. HenryB,

    I should have elaborated more because my comment was in reference to what you are point out.

    You speak of Pochettino and others not being sure what to do with players coming back from Euros (some later than others naturally) and the thing that I should have included was the fact that outside of Lloris, there has been some type of either “easing back in” or reinenforcements brought in that allowed those players to not have to rushed back. Furthermore, I think while there is no exact science to all of it, I think if there is any doubt then you do not start that player.

    For instance, Vertoghen and Alderwield both started and where fine but they are two players that for the most part in their careers have been rocks, rarely injured and always seem to be physically able to play match in and match out every week. Then you look at a player like Ramsey who has quite an injury history, and Arsene himself pointed out that he would be rushing him back so why start him? Its just those curious decisions about players coming back from the Euro’s or other major tournaments that is why Arsene might get questioned more.

  24. andy1886,

    I agree. I think the view is that we have to get someone in with experience at the back because at least he’ll know what he’s doing. Because the organisation at the back appears (I’m using the term appears here as its my own view, not me saying that is definitely the case) to be left to the players, it seems unrealistic to expect a pair of youngsters to step up to the level required in the first Premier League outing together. C and I were discussing how the FBs were playing very narrow, almost in an attempt to play as four CBs and give the youngsters some protection. That left us horribly exposed down the wings and Liverpool hammered us out wide, especially on the left side. Monreal tucked in every chance he could get and I don’t know if that was down to instructions from the bench, but it would seem careless if it were because it left us way too narrow. I’m more of the view that the players took it on themselves to try to protect the youngsters, but why wasn’t anyone yelling at them from the bench to keep some shape? So it was either bad tactics, or no tactics and that seems even more careless given that Holding in particular would probably needed some guidance, given that he had only just turned up at the club. There’s a big difference between telling Per to get out there and do his thing and saying the same to Holding.

    I’m not having a go at Holding at all. I actually thought he did okay in the first half, but once again we appear (there’s that word again) to have thrown a youngster in at the deep end on his first appearance at the club. I hope he is made of sterner stuff than others and is able to shrug it off.

  25. Andy,

    That is a good point at 1:39.

    I am not an apologist for AW so I do not have answers for you. He drives me bonkers (I think that is the right word) because there is a sameness to the annual cycle of words used, and decisions taken.

    It cannot be argued that this whole nonsense about the lack of transfers is anything but a recurring mistake. The CB and CF positions should never have been left so late in the piece to get resolved – and my frustration in that regard is equal to your own.

    AW still has time to sort this out, but the accusation that he has been reactive rather than proactive is self-evident. This late reaction makes it look like Arsenal are going cap in hand to wheedle other clubs to let us have their best players for yesteryears prices and that is unfortunate.

    To balance those views, I am an admirer of AW, both as a man and manager, but I think time and tide wait for no man, and at 66 y.o. he should have retired a couple of years ago, with dignity and with the fans best wishes — instead I fear the worse. 🙁

  26. Had we bought the required reinforcements early in the transfer window, the likelihood is that they still wouldn’t be ready to play this weekend, Lacazette and Mustafi were both involved in the latter stages of the Euros, so presumably would still be in recovery.

    Only by buying inferior players or those from countries outside the UEFA area would we have them available now.

  27. And Mustafi’s last full game was Mid June. After that he only had half an hour as a sub once.
    So whilst he was involved, the fatigue factor is practically non existent.

  28. Hey Yogi, it looks like you need to delete my 3.15 comment. Hmm, I new that third pint of bitter at lunchtime was a mistake.

  29. C,

    C:
    Okay so, having thought about it, I have settled on my team I think should start against Leicester:

    Cech
    Bellerin—-Le Coq——-Kos——-Nacho
    ———–Xhaka———Elneny——–
    ——————Ozil*——————
    Theo——Campbell——-Sanchez

    *if Ozil is not fit then Santi starts…..

    I would start Le Coq because of his quickness and pace to deal with what will be a quick attack with 4 of Okazaki, Vardy, Mahrez, Gray or Musa starting.

    I like that team but would like to see ox start after his cameo appearance last game, also no way i would rush Kos back, god forbid the worst happens then we really are in the middle of a hornets nest.

    ———- Cech
    Bellerin, Chambers, Holding, Monreal
    —– Xhaka, Coquelin
    —-Theo, Sanchez, Ox
    ———-Akpom

  30. silvergunner,

    If that’s the case I think I’d use Monreal as a CB rather than have him trying to help Holding by pushing inside. We cannot afford to leave our left side exposed by playing Monreal narrow. It would make more sense to play him and Gibbs to at least have a body in front of Mahrez.

