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Arsenal’s amazing new mid-field vision

 

If you think you know your Arsenal, it is time to think again. Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.

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Follow Untold and the Arsenal History Society on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

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By Tony Attwood

There is a word around that Diaby is injury free and heading back to his very best.  Of course many will just laugh at this or sneer – because that is what they do about things – but there are some people who would love to see Diaby come to his potential.

Let us just imagine for a moment that the stories are true and that Diaby is indeed able to play quite a bit of the season without injuries.  Such returns can happen.  Rosicky, for example, was out for a long time with injury, but then came back and gave us some excellent service last year.

So what would it mean for the midfield?

Try this one for size:

Song

Diaby Arteta

Which leaves out of the mix:

  • Wilshere – who will only play part of the season, but he will be there
  • Ramsey – disliked by some because it has taken him time to return from a terrible injury but he is returning to the quality of his play that made us sign him
  • Rosicky – obviously won’t play every game, but an excellent player to bring in for certain games
  • Oxlade Chamberlain – thought of mostly as a wing forward, but we saw him in midfield last season and he was impressive
  • Coquelin – a defender and a midfielder and a player of immense potential
  • Frimpong – two serious injuries have wrecked his time at Arsenal, but he is slowly making his way back

Plus among the up and comings who are on the Far East tour… (info repeated from the earlier article on the tour, in case you missed it).

  • Thomas Eisfeld – a midfielder signed from Borussia Dortmund at the start of the year.  He played in the reserves three times last season, but got injured – but where ever there is talk of him it is talking him up big time.
  • Craig Eastmond.  He has played for us 4 times starting in 2009, Millwall 6 and Wycombe 14.   He played alongside Cesc and Diaby in the midfield against Bolton in 2009, and signed a new long term contract in 2010 and played in the Euro match against Shakhtar Donetsk.  With Frimpong out injured this is probably his “now or never” moment.

That gives us 11 players.  As I keep trying to stress I am not saying any of these will play every game, or even half the games – although we would expect Song and Arteta to be there most of the time unless they get a serious injury.

Of course Diaby and Wilshere need to come back gently, or course Eisfeld and Eastmond are going to get gentle introductions, of course Rosicky is not going to be playing twice a week.

But my point is: look at the choice and the options.    Even with the mega attacks of injuries that Arsenal get, there is still such a range of talent and ability.

Mr Wenger himself said, “This tour is another decider for Diaby. He will play on Tuesday night and now it is down to uncontrolled movement in games: how does your body react to that? I am confident with what I have seen in training that he will do it.

“He is the first player who would be on the France teamsheet in midfield when he is fit. Laurant Blanc said that before the European Championship and he waited a very long time to know if he could play or not. But he couldn’t.”

Wenger also dismissed talk of a move for Yann M’Vila and said he is already well stocked in midfield.  “We wait on Diaby and Wilshere,” he said. “When you look we have Song, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere, Arteta and Diaby, in defensive midfielders and box-to-box players we are not short if they are all coming back. If we have setbacks in pre-season it could be different.”

Which means that when Mr Wenger speaks of buying one or two more players in the transfer window, he is not talking of midfield.  Nor can he be talking of goalkeepers when we have Matinez at home and three experienced men on the tour.  Which leaves (rather obviously I must admit) forwards and defenders.

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78 comments to Arsenal’s amazing new mid-field vision

  • E9 Gunner

    I think you have that formation wrong.

    It should or would be:

    Diaby
    Arteta Song

    And Wilshere in for Arteta when fit

  • Byron

    My problem, apart from the obvious, with Diaby is that I don’t actually know how good he is. This is what makes it hard to keep the faith. Yes Rosicky was injured for a long time(I still feel like he always played more than Diaby) RVP also got injured often but there Quality was know to the fans.

    Diaby has never shown me that he is this great player that people claim he is, In fact when he has played he often hasnt impressed.

    Am I misreading it or is Wenger not leaving the option of a CAM open?

    Yes the players he mentione do cover Box to Box and DM(hence denying M’Villa) but he doesn’t mention Rosicky as I feel he may have been excluding the CAM position

  • fedda

    Diaby is more of a box-to-box midfielder, far more attack orientated than defensive. I for one hope he can stay fit this season, his potential is immense. A player who is vastly underrated among the loyals.

    As for Craig Eastmond. Sadly I don’t see a future for him at Arsenal. He just hasn’t got the level required to be an Arsenal player at the moment. Eisfeld is a better bet for the future.

