Arsenal’s two old-timers who look like new transfers

By Tony Attwood

We all know who we signed this summer.,,

  • Mathieu Debuchy
  • Alexis Sanchez
  • David Ospina
  • Calum Chambers
  • Danny Welbeck

Not a bad haul.  Some were raved over from the off, like Alexis, some had a load of manufactured abuse from make-believe supporters egged on by Sky, such as Danny Welbeck.  But all turned out to be good buys.

But I’d like to suggest we had two other newcomers.  Not real transfers, but a bit like them.

The New Jack Wilshere and the New Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.  Both have transformed themselves so much they are getting to be like new players.

Now I know that we saw real steps forward for both last season – the Jack goal that is now part of the build up to matches at the Emirates was one such moment, but at the start of the season I am not sure that either were thought to be major players in the New Arsenal that was being created.

But in both cases a transformation of form and the injuries to others have allowed them to step forwards.

The age of each is a factor… Jack is 22 Alex is 21, but even at these tender ages the press was full of comments, especially about Jack, that now was the moment when he had to step up, otherwise it was all over.   The press seized upon the supposed cigarette episode, and reading the press and blogs, and taking in radio and TV there was no doubt that the abject failure of England in the world cup was utterly and totally due to Jack.

Oh yes, and Mr Wenger was to blame, because you can’t have a football story with Mr Wenger being to blame.  A vote in the Metro – one of the most unbalanced newspapers of all time, had 65% of voters calling Jack a muppet.  But then since 100% of people who take the paper seriously are muppets, that wasn’t much of a finding.

A Mr Scholes (a pundit with BT Sport) said that Jack hadn’t become player he should have been because of a lack of guidance from Gunners boss Wenger.

“I think he’s a frustrated figure at the moment. He’s trying to force the play,” said Scholes of Jack.   “Wenger has to be blamed, he’s the manager. I don’t know how much work he does with him, but I’m not sure he does enough.  He has fallen so far behind Aaron Ramsey. They’re trying to find a position for him and I don’t know what it is.”

Now that statement is what we commentators call, “bollocks” (to use the technical term).  Of course the fact that Michael Owen name Jack “Man of the Match” in the next game doesn’t actually help Jack’s credibility, and the press are still very unsure about him, but the transformation across the last two seasons is there for all to see – if they want to see.

As even the Telegraph (normally not a paper to praise anything remotely Arsenal) was forced to admit, “he was England’s outstanding performer against Estonia, delivering two passes which would have gilded any DVD or video clip he studies of Xabi Alonso or Andrea Pirlo…. The wonderful, angled, chipped pass with which he bypassed the Estonian defence to reach Wayne Rooney’s run in the first-half would have been envied by Alonso.

“The vision and quick reaction with which he then sent another, longer cross-field ball bouncing behind the last Estonian defender to again find Rooney deep into injury-time was another worthy of Alonso. It was the kind of round-the-corner pass that he – and his former team-mate at Liverpool, Steven Gerrard – have made their own.

“Unfortunately Rooney missed both opportunities….

Around the same time, last month, the papers and blogs started praising Alex Oxlade Chamberlain.  Kieran Gibbs was quoted as saying, “Alex is a fantastic player and he just needs games.  He’s showing what he can do now and his end product is what he wanted to work on.   The results are paying off for him. He’s a good professional and an amazing talent.”

But just as Jack and the Ox come to the fore, so the press have to dig out their old favourites.  Five Arsenal players with the England squad?  Quick where’s the old one-liner…

“It is a far cry from nine years ago when Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger became the first coach to select an entire squad for a League game without an Englishman in it.” (The Standard).

Just think, do we ever read about the time when Liverpool put out a cup final team without a single player in it who could play for England?  No, we don’t.

In fact all the Arsenal players playing for England are getting praise,  And Alex said on Talksprout, “I think it’s really good for England and I think it’s nice for Arsenal as a club and the fans. We’ve still got Theo to come back. We can’t count him out because I’m sure he’ll be back in the squad.”

Martin Keown said in the Mail, “When Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain came on, he gave the England midfield a new dimension.  He wants to play centrally but rarely gets the chance for Arsenal.  When he plays wide it’s as if he has to prove himself whereas through the middle things come naturally to him. On Thursday night he brought something extra and again showed Roy what he’s capable of.”

Now that’s interesting because that was what happened to Ramsey at Arsenal.  He was made to play wide, and that gave him his insights into how to play in the middle.  Of course Ramsey was written off by a lot of non-attending Arsenal “supporters” during that phase (although few rarely admit it now) but he really came through that period a better player.  I think Alex is already a better player.

As I suggested the other day, despite our serious run of injuries, we are actually developing an astonishing team at the moment.  The five new men grab the headlines, but Jack and Alex are like players reborn.

Add to the new men, Jack and Alex, and the players who even the wildest AAA ranters won’t reject, and then the next thing you know is that we actually have quite a decent team out there.

