For most of the summer I have wanted us to sign a new midfielder. Many Arsenal fans have argued about which sort of midfielder we should sign. The consensus seems to be that we need an enforcer type defensive midfielder. Some other claim we need to sign a creative player, or a pure winger to replace Gervinho/play on the left.
I’m not quite sure what we need to be honest.
Last season I thought we were best when we had Cazorla coming in off the left, and a midfield trio of Rosicky, Arteta and Ramsey. We had plenty of men in the centre whenever we needed to, great passing ability, and plenty of creativity (to a certain extent). That left us with Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench who could slot into just about any of those positions.
However, in general, I felt we were a bit light on for depth. Sure, Jack was a great person to come into the team when we were short, and Cazorla could have moved back into the midfield if necessary, but in general, we didn’t have pure depth.
Arteta was the defensive midfielder. He isn’t a ‘traditional CDM’, but he more than did the job. However, once he became injured, we were relying on Ramsey and Wilshere to share that job, something they were unable to manage particularly well. This was no real fault of their own, it just didn’t suit their particular strengths.
Diaby is obviously a fair way off, but I feel that even if he were in full fitness and full form he wouldn’t be able to fill the Arteta role.
This is where Gustavo comes in.
Last season during our final run to finishing fourth, Ramsey and Arteta were completing about 90 passes each match, with a completion over 90%. That is a fantastic thing to have, and one of the main reasons we were doing so well. The hardest thing about bringing in a new midfielder is that one of those two would need to be dropped for the new player to start. Given how important their contributions were to the style of football we played was, I would be very nervous about anyone who came in.
Bender would have been quite a good signing, and I think he could have done the role. Trouble is that he is a far better player than Ramsey or Arteta if you were to compare as individuals, but I’m not convinced he would have suited the role we would want him to play too well.
Gustavo on the other hand, would be able to. I’m not certain how he would fit into the team, but I think he has all the attributes that Arsenal need. He has great passing (he has the second best pass completion rate in the top European leagues after Xavi), quite good tackling, brilliant positional discipline, and a physical presence that is lacking in our midfield.
Whilst I think a new striker seems to be more pressing given the lack of depth we have in that area of the pitch, I think Gustavo could potentially be a great signing.
Unfortunately though, I don’t think that this rumour has any substance. It makes perfect sense to me, but based on what has happened so far this summer, Wenger has decided to forgo common sense and go after Suarez instead…
Sounds like this rumour is fabricated, and his answer about liking the idea of Arsenal doesn’t seem like something he would say if he were actually in negotiations.
Anyway, Aston Villa on the weekend is exciting. Despite this being my least favourite transfer season excluding departures in previous years, it has flown by, and now I’m ready for the part of supporting Arsenal that I actually enjoy. Football!
PS, I am doing some fantasy premier league stuff so if anyone here does it as well let me know, I’d be keen to start up a league for the blog.
Enjoy your week everyone.
So I guess there isn’t much to do but to take another look at the transfer news as it progresses.
I guess the biggest one today is that it has been reported that Napoli have agreed terms with Madrid for the signing of Higuain – believed to be in the region of £32 million. It sounds pretty legitimate to me and it makes sense given the fact that Napoli have just sold their best player for more than £50 million last week. If I’m going to be honest, I think £32 million for him sounds like a bit much, but if Napoli are willing to pay it then Arsenal are going to have to pay it as well if they want top quality. I don’t think we will, but I have no doubt that we should. If we are willing to pay more than that for Suarez we should absolutely be willing to spend it on Higuain.
It has also been reported that the only thing holding back Higuain from signing at the moment is the fact that Napoli want 100% of his image rights, which would cut down the money he is currently bringing in from sponsors (I read somewhere £2 millionish each year on his 50% that he has with Madrid). If that’s the case then I think Higuain should look no further than Arsenal. I’m sure his sponsors would much rather he played for a bigger club like Arsenal than Napoli, and I’m sure they would be willing to pay him more if he were playing at Arsenal as well. The rumour is that he will be paid £120,000 a week at Napoli, which sounds like a good number for him. However, once you take out his image rights its not so flash – £80,000 a week.
I honestly think Higuain would be a top signing for Arsenal. He is not as flashy a signing as Suarez or Rooney would be, but he is honestly just what we need – a decent sized striker who knows how to slot in goals and trouble defences. With the players who would be in behind him (Cazorla, Walcott, Podolski, Ox, Wilshere, Ramsey), I’m not convinced we need a player like Suarez who can ‘create his own shot’.
People have talked about us not having enough players who can change a game by themselves quite a lot. Whilst I agree with this to some extent, I think we are too used to having Van Persie or Fabregas in the team. They want a player like Bale who can win you a game that you absolutely don’t deserve to win. As nice as that would be, I’d rather stick to deserving to win many of our games and trust the players that we have to create and convert chances.
Anyway, I don’t honestly see us signing Rooney or Suarez, so I’m really not sure where our next striker will come from. Wenger has made comments about a new striker being about numbers, not Giroud, which suggests he is after another striker. It does, however, cast doubt over whether the striker would be above or below Giroud in the pecking order.
