West Ham Preview & New Manager Race Hots Up

For the first time in a number of years, we head to West Ham in the role of party poopers. We’re four points from the bottom three with a win for tonight’s hosts joining us on 19 points. Goal difference keeps us above them unless we lose by four. Stop squirming uneasily; not even we’re that crap.

Despite our hopes of wholesale changes, Freddie is relying on experience, in his own words, which means more tomfoolery in the centre of defence from Sokratis and Sideshow Bob. Holding isn’t featuring as he recovers from injury and it seems Calum Chambers is Mr Utility on the bench. Unless Hec isn’t fit, then he’s the carefree right-back.

Look, Freddie’s thrown us a curveball or two with his team selections to no avail in terms of changing the club around. Duncan Ferguson wrought an immediate response from his Everton team on Saturday but the Arsenal players have given Freddie nothing but a flatulent reaction.

It’s shameful; completely shameful. This group of players ought to be embarrassed by their contributions. There’s no sign of that, however. It’s Radio Silence from Arsenal which as was rightly pointed out yesterday means that the stories in the press are how they have scant regard for Freddie and his ability.

It has more to do with the players not caring about Arsenal Football Club. To them, it’s a paypacket and one they have never earned.

At this point, I’d probably start with my hopes on how we’ll play and what we need to do to win. This picture says it all:

Yes, we need the ghost of John Belushi to save us.

Anyways, here’s hoping to three points.

Managerial Stakeout

There will be some interesting observers at the match. Marcelino, the poor man’s Emery, is reportedly in London to take in the game. Everyone seems jolly convinced that a man who won the Segunda Division in 2005-06 and Copa Del Rey in 2018-19 is the answer.

I must be out of touch with how good he is as a manager to not be overwhelmed by our interest in the man.

News we’re considering Niko Kovac is similarly underwhelming. Winning domestic trophies with Bayern is the same as winning them with PSG; when you don’t, that’s a more telling assessment of your managerial skills. Kovac did win them but was making a pig’s ear of this season. He didn’t last.

Rafa Benitez is in the Sky studio as part of their Monday Night Football so it will be amusing to watch him squirm uncomfortably when asked about being linked with the Arsenal job. Or smirk knowingly because he met with Raul earlier.

Raul won’t be pushing for a manager with the experience of the likes of a Benitez, Ancelotti and Allegri. These are guys who know what they want and won’t be fooled by him. They won’t be puppets.

It’s fairly obvious there is a power-grab going on at the club with board sidelined and prevented from adding football experience to their ranks. Irrespective of whether you like O’Leary or not, that move was blocked to stop people questioning those running the club on a day-to-day basis.

The wait for a new boss goes on with points poured down the drain. Every year, an unsuspecting club is pulled into the relegation battle. By the looks of things, this year is our year.

Emery Wanted What?

According to The Man Formerly Known As Ornstein of the BBC, Unai Emery didn’t want David Luiz or Nicolas Pepe last summer. He had loftier ambitions: Harry Maguire, Wilfried Zaha and Thomas Partey.

At least Kieran Tierney can feel wanted but going from Maguire to Sideshow Bob is one hell of a comedown. Surely there were players in between that we could have chosen?

I get that Partey was deemed too expensive but some of that could have been offset by selling Xhaka and/or Torreira.

Money is a recurring theme with Arsenal every year and is rearing its’ head in the hunt for the new manager. Benitez is apparently too expensive to release from his contract and Rodgers definitely is.

Hence the Poundland solutions of Kovac, Marcelino and Arteta. The latter won’t cost anywhere near as much to release from his contract as a proper manager.

I have serious misgivings about his appointment as Arsenal boss. He has acquired excellent experience as Pep’s second-in-command but his lack of first-hand experience of managing a team will always be a concern.

Mind you, failure is inevitable in football management. The sack is coming; it’s just a case of when, not if.

But those are issues for another day. Tonight, it’s West Ham and three much-needed points up for grabs.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

118 thoughts on “West Ham Preview & New Manager Race Hots Up

  1. C says:

    Torriera, at the base was the driving force last night. He not only covered loads of ground making tackles and interceptions all of the park but his passing and ability to hold and carry the ball os what we have lacked. He did this despite some absolutely shocking passing from Xhaka.

  2. Noon Gunner says:

    C,

    Agreed – he looked more engaged and sharper than I’ve seen him all season. I suspect FL has given him a sense of his importance to this team if it’s going to play properly joined-up football.

  3. C says:

    Noon Gunner,

    Yup, exactly my thinking! He was making himself available, pressing, constant energy and he also has the technical ability to turn and make the correct pass to help beat the press. He is a must start for me.

  4. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    C,

    It’s almost like… Playing players in their preferred positions is a good idea.

    Was an impressive turn around but it shows a couple of things….

