Ox Talks, Everton and Champions League Thoughts

It’s good to see the club beginning contract talks with the squad, looking to tie down players for the long-term. Of course, it helps if they invite the player and/or his agent along; helps smooth things over I find. Ox is the latest star but nobody bothered to tell him about the meeting so he went off and played on his PS4.

Ox Tales

Frankly, it’s a bizarre claim to make. Talks are ongoing but we’re not telling the player. I don’t recall Arsène mentioning Ox’s contract before but 18 months to go is the new black. The Mirror, perhaps primed by the player’s agent, ran with the tale last week. Lo and behold, it’s there in black and white:

“We have started talking to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and we start as well, and will extend certainly, with Santi Cazorla.”

Note to self: get some memory games to build up the grey matter.

Wenger spoke about the player at his press conference this morning:

“I think he is developing well.”

“This season he is making steps and moving forward and overall when you have invested so much time and work and the player has as well and he’s integrated into the team I want him to stay.”

He’s certainly in his best form for a while and being given a run in the side. He looked disgruntled at being substituted at the weekend and that’s a good sign. You don’t want players to be happy at seeing their number on the fourth official’s board. Unless they’ve got a bucketload of goals and are being given the ovation they deserve.

In Ox’s case, it’s good to see him realising his potential but there’s a long way to go before he stakes a claim to a place in the starting line-up. It’s crucial that he does. I think the England squad is crying out for a player with his directness and pace. A return to form benefits him personally in that sense but consistency will serve him better.

Just Champion

Later on today, we get to find out who knocks us out the Champions League this season with the Round of Arsenal’s Exit draw taking place shortly. Or already having taken place, in which case you’re looking at some more ill-informed speculation.

Business as usual, then.

Arsène said he wouldn’t name his preference but I’m guessing it isn’t Bayern Munich or Real Madrid. Maybe not even Sevilla although I happen to believe we’d win that on aggregate. The draw is nothing more than a distraction. With the tie a couple of months away, there’s little to get excited about as our form can chop and change in 90 minutes let alone 90 days. The players have so far purged inconsistency from their performances but we know from history how quickly it can pop up and bite us on the Arsenal.

A long unbeaten run is always enjoyable but the nagging thought remains: how will we react to defeat. And we know defeat is coming; it happened to the two best Arsenal sides in my lifetime and is one of life’s certainties, along with death. Taxes are no longer an inevitability if you hire the best advisors money can buy although you do need to be making profits of several hundred millions pounds to truly benefit.

Early Everton Thoughts

And it’s a day of distractions, a prelude to the storm of the trip to Goodison Park tomorrow. Everton’s defeat at Watford confirmed their miserable form and we could do with that continuing. It’s been a relatively happy hunting ground in recent years, with the 0 – 3 defeat a couple of season’s ago looking more like an aberration. We need that form to continue with City Sunday’s opponents. Six points from the next two games is a tall order but certainly achievable.

It would certainly serve notice on Chelsea that the procession to the title is not as simple or straightforward as the media are making out. There’s no doubt that they are playing well and winning, as well as playing badly and winning. Some will argue that not playing in Europe helps with fitness and it probably does. However, the squad of players they have must be stung by not even playing in the Europa League and that will motivate them more than anything else.

Mustafi is confirmed as missing, so is Aaron Ramsey but otherwise it’s as you were. Most likely, Hector Bellerin will return to the starting line-up with Gabriel moving across. If the Brazilian stays at right back and Rob Holding comes in, that’s pretty much all the confirmation you’d need that Carl Jenkinson has played his last game for the club. Unless a mysterious bug strikes down defenders and he’s the only one left standing. Even then, he’d probably find Ox is selected ahead of him.

A pity because he is a player whose heart and commitment can’t be faulted but that’s the harsh reality of modern football; it’s no different from the past either.

’til Tomorrow.

