STONE COLD FRIDAY: Of Roller-Coasters And Football Romanticism

I’m contemplating getting a therapist to cope with this Arsenal roller-coaster.

There I was on Wednesday night, wondering whether my iPad would survive if I threw it out of the window and it hit the pavement. For a split second, I did consider whether post-traumatic stress was a viable justification for an insurance claim.

That thought was rudely interrupted by Dan Roebuck and David Hillier, the Arsenal commentators screaming and jumping from their seats. The last time that happened was when Olivier Giroud scored his award-winning scorpion wonder goal against Palace literally a year ago. Back then, I could have sworn one of them cursed on air with excitement.

Wait! Hector Bellerin? I’ll be damned. So there I was again, screaming and jigging with “Hell Yeah!”, only to let out another howler when Zapacosta rattled the crossbar. Hesu Kristo! I deflated, utterly dumbfounded. The iPad was definitely going out of the window before I realized Chelsea hadn’t scored. My neighbours rushed to my door thinking I’d finally lost the plot and gone postal on myself.

“Oh, Arsenal must be playing”, one of them concluded after I opened the door with a sheepish smile.

Who Gives A Damn About The Neutrals, The Rope-a-dope Ain’t Good For the Heart

As if the Leicester, United and Liverpool games weren’t mad enough, what were the chances of another helter-skelter match at the Emirates?

I thoroughly enjoyed it until Hazard went down faster than a two dollar trick. After Dean’s cluster foxtrot on Sunday, the “C” word crossed the mind. I really don’t have an issue with a match decided by the players, but the refs? And twice in a row? What was the threshold for a conspiracy I wondered?

If Wenger was going to take one for the team with an FA ban or fine, you really hope his foul-mouthed dressing room rant at Dean was unadulterated and properly delivered.

Yet this is football, the reason we’re emotionally invested. We get pumped up with the hope that today will be something special. The day Li’l Jack, Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette give a master-class in the beautiful game. The signs are there – quick, assured sorties into the opponents final third. A deft flick over here, a give and go over there; a chance for a clinical practitioner to see the whites of the opposing keeper’s eyes as a ‘no look’ slide-rule pass is placed in front of them. You’re willing the ball to go into the net, ready to turn to the fella next to you with the “Did you see that move” sentiment.

We’re fools like that. Suckers at being drawn in, hoping for the romantic to happen. Only Arsenal decides that for the 4th time this season, it’ll be a rope-a-dope. Football writers complain there is no structure to the game, only to claim that these are the games that make the Premier League the best in the world. Somewhere in between that entertainment, we hope to forget that we forfeited 7 out of 12 available points.

Of FA Cup’s And Comfort Zones

The journey for another historical footnote starts on Sunday at the City ground. A chance to cement our place as the most successful FA Cup side of all time. It’s one of a total of 16 matches that if we win, can put a gloss on a typical season. The 16 games in the FA Cup, League Cup and Europa league are certainly worth risking to do a clean sweep of the 3 cups. I’m sure Man City and Atletico Madrid, not least the rest of the FA Cup suitors will have something to say about that. But why be in the competitions if you’re not prepared to win them?

It’ll be great to take a breather from the tedium of the Premier League. A chance for Holding, Chambers, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Le Coq, Theo and Welbeck to get some valuable pitch time. YW wished for some sanity to prevail and for Arséne to put Maitland-Niles back in the centre of the park, but I’ll be surprised if that happens. I can picture Maitland-Niles and Reiss Nelson firmly plonked in the wing-back positions with Le Coq, Willock and Elneny in the midfield. Whichever team turns up at the City ground, it should be a less stressful and winnable match, one agreeable to those who are faint-of-heart.

What About The Circus? Have You Forgotten They’re In Town?

It’s refreshing that the headlines so far have been Wenger’s rants about farcical match officials. Not to worry, the transfer madness stories will creep back in soon enough. Wilshere to sign for Marseille; Man City to make a bold £25 million January bid for Sanchez; Mourinho to snare Ozil away in his fight to dominate Manchester – take your pick. Just 26 more sleeps to the end of the circus.

What of Arsenal? Wenger has indeed threatened that the big names will be replaced with big names. There’s a bit of a Sir Humphrey feeling in Yes Prime Minister about Arsenal making any statements of bold transfer moves. In fairness, we have made a “big” January signing already. 20-year-old Greek defender Konstantinos Mavropanos. Well, big is relative, right? In Greece, they’ll argue that the young man is big – one of their best and brightest prospects. He had only made 16 appearances in the Greek Super League before Arsenal started looking at him.