    Coquelin is a player I like. He does a very good job in defensive midfield and rightback. He might not be good enough to start important games, but he is a hell of a good sub to have.

  • Another Fan

    To be fair Tony I am not worried about RvP leaving as I belive that we have signed two very able strykers in Podolski and Giraud.

    The Midfield however worries me abit. You have listed all the players we have at our disposal and it is a formideble group. But many of them have not had enough exsperience and playing time so I feel we are only 2 injuris to our more exsperienced players away from getting thin on the ground.

    M’Vila would help alot and if not him a “older” midfield player like Arteta for exsample would make our midfield very very solid.

  • AnonymousGun

    Diaby lack discipline to play in DM position. They prolly rotating anyway so, shouldnt really matters ..

    RvP shows how good our player can be if they stay injury free. and hopefully, Diaby can show that as well this season.

  • fedda

    @Byron.

    When asked about Corzola, Wenger said “I don’t know him” with a smile on his face.

    Rewind back to the Euros, Corzola comes on as a sub for Spain and Wenger says; “I can tell you the technical level of this team will not decrease with that guy in”.

    We tried to get him last year, bud Malaga outbid us and he went there. They are now struggling financially.

  • Danish Gooner

    Hahahaha Wenger put his trust in a serial crock and Manure signs Lucas Moura one of the top talented Brazilians.Wenger is still living in the 90ties and soooooo left behind by his own stubbornness and stingyness.

  • WalterBroeckx

    If Arsenal sign a “top talent” you would probably say: What? Another young unproven talent??? This fool and stubborn Wenger…blah blah blah…

  • I am one person seriously waiting 4 Diaby 2 do a full season like Rvp and d whole world will notice d PENETRATOR like I like 2 call him and take notice. I believe this is his season, but he should not do a RVP. This mngr (le bossg) is exceptional,he keeps d faith until d reward comes. Only Arsene can do this. I hope Diaby remembers.

  • Zinc

    As fans we need to temper our expectations with Diaby – if he can come back this year and start 10 games and come on as a sub in another 10 we will have made a big leap forwards. There’s lots of talk about the deadwood at Arsenal and naturally Diaby gets swept into that group because he’s been injury ridden for so long, but when fit he’s actually a quality player and one worth being patient with – like RVP, like Rosicky, etc – you can argue against him being on the same level as players like that but he’d certainly be a vital cog in our machine if he could stay fit.

    Good luck to him this year – the truth is we need him.

  • Solomon

    Diaby is a great player. I am of the opinion that if the injury story is really over, then is more of a new singing for us. I dont think we should be negative about the injury situation. I strong believe that he will have a great seasson and injury free one. We must not forget that RVP was in a similar situation as Diaby at a point and he came through with a great seasson. Let us hope same for Abu.

  • I too have always thought Diaby to be a good player, and would love to see an injury-free season from him.

  • DocBrody

    It’s quality, not quantity that matters.

    I don’t care if we have 11 or 1,100 midfield options, the fact of the matter is that we don’t have the quality to match up against the likes of Man City. We need more quality depth. Not just technical players, but also tough durable men.

    Arteta – good, can be great at times.
    Rosicky – can be great, but he’s old.
    Song – great player.
    Diaby. – a lot to prove. When healthy he’s been unconvincing. Think Newcastle game 2 yrs ago.
    Wilshire – great for his age. FOR HIS AGE. Can not finish, still inexperienced.
    Ox. – like Wilshire, great FOR HIS AGE.
    Ramsey – loses the ball too much. Attempts flash like heel kicks and get stuffed.
    Frimpong – pulling for him, but not there yet. Not by a mile.
    Coq. – Amazing athletisim, but another young inexperienced player.

    And so on.

    We just don’t have the depth. End of story. Even our first 3 are not awe inspiring.

  • ozed

    Hey Tony,

    Slight disagreement. you have interpreted Wenger’s statement to apply to all midfielders. i rather think he was referring specifically to defensive and ‘box to box’ midfielders, which leaves out Defenders, strikers and — Yesss attacking midfielders.
    Seeing as right now we have only Rosicky, Ramsey and Eisfield as real central attacking midfielders, and considering that Rosicky is injured for another 2 months at least (moreover he is aging), Ramsey is at the Olympics and will probably need a short rest before joining the team (moreover he is still stabilizing after his time out) and Thomas Eisfield is Young and new to the EPL.
    In view of the above, i think Wenger is probably thinking of at least one attacking mid. (Santi Carzola, anyone?)