85 thoughts on “Ox Talks, Everton and Champions League Thoughts

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    ere we go, ere we go

    It’s not Real Madrid

  2. Orson Kaert says:

    Would you Adam and Eve it? Bayer bloody Munich again!

  3. Orson Kaert says:

    Any minute now the conspiracy theories will flood out of the Goonersphere.

    Time to do the weekly shopping trip.

    Catch up later.

  4. knobby says:

    I know we have improved, and Bayern are slightly worse, but this is a bit of a downer.
    Would much rather meet them in the last 8 when we get over the next hurdle.
    The media will be non stop doom for 2 months.

  5. jerry says:

    BM are not what they where…coulf been worse and got Madrid..its not until Feb and so much can happen in 3 months..on we go!

  6. Sam says:

    quite apart from being a tough draw, it’s a deadly boring draw. 4 of the last 5 seasons Bayern.

  7. knobby says:

    Look on the bright side, if we had of finished second like PSG it would be Barca.
    Group A was a no win group.

  8. Welsh Corgi Cardigan says:

    Hm, well, yea, guess thats a relief. It could be worse.

    But bleeding boring Bayern Munich again. Its groundhog day again in CL.

  9. Darius says:

    Arsenal must have pissed off someone in a previous life. Winning your champions’ league group is thankless and overrated. You win, you get Bayern Munchen. You come second, it’s those Barcelona freaks. In 5 out of 6 years. Money has been poured.

    Ah well, it’s going to be a spectacular tie. Strategy is simple – away from home, park the good ship AFC Victoria Crescit in front of goal and absorb the bastards like a sponge and then hit them with mind blowing speed on the counter attack. The Bavarians are old and their legs aren’t what they used to be. Return leg at home, give them the Chelsea and Manure 3-0 shock and aw first half treatment. There’s something about this season, I can feel it in my water.

  10. Sam says:

    hope the players see and respond (on the pitch) to this rather complacent and arrogant tweet from Lewandowski. I know they’ve won all 4 of the last ties, but still, what an annoyingly smug club

    Robert LewandowskiVerified account ‏@lewy_official 8m8 minutes ago
    So we have to prepare for the big games in the Champions League 2017! For a start its @Arsenal @ChampionsLeague

  11. knobby says:

    Time for UEFA to stop seeding the competition and make it a free for all.
    Then they cannot rig it so easily.

  12. knobby says:

    Bayern have a months rest until the last week in January, not sure if that’s good or a bad thing.

  13. CorpFinG says:

    We had 1 in 6 (16%) chance of getting Bayern, and we fucking do.
    Is there any doubt at this point that the uefa seeding is rigged beyond belief? its same teams getting same opponents every year (and I’m not talking only about us).

  14. CorpFinG says:


    100% with you. Its about time we knock them out.

  15. Ras says:

    As Daruis has noted. Bayern are not the team they were. We have a fighting chance.

    On another note when watching Cech facing a penalty you never get the feeling that he’s going to save it. Not a particular strong forte of his game.

    I thimk he’s faced 7 penalties and never got anywhere near any of them.

  16. Wailesy says:

    We better buy Draxler in January.

  17. Wailesy says:


    I couldn’t agree with you more Ras. It’s the only very slight moan I have on Cech.

  18. jerry says:

    Ras….when was the last time we actually saved a pen in open play..ie not a shootout?

  19. YW says:


    > Well….PSG got Barca…..

    I don’t care if they got the clap.

    Bored with Bayern and Barca in the Round of Sixteen. Hard to see us progressing; we’re too predictable in Europe and let’s be honest, if PSG had a better striker, they would have quite rightly battered us in both games.

  20. consolsbob says:

    Bollocks. When do we get going in the FA cup?!