I don’t have a problem with the signing if the reports about Mavropanos are right. With Mertesacker retiring, and Koscielny and Monreal quickly approaching football’s equivalent of senior citizen status, long-term planning is essential. As holding and Chambers look to set their footing as long-term defenders, I suspect we will still eventually sign a more experienced defender to play alongside Mustafi.

Have a great weekend good people.

87 thoughts on “STONE COLD FRIDAY: Of Roller-Coasters And Football Romanticism

  1. Morning. Excellent post.

    The new signing is Mislintat already getting to work. Reports are that the young Greek defender is a ” promising” talent. There are a number of Greek center backs plying their trade in The Bundeslegia. He’s decent in the air, aggressive in the tackle and a decent athlete.

    Again and again we see the inability of this team to organise itself defensively. After having equalised Chelsea went down the other end and rattled the cross bar. Had the shot been inches or centimetres lower we’d have lost. Morays had a nightmare in front of goal, had it been Drogba or Costa AW may well have committed suicude after the game.

    I guess bad decisions don’t really affect a match if you are 3 goals up to nil. I cite this as being very important in the Arsenal’s case. We played lowly WBA and were subjected to a gross error of judgment by M Dean. Had we taken care of our own business the penalty would not be such an issue in my view.

    This brings me to Teams ability to play without the ball. We are dire, terrible without the ball. This particular inability, defiency is a major part of this Teams ” talon d’achille’ weakness.

    There has been plenty of ex players whom state AW is decent Man etc. He’s loyal to his players and espouses a’ footballing intelligence’ rhetoric to his players. This is all okay to a point but and it’s a colossal but this has to be tempered with ” coaching and rigorous organisation”. It’s okay to say this to Ozil and Alexsis they are a different kettle of fish. The likes of Iwobi, Chambers, Holding, Bellerin etc etc need to be told. They need to be instructed on and off the pitch. It’s called ‘ In Game Management’ and its where AW is failing repeatedly again any again.

    He does the Coaching with very little input from anyone else. There has been recent back room changes but no additions to aid him s d the players in their development.

    This is why we see again and again players at Arsenal young and old plateau out. Iwobi looks currently lost . Welbeck although not long vs I from injury is a shadow of himself. I could cite Bellerin.

    Its a vicious circle

  2. AW loyalty to the players is admirable but its also adds to his demise. He’s been loyal to the likes of TW. Lets be honest TW has not lived up to the hype. The Bit Explosion of JW AR TW AOC KJ KG etc never materialised. Instead of getting rid of ( Gibbs and Jenkinson went last season) many have just languished.

    His mantra is that AFC are an attacking team makes me laugh. This admission in a tacit way says to me he is less concerned in given over to coaching, drilling of defensive duties, etc. How else can the Team be making the same habitual errors over and over again. What ever defensive pairing that has played over the last 7-10 years there have been flaws, frailties. Is this coincidence?

    Everybody knows that at some time in a Match a Team is going to have to defend. Period. He may not like that buts the Game.

    I alluded in my previous post that AW believes that his players have the intelligence, the nous to sort it out amongst themselves.

    The Invincible Team had had a myriad of characters and players. Adams, Keown, Dixon, Henry Bergkamp, Pires, Gilberto were characters. These players inspired each other. They were not shrinking violets when it was necessary. They made decisions themselves on the pitch. They dared to win.

    The Teams that AW has fashioned since that time have been “very nice’. TW is the epitomy of that. To me hes been symptomatic of whats been wrong at AFC in this era. There’s no balls, no posturing, no attitude. Its very comfortable.A Sanchez is the sole exception and we see what’s happening with him now. He’d have fitted in perfect to the Invincibles team.

    L ‘ empire du AW is in decline. It is not sufficient enough to be an idealist. There has to be a a strong measure of pragmatism.

    Pep G was told last season he could not do it his way. He’s assembled a team got rid of whom he thought could not carry out his vision. He coaches on an intense basis and is obtaining the results this season.

    If I were a young Manager I would be looking at the model of Pep G rather AW.

  3. What a great Post, Isaac. 🙂

    I know I am repeating myself, but I love your prose. You very sensibly mirror my own rather boisterous mood when both our players and the officials together put us into a stupid situation requiring two wonderful strikes by L’il Ol Jack and Belli Button to save our necks.

    Anyway, the transfer circus is here to distract us for a while. and my heart hit my socks when I read that Mr Wenger is not interested in signing Aubameyang (that will disappoint C), but also made me wonder at his strange thought processes, when he said he would like to keep Theo for this season and in the future.

