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If not doom now, then doom soon. Or maybe not…

By Tony Attwood

That first part of the title line is the basic message from the media and the disbelievers.   The squad is too thin and one injury could cause us to tumble through the floor.

Now we’ve lost Gibbs and Wilshere from the squad (at least so it seems at the moment) everything is poised on the edge.  One more injury (Giroud is the most mentioned in this regard) and everything will fall down.

That is the mantra – and in football there is always a mantra.  A nice easy to remember catch phrase which requires and gets no serious thought.

As things stand the loss of Gibbs and Wilshere to add to the other injuries does not look too disastrous at the moment since we played the whole of the game against Liverpool without Jack and the end part without Gibbs.   We’ve enough midfielders to cope, and we’ve got Monreal who is looking better with each game.

But what about the number 9 (as in the old phrase meaning the centre forward)?  What rarely gets mentioned is what we would do with two excellent centre forwards?

If one plays with two out and out strikers as Liverpool do at the moment, if one of them is injured you can adjust to having one striker alone or bring in a youngster.  But if you only play one, and he’s doing all right, what do you do with the other guy?

Assuming he is the sort of top international player, do you rotate them?  Do you leave one on the sidelines?  Either approach can cause difficulty.

But if you have an eternally rotating midfield which causes the opposition constant problems, then what you can do is move someone who is not a striker into that position, knowing that even if he doesn’t score he will do more than enough by worrying the opposition senseless.

This is why I still think that Theo and Podolski are ideal backups.  OK at the moment we have both of them injured, although it is said that Theo might be ready for Man U.  But when they are both fit, we have two guys ready to go.

So now let’s look at it with Podolski and Theo.   When they come back to fitness they will each be looking for games.  If they force themselves into the team then someone else is going to be disappointed.   That disappointment may be containable as things stand, but if we bought another centre forward of high repute, discontent will grow.  (As in the same way that at the moment we have Vermaelen seemingly thinking about his position at the club).

Personally I would not buy a big name big time centre forward but would rely on Theo and Podolski.  Theo has said he liked the idea of being a centre forward, and Podolski played a fair number of practice games in that position.  I can only imagine that Mr Wenger liked what he saw in those games, otherwise he would might by now have brought in a new man.

And in all this we forget the Ox, who will also be expecting to get in the side once he returns.  So that is three players pushing to get into the team which is doing rather well.

I rather think we might buy someone in January, but not a high profile already established player.  It could instead be someone we have hardly heard of, but who could really turn out to be quite a find.  It has happened before.

But to show how fluid it all is, let me end with a piece of news that appeared on the Daily Mirror web site this morning.

“Arsenal have received a major injury boost as the Daily Mail reports that the trio of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs are set to return when the Gunners take on Manchester United next Sunday at Old Trafford.

“The Gunners have been criticised for their lack of depth in attack and defence but the return of three of their most prolific contributors should see the Gunners go to Old Trafford with their tails up.

“The return of Walcott will be a major defining factor for the Gunners, who have often lacked the pace to move in behind the final line of defence. Walcott’s runs will also complement Mesut Ozil’s style of play who was renowned for his ability to find Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid, something which has made him the highest assist maker in the top five leagues over the past three years.

“Arsenal’s injury list, which was among the worst in the Premier League, will considerably lighten by the end of November when Lukas Podolski is set to return, leaving the Gunners with only Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Abou Diaby to worry about, who are both out with long term injuries.

“Wenger will also be buoyed by the international break that presents itself following their game against United and should give the Gunners some much needed rest after a hectic period in all competitions.”

Maybe it wasn’t that bad in the first place.

The books…

The sites from the same team…

51 comments to If not doom now, then doom soon. Or maybe not…

  • brian

    If we have too thin a squad then there is clearly no back-up.Buying further players you argue would upset players being left out.Reluctantly it must be admitted that this is the very problem that Ferguson coped with for years and seemed capable of keeping players(Hernandez for example)content whilst not getting much playing time.Wenger must show his man management skills and rotate properly to ensure the players remain relatively fresh if more are actually added in January.

  • Nizam

    I fear the defence could be beaten for pace by the mu strikers.Two of their goals were scoredby passes from the bye line.
    The Germa maybe able to read the game but he could be undone in 1 on 1 situation.
    Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than to beat the traitor and one over rated bull dog.If the gunners stay tight there is no reason why the gunners can’t win. On the other hand moyes will be fired up.
    I still believe red face left because he could sense his days of dominance aided by third parties will be coming to end.

  • alex

    You forgot completely Gnabry.

    People keep underestimate him.
    I miss him more than Walcott. I am keen to hear the injury update specially of this fella.I am fully convinced that he will play a vital role this season.

  • Tasos

    Tony you have left Yaya Sanogo from your calculations.

    Sanogo has represented France at U16, U17, U19, U20 and U21 level. He has 56 appearances for France’s youth teams and scored 34 goals. At U16 level He scored a remarkable 18 goals in 18 games.

    Yaya Sanogo was a member of the team that won France’s first ever FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2013 and he was his country’s top scorer during that tournament with a total of four goals, whilst with Auxerre he has scored 11 goals from just 21 starts.