  21. Bill says:

    Great post yogi

    I have always been a fan of Ox and I still love the potential upside that he has based on his physical attributes. He is the perfect example of the risk you take when you give an unproven U21 player a high leverage squad spot. When Ox arrived I was convinced he was a sure fire superstar. He had everything, pace, power and technical skill and he was really eye catching an fun to watch. It just goes to prove how difficult it is to predict the future with U21 players. To be an effective forward you need to be able to provide “end product” and the ability to turn physical talent into end product is highly unpredictable even for the worlds best football talent evaluators. It also shows the importance of a forward being at least a threat to score goals. There is certainly value in having a player like Alex Hleb on the pitch but their potential upside is limited over the long term if they never score more the 4-5 league goals per season. With Ox its been 5+ years since he arrived and he is in his mid 20’s and not even a sure fire starter much less a superstar. Arsene handed the job that in theory Ox should have nailed down a long time ago to another U21 last summer. All that said I am still a huge fan of Ox and he still has a lot of upside and remains on the cusp of greatness. If we are not going to use Perez, Walcott and Alexis together then Ox is clearly the best option we have at LW and may be this is the year he comes good. Go Ox.

  22. Bill says:

    Unfortunate draw. Feb is 1/2 of a football lifetime away and the form of either team could change drastically before then, but this is certainly the best chance we have had of beating Munich

  23. Jonnygunner says:


    I’ve no doubt you’ll drag this post out when the day comes……but I reckon we’ll do ’em.
    Before you say it-I appreciate that we could have any number of players out for the two legs,but, based on now,I do reckon we could beat them.

  24. Steve Palmer1 says:

    Every draw will be hard from now on, we knew that, We also knew they would make it as hard as they could. Am i bothered no, i anticipated it, am i worried no, more worried about Everton . One game at a time. If we play our stuff, we can beat anybody

  25. YW says:


    > Every draw will be hard from now on, we knew that

    Some draws are harder than others…

  26. C says:


    I would gladly take Draxler, but he could be had for a lower price to; maybe some sort of swap or loan deal similar to what we did when we signed Gabriel.

  27. nicky says:

    Bayern Munich must be dreading having to meet mighty Arsenal so early in the KO stage.
    Winners of their group with PSG in it. Runners-up in the EPL last season (the toughest league in the world). Lying second in the EPL this season. Playing well and scoring (36 goals in 15 games). A frightening prospect. 😉

  28. C says:

    On the topic of Jenks, I think his days are numbered if not already up. Gabriel playing there and more importantly playing well there along with the fact that Arsene has alluded to both the development of Maitland-NIles there and the versatility of Holding and Gabriel; can’t see a way back for Jenks.

  29. Birdkamp says:

    If we go into the tie with half a side as we’ve often done in the past then it will be difficult. If we can field something close to Saturday’s team then we’ll have a better chance than any time in the last few years.

  30. C says:

    For all the talk of us getting Bayern again, PSG have Barca either in the group stage or KO round for something like 6 straight years running.

    There are some really interesting matchups though:
    Sevilla v Leicester
    Dortmund v Benfica – this has a real shot of having both clubs score 10 or 11 goals each over two legs.
    Porto v Juve will have some unbelievable skill on display and is likely to really take a moment of brilliance to win this one

  31. Birdkamp says:

    I think it’s a Bayern side with serious players, but coming to the end of a cycle now with Lahm, Robben and Ribery all still vital but winding down. They’re still one of the superclubs, but are going to have to make a gigantic signing or two next summer to stay up there.

    Maybe Alexis if we can’t agree!

  32. C says:


    I would actually think the only spot where they would have “better” quality would be on the flanks given the likes of Ribery, Costa, etc.; but outside of that, we are more than capable of going toe to toe with them.

  33. C says:


    I actually think they are in a really good position moving forward with the likes of Douglas Costa to easily replace Robben and with Ancelloti not afraid to use Sanches on the flanks and if they move Mueller back to his more natural place on the right or left wing; they are in actually pretty good position moving forward. Naturally replacing Lahm not just in his play (which he is still playing at such a high level) but what he brings to the squad will be massive for them. I do think that Kimmich will be massive for Bayern moving forward, that lad really does have the makings of one of the best all around players in Europe.