    Theo – the guy earning £1m a month for sitting on the bench and occasionally getting a 5 minute substitution break at the end of a game, like against Chelsea.

    Is Mr Wenger losing his marbles? Is this an example of the excessive loyalty Wenger shows to some players, as mentioned by my friend Ras? Theo has had enough — not of the money for old rope — but of sitting on the bench, when he knows his chances of ever playing in a major international championship are passing him by. Let him go and get someone else in with more ability ,and who is not so injury prone.

    It has already made me feel that this transfer window could be a waste of time for Arsenal.

  4. Salut, Ras, ça va?

    Well said @ 11:24.

    One of my regrets regarding Pep, was that it was alleged that if AW had agreed to go at the end of his last contract, Pep had been sounded out about becoming our manager, even if he had to twiddle his thumbs for a short while.

    Well that did not happen — and it is a shame that Arsène did not go with the plaudits of the fans for his stint at that time, and allowed Pep to take over the mantle of Arsenal manager.
    But life is full of regrets and it does not help to contemplate what ifs.

    My other gripe, is epitomised by AW’s attitude towards Theo. He has this strange reluctance to accept that some very good players do not fit the Arsenal style, or have gone past their peak, and the result is that we stick to the same tactical set up with the same players who cannot make it work.

    The old adage appears to fit that case: ‘Those who fail to learn from mistakes are doomed to perpetually repeat them’ — and that is sad.

  5. Morning JonnyG, 🙂

    I referred Bill to your good self so that he could calculate a microsecond in the context of Hazard’s and Belli’s boots going into contact for the ‘foul that wasn’t’ by using your measurement skills.

    As you know, 1 microsecond (known by the symbols µs) equals 1,000 nanoseconds, or stated as —‘µs = 1 000 ns’ — But that might not help us.

    But 1 microsecond ( or 1µs) = 1.0 × 10-6 of a second. (that is :- 10 to the power of -6 seconds).

    So there, we have proved that the time between the top of Belli’s boot coming into contact with the sole of Hazard’s boot is …….. not very long. I wonder how Dein measured it? 😀

    I am sure you will agree. 👍

  6. HenryB,

    It has already made me feel that this transfer window could be a waste of time for Arsenal.

    You nailed it Henry in one sentence.

  7. It’s a strange one – Barkley at Chelsea.
    I mean I happen to think he had an excellent second half of the year – probably the best we have seen from him but somehow I still don’t see him in a Chelsea shirt.
    I have a feeling he might fall by the wayside there – they have competition in midfield and he certainly wouldn’t be the first.
    It’s a matter further complicated by the fact that Costa will soon be off and his replacement may not be so keen.

  8. Well well, what a post that was, thanks mate!

    If we could ever sort out the defensive side of the game, this could be one helluva team, problem is, next season we could be one bang average team; its the pickle that we are in. I’m really not sure what to make of anything Arsene is saying about the transfer window because he has talked about replacing like for like but last time we lost our best players it went something like this:

    Cesc, Nasri, Clichy were replaced by Ox, Gervinho, Arteta and Mert
    Rvp and Song were replaced by Santi, Podolski and Giroud

    so I guess we will just wait and see. I see Arsene has denied the Aubameyang story (which is what Arsene does under Arsenal’s cloak of secrecy) and so be it but it will be interesting to see what happens with Sanchez, Ozil and Jack.

    Welcome Konstantinos Mavropanos

  9. Wenger’s Auba/Theo comments were all so predictable. He always believes we are just one or two players or a bit of luck away from winning the title. And he’s always wrong. It’s not going to change.

    I’m also wondering what the signing of Mavropanos means for Bielik – wasn’t he supposed to be a prospective future CB? After all, we don’t play a traditional DM so he’s not going to play there.

  10. Jonny,

    Yea it really is a strange one because outside of that 2nd half of the year your talking about, consistency alludes him and when he is bad he is bad and completely checked out of a match.

    The other thing that is even more of a headscratcher is that Barkley was basically burning down EVERY bridge at Everton including managers, management and with players; so I’m not sure how he would react to the demanding Conte and if reports are true and Chelsea are chasing Simeone, the demanding Simeone.

    I don’t think to be quite honestly I’m not sure what top 6 club outside of Spuds (who now say they don’t want him anymore) he would get into.

  11. HenryB,

    I did see it and when it comes to transfers and Arsene, I don’t trust anything he says. I mean we heard all summer from his mouth that Sanchez and Giroud weren’t for sale and yet it has now come out for Giroud and we all know about Sanchez to Citeh.

