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August 2021

This weekend’s matches, stats, predictions (and transfers?)

Matchday 3

By Arun

As the transfer market is coming to a close today, the hit hungry media is busy hosting live 24 hour blogs for the ‘frantic Friday’. At the time of the writing, it seems that Bendtner has gone on loan to Juventus, and Park has also gone on loan, while we might sign Essien on loan.

Keeping the transfers aside, let’s focus on the matches this weekend,we will be visiting Anfield to take on Liverpool whereas Chelsea won’t be in action as they have already played their game in the midweek. Let’s see what we have got this weekend:

1.      Tottenham v Norwich(Saturday – 15:00)

Tottenham look for a win after Luka Modrić finally departed for Real Madrid. Though they have signed Dembélé, it will be very difficult for him to follow in the footsteps of Modrić. Both teams have lost 1 and drawn 1 so far in the league.

Norwich has failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 34 Premier League away games. Norwich’s visit to Tottenham last season was a surprise one as they came out as 2-1 winners. During that time, Tottenham was struggling amid the aftermath of 5-2 defeat at Arsenal. Even this time around, with a new manager, it all doesn’t look rosy for them, especially since they lost Modrić. Six of the last 8 matches between these two have ended in away wins.

Though Tottenham are highly favoured for this tie, they might find it difficult to beat Norwich.


2.      Man C v QPR (Saturday – 17:30)

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Man C takes on QPR after a poor performance at Liverpool last weekend. Man C might feel that they were lucky to get away with a point last Sunday. QPR were hammered by the high flying Swansea in their opening match but since then they have been busy in the transfer market. Their signing of Júlio César is beyond my understanding as is the question why would he move to QPR from Inter.

This same fixture last season was drama at its best and QPR conceded twice in the injury time but survived due to Bolton losing. Man C’s defence has struggled this season and they have already conceded 4 goals in 2 matches. Man C has scored in their last 32 games at home and QPR has failed to keep a clean sheet in their last 17 travels. The only good looking stat for QPR coming into this game is that Cisse has scored in last 6 premier league away games.

It looks like an easy victory for Man C.


3.      Liverpool v Arsenal (Sunday – 13:30)

Arsenal play their last game before the international break. It’s surprising that we have failed to score for the first two games and our longest run without scoring, at the start of the premier league season, is 224 minutes which was set last season. Though, defensively we are looking a lot better. Liverpool played a good game against Man C but their defensive problems let them down and they had to settle for a draw.

Arsenal hasn’t lost at Anfield in their last 5 league visits winning 2 after going behind in all the five matches. The three draws also include the 4-4 draw. Liverpool had won only 1 game against Arsenal in last 10 matches losing 3. The only victory came at the beginning of last season. This fixture has also seen an own goal in 3 matches in the last 2 seasons with Koscielny, Reina and Ramsey sharing the honours. This tie also has a history of late goals with 7 goals in the 90th minute and later in the last 7 matches and 5 such goals in the last 4 matches.

The main threat for Arsenal in this match is Suarez who has scored 2 goals in his last 2 matches including a beautiful free kick against Man C. He just always manages to turn in the box and doesn’t bother about diving (last season comes to mind). Nuri Sahin may also prove to be another big threat but I don’t see him starting against us. It’s Liverpool’s defence which gives me confidence about this game. They have conceded 5 in 2 league matches so far. A Reina howler in the Europa league is yet another indicator that their defence is capable of big mistakes. If Koscielny and Szczęsny are fit, then we should be able to deal with their attack and I don’t see us not scoring against them. It’s going to be very vital for us not to concede first as it will only invite more pressure on us and leaving us open for counter attacks.

As there are no matches in the next week, it’s important for us to win this game as it will keep the media silent for 2 weeks; otherwise we will be just reading about how we are going to cope with the loss of RVP and Song etc. A win here is also vital as it means we will be only 4 points off the top of the table with big games against Man C and Chelsea in the league and Montpellier in the Champions League to follow this one.

Consider the form of Liverpool’s defence; I can see us winning this one.


4.      Southampton v Man U (Sunday – 16:00)

Man U visit St. Mary’s Stadium as Southampton returned to top flight after finishing as runners up in the championship. The match between these two teams saw the end of Southampton’s stay of 27 consecutive years in the league come to an end. Their return to it hasn’t been good so far as they, along with Aston Villa, are pointless after 2 games.

Man U has won on their last 4 visits to Southampton in all competitions but they have lost 3 of their last 4 away games. Man U will be without Rooney as he got injured last week. Man U’s win percentage drop by 16% when he’s not in the team. Southampton has conceded 5 goals in the league so far and lost to what might turn out to be a six pointer against Wigan at home without scoring.  It seems like an easy victory for Man U.

It also seems like a 3-day weekend with the transfer stories giving us a joy of their own. I hope that this weekend sees us registering the first victory and goals of the campaign.

The club that changed football


75 comments to This weekend’s matches, stats, predictions (and transfers?)

  • rusty

    “[QPR’s] signing of Júlio César is beyond my understanding as is the question why would he move to QPR from Inter.” Arun, the answer is $ (I’d use the euro or pound symbol if they were on my keyboard).

    The Essien loan rumor is another interesting one — very hard to tell if it’s real or another vapour transfer. And if it’s the latter, I’m not clear on who has the most to gain from floating it: the AAA, who can question why we haven’t gotten a like-for-like replacement for Song afterward; Chelsea, who can make it seem like they’re trying to shrink the squad and ease the wage bill; Wenger, who’s been savvy so far about the 25-man registration rules and this looks a piece.

  • Matt Clarke

    Spuds 0 – 2 Norwich
    Man City 4 – 1 QPR
    Pool 0 – 3 The Arsenal
    Saints 2 – 2 ManU
    Essien to AFC?
    …certainly similar to Song, with plenty of energy and ability to defend when needed.
    …and he can certainly score goals too.
    …but, would be another African Nations Cup ‘casualty’.
    Still, could be good.

  • Mihir

    Compared to last year this seems like a quiet transfer deadline day for Arsenal! 🙂

  • Dec

    Sky say the Clint Dempsey to Liverpool has fallen through. A possible opportunity?????

  • John

    Not a chance Dec… wenger money is spend he sold players and brought some in for less thats the way he operates nothing will change on that score.

