Who’s On The Way Out – Ever Talks for Ever – World Cup Round-Up

Despite the result, I hope the ladies of Iran who were in the stadium for yesterday’s 1 – 0 defeat to Spain, enjoyed the occasion. Can it effect change at home? We can but hope.

After the highs of the previous days, the matches yesterday were a bit deflating. Portugal and Uruguay were interchangeable in their dullness. Winning, according to their supporters, is substance over style and the teams duly obliged.

The transfer business is all about incoming so far, save for Jack announcing his future. There is bound to be some outgoings now, particularly the likes of Campbell and Perez. Neither is an Arsenal player; we know that and to keep hopes of that alive is more of a far-fetched dream than winning the Champions League.

Talks with Ever Banega’s representatives are reportedly taking place this week while the Argentine is at the World Cup. Lucas Torreira is widely accepted as a done deal, seeming with pen just to be put to paper. That might happen with Uruguay through to the last sixteen but who knows?

Aaron Ramsey remains the biggest issue. Until now, there was coaching and other staff to resolve but that is done and even dot com has now removed those no longer employed by the club.

The interesting aspect of getting the message gets across. Emery made a decent fist of his first press conference and is presumably still undergoing English lessons. I wonder how much English he knows; West Ham spoke to him in 2015 and would have expected some knowledge of the language for the interview, I’d have thought, although reports at the time tell that he barely spoke any English. However, is it a case of refreshing, as well as expanding, his skills?

Or have we hired a translator with football knowledge? A Mourinho without the devious personality? The solution has already been found, I’m sure.

A Keeper or A Leaver

The focus on goalkeepers, Wilshere and Ramsey deflects attention away from others whose contracts are in equally late stages. Danny Welbeck and Nacho Monreal are different propositions for the club.

Monreal, 32, has the same experience we expect Lichtsteiner to bring to the squad and is a no-brainer in my view over a new deal. With Kolasinac as well, there are no issues on the left side of the defence. Indeed, arguably this is a time when the Bosnian will suit a high-pressing game more than Monreal.

Welbeck is a different proposition. While I would not ever fault his effort, I cannot honestly see him fighting for a place in the starting line-up if everyone is fit. Certainly not as a centre-forward, which he has stated on a number of occasions is the role he wants to fulfil; he isn’t clinical enough. He’s a good squad player, but that is it.

Is that what he wants? His England career stalled by that as much as by injury. Southgate, refreshing as an England boss in many respects, is no different from his predecessors in preferring players who are in their club starting line-up. At 27, this is the prime of Welbeck’s career and time is short to deal with his talks. Renew or be sold and the latter, I think, is a genuine possibility.

I’m not so sure with Ramsey. My feeling is that he wants to stay and that he may well do so. However, can we afford to wait for that decision? Banega and Torreira keep us solid numbers-wise, but with Ramsey departing, I’d say there would be a need for a box-to-box midfielder who scores consistently. Take out the Welshman from the XI and we don’t have a ready-made replacement in that sense.

A Bridge Too Far?

Today’s matches in Russia promise a lot. Argentina versus Croatia will be an interesting tussle in midfield and hopefully, the Croats will be more inspiring than they were against Nigeria. They, of course, must beat Iceland or face the first flight out of Moscow once the final whistle blows against Argentina next week.

Then there’s the illusion of Brazil. We want the spirit of 1970 and 1982 but they never seem to reach those heights. There’s always the cynicism of 1974 lurking to varying degrees within their squad. Perhaps its too much to expect them to let go of the worst of the Dunga era by now.

Against the Swiss they were disappointing and lethargic with Neymar Jr doing nothing to advance his claims for being considered the best player in the world. He is so far behind Messi and Ronaldo that it is almost immeasurable. Yet, like them, he is lacklustre on the international stage.

There is a gap between the likes of Cruyff and Pele that the current trio seem unable to bridge. Maybe it is the fact they haven’t won a World Cup between them and they only have a European Championship winner’s medal to show for their efforts. Even that was only part-won.

