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You thought you knew Arsenal, but … 7 weird Arsenal facts and the 12 players the BBC think Arsenal might sign

By Josif with additional bits culled from the nation’s newspapers

Did you know:

1:  That Arsene Wenger has won all three titles in even-numbered years (1998, 2002, 2004)

2.  That Arsenal have beaten Manchester clubs four times in five attempts in 2015, with a draw that was essentially a victory in the 3rd place battle.

3.  That Arsenal have been the only team to put three past United, three past Watford and five past Leicester,

4.  That Olivier Giroud has scored 28 goals in 2015,

5.  That Olivier Giroud has already done something Thierry Henry had never done for any of his clubs and France – Giroud’s goal in the FA Cup Final 2015 means he has scored a goal in a final of a competition. Thierry played eight finals and didn’t score once!

6.  That Alexis is a reigning champion of South America, Ozil and Mert reigning world champions and Cazorla is a reigning champion of Europe.

7.  That Petr Cech has already knocked Barcelona out twice over two games with his former club?

Now the Untold team readily admitted that by and large we didn’t know this, and by and large we couldn’t actually add any more “Did you know” stories.

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So we tried something else: “Could you imagine?”  And we came up with this.  “Could you imagine a national newspaper in Britain coming up with the headline

More delusions of adequacy from Allardyce

That in fact is in the Guardian today.   Anyway, the discussions had started and we moved on to a piece in the Telegraph in which they have come up with their list of the top 20 midfielders in the Premier League.   Interestingly three of the top 10 are Arsenal men…

1 – Santi Cazorla, Arsenal

Santi Cazorla has become the best midfielder in the Premier League over the last two seasons, moving to a deeper playmaking role alongside a more defensive partner in Francis Coquelin. This positional switch has coincided with Arsenal becoming genuine title contenders as from the bit in the middle of the pitch, the hugely creative Spaniard can control the play and allow Mesut Ozil more freedom ahead. Since January he has been superb, assisting 11 goals, creating 72 chances and maintaining a pass accuracy of 90.16%. Below Cazorla’s name in that list of master passers is almost every single other midfield player in the league, and he’s done it while under constant pressing pressure.

2 – Mesut Ozil, Arsenal

The doubters have finally been proven wrong – it’s officially fine to acknowledge the talents of Arsenal’s midfield maestro. This season Mesut Ozil has been on a different planet and since January he looks to have fully adjusted to the demands of the Premier League. The German has created 136 chances – 37 more than his nearest rival (Eden Hazard) over the course of the year – as well as assisting 20 goals and scoring six others. His work-rate no longer goes unnoticed either. But there is another…

9 – Aaron Ramsey, Arsenal

Aaron Ramsey is enjoying a spell in his favourite position in central midfield at the moment and has been brilliant for Arsenal all over the pitch for an entire year. Injuries have curbed his momentum along the way but last season he was a goal scoring hero and this season he’s been working hard on the right wing. Six goals and five assists is a good return but he can still get much, much better.

They did the same again for forwards.  Here two of the top eight are ours.

2 – Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal

Alexis Sanchez’s work-rate is astounding and you can genuinely see the effect it has on his teammates when he’s in the team. His 12 goals and three assists in 2015 don’t really begin to explain or do justice to what it is he brings to Arsenal but if you do want some stats, try this: in 2015 Alexis has created more chances and dribbled past more defenders than any other forward in the Premier League.

And all this achieved while supposedly exhausted and carrying an injury. FAO Daniel Sturridge.

8 – Olivier Giroud, Arsenal

The debate as to whether Olivier Giroud is world class is not is both tedious and pointless, since what that means in essence, is that if a group of space aliens came down to earth to play us at football, those are the players we would put in a team against them. Giroud probably won’t save the planet but has scored 19 goals all year, as well as being exactly the kind of striker Arsenal’s forward players need – holding up the ball, linking play and being a target man. If Benzema is Spotify Premium, Giroud is Spotify free.

They also have one more in the top 20…

18 – Theo Walcott, Arsenal

Theo Walcott impressed earlier this season when played as the main striker in Olivier Giroud’s absence – and then at his expense – and has done well to recover from serious injury. Crucially, Walcott hasn’t lost any of his pace since that cruciate ligament surgery and is an excellent outlet for Mesut Ozil. Walcott has scored eight goals in 28 appearances this year.

OK, by this time we were wandering away from Josif’s original brief but we finished the meeting, and wrapped it up for the day with a gathering together of all the players the BBC thought could sign for Arsenal this month.

MICHY BATSHUAYI (22, striker) Marseille

At the age of only 22, he is likely to make the Belgium Euro 2016 squad and has scored in both of his appearances for his country so far. Only PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has netted more goals than Batshuayi in Ligue 1 this season.

LARS BENDER (26, midfielder) Bayer Leverkusen

The German international – the twin of Borussia Dortmund player Sven – has played in the Champions League this season and is solid and dependable.

