On Cups and Robbers, Unrealistic Demands and Piety

The FA Cup defence begins on the banks of the Trent. Nottingham Forest occupied a regular slot in the fixture list but reduced circumstances mean cup ties are now the only meetings. It’s the FA Cup though and that’s not until 2018. Before then, we’ve got to get our season back up to speed.

It’s strange to say that after one defeat but when your target for the campaign is a minor placing, that’s how it is. Redemption might come quickly. Sam Allardyce’s chewing gum flavoured spittle will spray the Anfield turf this weekend in the Merseyside derby. By the time that kicks-off, we’ll have taken all three points at St Mary’s. Hopefully.

Sandwiched between a meaningless European game and League Cup tie, Southampton is a testing fixture for Arsène. Not in the usual ‘graveyard of dreams’ way, but in a  ‘does he value loyalty to the players over what’s best for the team or club’ way.

I genuinely can’t remember the last time a player was dropped for poor form. We should see that this weekend without the ‘injury’ in training to save his bacon. This time, Thursday’s match against BATE will tell us much about how Wenger is approaching Southampton.

It isn’t unfeasible for a player to feature on Thursday and Sunday, but next Wednesday as well? The team which finishes the Europa League is sure to be rested this weekend. If Shkodran Mustafi’s Twilight Zone injury is as bad as made out on Saturday evening, does Wenger play Rob Holding in three games in seven days, four in ten?

The midfield likewise. Jack Wilshere isn’t up to three games in a week so an appearance on Thursday pretty much stops Xhaka getting the chop in his favour. Unless Francis Coquelin returns to the starting line-up at Southampton?

Life Begins at the Hop

Lots of ifs, buts and maybes. More answers will come at tomorrow’s press conference but the defensive performance was such that change is required.

Change at the top of the club occupies minds. Raul Sanllehi begins work after the January transfer window which comes as little surprise. Did he serve a curtailed notice period on the understanding no new job can begin for the next transfer window? Who knows.

Wenger of old never placed great store in the January window other than being a good time to buy players so they have six months to adapt to the English game. His words explaining his philosophy around the time of landing, Jose Antonio Reyes, paraphrased into mine. However, the calibre of player we must be looking at, shouldn’t need that long adaptation period. Alexandre Lacazette did, in Wenger’s mind at least.

Lemar, Goretzka, Tom, Dick and Harry; they’re all linked with us, touted around the marketplace like a cheap piece of meat. We may sign someone, but only if Sanchez or Özil are going. I’m amazed to read around this electronic world that people still think they will stay. We’re beyond that point with players, I think, no matter what the manager might think about contracts.

It’s not the most bizarre thing in the Arsenal world either. Anti-social media saw Ian Wright pulled up on criticising Arsenal, along with the other Match of the Day pundits. Who cares what they think in that setting? They are asked for an opinion and give it.

That’s life, get over it. Wright is as passionate as any ex-player but trying to pretend all is well with Arsenal is just madness. We aren’t challenging for the title or European honours; we talk the elite talk but walk it aided by a rotting cane.

Heading for the Edge of a Cliff

There’s a strange code which developed since we moved to the Emirates; ex-players must be loyal to the club or they are nothing. I saw Patrick Vieira criticised yesterday for managing NY City, one of Manchester City’s offspring.

Vieira, a City player and coach, was never courted by Arsenal once he left the club. However, because he chose to work for another former employer, his status is diminished. Apparently. Even by the standard of the Looney Toons, this is a bizarre rationale.

Supporters are goading each other into extremes and the gullible only too willing to adopt a contrarian stance. Sven Mislintat offers the view that expectations of him of out of control. “If I follow the press in England and Germany, I am expected to find a Dembelé in every transfer period,” he told Kicker. “I’m going to build an incredibly high podium.”

That view was espoused by supporters long before the press picked up on it. A seed was planted in minds and like knotweed, it over-ran them. When the English media runs with Mislintat’s interview, who will be the first to use “Christmas Time, Mislintat and Whine”?