I think Giroud is a great player, and I suspect if he were our starting striker again for the whole season, then he would likely have a better season than last. However, if we look at the teams who were above us in the table last season, he wasn’t really of the same quality as those teams. I would love for him to play alongside another striker in a different formation, but if we are going to continue to play a lone striker, I want the new one to be a starting XI type signing.
- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - –
In other news, there have been extensive reports linking us to a young Brazilian playmaker named (hang on while I look him up) Bernard. Sounds like he is quite the player, but I’m not really going to comment on that. If you search him on google you will find all these articles rattling on about why the Gunners should sign him, written by journalists that have probably never seen him play. Mental.
Reports say that we are willing to put down more than £20 million on him. If Wenger pays that for someone that none of us have heard of and not £32 million on Higuain I will finally hit breaking point I think.
The source of this rumour seems a bit dubious, but nontheless, it seems like an Arsenal type signing (other than the price tag of course).
I wish I was in Vietnam at the moment. Its halfway between raining and snowing here, and I can’t remember the last time I saw the sun. But I guess this way I won’t have to play football in the sweltering heat.
The ever growing saga of the present day Arsenal “fan” runs along the lines of “Wenger out!” When I recently polled a group of Arsenal supporters during the half of a match, the consensus was the following:
- How long have you been an Arsenal fan? Most answered with a date range of when Wenger was already on board.
- How do you think we fix the current situation? This one was simple, most answered with “Wenger out!”
- And of course my final question was, who should replace him? The answer was something along the lines of what crickets do, “chirp, chirp, chirp.” They gave answers I’ve seen in this blog from some, as well as some showing their knowledge or lack thereof of who could actually be a suitable replacement with all things considered at AFC(transfer budget, wage caps, style, etc.)
So you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this? Well here’s where I’m going. The overgrown dissent amongst Arsenal fans that I’ve seen of late seems to be common with those who have only seen the glory years of this club i.e. the last decade and not what I consider the dark years. As an Arsenal long, its difficult for people like myself, some posters in here like ‘Tom’ and a few other objective thinkers, to see the backlash against a manager who brought us back from those dark years. With that said, I am not going to say the Professor is without guilt here. He is as much as part of the current problem as he WILL be as part of the solution. The difference in what I believe and what I’m finding the “Arsenal fan opposition” to believe in is simply that I still trust in our manager to fix the situation.
The following will be my first of two posts about the outlay of the current affairs at our club amongst our players and staff, as well as how we WILL climb out of this funk and head back in the right direction… Read the rest of this entry »
Match starts in roughly 45 minutes and although lineups are not just in, I’ll do my best here to provide what I think should be our starting XI today. Look in the LiveBlog for the most update-to-date lineup as it comes in.
Predicted Arsenal Starting XI: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Vermaelen; Arteta, Cazorla, Wilshere; Walcott, Giroud, Podolski
Match streaming can be found @ atdhenet.tv (or directly: http://atdhenet.tv/55917/watch-everton-vs-arsenal)
I expect a hard fought, exciting match as I stated in yesterday’s preview. Both clubs are desperate for the win, so I expect to see some good scoring chances at both ends.
Come on you Gunners! Chat you guys in the Liveblog…
5th place on the horizon.
Let me start with a quote from our beloved Gigi via Arseblog:
“There’s obviously been lots of discussion about Villa and where it all went wrong over the last few days. And perhaps it’s a sign of the times that it all going wrong is a 0-0 draw. As frustrating as it was it’s not the worst result in the world, and maybe at a time when Arsenal fans can find the cloud in every situation, we need to look at the silver lining a bit.” Moving on from that draw and the angst that ensued from some, I’d like to fiddle this little fact your way: Arsenal, fresh off a scoreless draw with Aston Villa Saturday, are unbeaten in their last five matches. To add, even though we did not score against Villa, we have scored 10 goals in our 3 prior matches including the thumping of the Spuds and the end-to-end win against Montpellier.
So while we sit in 6th place right now, “the season of no defending” has us sitting only 1 point behind 5th, 5 points behind 4th, and 6 points behind 3rd. Doom and gloom? I think not.
Moving on to tomorrow’s matters then, shall we…
Read the rest of this entry »
Good Morning Gooners,
Today we visit a very desperate club in Aston Villa at Villa Park. Villa is currently sitting 18th in the table and in the relegation zone. Villa, fresh off their humiliating 5-0 loss to Manchester City, need this win today badly so expect them to bring their best game. We all know how these lower tier clubs seem to always “show up” for matches when they play us, so equally Arsenal will have to be their best.
Arsenal are fresh from two consecutive victories; the 5-2 win over Tottenham in the league and our midweek UCL 2-0 victory over French champions Montpellier. We MUST find a way to use this boost to our advantage because today is as good as any to make up some ground and inch closer to 4th (and hopefully continue our run to fight our way to 3rd).