    I think Bebvatov would have be a excellent addition and should have been included in the RVP transfer 4M its a no brainer for me.

    Really disappointed Wenger didnt look at Moses when Chelsea were dicking about or failing that Adam Johnson both very reasonable money. I think with the Theo situation these should have been look at.

    Spuds look to have done good business this window.

    Lastly I’m not expecting Arsenal to bankrupt themseleves like the AAA but what about spending the money you do have. We had between 20M to 40M depending what you read coming into the transfer window lets take the lower we are currently up 5M on playing trading.

    Thats 25M why not bring in Bebvatov for 4M as an additional striker buy Moses for 10M (can play either flank) and spend 10M on Mbiawa a verstaile defender who could cover are full back position create competition at the centre or allow Vermanlen to play as DM replacing Song????

    The players brought in by Wenger are all good signings but the fact RVP and Song have left we have not improve our position and isnt that what management should be striving for????

    Just one last comment this player trading account crap and the fact when we sign a player his wages over the contract are added to the fee. It’s horsehit an example if Giroud was bought to replace Robin who we were paying say 70K Giroud wages are the same to keep it simple you are only replacing the outgoing player current wages. The wage figure has not go up or down and therefore only the transfer fee should be taken into account.

  • Stuart

    @ John,
    You’ve forgotten to take into account that RVP had a year left, Giroud is on a 5 year contract so that’s 4 extra years of £70K per week or what ever Giroud is on

  • Adam

    Off topic so apologise. But the Chelsea mauling is very entertaining. Who would have predicted the score so far.

  • Dec

    Sky reporting Essien at Real Madrid and Dempsey at Spurs!!!!!!
    Hope Arsene knows what he’s doing (or not doing)!

  • Wooby

    @John, it is a fair point you make about the money that is presumably at Wenger’s disposal and for him to use it to strengthen the squad. However, where and when would the players you highlight as potential buys play for our first team?

    There are three sides to every transfer: the two teams involved and the player. All three must agree and if I am the agent to Berba, Johnson, Moses or Mbiawa, I may very well steer them to different teams. Here’s why:

    Berba cannot make it onto the pitch for ManUre, I don’t see him taking the pitch on our team ahead of either Giroud or Poldi. And if you are content with being a backup, what is the advantage to playing for us vs ManUre? So no, I don’t see him, no matter how much we would pay (for) him, agree to come to us as cover/insurance for Giroud and/or Poldi.

    Moses – would he displace Theo or Gervinho on the pitch? I don’t even think he’d be the first choice off the bench given the presence of the Ox. And if you are talking about a longer term “project” – we already have one in Ryo who is out on loan and roughly the same age as Moses.

    Johnson is in the same boat as Moses.

    Mbiawa – he may be very good but Wenger already has 2 players at each position in the back. As a young player who is the captain of your current team, why would you accept a transfer to another club where you’d only be a backup to the backups?

    I realize it may make sense for Arsenal to have those four as backups but I think it makes very little sense for those players to want to come to Arsenal and sit on our bench. Players are probably looking at Park Chu Young as an example and say, unless there is some type of guaranteed playing time, I am not going to Arsenal – and I don’t think Wenger can honestly look into the eyes of each of the four aforementioned players and say “I guarantee you will play ahead of the lads I already have”.

    One more point, I don’t think it is appropriate to continue to look at Song as a DM and say we have to buy a DM to replace him. I think Arteta replaced him in the DM role last season which allowed Song to move forward and increased his assist total. Would you have Song or Cazorla as your creator in MF? I would take Cazorla. If you are talking about cover for Cazorla, we have Rosicky coming back from injury in the next month or so.

  • RobL

    If we’re going to spend some ****ing money for the sake of it, then Arsene, I could do with a new motor.

  • Mick

    Spurs are being credited by the media for their astute last ditch business, as opposed to our late signings last season which were described as Wengers panic buys and supermarket dash etc etc. Two faced media cretins, especially the disgraceful Durham on talkshite.

  • Dec

    I’ve never subscribed to the ‘buy buy buy, whoever and at whatever the cost’ nonsense. But to my mind Clint Dempsey was as good a bargain at the last minute as I’ ever seen. He was desperate to move after (perhaps foolishly) burning his bridges with the Fulham fans. He’s already based in London. And most importantly he has what it takes to significantly increase our attacking options.
    Really expected to hear a last minute ‘Breaking News’ report that he was on his way to The Emirates. What a major downer to hear he’d gone the the Spuds. A missed bargain methinks. Hope it doesn’t come back to bite us.

  • Mick

    By not bringing in more players at the last minute the door has been left open for some of our promising youngsters to progress toward 1st team opportunities. I know the AAA would not agree but what is the point in pursuing a youth development model if they are not given the chance to show what they can do?

  • Limpar

    Could Hughes get revenge on man city ?? I don’t rate him , or qpr’s strategy long term but maybe they could cause an upset this wknd.
    If totts lose to Norwich that’s a disastrous result !
    I think utd will win by a few
    Arsenal pool , really could go either way. I just hope someone has the confidence to get the goals we might need on the day, but I wouldn’t be surprised if its another draw which wouldn’t be too bad a start considering the trauma inflicted on the club by the traitor van per see…

    Shame about some of our signings not working out the last few years but it’s getting v difficult to get the players we want these days , so have occassionaly had to panic buy to cover squad gaps ie park squillaci. We have cover now so only need invest in top quality or long term projects & they are both harder & harder to acquire !

    Dempsey is good for totts but wouldn’t improve our squad , better to wait & work on a better opportunity for jan. maybe a more skillfull creative player on the wings in Jesus navas / hleb mould. But we have wilshere & frimpong to return centrally , both could be massive players for us. Chucks aneke progressing too. Gnabry will be ready next year , so if Walcott jumps ship thanks for the let down & goodbye!
    We did our business early so every one slags us off for not making last minute signings like last year so whatever we do will get slagged off by the media, just don’t fall for it ! Arsene will continue to make the most of what we have no matter what the sensationalists will spout. Proof of the pudding is in the eating , & weve massively overachieved year on year since he’s been at the club . so keep calm & get behind the team !

