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New Striker for Arsenal? A Pseudo Scientific Analysis…..

May 29, 2014

Fresh from our triumph in the FA cup and with Champions League football again sealed, we are already enveloped in several slow burning transfer sagas. As Le Prof has said, the FA cup win could be the springboard for a new era of success at Arsenal Football Club. But let’s be honest, a huge reason for us not pushing on in the League this year was our lack of fire power and options up front.

It was fairly negligent that the club didn’t buy a striker last summer (Gonzalo Higuaín was there for the taking) and again in January. And so here we are again, in dire need of another striker or two. I love the intensity of emotion and opinion on just who we should go for. But for this article I tried to apply a little methodology to the noisy discussion. Who should we buy and what do the stats say?

I decided to dig into the data from http://www.whoscored.com and I pulled up the highest rated offensive players from last season in the top 5 leagues – England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France. This yielded 497 players with a whoscored rating over 7.00 (my chosen cut off point for a quality player, ready to step into a starting lineup).

Of those 497, I filtered out players who did not have the position of forward in their list of positions. I then further filtered out forwards who had not scored at least 14 goals last season in their respective leagues (Remy scored 14). This left only 43 names on the list.

I then thought a little bit about the qualities we want for a top striker and based on the data I actually had available I boiled this down to:

Number of goals scored per appearance
Number of assists made per appearance
Shots/Goals ratio
Whoscored.com rating (a combination of offensive attributes)

Click HERE for striker details.

For each of these criteria I ranked the top 43 players. I then took the sum of those rankings from the four criteria, and made a final rank from this. (Note that I have essentially re-weighted the whoscored.com rating index to favour those players who score a lot, assist a lot, and know how to hit the target – we don’t need a striker who couldn’t score in a brothel).

So where does that leave us?

First, I don’t want to break any hearts or stand on anyone’s toes, but I’m going to put my neck out here and say we don’t have a hope of buying Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Sergio Agüero, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, or Robert Lewandowski. Call it a hunch, call it a lack of ambition, but I’ll buy you a pie if I’m wrong. Ill skip over those names, but there are plenty of interesting and perhaps surprising names up on my list.

Applying my methodology, Alexis Sánchez comes in 2nd, after Messi! Wow, who would’ve thought? He ranked 11th for goals per appearance, 5th for assists per appearance and had the best shots to goals ratio. And Barca *might* actually be willing to sell him. Given that Arsenal needs some power, pace and goals, as well as cover on the wings I would jump up and down if this happened. Transfermarkt suggests that he is valued at £26.4 million – not cheap but at 25 years of age, he is a player in his prime who will retain future sell-on value. My view: do it.

Mario Mandzukic is ranked 6th on my list. The noise is that Bayern would entertain selling him and he would entertain leaving, with Robert Lewandowski on his way in. Now, I realise that Mandzukic gets solid gold service at Bayern which may make his stats look a little better, but he is a quality player, ranked 9th for goals per appearance, and 2nd for shots on target. When he shoots, he scores. My main reservation is that he is perhaps a bit too like for like with Giroud, but hey, if he were to be one of two new attackers for Arsenal I would welcome him with open arms. Valued by Transfermarkt at about £26 million and at 27 years of age this wouldn’t be a bad bet at all. My view, definitely worth considering.

Coming in at 10 is Marco Reus who is ranked 1st for assists per appearance, and a healthy 18th for goals to appearances, considering he often played second striker behind Lewandowski. Trouble is I can’t really see Dortmund selling him, and he’s in the £35m bracket. My view: I’d bite your hand off for Reus but this is seriously unlikely to materialise.

Giuseppe Rossi surprisingly appears 11th, but in my view he is too short and slight for the Premier League (5 ft 8 in). Aritz Aduriz is ranked 12th but at 33 years of age so I’m just going to say no.

Diego Costa is inevitably on my list, appearing at 14th , and I believe that we should have busted the bank for him in January, however slim the chances were of getting him. He is ranked 7th for goals per appearances and 7th for shots to goals. It’s probably worth asking if this past season was an aberration, as he only hit 10 in 31 appearances for Atletico in 2012-13. But he has the physical attributes we need in the premier league – power, speed and physical presence. Even at £30-40m, given that he’s 25 years of age it should be a good investment.

