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October 2016
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What Arsenal really needs

By Zuruvi

The season is coming to an end and it is time for some introspection and reflection. Why didn’t Arsenal win this league title or any trophy this year? Wasn’t this league title there for the taking? Will the present squad provide us the fans with confidence that we will do better next season (when it is most likely that other teams such as Chelsea, City and possibly Liverpool will be better than they are this year)?

Guys, what does the Arsenal really need?

Do Arsenal need another holding midfielder? Another goalkeeper? More Central Defenders? Or maybe another Manager?

This season has been a disappointment to many Gooners (real Gunners and fair-weather Gooners alike). The haters have had a field-day.

Untold is a Forum for the true Arsenal fans who support the Gunners through thick and thin. But as true fans we also have to be honest with ourselves when things are not going right.

 I am unashamedly proud of Le Prof as our manager. I think he has been a great manager to our club. Le Prof’s achievements are amazing (despite what the media and the AAA say). I however think Le Prof is now trying the impossible.

You cannot win the Premiership title without a top notch striker(s) unless you have another “lucky” season where all of Chelsea, City, Man Utd and others have a poor season. It has happened this year that all these top clubs had a dismal season but can we expect this to happen again any time soon?

Arsenal has a good strikers but not great strikers. Giroud is a good striker but he isn’t a great striker. Welbeck is a good winger but just OK as a striker as he is not (yet) clinical. Walcott, as well, is a very good winger but he isn’t a top level striker.

Let’s look at teams that have recently won the league title (or come very close to winning it) and remember who they had as their focal point of attack:

  • Blackburn: Had Shearer and Sutton. A deadly combination.
  • Chelsea: They had Drogba, Diego Costa, etc in the years that they won the league.
  • Man Utd: They had Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke. And then they had Ruud van Nilstelrooy. And they had other top finishers too like Chicharito. (Also take note that Man Utd noticed that Welbeck was a good winger but not clinical enough to be the main striker so they decided to sell him to …).
  • Man City have had Aguerro as the main striker. Aguerro is brilliant as a striker. He is world-class.
  • Liverpool: They nearly won it because of having a super-striker Suarez who scored nearly every half-chance.
  • Leicester are probably going to win the league title this year because of Vardy (ably assisted by Mahrez).
  • The Spuds could regrettably win the league title this year and this is due in no small measure to the clinical finishing by Kane and Deli Ali.
  • And of course Arsenal, we used to win league titles when we had top strikers. Remember when we had  the following top players as our strikers: Nicholas Anelka, Thierry Henry, Dennis Berghamp, and Ian Wright? Those were the days when we were winning league title after league title. Yes, those were the days when our beautiful football resulted in many victories and trophies. And those were the days when Le Prof could tell the world that his team was so good that it could go the whole season unbeaten. The skeptical media would ridicule him for saying so “because no team had done so in more than 100 years”. But Wenger and his boys would do it and not even bother to say “I told you so!”

This season and many recent seasons, we have failed to kill off the small teams after dominating the game. The pattern has often repeated itself: we dominate play, have 70% possession, have 20 scoring chances but often score just one or two goals. This failure to kill off the opposition would often results in us drawing or losing the match after conceding in the last 30 minutes or 15 minutes. This happens too often. And it makes us the fans very sick and angry. Angry because we are sick and tired of being “robbed” of deserved victories. As Arsenal fans we know we are already playing on a tilted field where often the referee makes decisions that nearly always favour our opponents. We therefore cannot afford to waste the clear and good scoring chances we create.

Against Palace, they had 30% ball possession and only had two shots on target but they scored one goal too. These stats indicate that Arsenal is wasteful in front of goal and our opponents are clearly more clinical. Why is that so? I don’t think our defense is poor because the stats show that there are only two or three teams that have conceded less goals than Arsenal in the league.

I have not checked the stats but I would think Arsenal needs many more shots on target than other teams to score.

And I also think Arsenal must have one of the lowest ratio of goals/possession ratios. If true, that would mean we have too much sterile possession i.e. we are not doing much with the ball besides passing it fruitlessly from one player to another. And whilst we are passing the ball around we are giving the opponent time to regroup and “park their bus”. Why are we no longer having the quick counterattacking football of the late 90s and early 2000s?

We seem to have lost our quick attacking football.

Maybe we should revert to a 4:4:2 formation when we play weaker teams like Crystal Palace. Why have two holding midfielders when playing against the weaker teams like Crystal Palace and Norwich? I think we should instead have two strikers in such games.

For as long as our Arsenal strikers don’t put away the many chances that our midfield creates we will never win the league. Arsenal is not a defensive team. We have an open and attacking style of play. This means we are always on the front foot. Attacking teams create many chances BUT they also are by their nature susceptible to be counterattacked. We will always give our opponents a chance to score. Unfortunately, as in the Crystal Palace game, we dominate, create many chances, score very few (or just one goal only), and give the opponent a few chances which they take.

If we are to remain an attacking team, we need a TRUE striker that knows how to finish off chances. If we do not acquire first rate strikers we will never again win the league under Le Prof.