  • Limpar

    If arshavin had gone to zenit I believe we may have shown interest in Dempsey . We have a large squad now so best to save the Dempsey money we might need it to bid for & gain a real top quality player in the near future

  • Dec

    Fair point Mick, but that’s what the League cup (or whatever it’s called this week) is for. The first team isn’t for testing kids it’s for deploying tested kids, after gaining experience elsewhere if necessary ( as Jack did and hopefully Ryo will next season). Thank the Gods the transfer circus is done for another few months and actual football will be the focus again. 3 points on Sunday please chaps.

  • bob

    Congratulations! Another net zero transfer season and no spending of that hard-won 35 million to be garnered from the 3rd place CL turnaround. Accountants really rock!

  • Stroller

    We’ve got enough options in the squad right now so unless a player was available who would make a big improvement there was no reason to go chasing the market at this stage. With Sagna, Wilshere and Frimpong all to return we won’t be in bad shape for the business end of the season.

    Regarding Arshavin, I think the Russian transfer window is open for another month so it’s probable that he could still maske the move to Zenit.

  • Adam

    I do not want to appear to optimistic but Arsenal do rather well under Howard Webb when playing Liverpool. One can hope.

  • Limpar

    Bob, who do you suggest we buy with that money?
    And which players should we also plan to keep some / any of that money for , to renegotiate & extend contracts? As that seems to be as much of a problem to me, having funds to pay our top players in relation to what the poachers will offer. Iarsenal are in the middle ground between the best of the rest , & the mega rich super clubs. We will always have to resist / succumb to these transfers while we produce players who are the best in Europe in their position. The time we fail is when we spend all our money on players jwho only put us in the same bracket as the best of the rest. Like clint dempsey. Especially at a time when I personally believe we are 1 or 2 world class players away from challenging the top again.

  • Limpar

    Atm we have Walcott , gervinho, poldolski giroud cazorla all underachieving re goal scoring. All of these players should score double figures in the league each season that should be 60 plus goals . Especially gervinho & Walcott, start frickin showing some balls rather than prancing around in the goalmouth you tossers! We need goals from these boys , starting sunday

  • Arun

    Don’t bother about the media. We all know about their hypocrisy when it comes to Arsenal. Just ignore the t**** and move on.

  • Arun

    All those who think that Dempsey was a bargain, also need to think that totts moved in for him after they failed to sign Moutinho and so, it’s a panic buy for me. Might turn out to be good but definitely not as good as Moutinho would have been.

  • Arun

    @Bob, please tell us which players we should have bought.
    I, personally, think that we were in for Sahin but we were unable to play promise the game time he requires ahead of Cazorla, Arteta or Wilshere. It’s this reason that he preferred to move to Liverpool where he will get more chances to play. It would have been useless for him to come to Arsenal and then sit on the bench just like he did at Madrid.

  • bob

    Ok, to repeat: there’s the touted 35M for finishing in the CL. Then, do you recall, we were told this season there’d be the reputed £25m from the Queensland housing development. This affords certain worthy dreams. Hence, I’ve argued don’t get rid of Song – he’s affordable – for it would leave the midfield reliant on the mythical instant return of injured players to full form; when, like anyone (no matter how potentially good) they’ll take weeks before they hit full stride (IF they do). You cannot simply assume the best and say it is so. Well maybe you can. How many points are you willing to drop on this daydream.

    And I’ve long said say no to selling RVP; and, instead, play hardball by forcing him into having to perform decently for us, because a poor or “injured” season would make mince meat out of his next contract (it’d be far less than he and Dein just extorted). And just like Matteo the prick just said he wouldn’t let Essien go to a league rival (that would be us), we could have likewise could have stood our ground and refused to sell RVP to our (arguably) worst (and long-term) enemy. Did that suit you? I’m saying it shouldn’t have even come to your question of who would YOU buy, bob. But since you asked, I’d say we need a (by purchase or loan) quality midfield backup like Cabaye, for just one instance. But that choice isn’t my job. There’s talent out there and you know it; and to demand from me to name the exact fit or shut me gob is out of line. The worldwide scouting system knows. There are backup needs, as most of us know. Can you fathom what an injury to Cazorla, would do to us right now? Unbearable.

    And, before it’s fades into the memory hold, many comments here (not yours) were sad, but finally swallowing the departures of RVP and Song provided that, (in hopes that,) as encouraged by AW’scomments) some quality purchases would still be made in the remaining 2-3 weeks of the window. Well, it leaves a bitter taste, mate. (Unless, of course, you’re assuming the rise from the ashes of one Andrei Arshavin.) And, let’s face it, I’m the least of our unacknowleged AFC problems.

  • bob

    I have these worries as well for us. Would you think that our new signees came on board with the knowledge that we’d be losing players who they might have come here to play with? Is that why Cazorla called for new signings last week? And do you think that the new sponsors will splash as much for a team without RVP as for one with him? To be honest, I say f(&* them; but Sponsors want sizzle and lots of commenters hereabouts look to our being saved by the new sponsorship deals just over the horizon. But going by that logic, it’d be good to have had or still bring on board a charismatic talisman for them to worship and adore with their filthy lucre. Now who might that be? Ok, the Ox or Jack hopefully – but not a certainty, just a wish.

  • dan

    Well Wenger knows the squad better than us but I do get the feeling the board caves in too easy when money is involved.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    AW probably thinks that what we have onboard now is good enough and am willing to put my faith in him being right .Hope we win while keeping a clean sheet .
    Up the Gunners !

  • Arun

    @Bob, let’s take a look at the players/positions one by one(these are strictly my opinions):
    RVP: Wenger wanted him to stay but he wanted to leave. There were not many clubs interested to sign him. If we hadn’t allowed him to leave, he might have been doing a Dempsey or Modric by refusing to play for us.
    Song: Wenger wanted him out as it was clear from the press conference before the Sunderland match. It might have been because of the statements he made about barca.
    Theo: It’s this case that tells me that we were willing to keep RVP if he would have showed more respect to the club. Theo was willing to talk and that’s what convinced Wenger to allow him to stay with Arsenal without signing a new contract.
    Compare it with RVP who postponed talks till the end of the season, then after the Euros and then issued the statement before returning to make sure Wenger had no option but to sell him. Money is a big factor here as he is being paid around a million pounds per month plus a loyalty bonus if he stays there for 4 seasons.
    The news regarding Arsenal issuing an ultimatum to Walcott was crap as it was based on the news that the talks b/w the club and the players were broken down which was later reported to be false. It was as true as that BBC story in which the author claimed that RVP was ready to sign but Arsenal weren’t offering him a new contract.
    DM: It’s an interesting one. If we could have signed M’villa then he would have been the number 1 for that role till he stays with Arsenal leaving no space for Frimpomg and Coquelin to progress into the first team. We wanted a short term solution in Essien but he preferred to reunited with Mourinho at Real Madrid.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    This weekend we’ll see just how brave Brendan Rodgers really is. Liverpool haven’t adapted to playing a high line all that well, they will know what happens if you allow our players time and space in possession in your half.
    Their defence is as shambolic as ours used to be, this ought to be fun!

