French trio sign on, others still don’t and RIP, Graham Taylor

Apparently, it was too soon to crack Graham Taylor jokes, even gentle ribbing, so I’ll pat that into the back pocket and keep it safe for another day. Instead, the order of the day is the signing of contract extensions by three of Arsenal’s French contingent.

Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny all signed new deals with not one jot given for Arsène’s future. Arguably, they are trio whose loyalty to Wenger is unswerving after the impact he had on their careers. Maybe there is some French ‘Omerta’, and they all know the situation. Either way, it didn’t stop them signing on the dotted line.

At his press conference this morning, Arsène offered the view that no news was good news as far as other players were concerned.

It is important that we have stability in our squad and they are part of that. We are in the process with others.

“We always speak, I speak more with [Özil’s] agent on the contract than with him.

“Let’s not forget all these players have 18 months to go, that is a long time in football. I’m very relaxed”

Eighteen months is the contract length, but there’s a decision to be made this summer by the club. If there’s no movement, do they sell and recoup some money to find replacements? If they do that, why not just pay what is being asked, if money is the issue? Some of the stalemates are probably down to that, but there will be other factors too. Wenger was keen to point out that it wasn’t his contract talks which were holding up Mesut Özil’s deal. “I think he has been a bit misinterpreted,” he said. “I don’t think that is the main part of his decision.”

French trio new deals not surprising

Of the French players, all of them were pretty much nailed on to sign new contracts. Giroud, Wenger observed yesterday, was more “comfortable” with his situation of not being the first-choice striker. It’s fired him up, but he’s always scored in bursts. Not knowing when the barren spell is about to strike is half the problem. With the burden of being the squad’s primary source of goals is perhaps sitting better with him at the moment.

Laurent Koscielny is a world-class centre back; we’ve seen the progress he’s made since the nervy first seasons before blossoming into probably the best centre-back in the Premier League. If not the best, then certainly in the top four. Perhaps there’s a symmetry in him finishing fourth in that list.

It will be interesting to see how Coquelin develops. We got lucky with a player Wenger previously looked to sell. Revisionism dictates otherwise, but the point is that a good midfielder has emerged. If he is to continue his development, a place in Les Bleus starting XI will benefit him, but I suspect Coquelin is a man out of time with N’Golo Kante showing no sign of relenting in his pursuit of defensive perfection. Does Arsene rue not trying to sign him?

Graham Taylor, Rest In Peace

The former England manager passed away yesterday and much-maligned in his time; it’s hard to find anyone who has a bad word for him. He had the misfortune to follow Bobby Robson as expectations were higher than their already unrealistic levels. Italia ’90 was (eventually) successful and supposedly laid the groundwork for future generations. Euro ’92 and USA ’94? The less said, the better.

Taylor wasn’t blameless. His Watford side provided more of a long-ball template than any club which followed, Wimbledon included. I remember seeing their rise from the lower reaches of the Football League – they, Swansea and Swindon all featured in a promotion ‘battle royal’ in 1978/79 when the top five of the old Division Two finished the season separated by four points. No play-off agony or glory, just a straightforward three-up, three-down.

The core of that squad went on, with Swansea, to become Arsenal’s bogey sides in the early to mid-80s when we couldn’t beat Watford for love nor money. When he got the England job, the abuse he received from the media, well, if it were an animal on the receiving end, the RSPCA would have prosecuted. Did he not like that? No, but it was the England job, and he was nothing if not a proud Englishman.

On the subject of that documentary, Taylor received the ridicule, but I thought Phil Neal came out of it considerably worse. Stewart Houston’s nickname of ‘Cone Man’ might belittle his contribution but Neal was quite simply a parrot. Anything his boss said, Neal repeated; a tape stuck in a loop.

Impact on the Arsenal squad at the time

Taylor held us in his rapture at Villa, winning three of the four meetings when he was in charge. People forget that he took Villa to second in 1989/90; he was the best English manager at the time, but the national team was even more of a poisoned chalice then than it is now.

He gave Ian Wright his debut for his country at a time but arguably killed Alan Smith’s when he brought him on to end national treasure Gary Lineker’s international career, one short of Bobby Charlton’s record. Oh, how Lineker rues the pathetic penalty against Brazil at Wembley.