Arsenal would have won many of the games we drew this year if we had a top striker like Thierry Henry or Anelka.

Another big problem that I have noticed is that we  don’t have a dead-ball specialist in the current Arsenal squad. In years gone by if ever The Arsenal were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area we were almost certain that Thierry would score. The way West Ham get excited when they are awarded a free-kick, is the same way we used to behave.

So my wish for the summer is that Le Prof gets us a top class striker (or two). Welbeck is a genuine hard worker but he is no Thierry. Walcott is a good sprinter but he doesn’t have the Suarez-like finishing, Giroud is a good striker but he is no Anelka.

Arsenal needs a brilliant striker. We really do.

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49 comments to What Arsenal really needs

  • col

    RVP could have been that man, but he wanted out. He has not been replaced adequately. Arsenal have not looked like winning the league since (or even coming close).

  • I agree.

    I think Walcott is pretty clinical when given run of games at CF. Otherwise the rest of our strikers aren’t realy finishers.

    Joel Campbell should also get more gametime.

  • BNG

    Let’a all give each other ‘labels’ like AAA, Haters or AKBs ….. that will help

  • para

    I think we need more than a good striker. This would have been valid the last 2 seasons, but things have deteriorated much futher since then trotz FA cup wins.

    Arsenal has become stale. We need an input of fresh ideas, strategies and general house keeping across the board(pun intended) especially the way we now play football, which is really not Arsenal at all anymore, but just a feeble copy of Barca.

    The club must now implement the next stage of their rebuilding process to be top dogs again, i readily assume there is a next stage.

    In this world where food prices in the supermarkets increase weekly(yes indeed, i still cannot figure out why though), the prices and wages of footballers are doing the same, perhaps not weekly but pretty often.

    So i wait with baited breath from now til the start of next season to see what Arsenal will do.

  • Pat

    I remember Arsene Wenger saying a few months ago that every team was looking for a top striker but there weren’t many about, and the teams that had them were not in the business of selling them. I notice the article doesn’t actually mention any top available strikers.

    We wanted to buy Suarez when he was at Liverpool but as the Liverpool owner now admits with pride, the Liverpool manager and owner lied about Suarez’s contract in order not to have to sell him to us.

    You can be sure that if a top striker is available Arsene Wenger will be out to buy him. Meanwhile I don’t think it helps to belittle the strikers we currently have. Giroud has scored plenty of goals in the past. Danny Welbeck is not long back from injury and still regaining form. Similarly with Sanchez. Alex Iwobi has shown he can score goals and is one for the future. And so on.

    Most of the teams we face till the end of the season will set up a defensive formation against us so it is not going to be easy anyway. Let’s show some confidence in our players. That is our only useful contribution as supporters till the end of the season.

  • nicky

    Arsene’s war chest is overflowing.
    There is now no excuse for spending, even at the current inflated prices.
    The Board should step in, if necessary, and apply pressure on Arsene to spend, spend, spend!

  • colario

    You forgot to mention an open PGMOL.

  • ARSENAL 13

    “a season in which all the big teams have under performed”

    Well, we too have under-preformed. And we are a big team arent we?? If we were leading the race now, people would still say, ARSENAL only are there cos other big teams have failed this season. People would still cry foul…..

    Yes we have performed under the expectation. BUT therz nothing going on that suggests that ARSENAL will stagnate and other will improve.

  • norman14

    Padraig Amond could be the next Vardy. 36 goals already this season for Grimsby in the Conference. Not just tap ins either – he really works the spaces hard. Could be worth a go at around £500k.

    We really need an Adams or Vierra – somebody with real leadership skills. For me, Sergio Ramos fits the bill perfectly. He’s in a position that needs rejuvenating as well.

    Griezmann – we should have grabbed him when he went to Atletico, but later is better than never.

    Get rid of the attitude that favours “mediocre” players. Live up to the claim that squad improvement matters.

    Finally, ban season ticket holders who give up their tickets in “protest”. They are selfish – a 15 year waiting list implies that there are PLENTY of real supporters willing to take their place.

  • serge

    There’s some hope in that situation. Starting next season the Premier League will be releasing referees after match reports ( explaining critical decisions etc) to the media within 30 (I think) minutes of the final whistle.
    It’s not the final solution, but it’s a start.

  • Col

    Agree with this article. You can make do in some of the other positions by moving people around, changing formation etc. (and Wenger is a master at ‘making do’), but the one position that you absolutely have to get top quality in is striker. They always come at a ridiculous premium. Wenger (and maybe the board) doesn’t like paying ridiculous premiums.

    In the past he inherited (and rejuvenated) Ian Wright, made the glorious most of Denis Bergkamp, bought an unknown Anelka who worked out, converted Thierry Henry, but has never needed to pay top dollar. He nearly hit gold with RVP, but he was always injured then b******* off when it mattered. He has tried a a few through the ranks, and a few unknowns, none of whom have really worked (yet). Giroud is the nearest a complete striker for a while but falls short in certain areas (not clinical enough and not fast enough).

