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April 2020
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Arsenal fans appear to be ready to cull a huge part of the current squad.

By Tony Attwood

In the days when the Guardian can simultaneously run an article that says, very positively “Arsenal fans must consign factions to past” and a second which announces “Wenger’s contract unlikely to break negative cycle” there is the slight hope that the paranoia that is at the heart of the newspaper industry might actually lead, in the end, to their football departments swallowing themselves.  A bit like the picture of the snake that curls around and gets ready to eat its own tail.

Although I have a nasty suspicion that they are just looking to see which way the wind is blowing.

Meanwhile the Telegraph has an interesting way of covering all options by asking a selection of Arsenal fans who should go and who should stay out of the current squad.  If a player turns out to be a star turn and was voted out, they can laugh at the fans.  And vice versa.  Either way they get to run another “bizarre Arsenal supporters” story.

Besides it is all a bit of an odd question, in that it doesn’t incorporate any of the issues that surround it – such as who comes in as a replacement for the people we kick out.  For example, one might feel that Giroud’s return of 12 goals in 29 games in the League this season is rather paltry.  But on the other hand, so many of those games had him as a substitute, it would seem a bit silly to get rid of him.  And who would come in to play that role as an occasional?

But that is how such things often go.  When asked in surveys who to keep, many fans often think just of the first choice striker, not the fact that subs and backups for injuries are also needed.  The very top players are never going to accept a life of playing second fiddle, but players who will accept that position, knowing that injuries, Europa games, domestic cup games and rotation will give them quite an opportunity, will be happy to accept it.

So how much one can take out of these surveys, I am not sure, simply because we don’t know how the question was phrased and whether the fans were really thinking of the reality of the squad system.  Besides, before the cup final how many people would have had Per listed as an essential?

In most places the consensus is that Arsenal “need reinforcements in central midfield” just as they have done “every summer” which analysis (I use the word in its lightest sense) “shows they have failed to rectify an issue that has been holding them back for some time.”  (That also from the Guardian).

But let’s move over to the Telegraph and see, who are the players who should stay and who should go?

In the lovely simplistic way the newspapers like to see the world there are only four options.  Here they are and the players who fit into their view of reality.

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Part One: Not going anywhere – 7 players

  • Bellerin
  • Alexis
  • Holding
  • Koscielny
  • Mustafi
  • Xhaka
  • Oxlade-Chamberlain

Part two came up with the players who are “safe” which is seemingly a lesser category than “not going anywhere” – 8 players

  • Cech
  • Ramsey
  • Welbeck
  • Ozil
  • Iwobi
  • Monreal
  • Santi Cazorla
  • Jeff Reine Adelaide

Part three is called “In Danger” – a further 8 players

  • Giroud
  • Mertesacker
  • Elneny
  • Maitland-Niles
  • Willock
  • Gabriel
  • Martinez
  • Chambers

Needs to Leave – 8 players

  • Coquelin
  • Lucas
  • Walcott
  • Ospina
  • Wilshere
  • Gibbs
  • Jenkinson
  • Debuchy

The first thing to note is this is 31 players – a bigger list than other clubs have in their squads (we noted last August that Arsenal was the only club that actually had a full list of 25 players in the over 21 submission to the League and to Uefa, although this included Sanogo, who will presumably leave this year.)

Some of the decisions seem based on supposition.  Lucas for example suffered injuries that meant that his planned gradual introduction to the squad through the League Cup, FA Cup and Europe with a run of appearances as a sub in League matches never happened.  That run seems to have him doomed in the mind of supporters.

His case is completely different from, for example, Ospina, who is expected to leave because of the potential return of Wojciech Szczęsny, who has had a top season in Italy.

So for every case of a player whose position is obvious (Jenkinson and Debuchy appear to be out of favour, Alexis is an obvious player to stay, if we can possibly keep him) there are many others open to debate.

Coquelin is another curious choice – a player who has shown he is ready to await his turn and fit into the squad as and when required and is an ideal player alongside the super stars, once more for the simple reason that many players will come to a club like Arsenal demanding and expecting to play.  Elneny is another such.

If we assume that we might do a little better in the Europa League than in the Champions League (in that we are not going to face Barcelona or Bayern in the round of 16) we are most certainly going to need a very full squad.

Gabriel too seems to me to be harshly treated in this review – he has taken his time to develop certainly, but I thought that in this past season he matured and evolved his style of play.   As we showed in the Cup Final we need five players who can play in that back three – if not six.

But overall I get the feeling this is all part of “you’re only as good as your recent matches” syndrome that besets Premier League football.   Theo has had a poor run – but does that mean he won’t return to former strengths?  Chris Willock is 19 – are they really judging him on one senior game?  And as for Maitland-Niles – ok I know my judgement is wonky, but I think this young man has an extraordinary potential.   And do remember these youngsters don’t take up a place in the 25 lists and can get occasional games in the under 23s.

In the end looking at the list I felt my head was going to fall off my shoulders, the amount of sideways shaking that it was forced to do.