He had a patchy record as far as others were concerned. Paul Merson made his England début under Taylor, but the most I can immediately recall about his caps is the brace he scored in Czechoslovakia. During his reign, Lee Dixon became first-choice right back, but inexplicably David Seaman was the second choice behind Chris Woods.

Most of all, you’ll hear the phrase “football man” used about Taylor in the coming days. That seems a fitting tribute to the man.

’til Tomorrow.

58 thoughts on “French trio sign on, others still don’t and RIP, Graham Taylor

  1. Orson Kaert says:

    Good morning, even if it is snowing quite heavily here, that’s quite heavily for Norfolk of course.

  2. Orson Kaert says:

    Clever bit of PR by the Arsenal propaganda propagators, our three re-signings and some regular bull-shit about stability etc, blows smoke over our lack of real signings.

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Nice piece on Graham Taylor YW. Easy to ridicule him for the TV documentary. I’ve only ever heard good things about Taylor as a person.

    The Press got their talons into Taylor after the Euro 92 defeat to Sweden. Turnips / Swedes. Many forget that Saint Bobby Robson got similar treatment before turning it round in 1990. Do you remember the ‘In the name of Allah, GO!’ Mirror headline after England drew with Saudi Arabia?

  4. C says:

    Ofcourse those three would sign, the interesting part is that of them, Giroud is the one that more so than the others makes you think that Arsene is coming back. Kos and Le Coq would certainly make the grade for a new man coming in; a 30 set to be 31 year old striker who has purple patches but never scored 20 PL goals in a season, might not be what the new man wants.

    Le Coq doesn’t just have Kante, he has quite a couple in front of him not just Kante but Rabiot and Matuidi as well; doesn’t mean much of anything as the Les Blues aren’t much of anything.

  5. C says:

    I wonder if Ozil and Sanchez are looking for the club to invest and see how they will invest along with clarity about the managerial situation.

  6. Orson Kaert says:

    When you consider that by today’s standards every England manager since Sir Alf Ramsey should be considered a failure. ie, have not won a major international tournament for fifty-one years between them. It never fails to amaze me that anyone is prepared to take on the job in the first place.

    They, the former England managers, have all been pilloried and ridiculed when the people who should take a very large portion of the blame, the players, are praised, lauded and given vast salaries for talking about something they were not very good at themselves, namely winning international tournaments.

    From Golden Generations to The Next Big Thing, they all proved to be losers. Players like Beckham and Gerard become, at least in the minds of the sports hacks, National Treasures. Perhaps they should rather be labeled National Disasters.

    I have a certain sneaking regard for a few past managers, Venables, Robson, to an extent Hoddle, and even Taylor. For the rest of them I wouldn’t give tuppence.

  7. Orson Kaert says:

    Hmm, the snows stopped before any real accumulation, pity, I’ve had an all wheel drive Subaru for three years and never the chance to try it in difficult conditions, oh well there’s always next year.

  8. C says:

    Other thing from Arsene’s presser is that he referenced Jenks moving in 2-3 days possibly. With Bellerin out, I think Gabriel will get the nod at RB.

  9. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    I wish we had snow, I’ve been waiting for the cold all winter and instead it has been 50-70 and its driving me crazy!

  10. Ras says:

    Good afternoon blue Mediterranean skies with a prevailing easterly wind. A temperature high of 12.

    Re Contract Sanchez if its about money we sell TW and his 100 plus per week be divided between Mesut and Alexis. That would sort it.

  11. C says:

    Ras,

    Or we sell Ramsey and Ox use their wages for Ozil and Sanchez and the money received goes to our shiny new CF or goal scoring LW!

  12. Orson Kaert says:

    C,

    You set an unrealistically high value on Ramsey and the Ox then. 😀

  13. buckagh says:

    C,

    This will drag on to the end of the season and the same question will be asked at every interview or press conference its hard to believe its the money as replacing them won’t be less expensive, but if its not done and dusted by end of season, they should leave as quickly as possible thereafter, has Ozil got a queue of clubs after him willing to pay the 40 million transfer and 250,000 per week wages doubt it, Sanchez has more leverage undoubtedly, but if he doesn’t sign by May let’s get on with it.

  14. HenryB says:

    Morning C and Ras,

    I switch on and immediately I am gifted a smile by you two!! 🙂

    Ras, you suggested selling C’s son, Theo, and splitting his £100k + salary between Sanchez and Mesut!! OMG ……. sacrilege …….