    One of the things that has really hurt the team this year is lack of clinical finishing, so whether Arsene stays or goes, Arsenal simply have to have a 20-30 goal striker if they want to have a chance of winning next year. It is not inconceivable Iwobe could make the grade (i.e. Arsenal get the ‘Kane factor’) but as with any newcomer, that is more a hope than an expectation, and in any event may not be fully ready next year.

  • Yellow Canary

    A top striker is a must considering how many chances we make and how few are converted. Giroud is too limited; I recall how Tony was trying to convince us that he was as good as Henry. The gulf between the two players was evident after a few months. We have needed a first class finisher since RVP and bar the bizarre bid for Suarez which was far too low we’ve been far too negligent.

    There is absolutely no excuse now when it comes to finances, the club is brimming over with money and a sensible business model invests, it doesn’t sit on unused cash. If we need to spend 60 million on one great striker we can do it and that isn’t even half of what we have stashed. That will also show Ozil and Sanchez that we mean business otherwise I can see the two of them becoming as disillusioned as Nasri, RVP etc.

    I’d love to see the back of Walcott too. Get 20 million for him and put it towards an excellent winger or strengthen the defence. Some real changes are needed, perhaps too brave for our manager, we shall see, but with the influx of younger hungry managers flooding the league we may find next season even tougher. The club needs to move forward, we’re stuck in this finishing 3/4th cycle and the same old CL performance every year. It seems that Kronke has no interest in Arsenal winning trophies, just making money; Wenger has to prove he still has that desire as nobody else at the club appears to have the slightest interest in on field success.

  • SidTCD

    Yellow Canary – totally agree, wise words. there are several more besides Walcott that should be moved on too ……

  • Rich

    Agree in the main, but I think it’s a mistake to directly compare strikers who are effectively playing a different game, or at least are faced with a different challenge.

    We can’t ignore the wildly different conversion rates for our home and away games- lowest and highest in the league, I believe.

    Does the pressure at home get to our players that much, or are they simply different types of chances in those games? Just think back to the goals from our two most recent away games. Four of the five involved a player moving into space behind a defence for a 1 on 1 opportunity. All accomplished finishes. Those chances are damn near impossible to create against a defence set as Palace’s was.

    Which brings us to the other strikers we are evaluating against our own. How many of their goals come against the full on bus? In Vardy’s case, I can’t remember any at all. All the good stuff he does seems to be on the break. In Kane’s case there are often more defenders around, but I still can’t remember too many being against the full bus.

    I come to the same conclusion- our existing strikers are unlikely (I’m sure of it ,actually) to become much better at scoring in jam packed penalty boxes with the type of chances you get in those situations (bodies everywhere, little or no time to set yourself)- but there are very few strikers who are thoroughly proven to be great at that, because very few teams face that challenge in the way we do.

    A non-exhaustive list of the players you can be pretty sure would offer an improvement in finishing from our current options: Aguerro, Benzema, Lewandowski, Suarez, Neymar, Higuain, Bale, Ronaldo, Zlatan, Messi, Aubameyang, Griezman, and, yes, i think Kane makes the list.

    Don’t want to depress anybody but those players are either impossible for us to buy or close to impossible.

    Zlatan, Benzema, Higuain and Aubameyang are the only ones there seems any sort of chance with. But, realistically, the price of either fees or wages may in fact rule us out completely.

  • Sammy The Snake

    What we need most is the sense of urgency and confidence that Klopp has instilled in Liverpool. Most our player are quite good, and can be turned into world class. I’m afraid they need a more passionate leader, AW’s fatherly or gentlemanly style isn’t working any more.

    Do you remember how everyone was convinced that Liverpool players were average just 6 months ago? Look at them now. They have a winning mentality, something which is missing gravely at Arsenal.

    We need a winning mentality. That’s all. Everything will fall into place from there.

    I love and respect AW, but perhaps he has outgrown the job and is no longer as passionate or energetic as he used to be. It’s fully understandable as he’s not getting any younger.

  • Rich

    As a side note, it’s interesting to think about how these great strikers develop.

    They need a lot of talent to begin with, but they also need to be at a club where the can learn on the job. They need to be selfish enough to take on a hell of a lot of shots to hone their talents at a high level under real pressure, without alienating their fellow players, manager and fans.

    Kane’s development is pretty text book. His willingness to shoot a lot has been evident from the start, and as late as this summer at the u21 Euros he seemed to be shooting too damn much. It was a poor tournament for him, and he seemed to ignore his teammates a bit too much. His form last year, however, had earned him the right somewhat.

    Someone like Akpom doing the same would piss his teammates off quickly, get a bollocking from the manager, and probably be dropped for the next game.

    Anyway, Kane, the git, honed his skills well and through his success earned the right to take on any shooting opportunity he wants, which then allows him to become better again at the craft. The git.