    He is also among the 40 nominees, along with Serge Gnabry and the Ox, for the 2013 Golden Boy award.

    Arsene Wenger said of Sanogo “Overall he has a great desire to improve and to win. What he needs now is for his body to not give him any problems, and what we need to do is get his body into the RIGHT CONDITION. For me it will take six months or so of work before we really see what he can do”.

  • Sixtay

    Honestly baffles me how little thought is spared for youngster yaya sanogo. A player who’s exactly where you want him to be at this stage of his career as a targetman. Stronger than most, and faster than most his size.

    He rejoins full training in a week or so, and showed enough (after understandably being starstruck for a few minutes) during the fulham game to convince me he is good enough at the moment, and an amazing potential for the future.

    We already have a looming problem with having to bench England darling wilshere (fairly) and most likely Rosicky(rather unfairly) and Podolski when everyone’s fit. What’s the point of offering another person 60-100 odd thousand a week to come warm our bench?

    No, we aren’t moneybags Chelsea or City. We can’t afford to write off £12M every year on valuable players. Those who become unsellable because we bought them at the height of their form and can’t now get any other team to justify paying their inflated wages, especially when they’ve come in, performed poorer than what we’ve already got, and can’t now get a game (Jovetic anyone?).

    Theo is on £100K a week…He isn’t an automatic starter. Lukas Podolski is on £100K a week, he isn’t one either. 3 squad players on £100K/week is bad business. I can’t imagine why we would be looking to piss away all the money we’ve saved up over the last 9 years.

    Put simply, if Morata will do as backup striker for Real Madrid, Sanogo (who performed on par if not better than him during the age-grade tourneys) will have to do for us. He will need games to get better, and those games will have to come at some point(hopefully after the win is secured), but like Theo, Song, Adebayor, Ramsey, Jenkinson, Gibbo, Giroud and Szczesny, I expect his performances to go from subpar to good enough to World beating soon. The physical advantage is there already, all that’s lacking is easily teachable (as was seen in Adebayor, Song and Giroud).

    Buying another striker in Jan will either create a Vermaelen situation out of Giroud or a Santos/Monreal situation out of the new striker.

  • I largely agree with you, Sixtay, that we have enough. However, I don’t think we’re pissing money away (as you put it) with Walcott and Podolski. Given the Premier League, the Champions League, and the FA Cup, we need a large squad with players rotated.

    In a sense, money is always being pissed away since you have to ensure a certain amount of slack and cover for possible injuries etc.

  • Armin

    Another thing, Mourinho said, though in different context, “He doesn’t know his best 11”. Arsene doesn’t too. Squad which beat Liverpool is still not best one we can bring on field. Maybe talking about quality its not so much difference, but style of play.
    Team with attacking trio Poldi-Giroud-TheO, for sure wont offer same taste of game to opposition as one we are forced to play week by week now. With their return squad got totally new dimension, not just beat opposition in technical meaning, but now even in physical and speed.

    Honestly I don’t think we miss anything, except a bit of luck

  • Sixtay

    Michael
    Never said Walcott or Podolski were a waste of money. I was stating the fact that having 3 players on over a £100k on the bench is bad business.

    Good teams don’t rotate key players. The bring in squad players against weaker opposition. Hate to say it but United is a good example. Hernandez and Welbeck together don’t earn £100K, but can “do a job” if called upon against the minnows of the league.

    Going out and buying a marquee name as a depth option is a head-scratcher. Quality players expect to start.

    In a team that utilizes a lone Target man, having one “super top top qualitee” striker in Giroud and one up-and-comer high potential lad like Sanogo, including Forwards Theo and Podolski, 2 players that showed they could ‘do a job’ in the No.9 position, Gnabry that can and has played there at U21 level, Bendtner and Chu-Young Park if the sh*t really hits the fan, and any number of our AMs that can operate as a focal point in a 4-6-0 formation, Where is this pressing need for a Suarez, Llorente, Diego Lopez, Lewandowski type purchase come January?

    I don’t see it. We are not in the need for a striker(Giroud, Podolski, Sanogo, Walcott, Bendtner, Gnabry, Chu-Young). We are not in the need for a DM(Arteta, Flamini, Ramsey, Wilshere). We are not in the need of a Right-Back(Sagna, Jenkinson, Flamini). We are not in need.
    We could do with another RB, but that’s in July, not Jan, and after we have properly evaluated Jenko’s progression over the pre-season. Probably someone in the mould of Sime Vrsaljko. That’s what responsible managers do.

  • HenryB

    Enjoyed the Post Tony, thanks.

    I am not a big Theo fan as a CF as he has neither the technique, the physique nor the awareness for that position.

    However he is blessed with pace and that is a priceless asset in top class sport, including football. A pacey winger who has a trick or two and who can cross a ball is high on any manager’s wishlist.

    Theo does that winger’s job, especially in the CL, for us when he is not injured, which he is quite a lot, but a centre forward he definitely is not.

    Just an opinion. 🙂

  • Tasos

    HenryB

    In My humble opinion this present Arsenal team are set-up to fully utilise Theo Walcott’s greatest asset. He is the missing link in our new “rotational football” system.

