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For the Everton game Arsenal have three players out but five or more in

Last season for our opening league game of the season against West Bromwich Wobbleyou we played…

Almunia
Sagna, Gallas, Djourou, Clichy
Walcott (Toure), Eboue, Denilson, Nasri
Adebayor, Bendtner (Van Persie)

From that line up we have now lost Toure, Adebayor and Nasri (for the moment), Theo (just announced as I write this – bad back).

We have gained

Cesc (late returning from summer matches)
Eduardo (injured)
Arshavin (not yet signed)
Vermalen (not yet signed)
Song (in the sense that at this stage a year ago he was not fully in contention for a place)
Wilshere (ditto, although he was an unused sub a year ago)
Ramsey (ditto, although he was an unused sub a year ago)
Vela (ditto, again an unused sub, but this year may not be ok having played for Mexico on wednesday)
Gibbs (yet to appear in first team a year ago)
Silvestre (not yet signed)

So we have gained 11 and lost four

Now that is contentious I know – especially in the case of Song, Vela, Wilshere, Ramsey, Vela, Gibbs, Silvestre. Most were at the club a year ago, but I really don’t think we could say that they were serious contenders for starting places.

(I am going to pause here – if you are reading this on Team Talk it has been nicked from Untold Arsenal).

But one year on I believe several of them are to be considered serious new signings. Indeed we could also include Traore.

But let us compromise a bit here. Three are out, either having gone or having a broken leg. In for certain, and without dispute must be

Vermalen
Eduardo
Arshavin
Fabregas
Song

Four out, one of whom (Toure) came on as a sub and really didn’t have his best of seasons. Replaced by five very good players. And “very good” is an understatement for at least three if not four if not five of them.

Going on, four out, five excellent players in, plus behind them, in case of injury or change or format, five more who were not up to speed last season.

I call that progress.

But now, let’s think on a little further. The “four out” figure is unchangeable, and the five in is unchallengable. But think on this.

Denilson was playing last season, but I would nominate him as having gained hugely in experience. It is one thing to have a brilliant 27 year old who is not going to be any better, but I would argue that Denilson August 09 is a significantly better player than Denilson August 08. We know from the discussion yesterday that many disagree – I am just giving you my view here. I think we have a Denilson upgrade.

Vela, I am not going to count this game because of Mexico. But anyone who saw the Portsmouth away performance last season will know just how far he came last year. When he is not flying the globe he is going to be something else.

Wilshere, I would put in the incoming player list. There was no chance of him playing against WBA – he was in the squad for the experience of mixing with the big chaps, nothing more. But anyone who was at the Ems cup, or who saw it on TV will know this kid is something plus something plus something. In fact we knew it last year and the year before, but now he is ready. He is the real thing. Not for every game of course, not starting very often. But against a tired defence…

Ramsey, I am going to include as well. He was great last season when forced to play in the prelim round of the Champs League. Then he almost vanished. Now he seems to have achieved a lot more.

Gibbs I won’t include because he is so unlikely to play (Clichy being fit and rested after his injury).

So my list of players who are either newly available or so much improved as to be the equivalent is now…

The A List

Vermalen
Eduardo
Arshavin
Fabregas
Song

The additional list

Denilson
Ramsey
Wilshere

Of course you can argue with much of this – by which I mean that even most of the doomsday crowd won’t argue against most of the A list, but they can argue about the additional list. But – and this is the key point – even if the A list was all we had, we would be out with 4 players and in with 5 brilliant, for the game against WBA. And what a five that is.

If you want to be a bit more generous you add in one or more of Wilshere, Ramsey and Denilson.

I think we have come one hell of a long way since this opening game one year ago.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009
Untold Arsenal.

18 comments to For the Everton game Arsenal have three players out but five or more in

  • steww

    I still think there is one vital ingredient needed. No no no it isn’t a seven foot DCM for gawd sake we have enough excellent players in that squad already. No, it is the self belief and confidence which comes from winning a few games. We just need a run of good results and this team will purr.

  • don't believe the hype

    Two ingredients missing Steww, the other one being belief in the team and actual support from the alleged supporters!