Just me then. And no, he isn’t whining but how long before questions start about what exactly he does at the club?

I wish I could put it down to the ‘Christmas time of the year’ but you can’t. It’s nothing to do with that at all…

’til Tomorrow.

68 thoughts on “On Cups and Robbers, Unrealistic Demands and Piety

  1. Henry….please read the last comment on yesterday’s post for my reply to you…..I couldn’t be fagged to rewrite it on today’s!

  2. Sooooooooooo…. Aaron Ramsey tops the assist list this season, also scoring 3 goals. Stats.

    I wonder why he gets so much abuse?

  3. Superb display from the England cricketers. Will almost certainly get up early tomorrow to see if they’ve still got a chance of rewriting history and turning the series on it’s head

  4. JG,

    You are a lazee devil – so as I seem to owe you an apology, and I also threw in an anecdote for you, I have copy/pasted the appropriate comments from this morning.

    re JG, @ 12:04

    I don’t, as a rule, ever correct other bloggers for spelling errors or syntax, mainly because I think that’s ill mannered, but also because I do not care.

    Therefore I have no recollection of ever telling you how to spell Clattenburg, because … well see above.

    However, I am thrilled to bits to receive praise from a literary connoisseur such as your good self, and I take it that I can refer back to you whenever I am concerned about specific terminology and verb forms. 😀

    [Just between us — and because I cannot bring myself to pretend I am educated — can you have a word with those who type ‘should of’ instead of ‘should’ve’ or ‘should have’. But don’t say it was me that put you up to it! ]
    YW is exempted, of course, as he has a somewhat mordant sense of humour when riled. 😀

    5th December 2017 at 9:32 am


    The correct spelling of Clattenburg is W-I-G-G-Y or W-A-N-K-E-R

    From JG
    Good morning H ….you miserable sod !
    Because you have no recollection of it does not mean that it didn’t happen…..my memory is relatively sharp 😉
    Any road up…….on the subject of spelling irregularities and all that-I’m mindful of starting something on here as the last time I asked OK if he ate his marmalade chilled it started a mini feud with Babster calling me a heretic 😂😂
    Regarding things that bother……people that answer every fucking question they are asked with ‘so’……arrrrrrrgh 😆😆😆
    ‘Can I get?’…….no no no,it’s ‘can I have?’………and don’t get me on the overuse (and incorrect use )of ‘issue’……everything’s a bloody issue…..are we afraid to use ‘problem’ now? I blame the corporates.Then there’s ‘upspeak’ where they all go up at the end,turning everything into a question 😆😆😆😆
    Rant over

    5th December 2017 at 9:46 am

    Bobster was auto corrected…..to Babster 😂😂

    5th December 2017 at 10:49 am
    Any excuse, JG — actually, auto-correct gives me a pain in the derriere occasionally.

    I have tried to put this off, but it is no good — please accept my profuse apologies for questioning your spelling of Clattenburg — altho I think it was Orse who was the guilty party. 🙂

    Anyway, clearly I would have been wrong to do so, because YW has now given the correct spelling — of the esteemed refs name, above, and I know I would have got that wrong. 🙂

    5th December 2017 at 10:55 am
    But as you raised it JG, I find the use of the word ‘problem’ pretty antediluvian and all us uptodate whizz kids, like C for example, prefer to use the word ‘challenge’. 🙂

    Nothing is a ‘negative’ problem to us — we face ‘challenges’ there to be overcome with the right attitude.

    Brexit seems to be beset with ‘challenges’ it seems.

    Top of the morning to All. 😀

  5. Damon,

    That would be something if the guys can even get close – but losing 4 wickets for 176 which leaves 178 to win with little left after Rootie and Woakes — but fingers, toes and eyes crossed in hope for tonight — and also for the cricket! 😀

  6. It seems you could be right there, Orse, so it would be unseemly of me to respond in kind, altho maybe I do use it indiscriminately as I am currently causing my new, petite, very slim girlfriend (they are usually more statuesque) some anxiety about me splitting my seams.
    I now need to boldly go and find a new pair of jeans with intact seams.