    C, comes out fighting to save his son, Theo — no, no — sell the Ox and Rambo instead, and save Theo – the combined salaries of the Ox-Bo can be given to Mesut/Sanchez combo instead!

    You did not really expect to get away with selling Theo, Ras, did you??? 😀

    [I think you are right – Theo is not due back from his latest injury until September, 2017.]

  15. C says:

    buckagh,

    I don’t think its the money either, I think both Ozil and Sanchez want some type of investment in the squad moving forward that will help them win silverware. I think it is comes to the summer and neither have signed, it would most certainly leave a massive cloud over the club and would make for quite an interesting summer. I personally don’t have faith in the club to find quality attacking players to replace them but more than that it would be a question of would players want to come seeing the Ozil and Sanchez situation. I think if there was true doubt about Ozil leaving that there would be clubs more than willing; its already known that both Juve and Bayern are monitoring the situation and I wouldn’t be surprised if there were others. Sanchez well surely clubs would come calling for him.

  16. C says:

    HenryB,

    Good morning to you to my friend!

    You know I couldn’t even if I was just having a bit of fun (well sort of)! 😉

  17. HenryB says:

    C,

    A synopsis of the Wenger press conference from AFC’s official blog.

    on links to Andrea Belotti…
    That’s what you call today ‘fake news’.

    on if there was a bid for Belotti…
    No.

    on if Arsenal have interest in Alvaro Morata…
    We have Welbeck coming back, we have Giroud, we have Alexis, we have Walcott, we have Lucas, who is doing very well now as well. We have Chuba Akpom coming back as well, we have Sanogo – we have a high number of strikers.

    on Carl Jenkinson’s future…
    It’s a possibility that he will move in the next two or three days. It’s a possibility.

    on whether he will go to Crystal Palace…
    You sound well-informed.

    on whether it’s just a matter of time…
    It’s possible, yes. I cannot tell you much more because we have not come to any conclusion yet.

    on whether he will look around for a replacement right back…
    We still have Mathieu Debuchy who is injured and Gabriel who plays there as well. We have Bellerin, so we are not short in this position which is why we’ve allowed one of the players to go out because they have less opportunity to play.

    on whether Carl Jenkinson’s possible move means Mathieu Debuchy will stay…
    The door is not definitely closed, but it depends on the quality of the opportunities he will have.

    My theory that no transfers in = good news still holds. 🙂

  18. Orson Kaert says:

    The whole contract saga hinges on the board. If they had any guts they would say to Wenger sign now or leave now. Either way the club would be able to plan for the next transfer window, targets could be established and prices, salaries etc could be discussed in advance.

    As it is they, and Wenger, are holding the club in limbo.

    If Wenger left now, there may be a meltdown, there may be a meltdown even if he stays, but the new manager would have half a season to evaluate the squad and identify areas of concern before making the changes he judge to be necessary.

    As it is I suppose we will stagger on until May.

  19. buckagh says:

    C,

    C,

    There has been investment in the club which they were part of and there has further investment since we have a more than decent squad and surely there is some responsibility on players to deliver along with the manager I would like to see managerial change but its not likely and no garunetees of winning if it were to happen, there aren’t many bigger clubs than Arsenal so you either want to stay and play and try to make it happen or you don’t. IMO its tantamount to the Payet/ Fabergas/Van Pierse situation a little more subtle at the moment, of course they could go to that powerhouse of football China get all the money and pollution you want there

  20. Orson Kaert says:

    C,

    That doesn’t seem to be the case with Jenkinson.

    How can Wenger say things about our right back situation and keep a straight face? To paraphrase, we’re selling Jenkinson for peanuts, we’ve got Debuchy, who’s injured and desperate to leave, we have Gabriel, who has just settled into the centreback role, who can fill in in an emergency, and we have Bellerin, notice there is no mention of Maitland-Niles.

    We are just one Danny Rose style tackle away from a right back crisis, but that’s okay because we don’t suffer injuries do we?

  21. Orson Kaert says:

    Oh dear, how quickly the fresh white snow turns to ugly, grey slush. A bit like Arsenal’s last few seasons isn’t it?

  22. C says:

    HenryB,

    It does, though the Giroud contract extension puts a bit of doubt into that.