    I also read his comments about Theo which make ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE because he says he wants him in the present and future yet barely even lets him on the bench and instead playing Welbeck and Iwobi who combine I don’t think has as many goals in their career as Theo.

  12. Maybe the Lemar to Liverpool stuff has some legs given Emre Can has reached a pre-agreement with Juve to sign in the summer.

  13. andy1886,

    I was wondering that but something tells me the signing of our Greek giant might have something to do with Holding and Chambers as well. I mean if reports and things I have read about this player are true, he is the best Greek CB prospect since Manolas (if you remember Arsene had a hard on for him for multiple transfer windows) and I wouldn’t AT ALL be surprised to see Chambers or Holding not get a new contract.

    Bielik is in a tricky situation because he has been injured and yet is still developing. I actually think that Bielik would be a tremendous DM but as you stated we don’t play with a DM.

  14. Just saw some footage of Mavropanos training and that is a big lad, he ran next to Mert and didn’t look much shorter but looked more muscular.

  15. C,

    Yeah, that occurred to me too. But this lad has only played something like sixteen games for their first team, and given Arsene’s success rate at picking defenders I would consign this one to the very back of my mind because the likelihood of him being the one of many young prospects we’ve seen that actually lives up to the hype is not high (I sound like Bill 😁). And Wenger will still be having the final say no matter who may have scouted him.

    It’s worrying that both Chambers and Holding have shown that they have ability, but clearly we cannot develop them, in fact they seem to regress under AW. Why would any other player fare any different?

    There is the idea that Wenger has sanctioned this purchase as a low cost project to satisfy fans who complain that he doesn’t spend (it isn’t going to work). If do we sell Sanchez (or even Ozil or Jack) then it’s quite possible we will make a transfer profit two windows running. If that happens I’d suggest it confirms that we’re cutting our cloth and accepting our place as a Europa League side who makes a nice profit for the owner.

  16. andy1886,

    He doesn’t have a good track record at picking defenders or really defensive players for that matter (lets be honest, Mustafi was one of the best in La Liga prior to us getting him, Mert was an already established player who was a full time German international) but the one bright spot when it comes to him is that he was Mislintat’s guy even before he came to Arsenal and that guy knows how to pick players; so there’s hope (I sound like Nikki 😉 ).

    The thing with Chambers and Holding is that we know they have ability as you stated but defending at Arsenal is hit or miss. Its a shame that they are regressing, especially Chambers because he was so good on loan and over the summer. Your right, why would any players fare different but I will always be hopeful.

    Lets not even get into the possibility of transfer profit because it should absolutely be a non-starter when your manager is one of the highest paid in Europe and reports are flying around that we are loaded. The sheer possibility that we could lose Jack, Ozil and Sanchez is ridiculous.

  17. I like Wellbeck but he was almost a perma-crock who very rarely scored but was well liked when we signed him.
    It is of no surprise, whatsoever, to see that is exactly the player we have inherited.
    I dunno what AW is playing at with Walcott – there is certainly no way he is convincing him to stay. Not now.
    But I would have rather kept him than Danny – because injured strikers who rarely score when fit are a luxury we can do without.

  18. Jonny,

    I was one of those that had high hopes because Welbeck certainly looked like a player and does everything you want as a supporter but also because he gets right in those positions, but something isn’t linking between the ball arriving and Welbeck putting it into the back of the net.

    I agree, Theo doesn’t want to stay and his agent has made it crystal clear that Theo either wants to leave for a PL side or a Serie A side. PErsonally, I don’t understand how Iwobi and Welbeck get more match time because Theo might not offer much in the way of the build-up play but he has shown he can score goals and get hot and at this point we don’t need him in the build up with Ozil, Jack, Lacazette and Sanchez all playing well, Theo just needs to score goals.

  19. We probably signed Konstantinos Mavropanos so that the club shop could make a killing with those wanting his name on the back of their shirts….

    Even now a juggernaut loaded with the letter ‘O’ is on route to N5 so that they can keep up with demand!

  20. Great post Darius. You are a wonderful writer. We have missed your regular Friday posts. Thanks for coming back.

    Good news regarding our new Greek CB. I am not sure how this affects Chambers and Holding. We are building an impressive group of youthful CB’s and hopefully one or 2 of them will work out well. I suspect Beilek will go the way of Kyle Bartley.

    The concern I have with buying another U21 rather then a more experienced players is that I think its more difficult for players to be solid defenders when they play for Arsenal. Our lack of organization exposes players because we don’t have other players in position to cover for each other. We are more likely to be punished when someone makes a mistake. It was probably easier for Chambers to impress when he played for a defensive minded team last season.