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    We probably would have gone to well over £20 million for Cazorla, are you slating the board for getting him on the cheap? Giroud’s market value was well in excess of his buyout clause, the Montpellier president admitted as much. Transfer figures are never a good indicator of value, Jordan Henderson/Andy Carroll being prime examples.

  • Stevie E

    Well said my friend, it’s great to see someone put forward a clear and concise comment looking at the reality of transfers. It’s so easy for people to play football manager at this time of year without any thought that these are real people with wants and desires, just like the rest of us. Last year AW was criticised for leaving the transfers until the last minute, this year he’s done the opposite but will no doubt be criticised for not doing business on the last day. Some people just won’t be happy I guess. Personally I’m very happy with our squad this season, no doubt a youngster or two will have an impact during the season and we’ll be there or thereabouts at the end. Wether we win trophies isn’t just in our hands, there are lots of teams spending lots of money with lots of very talented players (and some with “other” advantages…) who are also trying their best to win. Ce la vie.

  • Shard

    Well I was disappointed that we didn’t get in one striker, and possibly a midfielder. But again, that’s not my job to worry about. I think we might be a little short, but then again the likes of Gnabry,Eisfeld, Aneke, Coquelin, Frimpong and Yennaris could provide more than decent cover. I don’t know how good they are but Wenger does. Maybe we shouldn’t ignore the players we have just because we already have them. How much would Szczesny cost today? Djourou? (and I know he has his critics), Wilshere? (injury concern notwithstanding), maybe the next, next gen are ready to contribute. And with some more experience in Arteta, Sagna, Vermaelen, Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud etc to guide them, we won’t be relying completely on kids either.

    now that the window is shut, what is your take on the ‘zero net spend’? Me?? I couldn’t care less how much we spend. I don’t know the finances, and I don’t think players’ transfer fees are necessarily reflective of their worth to a team. I do think we could have done with a couple more players, but we still have a more than decent squad.

  • dan

    Andy Carroll was an option about a week ago, but thank fuck that didn’t happen. We the fans should be careful what we wish for just ask any scouser, this time last year they were calling the signings of Kenny, “Genius.”.

    35 mil flushed down the toilet, now willing to accept anything over 8 mil.

  • Al

    This season’s transfer business was good. I cant help but feel too many Gunners fans read too much into what they read in the papers. Last year AW signed 5 players on deadline day & was roundly criticised for it as panic buying. This year he does the opposite and, guess what, still gets criticised for not signing anyone on deadline day. Meanwhile, spuds & City sign more than 6 players on deadline day and get applauded! We have drawn our first two games, and Arsenal are supposed to be in a crisis. spuds, Loserpool, Utd, etc all lose a game each, with other results being a draw for spuds & l’pool but you don’t here talk of crises at these clubs. Only at Arsenal! One just cant work it out. Going by what they were saying in the press this time last year one would be forgiven to think Arsenal would be in a relegation scrap at the end of the season, never mind finishing third behind Utd.

    Regarding the quality of the transfers, I feel we are stronger than last season. We gained three players who were each the mainstays of their respective previous clubs; with two of them individually credited for propelling their respective clubs into champions league football( Carzola & Giroud). Those two alone more than compensate for the losses of the dutch traitor and Song. If you factor in Podolski, well, that’s a bonus. Lets not forget our signings from last season are one year older in the prem, gained more experience & more is expected from them this outing. So no matter what the doomsday press says, I say the future is bright. Shame on them though for always attempting to cast doubt in the minds of Arsenal supporters, despite AW proving them wrong time & again. Shame on those Arsenal fans who always seem to bite… Up the Gunners!!!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Arun – thanks for the article.

    Spuds vs Norwich
    Yesterday left me with mixed emotions as I think the Spuds have done great business this transfer window and it really pains me to admit that. They used the Arsenal blueprint of wrangling until the last minute and limited the gazumping by other clubs. It now remains to be seen if AVB can fashion the quality bought into a winning team quickly. If Norwich were still under manager Lambert, I would of thought that they would be able to capitalise on the Spuds necessary acclimatation period, but Houghton is undergoing something similar himself. So I would expect the Spuds to win this game by at least 2 or 3 goals.

    Man C Vs QPR
    This is a massive game for Hughes in a few ways as of course he is playing against the manager who unsurped him, club that sacked him and he has to repay the trust shown by QPR top brass who have backed him and have spent big (I count the wages too). I respect AVB for trusting in his own ability to manage a team, which is in contrast to Mark Hughes, whose squad is built on experienced players assembled to hide his lack of ability. This game could go either way as it’s being played early on in the season and the old QPR legs are still fresh enough to put in a strong performance and I have no idea of what level Mancini’s psychosis is at right now. Mancini wanted Kolo Toure gone as he preferred Savic instead which did’nt go down well with Yaya. Savic has now left the club, the big high profile signings Mancini asked for did’nt materialise, Man C have a strong CL group and I wonder if there is trouble in paradise.

    Arsenal Vs Liverpool
    I too am suprised that we haven’t scored yet, though the team really looks like it’s working through kinks in match conditions. I do like our squad, but it’s those fabled words ‘if everyone is fit’. The 25 man rule is really frustrating in this respect as we are limited by what we can do. Arteta having a good game anchoring the midfield will be very important and could be the difference. I don’t think this game will be a goaless draw, we might even lose it – but it does’nt change the overall confidence I have in the team. I can handle that as long as we don’t have any injuries. Mannone has one of the biggest games of his career and Theo needs to put in a big performance. Anfield is a tough place to go and we won’t get any favours from the ref.