But let’s take a positive – the list itself.  We have a significant squad, and we have money in the bank.  We really ought to be able to make it even stronger, without cutting adrift some fine prospects.

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10 comments to Arsenal fans appear to be ready to cull a huge part of the current squad.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    We have a squad with all of the squad players we need. We should take all opportunities in this coming transfer window to upgrade wherever possible. As I said in my piece a couple of days ago I think that the key positions are attacking midfield (Mahrez or better) and centre forward Lukake, Mbappe or equivalent) and I believe that Kalasanic is done and dusted at left back.

    For the rest it will depend entirely on who leaves. I certainly wouldn’t be looking to sell any of the U21 players, particularly either of the Willock brothers or Maitland-Niles who are all excellent prospects and may well form part of our Europa League squad, at least for the early rounds.

    I think it very unlikely that we will be bringing in more than four first team starters, probably less and consider those who are looking for more wholesale changes to be very misguided.

    If we get an opportunity for a real upgrade in any position we should take it, otherwise our squad is really quite good as we showed in the last 10 games of the year

  • bushido

    Arsenal right now got a rather strong squad mix of star players, squad players n development players. even if some of the player leaving including star player (hope the club sell all the players they really don’t need next season), i really trust the club n AW to find a suitable replacement player in the market that suit Arsenal system n style of play. many article about Arsenal by the media i stumble recently is all sort of twisting n manipulating the fact especially after AW sign the new contract. we really had a stable n strong looking squad that suit nicely with the 3 at the back system. with 2 or 3 of new players n hoping Alexis n Ozil (especially Alexis) sign their new contract, this team can challenge for the title next season. can’t wait for the pre-season

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think Tony Adams has to acknowledge the fact that Arsenal don’t have an owner in the like of Shiekh Khalipah Monshour and Abram Abramovich the Man City and Chelsea owners who are ever willing to spend big from their personal fortunes to support their various clubs to win titles since they bought these 2 club sides. And they’ve been relatively rewarded as their club sides have won the PL and the CL in the case of Chelsea, and the other two domestic titles within the last five season campaigns under review to justified their huge investments.

    But how much of his personal money had Stan Kroenke invested at Arsenal to bring in many marquee players to help Arsenal win the PL again and win the CL for the first time in the history of the club? JUST A FEW ONES! In the last 4 seasons I suppose.

    Kroenke as we all know him is an investor who invests where he can make profit and he’s been making that profit at Arsenal as it has severally been reported that he takes millions of pounds from Arsenal yields at regular intervas. But no one can really blame him for doing this because it’s all about investment and profit making business he’s doing at Arsenal.

    So,Arsenal holdings has been living on whatever money that it’s able to generate from their business enterprise. And it’s within this limited financial opportunity thatincurrff has been managing the football side of the Arsenal holdings and he has been relatively successful in doing this since Kroenke assumed the control of the club and he knows the good job Le Prof has been doing for him in the sense that he doesn’t incur loses for him by over indulging in buying many big players at exorbitant cost which Arsenal’s pocket can’t sustain which could bring loses to Arsenal finances. Had Le Prof been doing this, he Kroenke would since had sacked him I believe.

    Therefore, I don’t think it’s fair for Tony Adams to have said, Le Prof should not have taken that new 2 years contract deal he just recent took because taking it will “crumble around him and leave him in tears” according to Tony.

    As Tony Adams must have known very well that football is said not be a mathematical calculations which can be correctly calculated if one knows how to work it correctly. It has the uncertainty element side in it which no one for sure can confidently predict. We of the Arsenal supporters are all hoping that next season’s campaign will come with a far better success for Arsenal that it came with last season. Therefore, Arsenal can win the English Football League Cup, the Premier League title and the Europa League Cup next season and probably overlook winning the FA Cup again so soon being that they are temporarily tired of winning it. But who knows, they may decide to win the quadruple.

  • Josif

    Tony

    Arsene Wenger himself has already called our squad a little too heavy at the moment. It is only reasonable that departures for some players are on cards.

    Ospina – he is an international goalkeeper who has always stepped up when he was called upon. Brilliant during our best second half of the season in years (2014-15). However, he’s been our second goalkeeper for two years and with Woj – who is a HG-player, mind you – coming back, it’s likely he’ll be demoted to third choice.

    Jenkinson – he had a lot of bad luck with injuries and the fact we have Bellerin as our first choice on his position. The emergence of Oxlade-Chamberlain as a possible RWB-option is another reason why I don’t see Jenko next season at Arsenal. The fact he is a HG-player is his biggest hope to stay at Arsenal.

    Debuchy – see Jenkinson minus HG-status. At the age of 32, I can see him leaving for a season or two of a decent football.