    I am bad at splitting my infinitives too. 😀

  7. Good stuff Yogi.

    This Nzonzi story is very interesting to follow because he had a fallout with his manager during the Liverpool CL match and hasn’t featured since and has been dropped from the CL squad. Reports say he is in London and Sevilla have given him permission to find a new love club come January. I would gladly have him but I would also gladly take Goretzka both of who play in CM.

  8. Hi C,

    This rumour is gaining pace;

    — “Theo Walcott will be told he’s free to leave Arsenal in January, should a suitable offer come in for the England international, reports claim.

    The 28-year-old has been at the Emirates for more than 10 years but Arsene Wenger is ready to offload him as he looks to raise cash for new arrivals. Walcott is yet to start a Premier League game this season and has been limited to just three substitute appearances.
    While he has featured in cup competitions, he has grown frustrated at a lack of opportunities and West Ham and Southampton are among the clubs looking to sign him in the winter transfer window, according to the Sun.

    That will not please you, C, but it is probably for the best. (Whatever happened to Theo in those 10 years?)

  9. All rumours are potential bollix, of course, until they become fact — but it was not just The Sun but the Daily Express and a couple of others – tho I suspect they all feed off the same source.

    What I really meant in my comment to C, was that a friend, an accountant, working down in S/Hampton, heard that there was a quiet hope there that some preliminary ‘chats’ had been had, and that Theo’s agent was pushing to get him a move.

    There’s many a slip betwixt cup and lip blah, blah — but Theo’s situation is becoming untenable, as he rarely gets a look in, even from the bench. (and …. I would like him to go). 😀

  10. Theo might be free to talk to other clubs, but he won’t be going anywhere.

    No one is going to offer close to half of what he earns on his current contract, so will ride it out like so many others have done before

  11. HenryB,

    I saw that and actually hoped he had left in the summer, there really is no point anymore for him staying even if/when Giroud leaves.

    The problem with Theo is the same thing that has plagued a number of players from that Project Youth experiment, injuries and poor coaching. I mean people forget that he had 3 really good seasons but inbetween each of those he has done his knee in and lost a full year, had that stomach issue that was most of the PL season and other things in between.

    He will have suitors because he still might not have that electric pace, he is still plenty quick with really good pace and he is a finisher. I could see him going back to Southampton somewhere like that.

  12. Not particularly a great deal at that price. Three years ago, he was a £3m player, now a £35m? Think there’s better value out there

  13. YW,

    Yea but he has also developed into a brilliant CM. Ofcourse I would love Goretzka, Krychowiak, heck there are a couple others in La Liga that I would take but Nzonzi wouldn’t be a bad option at all.

  14. As far as BATE and Southampton, it would be great to see some players dropped.

    Yogi (don’t forget that Holding was dropped 2x this season), so I would actually like to see Chambers played as a CB and not a fucking RWB. He would actually be my choice over Holding and as far as dropping Xhaka, here’s the question, Elneny was playing well and was Mr. Versatile yet Le Coq has come back played terribly and Elneny has disappeared which makes no sense. I would actually like to see Elneny played for Xhaka.

  15. Damon:
    Superb display from the England cricketers.Will almost certainly get up early tomorrow to see if they’ve still got a chance of rewriting history and turning the series on it’s head

    Damn them all to hell – now they have me daring to hope.
    This means that, in all likelihood, I will stay up tonight until stupid am – only to watch a predictable collapse. 😉

  16. Great post Yogi

    I have never been a fan of rotating players just for its own sake but the upcoming schedule is really busy all the way up to Jan 3 so we are going to have to use the squad a lot more in some high leverage league games in the next few weeks.