  34. Birdkamp says:


    Yeah, as of now we match up well. But of course a lot can happen between now and February.

    It’s odd how a couple of the players that were part of the Guardiola setup have been sidelined, like Douglas Costa and Coman. It looks quite a lot like that excellent 12-13 side they had. Only four years older. Obviously still first-rate, but they can’t be as strong as other times we’ve played them.

  35. Orson Kaert says:

    So we could suffer injuries between now and February, so could Bayern even though they will have a mid-season break. Look at it this way, Merts and Welbeck should be back, Cazorla could be available, Mustafi will be fit. We could even have Draxler in the squad.

    Not the greatest of draws but I bet the Spuds wish they had been in the pot.

  36. C says:


    That’s so true not to mention, the form of some of the Bayern players like Mueller could change as well (consider he only has what, 1 goal this season).

    It has been strange how Costa and Coman have been in and out of the line-up. The stranger part is that Bayern with Costa in the line-up have looked scary good even with Mueller struggling for goals but Ancellotti refuses to keep him as a regular. They are still an excellent side that are capable of beating any club in Europe, but as you said, they are 4 years older and haven’t seemed to fully grasp Ancellotti.

    An injury to Boateng for Bayern would be even more of a massive loss than it would be if we were to lose Kos.

  37. Bill says:


    Neither Coman or Costa has been much of a threat to score which limits their upside. That was not as much of a problem for Pep because he had other options but its a bigger issue now that Mueller is off to such a slow start. You follow it a lot more closely then I but based on what little I have seen and read I think Coman is analogous to Ox with tons of potential but Costa brings more potential for end product but even he is still not the threat that Ribery and Robben were.

  38. HenryB says:

    Orson Kaert:
    So we could suffer injuries between now and February, so could Bayern even though they will have a mid-season break.Look at it this way, Merts and Welbeck should be back, Cazorla could be available, Mustafi will be fit.We could even have Draxler in the squad.

    Not the greatest of draws but I bet the Spuds wish they had been in the pot.

    It is all your fault, Orsey, I leave you alone for five minutes, and when I get back you have sold us out to Bayern – how very dare you – I will sell your cart from under you!!

    Bloody flippin’ eck – you demanded Wenger had to get us winning the group – now look what has happened!. Or was it Mr C I left in charge? — Well one of you – or it might have been cheeky Nicky – you know what he’s like? 😀

  39. HenryB says:


    Having arrived late at the party and despite knowing the result of the CL draw I rather enjoyed the Post and who knows, it may well have benefitted from the marination of the footie draw. 🙂

    I think you were being a little harsh on poor old Arsene – just because he said that he seemed to have forgotten the players contracts again does not mean he is suffering from déjà vu and memory loss at the same time. Or does it? 🙂

  40. C says:


    The problem that both Costa and Coman face has nothing to do with their goal scoring this season, its more Ancellotti’s preference for Ribery and Robben when fit. Costa last season was arguably one of the top 5 wingers in Europe; the problem this season for him isn’t form but Ancellotti’s preference. Coman was actually spectacular more often than not last season especially in the CL but with Ancellotti using Mueller on the flanks, he has now dropped down to 4th. Ancellotti in this regards is very much like Arsene, stays loyal to players a bit too long and so far it has been mixed bag of results this season. I wouldn’t put Coman and Ox in the same category because Coman really has broken through and played well for 3 of the biggest clubs (PSG, Juve, Bayern) and his dropping is because a change in manager more than a drop in form. We are still waiting on the Ox (though recent signs are most promising but we shall see).

  41. C says:


    Nope, I was actually hoping secretly PSG would top the group! Blame Orsey.