    1. Xhaka is done in an arsenal shirt. He ducked down and turned into the cross that led to their goal, never once tried to play the ball with pace and usually passed it back to our CBs or Fullbacks contributing to slow build up and inviting pressure on ourselves. So it’s time to sell him and sign someone like Doucoure. Doing so means we’ve got someone who is phaycial and athletic who doesn’t just pass it backwards and occasionally lump it forward to the opposition.
    2. Ozil is done. 320k a week for someone who jogs back during counters and seems to get pushed off the ball by any midfielder who marks him. For reference, we pay Ozil more than City pay KDB and Sterling. And more than Pool pay Salah, Mane and Firmino. He’s nowhere near that level.
    3. We desperately need a CB and CDM. Same as every season. We need someone to partner Saliba and a CDM and system change that takes pressure off our CBs and Fullbacks.
    4. We need a RB backup. Maitland-Niles was good. But this is what he does. Good one game. Garbage for next 2. Rince and repeat.
    5. Auba is world class. But if Raal offer 70m plus Jovic absolutely take it. I love Auba, I really do. But I feel a huge issue is our previous CFs like RVP, Ade, Edaurdo, Giroud etc all contributed to build up play, which Auba doesn’t do. It’s annoying, as he’s probably the best finisher we’ve had in a decade but not having that link up top really damages what we try to do in build up.
    6. I’d still sell Chambers or Sok in summer. Have Luiz as back up if needed but sign another CB.
    7. We absolutely also need a creative midfielder who’ll run at defenses instead of pass it sideways and wait for a pass. Why we didn’t go for Ziyech I’ll never know. Sell Ozil and Mkhitaryan in summer for definite.

    What’s your thoughts on Arteta as manger then C?

  5. Andy says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    Other than having Luiz as backup I agree with everything you’ve just said. Don’t like the idea of Arteta as manager though. Unless he brings half the city squad with him.

  6. Dukey says:

    Arteta can go prove himself at Everton first. If he does well then we can get him.

  7. Conan says:

    I’ll take a beating for this but right now, you cant drop ozil.

    We do not have a replacement.

    He isnt magic, fast or as offensively aggressive as he used to be but he is smart.

    Torreria has shown himself to be a pivot. We need another one. I wish it was AMN, but it has to be chambers. The problem with that is chambers showed us last night he might be our most dependable CB, if lightweight.

    I would argue his passing was better then we have seen from Luiz.

    We can talk about selling ozil but honestly, no ody will buy and we dont have a replacement.

    Conan

  8. Saa says:

    Dukey:
    West spam review Yogi!?

    Don’t think even YW can believe we won yesterday as yet let alone come from behind away from home… Still recovering from the sheer disbelief… I know I am

  9. C says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    1. Agree about Xhaka and I thought the ducking thing was just ludicrious. I also think Guendouzi will continue to develop and come good and next to Torriera, we could have quite a midfield base for years. Xhaka isn’t built for the PL but that doesn’t make him rubbish. The backward and sideways passing for me goes back to him being slow footed and not being able to play on the half turn, similiar to Torriera.

    2. I tend to disagree about Ozil because he was tying things together…ONCE we broke the lines which goes back to your Xhaka point. When Torriera decided to get the ball off the CB’s, he was able to play on the half turn or make a quick pass that allowed Ozil to link that front 3. I do think Ceballos could do well their but I don’t fancy any other player to be able to.

    3. Agree about a CB to partner Saliba. DM, I really like Torriera at that DM spot and he might not be the hulking beast that most want but he does the job really well but its all about who partners him. Grabbing a Doucoure, would be a good partner but I also think Guendouzi can be. CB, I like Chambers as a CB3 but we will see. Sokaritis, please no more of Sokaritis.

    4. We do need a RB2. I think all the small niggling injuries to Bellerin are expected given he was out injured for a full season and his body is returning to full match fitness. Would be interested to promote from the U23’s but thay is personal preference.

    5. Aubameyang depends PURELY on whether he wants to sign a mew contract or not. I would find it EXTREMELY difficult to sell Aubameyang because I still think a front 3 of Aubameyang/Lacazette/Pepe can be lethal because Aubameyang is superb at hold up and link up play and Aubameyang playing on the left but narrow when we attack would be unplayable especially with Pepe always willing and ready to come short for the ball and then run at defenders. I just think those 3 need time to come good. With that said, if Aubameyang does want out and Madrid offer 70m + Jovic, I would be intrigued because a front e of Lacazette/Jovic/Pepe would be intriguing.

    6. Creative midfielder, tend to agree but I also like Ceballos but not sure if he will still be here after the summer given new manager. Honestly, give me Bailey from Leverkusen.

    Arteta for me is one that I have gone back and forth on. On the one side, he was hand picked by Pep as his #2 but also the players rave about the impact he has had on them specifically Sterling who constantly credits Arteta with helping him become the goal scorer he is today. The other hand is, Arsenal need fixing and direction and sure, an manager would be a gamble, but Arteta would be quite a gamble with no HEAD manager experience.

  10. Dukey says:

    Saltsburg, Lille , Saliva Prague, Genk, Leipzig, zvemazda, club Brugge, Atalanta, the Cl has gone well downhill since we were in it.

  11. Mulerise1 says:

    Hey Yogi,i keep checking my mail for nuggets of your thoughts on the last match……..I hope all is well.

  12. Bufallo says:

    Presumably our honourable largesse includes not speaking to employed managers since we won’t talk to managers while we have one. I must say I never had the Kroenkes down as holders of the shield of truth and sword of justice but there you go. Absolutely great guys not taking advantage of anyone anywhere across all their investments. So good to have such morally sound cats owning our club. Given all this I imagine they are flying in Carlo for a chat this morning….. Or maybe they have a better plan, which is to work out a plan quite slowly before realising that was a bad plan in about another 18 months. Smashing this sports franchise ownership lads

  13. Michael says:

    Shake a leg Yogi, I’m getting withdrawal symptoms again 🙂

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