    What’s the chances of Vardy and Mahrez destroying us tomorrow?

  31. silvergunner,

    Honestly, I thought outside of Ox’s goal, he was poor but I think that’s a matter of opinion and whether or not Ox is going to watch to track back and the defensive work that is required.

    I have never been a fan of Sanchez “in the whole” and think, similar to Neymar, Sanchez is best either playing up top or playing on the flanks.

  32. Wavey,

    Why not start Le Coq at CB and allow Nacho to stay at LB. I’m not a fan of Gibbs defending and its not as though they have some overpowering CF. I think Le Coq would do well against Vardy and he would hold his position but is also quick, strong and feisty enough to deal with Vardy.

  33. C,

    Yeah c Ox is still prone to giving the ball away in dangerous areas but I felt that his overall demeanor was one of someone ready for the fight unlike the rest after the halftime interval.
    I don’t want Monreal playing narrow either and wouldn’t play Gibbs either against mahrez.
    To be fair AW only has himself to blame for this horrible dilemma he faces.
    One things for certain alexis doesn’t look comfortable up top on his own.
    And c you will be sad to hear that Campbell might be on his way to Portugal.

  34. silvergunner,

    that’s the thing, against a team like Leicester, possession is so valuable and Ox still likes to give it away so he comes on as an impact sub for me. Nacho playing narrow is a worry because of the way that Leicester play, he has to stay wide but it looked as though neither he nor Bellerin trusted our CB’s to do their job so Le Coq starts at CB for me.
    Gibbs against anybody at this present moment scares me. Gibbs and Liverpool’s Moreno are like one in the same: decent enough in attack with really good pace but couldn’t stop Nicky from scoring a goal.

    I know, I saw he was linked with a move away, I’m actually happy that he is being linked and I want him to leave because he is still rated in La Liga and clubs in Portugal have always fancied him, you know the countries where being a technical player is valued over power, pace and strength.

  35. Interesting quotes from Arsene because if it was known that Ramsey had a hamstring problem at half-time, then persisting on with him while Santi is on the bench is poor player management. I am trying and wanting not to pile on him, and I want to be positive but:

    “First of all, it was not a disastrous game quality-wise.

    “We started the game how we wanted to. I think we were a bit unlucky because the free-kick just before half-time was not a free-kick. Mentally, we took a blow at half-time and we did not have the same drive we had in the first half.

    “It’s due to two reasons especially. One was that Aaron Ramsey came back on to the pitch not exactly the same. We knew he had a hamstring problem and our half-time was disturbed by injury problems.

    “We got caught cold in the first 15 minutes of the second half physically because Aaron was injured and Alex Iwobi was injured, so we were very diminished.

    “I think we made one or two mistakes at the back that we are not used to making.”

  36. Despite all their good qualities, both Le Coq and Chambo give the ball away in the most inopportune situations/manner. They are the very types of players upon which the Leicester game plan feasts. Let’s not make this an all-you-can-eat buffet for them.

  37. C

    Interesting quotes from Arsene because if it was known that Ramsey had a hamstring problem at half-time, then persisting on with him while Santi is on the bench is poor player management.

    Same as what happened at Norwich last season. Should have taken Santi off and left us with 10 men but no, persisted and we lost the maestro for 6 months.

  38. YW,

    Yup, and Ozil before that against Chelsea and Sanchez as well. The issue becomes, why risk Ramsey when he had Santi on the bench; o well.

  39. C,

    I know you have repeated your “why risk Ramsey” comment a number of times now, and we get it, but perhaps if you consider Yogi Bear’s comment at 5:36;— “Should have taken Santi off and left us with 10 men but no, persisted and we lost the maestro for 6 months.

    The fact is that Santi had been out injured for many months and playing him in the first game would have been just as big a risk, if not more, as playing Rambo.
    Let’s face it – if Santi had been injured, you would be saying “why risk Santi after such a long injury break?” Or, – “why not play Rambo instead of wrapping him in cotton wool?”

    You are a hard man, C. 😀

  40. HenryB,

    I get it but you also have to consider Santi not only played at the end of last season but had all summer off.

    Its not just starting Santi because I have also said why not let each just play a half.

    But then again Arsene said Jack wasn’t fit enough to play but instead of putting Campbell on thr bench he put Jack so what do I know. Before you say they play different positions, Iwobi can pkay midfield as he did a couple of times last season and has done during his youth days and internationally as well.