    I believe in this set-up Theo Walcott will be presented with the opportunity to score lots of goals once fully fit.

  • I certainly agree with you there, Tasos.

  • Sixtay, yes there is a core group of players, but rotation even of the core is necessary at times due to illness, tiredness, injury, etc. Given this, you are going to want quality on the bench and I don’t think it’s that bad for business if your bench at any one time includes one or two 100K-earning players. On the other hand, it would be bad for business if one of the core players was absent for a while and there were only limited back-up options available.

  • HenryB

    Hi Tasos,

    Do you mean you want Theo at centre forward?

  • ARSENAL 13

    Theo, I dont think he will ever be a center forward. He is super efficient in goal scoring for a winger. I think of him as a deep wide striker. And with this rotational football he can pop up on either of the flanks…..

    I think Theo will be our top scorer this season, hope to see him soon.

  • Tasos

    HenryB

    No. I Look around Europe and some of the most dangerous players are the deeper lying attackers. Ronaldo is maybe the best example, he’s not a centre forward but he scores goals at an incredible rate.

    I’m no expert by the way. As you say, it’s just My opinion.

  • Gooner S

    Stating the Arsenal need to add a little depth to their sqaud is not being negative and it is not a critique of the current squad. We should try and strengthen up front but not at all costs; only for the right player, at the right price.

    Think back to when we had Bergkamp and Henry; we also had Wiltord and Kanu as well – options. Look at Manchester City – they have options up front and in other positions. Granted – our options do improve up front when Poldolksi returns. Walcott is not a centre-forward but when he is fit he will be straight back in the first team (who will make way?).

    Funnily enough nobody is complaining about the plethora of mid-field talent we have at the moment becuase we have options when injuries occur, form drops, we wish to rest somebody or tactically we need to make a change. When all of our sqaud are fit they all cant play! What a good position to be in! It should be that same elsewhere in the squad.

  • HenryB

    I don’t think we differ much then Tasos.

    Theo is fine coming in off his wing at pace and unleashing a shot, and all I was saying is that he is not a regular centre forward.

  • Sixtay

    Micheal, in the past 5 seasons we’ve had scenarios where we lost both sets of fullbacks for long periods. These situations occur, and there’s usually very little we can do about them when they do.

    I’m not a fan of playing fantasy football with the funds available. Neither is Wenger thankfully. You are absolutely right. Football matches against top sides are seldom won with the First 11. We’ll always need impact players that can give us a lift, and/or change our style of play. The point I’m trying to make is,

    WE ALREADY HAVE ENOUGH!!

    We won’t be leading the injury league for the entirety of the season. We will be expecting to ease in more youth players into the first team who have genuine talent(Zelalem, Akpom, Eisfield, Sanogo). We have some extremely versatile players coming back (OX able at RW,LW,CM,AM without dropping our team quality, Flamini able at CM, DM, RB, LB).

    Obviously the fear is that Giroud does his ACL(touch wood) and we’re stuck with TGSTEL till January. I’ve no fear about that. Start of last season Gervinho, Walcott, and Podolski each got at least 2 games in that position. Gerv got 3 goals, Walcott got 1 in the league and a hatrick in the Cups and Podolski go 2 against wigan. That’s enough. Of course link-up play will suffer, but each had their advantages over OG, and that hasn’t changed.

    We’ve gotten a bit spoiled in this league with having World beaters on the bench in the plaything clubs. Who was the 100K player on the bench in the Invincibles era? Cygan? aging Bergkamp? Senderos? 21yo Robin Van Persie? Reyes? Kanu? Edu? Graham Stack? Wiltord?

    All good players, but none of them could replace a missing Henry, Pires or Ljunberg, and none were expected to. The ones that did came in a did a job. Buying 23M Jovetic or £30M Willian only for the bench is bad business and only possible when the club is more plaything than business. If we are constantly buying ready-made solutions for every possibility, when do the Gnabrys of this world get an opportunity?

  • Sammy The Snake

    We have 25 points from our first 10 games, that’s an impressive 2.5 points per game.

    If we assume a total of 81 points will be sufficient to win the league this year, we require another 56 points from our remaining 28 games. That’s only 2 points per game, or in other words, we can lose one game for each 2 games we win… Which is quite generous.

    Now I’m not saying we are a shoe-in for the EPL, but we do have a serious chance. Let’s have faith in Wenger and the boys and stand behind them. On some occasions, EPL has been won by an average points per game of less than 2!

  • I agree with you, Sixtay. I think we have enough.

  • Sixtay

    Gooner S, We aren’t Man City, and thus can’t afford to be paying everyone 80-100K to be bit part players.Also we have 4 attacking midfield positions. We have 1 Striking position.

    The qualities of Chamakh and Chu-Young weren’t in question when they were signed. Both quality players for their teams when we signed them. Both very much in demand when they came (We were a bit naughty stealing Park from his hotel room when he was close to signing for Lille).

    What changed? Van Judas didn’t get injured. Van Judas was always the best option. In no scenario or style of play was Van Judas not the first choice if fit. Fast forward a year and we were begging clubs to take a former french player of the year nominee and South Korea’s captain off our hands.