    If one of our current options wanted to dramatically improve their finishing, the only path would be to take on shots all the time. This in an atmosphere that isn’t at all conducive to experimentation, and every game is pretty much must win. There’s a conflict there for strikers between developing their own game and doing what the team needs at any moment within a game. At each club the pressures and expectations are different.

    Growing our own from within will be harder for us than at many clubs. Meanwhile, buying one of these players once they have sufficiently developed elsewhere is supremely difficult thanks to their scarcity and the intense demand for their services.

    Messi is the only one who developed at a club with the very highest levels of pressure and expectation; Ronaldo is the next closest to fitting that bill, but he was afforded plenty of time within a very strong team.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    No Afc supporter’s right to his lawful freedom to exercise his/her choice to sell or give out his/her season ticket even as a protest should be denied them or be punished by Arsenal. Doing so will infringe on their fundermental human rights.

    I agree, no top club will want to unecessarily part with their top strikers, save if the club is in dear need of money to sell him or them or the top striker/players want to leave due to some personal reason(s).

    But nevertheless, Arsenal should be on the lookout in the summer like a roving lioness looking for a prey to devour. As soon as they sight one, they should pounce on it immediately and devour it or them. Because Arsenaj MUST get out of the title woods next season.

    In the interim, Arsenal may take a gamble which could payoff immediately or in the immediate future if they sign your fished out, Padraig Amond from Grimsby. Let d UA pass the info to d Boss.

    Zuruvi, d problems with d current starts d Boss had been starting are carelessness & incompetence.

  • Stevie p

    Finally an article on untold that points out the need for improvements! (Apart from the usual ref blaming)

    Investing 60 million in a striker that could be the difference in finishing 1st instead of 4th is good business, iCardi, Daybala, Gabigol, Lacazate or even Alcacar would be good investments at 30m, higuain, Griezmann although would cost 50m plus would really add the finishing quality needed

  • porter

    Rich from where I am in block 10 I see acres of space that we don’t utilise . We moved from Highbury with a narrow pitch to the bowl with a much larger one but we still play to the old sized pitch. This constant idea of trying to thread balls through the eye of a needle is easy for teams to defend against. We have to go in different places and at speed. If you go wide you turn defenders and drag them out of position , if you put the ball over the top and be brave you can unsettle them but if you just pass ,go square , pass again they can get their deckchairs out and light up the Havanas . We make things easy for them in our total predictability.

  • Mick

    Yellow Canary
    You said…

    ‘It seems that Kronke has no interest in Arsenal winning trophies, just making money; Wenger has to prove he still has that desire as nobody else at the club appears to have the slightest interest in on field success.’

    Don’t the two recent FA cup victories constitute the winning of trophies and on field success?

    And Wenger has nothing to prove to anyone, let alone fickle fans who have never managed a pub team.

  • Menace

    There are always brains that claim to know the game better than others. The reality is always simpler than buying success. Kicking technique is something anyone can learn & become excellent with practice (Beckham is an example). Payet is an example of kicking technique with accuracy as is Ronaldo. Messi not only has technique but also gets to positions with dribbling skill where technique has benefit. Any of Arsenal players can be taught this technique but sadly Wenger believes he has sufficient coaches (who incidentally do not know technique). I know that because he wrote (3 years ago) to me & told me so!

    Using Theo as a CF with goal hanging as an instruction might get results, providing he doesn’t mind getting kicked to hell.

  • Al

    As Rich points out in his 11:16am post, it’s a mammoth task to get a clean shot against a full bus. The space just isn’t there. You inadvertently acknowledge that point, Zuruvi, where you say palace only had two shots but scored from one of them. That wasn’t the greatest strike we have seen anywhere all season, but it was massively aided by the fact Bolasie had plenty of space to aim at. Meanwhile, at the other end, Welbeck and co’s strikes were cannoning off the goalkeeper’s shoulder, defenders’ legs, etc, because we lacked the space. The trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar recently went a good four or five games failing to negotiate their way past parked buses. So should we also say Barca need a world class striker?

    As colario pointed out, pgmob are the biggest factor. I made a post earlier this morning to this effect on a different thread, and this was basically talking about articles in the telegraph, the sun and the Metro, which all found if the refs had NOT made any diabolical decisions (well they didn’t call them that, they used the term incorrect) we would be top of the league. That, guys, IS the reason why we did not win the league this year. Simple as that. And I’m not making this up, you can take a look yourselves.

    If we factor in all those points that were lost due to incorrect decisions and still fell short, then we can start talking of maybe buying another striker, midfielder, or whatever else. But those stats show this current squad would be sitting top of the league IF we take out referee ‘mistakes’. A link to my post referring to these articles can be found here

    So in my opinion what Arsenal really needs is unbiased refereeing.

  • Rich


    Interesting. That of course means you get views of the action very different and overall superior to mine at home.