    Hopefully Bill doesn’t see that as he still thinks that Arsene didn’t buy a striker because of Iwobi 😉 . Probably an even more strange situation than our what’s going on with our manager is teh curious case of Yaya Sanogo. Last time I heard Arsene talking about him he said that his injury and the details of his injury are “Confidential”. Wait what, I like Yaya, but I didn’t think his injury problem was this bad.

    Sell Jenks, sell Debuchy, promote Maitland-NIles, seems pretty straight forward to me especially with Gabriel and Mustafi capable of playing there.

  23. C says:

    buckagh,

    There has been investment, problem is as I see, teh investments aren’t being used. For instance, I get he was out injured but why hasn’t Perez been used as he has shown across all competitions that he should be starting at LW and if not there then on the RW or centrally. The other thing is, Arsene and his future have left the club in quite a spot. You say you either want to be here or you don’t about the players, I say if a manager by half way through their final year isn’t sure if he wants to carry on then please leave and make it known so there isn’t a black cloud hanging over the club. I don’t for one instance think that its purely the money that Ozil and Sanchez are after. There may not be many clubs bigger but, and I am not being cruel just taking a look around European futbol, some of our players wouldn’t make it or be given the chances at other big clubs.

  24. HenryB says:

    And of course, C, we have Calum Chambers waiting in the wings – and I think you said he was playing well on loan.

    January is a crap time to get into the transfer market, and by the summer either AW will stay, or we will have a new manager and that is when the transfer activity will make more sense.

    A clear out should happen whatever the managerial situation, and it will be very interesting.

  25. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Can’t argue with that, unfortunately Debuchy was always a stopgap but turned out, through injuries to open the door for Bellerin. Jenks and Debuchy simply can’t do it so sell them. Gabriel has just now settled in at CB (he has done a better job than he gets credit for) but I think he can do a job at RB. The interesting thing is I think Mustafi can actually do a better job than Gabriel and Mustafi will also provide us with that attacking threat. No mention of Maitland-NIles but I think he is being groomed the same way that Bellerin was; a winger / midfielder with plenty of pace and now making the transition to RB. I have seen people kill this kid for his first half against Preston, I wonder if they realize this is his first season playing RB and last season while on loan was a box-to-box midfielder.

    RB situation, mate Arsene is still counting Yaya (who I like just unfortunate) in his striker count; enough said.

  26. C says:

    HenryB,

    Chambers has played well at CB on loan now that he is playing regularly. The contrast in his play at RB and CB is mind blowing to be honest.

    I do tend to agree though, the clearout that could take place could be quite sweeping. Yes we the French trio got new contracts but then you look at the squad and Santi and Mert with a new man probably don’t get new contracts, and then you essentially have Ox, Ramsey, Theo, Jack (I saw a report saying Arsenal are waiting to see before even entering contract talks with him), Gibbs, Welbeck and a couple others whose contract, if memory serves, runs out either in 2018 or 2019.

    Are squad could look quite different next season.

  27. HenryB says:

    I agree, C, and in many ways a new manager could easily start with a blank page and re-write the whole ethos of the squad selection, the philosophy, strategy and tactics.

    My wish is that Arsene will choose to leave it at that, and gracefully retire, with the new man given his blessing – but addictions are difficult to shake – and managing Arsenal is undoubtedly an addiction – you and I would do it like a shot, wouldn’t we?? 😀

  28. Orson Kaert says:

    C,

    It looks to me like Wenger’s notorious blind spot about defenders is rearing it’s ugly head again. Maitland-Niles, a midfielder being squeezed into the fullback role. Chambers bought as a central defender, played at fullback and spoken of as a future midfeilder. Gabriel bought as a central defender, played as a full back, moved back to central defence but still seen as a stand in at rightback.

    Chambers is having a good season at Middlesborough in the centreback role, I expect to see him return to Arsenal and told to play midfield…or in goal maybe.

  29. Ras says:

    C,

    All is possible C. It would be a plausible way of dealing with it.

    I have just been watching AW Press Conference from this morning. He gives nothing away when asked by a journo about Ozi contract situation etc. There is a very slight roll of his eyes upwards but other than that AW is dead pan. There is no reading this man at all from his body language.

    I think he is going to stay another year maybe two.