We will soon find out if that is going to change this summer.

’til Tomorrow.

51 thoughts on “Who’s On The Way Out – Ever Talks for Ever – World Cup Round-Up

  1. I can see Croatia beating Argentina, however my effort for the World Cup competition is in tatters already. 🙁

  2. Working in Brussels as I do, I am wary of people in the UK crisicising English langauge skills in foreign nationals. Fluent and mother tongue (especially in an idiom-rich enviroment like football) are not the same; but its the ability to make yourself understood that matters.

    I suspect Umar Emery has ‘Digo más veces vete a tomar por culo que buenos días’

  3. Agree about Welbz YW. Can’t see him breaking into the team past PEA or Lacazette unless injury strikes, or Laca goes. Still not sure where Laca fits in the Emery jigsaw.

    Ramsey is important to the team. If he signs on he will be team captain. If he doesn’t sign we need to be getting good money for him and bringing in a replacement.

    These two running their contracts down are more examples of Wenger’s misrule. Together with the Sanchez and Ozil contract fiasco from last season this is a big mess that needs clearing up. The club seem to be sorting this out fairly well, but the financial fall out may take a long time to resolve.

  4. 1971Thistle,

    But the English introduced language to the world…didn’t they?

    As somebody working in Brussels have you ever consumed the local delicacy Brussels Sprout there?

  5. This fascination with box-to-box midfielders needing to score consistently is an odd thing for me. Lool at the sides who have won recently, they don’t need one. Neither Madrid sides, sure De Bruyne scored 8 goals but I feel like its not needed if you have a proper CF, and a quality secondary scorer, the rest get 5-10 sprinkled about. I think Ramsey’s goals have been key under Arsene because we haven’t had that, but now we do.
    Could Mhkitaryan and Ozil both score between 5-10 plus both of Aubameyang and Lacazette getting 15+, is the CM needed for goals or boss a midfield and help out defensively?

    Welbeck, just not sure but he would be a good squad player to keep around because he would fit in a pressing style.

  6. Apparently Soyuncu has said he wants to move to Arsenal and we know Arsenal wants him, go team, go get him.

  7. C

    Ozil won’t score that many. He has never scored 10 goals in any league. His best for us is 8, tends toward 4 – 5. Mkhitaryan, one season from Dortmund aside is in the same boat. Average, excl. his one season with 11, is just shy of 5.

    So I make that total:

    PEA 20
    Laca 15
    MO 5
    HM 5
    Rest 20

    TOT 65

    If we’re to finish in top 4, we need another 15-20 goals which might come from that tally, e.g. PEA 25, Laca 20, but it’s asking a lot of the others, probably too much.

    Quite simply, we need a goalscoring midfielder. We always have and I’ve always said it is one of the fundamental reasons we were never as successful as United. They had more goalscorers than us who were in or close to double-figures.

  8. Pete

    I think we’ll see a forward line set-up similar to PSG. For Cavani, read PEA. Lacazette will be central, a la Mbappe, with the third Mikhitaryan on the left.

  9. C,

    Apparently he and Banega are heavily linked. I think if Ramsey is sold we’ll go for Banega and Nzonzi as Emry knows them and they know how his system works. Nzonzi as looked a different player since he went to Spain shows how man management can change a player. I really hope Emry gets the best out of Ozil and Xhaka next season….imagine what an in form Ozil, Henrickh could create with the energy of Torreira and Xhaka between them. Especially With Auba in box First time in years we’ve had a fox in the box.

  10. YW,

    I thought ozil on left and Mikhitaryan central and allow them to swap and change. Makes marking them difficult and if either gets space then Laca and Auba have pace a plenty to exploit.

    I’ve said before on Ozil debate. He’s a luxury player. But if you check his distance per matches he’s usually up there for most distance covered so he can certainly be used, depends on his attitude.