    I’d be staggered, however, if you see opportunities from there to hit more balls in behind defences like Palace’s. Only chance to do that is surely from perfectly timed lofted passes of the type Wellbeck played the other day (can’t remember exactly but Campbell’s goal against Swansea must have been from a similar type of pass.)

    take those passes : it may be that you get one right early in a game, but more likely, because they are so difficult (and actually involve rare moments when the bus has moved forward at least a little), is that you might just get one or two in a game after 10-20 attempts to find that moment. Finding that moment will inevitably involve a lot of movement, passing and patience.

    It seems a bit meaningless to say we need to play quicker, better and more difficult passes to improve our chances of success. The players are obviously striving in every game to achieve this. Sometimes well, sometimes not, most often alternating between the two within a game.

    I saw endless condemnation of our approach against Palace. Whereas for me it was about a 7/10 job in terms of creating good situations. First half was below that, second half saw a good improvement. And there was variation in our attempts. What type of pass didn’t Ozil attempt? That unbelievable quick pass drilled through the middle to Wellbeck, the quick free-kick flighted to Sanchez, intricate passes around the box, trying to use the wings.

    One thing I seem to recollect from the game was us using the right hand side of the pitch a lot more than the left. (although, aargh, their goal came from a failed attack on our left) So that’s a possible failing.

    Admittedly, I can’t recollect how much we tried to switch the play quickly in the game. So I’ll give us a thumbs down there and say we din’t do it enough or well enough. But there’s so little else I can think of in terms of how we could better have approached the specific challenge we faced.

    Why think about football where you can play passes in behind a defence when that opportunity simply does not exist thanks to the organisation and gameplay of the opposition?

    We had to defeat an ultra defensive team who had parked the bus. We tried shots from outside the box (or at least I remember Elneny trying a couple), low crosses, high crosses, one-twos, we tried passes with a very high level of difficulty, and at other times played safer ones to try retain possession in the hope something would open up, we went through the middle, wide, and we did try achieving the tremendously difficult task of playing a ball behind a defence even though for the most part behind heir defence means to their goalkeeper or out of play.

    After a difficult, slightly below par first half we improved in the second and created a lot of good situations. Unfortunately, our execution was poor, and we paid that heavy (sickening) price.

    I hope at least that as you believe our approach was wrong to the game you would not castigate the players in the event of their doing the few things they could differently : playing the ball significantly quicker, getting it into the boss earlier, playing more difficult passes, switching the play more.

    However you may rate these players, they are not idiots or novices in the sport. If they don’t do those things you ask of them it is generally because their experiences in the game and their on pitch calculations at any moment tell them it is a worse choice than the one they make. They’ll make many mistakes in those calculations within a game, naturally, but more often than not they’ll make good choices.

    it does come down to personnel as well. The right choice for Cazorla for instance, of what pass to attempt, is not the right choice for Coquelin. Likewise to an extent with all the players.

  • Zvidzai

    Well said Zuruvi

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    It would have helped if we had been awarded the penalty that was denied but that is in line with every other game at the Emirates this season. Not one so far this season.

  • Josif

    Regarding the chances created statistics, stats prove Tottenham, City and Liverpool have been now way ahead of us in terms of chances created. The reason is quite simple: Cazorla’s injury. Santi was relieving the creativity burden from Mesut’s back and neither of his replacements has managed to emulate Santi since November. Back in October, we won five in a row scoring 16 goals in the process (three apiece against United, Watford and Swansea, five against the leaders, two against Everton) or over three per game. Three of those games were away from home. Before Coquelin-Cazorla axis literally got broken in November we had won all our away games bar that scandalous one against Mike Dean at Stamford Bridge (five out of six) and had conceded five goals (just one with both Coquelin and Cazorla on the pitch).

    After Coq-Santi axis got broken we have played eleven games away from home, won three (Villa, Bournemouth, Everton – all teams with defensive issues), lost three (West Brom, Southampton, Man United) and drawn five (Norwich, Liverpool, Stoke, Tottenham, West Ham) conceding 18 goals. So, away from home we have been poor in keeping our goal.

    At home, however, we have failed to win in seven out of 16 games which combined with our away record was never good enough for the title. That’s where a top striker was needed to make Emirates a real fortress – to break Hammers, Liverpool, Spuds, Chelsea, Saints, Swans and Palace (four London clubs on the list?).

    Leicester have Vardy and Mahrez who have each scored more league goals than Giroud, Spuds have Kane who has scored more than Giroud, Theo and Danny combined and City have Aguero who has also passed 20-goal mark despite spending quite a while on the sidelines.

    In order to avoid wrong use of a term “hindsight” next season, I say in April 2016 that Arsenal have to shore things up at the both ends of the pitch before 2016-17 starts in order to win the league. How that will be done – either from our current team (by making Chambers a new Adams and/or by making Danny/Iwobi a new Henry) or by purchasing a central defender and a striker – is on The Boss.