I was surprised to see Carlos Vela come out ranked 17th, but it’s a tribute to how well he has played this year. He ranks 7th for assists per game and 16th for shots to goals ratio, although only 39th for goals per appearance. My view is if he has a buy back clause of only £3m it is madness if we don’t snap up a quality, maturing player who is worth many times that. Rumour has it that this clause could also be used to leverage Real Sociedad team-mate Antoine Griezmann, but we’ll get to him in a moment.

I’m going to run past a few names here, because I doubt we would be in for them or have never ever been linked with them (yes, players we haven’t been linked to still exist). Gonzalo Higuaín had a very solid first year, and ranks 20th. I’m still seething we didn’t buy him last summer, so not much chance of him moving now. Fernando Llorente was another miss, and appears settled at Juve.

Karim Benzema had solid stats this past season and has a very good all round game. Transfermarkt put his value at £30m but I feel Real would hold out for more and this move would possibly be dependent on a big money move by Real for Suarez. My view on Benzema: Don’t hold your breath, and regardless, what would Giroud make of his French team mate at the Emirates?

Interestingly, a bunch of names we have been linked with are clustered around 30th to 40th including Edin Dzeko, Josip Drmic, Mario Balotelli, Edinson Cavani, Romelu Lukaku, Wilfried Bony, Loïc Remy, Antoine Griezmann and the ever present Salomon Kalou.

For reference, I rank Monsieur Giroud at 37 based on last season’s performances.

All of these names scored between 14 and 16 goals last season and averaged between 0.44 goals per game (Kalou, Giroud) and 0.66 goals per game (Dzeko). My point is that there was not so much between these forwards in terms of statistical outcomes so it comes down to acquiring a player with the qualities we need most.

Edin Dzeko has clear goal scoring ability and Premier League experience and ranks 16th for goals per appearance, but is one of the lowest ranked for assists. Do we care? Probably not while the goals are flying in, but strikers all go through barren spells so the all round game is important (as Giroud’s stats show for assists). I’m not at all confident City would entertain selling him to us, but regardless we need to have a think about whether his game is too similar to Giroud’s. Josip Drmic has just signed for Bayer 04 Leverkusen, so I’ll stop right there.

‘Super’ Mario Balotelli has been linked with us recently, but why don’t I take those rumours seriously? I just can’t see him fitting in with the harmony of the team, but I guess Wenger has worked with Anelka successfully before so it’s remotely possible. Balotelli ranks in the middle of the bunch for goals per appearance, assists, and whoscored rating, but his shots to goals ratio is the lowest of all players in this index. Hmm. My view: Im not at all convinced he’s what we need.

Edinson Cavani has only occasionally been linked with us due to an unsettled first year at PSG. His stats are good, except for assists for which he was among the lowest ranked. PSG don’t need the whopping £50m+ he would command and appear not to care too much about Financial Fair Play regulations, so I can’t see this happening – especially if he lights up the World Cup for Uruguay.

Romelu Lukaku ranks just below Cavani overall, and ranks in the middle of my list for goals and assists per appearance, although his shots to goals ratio could be better. But in terms of attributes, he’s a beast. Big, fast, powerful, with proven Premier League experience – and he seems to have a good attitude. At 21 years of age he still has a huge potential to improve. My view is that I would jump at this one for about £20m, but the one who calls himself ‘Special’ will probably stand in our way.

Wilfried Bony and Loïc Remy are ranked next on this list with Remy in particular strongly linked with us. I’m not going to lie, their whoscored.com rating is just over 7, and they rank just in the middle of the pack on goals, assists and shots per goal. At risk of upsetting someone, they are not what I would call world class (yet). Rather, they are clearly two very good players, both of whom have punched above their weight in average teams. I think both of these players can be better than their stats and rank suggests.

Both have considerably more acceleration than Giroud and have Premier League experience, and best of all can probably be prised away from their current clubs for reasonable sums of money, probably in the region of £10m for Remy and £12-15m for Bony. Wenger must surely be interested in Remy in particular because of his speed and different characteristics from Giroud. We need someone who can run at and beat players, as well as making those teasing runs for Ozil to weave his magic. My view: I would be very happy with Remy and satisfied with Bony – on the proviso that we also buy another pacey attacking left winger.

Antoine Griezmann is ranked 39th on my list, which might sound a bit harsh, but that’s what the stats say. But to be fair he is more known as a left sided midfielder than out and out striker, so him being listed also as a striker highlights his versatility. He still managed 16 goals last term (one every second game) and has a whoscored.com rating of 7.2. He’s known for good ball control, quick acceleration, and dribbling but I’m a bit miffed why with those attributes he only averages 0.7 dribbles per game – the same as Giroud.