  • Byron

    @fedda

    That Carzola comment made me laugh- Wenger is a sly old Fox, I think we have reason to believe we may be buying him.

  • GoonerPete

    @flashygunner

    Been thinking the same thing!
    I remember reading an interview with Diaby once (when he was still crocked mind!) where he stated he would one day like to play for Real or Farcelona…. Sound familiar!

    I also remember how Diaby was tearing up trees in 2006 before Dan Smith of Sunderland decided to maim him. The 5 months prior to that when we bought him from Auxerre he looked like a world class player in the making.

    My money is on Diaby finally getting over his injuries, having the season of his life and then leaving next summer to a ‘big (read money) club’

    If this happens, then it’s the last time I want to see Arsenal stand by a crock, because their all mercenaries at the end of the day.

  • yupya

    Why does nobody think/realise that Wilshere is a attacking mid but only played deep for Arsenal first team cos we had cesc. I fully expect jack to be at the top of our midfield three, in a position he grew up playing

  • Roland C Rozario

    It will really be interesting to see what ‘Wenger the French Fox’ pulls out of his hatch this time round and the choice of…. to quote: “One or Two Additions”!
    ….. before the summers out!

  • zdzis

    It’s actually CAZORLA, people!
    As for Diaby not proving his skills: wind back to 2010/11 and watch the few games he got there. Wind back to his sub appearance against Fulham at home. Wind back to about any post-2010 game he played for Arsenal. For a long time, he played below his potential, but ever since we lost Cesc, he seems to have dusted his skills and offers much more than just long legs and sloppy walks – WHEN FIT. In fact, he seems to run faster and smarter these days. Which is perhaps why Blanc even considered taking him for the Euors despite him not getting more than a few games for club & country last season.
    Also, he’s never a DM – Wenger has also stressed that. He’s the equivalent of two Wilsheres for size, and one for ability.
    I seriously hope his troubles are over. I’d love to see him enjoy the game again.

    Tony, you seem to have forgotten Lansbury. If it’s last call for Eastmond, it’s the same for Henri. I don’t really believe they’re going to make it, but if they are any good, I just hope they won’t go to waste.

    As for attacking midfielders: I don’t think we’re on the lookout for this kind of a player. It seems Wenger is content with a midfield composed of players who more or less fit the bill of box-to-box midfielders. We know Song likes to go forward a lot; Arteta is never a holding midfielder, and is also likely to feature up front; and most of the other players – bar Coquelin and Frimpong, and Rosicky and Eisfeld – are more or less as good attacking as they are defending. I don’t know if it can work at all, but the idea of having a central midfield composed of three players capable of alternating between attack and defense depending on the events seems nice. With this, you might adjust your tactics without making changes – simply moving them to the back or to the front, as much as you need. It’s more versatile than having one holding MF keeping it clean at the back.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Our best addition so far this transfer window: Mr. Bould.

    We have been in need of an assistant coach to take these players one level higher for a long long while. He may make a lot of difference.

    Tony, I’m surprised you haven’t done an article on this yet!

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    Danish Gooner…..I’d stay away from all those Danish pastries mate as it seems to have turned your brains to mush! You’ve been watching the wrong team….the Seven Sisters Sadsacks are just down the road….go cheer for them with your AAA,anti-Wenger whiny moaning….they deserve you.

    Everyone forgets that Podolski is also a very capable defensive striker and will add a new chemistry to AFC’s midfield play, as he loves to come in behind the main striker(s) and sweep up loose balls to whack at the goal. He is also a very tough defender like Vermaelen.
    Gervinho is also capable of tracking back and if Walcott ever finds a Footballing brain, he could easily improve his defensive skills as well.

    Diaby is a talented midfielder but I rate Arteta and Wilshere ahead of him as they both have that Cesc-like ability to see the entire playing options available and can defend aggressively. The 3 man option of Song,Arteta and Wilshere, backed up by Ramsey,Coquelin and Diaby offer AFC a lot of options in every game.

    Injuries are ALWAYS the monkey wrench in the works so hopefully we’ll have an RVP year like last season and not a crocked year like the previous one. Don’t forget the entire team will have a different chemistry than previously and that will make Arsenal a new team. Giroud is the biggest unknown for the moment but he reminds me of a bigger,meaner Eduardo…not a bad striking option if he stays fit!