  41. C,

    I never know what I am going to say at any one time, so when I realise what an open book I am to you …… “Before you say they play different positions” …….. I should hire you to speak for me. 😀

    Frankly, C, I do not care too much – that game is history to me – but it is useful grist to the mill, and blogs need that! 😀

  42. HenryB,

    I don’t come cheap! 🙂

    The actual game doesn’t matter, you are right but Ramsey’s injury doesn’t especially when you consider his long line of hamstring injuries.

    On to Leicester shall we…….

    Theo grabbing a brace, both off of Ozil should he play but if not then Santi and Sanchez and Xhaka showing his brilliance both in defence ans those quick long balls.

  43. You mentioned Chicarito before, C, in your capacity as chief scout for ACLF — and I would totally agree. 😀

    AW would never do it, and yet as a ‘fox in the box’ Chica would be perfect – especially if Sanchez is serious about leaving the Gunners.

  44. I am becoming slightly hyper about the Leics game, C, as it is becoming a psychological ‘must’ for Arsenal.

    Got to go, buddy, see you tomorrow, 😀

  45. HenryB,

    Chicharito checks all the boxes with or without Sanchez. Doesn’t want to get involved with the build up but will certainly make run after run and has shown, when given the chance he can score in the PL.

    Arsene wouldn’t but he surely should.

  46. HenryB,

    Im really excited by the match not just because its must win for Arsenal but Leicester as well having lost to Hull.

    Its the perfect match to test our hunger.

  47. C:
    Wavey,

    Why not start Le Coq at CB and allow Nacho to stay at LB.I’m not a fan of Gibbs defending and its not as though they have some overpowering CF.I think Le Coq would do well against Vardy and he would hold his position but is also quick, strong and feisty enough to deal with Vardy.

    Thing is C, I think Ranieri will rotate, play a 442 and put Ulloa and Vardy up top. He showed last season he wasn’t afraid to adapt his side and tactics to suit who they were playing. I seem to recall Ulloa doing a number on a fit Kozzer the season before last up there?

    That’s what I would do, anyway. I’d be thinking the best we can muster is Kozzer, whose not fit, plus a young kid or a makeshift CB.

    My brief would be run at them and get early (long sometimes) balls into the box for the big man to get onto and Vardy can feed off him. They’re st home and I expect them to be on the front foot from the word go

    Could be another high scoring game for both teams. Or they might just smash us

    You just know Vardy and Mahrez are going to be all pumped up and have blinders tonight. Vardy got all his misses out of his system last week

  48. Damon,

    I can see C’s point about using LeCoq, but my concern is that he is not a natural CB and does give away fouls in the centre of the pitch a reasonable amount still. He doesn’t go to ground like he used to, but I could still see players like Vardy forcing him into giving a penalty away. I thought the comment from him about training in the middle of defence in pre-season was hilarious. He said something about tearing it up as a CB which was farcical given who he would have been training against.

  49. Wavey,

    I agree. My point was though, that it kind of doesn’t matter. I think Ranieri has enough at his disposal to create options for himself and has shown he doesn’t mind adapting before or during games.

    Whichever way round you spin it, we’re short (quite literally actually) and we either go with very green or square pegs at the back. They’ll find a way to get at us today.

    I might just surprise you when I say I don’t think we’ll get anything out of today’s game. The caveat being, unless Cech has a stormer.

  50. http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11670/10544088/alexis-sanchez-can-be-arsenals-luis-suarez-arsene-wenger-says

    I honestly thought he was pulling our legs with this one and laughed out load. Then I realised he was serious. And who did Real Madrid buy? I think it was Morata. He may not have proved himself yet, but he is regarded as one of the hottest young potentials around.

    There is also the rumour that is off to Sporting Lisbon on loan. If that is true it makes absolutely no sense at all. You are short of forwards, but won’t put one that you have on the bench (preferring an injured Jack) and then pack him off on loan? That is clearly with the view to a sale if true. I hope it isn’t because it were I would be starting to question Wenger’s sanity. And for those precious few who think that is me insulting the man, I’m not. I would seriously be starting to wonder if he’s losing it.

  51. Damon,

    I agree, I was sort of following on the reply chain from you rather than go back to C’s comment. Anybody we put in there is a make shift in some shape or form and we will struggle at the back. Cech is at his best when the action is in his area, so that at least is in his favour. Its the pot shots from outside the box that usually catch him out.

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