Compare this, say with Julian Draxler on the left averaging 4.1 dribbles per game. My view is that at 23 years of age his best years are ahead of him and he would be worth a shout. I’m not sure if I would pay the transfermarkt price of £22m, but in an interesting twist Real Sociedad might be interested in doing a favourable deal with us for Griezmann to remove that clause on Carlos Vela’s contract… or so the rumours go.

Finally, a man who needs no introduction, and is linked with us in nearly every transfer window, Salomon Kalou. Im going to argue here that Kalou is not what we need, ranked as he is in the bottom half of my list in all categories and near the bottom overall. But credit where its due, Kalou’s stats show him as a better player than a lot of us give him credit for, and he is easily the most affordable on this list. My view: only as a loan signing in the 11th hour when all our other options fell through. Again.

Those of you who have managed to trawl your way to the bottom of this post and are still wide-eyed and alert will notice a few omissions.

First, Jackson Martinez. He’s in the Portuguese league so the stats aren’t available, but his Champions League and UEFA league whoscored.com ratings are both just below 7.00. This makes me unconvinced about him, especially for the £26m transfermarket valuation of him.

I confess I don’t see much of the Primeira Liga myself so I won’t pretend to be an expert. If he performs well at the World Cup for Colombia in the absence of Falcao then he could well convince me (and everyone else). Álvaro Morata is another omission because his whoscored.com rating is only 6.68 and he only scored 8 goals in La Liga last season (although this is commendable from only 3 starts and 20 substitute appearances). He could well be one for the future, and that’s fine, but we also have Yaya Sanogo for the future.

What I want is a striker to hit the ground running next season, not another one for a future which is forever over the horizon. Julian Draxler is a real talent I haven’t mentioned, because he isn’t listed as a forward. Even so, consider he scored only twice in 25 Bundisliga games last season, so let’s put on ice any talk of converting him to a striker for Arsenal next season.

Back to Sanogo. If we are able to bring in a top striker and a left winger who can also play as a striker, then I think it would be best for Sanogo’s development if he goes out on loan. I don’t want to be too hard on the guy, and there are flashes of potential there, but I just don’t think he has the quality to lead the line just yet for a team who should be seriously competing to win the Premier League. If you’re curious, his whoscored.com rating is 6.07 and he is yet to score in an Arsenal shirt.

So there you have it, draw your own conclusions from this. Get emotive and shout me down that the stats lie!

Personally I would strike a balance quality and affordability in our quest for a pacey striker if it means we can also buy an attacking left winger. Remy-Griezmann should be the least we can do. Alas, we can only hope Le Prof gets serious and does his business early or once again we will be linked with Kalou at the eleventh hour.

Written by rogerbij

Lukasz Fabianski has now left Arsenal and signed a four year deal with Swansea. I personally wish him all the very best at his new club and with Poland as I have a feeling it won’t be too long before he’s his country’s number one keeper…

At least he won a trophy with us eh….

 

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Sagna confirms he’s off! Drmic on the cheap Arsene??

May 11, 2014

Here we are then, final day of the season and just for a change, we end it with an away fixture.

It’s looking likely to be Bacary Sagna’s last league fixture for us to as he’s reported to have said this to europe1.fr:

I’m out of contract, as everyone knows. I still consider myself as an Arsenal player at present. But actually we had a small problem to agree (with the club, ed ), and I do not think stay at Arsenal at the end of the season.

Oh well, we saw it coming and the longer the situation went on, the more likely it was that he’d be leaving. He’s had an offer on the table and he didn’t think it was good enough.

Onwards and upwards eh, there are a few right-backs currently playing in the Premier League, I’m sure the club could manage to persuade one of them to sign for us!

Today will be a funny old game I suspect. Norwich are relegated unless they beat us 17-0 and West Brom lose so the home fans and players will be waving goodbye to the Premier League, something which Arsene Wenger is sad about:

I like Norwich because they always play good football and play with a good spirit. They are a team who deserves to be in the Premier League.

But they didn’t get enough points Arsene and only that would have kept them up, just like us not getting enough points to win the league. Not always does ‘good football and good spirit’ equal success, sometimes you have to play boring defensive football and grind out a victory to be successful. Not always of course but just in certain games against certain opposition.

We have nothing to play for today other than pride and making sure we don’t pick up any injuries ahead of next weekends FA Cup Final next Saturday but I’m not Arsene Wenger feels the same:

We go there to try to win the game. We want to finish on a high, we want to get 79 points and make it as tight as possible at the top.