  21. Orson from the end of yesterdays comments.

    When it comes to using VAR technology or not it is a completely subjective opinion and there is no right or wrong answer. Waiting for the game officials to watch replays certainly is annoying in American sports. However, I am willing to accept the disruptions for the sake of getting the right answers but to each his own opinion.

  22. We could buy the best central defender in the world and it would make no difference to our actual defending, not until we get a coach who can train our defenders to play as a disciplined cohesive unit. Something Wenger will never do.

  23. Bill,

    It seems to me that most American sports stop far more often than in soccer, they do so after every play in Grid Iron which has inured the fans to a stop start game. That sort of continual interruption will never be acceptable to football audiences, nor to club managements and certainly not to the more responsible elements in the sporting press.

  24. The only reason I can see for PGMOL to accept VAR is to allow poor referees the excuse of “It wasn’t my decision, go argue with the man in the van”.

  25. Orson Kaert,
    Ta raison Orson..

    It’s just not in AW DNA to work on such things.

    He has bought Chambers and Holding. In footballing terms they are still babes. What both don’t possess is pace and good physicality.

    When shopping in the bargain basement Our Lord and Saviour does not buy and match accordingly to what will give the squad, the team balance.

    K Toure and Campbell complimented each other. Keegan and Toshack the same. Of our CDs only Kos truly has pace. Mustafi Chambers Holding none are quick. The BFG was never quick.

    The midfield is the same . JW and Xhakia weaknesses are similar. The defensive side of the Game is not JWs forte nor is it Xhakia. Yet they play together. Take one out and insert Ramsey. He’s not Blesed with pace and loves to go forward. The possible pairings etc are shameful.

    It’s football without a safety net

  26. Orson

    There is a natural stop in the play whenever a goal is scored or a penalty is called which is why I think those could be reviewed. However there is no doubt that using the technology would be disruptive to some extent. What each fan wants to see when he watches a game is a matter of personal preference.

  27. Orson Kaert:
    We could buy the best central defender in the world and it would make no difference to our actual defending, not until we get a coach who can train our defenders to play as a disciplined cohesive unit.Something Wenger will never do.

    Anyone who has watched Arsenal football for the last 10 years to be skeptical about Arsene’s ability to get any group of players organized into a consistently solid defensive unit.

  28. I’m not remotely surprised about Danny – he never was a goalscorer and had never really looked like one – I stated that he would never become one either, quite a few times, after we signed him.
    I very much agree about Walcott – we have wasted the goalscoring ability of one of the few players we have had in recent years who can actually get you 20+ goals.
    Cannot believe he has not been used as a sub more often.

  29. Jonny,

    I think my thing with Welbeck is that he looked the part and some of the goals that he did score looked like a player that had goals in him but he just never seemed to take the next step and yes injuries didn’t help but it just didn’t happen for him.

    The Theo thing is only made stranger by the fact that when he has played he has scored goals even this season and sure, I get the whole Giroud thing but even then its a headscartcher. I mean I just took a look at Iwobi, Welbeck, Giroud and Theo’s appearances and goals and it makes it even more weird that Theo has basically been pushed down the pecking order:

    Giroud: 29 appearances 9 goals
    Theo: 18 appearances 6 goals
    Welbeck: 26 appearances 4 goals
    Iwobi: 23 appearances 3 goals

    Personally I think for all of the subbing off of Lacazette, Theo should be the one to replace him especially when you consider that more often than not its Sanchez moving to CF.

  30. Welbeck has physical skills such as pace and strength and he certainly has decent technique and he works hard. However, it’s very difficult to teach someone like welbeck how to be an effective goal scorer. I think the best ones have the ability to make the game slow down in their own minds which gives them an extra calm in front of goal because they feel like they have more time to pick out the best options. Over the years we have failed to build our own impact players because it’s difficult to teach a player how to produce “end product”

  31. Afternoon all and thanks for the post, Isaac.

    Just so you’re aware there may be some performance issues on the site tonight as the web hosting company tries to sort out the Intel chip clusterfuck.

    Should only be temporary. Unless it goes horribly wrong…

  32. There are plenty of players in the world like welbeck who are blessed with physical gifts such as pace or strength and also have adequate or better technical skill and we call those players “talented”. However If it was easy to teach these players with “talent” how to consistently produce end product then every team would be building their own superstars and no one would be willing to pay big money and the transfer market would be much less competitive and less costly. The reason goal scorers cost so much is because it’s so hard to teach that skill.

  33. C,

    Can we appeal? Ask them to extend it until the end of the season and include a ban on taking training? 😜

  34. And what a clusterfuck that situation is, YW.
    I still can’t believe these ‘bugs’ actually have their own fucking logos.
    What a time to be alive.