  30. buckagh says:

    C,

    Yeah sames goes for the Manager his contract should have been sorted one way or the other in 2016 but the board and Gazidis appear helpless regarding Arsene. Kronke is also the problem quite happy to keep the status quo, I think YW mentioned it on here that Gazidis and board appear to be Stans puppets and since he has no interest in winning on the pitch it is what it is,
    Couldn’t agree more with you on the use of the squad,I know we all have our opinions on who should go but a clear out is required is Arsene the man to do it?

  31. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    Resigning Le Coq and Kos were no brainers. We spent about $40M last summer for 2 players who we thought were DM but at least so far both look like they fit better in the Cazorla position in front of a player like Le Coq so he is our best option for a true defensive minded central. His technical skill is not as strong as Xhaka or Elneny but he is certainly capable of making short passes and maintaining ball possession which is all that is really required of your deepest midfielder.

  32. C says:

    HenryB,

    Yup, the thing that will be most interesting is how the supporters take to it all.

    I would love to have a shot at it! I think that is ultimately the hope for all, Arsene bow out gracefully.

  33. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Haha and even before them it was Le Coq playing as a FB. I think Maitland-Niles was always destined for the flanks but didn’t think FB but I do think he can make thr transition. Don’t forget that Bellerin was a winger!

    Chambers is playing well at CB, hell the Middlesbrough manager must be friends with Arsene because he tried him at RB and it was a disaster! I mean we are lacking in midfielders that can stay fit 🙂

  34. C says:

    buckagh,

    Yup, how can we complain when our best players don’t sign when the manager is unsure but under no pressure to decide his own future.
    Not sure Arsene is the man because of fierce loyalty.

  35. Bill says:

    A new contract for Giroud was definitely not a no brainer IMO. We should have bought a better CF 3 seasons ago when we first started talking about him. We obviously need him again this season because our consecutive run of top 4 seasons is in some danger and we need every point we can get. Giroud has proven to be our most influential outfield player when he is in one of his good patches. However, his inconsistency means that we can’t count on him to be the lead striker if our objective is to win the league in future seasons. If resigning Giroud will prevent us from buying a better striker then the new contract is a mistake, IMO.

  36. Ras says:

    HenryB,

    Salut Henri you got to try and be inventive. It could be the other way as C has noted. Ox n Ramsey. In fact while I’m scribing I would go as far as all 3. The Ox has been given umpteen number of chances to impress the Manager. The Ox has not been dreadful he just has not been formidable. I guess AW guesses that there is possibly more to come from him. Do I think so personally? No but this is just my view.

    What we are going to find out for SURE over the next few matches is whether this pivot of Ramsey and Shakka has any legs in it all. Was AW waxing lyrically this morning that Le Coq is not so far off from a return?

    I do hope that in training etc there has been some work put in that particular area. It is commonly known that AW and Arsenal do not do the tactical stuff.

    I also think that Xhakia over reliance on his left foot can against better teams lead to issues on the pitch. He refuses point blank to accept, pass or even play the ball with his right foot. If you took his left away he’d fall almost certainly fall over I think.

    As many know although a midfield player Ozil’s defensive duties are little if any in this Arsenal team. We really play 2 in midfield AR and Xhakia are going to have seriously work in tandem. it is going to be interesting to watch it unfold

  37. Orson Kaert says:

    Ras,

    So long as he plays as a central defender, I’ve no problem with him being given a game or two, I just think he should be allowed to develop in that position and not be messed about having to play fullback.

  38. Bill says:

    Alexis played well earlier in the season at CF but it was inevitable that he and
    Theo could not carry us thru and entire season and despite a great run of form in Sept/Oct we sit in 5th place after 20 games. Myself I think for the sake of the team the best position for Alexis is LW. He is certainly capable of getting high teens in goals scored from the LW and there are very other players in the world not named Bale, Ronaldo, Messi or may be Neymar who can score that many goals from the wide forward spot. Alexis is good at CF but we can’t replace the goals he can give us from a wide position. Its about numbers and we need to buy another CF who is capable of getting us mid 20’s in goals and you add the mid to high teens from Alexis from a wide position and we really would have something.

  39. C says:

    Cech
    Gabriel—–Mustafi—Kos—-Nacho
    ———Xhaka———Ramsey——
    —————Ozil————
    Perez——–Sanchez——Iwobi

    Naturally GIroud will probably start and in that case Sanchez goes to the LW and Perez stays on the RW.