If you get to that level it shows you’re ready to fight for the title again. From that basis we want to build on for next season and get over 80.

Also, in preparing for the FA Cup final, it’s important to feel that you play well in the game before.

Jack Wilshere, Abou Diaby, Kieran Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey are all fit again but who starts is anyone’s guess and I just hope that whoever it is, they don’t get injured.

Rumours:

FC Nurnberg were relegated yesterday which means Josip Drmic valuation has dropped. He reportedly has a release clause in his contract which specifies that in the event of relegation he can move on for just €5 million. Considering he’s the 3rd highest scorer in the Bundesliga, he’ll soon get snapped up. He’s been linked to us for a while now but reports suggest Bayer Leverkusen have already struck a deal. 

Barcelona striker Alexis Sanchez will be sold in the summer and the Sunday People think Arsene Wenger could be ready to pounce and the same newspaper writes that Cardiff keeper David Marshall is the man to replace Lukasz Fabianski and of course, the Morata story rumbles on…

Won’t they all until August 31st…

Let’s hope Arsene rings a few changes and the boys get a nice and easy 3 points which would set us up nicely for next weekend…

When City or Liverpool get crowned Champions later, we all know if could have been us, IF only Arsene had……………..

COYRRG’s…..

Enjoy your Sunday whatever you are up to…


Summer signing agreed? Koscielny deal a big statement & Arsene promises to work hard in the summer…..

May 10, 2014

Morning all.

So the rumours went season ticket spin. Laurent Koscielny has agreed and signed a new long-term contract.

Great news!!

Great news!!

Seriously, this is the best news we could have hoped for as our French centre-back is key to us maintaining stability at the club and in the team and with other top clubs sniffing around, this truly is a big ‘Naff off’ to all of them.

It’s a huge statement to other clubs who think we are easy pickings. We are no longer a selling club and we are no longer a club who is prepared to lose our top players to other clubs. And Koscielny is certainly one of those.

Santi Cazorla, Serge Gnabry, Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky, Wojciech Szczesny and Gedion Zelalem have all recently signed new deals and now with Laurent joining them, the future is looking good. There is plenty of hard work to be done by the club in the summer of course but that can’t take place until this season ends.

Having signed, Laurent said:

I am very proud to have reached agreement with the Club on a new contract. I have enjoyed four great years at Arsenal already, and I look forward to continuing to help the team in the years to come.

Arsene:

Laurent has proven himself to be an outstanding player since joining us in 2010 and has showed his quality once again this season. I am delighted he has decided to commit his future to the Club.

As are we…..

Of course it’s a shame that both Fabianski and Sagna are looking likely to leave but that’s life I guess when a player is allowed to run down their contract. And, both parties have had their part to play in that situation….

The Mirror are running a headline and that’s all it is because there is no substance to the story but they suggest that Sagna will wait until after the World Cup to make a decision on his future. I’m sure Arsene Wenger knows already what the future holds for Sagna…

Rumours surrounding his replacement are hotting up that’s for sure with reports in Italy suggesting Serge Aurier has in principle, already agreed a five year deal. We’ll see I guess, and soon….

Arsene Wenger has spoken about this past season and how we have to improve:

We have to continue to develop as a team. We have bridged a big gap from last season and we want to be better next season.

How can we do that? We have hard work in the summer to achieve that.

My team has shown a remarkable mental stamina and consistency in their attitude and I am very proud of the way they responded.

We are looking at some aspects where we can improve internally and we will work very hard during the summer to do that.

What he means by ‘internally’ is anyone’s guess, maybe he is making a move upstairs and a new managerial team is coming in? 

We’ll know after next weekend:

We are focused on the Cup final. After that, yes, I will make an announcement. 

I told you many times, my word is my word and I’m from a period where you didn’t need a pen to commit. It’s not linked with the FA Cup at all.

Still no word about committing to the club as manager though but I suspect it is and if so, I hope he’ll be working very hard in the summer and finally make the signings to take us a lot further than the usual scramble for 4th spot. We need to start the season with a deep, strong squad, one with pace up front and a solid, robust midfield which doesn’t get ripped through by other sides like it has done over the years and did at times this season.

Until then, it’s Norwich tomorrow and an FA Cup Final next weekend….

COYRRG’s, just two more victories……

Finally, Happy Birthday to the master of football Dennis Bergkamp who is 45 years old today..