    In the past some of us thought that part of our problem was that our players were consistently overused and they were tired. There was also some thought that results might improve if we rotated more or we did not have to deal with the midweek CL games. However this season our first 11 are the most well rested big team in the world. The regular starters have not even had to sit on the bench in any of the Europa League or cup games and yet we are still sitting in 5th place with 5 losses in 15 league games and we are on pace to collect 70 points which is just about where we finish every season. Extra rest has not changed anything this season

  17. We are currently on pace to finish with about 70 points and we are on pace to finish 38 points behind the league winners. I don’t know our history as well as a lot of bloggers but 38 points out of first would have to be close to a record that is unequaled in Arsenal history.

  18. I agree with Damon. I think there will be a few teams interested in Theo until they get an idea of his wages. I don’t know when his current contract runs out but its going to be very difficult to move him unless Arsenal agrees to pay a significant part of his wages.

  19. Jonny,

    These day-night tests don’t start until 3am here though. For those of us that have to work for a living, that means staying up until nearly 5 to find out if it’s on or not. I’ve far too much work on to take on the rest of the week on no sleep tonight.

    I’ll set the alarm for 5 and see if it’s worth not going back to sleep then thanks

  20. @Henry B,
    With respect, I think you are beginning to exhibit excess written diarrhoea. Time to give us all a respite. 😉


    During a lull at a White House dinner, Melania Trump leaned over to chat with Secretary of State, Tillerson.

    “I bought Donald a parrot for his birthday”, she said. “That bird is so smart, Donald has already taught him to say over two hundred words!”

    “Very impressive,” said Tillerson, “but, you do realize he just speaks the words. He doesn’t really understand what they all mean.”
    “Oh, I know”, replied Melania, “but neither does the parrot.”

  22. C @ 12:45

    “The problem with Theo is the same thing that has plagued a number of players from that Project Youth experiment, injuries and poor coaching.”

    Players have some responsibility for their own development and form. Its not always someone else’s fault when players we rate do not live up to our expectations. Have you ever considered the possibility those players were never as good as we thought?

  23. I thought Bendtner and Afobe had a real chance to bring a lot of firepower for a lot of years. I really thought Ox was going to be a world class player. We can’t blame their career paths on anything other then the fact that they were not as good as we thought.

  24. Nicky,

    You are probably quite correct in what you say — altho it is a pity you have to be so vulgar in your rather hackneyed expression.

    Verbal diarrhoea is the least of my failings.
    I occasionally make poor judgement calls about people too, and that is much more disappointing.

  25. Bill:
    I thought Bendtner and Afobe had a real chance to bring a lot of firepower for a lot of years. I really thought Ox was going to be a world class player. We can’t blame their career paths on anything other then the fact that they were not as good as we thought.

    I was going along with you, Bill, but in the final sentence you might need to amend ‘they were not as good as we thought’ and substitute ‘they were not as good as they thought they were’.

    Of the three, I do not think Afobe had any chance at Arsenal — loaned out — sold on.

  26. The dominance and technical talent that our U21 players show in the youth set up is not replicatable as they move up the ladder and face better players and more organized defenses. We consistently over rate their chances to be effective players when they are in the youth set up and we are always disappointed. However, I don’t think its the fault of our coaching staff becasue the same thing happens with every team. Almost none of Europes big teams have been building their own impact players in this decade.

  27. Henry

    There are many possible explanations when a player fails to live up to expectations but like it or not the top 10 reasons are the player was not as good as we expected. For example We can say for certain after watching Afobe, Ox and Bendtner in the PL that we heavily over rated all 3.

  28. C, @ 12:45

    I think you have the answer to what happened to Theo in your comment.

    But I have a slightly different conclusion regarding the main trigger for Theo’s decline.
    Certainly what seems to have been almost perpetual injuries over a number of seasons that have become chronic have taken away his most useful attribute. Speed.

    When Arsenal bought Theo everyone, including me, was struck with his pace, and the youthful Theo at S/Hampton bedazzled defences with the lightning quick angles he ran. And you have mentioned his pace again today.

    I believe his pace has reduced by a metre or two in recent years as consequence of his early hamstring and muscle problems and perhaps now compounded by the congenital shoulder problems (sorry JG – challenges 😉 ) he subsequently suffered from.