    Ask yourself, If Demba Ba did sign for us on Deadline day, how many games would he have gotten by now? Would swapping Chelsea and Arsenal benches really have been the best decision to make? Would the £3-5million spent on loaning him not be better spent locking Szczesny/Sagna up on contract extensions? In the more likely event that OG would only be missing for a few games, would our available options be enough in the short-term to do a job?

    Nothing points to buying Suarez or Lewandowski come Jan. Nothing.

  • Tasos

    @Sammy

    That’s a really good point. In fact you could go back as far as mid January to show Arsenal have been on Championship form for some time. Pre- Ozil/Flamini if you like.

    Since January 23rd 2013 Arsenal have played 26, won 20, drawn 4, lost 2. Winning @2.41 PPG. To put that into context, 2.41 PPG will win you Premier League every single season, bar one, since its inception. That’s an impressive, prolonged run of form from Arsene Wenger’s team but don’t inform the media.

  • Sid

    As others have already mentioned; Theo is not a centre forward, but is a vital attcking option, wide right. He is lethal and altho we are doing well, I still think we have missed him and Poldolski.

    I also agree that Gnabry COULD be the one to replace/give a breather to Giroud, but he is no where near as assured in that position and is better suited to the wide role, which I hope he gets a chance to show Weds night (from the bench, replacing Tomas with 10 minutes to go when we are 3-0 up!).

    I also agree we have been cursed with injuries (we were very lucky last season tho)and it was disapointing to see the team stretched to the limit for the C1 Cup game. The fact that I view the defeat as a blessing due to our stretched squad and numerous injuries tells me our squad COULD be improved and augmented.

    A new striker is a must in my opinion. A top class one? Yeah, why not? I am sure Sanogo is a fine talent and a real prospect but his contribution is hard to judge from the sick bay.

    It isnt blasphemous to want new additions and the players have been the most vocal about wanting new signings since the end of last season.

    Up the Arse!

  • bob

    “I can only imagine that Mr Wenger liked what he saw in those games, otherwise he would might by now have brought in a new man.”
    Mr. Attwood,
    “by now?” Bollocks. (Though you do know how to bring in the clicks). Well, can we still recall that Arsene tried for several strikers this very summer. Are you Untelling that story?

    Someone matching Giroud’s skill set should be brought in; other contending squads seem to cope with an abundance of quality. Can we not afford it? (How should that available money be not spent?) Why are you shrinking from the edge of our winning in multiple competitions? Winning sides always have too few spots and promote a hunger to succeed when you get your shot. It’s productive, that competition. Especially when you commit to winning multiple cups. That is, being ambitious in deed as well as in word.
    We can do this. Do you want a happy teenage picnic or to right now break some ego-eggs to make and serve-up a winning omlette?
    We are so close. We don’t need to be Chelski to be what is now within our very means. Do you think AW can’t cope with an abundance of quality? You know he can and already has. What is the big deal for a few massively-paid people to grumble about too little playing time; when, in the course of a season, many will have their contributions to make in a championship season or two?
    Imo, the habits of reckless non-spending to ensure quality insurance against injuries are manifestly hard to break. This piece is another exercise in assuming that as everyone will come back from their injuries, that no one else will go out with injury. I pray that Giroud maintains health and form (which NO ONE can over so many games and competitions) so that this is not put the test. But, please note, in the eyes of many who love this squad as well as you do, neither Wolcott nor Podolski can do what Giroud does in combining the link-up and scoring potentials. But it appears that you’d rather bet this season on a roll of the dice for a maybe cheap unknown find (to advance the greater glory of your permanent version of what you insist that AW really is); or on the whims of Theo who might throw a hissy-fit if he’s not to be the striker of his ego-dreams rather than the high-quality fluid winger that he actually is; or on the reinvention at the 10 spot of the less than mobile Podolski which is not his best position. And so it goes…. Push this button until January. You’ll get the clicks. And we’ll get to see what AW actually does as the hands-on manager of his team; a man who knows what a championship looks like and what champagne from that cup tastes like. My wager is that, this season, against the grain of his usual rejection of the January window, that he brings in high quality in whatever form in comes to us – because that is what a championship takes.

  • bob

    Sid,
    Fully agree with your (uncommon) common sense.
    Time to taste the bubbly this very season.

  • bob

    Just to say the obvious, we might all agree (and say amen) to the feeling that it’s so much better to finally debate affordable options as opposed to nope, we can’t spend anything because of the stadium debt, etc., etc.
    And, that actually realizing this new position (in which Ozil is also a magnet for strikers who would love the service that he is so adept at and will only get better at) is not the same as heresy, or blashphemy, or aaa-ism, or (to be specific) wishing for Usmanov, or becoming Chelski, or betraying a vow of righteous poverty. My thought is: can we, collectively, actually dare to take on board, against the lens crafters and haters in the media, that we CAN win da things this very season?

  • Sid

    Bob

    I also think AW thinks along similar lines and has stated a desire to add “one or 2 new players” in January.

    If we did sign a striker/forward there is no suggestion it would mean Giroud being benched for weeks on end, particularly if said new forward could operate in a few positions (a la Suarez, just for example, not saying we sould go for him…. well, probably not!).