Could he really be coming back to The Emirates this summer…..?

That’s your lot for another day…..


Why do fans do this? Arsene tells porkies and hopes of 3rd dashed…

May 5, 2014

Morning all.

Five minutes to go until half-time and a few fans were out of their seat and off up the steps to the food hall.

Why??

Worth missing the game for?

Worth missing the game for?

Never!

But I guess people need to eat, although I never understand why Arsenal fans would pay the prices the club charge. In fact, I wouldn’t give a penny to the club for food, not when they charge so much for tickets, why feed the hand that robs us each season?

It’s not like we see much return during a transfer window is it? Pffff

Talking of transfer windows, did you spot him?

Is he on his way in??

Is he on his way in??

Yes of course you did, the cameras zoomed in on him so how could you miss Loic Remy watching us.

Of course that doesn’t mean he’s definitely signing for us but I reckon it’s a huge hint that he might and I for one would be pretty pleased. He’d be the ideal replacement for Bendtner.

Anyway, he sat and watched our boys have a casual and calm Sunday afternoon training session and secure another three points at home….

Arsene Wenger was of course asked about Remy after the game:

Honestly I have just been informed that Loic Remy was here, I didn’t know. So don’t see any sign of us signing Loic Remy in that. I hope he has paid for his ticket!

No [I didn't invite him], that’s why I tell you I have not invited him.

Oh Arsene, you do fib…..

I can understand Arsene Wenger fielding a strong side, I can also understand him resting Aaron Ramsey as we need him fit for the FA Cup final. I’d actually rest him again next weekend even though we lack something when he doesn’t play, it’s not worth the risk. We have Kallstrom and now Diaby is back too, so let them play.

3rd was still up for grabs yesterday which was no doubt the reason for the strong starting eleven but sadly Norwich couldn’t sneak a goal against Chelsea so 4th it is for us and the league title is now between Liverpool and Manchester City which leaves Jose and his little horse, trophy-less.

How we need that FA Cup eh!!

Anyway, nice to see us scoring from a corner, a darn good one it was too and nicely headed home by the big French striker.

Must have been the haircut that did it….

Gossip:

Micah Richards, Loic Remy and Alex McCarthy are all linked to us today in one paper or another….

That’s it for another day, it’s Bank Holiday here in England and it’s going to be a warm one….


Pop the Corks!! Early bid for striker & Wenger out to get one over Jose in the summer?

May 4, 2014

Morning all.

Get real Arsenal, we are better than this!!

Stan Kroenke! We are better than this!!

No doubt Stan Kroenke and Arsene Wenger have a headache this morning having had a night on the Cava or Prosecco.

What do you mean, Champagne? No bloody chance, not when the fizz of Cava/Prosecco can give off the same appearance and taste!!

Oh, and it’s cheaper, much much cheaper!! That’s how the club do things!

Who cares really?

Who cares really?

Anyway, Everton crumbled to a very average Manchester City performance yesterday but what a weird old game. The home fans clearly didn’t want their team to win and in turn almost gift the league crown to their most bitter of rivals and to be honest, it seemed like that feeling filtered through to the players.

Ok, we got 4th.

What does the manager do now?

Tough call really with an FA Cup final looming.

We don’t want to lose either of our last two fixtures and allow nerves to creep in, yet on the other hand, we don’t want to see any silly injuries be picked up which would dent our chances of finally winning a trophy.

All that is up to Arsene Wenger and thank goodness for that eh.

I think we’ll see changes but not many. I also think we’ll see a very relaxed and professional performance in what is our last home game of the season. Whoever plays, I hope they go and have fun, play well and give the Emirates faithful and all Arsenal fans something to enjoy on this Bank Holiday weekend.

Bit of gossip to end on:

The Mirror suggest we are going to make a £31 million bid for Chelsea target Diego Costa. That sounds about right, especially if his ‘get-out’ clause is £32 million, a figure that has been touted around in the media. lol

The Express believe we are still in the hunt for Morata and are going to make a £10 million bid for the Real player early in the transfer window.

The Sunday People link us to Wilfried Bony quoting £20 million as the price Swansea want for him…

The Mirror report that we are interested in 35 year old Rio Ferdinand who is available for free this summer.

On that note, I’ll stop my ramblings……

COYRRG’s….


Vela return? Wenger: Don’t expect many signings & don’t expect any early ones…..

May 3, 2014

Morning all.