  11. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Oh no, not the “he runs far” nonsense-stat again?


    Tops, 11k a game. I’m a very every distance runner, but in an hour and a half I could trot around the perimeter of the pitch, not change the game at all, apart from being offside now and then and cover 15k very comfortably indeed.

    It’s almost as silly as saying but the other players were all crap, so he hid in the big games too

    Can we drop this now??

  12. Great post Yogi

    Happy to have Bernd Leno, I think. His record for club and country in the last couple of seasons has not been good. He conceded 95 goals in the last 2 Bundesliga seasons which is very Arsenal like. Similar to Wojo he was once considered one of the worlds best GK prospects and the move to Italy and change of scenery helped Wojo so may be that same will happen for Leno. Wengerball was like poison for CB’s and GK’s over the last couple of years and hopefully that unfortunate tendency will end with the Emery era.

  13. YW:

    Ozil won’t score that many. He has never scored 10 goals in any league. His best for us is 8, tends toward 4 – 5. Mkhitaryan, one season from Dortmund aside is in the same boat. Average, excl. his one season with 11, is just shy of 5.

    So I make that total:

    Laca 15
    Rest 20


    If we’re to finish in top 4, we need another 15-20 goals which might come from that tally, e.g. PEA 25, Laca 20, but it’s asking a lot of the others, probably too much.

    Quite simply, we need a goalscoring midfielder. We always have and I’ve always said it is one of the fundamental reasons we were never as successful as United. They had more goalscorers than us who were in or close to double-figures.


    I agree completely with your analysis. Those numbers are the reason we really need 3rd goal scorer. Using players with central midfielder skills who don’t score as forwards is not ideal. Even Pep sets up his teams with 3 legitimate scoring threats in the forward positions.

  14. YW,

    Thats the thing though Yogi, Ramsey is a player who hovers around 5 goals excluding his 1 season of 10, so this notion that Ramsey is so consistent goals scoring midfielder is less fact than fiction. Taking away his 10 goal season and Ramsey since the 09/10 season has scored 3,1,2,1,10(year Ozil came in and Ramsey played off of Ozil), 6,5,1,7.

    Based on the numbers you provided, we will grt morw input from players than I think and I do think Mhkitaryan will score more this season but that is just my personal opinion. I think the other thing is that I always hear about having loads of goal scorers, but if you take a look, most PL winning sides generally only have 2 double digit scorers and 3-4 players in that 5-9 goal range.

    The other thing that will be key for us is either Welbeck becoming more productive (doubt that happens) or bringing in a back-up attacker that can provide goals.

  15. Brazil will disappoint as they so often do. All the smart money is now on England to fail to get out of their group.

  16. MesutsLeftFoot,

    Agree, I could see Nzonzi possibly coming but Banega would bring something different, a fighter with quality. Nzonzi is an example of a player being labelled by thr PL only to move somewhere and a manager not look at physical gifts but the actual futboler and get the best out of him. Having seen Torriera a few times at Sampdoria, he is a brilliant player and he will offer us so much. I think the interesting thing is that in Italy, he is likened to Veratti but does more defensively.

  17. Nice one YW.
    Agree re Ramsay.
    A little saddened , indeed hurt that you didn’t mention the Aussies when previewing today’s World Cup games.

  18. C

    The league is much stronger at the top of the table right now then it was in the days when teams won with just 2 goal scoring threats. Its hard to compete with teams like Man City and Liverpool when they out gun us. I suspect Man U will be stronger this year and I heard rumors of Lewandowski moving to Chelsea which would complete change them. That’s not to mention that fact that if you only have 2 players who are legitimate threat to score in double figures there is no fluff in the system and you are completely hosed if one of those 2 players has a bad run of form or has an injury riddled season.

  19. Sorry, but I genuinely don’t understand how? I can run around all game on a pitch and hide away from the actual game.

    People have become obsessed with distance covered. But that isn’t football. Putting the ball in the net is.