    ManUre Vs Southampton
    Based on the Saints early form I would say they had a shot of at least getting a draw, if all things were equal. But they are not so it’s 3pts to the Mancs.

  • Goona Gal

    Also cannot understand how Arsenal drawing their early games attracts more negative media attention than the Man U loss and yesterdays game where Chelsea were out passed and out classed. It was a good game of football and the Chelsea players looked tired and shocked. The manner of the loss was not suprising considering the fortunate wins in the EPL and if Di Matteo lasts the whole season it will be suprising. The Super cup is not considered that prestigious, but Madrid are probably still celebrating and Falcao has moved his name to the top of the most wanted list of quite a few clubs.

  • Persian gunner

    The saddest fact here is that lots of Arsenal fan communities are being fooled and blind folded by the evil media, calling Mr Wenger a business man, not a manager!
    How embarrassing!
    Honestly, I was that dreamy to wish the rumors around our former traitor (departed) captain cesc fabregas, came true and we could have him alongside with Cazorla and Arteta as a real championship battler midfield, but I believe Le Boss has lots of nice ideas in mind
    So I’ve asked my self why Jack is going to wear the number 10?!
    That means Mr Wenger has some thing for us, remember last year when the Dutch traitor became the talisman with that shirt and the armband?

  • Persian gunner

    And I simply can’t understand why somebody would ask the club to buy another striker?
    I mean, yes there is always a grate risk of injuries for us but, that would be clear message that we have no trust on our recent buying, and that will destroy our new strikers confidence

  • bob

    “Well I was disappointed that we didn’t get in one striker, and possibly a midfielder. . . I do think we could have done with a couple more players, but we still have a more than decent squad.”

    I agree on both counts. My take on the “zero transfer balance” is that it stood in the way of that striker and midfielder that are (and imo will prove to be needed) as quality backup for rotation and injury cover. It’s not about me being right or wrong. It’s an analysis/fear that I see, and that no one can know for certain outside the Bookeeping/Ownership/Management circle. The analysis is not how much we spend (that is a caricature), but that ZTB is policy and trumps everything except for a “top, top, top” player at a bargain rate (by definition impossible in this market). And by trumping everything, the 35M on the CL qualification plus the 25M (GBP) on the real estate sale is not put into play to get that striker and midfielder. These needed purchases were affordable before the window closed. And they were surely STILL affordable once ZTB was reached. That is, even with ZTB attained (once Song and RVP left), I suspect that enough of the 35M plus 24M (GBP) are/were still available to get that needed backup. Just two weeks ago, several people here were saying we should wait for this moment and quality backup would be attained. I came around to that position as well. I couldn’t care a fig about being right. I’d be overjoyed to be wrong and the team be excelling, I’d I be here first to admit it. Screw the old ego.

    What I do think is that our club could have been affordably better and better prepared. And that the expectation that all them injured midfield names – Wilshere, Rosicky, will shortly come back in tip-top quality form (just because they have names) and hit the ground running is wishful thinking (even as I wish it is/were so). No one can do that. And we’ll drop points for lack of affordable quality coverage. What I see is what happened two winter windows ago: that with so many competitions at hand, and injuries to our defense starting to hit hard, and predictably so, we still did not purchase the necessary coverage and we blew out of everything. I didn’t want to come near a repeat of that scenario. And since we won 3rd and they sold their real estate (as Gazidis waxed poetically), we have had the dosh to prevent it.

    Another good striker, as you say, also would be there in the event that one of the new signings is injured. We need quality coverage on that front and, again, it has been affordable – unless the game is now ZTB and no more. And if the game is ZTB and no more – IF, to repeat – then the game is what? With Song (no one knows why he was moved out in a split second with 3 years to go on that contract) and/or with RVP (saying no to his greed and drawing a line as other coaches have done to their prima donnas, and forcing him to play well or face a shite next contract from whomever), we could have contested for winning the league this season. As I see it, the Board/Ownership does not have that goal. And ZTB guarantees them a level of profitability that – just like their how-not-to-be-ready-and-so-drop-points Summer Tour – will cost the team dearly in points on the pitch.

    So that’s the analysis, and I’m beyond glad to be wrong. Only time will tell, not my words or anyone else’s. Anyone wanting to turn having this analysis into being just an ego trip, or a failed loyalty test… well that’s your game, not mine. Mine is NOT with the Board’s maximal enrichment; is with the club’s daring to win the league (as described above) when it is seems to be doable and affordable; and with Walter and Dogface against the Refshite so we all have the game we want.

  • bob

    No, I’m not slating the Board for getting Cazorla at a good price. I’m saying that having achieved that (and with several weeks remaining in the window), the Board (not a monolith, but enough of them) decided that zero transfer balance would now do, thank you very much, and the rest in profit. I’m saying that we could have been getting the needed quality coverage – in midfield and up front – now, rather than rue the round of injuries to people like Cazorla and Giroud (when the ref-abetted thugs have their completely predictable go at them). Such ensurance and quality have been affordable. Both via the 35M from the CL and the 25M from the real estate; and certainly when ZTB was achieved with the export of the Song-RVP asset package to our respective EPL/CL worst enemies. I want the Board to achieve good value. But there’s a relationship between their profit-maximization after ZTB and our going uninsured (short, or whatever term you wish) on the pitch, which is a thinkable – and avoidable – result.

  • Limpar

    Thing is bob , van Persie had obviously decided he was going no matter what. I don’t believe he thought he would end up at utd when he released his statement. Probably Madrid or barca, if not juve. But only had utd or city as options after burning his bridges and chose utd to avoid being labelled a mercenary. That’s my theory. I also believe he believed his own hype from the media and also all the hype from the media about wenger & arsenal being below his level. This is a big problem for us now, as I’m not sure many that football players are perceptive enough to see past the propaganda we suffer daily from sky sports, espn, bbc, itv and most newspapers.
    Re song I believe he was looking for a move & infuriated wenger with his betrayal going into the new season, hence the swift exit. Wenger bought him from nowhere same as bendtner both were punished for betrayal. Just my take on the situation. Also, I didn’t tell you to shut yer gob!