If Everton slip up later today, we secure 4th spot. If they win against City, the pressure is back on us to beat West Brom tomorrow lunchtime. We certainly don’t want or need this to go to the final game of the season because Norwich, a side who are in desperate need of three points to retain the Premier League status so best something goes our way in the next two days.

I’d like to think we are better than West Brom, I’d like to believe we are ready to blow a side who are sat 15th in the top league away with ease but the reality is, it’s so close at the bottom of the table, a loss for them could see them drop back into a relegation battle.

They’ll be up and fighting and ready to take three points off of us.

And we’ve slipped up a few times at the Emirates haven’t we?

The opening day of the season was the worst possible start to this campaign that we could have wished for. Ok, we haven’t lost another fixture at home since that day but we’ve suffered far too many draws.

Everton, Chelsea, Manchester United, Swansea and Manchester City.

It could be argued that the draws against City and Chelsea weren’t so bad but I’d disagree, both were there for the taking on the night but we just simply didn’t have enough to get all the points. The other results were simply woeful!

Those extra 13 points which we dropped would have seen us crowned Premier League Champions. In fact if we accept the two draws against City and Chelsea, we’d still be top of the league this weekend and looking favourites to become league winners.

Arsene Wenger agrees:

We started in the worse possible way, after that we had a good strong home record.

The restriction we had was in the big games, when we only made draws and not wins in some of them.

That’s where the missing points are at the moment because we are very close to the top. Maybe one or two wins at home would have made that difference.

Not only that, we have dropped silly points away from home and I don’t mean the ones at City, Chelsea, Liverpool or Everton. Forget those results, not the performances because they need to be learned from.

But, we lost away to Stoke City, we lost to the worst Man Utd side in years and we drew at both West Brom and Southampton! I get the Southampton result as they are becoming a very good side but the others? Simply not good enough…

That’s another 8 points dropped. (not including the draw at St Marys)

Arsene’s view:

The regret we have of the season is that we have been remarkably consistent, [but] it is against the teams who did not fight for the Premier League title.

But especially away from home in some of the big games, we could not claim the points.

Reality is though, had we won all of our fixtures against the sides below us both home and away, the losses to the sides who currently sit above us wouldn’t have mattered, as we’d still have been crowned Champions.

Arsene Wenger suggests that injuries to key players such as Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere hit his side hard.

When we came out of Christmas, we were in a strong position and what you want then is to have your strong players available in March and April.

We had too many injuries. It is very, very difficult – you can have one or two but after that when you have too many injuries you always have to play the same players and that is detrimental to the efficiency of the group.

The regret we have is that too many players were out at the same time between Christmas and April.

And here is where I disagree.

Yes we have suffered injuries but the manager has admitted to overplaying one or two, certainly our man who makes us tick, Aaron Ramsey and that all comes down to lack of depth, strength and/or the lack of faith Arsene Wenger has in the players within the squad because if he truly believed in every player who is listed on the official website as being part of our 25 man squad, then why hasn’t he used them when certain players have needed a day off to rest…

And if he doesn’t believe in them, why the hell are they there in the first place?

Players are more than capable of playing every week but what can’t be expected is to be playing every 3/4 days which has been asked of them when the CL starts together with the domestic cups.

Sort those issues out this summer and maybe, just maybe the injuries will lessen, our players will stay fitter and in good form for longer periods of time and our results will only benefit.

As will our seasons ahead!!

However, Arsene Wenger has said that he won’t be signing big in numbers:

It will be busy, but the main thing for us will be to keep the stability because we feel we are close. We want to add something that makes us even stronger, but, number wise, it will not be massive.

Oh and he’s also said that we’ll have to wait until after the World Cup as players aren’t available until then…!!

One player who could return is Carlos Vela and despite being happy in Spain he said:

Arsenal can come back for me at €4 million (£3.3m) at any time, which is €1 million more than Real Sociedad paid. I look at things differently these days and I won’t close the door on Arsenal, or any team in England. I think I’m better prepared to play in another country now.

Interesting one that one, he’s playing really well this season for Real Sociedad….

But it’s his team-mate Antoine Griezmann we want isn’t it?

As for any departures:

We have only two players who are out of contract – Fabianski and Sagna. All the rest need our agreement and they haven’t got it yet.

Cripes, have all the rest asked to leave……?

Just kidding of course, he was referring to Podolski and Vermaelen…

That’s it for another day……..

 


It’s looking like Remy. Veltman linked & Sagna a doubt for Baggies clash…

May 2, 2014

Morning all.