  • team spirit

    I am quietly optimistic that we will do very well this season… The players are all up for it.. the fans should also be ready to back them all the way through thick and thin!

    A well written piece, i quite enjoyed reading… I think the squad is essentially pkay, of course any quality addition is not unwelcome, but none should be sold any more.

    Senderos, stay and fight for your place on the team!

  • Paulie

    I don’t often participate on blogs, but i stumbled upon this blog a few weeks ago (don’t know how I missed it before) and i found it to be very mature. By that i mean that you actually talk about football, tactics and mentalities, and I’ve actually learned a couple of things already. Even comments go beyond the “come on you gunners (plz sign another DCM)” found on other sites. Anyway, great read, thanks tony and all the others. Very refreshing.
    Now, i don’t live in London, or England for that mater, and having moved to SE Asia for a couple of years, I don’t think I’ll be coming to the Emirates for a while. Bummer. I’ve never seen the arsenal in the flesh (re-bummer) so i cannot talk about tactics or the feeling that all you lucky fans have when winning or losing along with 60000 fellow gooners (especially when you spend so much on tickets). I don’t know much about tactics or players, but I do like to wonder at some of the greater minds of this world, and I think Wenger (and Ferguson and others) cannot get where they are now unless they know their stuff and blessed with a little extra something. Talent, gift, flair… whatever you want to call it.
    Ok, I’m probably a bit biased, but even though Wenger is only human and not infallible, he seems to be quite a clever man, one of the smartest men in world sports. Some argue that he’s lost his flair, but I don’t think a manager of his calibre will be satisfied with winning everything but the CL. Sure, he is prone to errors, who isn’t, and I don’t think he will just go “ah f*ck it, lets spend £50m on so and so”. He has a vision, and sticks to it even when things don’t go according to plan. To quote Lisa Simpson: “why do people only try things once?”. Or something.
    From various blogs and news sites -and Wengers own words-, it seems to me the general feeling going around is that this year is the year Wenger has been waiting for, the end product of many years of patient work. He is lucky enough to have had 5-6 years on building a team, to realize his dream, and like Tony said in an excellent article recently, there is more going on than what we see on the pitch.
    So I don’t think Wenger has lost it, I believe he knows what he’s doing, and I hope for Wenger’s sake that he can prove all the critics wrong. He’s clearly capable of it and clearly deserves it. So being an optimistic (albeit realistic) arsenal fan, I believe this could be a very good year. Maybe not the treble just yet, that can wait until next season.
    What I’m saying is hardly groundbreaking stuff, and I find it hard to articulate my thoughts in English, but i just thought I’d share my enthusiasm going into the new season. I trust the players, and mostly I believe in the manager. And if it doesn’t work out, we can just fire him and get a new one.
    Now, any arsenal fans in Phnom Penh Cambodia by any chance?

  • Ken

    Tony, since I stumbled upon this wonderful site, I have been a big fan of it. The comments are objective, well thought out, very different from the other supposed Arsenal supporter websites which very often are nothing more than biased and subject opinions disguised as factual analysis. Anyway, just a question. From what I observed very casually, it seems to me that when we didn’t do well over the past two seasons, we didn’t actually lose that many games. Instead, we drew too many games, particularly in instances when we should have won. When I compared the performance with that of Man U, it seems to me that Man U in that respect is far more consistent. For some reason, they would just win, even if it was just by one goal, while we simply kept drawing even against weak opponent. I feel that that’s one reason why it was so unfair for so many people to just blame Denilson. It was clearly a failure on the part of the attacking aspect. What are your thoughts and what’s your assessment for the coming season with respect to Arsenal’s attacking capability?