    If this were the London marathon, your distance stats would become relevant to the effort being put in towards the focused end result

    MikeSA: Why? Because it pisses all over the “lazy” drivel?

  20. Bill,

    First, at no point did I say we should only have 2 goals scoring threats nor have I ever actually. As far as outgunning the likes of Citeh and Liverpool, well Sterling and Sane before this season were only thought of us potential at most possibly 10-11 goal scorers but in no way was it guaranteed. As I have stated now, early, previously and all the time, I do want a goal scoring threat on the RW who can get 10 goals. I have to discount his time at Manure just because of Mourinho and how he treated the player but Mhkitaryan has shown an ability over several seasons prior to get double digits. I would also not at all be opposed to signing a player likr Martin who could score 10 goals.

    I think the other thing is we don’t know how the players will play under Emery. Salah before last season, anybody who followed him always said the same thing, ‘he can get you 12 goals and 10 assists but isn’t clinical enough’ and then he exploded last season.

    Lets see what happens but I AGAIN do think we need to replace Welbeck.

  21. If we can get Soyuncu and Martin along with Leno, Torriera and Sokaritis…that would be a good summer.

  22. Brussels sprouts? Hate the buggers, rank here, rank everywhere…they’re called Brussels cabbage here, doesn’t make them any nicer. Don’t like chicory either, which the locals love.

    Rest oc the grub is excellent.

  23. Damon:
    Sorry, but I genuinely don’t understand how?I can run around all game on a pitch and hide away from the actual game.

    People have become obsessed with distance covered.But that isn’t football.Putting the ball in the net is.

    If this were the London marathon, your distance stats would become relevant to the effort being put in towards the focused end result

    Its bizarre to suggest that a player spends the entire match running away from the ball and thats the real reason he covers so much distance.

    What really pisses all over that idea is that that he averages more than a touch per minute during games, so are you going to suggest that the other players chase after him and kick the ball at him whilst he’s running away?

    Honestly, the gymnastics in attempting to explain away facts that contradict the popular mood are starting to sound rather desperate.

  24. MikeSA,

    But he doesn’t affect a game regularly. Kane is a great example of the opposite. Often does fuck all for 89 minutes but in the other 60 seconds he finds space and scores twice. Job done

    I understand there are Ozil fans out there. You’re one. I’m not. That’s fine. Bit let’s talk goals and assists and see how he stands up whilst earning £350k a week against the rest of the league rather than distance covered and touches taken.

    Run around a lot and touch the ball often but don’t score and don’t assist? Pointless

    He’s a tireless runner and a lazy footballer. Especially when you consider he’s almost always the most talented player on the pitch

  25. Damon,

    Did you read the article another poster put up the other day that explains exactly what stats are important for a player like Ozil and why he actually plays and does way better than the press and fans claim?

    It laid it all out very clearly why he is the best at what he does, and how much he influences the game.

    I suggest you read it.

    I remember many fans claiming Gilberto wasn’t a “typical Brazilian”, because he didn’t pull gratuitous flicks and tricks every time he got the ball.

    If you actually watched him closely, he had all those tricks and control in his locker, he only used them when necessary, not to just show off ala Ramsey for e.g.

    Ozil is exactly the same.

    He can dribble, he does leave players for dead, but only when he needs to, not to try and show the world he’s the next greatest thing since Pele.

    Fans get too focused on shouty, wavey, chargey types who look like they’re putting in effort but actually do f-all.

  26. Good Evening All.

    Interesting watching Arsène holding court on BE IN Sport. He’s obviously after the French Job and so is loathe to criticise The Water Carrier Deschamps.

    Arsène defending OG to the hilt when it’s there for all to see that it just don’t work with OG.

    Just watched the Arg v Croatia match. Argentina are woeful. I feel so sorry for Messi having to play for Such a bad team.