  40. Sam says:

    C
    think Perez is far better on the left. We have an awful lot of left footers in this current team/squad.

    someone above was damning Debuchy with faint praise as a ‘stopgap’. He was France’s first choice FB and an automatic starter until his horrible injury. He was (hopefully still is) a very good defender.

  41. C says:

    Its getting ugly between Payet and West Ham and Bilic is exactly the type of straight shooter manager that seems to really take the stance, “Nobody, not even me, is bigger than the club!” Bilic:

    ‘It has left me sad, angry, but at the moment Dimitri has said he will not play for the club, so I have no alternative but to plan for Saturday’s match without him,’

    ‘He will not train with the rest of the squad and the club’s position remains consistent, which is that he is not for sale.

    ‘It would be much, much better if this had not happened and that he had remained committed to West Ham, but that is not the case, so life goes on.

    ‘Many times over the years, clubs have lost quality players but gained a team. There is no point in saying we won’t miss Dimitri Payet because the fans know – we know – that he is a great player.

    ‘What I mean, though, is, for example, when a team has a player sent off, somehow that often gives the rest of the players more energy, they dig deeper.’

  42. C says:

    Sam,

    Perez can play on either flank, same goes for Sanchez. In my line-up you could easily switch Iwobi to the RW and Perez to the LW. with that front 4 their would be movement that could see all 4 and the various positions as the match dictates. The thing I think most about Perez on the RW is that so many of his runs are from outside in which means that when he receives the ball on the move it will be on his preferred foot and allow him to just shoot with that magic left boot he has. We do have quite a few left footed players (Ozil, Giroud, Xhaka, Perez) but we also have quite a few right footed players (Sanchez, Theo, Ox, Ramsey, Iwobi).

    That was me saying that Debuchy was a stopgap but I also said that it was my opinion as I even said at that time that I wouldn’t have bought him and preferred either promoting Bellerin or bringing in another quality RB (at the time I banged on about Alderweild, Aurier, Janmaat, Jung, or Ochs). Yes he was first choice RB for France but don’t forget that was in part because Sagna had got injured and then wasn’t playing week in and week out. Yes his injuries played a part but since his arrival at Arsenal he has been okay.

  43. Bill says:

    C

    Is that the line up that you prefer or the one you think gives us the best chance to win the game? There seems to be a difference. Iwobe has not given us any positive influence at LW for the last 2+ months and Giroud has scored the winner or equalizing goal in the last 4 games. Clearly our most effective line up would be Giroud at CF and Perez/Alexis out wide. No?

  44. C says:

    Bill,

    No, Giroud can come on in the last 20-30 mins because don’t forget in those matches he was shit and looked completely disinterested until the 60-70 min so he comes on for Iwobi in the 60′.

  45. Bill says:

    C:

    I suspect your distaste for Giroud and emotional attachment to Iwobe may have clouded your thinking because I think there are several large holes in your logic.

    1) The entire team was abysmal until minute 70 including Iwobe and even Perez and Alexis. Xhaka was really poor, so why focus on Giroud?

    2) Giroud has rescued us 4 games in a row and he started all of those games. Much harder to have the same influence if you don’t play before minute 70. You always want to give the players you count on to score a goal as many minutes as possible. Next game he might score in minute 17 and we won’t have to go to 90th minute with the result still in doubt.

    3) Iwobe has not given us any positive influence from the forward position for almost 3 months so what logical reason could there be to think that starting him will give us the best chance to win?

  46. Bill says:

    Any updates on Theo? I thought he was injured getting ready for the West Brom game and the first report was a minor calf injury and he would only miss 1 game, but that was 3 weeks ago.

    Ozil has also missed 3 weeks because of an unknown illness. I can’t ever remember someone missing that much time for an illness. I wonder if there was something going on that we don’t know about in his personal life? Alexis has not played for almost 2 weeks. I have always thought the idea that Arsene overuses his players is a myth. However those who believe that our players are overused should be happy because all 3 are rested and should be ready to rumble for the rest of the season. In the past whenever 4th place was at risk in the second half of the season we have always found a way to fight thru the knackered tired legs and the aches and pains to do what was needed to hang on to the top 4 and I am very confident we will do it again this year.