    He has never had a ‘trick’ or a mazy dribble — he just ran flat out, and had an eye for a goal – but when the pace declined so did his cutting edge. Playing him at CF, at his own request, simply highlighted his lack of skill and inability to make space for himself and was a total mistake.

    I have always liked Theo – and hoped he would find that pace again — but he, like Mr Wenger, should have moved on some time ago, or been shown the door. Sorry.

  29. The biggest problem has been that Arsène has fallen for the hype and he believed his own press clippings that he could build his own superstars. I think other big teams get excited about their younger players but they are realistic enough to recognize that the vast majority will not live up to expectations and they buy impact players when they need them rather then throwing a player like Iwobe into the starting line up.

  30. Bill,

    I’m not not nor will I ever absolve a player from their own lack of development BUT like with any career path, you might be good at something so you are allowed to do that and while it might work, development by managers and coaches is ALWAYS a part of sports at every level and thinking otherwise means that there wouldn’t be a need for managers other than to pick the line-ups. For instance, with Theo, sure he should work (and lets be honest here, anybody at level that has a remarkable work ethic and trains) more on his dribbling, but also are the coaches not working with him during training?

    Do I think they were as good as we thought, if you look at Theo one could argue that when he was fit he was every bit the player that we thought he was but injuries, lack of development in other aspects of his style and game didn’t catch up to what he does/did well.

  31. Bill,

    That’s your opinion about the three players you mention – and it is a bit presumptuous house the global term ‘we’ — it is solely your opinion, no doubt shred by others, but not by all of them.

    You are given to sweeping generalisations — and we are used to them — but to say, “Almost none of Europes big teams have been building their own impact players in this decade.” sounds like tosh.

    There are very many one-time European youth team players that have made it big time — perhaps not for their first clubs but they made the grade at the big boys table, and been treated as ‘Home Grown’.

    De Gea, Hazard, De Bruyn, Drogba, Le Coq ( well you did say what an impact he had on Arsenal’s defence when he got the chance), Cesc, Smalling — and I am bored now….. 😀

  32. HenryB,

    We are saying the samething, it ultimately comes down to two things: lack of development and injuries.

    I do think that he has lost pace and thus not developing the other aspects on a consistent basis doesn’t allow him to compensate for his lost of pace (though he still has plenty of it). The thing that I always loved about Theo and part of what is maddening to others is that he really does have very good movement off the ball even now and that doesn’t always lend him to being involved in matches because he doesn’t get involved in the build up.

    The CF thing was a disaster and could work in a team but Arsene doesn’t have that team and as a winger he was good to really good at times. I like you have always liked and hoped he would regain that pace but since he hasn’t and with the additions of Sanchez and Lacazette it means Theo should go because he can still score goals and with his quickness can still find that yard of space to do so.

  33. Bill,

    Where on earth are you when Wenger makes statements about youth team players — he has not fallen for his own hype when he has publicly said on more than one occasion, that we are lucky if we get one top class youth player every 10 years – he was talking about Jack Wilshere at the time.

    We are seeing some much better talented youth players coming thru at Arsenal nowadays, probably because we brought in two Dutch coaches a few years back, and the latest ones hoping to reach the heights are Maitland Niles, Nketiah, Willock and Nelson, and don’t forget Gnabry was snapped up by Bayern Munich last season, and is doing very well out on loan from them in the Bundesliga.

    Loads of kids do not make it, but plenty do.

  34. HenryB,

    I would add Lucas Vazquez and Asensio at Madrid who helped win them the CL, Morata has played for and starred at Madrid, Juve and now Chelsea, Muller, Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Reus, Gotze, Alba at Barca.

    I mean Athletico Madrid has been doing it with Koke being one of the best midfielders in Europe and he is Athletico homegrown, Veratti, Weigel, and the list goes on and on. I mean FFS for all the talk of Mourinho buying players, Lindegard and Rashford are two of the first names when fit and they get on the team sheet before Mhkitary, Mata and split time with Martial.