  • Armin Medic

    Strength of our squad was never really issue to me. And even outcomes of first few games also doesn’t really bother me. As last season showed (and not just last) number of wins and loses is not really issue on the end on table.
    And as Tony said here, I really believe this squad is much stronger than last season, but there is one thing that troubles me.
    For a sure this is going to be one of toughest seasons ever, and not for us, but in general. There is few teams which will more or less join to fight for top positions, what was not case last few years. In that light, I consider it as highly possible that team who win this season will have less points than ever, and whole race will go in photo-finish.
    I believe this squad we have is fully “equipped” to win in such race. But only under one condition. Support from us.
    If we lose tomorow (I hope we wont) and if from stands on Ems game after we again hear booers will this team be able to recover?
    Unfortunately I am too far to go on games, but even this way, I will take my responsibility for possible outcomes.
    So my conclusion is, this season can be won, but it will also ask maximum support we can give to this team. To make them believe in what they do, we have to show them we believe in them as well.

  • Jonny Neale

    Paulie – as is often the way with many of our foreign contributors you do your English a grave disservice. In fact it is far better than many English people manage! I think in a nutshell part of what you are saying is “Form is temporary, class is permanent”, and in Wenger we have the classiest manager in the world.

    I am so proud to have him as the manager of the team I love. When
    I read an interview like this –

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1206377/ARSENE-WENGER-INTERVIEW-The-transcript-Martin-Samuels-fascinating-meeting-Arsenal-manager–I.html?ITO=1490

    it is so apparent what an amazingly intelligent, thoughtful person he is and how we should not take that for granted. He is an utterly unique rarity in the world of football.

    Wenger is, in turn, building something utterly unique and even if it does not quite come together (though I believe it will) I think as Arsenal fans we should recognise just how privileged we are to be along for the ride. We should be sucking the marrow out of this season and every single one till the sad day comes when he leaves the club because, though the doom-mongers do not realise it yet, we will miss him terribly when he is gone. I only hope the idiots do not drive him from this club, until he has had a chance to fulfill his vision.

    Ken – we had a discussion on this site a while back and the consensus of it was that attacking football was not the problem across the course of last season – in so far as we scored as many goals as most of the top clubs. We got off to a shaky start (Fulham) and conceded too many goals, especially in games where we had the lead but then threw it away (Tottenham, Liverpool etc).

    Wenger eventually tightened the defence and we went on an amazing run of unbeaten games. This period of the season started with a high number of games where we scarcely scored and had lots of draws but it was a crucial phase of rejigging and molding the team into something altogether stingier.

    As we know, it wasn’t entirely successful but injuries played a huge part at the end of the season and there is reason enough to hope the addition of Vermalen and the improvement of Denilson/Song will add enough weight to our defensive capabilities.

    In attack I honestly think we have NOTHING to worry about – there are so many goal scoring options (even more when Rosicky and Nasri return).

    In spite of the plague of injuries we suffered in terms of goals scored we got close to the best last season AND we only had Arshavin for a few months. With Ronaldo gone it is conceivable that Arshavin will be a serious contender for the golden boot and RVP, if he stays fit, is now bang in his prime – time to step up and deliver.

    *Rubs hands and grins*

  • LRV

    Good Stuff as usual, Tony. I will go one step further, at the risk of criticism, and add Diaby to the list. Though, he may not play tomorrow, still not 100% I think. I have a sneaky feeling that he his going to wake up fully from his slumber this season.

  • IndianGooner

    I agree with Armin. I too am confident with the team and the strength in depth(we were able to field a competitive team once last year even when 10 of our first-team players were injured!!!). My main concern is the Home support. The away support was fantastic last season and even the players acknowledged that after each match. My only wish for this season is for the Home support to be similar like the away support or like the one against ManU in the CL Semi 2nd Leg.

    Tony, On to a different topic I was shocked to see the credit ratings for the premier league clubs on Equifax(http://www.equifax.co.uk/About-us/Press_releases/2009/RECESSION_HITS_PREMIERSHIP_CLUBS.html). They have increased the credit rating of ManU and ManU now stands as the club with the best credit rating. I just wonder whether they have considered the debt of ManU and the fact that they couldnt even pay the interest while giving the ratings.. Sorry for going off topic, but knowing Tony’s knowledge on Economics and Credit, thought of writing this..:)

  • walter

    Right on Armin Medic, the way the fans should behave will be vital. I just cant understand why a fan should boo his team. They all do their best and if not then AW shall do what he has to do (Adebayor anyone ?… )
    The only one to boo is that blind ref… 😉

  • IndianGooner

    Jonny Neale, the 2 parts of the interview were really wonderful and my respect for Arsene Wenger has increased 10 times. Hope the glory-hunters and moaners read that interview and realize what Wenger is doing. And regarding candidates for the Golden Boot, I would nominate our ‘fox-in-the-box’ Eduardo to it. I’m confident He has fully recovered from his injury and would be raring to make up for the lost time. He along with AA, RvP & Big Nic will score a lot of goals and playing some breath-taking football along with Cesc/Rosicky/Nasri behind them!!!