    While I do not agree in any way that Asrenal’s fine form this season is purely down to the signing of one player (although Flamini has been a trememndous addition 🙂 ), as anyone who follows Arsenal should really know the team have been playing well (if somewhat more pragmatically last season) since last March, there is no denying the effect Özil has had on the team, players, manager, club, fans and yes, the dirty meeeeja!

    Doing that again; signing a top notch player, in january will be more difficult, but there’s no reason to not give it a go.

    And if we can’t get the player AW wants, then there are a few alternatives who would be more than happy to come and play for Arsenal, with the manager, squad, stadium and history we have.

  • OMGArsenal

    For Sixtay and others who bandy about salary figures as if they really knew what players are paid at AFC, here are the facts:

    1)Theo, the Pod and others like him do NOT earn anywhere near 100K/week….no where near that. Ozil certainly does but probably is the only one who does.

    2)We have, when uninjured, an excellent bench that cost us about 50% less than the only marginally better players at Cheatski and Man.Shitty. (Vermaelen, Monreal, Jenkinson, Fabianski, Villiando, Rosicky,Bendtner)

    3)When Theo, the Pod, the Ox, Gnabry,Sanogo, Diaby, Flamini, Gibbs and Wilshere return to full form….we have almost a full backup team that is a match for any EPL team with the exception of Man.Shitty.

    4)We have a few youth/reserve and academy players becoming available and whose promise is yet to be realized but whose progress will be delayed If Wenger brings in a big name striker or midfielder over the next transfer window.

    Every EPL Club has a surplus of players since they have a 25 player list they must maintain as well as their own academy and reserve backups. The difference between us and the other top 4 teams and them is that we can field an excellent team every week that gets results….they can’t always do so.

  • Gf60

    It will be interesting to see if AW gets the chance to sign Lewandowski. Imagine Olly doing the hold up. and, as Lew. goes into a space like a mouse up a drain pipe, one of the midfielders puts him clear. 4 4 2 gave us an awful lot of fun. But there’s also cover, so back to 4 5 1 if needed at any time. Works for me.

  • HenryB

    It is amusing to read Sixtay giving us the lowdown on the salaries the players are on and what we can or cannot afford to pay them, and then to read OMG dismissing his salary figures as unknowable, before telling us the real ‘facts’.

    I am happy to read this dichotomy actually as it makes reading the blog interesting.

    What slightly puzzles me though, irrespective of who is right, is why does it matter?

    The club do know the facts, and do know what it can afford to pay the players and for someone like me who does not know, I am content to let them worry about the money matters.

    I will reserve my judgement for the performance on the pitch as to whether or not the money, like that for Ozil, has been well spent or not. 🙂

  • Tom

    I’ve been around football for a long time and while having creative differences between supporters pertaining to what players should or shouldn’t be brought in to strengthen the squad are common place, I don’t believe I’ve ever heard anyone say “bring no one , we have enough or we might upset the players we have”

    I’ve got breaking news for some on here . Some Arsenal players are already unhappy about their playing time. Everybody wants to play every week when fit yet somehow no one has yet reported of any fist fights in the locker room.

    It’s not the manager’s job to please the players but to put them in positions in which they can succeed professionally and that’s winning titles.

    I wander how many on here would’ve said Arsenal needed another creative midfielder before Wenger went out and got Ozill. Now that he’s here everyone is loving it , including the players who’ s potential playing time has been limited by his acquisition, and even some within UA who stated in the past Arsenal’s mid was set and needed no improvements( you know who you are)

    Funny thing about top players. Other top players want to play next to them and up and coming players want to learn from them.

    Wenger will never be reckless with money but I appreciate the concern some have voiced on here ( perhaps it’s the accounting department ) .

  • bob

    Tom,
    This “we’re all right jack” is Mr. Attwood’s fiscal mantra come every January transfer window in the last few seasons, whatever the state of injuries or otherwise opportunities that may exist. Before now it’s been, and perhaps rightly on this score (as no one was privy to the books), that there’s the stadium debt and all that. Now that all that is a thing of the past (at least for many to most gooners’ belief system), seems to me that Mr. A continues to never get out in front of the team to advocate for a purchase, specifically or generally, especially when it comes to the January window. I could be wrong on this, but it has been my belief and I’ve stated so here. Today’s click-a-thon is consistent with previous (at least recent seasons’) practice.

  • AL

    Tom
    You mention some players are already unhappy as they find their playing time restricted by Ozil’s arrival, well that number of unhappy players will definitely grow with another arrival of a top player. I think with Ozil it has worked so far because he’s a top player who has added confidence to other team members without any feeling of resentment including those that he’s displaced. But the minute you have more players resenting new arrivals you’ll start having a split dressing room and other issues. I do think what we need now is a backup player more rather than a replacement player. This will keep the balance of the team right, and we might have that player in Sanogo right now. No top player is going to want to come and warm the bench. I think City, and to a certain extent spurs, are suffering from this right now. Even hernandez is starting to make noises at utd that he wants to leave. I want to see the current spirit in our prevailing. I think the only player with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over him is Vermalean, he’s the only one I could suspect of wanting to leave, and that’s not a nice feeling.