Quick catch up on the gossip today…

First up is Bacary Sagna. He’s a doubt for Sunday’s clash against West Brom according to The Mirror having suffered a knee injury and only has a 50/50 chance of being fit. This is a new one as less than 24 hours ago Arsene Wenger confirmed that we have no new injuries after Monday nights match against Newcastle.

Arsene Wenger also confirmed that Kieran Gibbs is likely to be back for our final league fixture of the season.

If this story about Sagna is true, I hope he’s not risked as the FA Cup final is not far off and we need him fit for that big day and if he is off at the end of the season, I hope it’s with a cup final winners medal. That’s for another day though.

Talking of Sagna, headlines in the football pages suggest he’s ready to sit down and discuss a move to Manchester City as soon as the season ends. Again, a great shame if true but that’s what happens when a club and player allow a contract to run down.

Onto another Frenchman and this one could be on his way in to the club. That’s Loic Remy and according to FootballDirectNews, the player has held a second meeting with folk at Arsenal and a deal could be in place before the World Cup kicks off. Remy will of course be in Rio representing his country together with Olivier Giroud and Karim Benzema.

I know it’s paper talk, but I honestly believe there is some truth in the Remy story, and good old ‘Arry dropped a hint yesterday about how we could activate the players £12 million get out clause. If it happens, there’s bound to be a large number of fans left disappointed with the striker who has scored 13 goals in 25 league games for Newcastle. I’m sure he’s double that tally with us….

The Telegraph believe that we are ready to battle with our nasty neighbours for the Ajax central defender Joel Veltman. With Thomas Vermaelen strongly linked to a summer departure the 22 year old Dutchman is rumoured to be his replacement.

But who was the Arsenal young 'un?

But who was the Arsenal young ‘un?

I thought this was a nice story to end on this dark and dreary Friday morning. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain posted this on his Instagram account yesterday together with:

Me aged 11 playing for Saints against Arsenal at Highbury.

It’s mad, I remember being in the dressing rooms where Thierry Henry sat feeling like I was a premiership player! 

I remember the whole experience so clearly, including the 4-1 defeat, but I set up our goal so was buzzing!

Just shows…. Dreams can come true!

I wonder if Alex means he always wanted to play for Arsenal……

Sadly, I don’t think he will again this season…….

That’s it for another day….

 


Same old as Season Ticket renewal time approaches……

May 1, 2014

Morning all.

Look at those eyes......

Check those eyes out…..

You always know when the time to renew season tickets is approaching. That old chestnut ‘Transfer Warchest’ is raked up and put out there along with all the usual transfer targets spin.

The propaganda from the club is ramped up to an almost industrial level as sources from inside the club leak out tit-bits. The same old names are thrown into the mix just to jazz it up. Benzema, Mandzukic, Cavani, Fabregas, Casillas, etc etc…

Ivan Gazidis is certain to publicly claim any day now, that Arsenal are capable of competing for any footballer on the planet.

Yes Ivan, we know that the club can compete, but competing for and actually signing, well those are two entirely different matters aren’t they?!

But never mind, the world is our oyster as the promises of marquee signings are hinted at by Arsene as he gives his little enigmatic smile. And there are the new sponsorship deals with zillions to spend, the absolute shed-load of cash to invest in our team, yeah, we’re really going for it next season…

Of course the reality is quite a different matter and that’ll no doubt kick in as soon as we’re linked, for the 50th time with the likes of Saloman Kalou, Demba Ba or whoever else is going cheap in the sales…

But the situation could be about to get worse.

If Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Lukasz Podolski and Lukasz Fabianski all leave, the club will need to replace them in order to stand still and before thinking about other additional signings.

The depth of the Arsenal squad could be four players worse off before it’s even been strengthened and it certainly needs more depth as the last couple of months have shown. So are we just going to simply see those four replaced and maybe one quality striker signed?

Are those the five new players that I’ve read in the rumours?

And when I hear rumours of a £70 million war chest, is that £70m plus what Wenger brings in or is it £70m in total and any extra goes into the pot?

Bendtner will leave, Coquelin is set to leave, Djourou will also leave. Joel Campbell will probably be sold as will Chuks Aneke and no doubt Ryo Miyaichi could possibly join the exodus.

There’s going be a lot of depth to fill next summer, a lot….

Let’s just pray that it isn’t left until August 31st again to fill it?!!!

Written by BrainwashedKev


Wenger might be at Arsenal next season, but will he be manager??