  • chibyke

    This article is strange….. (not that am complaining). But we need a comment from Walter & Co confirming they approved of this being posted on here. Anyways…. looking forward, here’s how I hope it plays out. We get 3rd place, Wenger (I urgently hope) damns pragmatism and buys all he needs/sells all “potentials/ hopefuls/ever injured/old. Gives a serious go @ 4 trophies….hopefully wins 2 or 3 and then rides away into the sunset.The new regime of 2017/ 2018 season takes over. But…..who am kidding? he would rather leave under a cloud of hate than take huge risks with the club’s funds. It’s ironic how his love for the club fuels the hate from the club’s fan.but 1 thing is certain…next season will be Wenger’s last in arsenal’s dugout.

  • nicky

    It has been claimed that Arsenal’s legion of scouts is second to none.
    In the lead-up to the Summer Transfer Window opening, it will be necessary for them to earn their corn and relay vital recommendations back to the Ems.
    The past policy of Arsenal (and by that I mean Arsene)attempting to sign new blood based on the Club’s own valuation of players, doesn’t work any more. Our rivals have faced reality and are prepared to pay around the asking price, during this mad escalation of wages and fees.
    We must do the same, otherwise we will be left behind with a widening gap between us and our rivals which could take decades to recover.
    We cannot say the funds aren’t there. All that remains is the will which may need
    a firm hand via the Board to achieve. 😉

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Olivier Giroud has scored 20 goals from 47 games , many as sub . We have lost some pace going forward .
    Any improvement to goal scoring would be most welcome .

  • Polo

    Can one of these football experts show AW which store he could go in and buy a striker? Is it from a computer store? I assume he and ManU would like to know. It’s easy to say we need this player, that player etc but are they available for sale and what price do their agent want, and are they willing to come to Arsenal or England for that matter? I don’t understand why people and the media make out that Arsenal is the only club that is in the market and the target player will definitely join Arsenal if Arsenal bid. I mean ManU recognized they needed a top class striker before the season started but couldn’t find any so they bought Martial for over £30 million and that could rise to over £50 million, surely with ManU wealth and stature they should easily get a top class striker? I read media reports saying that Arsenal and a few other top clubs wanted to buy Higuain last transfer window but he decided to stay at Napoli, is that AW fault that Higuain wanted to stay at Napoli?

  • porter

    Rich :- not sure about superior , without doubt the television close ups show more than the naked eye. What being in the ground however does give you is a panoramic perspective of player’s positions and their movement and this is where a lot of the arguments are formed. I can see space which you cannot and from my position two rows from the back of the lower tier I can see the whole pitch all of the time. It’s a bit like playing chess the whole picture is laid out. I often wonder why managers sit in their dug outs because the higher you go the better the picture. We are criticised , quite rightly in my opinion for over indulging in our possession play and often we make 5 passes to get to the place we started . It is frustrating when you view space for players to move to yet it appears that the man with the ball is only prepared to take the easy option. With Giroud playing our approach play is often too static and frequently when Welbeck or Walcott play , the ball is not moved to them quick enough because despite what is often said they both do make runs off the ball but those runs are rarely picked up.We play a narrow game and assist the bus parkers to stifle our approaches as they have less ground to cover and they funnel us in to the middle and put a human shield in front of us . We need to have one maybe two players with chalk on their boots and these players must have a trick with the ability to go past players and turn the defences and we need centre forwards to switch positions and drag defenders about which should create the space for Ozil to work his magic . Sounds easy and it’s probably not but it’s got to be better than holding the ball and slowly advancing into a brick wall.

  • Alex

    Wenger the penny pincher for Mr Kronke has no where to hide from football people.

    He has no reason what so ever for not making serious buys on the two past windows.

    The age of Rosisky ,Arteta, Flamini is obvious needed urgent replacemen but he deliberatly ignore it or to choose to save money for his boss.
    Mr Wenger never be on top of the injury thing that occur every season.
    One will think he will be prepared in advance but choose deliberatly to ignore it.

    The board can extend his moribond life as much as they want but one thing for sure the man is dead buried for most people in football bar the Arsene lawyers .
    You are not Arsenal football fans those who try to defend him.You Arsene lawyers and i admit that you are good at it.

    Yes…thanks for the memory Mr Arsene if you have a little respect to Arsenal fans is time to go.

    Ciao Arsene

  • Rich

    Porter. I’d definitely say being in the ground beats watching at home in terms of how well you can see what’s happening, though watching on television has some advantages,too (notably replays).*

    So I welcome any specific thoughts and details from those who attend the games.

    I’m still sticking doggedly to much of what I said, mind, especially about the difficulty of playing balls behind their defence or long balls when the bus in in place.

    But, if you’re seeing a lot of good opportunities to switch play, use space better or attempt trickier passes I’m willing to accept that’s the case, but I still can’t help mostly sticking with my own impressions.

    Definitely think you’re right about how much we’d benefit from a wide player who was an excellent dribbler with plenty of trickery. Don’t think we have that, aside from occasions when Ozil is wide or Sanchez is right in the groove. (lets see if there’s anything in this Brekalo talk. Seen a bit of him and he is an amazing dribbler)

    I’d put it a fair distance behind having a supreme finisher as a means to getting the improvement we crave, but it definitely seems like something that would help us a lot.