  27. Astonishing performance from Croatia , solid all round play…midfield was great, Marshaled by mordic and racktic. The whole argentine team was awful, no bite, no team play and out of context of each other , with a coach who shows off his tattoos…lol

  28. Phil,

    They got a very creditable draw v Denmark. Still alive and played the two best teams. This is a pretty tough group.

  29. Opus,

    Had more tattoos than his players! Was a funny look for the head coach, with high sleeved T-shirt! Clearly a shambles as he cannot put together the talented attackers into a shape to score. Forget about their terrible defending. Why can’t Samp at least devise a way of playing to score with all these superb forwards and strikers? I think Messi has to share some of the blame. Doesn’t seem to play with Aguero, can’t play with Dybala, doesn’t want Icardi on the team…

  30. Ras,

    Would that help AW get the job? Why not criticize and imply that he has ideas about what could work better?

  31. MikeSA

    Back when Ozil was much more consistently effective and everyone thought he was one of the best creative players in the world his contributions were always easy to see and he never divided opinions. Even when he was still playing well for us in the first 1/2 of the 15/16 before before the disappearing acts began everyone knew how good he was and there were no divided opinions. Even now, when he plays really well in some games now such as the first game against CSKA and in both games against Everton it was clear that Ozil’s contributions are easy for anyone to see. The idea that 2 1/2 years ago Ozil decided to change his style from the one that made him the worlds greatest #10 to a player who is much less dynamic and does the little things that no one really notices seems very unlikely. Players who are getting past their prime and no longer can influence the game the way they used to are ones who make that sort of change of style.

  32. If Ozil did make a decision to change his style of play then it has not worked very well and he needs to go back to the Ozil that everyone thought was one of the worlds most effective creative midfielders. If he was going to change his style then the one thing he should have done is make the commitment to take over Cazorla’s role as player who quickly switched defense to attack and helping us to play at a higher tempo.

  33. Limestonegunner,

    You can say that again mate. However, his substitution was bad enough. I expected him to bring in Gonzalo Higuaín as it got tough one goal down and play him with aguero while Messi stick behind them to make attack more purposeful. Can’t see him retaining his job after the tournament. Tiny light at the tunnel for them though.

  34. I really don’t see how a box-to-box man like Ramsay fits into a high pressing side. Emery obviously wants a couple of terriers (Torriera and Banega) who can win back the ball in tight areas and slip a quick pass through a disorganised defence. Doesn’t sound like Ramsay’s thing to me.

  35. Limestonegunner,

    Why, in such a huge game, do you suddenly revert to a back three? Tinker with the back four if you must. But Croatia ain’t the sort of side you want to experiment against. Sounds like Sampaoli wanted a formation he was comfortable with rather than the players. Smelt of panic.

  36. FREDDO,

    I agree that the Argentine defense looked confused with this switch especially when they tried to play out of the back—totally hapless. I could see the logic of this move if Mascherano dropped into it or out of the team to the bench. Play Lo Celso and Banega to get the ball to the forwards, especially Messi, up the pitch. None of what he did came out of a coherent plan fit to the players and the needs of the game. A totally different challenge from trying to break down Iceland.

    I don’t feel bad for Messi though. As good as he has been in saving Argentina during qualifying, some of these persistent problems have to do with his dominance in the team and the desire to suit him and how and with whom he wants to play.

  37. We are being linked with this Banega bloke. Question is he can’t even get in this extra ordinary argie bargy team! Let’s hope its just that the manager is utterly clueless then.

  38. MikeSA,

    So, what I’m getting from you when I asked about discussing his goals and assists stats, is….

    – Read an article
    – See things that are intangible, but REAL fans see it
    – He holds back his true talent because he doesn’t want to be “showy”

    Baseless arguments that don’t get to the point. His business is goals and assists, pounds and pence. Your comment, for me, simply shows how much work the entire club has to do to erode the culture of passing blame and general mediocrity that AW allowed to take root and grow in the last decade

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