    Of course if the manager is going to go and sign a top international then as fans we will still be happy, it shouldn’t be held against us that we were saying we are ok in that department. We will just hope it doesn’t unsettle the team. I personally wish Sanogo recovers soon and starts getting a few minutes here and there to get him ready as our backup striker. We have goal scorers in Theo, Podolski, Ramsey, Santi, and if you throw Giroud into mix I think we will be fine.

  • Shard

    bob

    Technically, the stadium debt is the same as it always was (one of the good things Arsenal did was to get a fixed payment option) But our revenues have risen, and our set to rise even further over the next few years. Not just the reported Puma deal. But lots of auxiliary deals, such as with Carlsberg, Gatorade, etc.

    Moreover, although we won’t know till next year, there is a possibility that our wage bill has actually reduced, or will do so, since last season. Arshavin (near record signing), Chamakh (who came on a free-hence more wages, Denilson, Mannone etc leaving. Soon to be joined by Bendtner and Park. (Hopefully not by Rosicky and Sagna) So we can certainly afford to have some high earners on the bench if it came to it. So money is not a factor anymore. Doesn’t mean we should throw it away. But we shouldn’t lose on the opportunity cost front either.

    Do we need to buy? That depends. The fitness, form and ability of the likes of Podolski, Walcott, Gnabry, Ox and Sanogo. The futures of Rosicky, Sagna, Vermaelen, Fabianksi, Viviano. The availability of any options we might consider, their price. What type of player we want. (I think Sanogo is meant to be Giroud’s replacement, and I’d rather have a direct Walcott replacement) My personal opinion is we need a Diaby replacement who can be Arteta’s future replacement. ANd that we need a versatile forward, who can directly replace Walcott, allowing us both the option to change things up, and also not have to change our style of play without Theo. I like Gnabry and Ox very much but they are slightly different players.

    As for players being unhappy, not being good business etc. Wenger was once considered bad at giving youth a chance. Including by Liam Brady himself. He’ll know which young players are good enough. And he can now afford them the opportunity to ease into a side, rather than be thrown into the deep end to sink (Denilson) or swim (Ramsey)

  • Buy this, don’t buy that….and on and on and on. Pfff. Let those tasked with this task carry out there duty.

    I can’t recall anyone asking for Ozil to be signed when he was.

    I can’t recall anyone asking for Vermaelen to be signed when he was.

    I can’t recall anyone asking for Carzola to be signed when he was.

    I can’t recall anyone asking for Giroud to be signed when he was.

    I can’t recall anyone asking for Koscielny to be signed when he was.

    Should I go on?

    Compared to those tasked with the job of running Arsenal on and off the pitch, I am nothing but an ignoramus. And so is most of us fans.

  • Tom

    @bob
    Seems to me some people have been in the trenches for Wenger and his fiscal austerity for so long that they haven’t noticed Wenger has left the trenches.

  • Jerry

    I wish there was a way to like Bootoomee’s comment at 9:46 PM. Agree completely. Let the club run itself, and let us be FANS! That is stand up cheer them to the win, be down when they lose, but always support the team!

    This team is something special and a beauty to watch! Wasting time criticizing the club and trying to find their faults/weaknesses will make a fan not see the greatness that’s already in front of them! No team is perfect, but Arsenal is as close as it comes to me!

    Another interesting point I heard today, Arsenal have the most points in the PL in the last calendar year (11/5/2012 – 11/5/2013). 1 more point than United I believe is what that person said.

  • Tom

    @Al
    Yes there’s always that possibility , I agree with you. Some players may resent new arrivals especially if their playing time suffers but I bet most top players would welcome any new player if he were to increase Arsenal chances of winning.

    What many people don’t realize is that in a squad of 25 players there are already some who resent each other and not necessarily because of lack of playing time.

    Some players resent other players simply because they are on bigger contracts or maybe they have a fuller head of hair , or their cock is bigger and they have better luck with the ladies.

    Don’t get me wrong , having the right chemistry within the core of the team is paramount in achieving success but trying to please every player is an exercise in futility .

    Wenger’s legacy at Arsenal is set in stone or should I say in concrete ( the Emirates and the invincibles) but he still has fire in his belly to go after one thing that has eluded him. The one thing without which no manager can truly be called one of the best ever, and that’s CL trophy.

    That’s why he got Ozill and that’s why he wanted to get Suarez who simply terrifies defenders and can change games all by himself.

    Some Untolders have a hard time coming to terms with this fact and use the 40m and one pound offer as an explanation that Wenger was just trying to fuck with Liverpool as some kind of pay back for good knows what , when in fact Wenger would’ve paid well above that sum had it not been for Henry telling Kroenke Suarez was not for sale period.

    Wenger at 63 may not have enough time for youth projects anymore and this Arsenal squad doesn’t need much to put them over the top so look for more ready made signings.

  • bob

    AL, Tom,
    AL, in the current context, does the word injury not mean something, as in likelihood of injury? How does one assume that all things will stay (even mostly) the same, just waiting for the injured to return, so they then hit the ground running and lickety-split are in high gear? Surely you’d see something naive in such an assumption (or wish really)? The point is to secure quality in reserve, with some degree of rotation as the boss sees fit. When he does make a move for quality in whatever form(s) and at whatever affordable cost, very few of today’s fears about guaranteed splits in the clubhouse because of rampant jealousy over playing time will be heard hereabouts.