GONZALO HIGUAIN (28, striker) Napoli

We all laughed so much at this point that I spilled my glass of wine on our notes, so we can’t tell you what the BBC said.

GRZEGORZ KRYCHOWIAK (25, midfielder) Sevilla

How many defensive midfielders do we need?  But maybe we aren’t buying that Egyptian chap.

RUBEN NEVES (18, midfielder) Porto

A regular in the Porto side as well as taking the captain’s armband at his tender age, Neves is already a Portugal international and looks destined for the top. 

NOLITO (29, winger/striker) Celta Vigo

We don’t need another wide man – especially one of this age.

ADRIEN RABIOT (20, midfielder) Paris St-Germain

The young Frenchman has said he wants to leave the club on loan  in January, despite featuring quite often for the Ligue 1 leaders this season.

KELECHI NWAKALI (17, midfielder) ASJ Football Academy

Tipped as a future star, Nwakali was the captain of the Nigeria team that won the Under-17 World Cup earlier this year. His brother Chidiebere Nwakali is already at Manchester City 

ALEXANDRE PATO (26, striker) Sao Paulo – on loan from Corinthians

The Brazilian and his advisers are desperate to move him to England. Corinthians’ £15m asking price is high, but Pato has rediscovered his best form after five injury-hit years at AC Milan and possibly still has his best years ahead of him.

So there you are.  Now you know everything.   Feel’s good doesn’t it?

The secrets of Arsenal’s success – looking back to 2015


20 comments to You thought you knew Arsenal, but … 7 weird Arsenal facts and the 12 players the BBC think Arsenal might sign

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thank you Josif! Glad to see Caz getting some recognition, he is quite a player, and any team will miss him.
    If indeed we really are after our Egyptian friend, and from what I have read of him, he would come in useful, just hope our lawyers are on the case if there are work permit issues.
    Henry not scoring in finals……brings back some very bad memories!

  • Pat

    Very enjoyable article, Josif. So pleasant to just drool over descriptions of the great qualities of our players – and be amazed to read they were in national newspapers. Plus the seven facts at the start. A nice New Year’s Day treat!

  • marcos

    Henry’s miss against barca…nd he says giroud nt gud euff

  • Mandy Dodd

    Anthony Talyor tomorrow, Newcastle now have a licence to kick.

  • Pete

    No Coquelin in the top 20 midfielders? Are they serious?

  • Al

    Will be at the ems tomorrow, relishing the opportunity to boo that PIGMOB rep off the park if he tries to cheat us.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well said Al.
    Josif would Brozovic be an appropriate addition to the list of target players?

  • Gord

    A cut and paste adventure in Google News, searching for “Anthony Taylor”.

    Despite TV pictures proving the dismissal was justified, Deeney has accused the Spurs players of pressuring referee Anthony Taylor to show a straight red card.

    Anthony Taylor, from Stockport, was asleep at home when presa canario Troya was taken from her kennel behind the house.

    The Hawthorns boss blasted the decision to hand Anthony Taylor control of tomorrow’s Stoke v Chelsea clash after his display in the West Brom v Leicester game last week.

    You can see a young man police identified as Anthony Taylor pull open the doors of the shell station. The towel covering his face falls away briefly. He goes to the back of the store where the cashier is working, brandishes a weapon and orders her to the cash register.

    Liverpool have been handed the same referee for their return to Stoke City who they had for the 6-1 mauling back in May.

    For the gas sensors, Velásquez-García and Anthony Taylor, a visiting researcher from the British company Edwards Vacuum, use so-called “internally fed emitters.” These are emitters with cylindrical bores that allow fluid to pass through them.

    Referee: Anthony Taylor (Chester) – got the penalty decision wrong but other than that Sunderland could not even blame the official.

    Tauranga’s Anthony ‘T’n’T’ Taylor will make his first WBU World title defence, against two time Interim WBO world champion Michael Katsidis in April 2016 at The Trust Arena.

    And under current guidelines, that means referee Anthony Taylor had no option but to point to the spot.

    Anthony Taylor, President and lobbyist for Compassionate Oregon, told GoLocal the proposal could spell trouble for medical marijuana patients.

    JOSE MOURINHO received an apology from referee Anthony Taylor after booking Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas for diving.

    I think that is enough nonsense. Hopefully Taylor’s performance isn’t this bad tomorrow.


  • Pat

    Antony Taylor not good news. Hope we are at the top of our game.

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    None of the 2 striker targets, one of the Boss’ and that of mine – Kokorin and a popular Gooners target – Lukaku is on that BBC 10 recommended targets for Arsenal to sign 1 or 2 out of them during this current window.

    Elneny’s signing is said to be on hold until a administrative bottleneck is cleared before the deal can go through. We pray the deal will finally be completed on time.

    But is he Elneny the only player the Boss is going to sign for Arsenal this window as being opined in some quarters? That will be contrary to what the Boss himself said that, he will be very busy in the market this window.