  • bob

    With Sagna, Wilshere and Frimpong all to return we won’t be in bad shape for the business end of the season.”

    Stroller, Yes, I like those names too. But we’re dealing with real people (and I adore Sagna, who is not well enough appreciated); and they’ve all been out a long time and will not have instant impact but have to work their way back. Picture Aaron and Diaby. This will translate into dropped points. (So will the unpreparedness owing to the Summer Tour, and forgoing quality insurance via affordable further transfers.) By the business end of the season, I would have hoped for a lot more than your promise of “we won’t be in bad shape.”

  • bob

    I’m not as certain as you that Song was betraying AW. RVP, Cesc, Nasri, yes. In Song’s case, I’d have to agree with him that 55K per week (that is, in footballer’s F’d up terms) was not his true value – especially when you compare it to Almunia, Chamakh, Bendtner, need I go on? – who were pulling down beaucoup bucks for doing nothing. I could see Song’s point and don’t feel that fast-tracking him to Barfa of Qatar was a sound football move. Perhaps emotional (we don’t know what went down with him and AW). Perhaps strategic (getting out the remainder of Dein the Lesser’s toxic poison). Or perhaps reaching a zero transfer balance so that the Board could then maximize profit on our 35M CL finish and 24M real estate plays. Ok, we don’t know. But do you really think we’re better off without Alex Song in our midfield – especially after no further midfield purchases/loans (after much fanfare) in this window? Really?

  • Limpar

    Yes song is a very good player & I didn’t expect to lose him. I think we may have missed his creativity in the last 2 games but defensively we look better so far. I also think that we have more creative players in wilshere & rosicky & hopefully diaby if he can find his rhythm after such a long time out. So in the terms of a creative midfielder , I think we can compensate for the loss. Defensively, if arteta is out we have to trust diaby to drop deeper to last man in midfield , or coquelin who improves all the time. But song hardly played that role last season

  • Limpar

    Not forgetting Ramsey! who can create & play the song role. He should also improve this season

  • bob

    Persian gunner,
    Buying a backup striker is not about their confidence. It is about insurance. The undoubted reality of EPL’s thuggish, serial violence and the Riley and refs turning the blind eye at attacks on AFC (Eduardo, Ramsey, Diaby, Sagna) means we need quality backup. There are a lot of games, a lot of cups to contest, no winter breaks, this year’s Euro 2012, etc. etc. To bring up confidence as a reason not to go for quality insurance seems very short-sighted. Quality depth matters greatly. (And Bendtner is out and Chamakh out, in his way.)

  • Goona Gal

    @ Limpar, I think you’ve made some very interesting comments.

  • bob

    Yes, to all of what you hope for and think, but IF – and only if – they (or most) return to previous form or finally achieve great form. Their names alone don’t guarantee us a thing. It’s all potentially this and that. Potentially. But the season’s clock is now off and running too. Will this “eventual potential” replace a potentially injured Cazorla in time this season? Is it unthinkable to foresee that points will be dropped between now and their achieving full functionality? Can you be comfortable with the idea of dropping points until these guys are football fit as a substitute for our having purchased quality insurance during the window? Quality insurance does not come cheap. But we have had the money to get it, and not the will to do so. Imo, quality insurance is predictably a necessary piece of the puzzle when the goal is to compete at the top level. Of course we can’t outbid the petro-beasts, but we could have done far better than reach zero net transfer balance by not spending to stock usable quality insurance.

  • Limpar

    I just think you have to trust in the theory that if there were suitable replacements out there , with the right circumstances sorrounding the availability etc we would have tried to purchase & then are theres the problem of capturing the signature whilst contending with the opposition we all know about. It’s hard to replace van Persie, juve ! The Italian champions & super club did it by loaning our own nic bendtner
    Madrid loaned essien

  • iniez

    I’ll start by saying I’m still happy with the squad we have and I’m still excited by the season ahead. A striker and holding midfielder would have been nice though. Now I don’t know what arsene is planning, but a view from the outside tells me that we could have used another striker as back up as we really only have two strikers that I would trust up front (I don’t mean to slate chamakh but he’s just not doing it right now). Having said this, I could have lived without an extra striker but I feel like we really needed another holding midfielder. Think of it as a replacement for song, or someone to fill in for arteta, but I would say this is an area that could do with an extra man. Touch wood, if arteta was to be injured, I think we would lack that little something in midfield that he gives us. Another holding type midfielder who can read the game well and put in a good tackle/pass would have been ideal. Again, I don’t know what arsene has in mind but I do think he was looking for a player in both positions, the pursuit of mirallas and sahin tell me this.

    But something else tells me that they wouldn’t really be first teamers, more so bit-part players. Mirallas cited lack of playing time as the issue, and sahin was only a loan (though we did seem interested in a purchase at the end of the season). I could be off, but it didn’t sound like we would be bringing in starters, or even players that would be given a chance to fight for a place. Think of this what you will, but knowing arsene, I think he’s keeping an eye on the younguns as usual. We have some decent players coming through and I’m sure arsene wants to leave some space open for them. Has anyone been watching the reserve league and nextgen? Holy **** they’re impressive.

    Considering I’m right about finding non-starters, I doubt it’s easy to find a player who has quality to add and is willing to warm the bench. I’m sure arsene wanted to find someone but strictly under those conditions. Yes I’m a little surprised we couldn’t find ONE, but I’ve never managed a club

  • Limpar

    I also think players like diaby & Ramsey will come good this season. You have to have faith in the players we originally invested in that still have potential & the only way to do that is to give them space to play. Just like we did with van Persie last season
    There’s no one better at judging that , & with bigger balls when executing it than Arsene wenger. I think he’s one of the bravest managers in world football when it comes to putting himself on the line to give players a chance when he believes in them , that deserves massive respect.
    Btw Sorry for veering off topic from original post

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    The U21/NextGen team(s) are ferocious. I caught some of the highlights from the Marseille match, sometimes they lose the ball; you blink and they have it back again. I’m not sure Marseille’s youth knew what hit them in that first half.

  • Shard


    If that was intended at me then let me tell you now that I had no intention of questioning your loyalty, failed or otherwise. I was asking because I was genuinely interested to see what theory you would have as to why the board don;t spend the money. I’ve heard all sorts of nonsense about self enrichment and you seem to have fallen into that trap too. Of course it COULD be just self enrichment, but that would only be in the form of increased share price, which is only enriching if you sell. Do you believe that’s it? Or is there another reason you can think of.