  • kiety

    I agree with the comments made by docbrody, we dont have quality and depth, 2 players in yes, but doesnt make up for the lack of quality in midfield, we cant retain possession nore move the ball with any fluidity like we use to. i just dont see us challenging yet again and battling for 4th spot once again when 2 seasons ago we were soo close is just disheartening. arsene wenger still the best man for the job but we need to change the model and strive to win not play the margin of profit game.

  • rusty

    @fedda and @byron
    Cazorla clearly made a huge impact last season on both Villarreal (who sold him and then got relegated) and Malaga (who bought him and qualified for the Champs League play-offs), but as far as I know, their billionaire ownership group is still intact. No way does he move.

  • SouthernGunner

    @flashygunner

    Totally agree with your post mate. Am hoping Diaby “does a RvP” and comes back better than ever.

    He’s one guy we have in midfield that can potentially dominate both technically and physically. There was that one season a few years ago where he got quite a lot of games. He did well alongside Song, and scored quite a few goals for us too.

    He’s been through a lot of setbacks, and that must take it’s toll but also make you mentally tough. Wishing the guy well.

  • pizzy05

    @DocBrody, you got yourself in a fix. You claim there is no depth, but you counted nine players.

    Plus, you will be sparking a crazy argument if you claim our youngsters (even Aaron Ramsey) is not quality. Not enough experience, yes but lacking in quality, no sir.

    You may have to tell me why you think M’vila is superior to Coquelin, or if M’vila will be a better fit in the EPL with us, rather than a Frimpong that has spent 10 years learning to play football the Arsenal way.

    Some fans need to be trained to learn to support the Arsenal way…

  • SouthernGunner

    Another thing for the AAA brigade regarding Diaby. Chelsea wanted to sign him whilst Mourinho was still manager, but he chose Arsenal. so he can’t be as bad as some of you make out.

    http://www.goal.com/en/news/9/england/2010/10/06/2153521/abou-diaby-i-turned-down-chelsea-to-sign-for-arsenal

  • 49Unbeaten

    I think when it comes to Diaby a lot of Gooners put their goon tinted glasses and hail him as some sort of god. Diaby, at best, is a good player now and again. How many times have we stood in the stands and screamed out when he receives the ball only to slow down our attacks. How many times after the match have we wondered what exactly he brings to the game. He’s had games of brilliance follwed by 4 games of utter rubbish and that right there is the problem with Diaby. For every 1 brilliant game he’ll have 4-5 rubbish ones making him THE most infuriating player ever. His playing days were over as soon as he got that terrible tackle. Since then he’s had over 30 injuries that just keep coming back. I like Diaby, just not as a player for OUR club. If we’re going to pin our hopes on this guy then we need to realise what our club has become and re-adjust our targets for the seasons ahead.

  • DocBrody

    Debating Diaby’s merits is a bit like rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.

    Lets just say hypothetically that he is a world class player and delivers this season. Arsenal still falls short in the overall quality of its midfielders, especially those one the bench, who you really need to make a deep run in the EPL, FA Cup, Champions League and Carling Cup.

  • Danish Gooner

    Diaby is just as bad at reading the game as Walcott,Mourinho dodged a bullet there.

  • Danish Gooner

    I would be over the moon if we signed a top talent,i remember how Wenger tried to sign Robinho but failed.Now adays he signs dross from France and Germany.

  • Danish Gooner

    When,ohhh when will the Akbs stop their self delusion and realize that what we are watching at the moment is the total destruction of Arsenal as top,top club,no ambition,no will and a Yank who couldnt give a monkies if we win as long as he makes money aplenty.Do you really think Diaby is gonna turn into a world class midfielder after 7 years of mediocrity????George Graham didnt have to play Gus Ceasar for SEVEN seasons to understand that he had a dud on his hands.

  • 2forlols

    Haha! You’re mad to think that Diaby is going to stay fit a good chunk of the season. He’s barely played over the last two years! We have no idea how much his game has degraded over that time. You really think that he’s a valid option?

  • Joe

    If Diaby, or anybody else, gets injured in preseason Wenger has left the door open to buying a midfielder. In other words, he’s giving Diaby one last shot at Arsenal.

