Next season’s heroes

I have just been struck by the number of players we currently have on loan.  I suspect this must be an all time record for us – and maybe for any league club.

  • Jay Simpson: WBA
  • Gavin Hoyte: Watford
  • Rui Fonte: Crystal Palace
  • Henri Lansbury, Scunthorpe Utd
  • Paul Rodgers: Northampton Town
  • Rene Steer: Gillingham
  • Armand Treore: Portsmouth
  • Nacer Bararaozite: Derby County
  • James Dunne: Nottingham Forest
  • Kerrea Gilber: Leicester
  • Abu Ogogo  Barnet
  • Philippe Senderos: A C Milan
  • Pedro Botelho: UD Salamanca
  • Vincent van den Berg FC Zwolle

That makes 14 players out on loan!  And quite probably I have missed someone.

What makes me think of this particularly is the news that Celtic are in discussion with the Scottish FL over the option of playing their reserve team in the Scottish 3rd division.

This notion came up here some months back where we were looking at the fact that in Spain this is the way it happens – the big teams play their reserve teams in division 2, and just have the rule that if the reserves win the league, they can’t go up to the top division.

We were suggesting that if the Football League continue with their 19th century view that this is not possible in England, maybe Arsenal could have a reserve team in Spain, instead of players out on loan all over the place.

If the Celtic deal goes through it could open up the option in England.  I personally think this would be a great option, not just because it would keep more of our youngsters together, but also because it would allow tens of thousands of fans around the country who never get the chance to watch Arsenal, to go and see the stars of next year playing in lower league stadia.

I say this as one who has trooped along to some away reserve games in the Midlands (where I live) and it has always been enjoyable – although it would have been better in front of a large more partizan crowd.

So, maybe here’s another campaign.   Arsenal loan team to come home and take Ebbsfleet’s place in the Conference.

And speaking of campaigns, yesterday’s blog says that the idea that came from about no points for a draw, also noted that quite often our ideas get taken up elsewhere without acknowledgment.   (And sometimes not just the idea – on which there is of course no copyright – but the whole sodding article gets reprinted without acknowledgement).

Yesterday an hour after we published the story about no points for 0-0, Football 365 did the same sort of story.  Absolutely not copying my words – just a run through of the same idea.

I knocked off a fairly intemperate email to the editor saying it would have been nice for an acknowledgment, and got a reply back saying that their story arrived in their offices at the same time as mine was published.   I’ve tried to go back and find the F365 piece to read it again, but because I am writing from home before toddling off down south I can’t find it.

But from memory, I don’t think it mentioned the original – which I cited and which was published the day before – of the article on the topic from – which is still a bit of a shame.  (But I could be wrong – as I said I can’t find it to check).

Anyway, one up to for coming up with the idea first = your fame (with or without acknowledgement) is spreading through Football 365 and this august site.  Tomorrow the Daily Mail, after which it is uphill all the way.

Now, about this Italian job…

(c) Tony Attwood 2009

17 Replies to “Next season’s heroes”

  1. The key to loan players is whether they show enough to be considered for our first team.
    Simpson seems to be doing okay. Traore started well but seems to have drifted away a bit (is he injured?)
    Does anyone have any better insight into how they are doing – and if any are looking like real prospects?

  2. Whats becoming painfully obvious to me is that every man and his dog wants Arsenal to fail. And fail miserably too. I understand that it’s frustrating to be a Gooner at the moment (expensive too!) but we really need to pull together and prove everyone out there wrong. Excuse my lingo but Screw ‘EM! The team need us more than ever and the booing (that I can understand) probably doesn’t help them. According to Stan Collymore we are living in dreamland if we think we are going to finish in the top four. SCREW HIM TOO! Lets prove Muppet’s like him wrong. These “experts” and others are predicting our demise and they can’t wait to say I told you so. I’m fired up, and I’m sure every Gooner is, for the rest of the season. We can still achieve something this campaign despite the seemingly negative position we find ourselves in. We CAN catch the top four, we CAN win the Champions League and we CAN win the FA Cup despite the situation we find ourselves in. There is so much at stake still this season. It could still be a big one. We need an “us against the world” attitude and maybe if we Gooners show this then the players will adopt the same attitude too.

  3. Yes. It’s been exactly 7 days since we stuck 4 goals past a team. It seems like so long ago. Wait that’s only a week!

    We also scored 3 goals twice in January.

    what annoys me is that there was no gallvanising of the troops

    I’m interested in how eactly you would do this? I mean, unless you’re suggesting Wenger should run on the pitch and slap Denilson in the face every time he gives the ball away, what do you want him to do? Surely the only thing he can do is give a good team talk at half time – and I’m guessing like the rest of us, you have no idea what he actually said to the team after the first 45.