Many of our players – Cazorla, Giroud, Poldi, Walcott – are in great form at the moment, so I don’t doubt we will pose a great threat for Villa, who have only 1 win in their last 6 Premier League games.
Aston Villa will be hoping to take advantage of our leaky defence which is always suspect to letting in the odd goal or two. Even when we thought we sealed the win against the Spuds, somehow we gave them hope…hopefully we can keep a clean sheet today as it’s good as any opportunity to do so. Although we have conceded a total of 13 goals in 12 games, our defence is still on paper one of the best in the league due to our 3 clean sheets at the start of the campaign.
We will need to keep our eye on Villa striker, Christian Benteke, the Belgium whom Arsenal targeted over the summer. He’s a pretty dynamic striker, so if he finds some space, he could give us trouble. Darren Bent is may return from injury for Villa, but would start on the bench if he does make it back.
Arsene Wenger confirmed that Theo Walcott remains out with a shoulder injury picked up in the win over Spurs. Andre Santos is also out with a stomach problem, but Kieran Gibbs and Gervinho are both back in contention after returning from injury to be on the bench against Montpellier.
Abou Diaby is still four weeks away from fitness, but Tomas Rosicky is due back on Monday. I’m really excited to see Rosicky coming back!
Starters: Wojciech Szczesny, Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson, Kieran Gibbs, Mikel Arteta, Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Olivier Giroud, Santi Cazorla
Subs: Vito Mannone, Bacary Sagna, Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, Andrei Arshavin, Gervinho
Big surprise I must say to see both Sagna and Verm on the bench today, very unWenger-like. However, definitely a good opportunity to have some squad rotation today and rest some players. I’m also glad to see Jack on the bench, and likely subbed in later in the match. Can’t stress enough that he needs to continue to be gradually eased in. Very nice to see we’ve got some players coming back from injury to give us some much needed depth. Can’t wait to see Rosicky back in the team in the next few weeks.
Arsenal 2 – Villa 1
Match starts at 12:30 EST and can be streamed here: http://atdhenet.tv/
Chat you guys in the LiveBlog…COME ON YOU GUNNERS!!
Well, here we are again. Another season, another North London Derby. I’m not going to even discuss our current standings, our current form, nothing, all I’m going to say is that I CANNOT wait for this match to start. I so look forward to these matches every season, and just knowing a win today puts us ahead of the spuds, it will feel all the better.
Starters: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny; Arteta, Wilshere; Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski; Giroud
Subs: Mannone, Jenkinson, Santos, Coquelin, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin
You will notice Wojo is back in goal and Wilshere is back after his 1 game suspension. We are fielding likely our strongest squad we’ve got outside of Gibbs absence in the back, so I really hope our players are up for today’s match. On paper we are a better team that the Spuds, but we all know that doesn’t mean much of late. My only hope is that the unnecessary mid-week international friendlies haven’t fatigued our players such as Santi (though he was an unused sub).
For Tottenham, interesting that all of the Americans on the squad have been dropped to the bench, and Lloris is getting a big start today. Let’s hope we make him wish he joined Arsenal and not the Spurs. We will need to be very cautious of Tottenham’s squad, however, with their formation today being 4-4-2 with both Ade and Defoe both starting up front.
Anyhow, UP THE ARSE and we start in 10 minutes! Catch you guys in the chat…
I would like to start by apologising for the lack of activity of late. I have just finished my med school exams, and as soon as they finished, my computer died, leaving me without a way to post for a few days. However, I’m now quite free for a few months so I should be able to contribute a bit more than I have been. I’m actually away for a Radiohead concert and a wedding for all of next week, so I’m not sure whether I will get the chance to do a post next week or not. Fingers crossed.
So on to my post. I was going to do something yesterday. I sat down at my computer and couldn’t work out what to write. I mean, what is there to say? The game on the weekend was very disappointing, and in general, our season is looking very disappointing. I am getting a bit upset about it to be honest.
Apologies for no elaborate preview today, but nevertheless we’ve got the liveblog up and running for your lively banter. Needless to say and as we are well so accustomed to, today is yet another required win or draw. A win puts us at the top of our group, a draw puts us in prime position to finish in the top 2, and a loss, well let’s not go there.
Lineups are in and we’re fielding a very strong one indeed. Not sure if it’s truly due to his weekend debacle – not only his play, but his poor shirt swapping decision – but as expected, Santos has been dropped from the starters and replaced with the captain at LB. Thank god the rumors weren’t true and Djourou is on the bench because my jaw dropped when I heard he might replace Ramsey who picked up an injury over the weekend. Also, you’ll all be happy to notice Walcott overcame his weekend illness and is starting today. First start in the UCL this season, show us what you’ve got Walcott.
Starters: Mannone, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Arteta, Wilshere, Walcott, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud.
Subs: Shea, Santos, Djourou, Coquelin, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Chamakh.
Match starts at 2:45 and is being televised internationally on many outlets. Links for streaming can be found at atdhetv.net
Look forward to chatting with you guys shortly…off to grab some lunch…
COME ON YOU GUNNERS, YOU OWE THIS ONE!