  35. C:

    Ithink my thing with Welbeck is that he looked the part and some of the goals that he did score looked like a player that had goals in him but he just never seemed to take the next step and yes injuries didn’t help but it just didn’t happen for him.

    The Theo thing is only made stranger by the fact that when he has played he has scored goals even this season and sure, I get the whole Giroud thing but even then its a headscartcher.I mean I just took a look at Iwobi, Welbeck, Giroud and Theo’s appearances and goals and it makes it even more weird that Theo has basically been pushed down the pecking order:

    Giroud:29 appearances 9 goals
    Theo:18 appearances 6 goals
    Welbeck:26 appearances 4 goals
    Iwobi:23 appearances 3 goals

    Personally I think for all of the subbing off of Lacazette, Theo should be the one to replace him especially when you consider that more often than not its Sanchez moving to CF.

    This, this.
    A hundred times, this.

  36. Wenger gets three match touchline ban and £40,000 fine

    Mike Bloody Read gets half the fine, the rest goes to the Elite referee’s Christmas party fund.

  37. Regarding Bill’s proposition for VAR.

    The Aussies have a system for cricket called Hawkeye that I think is now also being used for the goal line judgement.

    With a bit of development I suspect that it could be used to judge offsides in real time, which would eliminate VAR delays for offsides and also allow the ref and his assistants to focus on other infringements.

    If used intelligently I suspect VAR could be made to work with minimal interruptions.

  38. MikeSA,

    I think you will find that Hawkeye relies on fixed cameras and a computer generated image of the balls trajectory. It’s widely used in both cricket and tennis over here but in both games the action stops at the point when the facility needs to be used ie a line call in tennis or an appeal in cricket. In football the action may well continue unabated for some time after the possible call needs to be made, from where, when and how do you restart the game after that amount of time has elapsed.

    VAR will be used in the Chelsea v Arsenal Carabao cup semi-finals, but for a limited range of events and only at the request of the on-field referee.

    I’ll be extremely interested to see how it goes. Frankly I feel it will undermine the referee’s authority.

  39. I love the FA’s line that they’d like Wenger to “explain” his comments.

    If I was him I’d just explain to them that their refs are shit and they do fuckall about it except for shooting the messenger.

    On the other hand, I tend to agree with the suggestion that we appeal,to the FA to tend it significantly.

  40. C,

    Put another way, your statistics are easier to see;

    Giro – has scored 1 goal every 3 games
    Theo -too has scored 1 goal every 3 games
    Welbz -has scored 1 goal every 6 games
    Iwobi -has scored 1 goal every 8 games

    The first three speak for themselves with Giro probably top, followed by Theo and Welbeck.

    With Iwobi however, he is by far the most technically gifted, and even tho he is also going thru a period with lack of confidence, like Belli, he is quite different to the top scorers, and is by nature creative, with the goals as an added extra.

    None of the goal scorers are good enough, and need to be replaced.
    Giro cannot run, and looks as if he is galloping in slow motion. Theo has lost a yard of pace, and brings nothing else to the party. And Welbz is more of a danger on the wing supplying others, but is not a natural goal scorer, and has chronic injuries.

    Iwobi is young, and as he matures he could be a good #10 and could be the future Arsenal creator in that position.

    Who knows.

  41. As many figured would happen, apparently Goreztka is set to put pen to paper on a deal with Bayern that will see him there until 2023.

  42. Hi Orson

    I’m aware that Hawkeye uses fixed cameras.

    The point I was trying to make (badly), is that it could eventually be developed into a system that tracks the ball and players and calculates the relevant angles in order to make real time offside decisions.

    I certainly don’t think it can do that currently, but with an increase in the number of cameras, suitable algorithms, processing power, and rule sets, it could evolve to that.

  43. HenryB,

    And I don’t disagree with any of that but the issue, as far as I’m concerned is the thought process that when we are down a goal Arsene generally puts on Iwobi or Welbeck with the hopes of grabbing a goal. The other thing that I was getting at is why doesn’t Theo get more match time ahead of Iwobi and/or Welbeck for a team that has so few that are capable of scoring goals, one of the main threats is viewed as an afterthought to those that are incapable of scoring or being a legitimate threat.

    Giroud, enough said, he should have been moved in the summer and Dembele from Celtic bought as a replacement. Theo I get he brings nothing else but when your on the pitch with Ozil, Sanchez, Jack and Lacazette you just need that other player to be able to finish. Welbeck, I think besides the injuries, he reminds me of a more physical version of Gervinho except Gervinho would create but cock-up the finish, Welbeck struggles with his overall end product.