  42. Bill says:


    Coman may have been brilliant but he still does not score very much and no matter how many brilliant players you have on the pitch it comes to nothing if no one scores. This season Mueller only has 1 league goal and they don’t have as much freedom to play someone on the front line who is not much of a threat to score. The math is very straight forward. We would run into the same issue with Ox if Theo or Alexis stopped scoring and had only 1 league goal.

  43. Bill says:

    No way I can prove this but put Ox into one of Pep’s Munich teams and he would probably look a lot more brilliant then he has in the last couple of seasons. However, his lack of “end product” would be more of an issue with this current Munich side and he would not look as good.

  44. C says:


    I don’t think it is or ever will be that simple especially when you consider that the style of futbol they played the wide man are providers before they are goal scorers. Even under Pep it was like that with Robben and Ribery when they were fit. What if I told you that Ribery’s best goal output during a league season was only 12 goals, would you believe? I think there is a notion that both are some free scoring wingers and while Robben has had 2 seasons where he has scored more than 12 goals (09/10 scored 16 and 14/15 scored 17); for the most part they average around 10 goals per a season but are brilliant when it comes to creating for the likes of Mueller, Lewandowski, Manzudiac, Gomes and the other strikers that have played at Bayern during this time. Coman is no different, he can score goals but lets not also forget that he just turned 20.

    I think you have to look at Bayern as a most polished and technically skilled passing version of Fergie’s style of play to where the strikers get all the goals and the wide man are more there to create and hit teams on the break as opposed to being natural goal scorers. Arsenal are different because its the front 4 that carry the goal scoring for us be it collectively or a pair of them.

  45. C says:


    Ox wouldn’t get into a typical Pep side because of his inconsistent passing and dribbling to be honest. Its not a knock on Ox the talent, but its a product of him developing his touch. Sure he is capable of playing a beautiful ball like he did for Ozil’s goal over the weekend, but you also have to remember that before that he couldn’t make a 5 yard pass to an Arsenal player. To my mind, its one of the reasons that Sterling has seen less match time at Citeh.

  46. Bill says:

    Players like Ox or Coman or even Draxler are facilitators. Great facilitators are a huge asset but the objective of attacking is to score goals and facilitators need the players around them to be playing well and scoring goals in order for their facilitation to help the team get results. We talked about this endlessly last season and we almost all agreed. Ozil had one of the best statistical seasons of any creative midfielder in the PL in this century last year but we still struggled.

  47. HenryB says:


    Nope, I was actually hoping secretly PSG would top the group!Blame Orsey.

    OK, C, will blame OK for the Bayern thing (Nicky is too nice to have paid UEFA to stuff Arsenal) but sadly —- I will have to blame you —- if we had come 2nd we would have drawn Barca —– there must be something going on with these stupid draws. Who can believe these games are interesting?
    Crap merchants are loose in UEFA determined to put the hex on the gunners.

  48. HenryB says:


    Just read thru your chat with Bill — he often tells me that you, and he, have discussed something, or other, over the previous 8 years, when I raise an issue – and my goodness I believe him!

    Yacketty Yack – what’s up Zack!! 😀

  49. Bill says:


    I know you love a specific style of play but you I have always thought you over rate the importance of the polished technical skill and passing and creativity. My evidence comes from watching us for the last 12 years. Arsene’s philosophy and tactics have always been closer to those you admire then any team in the PL and we have had more technical skill and creativity and been the best passing team in the league for nearly the entire Emitates era but we have never been able to get over the top. I can’t prove it but I suspect Pep’s team would have struggled if they did not have Messi, Villa, Alexis, Mueller, Lewandowski, Robben etc etc etc. Our teams have struggled despite a distinct advantage in technical skill because we either leaked to many goals or we did not have enough firepower to turn those passes into goals scored.

  50. C says:


    I think I can take the blame, (agree can’t blame nicky but Orsey, different story). I guess UEFA figured, “Hey we gave Arsene Monaco and they cocked that up pretty badly, so back to status quo for them.”