    The trouble is, he had nearly three strikers on if you count Vela who was pushed right up – and despite what other people on here would have you believe, Sunderland didn’t just sit and defend, they looked bloody dangerous on the counter attack.

    So would you have Wenger take off a midfielder or defender for a striker (of which he had none on the bench) and possibly lose the game 1-0?

    You’d of rightfully called him an idiot if he did that. So let’s give the man a break.

    Let’s not think of games as *MUST WIN* and instead think of them as *MUST NOT LOSE*.

  4. The main complaint I have about sat is that everybody seemed to have resigned from their responsibility in playing a part in scoring a goal and putting it all on Arshavin instead. So what if it was his debut. He shouldn’t have been the only one trying to make things happen. Everybody else looked completely disinterested. There was such a shocking lack of urgency about our play, that I was feeling angry. And when the odd chance fell to someone, they made a disgusting mess of it.
    And I have to agree with Kieran on one point. It wasn’t as if Sunderland were defending with 10 men throughout. They were attacking us occasionally and looked dangerous on the counter.
    I think our lack of goals scored goes hand in hand with our lack of goals conceded. I just read an article on SkySports where Sagna ‘reveals’ the defensive approach Arsenal have changed to, this season, as compared to last season. He basically says that certain people left the club and because we are a young side, and because we started to concede too many goals, they decided to change to a more defensive approach. Sagna says that now his first priority is to defend rather than to make those attacking runs we’ve come to depend on from our fullbacks. For too long they’ve been an integral part of our attack, and I think now teams have figured us out pretty well, and part of the reason why we always face a swarm of 10 defenders every time we attack is because we take too much time to wait for the fullback to make the attacking run, to pass to him.
    So the fullbacks being defensive can be a good thing. It’s certainly helped us keep quite a few clean sheets. I’d rather have my midfield and attack working towards scoring rather than relying on two defenders to help. It also gets very predictable seeing it happen in most of our attacks.
    This obviously means our midfield will have to do more work from now on. I suppose it makes sense to give more responsibility to the midfield now that they’ve had a decent few months to work together. I’m not hoping for a drastic change though because Denilson + Song is too weak to compete against most other teams in the league, let alone challenge for titles. But finally I think we’re going to see an Arsenal side that plays with penetrative, more direct wingers in Arshavin and Nasri, and Walcott, Vela and Rosicky (and Eboue even though he’s pretty useless, he is direct).
    We have drawn 3 games nil-nil at the Emirates but certain things about the team do make me feel a sense of reserved optimism. At the start of the season people were talking about Arsenal being title-contenders. Towards the end of the first half of the season we started to fall from title-contenders to champions league-place contenders. So I’ve already been through the ‘worry, disdain, frustration, anger, given-up’ phase. Now it has started to look like there’s a relatively stronger foundation to the squad as compared to the first half of the season. It’s something we can build on. Hopefully the goals will also start to come. And some of the injured troops coming back will surely help. The squad is pretty thin at the moment, so it does make a bit of sense that we haven’t been on our game as we would have liked.

  5. since that scintillating and thoroughly deserved win against the Mancs three-and-a-half months ago, Arsenal have scored just four goals in seven home Premier League matches. The other causes for concern are less widely publicised and appreciated. We have recently lost key backroom personnel: team doctor, head physio and now our multi award-winning head groundsman, Paul Burgess. Are we to be a feeder employer for national organisations and bigger football clubs (as distinct from bigger football teams)?

    I’ve long argued that Arsenal are not and never will be a “big club” in the way that applies to ManYoo and Liverpool. Another illustration occurred at Old Trafford on Saturday evening. Ronaldo should have been cautioned for his Eboue-like kick but referees are seldom strong enough to give these when they see them; the pressure on them is intense. As Big Fat Sam summarised: “… it’s difficult to ref here …” when opining about the latest, blatant non-penalty for a Premiership away team at The Swamp. This was a game United could easily have lost and ended with 10 men, but they and their arrogance rolls on. As I’ve said many times before, there’s absolutely nothing that Arsene or Arsenal can do to change this, and attempts in the immediate future at league domination by our boys will therefore be massively handicapped.

    Half Full: four consecutive clean sheets, three goals conceded in the last 10 games in all competitions, and 16 unbeaten since Citeh away, if one not unreasonably ignores two 2-0 away reverses – at Porto and Burnley – by our second string. But whereas Blackburn had a reported 24 (!) attempts at goal – 16 on target and hitting the post – opponents at E******s have shown very little ambition recently, which I regard as a very encouraging trend. Bolton were totally devoid of ambition, West Ham were little better and, after a bright first few exchanges, promotion-chasing Cardiff mounted an exercise in damage limitation. Sunderland passed the ball extremely well at times, but as the match wore on their impressive striker, Kenwyne Jones, became increasingly isolated. Almunia had just to maintain concentration in the second half, so redundant was he. In the first he had only to deal with two speculative shots from distance.