    Iwobi is the wildcard in all of this because while you think he is a #10, I actually think he is best suited as a box-to-box midfielder in the future who can not just create but make those long powerful runs through midfield. Your right, he is more of a creator than goal scorer and you know how much I rate Iwobi but I think in this team it simply doesn’t make sense to play with those other 4 but instead should sub on for Jack or Ozil.

    Who knows, maybe he will grow into a player capable of getting 10-15 goals in all competitions, but I think for now the struggle is Theo offers more of a goal threat.

    Shame really because, as you said, non of the 4 of them at present are good enough.

  44. Orson @5:13

    I believe the company who own Hawkeye are the guys who supply the software for the goal line detectors, probably using similar (tennis) technology. The ball has either crossed the goal line, or it has not.

    If the VAR (Video Assistant Referee) is presumably much the same as we see on TV replays.
    There have been problems with cricket replays trying to show if a catch has carried or not. Never very clear without 3D, and I wonder if problems on a football pitch might be as unsatisfactory in other ways.

    Germany and Italy have been using VAR this season, and I believe it has shown up practical problems of interpreting what is shown.

    Presumably the Laws of the Game will have to be amended by FIFA to include VAR, but at the moment the VAR reviews requested by a referee will only cover, goals, (including any fouls before the score); penalties; straight red cards (not including those red cards given as a result of two yellow cards), and mistakes in correctly identifying players given yellow or red cards.

    Could cause more trouble than not, at the beginning – but hopefully it will bed in and become a useful tool.

  45. The one thing that Welbeck does offer, and that we are sorely short of, is cover for his FB/WB and an excellent workrate. Of course we want goals as well, but the way our FB/WB’s are left exposed is a significant factor in why we are leaking so many goals

  46. You make a great case, C, but I was being a little cruel, and altho I would (in my fantasy world) get rid of the ‘scorers’ I would have replaced them over a period of time, and not have them all going at once.

    Your comment re Theo not getting enough minutes is valid, because I have seen nothing going his way for some time, part of that is because he does not get a chance to get games under his belt, and like L’il Ol Jack he might have come good — who knows? What is wrong is AW wanting him to stay on, and not get a game at all, even from the bench, or gets just a few minutes as a sub — and he wants Theo to stay and keep doing that?? Give me a break, Arsene.

  47. That is a good point about Danny, Andy.

    But it is natural for us to rationalise with the players we have, but I would ask ‘Are we just trying to find something for him to do. Is there someone else out there better able to do that job, covering/protecting the WB/FB?

    In that regard, I think Welbz (much tho I sympathise with him over his injuries, and I like him as a hard working player) he is Zaha-lite to me, and there are probably others that C could suggest as alternatives. Let’s go get Zaha?

  48. I see AW has been banned for thee matches + £40,000 fine for bad mouthing Dean.

    C, who is Cristian Pavon the Boca Jnrs winger? Any good?

  49. C,

    More news on Cristian Pavon;

    Cristian Pavon

    Arsenal have been linked with a move for Boca Juniors winger Cristian Pavon.

    The Independent report that the Gunners are ‘closest to pulling the trigger’ for the 20-year-old, who is also interesting Manchester City and Juventus.

    It is understood, however, that Boca will not entertain a January sale as they are planning an ‘all-out assault’ on the Copa Libertadores. So Arsenal would have to wait until the summer to complete a deal.

    Hmm — another fart in the wind. 🙂

  50. Unless you have Frank Lampard on your team the vast majority of your goals have to come from your forwards and realistically you can only play with 3 forwards. If you use a player like Iwobe or Welbeck who does not score as one of those 3 forwards then the other 2 forwards each has to increase his goal scoring output by about 50% to compensate. The math tells the story of why you don’t want to use someone like Iwobe as a forward.

  51. Bill, what about penalties that are not given?

    Will play be stopped to allow a review then if the red is so persuaded? He might wish to pass the buck. What then?

  52. HenryB,

    Thats the issue that I have with the whole Theo situation, sure he lost pace but he is still plenty quick with good movement and a threat to score. I mean its confusing.

  53. It’s so depressing seeing other teams like Liverpool and Chelski buying players early in the window. Wenger doesn’t really know how to utilise the talent we have.

    I feel sorry for Elneny who could be utilised in a true DFM position. I have no idea why AW is so scared to play this type of role as I don’t think it would hamper our attacking threat at all. Then we could blood AMN in that position too. I don’t get why AMN is playing left wing back at all (although he has done well).