    As it goes, my memory of the Palace game is that Bellerin got into 5 or more really good positions out wide but was poor with his final ball.

    Bloody hell I’m nervous for tonight. You’ve left for the game most likely so enjoy and lets just hope it goes alright.

    *Best picture of all would be to be in the ground then watch back the game later on. I find that when I record a game i can see more 2nd time around. My nerves get in the way 1st time, especially if we go behind.

  • omgarsenal

    Since I began watching and supporting the Arsenal back in 2003, the one constant for the Gunners was their failure to finish off great opportunities when presented to them by their excellent buildup play. I would say that, based on the percentage of clearcut chances we make and the percentage of goals we score, there is a factor of profligracy that is above most top 4 teams.
    Unlike the author, I do not believe that we lack great forwards. We do lack accurate shooters and finishers. Shooting accuracy is one of our few concrete lacunae that everyone can accurately gauge and observe. Our positioning in front of an opponent’s goal is very good. Our buildup play is often superb and a delight to behold. Our ability to play through packed defenses is also very strong, even when our opponents have all 11 men in their penalty area.
    Giroud, Sanchez, Welbeck, Iwobi, Campbell, Walcott and company are consistently off target, taking their shots too precipitously and hurriedly and lack that Henryesque/Bergkampesque/Piresque eagle eye for the unprotected corner of the net. Aguero has that instinct, as does our Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil.
    I agree with much that Zurzavi has written and would welcome a Messianic scorer but that is simply NOT going to happen, as there isn’t anyone available! We certainly can strengthen but it won’t necessarily be in the striker department. My guess is that we’ll see another CD and maybe another midfielder (DM) but that’s about it.

  • Pat

    Maybe a reason our strikers sometimes hurry their shots is they can feel the opponent on their Achilles and know that if they don’t hurry up they will be stopped anyway by an unpunished foul.

  • ob1977

    If Sanchez had had the season we all know he is capable of and now showing again (problems returning from injury), had Walcott and or Welbeck been fit rather than struggling for form returning from injury, and had Giroud not had the worst drought of his Arsenal career, all at the same time then I have no doubt that this season would have panned out differently, we have plenty of goals throughout our team, a few of the untold amounts of penalties we should have had would also have aided our goals and points tally. An easy way to prove that to a degree is to add 11 penalties to matches we have struggled in and voila…

  • Zuruvi

    chibyke, why do you say “this article is strange”?

    (I do accept that you’re not complaining but I’m interested in understanding what you are finding strange)….

  • Zuruvi

    Omgarsenal, I think we are in agreement. You have written

    “Unlike the author, I do not believe that we lack great forwards. We do lack accurate shooters and finishers.”

    I agree that we lack accurate shooters and finishers.
    The super-strikers are “accurate shooters and finishers”.

    Cristiano Ronaldo is an accurate shooter and finisher.
    Thierry was an accurate shooter and finisher.
    Ian Wright was an accurate shooter and finisher.
    Suarez is an accurate shooter and finisher.
    Anelka was an accurate shooter and finisher.
    Ruud van Nistelrooy was an accurate shooter and finisher.

    I call these guys strikers. And I believe if we had someone who was an accurate shooter and finisher we would have done better.
    The best teams in Europe tend to have one or several of these “accurate shooters and finishers”.
    Some of us call these “accurate shooters and finishers” by the word STRIKER but what’s in a name. Whatever they are called, Arsenal definitely needs at least one of them or preferably two).

  • Yellow Canary

    @Mick, how do you know what teams fans have managed, less impertinence and wild assumptions.

    I was ecstatic when we won the cup, I certainly don’t dismiss it. It’s always been a competition I’ve loved because Arsenal won the first final I ever watched.

    Kronke has stated he has no interest in titles. I guess he can’t make it any clearer than that. And I am referring to the league when I mention ambition for trophies. We’ve won the FA Cup twice in a row, brilliant, now let’s win the league. If Leicester or Spurs can do it then why can’t we?

  • Yellow Canary

    OMG Arsenal, how do you know there are no strikers available? Are you an Arsenal scout? We shall see who’s available in summer, maybe someone, maybe nobody, but let’s not make out that there’s no one out there yet. With the right money someone may be available and one thing we have plenty of is money.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    I scanned all the posts. I saw no suggestions of who the “world class”, clinical striker Arsenal need might be. NONE. Yes I agree we need a world class, clinical striker, who is he/they? Where are they and are we likely to lure them away? Are you chaps and chapesses just letting off steam?

  • porter

    Well Georgaki , none of us here are highly paid scouts paid to scour the world looking for the talent. A forum is designed to allow people to air their opinions on what is needed not to solve the problems for the club who probably wouldn’t listen anyway.

  • porter

    Rich , back and able to post again , too late last night. First half we used the space much better last night especially with Sanchez playing right side , second though we reverted to type and allowed the opportunity to improve our goal difference to slip away. The double act of Sanchez and Bellerin down that side is quite exciting .If only the ghost of George Armstrong could appear to our little Spaniard and teach him to look up and how to cross , it would be perfect.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    Ok Porter,

    I certainly don’t expect you or anybody else to solve the club’s problems. Usually, people who frequent blogs let off steam by picking teams and spend big on transfers. So how do you explain a lack of clinical striker given the extensive scouting network the club has.