  47. -DFS says:

    A couple of things I found interesting –

    Wenger wanting to distance himself slightly from Ozil’s comments – Wenger said the interview had been taken too seriously – odd as Ozil appeared to speak clearly.

    If I was Wenger, I would have let the quotes sit there, but as he addressed them I think he confirmed suspicions on this board. That Ozil’s comments were more smart and political than anything else. Which therefore implies an Ozil exit is still a possibility and maybe Wenger felt he needed a little pre-emptive distance in case things deteriorate.

    Then we have Szczesny’s bland/uninformed comments about his situation.

    The loan deal with Roma will be ending, but he doesn’t know what’s happening. Further, he obviously has not spoken to Wenger (presumably an Arsenal representative period) on the matter but he is happy to leave it all in Wenger’s hands as ‘he has trusted him since 16’.

    Personally, at his age I would like a firm grasp on determining my own future.

    However, it’s yet another odd example of the mentality ingrained at Arsenal, that decisions big and small, deeply personal ones spin around a Wenger axis.

    I say this because, here and elsewhere this week, several of us have commented about Szczesny’s future, a potential return or not. Yet, the man himself comments he has had no discussion on the matter.

    Are we really supposed to be ahead of the Arsenal curve?

  48. Adam Singh says:

    Sad news about GT. Enjoyed his commentary on the radio. And the funny thing is comparing him to recent England managers like Mclaren, Capello and Roy he didn’t do much worse really did he?

    Looking foward to tomorrow’s game. With Le Coq and Elneny out Midfield picks itself. Only question is who’s upfront along side Sanchez. Giourd will def start so it’s either Iwobi, Perez or Ox. I’d be tempted to go with the Ox as he will provide some genuine width and should get crosses into the box playing on the right. Although Perez adds mor goal threat. Anyway I guess we’ll know tomorrow.

  49. C says:

    Bill,

    Its not emotional attachment to anybody, Iwobi has been good when Ozil was out and outside of 2 matches, Ozil has been immense so the front 4 will more than likely swap positions as the match dictates. For me, and I have said this since his arrival, Giroud is a brilliant super sub starting the odd match or so.

    Yes the whole squad was poor but it wasn’t just me, go back and read the posts and match reports, EVERYBODY was saying how Giroud was poor and looked disinterested up until the 70 in the matches when Perez came on and brought a spark with Sanchez in the PL and in the FA Cup.

    The thing is, Giroud, when not started comes on and immediately goes to work doing and being that physical presense, when he plays a whole match, he doesn’t / can’t keep that whole energy for 90′.

    Its actually not just Giroud, I am not and have NEVER been a fan of a static #9, and to my mind he is the first at Arsenal in the Arsene era. Sure Kanu was a massive lad but he was mobile and blessed with a sudden quickness and if not for Henry would have been first choice and scored loads.

    I think, to be honest, our futboling philosophies are quite different and will always be. For all the talk of Dzeko at Citeh or Ibra at Manure or even Drogba at Chelsea being the classic big physical #9’s, all were blessed with a sort of quickness and movement plus good feet. Giroud is well and truly the very definition of the classic English #9 and for me, he is a supersub CF2 even when he is scoring because when he doesn’t score he doesn’t influence a match, Sanchez when he doesn’t score still does and so do the type of CF’s that a club like Arsenal should havr as CF1 challenging or wanting to challenge for a title.

  50. C says:

    With Santi not even close to even running, I think Arsene should really consider either focusing on getting Iwobi ready defensively or dipping in the market.

  51. Wavey says:

    Bill,

    Wenger saying Theo is out for another week or two with calf injury and will definitely at least miss the Burnley match. Bellerin and Coquelin are both out. Ozil and Alexis are both available.

  52. Bill says:

    C

    I favor whichever tactics and players give us the best chance to win the game irregardless of how fast the players run or how much I like them. You know that I am not a fan of Giroud and never have been and I have been campaigning for us to get a better CF for 4 years. However, what I say can’t have any credibility if I am not willing to give credit where its due. It would be different if we had a better CF but like him or not, when Giroud is in one of his purple patches we are more likely to win with him at CF.

    If you just don’t like the guy or you would rather we play a bunch or pacey players and leave Giroud on the bench even if it might make it more difficult to win a game then to each his own. However, I can’t imagine anyone could watch us play the last 4 years and still try to make a case that leaving OG on the bench when he is in form gives us the best chance to win a game.

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