  • Callum

    Well if we do have an abundance or midfielders and if RVP leaves then maybe we could experiment with the 4-6-0 formation Spain used in the euros! we could have song, diaby, arteta, wilshere/Ramsey/rosicky, Walcott/the ox as a winger and podolski/giroud as a cam?

  • myan

    whilshere might come back like ramsey from the injury out of form

  • gats

    This is the most ridiculous article ive ever read. DIaby? Really we are now pinning our hopes on Diaby?. The AKB’s really are scrapping the bottom of the barrel now. Its a joke

  • Stokegooner

    he said we have enough defensive midfielders and box-to-box players, he said nothing of “play makers” that’s where we are short, and Arsene knows this.

    i think we will be a better team than last year, and we finished third!!

    come on Arsenal!!!

  • useroz

    only idiots would imagine

    Actually I dont have to publish the rest because you’ll know how it goes. I suppose I could retaliate and say “only idiots would try and post an article on a site calling the writer an idiot when all over the site there are notes saying that we don’t publish abuse. But that would be abusive.

  • DocBrody

    I know Silent Stan is not popular, but is he really worse than what came before him?

    Is it really fair to say he is “a Yank who couldn’t give a monkies if we win as long as he makes money aplenty” ?

    He may turn out to be a good owner. Maybe not as good as a rich oil sheik, or Usmanov, but we can’t all have Santa Claus for an owner can we?

    Here’s my logic. He had just gotten control of the club last summer. He was still get his feet wet when Fabragas and Nasri set sail. However, shortly after that, he approved 5 transfers that he is not likely to make our money back from. Secondly, he approved Podolski and Giraud for a combined 25 million. That’s more than we’ve spent in years, and a lot earlier. Lastly, if he backs Wenger and makes both van Persie AND Walcott play out their contracts, that another 50 million he is putting at risk (assuming they don’t resign during the season).

    Those aren’t the actions of a guy not willing to spend on the club. Maybe it doesn’t measure up to the spending of a City or Chelsea, but its better than the 6 years before he took over.

  • zulu gooner

    Danish gooner sounds like a nice positive mate to have in times of trouble!!

  • bob

    As you’ve just documented, the historical record of this midfield is one of being injury-ridden. Following Arsene’s latest line of analysis, you advocate banking this season on this group’s return to full and sustained health, on your toss of the dice. My toss of the dice is to buy another midfielder – a creative midfield. I do not see enough service, link-up, consistent feeding of the forwards. I have no investment in being right, but I think your finding in all this an “amazing new midfield vision” is a headline that’s over the (red) top.

    Do we not have the money for a high-class creative type, to do something closer toward filling the x-Cesc gap than what we had at the end of last season? Does the 35M that we’ll be getting (which we didn’t know at the start of last season) not make this type of purchase for proven talent a worthwhile,indeed needed risk? We executed the Great Turnaround and finished third and massive kudos to Arsene. But, to be honest, that offensive display (and, imo, precisely the midfield was not adequate) that eked us through will not suffice this season. You are, it seems to me, invoking Diaby’s name as if it had already ever been demonstrated for any duration. I genuinely hope it’s true; but I wouldn’t put a penny wager on it’s being so.

  • Dec

    I have to say, I’d love to have your optimism Tony. The assumption that Diaby’s best is good enough is quite a stretch. Hope he turns out to be brilliant but he’s shown nothing to date in terms of skill, maturity,intelligence or leadershipo qualities to make him anything but average at best. Ture, Alex Song had a sudden transformation a few seasons ago and last season Thomas Rosicky regained the immense quality he’d shown previously. If Diaby can finally show us all what he’s obviously shown Arsene at some stage, well then great. But to depend on him? I don’t thinks so.
    A fine athlete, but like his mate Frimpong, has not much shown very much going on upstairs.
    Time will tell and we’ll live in hope and trust Le Boss as we always do.

  • Roy Nazrat

    Just look at the collection of midfield talent and experience at Stamford Bridge and both Manchester clubs and compare that what we have got! Eden Hazard, Nasri, Essien, Juan Mata…..I am willing to accept Mr. Wenger’s argument that Diaby is the best midfielder in the world. But so was the case with Ladley King as being the best defender in the world. I am unable to understand how could a manager honestly aim to win trophies with so unrealistic assumptions!
    Yes, we do seem to have a crowded midfield, but barring Song and Arteta, the rest is just a crowd of aged-and-crooked to unproven talent. I am sure some of our young starlets will turn into great players in future, but that is not what interests me. At the moment my immediate concern lies in restoring my club’s pride by winning SOMETHING this year. I am really sick and tired of being ridiculed by the likes of Ashley Cole. We may say whatever we want to say about Nasri, Cesc, and Ashley Cole, but they have vindicated themselves by actually wining trophies after leaving Arsenal.