    I also feel like he should be able to utilise R. Nelson more as an attacking winger and not as wing back and he could have given Nketiah more chances as a sub.

    I won’t even start how he has failed to get the best out of Chambers and Holding who could be very good if only our team practiced a bit more defending and picked the right balance of attack and defensive players. We clearly have the talent in this squad but not the right manager. I do believe abother coach on 7 Mil a year would get a better balance out of this team and still keep an attacking element to the way we play.

  54. HenryB,

    He is a really good young winger but I don’t think he would get the proper platform by Arsene or supporters like say Richarlson of Watford.

    With that said, a young talent, absolutely. Goals, creates, fearless and has shown at both winger and forward. He is your protypical Argentine winger/forward: short, strong, quick, technically brilliant but will need a year or two at this level to really develop.

  55. Thanx, C,

    Having read a bit more about the rumour I reduced my hope when I saw Citeh and Juve were interested.

    Frustrating when one of the big spenders are interested — let alone two. 🙁

    Got to go, unfortunately — I am doing my share of cooking (once every 4 mthsas no one trusts my culinary skills, Tonight the guys are getting a vegetarian meal (they hate it, and I get an extended cooking furlough) 🙂

    What they don’t know is I buy it in advance from a local Veggie restaurant — I pour plenty of wine for them, make a lot of noise in the kitchen – and then —– voila —- I make a dramatic entry. 😀


  56. C Bob

    The devil is in the details. At first I would have video reviews unless it comes with a natural stop in play such as a goal scored or a penalty given. We would have to see how that goes first before considering expanding its use. I would instruct the linesman to be very liberal and only raise his flag if it’s 100% certain offside. Since all goals will be reviewed if the attacker was offside then the goal will be disallowed by the video.

  57. If the linesman does not have concentrate on the offsides rule and he does not have to make decisions on the really close calls then he can do a better job of helping ref with other calls

  58. Evertonians are calling for an investigation into the circumstances around the transfer of Ross Barkley between Everton and Chelsea.
    The agent pulled a £35 million transfer on deadline day.
    Barkley then doesn’t play again and is set to be transferred 4 months later for £20 million.
    Wonder what Barkley’s salary is…

  59. Jonny,

    Can you blame them, I mean the other thing is how Barkley handled the situation last season especially at the end when he turned his back on the club, manager, teammates and possibly the supporters.

    I will say this, yes Ozil and Sanchez maybe leaving and yes Sanchez wasn’t on his best behavior but at least both are playing and Ozil is playing really well and Sanchez while playing not as good is still scoring goals, creating and making things happen.

  60. Bill,

    What happens when a linesman incorrectly waves his flag for offside, the referee blows his whistle, the attacking player stops before he can put the ball in the net only for the VAR to reverse the original offside decision? A goal cannot be awarded because the ball was never in the net.

  61. Jonny,

    Barkley was injured before the summer bid was made. It is only now that he is fit that he is prepared to go through with the transfer. He wanted to go to his new club but not carrying an injury.

  62. Orson Kaert:

    What happens when a linesman incorrectly waves his flag for offside, the referee blows his whistle, the attacking player stops before he can put the ball in the net only for the VAR to reverse the original offside decision?A goal cannot be awarded because the ball was never in the net.

    The video review would only be triggered if a goal is scored so your scenario will not happen. The linesman would be instructed to allow play to continue if it’s and he only stops play ifor a very obvious offsides. If the goal is scored it triggers an automatic review so the linesman does not have to worry about wrongfully allowing a goal on a close call because he has video back up and the goal will be disallowed if the attacker is offside. I hope that makes sense

  63. Orson

    The devil is in the small details. No system will be perfect but I think it can help to eliminate the missed offsides calls and some of the controversy.

  64. Ross Barkley adds depth to chelsea’s Roster which is always good but Other then that I don’t see how he makes them a better team

  65. Hang on Bill, awhile ago you were advocating VAR for all goals and off sides. You can’t have it both ways.

  66. Orson

    You’re right. After I thought about it some more I realized that my first thought would not work for exactly the reason you describe.

  67. Hi Orson

    As far as I know the goal line thingy works in real time. It buzzes on the ref’s wrist as soon as the ball crosses the line.

    As Bill suggests, with careful thought and planning the technology could be introduced in phases. At first, off side calls could be a “package” of checks run immediately a goal is scored, somewhat like with cricket where they run through a few things like no-ball etc.

    IMO it would not take too long for the system to be able to make real time off side calls, then that aspect in the professional game would be less burden on the linesmen as the call would be made by the system, just like with the goal line calls.

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