    Oh well, Just let off steam…..

  • Porter

    Could be that they are inefficient or working within a restricted environment. Or perhaps the manager doesn’t see the need. A multitude of possibilities which create the basis for level headed discussion .

  • Rich


    I listed some names. Then mentioned what I thought our chances are with those players (slim to none)

    Our best chance is to catch someone at the stage of their career Aubemayang was prior to the Dortmund move. Time will probably prove there is one maybe two players like that currently playing.

    Perhaps pure luck is involved as well as skill in identifying them, i.e maybe it was not a certainty Aubemayang would become what he has, or Lewandowski back at the time of his move from Poland, or the Griezmann of now from 3 or 4 years ago. Maybe they only developed as they have because of the environment they were in. I don’t know.

    Either we pay an astonishing fee for an established star striker (unlikely, as it is not our thing and others can and will pay more), and there are probably only two or three candidates for that; pay a big fee from the smallish bracket below (good, but maybe they can’t be great and maybe they won’t be better than we have)- Yarmolenko, Morata, Batshuayi, Lacazette; or maybe there’s someone less heralded than that who the scouts have done a great job with and who none of us know.

    I don’t know what to say about that last category. It feels a little hard to believe there’s a player like that out there, but who knows.

    Or we stick with what we have and in so doing can’t have much hope of much improvement in our finishing next year.

    Pick your risk, i guess. Can the club bring itself to risk paying about 10-25% more than feels right to it for a player, or of someone from the Yarmalenko bracket not doing the business?

    I think we absolutely have to make something happen and that, though risky, it’s the lesser risk and the only thing to do at this point.

    Haven’t mentioned him at all but Cavani is another who seems half-viable. I would bank on his recovering a lot or all of his form if given the chance to be the main man again. Fekir is someone with amazing quality and perhaps the injury and the club he plays for means something could open up (though he’s a forward not a striker).

    If it’s merely letting off steam to discuss any of it, then there’s no way I can stop myself from doing that occasionally. Hats off to you if you can do without that.

    Is there any way we could have afforded Higuain as well as Ozil 3 years ago, for instance. It would have been a shock to the system for our finances, but could we have stretched them like that?

    I’ve no idea, but it would very likely have resulted in a title in this period, and our finances, if pushed to the limit by it, would have recovered by now. A risk like that may be required.

    I think it’s probably less than 50-50 chance of us making something significant happen up front this summer; really hope we do. You just have to trust me I’m not one of those who would slaughter us if we pay good money for something that doesn’t work out. I think i’ve a reasonable idea of how hard it is to find an improvement.

  • Rich


    Find it hard to say what level our crossing is at. I know there’s room for improvement but I’m not sure about the overall level.

    Iwobi had a good one for Sanchez a couple of weeks ago, Welbeck picked a peach for a sort of half-cross for Sanchez against Palace, someone picked out Iwobi well for a good chance in one of those games,too.

    Was thinking about it again after Chelsea’s right back in the youth cup final hit three very good crosses in a five-minute period.

    It’s yet another thing that is heavily influenced by how the opposition is set up to defend. Is it the best move to swing it in early when they have three or four big defenders in there and normally another two or three players to boot? Odds change depending on who we have in there as well. Seem to remember us being very willing to swing in it on the few occasions Sanogo was in there with Giroud, which makes sense.

    Main room for improvement, however, is surely from the byline and closer in. Feels like we’ve missed a hell of a lot of opportunities from there in recent times. Bellerin’s young, and top class, so there’s a good chance that part of his game will get better.

    We used to kill teams with cutbacks, but I think that was nearly always on a counter, when there would only be a couple of (stretched and stressed) defenders in there instead of five or six.

    Interesting that Van Gaal’s instructions to Rashford at half time of his debut was to stay within the width of the goal. He promptly scored four in a game and a half from that position, but was perhaps lucky not to be facing a bus at any time

  • ob1977

    All of the guess work that goes into saying who we should buy, or that we need this or that, well how about Sanchez IS a 20+ goals a season striker, Giroud IS a 15-20 goal a season striker, Welbeck is a 10-15 goal a season striker, Theo has been a 15+ a season striker, all on the clubs books.

    Now look at Morata and the like of expensive gambles, they in no way guarantee goals in the PL, then there is Aubamyang, he was very good last season and one I thought might suit us, but he in no way looked like the player he has this season so has almost come from nowhere, then look at Griezman, he had proved until this season that he can play anywhere along the line behind the striker, but now this season has shown his ability up top, so there is Griezman or Aubanyang at anywhere up to the ludicrous 60m mark, or 20m-40m on a hit miss or maybe better than what we already have, damned if you do and damned if you don’t…

  • ob1977

    Sorry meant Giroud is a 20+ goals a season striker…