    Merchants are running lose, maybe, just maybe we can throw a wrench into their plans; I mean we do get the 2nd leg at home……though it didn’t help us again Milan!

  51. C says:


    Its going down a familiar road. Lets switch topics to Everton shall we!

    ———-Xhaka——-Le Coq or Elneny

  52. Bill says:


    We thought our early Emirate era teams during the peak of Cesc and the Wengerball era played some of the best and most elegant football in the world. Despite that, Mourinho’s Chelsea teams which we thought were boring defensive teams and tactical neanderthals outscored us.

    Regarding your line up for Everton, I like it and I would be happy to see us try using Perez and Walcott on the wings but I doubt Arsene will play Theo, Alexis and Perez together. We can’t drop Alexis which means if we use Perez then Theo probably starts on the bench and there is no reason to think he needs the rest. What we have been doing has been very successful so why change anything?

  53. C says:


    Why does Theo go to the bench is Perez starts? I’m confused, Perez plays CF and LW, Theo plays RW and Theo is scoring and Perez is scoring. Giroud is on the bench so we have CF cover. You literally just baffled me with that, is it because you want Ox to start?

  54. C says:

    For those that care, the Rams have just fired there head coach Jeff Fischer after he lost yesterday only a couples days after he signed a contract entension. Fischer is tied all time with losses for a head coach.

  55. Bill says:

    There is no reason that Walcott and Perez could not start together except that in the entire Emirates era Arsene has almost always wanted to start at least one player who might be considered a “false winger”. May be he will surprise us but he has rarely deviated from that tactical set up which means I suspect he will start either Ox or Iwobe which only leaves one wing left over for Walcott or Perez.

  56. Bill says:

    I would really like to see Alexis, Walcott and Perez play together but I would be surprised if Arsene did that. In fairness to Arsene, you can’t argue with the results we have been getting recently and its hard to justify changing something that has been working.

  57. C says:


    Perez bagged a hattrick in the CL, hard to exclude him no?

  58. C says:

    If we didn’t already have Mustafi and Kos, I would most certainly say lets make a run at signing Thiago Silva whose contract is up in the summer. He is still easily one of the top 3 CB’s in the World and at 32 still has 2-3 years left at that level.

  59. Bill says:


    We both want Perez and Walcott to start but do really think that is what will happen?

    You know that I have never been a fan of using central midfielders on the wing but Arsene has done it for 12 years and it seems unlikely that he will start listening to me now. May be he will surprise us but if he was going to start Perez to take advantage of the momentum from his hat trick then why not start him against Stoke?

  60. Orson Kaert says:


    I didn’t know Derby County played yesterday, I also didn’t know that Jeff Fischer was their head coach.

    I’m confused.

  61. C says:

    Silly season has started,

    Jenks linked with loan to Villa.

  62. G4E says:

    Back to the Pipe Dream of beating Bayern Munich and going on to win the Champions League!

  63. C says:


    I think both can start as long as we have Giroud fit. Not starting both made sense when Giroud wasn’t fit because we had no CF back-up, a Plan B if you may off the bench. I also think that in the “false winger” type you could think of Perez in the mould of Pires; remember Pere was winger type prior to last season.

  64. Orson Kaert says:


    A Kroenke franchise sacks a coach? Watch out Wenger!

  65. Orson Kaert says:

    C thanks for the clarification, Derby County are also The Rams, to make it even more confusing their home ground used to be The Baseball Ground.

  66. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Yup, sacked him only a little more than half a season into the new stadium and a couple days after signing him to an extension!

    Bloodie English!

  67. C says:


    Ramsey and not because I don’t like him but as far as quality wise it works. Wolfsburg needs midfield help and Draxler would be brilliant on either flank. Plus with Jack likely to get an extension plus the talk of Santi getting one as well. Add go that Iwobi and Adelaide coming through; think we could afford it even if its a loan with option to buy.

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