  • bob

    Joe,
    Yes, I read the comment the same way. It’s Diaby’s job to lose, and if he does, AW is still in the market. That is prudent and savvy. Imo, Arsene both publicly (re)states his support and announces that another injury will mean another midfielder. This is not about a great new vision. It is about sorting out the midfield now; and if Diaby or another one or two are blown up again in the pre-season, a midfield purchase will be made. Hopefully a truly creative talent. We can afford it; and can’t forgo that as a need (both the creativity and the insurance, as I argue above).

  • Ong Bing

    Diaby is good player, but I am not sure how good is he.

    But Wenger expected something from him, and Blanc put him on first choice when fit, so there must be something special on him.

    Arsene always saw something that we not. Gilberto, for a few season he looks like average player, but when he is on his best, the whole season we have invicible wall in front of back four.

    We don’t need to talk about Henry, Vieira, Freddie, Pires.

    I still have trust in Arsene, I still believe we can achieve something this year, winning EPL or CL is still possible.

    Some of fans make football their hope, a lot of Arsenal fans hoping that we can compete with big spending teams, one day their dream will come true. And that day will be so so sweet.

  • Danny

    what about Lansbery?

  • According to wikipedia Carzola already plays for Arsenal.

  • Vlasti

    Arteta, Song, Ramsey will be starting 3, rosicky, diaby, Lansbury, Wiltshire (whe fit), check out clips of diaby before the injury, of,course being out plays a psychological factor but he’s a soid player when fit in my eyes! Gunners for life!

  • Lansbury: as far as I know he did not travel to Malaysia, but did play in the earlier pre-season matches. I suspect that means he is not in contention.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Lansbury has an injury. Came too close to Diaby maybe? 😉
    No serious he has a calf injury. he said it on his twitter as he was supposed to travel along. Eisfeld is now in his place

  • anatra

    According to Wikipedia Cazorla now plays for Chelsea.
    Let’s wait half an hour and check again. 🙂

  • EIE

    Kronke out!
    Gazidis out!
    Wenger out!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    AVB out, bring back Harry, sack Levy!
    Sorry, this was turning into a bit of a Spurs thread for a moment there.
    Not wanting to generalise but I have a really hard time believing that anyone who espouses strong anti-Wenger views didn’t start supporting Arsenal in 1998 or later. Generally because the kind of views they have about Wenger I have about George Graham, yes he was successful initially, then he made it embarrassing to be an Arsenal supporter. The difference being that George wasn’t even keeping us competitive with far less of a budget disparity to our ‘rivals’.

  • I am not sure about wat Arsene is saying, dis is a kind of excuse dt will lead to failure, i must tell u d fact dis is a kind of stinginess. The best thing he have 2 do his 4 him 2 sign at least one comfirmed mid-fielder wit d like of Ganzo who can perform some thing beta 4 us. Wat am trying 2 say since all dis is dt we can nt rely on our injury players. BEST OF LUCK

  • Arkadiy

    I agree, Woolwich P., that these people who leave these anti-Wenger comments on these sites are either Spurs fans or idiots.

  • Arkadiy

    Wait a minute… Spurs fans, idiots… these are synonymous…

  • John

    I still say we need two central midfielders, holding and attacking. Including a striker and a defender.

  • bjtgooner

    @Tony

    Interesting debate. My understanding is that Wilshere and Rosicky will miss the start of the season. Diaby is potentially a class player, but as yet his ability to sustain fitness this for season is unproven, no doubt AW is monitoring this.

    Of the more senior midfield players that leaves us Song, Arteta and Ramsey. Of the younger players, the OX will probably play on the wings, Coquelin will play – and could develop well this season, it looks a season too soon for Eisfeld and I am not sure about Eastmond – I have not seen him play recently, but his development seems to have slowed. Frimpong will not be fit until the autumn.

    By my reasoning we have just now five viable midfielders – Song, Arteta, Ramsey, Coquelin and Diaby (if fit) – that will be the situation until the others return from injury – by then we will probably have new injuries.

    My feeling, as bob stated earlier, is that one more experienced midfielder is required – to hopefully allow the younger players to be introduced slowly to the first team without too much angst.