    The yearning of the majority of the Arsenal fans before this window is opened is, the Boss should sign a DMF and a top quality striker for option and cover for his striker’s position and his DMF’s position to enhance the Gunners campaign in this 2nd half of the season that kickoffs later today.

    I think the Boss shouldn’t be over dependent on Olivier Giroud to singularly be leading the line for Arsenal throughout the season in this Arsenal titles defining months of January – February. The signing of a striker is not a guarantee to do very well during these 2 defining months. But it could enhance the Gunners performances in all competitions.

    Happy New Year to the Boss, the Gunners, the Gooners, the Arsenal management board, the Arsenal FC owners, the Arsenal Untolders, the and myself – Samuel. Thank you all. God bless us. Amen!

  • Andy Mack

    Samuel, Aren’t you forgetting that Theo is also our ‘CF’?
    And Alexis and Campbell could cover at CF if necessary in certain games…

    AW may buy another either for next season or if a top top level player becomes available at a sensible price, but I can’t see that he’ll buy one out of any feeling of necessity for the remainder of this season.

  • Gord

    Nice article Josif.

    Arvind, I looked at your page. I think the idea is good, I don’t know if it will work.

    I suspect the one piece that is a bit unusual, is a place where a battery mounts. For a bunch of practical reasons, I think this is where most of his problems in bringing this to market will lie. If that battery somehow gets between the two set of teeth when a blow causes the mouth to close quickly, the blow could rupture the battery, or the battery is cut off. If cut off, it may be swallowed.

    As I understand things, most accelerometers are a microscopic beam, and deflection is measured. The beam is constrained to only move in one direction. To look at head injuries, you need to have 3 mutually perpendicular accelerometers. But if you want redundancy, you end up needing nine of them (3 in each direction, so you can do majority rules in any given direction). Maybe the picture doesn’t show it, but to me it looks like only 2 directions are being measured.

    Maybe (optical) gyroscopes are being used instead? I think it is easier to get away with only 2 perpendicular planes in that instance.

    My knowledge of sensors in that field is only rudimentary, so maybe things have gotten a lot smaller. I don’t think accuracy or range of values would be a problem.

    I don’t think the answer to every problem is yet another bloody app. Maybe if they would say application, or program?

    Lots of athletes seem to enjoy playing games with their mouthguards, and it may not be sitting where it is supposed to at the time of the incident.

    Also, my Mom wears dentures. It seems to be quite difficult to get things that fit well and feel comfortable. Adding a bunch of electronics to a soft rubber is not likely to be easy.

    Maybe we could get one for Sam? Something seems to be rattled around a bit. 🙂

    I’m surprised nobody has downvoted my nonsense yet.


  • Arvind

    Gord, maybe people do not downvote you because they see the effort you take to post. Unlike some others who whine for transfers like spoilt brats, so they can boast in front of their ‘mates’ in the pub after 5 beers or whatever. Anyway..

    I’m not qualified to talk about the actual engineering of the idea. But it resonated a bit, coz I used to see athletes (rugby? american football? boxing? forget which sport…) use mouth guards as you mentioned. I used to think that was so they didnt bite their tongue off. So if they were anyway putting such a huge thing in, could they add the magic to it?

    I mean, the medical team on the pitch could get serious help from it – if it works out. And maybe Mourinho would still be here.

    Oh how I miss his charm and charisma.

  • Arvind

    The last line was clearly sarcastic but WordPress doesn’t like angular brackets, even if I make it benign by adding a space after it. Meh.

  • Gord

    I think where I seen athletes playing with mouthguards the most was ice hockey. But I think a lot of athletes did. Among the worst athlete photos I seen, were basketball players going for the layup, with their tongue sticking out. Get bumped and come down on some guys shoulder who is jumping up, and goodbye tongue.

    I think you could try square brackets instead of angle brackets. [sarcasm] maybe not [/sarcasm]


  • Gord

    Out of IrishNews:

    > HEAD coach Steve McClaren has told Newcastle to get physical with Arsenal as he attempts to kick-start the club’s season once again.

    But, we all knew that was going to happen, right? Except for the *&%&^&$%%^&YTY$$%^ referee, Taylor.

    There is nothing in the article to suggest that Steve McClaren had any contact with Mike Riley or Anthony Taylor before coming to this decision.

    What we need is at some point, a rushed clearance is done, and the ball accidentally hits Taylor in the head, knocking him out, and then bounces and hits McClaren in the face, giving him two black eyes and swollen lips.


  • Brickfields Gunners

    Except our own thoughts, there is nothing absolutely in our power.
    RENÉ DESCARTES (1596–1650)

    ‘Your mind will always believe everything you tell it . Feed it faith . Feed it truth .Feed it with love ‘.

  • para

    Anthony Taylor and friends as ref.
    Hope the lads are fired up and play together and for each other like last game, although Newcastle will probably be fighting but if we are focused they will not be a problem.

    Everyone says Pep going to Manc, seems strange, would not be surprised if to Chel$ or somewhere else.

  • Menace

    According to the medja, Wengers January signings are going to be all messi !!! 😉