    Gibbs – he has never reached the heights he was supposed to. It’s a shame that Gibbo, a player who made two arguably most important defensive actions in the last ten years – a tackle at West Brom to keep our 3:2 lead and a CL place in 2011-12 and a clearance off the line to prevent us from falling 3 goals behind in the FA Cup Final 2014 – will probably leave Arsenal. His contract is up in 12 months and with Nacho and Kolasinac, his only ace upon the sleeve is a HG-status.

    Walcott – Theo’s case is a curious one. I have already mentioned it twice in the comment section but I will make another comparison. When we had immense run-in in 2012-13 to pip Spuds for the CL place, Gervinho had a few good games including a MoTM performance v Reading. However, he gave an awful performance v Norwich, taking ball off Ramsey’s feet and losing it immediately. From the following counter-attack, Norwich took the lead. We made a come-back but Gervinho didn’t. He was substituted and played just 19 more minutes for Arsenal until the end of the season. He missed 5 out of six games. Arsene didn’t trust him during the crunch time and he was sold. To the certain extent, stories of Gnabry (substituted after a selfish attempt and a miss v Sunderland and never played for Arsenal again) and Vermaelen (lost his place at the beginning of the run-in I’ve mentioned above and never restored it) are similar.

    Sanogo – he hasn’t become a player Arsenal need and it doesn’t look like he’ll ever become one.

    Lucas Perez – he needs minutes and even Arsene feels sorry for him but he won’t get them with Welbeck, Giroud, a new signing and Alexis ahead of him. I’d like him to stay to break the No.9 curse. I like his attitude, his fearless character.

    Jack – he has injuries and hasn’t helped himself with all that smoking crap.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    PART 4 – Players that should never play for Arsenal –

    1. Players from the Spuds squad .
    2. Players from Man Ure squad .
    3. Players from Stoke squads , from like forever !
    4. Players who played under Des Moaner.Too much work in straightening them out.
    5. Players suggested by all those morons on tv.
    6. Players recommended by ungrateful,fallen and failed ex-Arsenal players .
    7. Players we are told are crucial by journos and **** blogs.
    8. Players that **** want !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Sitting idly at home with his wife, a man is casually tossing peanuts into the air and catching them in his mouth from different angles, while watching TV.

    The man loses concentration for a split second and a peanut goes into his ear.

    He tries to get it out, but succeeds only in forcing the thing in awfully deep.

    After a few hours of fruitless rooting, the couple decide to go to the Hospital. On their way out they meet their daughter coming in with her boyfriend.

    The boyfriend takes control of the situation. He tells them he’s studying Medicine, and not to worry at all.

    He then sticks two fingers up the man’s nose and asks him to blow out hard, with his mouth closed.

    Lo & behold, the nut shoots out from the ear right across the room!

    As the daughter and her boyfriend go through to the kitchen to get drinks, the man and his wife sit down to discuss their luck…..

    “So…..” the wife says, “What do you think he’ll become after he finishes school? A GP or a surgeon?”

    “Well…..” says the man, rubbing his nose, “By the smell of his fingers, I think he’s likely to become a gynaecologist!!!”

  • ARSENAL 13

    Sad thing if Gibbs leaves. He is one of the academy payers who crossed over. I still think, Gibbs has it to be here. Also looking back a couple of years, Gibbs, whenever hez played, he did well. I dont remember a poor performance from him.

  • timo

    in the new system we play with 4/5 defenders.
    Gibbs should not leave . Sead will be introduced in the squad. Monreal has had a good contribution last season.
    Debuchy and Jenko are the back ups on the right. Their progress has stagnated if not declined. Arsenal will need a better Bellerin back up.

    Our play in the middle is the most affected by injuries. We need to find combinations that can work if 2 regular starters are unavailable.
    The Europa league might be a compromise for those players not doing well.

    my prediction is that Gibbs, Walcott, Coq, Giroud, can’t be allowed to leave

  • Brickfields Gunners

    The little difference between crap and …….!

    An elderly man walks in to the famous restaurant Lucas Carton in Paris with his girlfriend. He orders a bottle of Rothschild Mouton 1928. The waiter returns with a full bottle of wine and fill up a small amount in a glass for tasting. The man barely smells the wine before putting the glass down and stating: “This is not a 1928 Mouton!”

    Soon, almost 20 people are standing around the table. This includes the chef and the restaurants owner. Every single one is trying to convince the old man that it is, in fact, a 1928 Mouton. The waiter then asks: “How can you be so sure this isn’t a 1928 Mouton?”

    The elderly man then states: “My name is Phillip de Rothschild, and I produce this wine!”
    The waiter then admits that the wine actually is a Clerc Milon 1928. “I could not bear the thought of us parting with the last bottle of Mouton 1928. You know, Clerc Milon is produced in the exact same village, with the exact same grapes, the same type of baskets and aged in the exact same barrels. The wines are exactly the same, the only difference is that the vineyards are on the other side of the village.”

    Rotschild turns to the waiter and says: “When you get home tonight, ask your wife to undress, and put one finger in each hole. Pull them out, and smell them. You’ll then understand the importance of a small geographical difference.”

  • Menace

    Testing comment posting from mobile