    Adebayor, Eduardo, Theo, Cesc, Diaby and Rosicky are all close to returns. These players will add to our potency, either directly and / or indirectly. And then there’s Arshavin, but only when he’s adjusted fully to the English game (despite Saturday’s highly encouraging first half display from him, please don’t expect too much too soon). It may come too late to rescue a CL spot for next season – our best route may be to win the thing! – but the future is a lot brighter than many think. I can understand the boos of frustration at full time, which I think was largely down to the lack of second half chances than to a third consecutive Premier League stalemate. Whilst our team gets older and more mature, the ManU manager will also get older, though not more mature. One day quite soon Old Red Nose will retire, and Old Trafford will be a less intimidating place to officiate. We may soon have a more level playing field; and silverware will follow.

    Keep the faith.

  6. Most won’t make it at Arsenal but they still have the talent. Lansbury, Barazite, Pedro and maybe Traore I would pin greatest hopes for.

  7. Ian, some very goodpoints. There is a very subtle, yet crucial point made in this – if we do not concede tonight, we will go through…and our strength has been surprisingly defensively of late…we know that we can score a goal away despite drying up lately, but to concede tonight would be suicidal
    Taking a 0-0 to Rome would, in my opinion, be a good result and the pressure would be on them because every attack could mean a counter by Arsenal and a goal would virtually eliminate them!

  8. I think there are roughly two types of loanees: (1) loaned out in preparation for the Arsenal 1st team in the future, and (2) loaned out simply because they don’t have future with us yet haven’t found another club.

    As far as I know, those that fall into the second category are:
    Paul Rodgers, Rene Steer, James Dunne, Kierrea Gilbert, Abu Ogogo and Vincent van den Berg.

    I have high hopes for Lansbury, Barazite, Pedro and Traore as well.
    And I know it’s very unpopular to say this, but I still hope Senderos comes back to us and forms a rock of CBs with Djourou – they are actually very good CB pairing for Swiss national team.

  9. Ok its pancake today is this a sign that we can put roma in a frying pan and flatten them? Can we turn up the heat at the emirates and change them to aroma? Ha ha seriously upset I cant make this match have to bloody work! I hope for the sake of Arsene wenger not having egg on his face we get a result because if he doesnt well the Sun will have a field day lol. Then again last year the chavs got done by Fernabache and they ended up in the final so just saying nothing is done after the first leg either way. Diaby coming back is good as our injury list along with ineligible players robs us of quite a bit of depth. As much as he has been terrible all year long these are the kind of games that Adebayor usually sparkles in however, if Bendtner gets the nod he should be just as effective as long as he remains a target in the box no need for him to drop short as he only ends up giving the ball away. I have heard he has been looking better to be honest I havent seen all that much change but hey im just a harsh critic. For the love of God please do not start Eboue! Its time to show that famed belief and quality wenger always goes on about!

  10. You can’t blame Sunderland for their tactics. We had enough chances so it wasn’t that we couldn’t get around them. The problem is we still lack a clinical finisher. Hopefully Edu will answer this problem. I was also concerned by the incident shortly before half time when sagna and toure were attacking in the area. I thought who is defending? The answer was one person and a quick counterattack nearly resulted in a goal being conceded. It was very poor play. AW used to say that if a CB found himself forward then fine but someone else would slot in at the back. that did not happen and shows a lack of understanding in the team. A better team would have punished us.

  11. What do you mean by be a ” “big club” in the way that applies to ManYoo and Liverpool”, Ian. Just curious.

  12. simon: “they looked bloody dangerous on the counter attack” — I don’t know about “bloody dangerous,” simon, but that counterattack happened so few bloody times, it was a joke! I counted maybe 2 real counterattacks at most? Their other attempts at counterattacks seemed halfhearted and we broke them up very effectively. You don’t use 2 defensive midfielders against a 10 man defense who once or twice decide to make a genuine attempt at counterattack. Hardly much to defend against.

    Simon, I do like your call to arms and your point that everyone (in the media at least) seems to want to see us fail. That’s been true for a very long time. Last season even Cesc alluded to this toward the end of our season when he said how the media coverage seemed to take joy in our collapse. Absolutely on-target, Cesc! BTW, I too read those comments from Sagna about how the defensive coaching changed in the first half of the season — and how it coincided with the team becoming more stable defensively. Very interesting stuff.