And there is even seemingly decent news on Danny Welbeck after he was injured playing for England (that’s the downside of all these players playing for England.  Hodgson said, “‘I don’t think he’s injured. He just rolled his ankle slightly and the doctors are not worried about it,   It’s no danger and he’ll be fit [for Arsenal.”


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17 Replies to “Arsenal’s two old-timers who look like new transfers”

  1. A cheerful post to start the week.
    After our usual dodgy start, injury-wise, we suddenly have 5 English internationals who have caught the headlines.
    Shades of 1934!
    Now if only England could enter a 5-a-side tournament somewhere….

  2. I believe Jack and Ox improved a lot by being around with Arteta, Ozil, Rocisky and Per. Talent, hardwork and professionalism are recipes for constant success. I hope the media don’t use this as a platform to urge them to leave for ‘greener pastures’. And of course the AAAs too.

  3. as usual a very enjoyable read, and i agree that jack and alex are making great strides. i see them, and ramsey, as the midfield three of the future. i believe they have the ability, fluidity, and fight to collectively boss games.(sorry mystical monster DM fans)

    to me the ‘new’ (in the wengerian sense) signings of the season are;


    rosicky….we havent seen much of him this season, but i think he will (as usual) play an important role in some tight games over the course of the year.

    diaby….dare i say it? but just imagine him 100% fit coming into the second half of the season. agian maybe not the core of the side like rosicky, but i could see him playing an important role as the season rolls into the final stretch.

  4. Well, it looks like plan “Make them leave Arsenal alone” has started, 5(6) players in the England squad, let us see them target our UK players now if they want to upset England’s team.

    Of course this may not stop them, some may even target them so that other players may enter the England squad? Or our non-English players will get targeted now.

    All in all, Arsenal is getting stronger and soon we can say, bring it on man, bring it on.

    After the break, we have a few tough games all at once, CL and PL games, let’s hope that injuries are non existent and we can sail through with max points.

  5. They can criticize us how much ever they want. We leak British sound. We lack strength. We lack determination…… They like it or not the core of the English teams of the future will be all gunners.

    Strategy in place to counter the shit that refs force up our @#$%.

  6. It’s lovely to read this on a drab Monday morning. Hoorah! Last night’s England game was frustrating. Firstly because the absense of Gibbs and Alex meant lack of width. Which meant Wellbeck dropped too deep. Secondly Jack’s stella performance was not capitalised on. Notwithstanding, too see Arsenal players dominating in the England squad, is proud and wonderful moment.

  7. It might also be worth mentioning that Jenkinson would have played for the u21’s but for an injury and that Akpom scored two late goals for the England u20’s (to beat the Netherlands, no less)- and Isaac Hayden actually captained that side.
    At the beginning of the season Wenger was quoted as saying that Arsenal would be making an increasing contribution towards strengthening the England team and Hodgson has recently said that his successor would probably get most of the benefit from the young players now coming through. Once again he seems to be right.

  8. On a somewhat related note, Germany just suffered their first competitive loss in donkey’s years…which just happens to be the first match that Ozil has skipped in donkey’s years, as well as a a brilliant performance by the Pole in Goal.

  9. Tony, always refreshing to see the blokes that wear our shirt getting supported on here. Jack has been a victim of the typical knee jerk reaction you expect from those people that are only interested in finding something negative to say. In the past, the culprits were always the journalists, playing their nasty game. Now, unfortunately we have a bunch of people who claim to be supporters, who take warped pleasure from abusing our players.

    The medias’ anti-Arsenal agenda is still alive and kicking. They were jumping up and down when we had few British players in the team, yet now they are ominously silent about Chelsea and Man City. They never mention the latters fine for cheating, yet if Arsenal had fallen foul of FFP, it would be mentioned every day. We have Jack, Aaron, Theo, Welbeck, Gibbs, The Ox and Chambers, yet all you will likely read is criticsm of their performances. Agenda?

  10. I didn’t see the match but if I can believe reports in my country Jack Wilshere was the bright light in an otherwise poor display from England in Estonia.

  11. Walter. Jack was the best player on the pitch. He was literally involved in everything from breaking up play to laying on chance after chance for the wasteful Rooney. (Anybody know why the commentators shout Rooneys name at maximum volume whenever he receives the ball?). Very impressive perfomance from Jack and I was surprised yet again at the accuracy of his long passing. (He doesn’t get the opportunity to make those long passes when plaiyng for us).

  12. I saw the Poland-Germany game and szcezsny was superb between the posts….what a team we are seeing come to frutition thanks to Wenger’s genius!!!

  13. Wenger is the best manager arsenal has had in the seventy years, comparisons are not fair with pre war football things are not comparable he has changed the technical ability of all arsenal players and has laid down the matrix for future managers to improve on.the biggest problem is choosing the right candidate!

  14. Jack was not only good, but clever.He jumped out doggy tackles and did not make any silly challenges.Hopefully lesson learnt.However I think the Ox can learn.He is still going into too many silly tackles. Did you see the one in front of the dugout.Why challenge there.

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