    Sometimes you just have to nod your head at our mate Bill 😉

  35. That’s right, C, and it is a great pity for Theo — the most recent time when he had a purple patch ended when we played the Spuds in the NLD, and was out for ages.

    He was never quite as good again.

    I feel sorry for players like Theo when their careers falter — but he is a multi-millionaire and never thinks of giving even one paltry £million to me — so sod him! 😀

  36. C @ 4:58

    Brilliant analysis! 😀

    I just ran out of steam, but thought I had given our buddy Bill a taster, because I am not convinced that what he writes is always what he means — if you understand what I am getting at.

    Anyhoo — I must finish my work — I have been at it – on and off – since approx 4:30 a.m. UK time, and the blog has captured my attention far too much today. 😀

  37. C,

    £35m might be what Sevilla are asking, doesn’t mean they’ll get it.
    Is Xhaka worth £35m or Mustafi?
    But we had to pay it as we’re in the EPL and that’s the premium you pay.

  38. I know Theo divides opinion and most of us could care less if he goes in January. However if Alexis and Theo leave we will be down to zero players in the squad who would be a realistic threat to score from the wide forward spot.

  39. C.

    Since 2010 how many of the worlds big teams have brought thru one of their own youth players who has become a regular impact player?


    Every year since 2005/6 we have been saying the current group of youth players that is coming thru the ranks is going to be the best we have had. You are betting against very heavy odds to think that any of them are going to become important impact players for and history proves without a doubt that the percentages win almost every time.

  40. HenryB,

    Yup, I think Theo was just starting to figure it out and then that NLD happened and by the time he came he started that first half of the season with Sanchez and Ozil upfront and then got dropped and was never heard from again until this season.

    He was never quite the same.

  41. HenryB,

    Yup, think some of Bill’s words get lost in translation but then again that’s our Bill for you.

    Go back to work and will chat with you later 😉

  42. Henry.

    May be this group of youth phenoms will be different but we have heard the same thing said about our U21’s since 2005 and a huge number of them were supposed to be great but it’s never worked that way. I think Its a very logical response to be skeptical when we hear it again about Nelson, Eddie Willock etc etc. Even you can’t deny the fact that we have been wrong nearly all the time when we have predicted great things in the past.

    I am not sure if gnabry has been injured but he has not played very much and he only has 2 goals this season

  43. Bill,

    Madrid brought through 2 in Vasquez and Asensio both of whom were massive in the CL 2016 and 2017 CL Final for Madrid as well as the whole of the season. Madrid also brought through Morata who played quite a number of matches for him before being sold to Juve where he was their main CF and then back to Madrid. You could also technically say Varane for Madrid as well because Madrid bought him when he was only 16 years old (now 24 years old(

    PSG brought through Coman who left on a free for Juve, was a key figure for Juve then left on loan to Bayern at 19 years old and is now first choice on the wings at ONLY 21 years old.

    Bayern have brought through Kroos, Muller, Contento, Alaba, Badstuber. \

    Ahtletico Madrid: Koke, Giemenez, Saul Niguez,

    Monaco and their conveyor belt

  44. None of those players that you mention fur Madrid have been regular starters. koman was sold by PSG. Morata was not a regular starter. I think Muller and Kroos both came into prominence before 2010. Monaco Dortmund Atletico are feeder teams would none of them would be considered a big team. Even if I give you a couple of those names then it’s remarkable how few there have been for all of the big teams in Europe in this decade and 8 years is about 3 lifetimes in football years. The point is that a youth player at any big club faces astronomical odds against him having a chance to become an important player with his club. No one would deny that. You will almost always lose when you try to bet against the odds.

  45. Henry

    Hope springs eternal with football fans but Isn’t it a wise man who finally learns his lesson when he sees the same thing happen over and over and over again?