    Good news for tonight: Diaby’s back in the squad. We could’ve used his creativity against Sunderland. He’s a very good creative player to have in Europe. Going to be tough tonight, and I’ll be happy with a 0-0 draw, as long as we don’t concede. And our toughened up defense can achieve that. We have more trouble scoring at home lately than away anyway.

    Tony, I THINK YOUR IDEA IS GREAT! Wenger and Benitez have come out publicly favoring this idea, using the Spanish system as an example. Would be a fantastic way for our youngsters to learn in authentic competition. Of course other clubs would hate the idea.

  13. “And I know it’s very unpopular to say this, but I still hope Senderos comes back to us and forms a rock of CBs with Djourou – they are actually very good CB pairing for Swiss national team.”

    gg, you’re certainly not unpopular to me, I will defend Senderos to the very end. Would love to see him return — tho I’d prefer to see him return after having a good run with Milan with lots of games. So far he hasn’t had that.

    Ian, your points about the refereeing at OT are really important. Note that even a guy like Allardyce commented on this. Even the Times commented on how Webb seemed unable to referee correctly at OT, saying that Benitez’s rant against Ferguson was given credible support after Webb’s performance at OT on Saturday. When was the last time a ref called for a penalty against Man Utd at OT? Compare that to how many times at any other top club’s home ground, incl. ours. The numbers are pretty skewed. Between 1992 and 2007, there were only 12 penalties called against Man Utd at OT — it’s an extraordinarily tiny number compared to those at other top clubs.

    I’ve always argued that Arsenal (esp. under AW) is operating under deep, institutional FA bias that is thoroughly skewed towards Man Utd. And I’ve always thought Wenger has to train his team with that in mind.

    Ian, the term “big club” is pretty relative. How do you define it? Arsenal are one of England’s biggest clubs and a big one in Europe. We are only 1 of 4 European teams to be in the CL consecutively for 11 years. We are one of the world’s richest. We have a world class state-of-the-art stadium and world class manager. If you refer to number of trophies, then, yes we are not as “big” as MUtd and Pool. But very few clubs have as many trophies as we have in our long history.

  14. The most convincing Arsenal central defence partnership this season has been Djourou and Song in the carling cup. I like Gallas and Toure and are doing well now but I feel the latter with Djourou will be a very formidable partnership. Pace, power, positioning and aerial ability. Unfortunately Senderous lacks on the mobility department.

  15. I have to disagree with you, The Brain.
    I don’t see any positional sense in Toure; in fact, he seems to make up for his lack of positional sense with pace, which isn’t on his side as he’s getting older. A bit of headless chicken to say in extreme. So for me, it should be Gallas+Djourou, if excluding Senderos from the equation and for now. You may argue that Gallas is too old and over the hill, but he still has a lot to give as a CB, and more so than Toure.

  16. Denilson, Diaby, Nasri and Eboue all played well. Eboue’s performance in the final third, passing and finishing, was hugely disappointing as usual. Bendtner’s was too. He definitely had a nightmare overall. VanPersie did well to win a penalty but wasn’t able to make something happen like he did all through January. The defence did well. One can see that the fullbacks are going forward less often, and that’s playing a part in being solid defensively as well as create more space during our attacks because the opposition has to deal with lesser players, and therefore they don’t need to get all 11 behind the ball. But we’re still too slow going forward. The movement just isn’t as intelligent and threatening as ManUtd’s. They rarely misplace a pass. The speed, precision, and placement of the pass is so unbelievably accurate that it’s scary to watch. We don’t scare teams like that. We wait too long to make a move, and by that time the opposition has too many men already in position in defence. The performance today was one of the best performances of our season in terms of creating chances, but because we’re not finishing well, I’d say it compares poorly with the Invincibles. For this team, it might have been one of the best performances, but for the Invincibles, this would’ve been an average performance. That tells you how our level has dropped, and it’s sad.

    We’re still in a decent position. We only need to score one goal, which has been quite a challenge for us lately, specially from open play, as we’ve still not scored in 3 previous premier league games and one champions league game (overall 3 home games and 1 away game). But because Roma should try to go forward more often in the second leg, hopefully that means more space opening up for us to utilize. And if we have Eduardo and Walcott back, it does seem that we’d be better off than we are now with Bendtner and Eboue, but I’m not sure how match-fit Walcott will be. Eduardo though will definitely be a boost in terms of finishing ability.

    Eboue does look like a changed person. Wenger said he’d spoken to him and that he’d changed. Let’s see how long he can go without resorting to his usual self. Good to see an improvement, but imagine if we had more clinical players in place of Eboue and Bendtner. We’d be so much better off and under much less pressure to perform every time, because we’d probably be finishing off better and converting more chances to goals.

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