  • Jonny Neale

    Thanks IndianGooner, it really is a breathtaking interview – his views on global politics and capitalist society are if anything more fascinating than his thoughts on football. His veiwpoint and humanitarian stance chime neatly with my own and I could not be prouder and more pleased that he is the manager of The Arsenal.

    Going back to football you could be right on Eduardo (assuming Wenger is going to play three up front).

    IT’S OFFICIAL, THIS JUST IN – I CAN’T WAIT FOR TOMORROW!

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • LRV

    @ Jonny Neale: What a breathtaking interview that was. I feel like reading it again and again. Arsene’s intelligence is even higher than I previously thought. He fully deserve the cognomen (or should I say Accolade), “The Professor”. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  • IndianGooner

    Jonny Neale, I watched Wenger’s pre-match interview, it does feel We’re going with 3 upfront. Cant wait for the match to start. For Everton, I feel it would be AA, RvP & Nic with Dudu to come on as a sub..

    LRV, Arsene deserves the accolade “The Professor” for his knowledge and the work he has done. I felt sad and really bad with the way some of the so-called supporters and some of the shareholders treated him last season. But the support and respect shown at the Stoke game went some way in cheering me up.. Now that He admitted it was a 4 to 5year plan and that its time for the project to come to fruition, I request every single Gooner to get behind the team and help Arsene and his Guns to achieve what they deserve. Lets not boo our players. Lets cheer them so that the players too will give their best to the club. Booing only reduces the confidence and team-spirit.

  • walter

    I read the article in the Daily Mail and I already had great admiration for AW and it only got bigger.

  • My sincere apologies for what must seem a most bizarre event on this site – the publishing of the above article a second time as an appendage to my piece about the Sun and its height of players story.

    This has resulted in a split discussion – some here, and some of the article published around 1pm on 14 August.

    Here’s the explanation – just to show that I am not being utterly stupid here…

    I have been working with Goonernews (you will know their link on the right side of the page) to see if Untold Arsenal can get a higher profile with them. If you are looking on the afternoon of 14 August you might see we have a special listing there.

    Unfortunately in the midst of these changes and experiments this article (the one above) totally failed to be listed on Goonernews. That won’t affect people who get RSS feeds, or who kindly turn to this site every day. But of the 8000 or so people who come onto this site each day, a significant number come here because they see an article headline in Goonernews, and so click on it.

    Because this piece did not feature on the Goonernews listing on 13 August, I copied it below the article about the Sun, because (in so far as I can judge anything) I thought the analysis of this weekend’s team against the team for WBA last year, was of interest, and had not been seen elsewhere.

    So, a boring techie type explanation, but there is one. Hopefully we are now all set with Goonernews and we won’t have a problem again – but you never know. Meanwhile there are more comments about this topic in the article published 14 August.

    Tony

  • LRV

    Tony, Everyone, I am truly sorry to digress. But has anyone seen this prediction?
    http://msn.foxsports.com/other/story/9929724#arsenal

  • Paulie

    Jonny, thanks for the link. Brilliant stuff. Love it. Exactlly what i meant. You feel the man thinks a lot, and not just about football, and whatever he learns elsewhere, he puts it into practice into his own life and work. I’d be curious to read a similar interview with Ferguson. Great man also, but probably a much more saxon approach to it, i’d love to see how it differs.
    Now. Its 5:30! yay! er… local time. Things were much easier when i could look at the schedule and match the time on the clock with the one on the program. Now i have to do calculus just to make sure i won’t miss the first 30 sec of a game. which never works.