    If we can establish the actual foundation – this season – for a potential 2-3 year stay at the top in multi-cup competitions, then I don’t foresee much grumbling, or at least any grounds to take the grumbles seriously.

    I concur fully with Tom that people are still fighting the last trench war of austerity when Arsene has already long since headed out of these trenches on a fast-track motorized tank.

  • bob

    Thanks Jerry, then that’s about all to write, she wrote.

  • bob

    Cheers, Shard.
    It’s surely watchful waiting time and lots of variables as you detail them. I still don’t find anything in the mix that makes up for Giroud’s being injured this season. He’s become crucial and that needs to be ensured with quality. Our being competitive in multiple competitions as well as more dimensionality to the attack in different situations, or in the same game if one striker has an off-day, would seem a plus to this or any team. Not saying you’re saying this, but Sanogo might be the future; but the future is now. I think swooping for a quality striker will put us over. And that will pay for itself by creating expanding desire in the business community to want to partner up with Arsenal in all the usual commodified ways. I found your mention of these add-on’s most interesting and see winning something to be a no-brainer, value-added imperative. A new Diaby, yes. A new Walcott, no problem. Another quality striker, required.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Have to agree with Bootoomee that whomsoever we may wish for , in the end its who AW will decide who’s best for the team .
    But do the choices we make represent (or resonate) with some inner inherent wanting (yearning / obsession )?I am asking this question after this disturbing study was sent to the Medical Division of UA , titled….
    Their Obsession

    A renowned psychologist was conducting a group therapy session with four young mothers and their little children.

    After a few hours of talking and analyzing their words and beahvior, he said: “I believe that you all suffer from some obsession.” He remarked.

    He turned to the first mother and said, “You obviously have an obsession with food. You’ve even named your daughter Candy.”

    He turned to the second Mom. “Your obsession is money. And it manifests itself in your child’s name, Penny,”

    He turned to the third Mom. “Your obsession is alcohol. Again, it manifests itself in your child’s name, Brandy.”

    At this point, the fourth mother got up, took her little boy by the hand and whispered, “Come on, Dick, let’s go”.

  • Rupert Cook

    Agree with Tom and Bob. I’ve never heard of a team having too many good players. How many times in recent years have injuries contributed to our downfall? Difficult to measure the impact but I’m sure we’d have been more effective if RVP wasn’t injured so many times before that one stellar season he had.

    There’s apparently money in the bank. I’d rather have players on the field, or on the bench, than a bulging bank balance.

  • para

    @ SixTay
    “I was stating the fact that having 3 players on over a £100k on the bench is bad business.”

    This is not true anymore in today’s game where a top team has oh so many competitions, hence games to play, therefore teams need to have at least two capable teams to be able to compete. Footballers are starting to realise they are going to be part of big squads, and after all, in reality, who would not want to be paid for doing just training at a big club with less games, rather than be at a club who is going nowhere, i’m sure many do.

  • Shard

    bob

    I meant that I’d prefer a different sort of attacker to Giroud rather than his direct replacement. Yes, if Giroud gets injured then we don’t have someone (except maybe Sanogo) who can make us play the same way. But that’s not a bad thing.

    You can’t have high quality replacements for every position AND style of play. Sanogo/Bendtner are ok in that regard, as 3rd or 4th choice strikers. But why not add a different sort of forward who can not only replace Giroud if needed (playing a different way) but also play alongside him, while also providing competition for Walcott etc? I think that would help our squad more. You could say buy both, and I wouldn’t disagree if it were so. But perhaps that would be overkill. Too many changes in a short space of time do disrupt a squad.

    So I guess the tradeoff is either buying many players causing a disruption. Buying the same sort of player as Giroud, avoiding disruption even in playing style. Adding a different sort of player to add versatility (but some disruption if Giroud gets injured) I tend to think we can’t legislate for injuries and keep stockpiling the same sort of striker and that we’d be better served going for some variety.

  • Gooner S

    @Sixtay

    No we are not Manchester City and what I was stating doesnt mean that we should be or that we need their resources to get a little more strength in depth. I think you are wrong with your premise. Nothing personal just my view. We can afford the right player at the right price. I think we will buy another CF – if not in January (when its harder to get quality)then in June.

    If we had bought Demba Ba he would have played instead of Bendter and would have had more minutes to give Giroud more of a rest. Personally I’m not fussed that we didn’t sign BA but I get your point – I just dont agree with it .

    @Bootoome it’s as if you have completely bypassed the culture of football. Football is full of opinions most of all from the fans!Well you just gave one yourself! This blog is a case in point – it just happens to be a different point of view. If you don’t want to specualte on football/AFC related issues either before/after a game (perhaps over a pint) or discuss the latest ‘comings and goings’ of ‘your’ team then good for you but to the rest of us it’s fun! It certainly isn’t serious.