  • Arkadiy

    Good to see that this site has something positive to say about the Arsenal. Keep up the good work lads!

  • AJH

    still a huge mistake not to bring in another midfielder.wilshere might be out until october and rosicky is out for 8 weeks (as confirmed by wenger yesterday).frimpong has had a shocking time with injuries and when he is fit, he is a walking red card until he is able to control his aggression.ramsey was very poor last season and as impressive as song was in the final third,he often neglects his defensive work, leaving arteta (a superior attacking player) mopping up his mess.

    yes we have numbers if and when everyone is fit.however we will not start the season in that position and having numbers does not equate to having quality.whether a number of the current options are good enough or experienced enough is very much up for debate!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Arkadiy, think you do some, but not all spurs fans a dis-service! We have had a few pretty reasonably spurs fans with valid things to say allowed on here, as well as I am sure a few others moderated off. But many of the true spurs fans I have met have more respect for wenger than many of the aaa, gues they have suffered at wengers hand over recent years so are aware of his abilities. Back on topic, we do have some very good mfs, although jacks situation is beginning to worry me. Still think there could be room for a very attacking mf if vp goes, we seem to have beel linked with a few.

  • Mike Davis

    Evening fellow supporters

    To me the start of a season is like the preparation time for a long journey like climbing everest or sailing round the world. Once the journey starts one cannot return for an item forgotten or recover from any failure to prepare adequately.

    Dont getme wrong we all know that Jack is a truly fantastic player. Diaby has his moments of brilliance. When it is said they are “coming back” and they are like new signings I personally find this very naive.

    Imagine for a second that Jack and Abou were currently players for another team. Imagine more that as we all scan the NewsNow site for news of new signings, hoping against hope for some big names to give us bragging rights, to our amazment it was announced that two new signings were happening.

    When we read about these new players we found that one, who had showed such prodigeous talent, had been out for the whole of the last season and no date had been set for his return. The other had been at the club for many years but had managed to play less than half of the games each year. These new signings were trumpeted loud and hard. Even the most diehard Arsene supporter would question the sanity. Every new player is subjected to a rigorous medical examination. Quite rightly so. If either Jack or Abou currently played for another team they would never be signed as “new signings”

    For a business such as Arsenal to enter a new season with major question marks over key players such as these, is at the very least seriously commercially imprudent.

    We all feel so upset about the Robin van Persie saga, and how he could say what he said. Yet he has said what so many of us feel. Where is the passion to take us back to greatness, our golden years. Only that Robin can jump ship and we cannot. The nub of what Robin seems to be saying is that when we look at the season ahead with the squad that we have, can anyone really feel confident? Yes we have many wonderful players, but will they be enough. Is this squad, on balance, likely to survive the rigors of 4 competitions ( not counting the Emirates cup and that other one that we won the other day).

    As it stands at this stage:
    We have Bacary out, who is his replacement – Jenkinson? Great lad, no disrespect, but does he give us a true fighting chance.
    We have Gibbs, his replacement seems more at home at centre forward.

    Enough said. I still live in hope that a couple of quality true new signings will still happen and be added to our team. That as our new season begins each of us will be able to stand strong in the knowledge that our team has been carefully built with a strong chance of challenging for top honors.

  • still short in midfield,wenger said that he dnt need box to box Midfielder or DM but wht he didnt sai is that hes looking for a new fab4 or nasris replacements, arsenal need reinforcement in that area.in wenger i trust…

  • Ryo

    According 2 wikipedia, cazorla plays for Arsenal fc, fingers crossed…

  • welsh gooner

    Santiago cazorla please Mr Wenger.

  • Klaus

    I think this is potentially a good midfield, I rate Lansbury too, include him in the mix, however I still think we need a real goal scoring threat from midfield like we had with Fabregas and Nasri. I don’t feel their goals from midfield have been replaced enough and, with the exception of Arteta I don’t see any regular goalscorers from this bunch. In all probability we won’t have RVP to do all our scoring , we are going to need some goals from midfield, espescially if Giroud and Podolski don’t hit the ground running. One attacking midfielder with a genuine shooting boot is for me the key to a successful season. Oh and a RB with Sanga out for the first few weeks… Dont want too much pressure on Jenko.