    The thing is, you could be right. In terms of the board not being willing to spend the money which would go towards winning the title. The jump from top 3 or 4 to winners, in terms of investment, is huge, and of course, with no clear guarantee that we’d actually finish higher in the table at all. But of course, that decision doesn’t have to be a self serving decision. It could just be what they feel is in the club’s best interest.

  • Persian gunner

    Dear bob
    You are one of my favorites here and it is always nice to read your comments
    I believe this team needs to be strengthened, and I can see us getting better
    We were very fragile defensively, so much relied on the dutch traitor for goal scoring and we lack a creative midfielder and… Things have changed, all and all to solve our last season problems!

    It is so damn hard to read all those anti Wenger comments all around the Internet, and it hurts even more when lots of them are coming from our own fans!
    It is a critical period of time when we should stand by our team and manager and support
    You are not AAA for sure, and I’m telling you, this team is getting better 🙂

  • Shard

    oh and another thing. I’m not saying this because you brought it up bob. I was just thinking about it a few days ago. I was thinking if we have a deep enough squad, and like you I reached the conclusion that if we don’t get the injuries we always do, then we do have enough cover.

    It is just that I had the thought, and have had the feeling, that this season we may not be subjected to as many injustices as seasons past. It started with the 30% ownership rules being changed, then other clubs talking about England having an FFP equivalent, and finally with Gazidis being appointed to the FA governing bodies. Maybe, just maybe, Arsenal have been active in the back channels of football politics, and Wenger knows something? A bit of a long shot, and we’ll see soon enough, with th ref reviews and list of bad tackles etc. But that is a feeling I had, and it might offer an explanation for why we weren’t desperate to sign.

    Oh, and another thing. We weren’t going for a zero spend. We did try to sign Mirallas, who apparently chose everton because they guaranteed more playing time. Also, the Sahin deal showed we were looking for someone in midfield too. Sahin was a player of the right quality, and right availabilty, but the deal wasn’t right. We probably couldn’t find a player matching all those three attributes at this time.

  • Shard

    that’s 2 another things for you in one post 🙂

  • Goona Gal

    So it was a draw for the Spuds and big congrats to Houghton & Norwich.

    I also want to mention our loanee’s, first Ryo at Wigan, he didn’t get much game time and if there was a game I would rather he sat out, it was this one against Stoke. He helped relieve some of the pressure on the defence by though.

    Afobe did’nt get much time on the pitch either but apparently was a threat when he came on. Bolton have got a dodgy defence that has not been addressed by Coyle.

    ….and a brief mention for Almunia who had 5 goals past him. I am sure it will be ‘the former Arsenal player this, the former Arsenal player that’ and his fragile confidence would of definately taken a hit.

  • bob

    Thank you for being forthright, as ever. Honestly I’m puzzled, and trying hard to make sense of this. . As ever, we can’t know. And from what I can see I don’t think this Board has helped the club in this window when it could and should have. My antennae says there is a big story to be told brewing there. My fear is that we are being fattened for a big sell-off of those more valuable shares. I feel that the flip side of zero transfer balance is that the rest (CL, Real Estate fattens the share value). The insurance we need – and the striker/midfielder we both want, and we’re not ignorant – is deemed not “top top top.” I truly fear that we as fans are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Who can trust either of the two biggest shareholders to do anything other than fatten the cow. I see nothing they’ve done to attract long-term avid sponsorship deals in 2014. I feel that we’ve had ingredients for top-flight excellence on the pitch this very season, and that they won’t go beyond ZTB. It’s not either ZTB or the Big Flash. There is a middle ground that they will not spend for. Right now, just after the window closing, I feel sadness and suspicion – of course with no direct evidence, how could I – that the major stockholder and his Board allies are fattening the cow. This is not the Board that treasured our legacy. (Nor is the Usmanov alternative).

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant to write “It’s not either ZTB or the Big Splash.”

  • bob

    Also, your hunch on something positive afoot is well put, for sure. I so hope you’re right. My take is fearful and not as timely as we’d like on the eve of our next big match. I don’t want to be the dark cloud. I just feel that unless you’re right, we – as loyal eyes-open fans – are being taken for a ride; one that promises or gives a glimpse of the moon, while draining off the fuel supply that’s needed to get there. I don’t feel trusting, right now and can only hope it’s just me and pray you’re scenario comes true. It would be very good for us and for football.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Are you still taking the whole Van Persie thing personally? I think you keep missing what that transfer so vividly demonstrates, for clubs that rely on income to fund expenditure, big purchases only go ahead when the money no object clubs allow it. Now you can argue that United have done what we should have done, gone out and bought a world class player if the opportunity arose, regardless of whether that purchase makes any sort of football sense. But their owners are desperate and ours are not. They are facing a season ticket holders revolt an we are not (yet). They are facing up to a reality where they have to buy in good young players and their draw is reduced every time they fail to win something, whereas our draw is our manager and the opportunities he affords to young players.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Woolwich – RE Nextgen, Barca Vs Arsenal jr’s is a game that would be a big stadium filler.

    @ Limpar – I am glad someone else also rates Ramsey. He is a talented player that needs to relax and find his rhythm within the team, if he can develop an understanding with the other midfield players and strikers he will be a tremendous asset. Ramsey has had hardly any time with the first team and new players which I thought would be a negative from his Team GB involvement.

  • bob

    Persian gooner,
    I also can’t stand where the AAA and the Media Gloaters are coming from. I also find it hard to be blind to problems that we could have done something about – foremost, covering ourselves with quality backup in the likely injury times to come. I hope Shard is right in his view of what might be helping us in the background on the injury front. But I guess I felt since the last match that Stoke was still Vicious in some attacks on Carzola and Arteta, etc.; and the signs to me were that they – and like-minded clubs – can still get away with enough of it, via the Refshite, to inflict an injury that we’re not ready for. It’s a massive gamble not to insure this. More of a gamble than to spend well. It might well be is that something positive on that front and that Shard’s intuitions are spot on; or that this gamble – whatever its reasons – will hurt us.