  46. Bill,

    The Madrid players aren’t regular starters because they are sitting behind Ronaldo and Benzema but to say they are impact players couldn’t be further from the truth especially when you consider that BOTH of them have already been massive figures in 2016 and 2017 CL run and Final (does it get much more impactful than that?). Morata came through the Madrid ranks and feature for Madrid BEFORE they sold him to Juve. Coman wasn’t sold, he left PSG on a free when his contract ran out. Kroos came through the Bayern ranks, went on loan when he was 19 years old and then made his full Bayern debut in 2010 at the age of 20. Muller was given his full debut in 2010 under VanGaal at Bayern mate. Your mad if you think that Athletico and Dortmund are feeder clubs; Athletico is one of the big clubs and Dortmund are HARDLY a feeder club, they have had players leave but they left on frees or the same as any other club.

    I’m finished having this conversation as I’m leaving work.

  47. C

    I guess it depends on how you define impact player. May be others disagree but to me an impact player is someone who is part of the regular starting 11 and not someone who starts on occasion when there is a few injuries or comes on late in games when the result is decided and they want to give the starters the rest of the game off. Last season Asensio started 11 games and played in 23 but scored only 3 league goals. 3 goals in 23 appearances is hardly an impact. He only started in only 1 off their 13 CL games last year. Kingsley Coman has been with Bayern for several years now and he is still not a regular player and he is not playing for the team he grew up with. The fact that you have to stretch that far to find examples argues that my point is valid. You go all the way back to 2010 to find Muller or Kroos who came thru their home academy and became regular impact players for their team is also telling. It is very rare for that to happen in this era of football.

  48. Bill,

    That makes no sense, so was Kanu not an impact player, how about Wiltord or Ole Gunnar of Manure. Asensio and Lucas Vasquez didn’t simply come on when yhr match was over nor do they come on simply when players are injured. I’m going to say this and please don’t take it personal but that is a stupid definition of impact player. Coman is a player who has JUST TURNED 21 and has played for and started for 3 of the biggest clubs in Europe and he is a regular starter at Bayern this season. Again, your talking about kids under 23 coming through at big clubs, they aren’t going to start if you have Benzema, Ronaldo and Bale infront of you. I was just going to Muller and Kroos but I also mentioned Alaba and forgot to mention Kimmich who is WIDELY believed to one of the best young players in the world and is a regular even last season at Bayern and fot Germany.

    I simply give up.

  49. Oh Henry, you’ve incurred the wrath of the Ancient One, you will have to be more circumspect in future.

    Or you could just ignore the old fart and carry on as usual. 😉

  50. C

    No Kanu was not an impact player. He was a situation squad player. We can debate the term impact player but I can tell you for certain that someone like Asensio who started 11 league games last year and scored a total of 3 goals and started 1 out of 13 CL games is not an impact player.

    Muller and Kroos could both be consider impact players but Kroos came into the team in 2008 and Muller 2009. Busquets is another but he came into Barca in 2008. I can think of are and Muller and both came into theirs teams before 2010. Kroos came into the the Munich team in 2008 and Muller came in 2009. Busquets would also work but he started in 2008.

    Football has changed and in this decade the big teams buy an experienced player when they need one and its become much much harder for academy players to make an impact on their home squad.

  51. Kingsley Coman has been starting about 1/2 the games for Munich this season. You could argue that players like Coman have the potential to become impact players but it remains to be seen if they ever become regular difference making players. The odds are that they won’t because the teams they play for tend to buy the difference making players they need.

  52. Damon,

    Yes indeed
    2.30pm here is slightly easier but involves sleight of hand ‘meetings’ in a pub which has channel 9
    I miss Richie

  53. Jonny,

    Yep sorry
    What a horrible start
    I thought it might go to the wire like 2005 Edgbaston but no we never got going
    Shame – looked like a great test match

  54. Carnage – TBF that bowling attack is pretty damn special.
    When they are all fit, they are a fearsome unit.
    Imagine if they had Pattinson too.
    We should have played better in other sessions but we already knew that we are very much a team undergoing significant rebuild.

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