  • Limpar's Wand

    I agree Klaus, but I remember people saying the same thing about goals from midfield when we had cesc and nasri! Everyone complained that they weren’t pires and freddie. Cesc went on a run of goals for a bit but he wasn’t that prolific really, especially when you consider he was essentially a second striker by the end. And he took most of our set-pieces. Nasri scored a few nice goals but was never a consistent goal threat by any means.

    I’m hoping our wingers really step up in the scoring charts next season. Theo and podolski can do that, and i think gervinho has it in him, even if he does have a touch of the hlebs about him. Second season I hope he’s bulked up a bit cos he can be a big player for us with his pace, movement and workrate. He brings something a bit different and i’m surprised many people don’t seem to rate him. As for the mids, maybe arteta can take a few training sessions on how to strike a ball!

  • mulyono in depok

    yeaahh tony.. your analysis quiet interesting.. but for the younger you just forget sergy gnabry.. this guy has huge potential.. just trust me mate..

  • nelskota

    Mr arsenal wenger mst buy mvile please we need him 4 backup cos we have many injaries

  • Mr wenger pls buy mville we need him he is gd player

  • Boobies

    Great article, really agree

  • ARSENAL 13

    fully fit DIABY is a great asset for ARSENAL. Only thing I dislike is his head….errr……not the size, shape or the color of it…..He is a short fused guy (may his fear of being the next RVP is the main reason). I hope he returns with a ice pack on his head.

  • Rupe

    Wenger’s absolutely right, we’re fine in midfield. Defensive midfield especially (Song, Arteta, Coquelin, Wilshere, Diaby, Frimpong can all do a job here). We’re far more in need of a creative midfielder (what with Wilshere’s injury, Rosicky’s age, and Benayoun having gone) than a defensive one.

    On Diaby, I’ve been one of his biggest critics the last couple of years, when his concentration levels dropped horribly. But in his brief appearances towards the end of last season he was starting to look pretty good again so I think we need to give him another chance.

  • bob

    Mike Davis,
    Unlike the overpromising headline and troubling analysis of this article, your analysis and worries about the actual state of this midfield at this time are on solid ground. It is simply not responsible to bet the farm and hype our prospects based on a bunch of names strung together with their recent and ongoing history of not being fit, let alone match-ready as the season approaches. It’s cheer leading and tribal drum beating; but we need better. Arsene does know better, and the subtext of his endorsement of Diaby is that we will see if he’s actually fit and if not there’ll be a move in the transfer market. That’s prudent. Not a one-sided reading of his statement as if he’s saying it’s all Ok.

  • HENRYGOON

    I LIKE ARSENAL IVE SUPPORTED FOR A LONG TIME BUT I DONT THINK THAT THEY CAN COMPETE WITH CHELSEAS NEW TEAM NEXT SEASON-LOOK AT IT

    ————-Cech———————
    Ivan———Dave——-John———Ash
    -———————Mikel————————
    -—————Rami——-Oscar—————
    Eden—————Torres—————-Juan

  • Goonergerry

    During his spell at Arsenal, AW did set the midfield up to play through Fabregas. It meant all others-Diaby and Rosicky even Arshavin were played out of their best position. Its a fair call re Rosicky who when fit- for a spell last year was the best midfielder in the EPL. If Diaby is fit and he is not expected to play really tough games- where he receives no protection from refs- every 3 days- we might see some of the potential Tony refers to.

    He has a skill level up there with the best- at least comparable to any of the Chelsea or Man City players hes got to be worth a go.

    One of the main problems with the LG brigade is that they are far too quick to write a player off. Regardless of the reason. If he has a run of injuries- then hes always injured- well Diaby played 40 games in the 09/10 season and 36 the year before- 2 years after his broken leg- it may surprise some people to learn that he has actually been fit- and he can be fit again. However, it is a big risk to rely on the fitness of a player who has played only 26 times in 2 years. Lets hope we dont end up regretting it

  • bob

    Goonergerry,
    I love the now INJURED Rosicky – who is slated to miss 8 games. Indeed, the same day that we read this “Vision Thing” about the midfield, Rosicky has his second operation on the Achilles heal. Without further reinforcement by a creative midfield, this midfield – based on bandages and prayers – is obviously not the exalted Vision that Tony has attributed to Arsene. Wishful thinking is not analysis.

  • bob

    p.s. or is it his Achilles tendon, or our Achilles heel, etc. Either way, it augurs concern for the start of the season and the actual need for more midfielders of quality as the – possible – interest in Cazorla has shown just the next day.