  • Arvind

    The appointment of Gazidis to the top is the important piece; I think and the fact the Lee Mason brandished cards to Stoke. And the fact that when I had the volume on yesterday night on a Arsenal Stoke re-run..the commentary was actually non biased and consistent for a while. Still favoring the slightly ‘robust’ style but consistent none the less.

    More players, Bob, are always going to be welcome. Who doesn’t like backups? In our jobs..with houses…with infrastructure…and ..with football teams. One can never have enough backups. Do we have enough? Maybe. Maybe not. There’s a reason its said that Hindsight is a wonderful teacher…

    And where would you get backups anyway? The fact that both Sahin and Essien were loan deals means straight away that AW knows that Coquelin and Frimpong are good enough to step in for Diaby when he’s injured. Up front is bit more of a risk…but really..throwing in half a new team…is a lot. I can already see trouble with Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla playing together..with the unpredictable Gervinho and Theo..more new players is just a big big risk. Might as well stick with what we have.

    That’s just me though.

  • bob

    To be honest, I don’t know exactly what our owners are about. Do you? (I’m not being snarky, what is your take on them?) Indeed, Manure is desperate – and must be – because they have sold the fanbase that a Championship is their birthright. And it is time for another massive push for the Rednose XX after last season’s failure. RVP fills that desperate need. And we gave it to them. And they wish to stay the flagship of the EPL.

    Yes, our owners don’t and can’t do that, based on the evident gulf between us and the financial giants. So we’re not desperate in that sense. However, AFC owners did hint and tell and seduce us (through Gazidis and AW) that yes, we will compete for top honors. (And, yes, legalistically-speaking, we factually do compete, as does every team, technically.) And they do tell us, and early on, that yes, this year funds are available – and the real estate sale (bandied about) and the CL finish (less bandied about for some reason) would seem to suggest that, yes, this is the case.

    So, yes, fans like me bit. And yes, bit hard. And take it personally. This because I did think we genuinely could have competed for the EPL Championship – against anyone this season – PROVIDED that we would have played hardball with RVP and said no to him (like Mancini did to Tevez last season), and kept Alex (3 years to go) Song onside with something of a raise (he was underpaid). But both midfield and goal production have been put at risk. This, of course, is in no small part down to Darren Damien Dein’s conscience-free connivance. But then, at a minimum, why not at least do everything to ensure against catastrophic injury with midfield and front-line purchases? Like I say, I don’t get what top AFC ownership is about. Unless it is trying to fatten the cow for a sell-off at some unspecified near to mid term date. Again, what do you think they’re about?

  • bob

    It’s not hindsight to want insurance, but it’s foresight. Such as two winter transfer windows ago when no amount of fan agitation and advocacy – and there was a lot of it in the fall, looking forward – could move AFC to purchase further defensive coverage. And to what effect? Chronic and further injuries, an over-stretched team, and our blowout in the 4 competitions. That’s what not spending with foresight can lead to.

    This season, who’s our up-front reserve? Chamakh? Walcott as striker? Perhaps a striker-free offense? (That could be.) You say better to go with what we have? You mean there won’t be injuries? And, yes, I agree there are some early signs that possibly the new trio won’t play at the same time.

    Based on track record, it’s expectable that Diaby will suffer some knocks. I hope you’re right that AW is that convinced that Coq and Frimpong will be able to slot in and do the business. I’m arguing that Coq is promising but still untested and that Frimpong is coming back from injury and is still raw and with the layoff won’t hit the ground running. Basically, I would like us not to have to drop points and dig ourselves another big hole to have to crawl out of.

  • bob

    “Where would you get backups anyway?”
    Better to ask those paid to study this 24×7 and the world-wide best scouting network. Plus those weren’t the only two names. There was Capouye and DeJong and the two Newcastle boyz, and others. None of this is easy, as we well know. But to act like nothing could have been achieved is well, I don’t know. You tell me.

  • Arvind

    Sorry…I meant to ask in “which position” when I said “where” above. My bad. Of course it is the scouting network at fault if we are not finding people; I don’t think its that though..its just AFC/AW not seeing value in a deal (rightly or wrongly). I don’t nor do I pretend to know what Arsene thought. But as always been my stance on here for however long I’ve been here…I do think Arsene knows. And he’s delivered..year after year. Yes its all subjective..what is “delivered”.

    But its just 2 games Bob, lets wait and watch. You’re right about one thing for sure though…if I’m proved right it in the end, I’d be happy yes..that my judgement was correct but that matters little if Arsenal do not meet their goals and “fail” whatever that may be. Similarly if I’m wrong…I promise you I will come out and admit it..if I’m alive and with an Internet connection : ).

    Till January and another period of madness…let us just wait..and cross our fingers that Arsene knew…for another season. Precious little else we can do ..anyway.

  • Persian gunner

    This is really nice here, as we can talk and have some emotional ventilation!
    Being an Arsenal fan was never easy, as there are lots of glory hunting plastic fans all around the world who would support the “winner clubs!” and this made every Arsenal fan to feel the bitter taste of loneliness
    We are hurt, and frustrated, and we need to talk, thank u so much bob! For dragging us into this arguments by your comments
    But again, I want to tell you that the club is changing into better conditions, we brought in experienced players and we can see this new diffencive awareness all over the squad, and then the club is getting rid of old useless players
    These are things that we wanted to happen and here they are!
    Of course we could enjoy having a talented creative midfielder, and I am going to believe Arsene Wengers word about working hard for that “top top top” player

  • Matt Clarke

    One transfer that has not got a lot of attention (and I, for one, will not believe it unil it appears on the club website):

  • Goona Gal

    @ Persian Gunner, respectfully I can’t say I agree with your last post, but then I seem to have an ability adjust to present circumstances and process things easier than some Arsenal fans. Seemingly a rare commodity in the Arsenal blogasphere.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Matt Clarke – Youth players don’t normally get announced.

  • Matt Clarke

    @GG – Ahh, thank you 🙂

  • Goona Gal

    @ Matt, no probs. I have a vague interest in the GK situation as I thought it was a area that needed strengthening when I heard Fabianski & Mannone might be off. I haven’t had a chance to see him in action yet, but I have been told that Martinez is very good. Chezzer & Mannone count as homegrown and I think it is purposeful long term planning to make sure our GK’s continue to be so in future.