April 30, 2014

 

Tying 2&2 together and making 5!

Arsene Wenger has said:

 I will be here next season and we are in full swing looking at targets.

He doesn’t say that he will be manager.

As much as I don’t want him to go to the boardroom as I think that when he goes he should go.

But what if he did move ‘upstairs’?

There are strong rumours in Holland that Frank de Boer is about to leave Ajax and come to North London, bringing Overmars and Bergkamp as his coaches.

Looking good....

Looking good….

De Boer is quoted in the media as saying:

Spurs have made an approach. After the last league game I’ll think about it. I’ll talk to them and listen to what they have to say.

I see opportunities at Tottenham Hotspur, just as Liverpool and Newcastle, they are sleeping giants.

Spurs have let Ajax know they would eventually talk to me when the season’s finished.

What if Arsene Wenger isn’t planning on staying as manager?

What if Frank de Boer is coming to North London but not to our neighbours?

Surely there is no way either Dennis Bergkamp or Marc Overmars would even entertain coaching at WHL?

Could this be the reason why Arsene Wenger’s contract has not been agreed or at least signed?

A thought from Potter……


Three and Easy! That day is here again…….

April 29, 2014

Morning, fellow Gooners.

Happy St Totteringham day to you all.

Happy St Totts Day...

Happy St Totts Day…

Let’s be honest, we beat an average side who are in poor form last night, and while we looked pretty decent doing so, it was hardly a big test. Still, we did the job, and that is always a positive, meaning top 4 should be an absolute given now.

All we need to do is match Everton’s result this weekend and we finish 4th which is not exactly the “trophy” we wanted, but still much better than some of the alternatives, though not as good as some.

It seemed to me that we played a similar game to our performances early in the season as the pattern back then, which was successful, was to be patient early on and pounce once opportunities presented themselves.

Koscielny broke the deadlock from a set piece of all things. Pure tenacity from our CB made all the difference and a slight touch past Krul had us one up. Kozzer makes a habit of scoring goals late in the season, and always under similar circumstances. What a player he is and Barca can get stuffed if they think they can have him!!

Our second was a scrappy affair, and ended with Ozil scoring from an offside position, though I won’t hold that against him. :)

Simples....

Simples….

Giroud made a run which split the defence wide open and had he remembered what his right foot was for,  he would surely have scored, but instead tried with his left, hitting it straight to Krul. The rebound offered up a second chance, again taken with the left, which was also ineffective but luckily Ozil was on the spot to clean up, putting us 2-0 up at half time and in cruise mode.

We came out looking very very good after the break and credit to our boys for that, but again, Newcastle’s 11 made it quite easy for us…..they are looking for their season to end no doubt and it showed.

Our 3rd goal was clearly the pick, and displayed all that is great about Arsenal.

Ramsey found the ball wide on the left and after a few quick moves had cut back inside. This created space out wide for Ozil who had overlapped and Ramsey found him with a pass that was as brilliant as it was simple. Ozil’s cross was absolutely pinpoint, finding the head of Giroud whose finish showed what he is capable of….it was a fantastic goal all round, and one to be savoured.

It also showed exactly why I am of the opinion that Ozil, amongst others, is a much better play with Ramsey on the pitch.

From there, we dominated and simply played out the 90 minutes, finishing a comfortable 3 goal winner.

Of our players, Ozil was sensational.

Man of the Match.

Man of the Match.

The guy is pure class, and fed beautifully off Ramsey’s donkeywork, which allowed Mesut to do his own thing, but probably more importantly, Ramsey always provides his team mates with options.

These two are forging a formidable partnership, and long may it continue, as Ozil will simply get better and better for us, and the club will be all the better for it.

Ramsey was his normal self…..nothing more to add on him.

Giroud worked hard, and his goal was just reward, imo.

To be fair, I cannot find fault with any player as they were all effective and it really was a clinical performance but no more than that, so no point giving a player by player rating.

I guess most players and clubs are looking towards the last game, some with nervous excitement, others with a sense of resignation. We are somewhere in the middle as top 4 now seems safe. But we do have a certain date in mid May that we should all be damn excited about, as it WILL end our trophy drought meaning the media and “pundits” will need to find a fresh reason to criticise us.

Hopefully it remind Arsene Wenger what it feels like to win silverware again, giving him the little push needed to ensure it is a more common occurrence in the future.

Forever in our shadow, and so they bloody should be.

Written by Scott from Oz.


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