  • Gooner S,

    I have completely bypassed many of today’s popular culture, to be fair. I can’t even name the members of the Kardashian family apart from Kim! I don’t believe in participating in any activity just because it is the current “culture”. I enjoy the game of football very much and I am happy to be a part of discussion of its various issues. As an Arsenal fan, where I differ from you is in the speculation and discussions of Arsenal’s prospective position requiring strengthening and who should be signed to fill them.

    Based on the club’s record on signing the least expected, speculated or advertised player, I would rather watch the Kardashians than engage in the “who is coming, who is going” game, as it is a complete waste of time. The signing of Ozil when every speculator and their dog were calling a striker and defensive midfielder is a good but only the most recent example.

    You say that “it certainly isn’t serious” and I wonder if you were kidding. Did you miss how worked up and abusive some of the speculators got towards the end of pre-season when it turned out the club was going to act true to type and carry out their transfer business as they saw fit?

    You have the right, however, to carry on with the charade if that’s what makes happy.

  • AL

    Bootoomee
    You have a point about Wenger going for the least expected signings and turning them into brilliant signings each time. I mean who would have thrown Flamini’s name into the hat when all were clamouring for a defensive midfielder? I agree lets leave it to the great man, he knows best. If he feels we need cover in whatever area, we should trust him to find the right personnel.

  • colario

    Bootoomee

    Kardashian family. I am going to have to Google this to find out what your writing about. It will have to wait till after the game.

    I agree with you the person who is capable of picking the best team is Arsene. His decisions will be made on information he has but we will probably never know.

    We must get behind the team he choses. He believes in them, so must we.
    Have a great game 🙂

  • Gord

    WRT Sanogo

    He is coming off a series of injuries. Even if he never plays this season (sorry, he has played a little) competitively, his healing from prior injuries will advance. And besides work in the gym or the weightroom, he will be participating in practice with the first team. He and the first team will get to know each other. And it is entirely likely he will get better just for being in this environment. He is an investment.

    Get healed, get stronger, try to learn and get to know your team-mates. Then see if he makes an impact.

    Many people talk about squad depth for Arsenal being insufficient. Looking at the UEFA site today, I would say that Arsenal had deeper squad depth than Dortmund for both the first team and the youth team.

    Depending on which league you play in, having a single style can work. In the EPL, the top teams don’t park the bus, many of the lower teams do park the bus. Hence, you need players that can play against “park the bus”. You need players that can play against the creative teams like Barcelona. And there are others styles. Highway 1 is one style I dislike.

    Arsenal often comes out of a Champion’s League game, only to play a team which is not playing in any other competition at the same time (not true this week). Nominally 6 days between games just in the EPL, and to play Champions league you nominally lose 3 days for training of any kind. You may only have a single day of training for the next league opponent.

    If “this” team can only play one style, the upcoming opponent manager can spend 6 days preparing his team to play against “this” style. And for international breaks (being longer), this situation is even worse. The upcoming opponent manager could have 2 or 2.5 weeks of time to prepare. And the high profile of these interruptions mean that things like player injuries are known, and the opponent manager has a significant advantage against “us”.

    Defensively, Arsenal has done this a number of times recently. Bring on Monreal and Vermaelen, and we go from having a back 4 to a back 6. And Wenger has been known to finish games with 5 or 6 strikers or attacking midfield on the field.

    Ignore injuries. Let’s say “our” team can play many different styles. “Their” team knows two styles: park the bus and maybe highway 1 (or something else). We go to play in Champion’s League or (most of our) players go out on international duty, and so the opposition manager has this longer period of preparation than we do. He is going to guess at what style we would like to play against them, and train his team accordingly. But, if our team is more fluid (rotational in Tony’s definitions), we could come out with a significantly different lineup than the opposition is expecting. We may find things working (hence leading on goals), or we may not in the middle of the game. A couple of changes, and we could completely change the style of the team.

    Last year? Year before? In any event, Arsenal was playing in Champions League I believe, and we had lots of defensive injuries. And I think Wenger “joked” in the press, that he might come out to the game with 8 or 9 strikers (sorry, I don’t remember the number, maybe it was 5, which was typical 100 years ago).

    Having options is useful. It makes things more difficult for the opposition.

    Nice writeup about the Arsenal/Dortmund matches in Champion’s Youth League.
    http://www.uefa.com/uefayouthleague/news/newsid=2020689.html

    The Arsenal.com report is:
    http://www.arsenal.com/match/report/1314/post/youth/borussia-dortmund-2-2-arsenal-report

  • Gooner S

    @Bootoome

    Well I take my hat off to you you are a very disciplined chap. We have more in common than you think; I don’t know the Kardashians, Towie etc. Never watched X Factor etc etc. I have no desire to.

    My point back to you was even by choosing to opt out of the commenting on the speculation in football you are still participating (in your own way) with your own views. That isn’t that different.You are still commenting but on a different aspect.

    Was I being serious about “it not be serious”? Absolutely. Perhaps I should have added ‘for me’. Of course I didn’t miss all of the anger. People need to get a sense of perspective. I now use football as a means of pleasant distraction away from the stresses and strains of life. In honesty I cant say I was always like that when younger; it’s something I’ve learnt as I’ve got older.