Wenger reveals more about the team v Liverpool, transfers and injuries

“It’s only noise”

By Tony Attwood

Arsène Wenger is opening up a little in his interviews, and giving us a little more insight into how matters are going to pan out in the opening match of the season.

One big hint comes in a statement directly from him that he will buy one or two centre halves – and it seems one of them is probably Werder Bremen’s  Per Mertesacker.

He’s also been dropping hints about the line up for the game against Liverpool Reds (as the owners lovingly called them on buying the club)

Cesc Fábregas and Robin Van Persie start training on 5 August, he has confirmed, and that might be too late to play in the game against the Insolvency (as they sometimes get called here), but it is a great exaggeration to take this to mean “Cesc Fábregas and Robin van Persie likely to miss opener at Liverpool” as one newspaper headline screams this morning.

What the manager actually said was, “They might be short for the first game but I don’t know. That will depend on the fitness work that they have done during the holiday.”

There’s also a lovely quote from Wenger on the subject of a Spanish team hovering on the edge of administration (see recent articles).  About their frantic antics this summer, which can now be seen as nothing other than an attempt (a successful attempt until recently) to hide the club’s financial disasters from the press, Mr Wenger said,  “It is only noise. In our job, we have to deal with what we can master. What we cannot influence is not to worry about. We have learned about that and I believe that in a big club you have to live with those kind of noises without being disturbed.”

I think that statement should be on banner headlines.  “It’s only noise”.

As to the squad as a whole, over the last few weeks I have tried to draw together who we have in place and looked at as a whole it looks rather impressive to me.   Here’s the summary of the three articles recently published.

Forwards: Arshavin, van Persie*, Bendtner*,  Chamakh, Walcott, Vela. (Six)

The kiddies: Murphy, Sunu, Watt, and throw in Wellington Silva in January.  (+ Four)


Midfielders: Diaby, Wilshere, Fabregas*, Rosicky, Nasri, Denilson, Ramsey*, Song, Eboue (Nine)

The kiddies: Frimpong, Lansbury, Emmanuel Thomas, Barazite, Henderson (+ Five)


Defence: Sagna, Vermaelen,  Gibbs, Clichy, Koscielny, Djourou, Traore (Seven )

The kiddies: Nordveit, Eastmond (+ Two)

Total 33 for the outfield positions.

* = may not be available for the first game.  To summarise the injuries

Denilson has not played so far, and probably won’t in the Ems Cup but will play in the final warm up in Poland.

Diaby – same as Denilson

Bendtner – it is clear now that he played for Denmark in S Africa with his injury and made it worse.  Another player being mucked about by international rubbish.  No knowing how long he will be out.

Ramsey – the effects of Shawcross are still there and he will not be seen until the late autumn.

Rosicky – no real injury, just a niggle.

So can we do an early prediction of the team for Liverpool Insolvency away?  We could try…


Sagna, Vermaelen,  Koscielny, Clichy


Diaby/Denilson, Nasri

Arshavin,  Chamakh, Walcott/Vela

OK, no exciting changes there, except without Cesc, Nasri can play centre, and he has been on fire feeding in behind the front man.  In effect this formation gives us Walcott or Vela dropping back a little and allowing Nasri to move forward.  This looks a rather good line up to me.

As for the keeper, I have no more idea than anyone else whether it will be Almunia, one of the others or a new guy.

And that is not to suggest that I think this is the team for the season – far from it.  Against Blackpool the following week I would hope to see Wilshire and Emmanuel Thomas get a part of the action.

Just as  a final point, here, once again, is the “25” – the players over 21 on qualification day who have to be registered with the EPL as our players.  As you will see, we now have six places available and only one of them would need to be “home grown”.  So we could buy five new players none of whom is “home grown” and still be fine.  (Incidentally we have debated the “25” rule til we are blue in our collective faces.  Before shouting at me and telling me I have got the rule wrong, do have a look at the in depth analysis we’ve been doing on this through the summer – details in the links below.  There’s a million different versions of what the rule means, but I think we have got this right based on the official statement from the EPL).

1 Almunia

2 Fabianski

3 Mannone  (Home Grown Player No 1)

4 Sagna

5 Eboue

6 Vermaelen

7 Djourou  (Home Grown Player No 2)

8 Clichy  (Home Grown Player No 3)

9 Song  (Home Grown Player No 4)

10 Denilson  (Home Grown Player No 5)

11 Diaby

12 Fabregas  (Home Grown Player No 6)

13 Rosicky

14 Arshavin

15 Nasri

16 van Persie

17 Bendtner  (Home Grown Player No 7)

18  Chamakh

19. Koscielny

Other stories…

How Tottenham has tried to re-write Arsenal’s history

The players: first team, reserves, youth

Untold Arsenal

Take this book on holiday with you.

31 Replies to “Wenger reveals more about the team v Liverpool, transfers and injuries”

  1. Tony, great quote. About the rule, is it possible to have only 17 players nonHG and not even 1HG player? I know this is silly, but a club can add U21 players as much as they want. So the players registered in squad list are only 17. rest are U21.

  2. More than unserious on the side of Wenger, the Boards and whoever has a say in Arsenal to depends on the same unsuccessfull squards year and again. We cannot buy two players and relax when our opponents are adding on their list day and night. We are out of Arsenal from Uganda

  3. Wenger need to sign as he has earlier said..hmm!EPL is lyk the military rules of engagement…am happy my darling fabrigas stays.

  4. No jay simpson mentioned – sad.
    I think he could be a really good striker for us…

  5. Does it mean we have sold Craig Eastmond? That boy really impressed me last season with his ability to win the ball and make a good pass. Or is he not senior yet. With Sol’s departure surely are short at the back. Oh and thanks Tony(not Pulis) for being the voice of reason among all Arsenal blogs. Sometimes I really wonder whether these people really are Arsenal fans. Kenya for Arsenal!!

  6. The list is on the official site.

    Arsenal’s current first-team squad contains 26 players, of which 13 are counted as home grown, and seven are Under-21s.

    1 Manuel Almunia (May 19, 1977)
    2 Abou Diaby (May 11, 1986)
    3 Bacary Sagna (February 14, 1983)
    4 Cesc Fabregas (May 4, 1987)#
    5 Thomas Vermaelen (November 14, 1985)
    6 Laurent Koscielny
    7 Tomas Rosicky (October 4, 1980)
    8 Samir Nasri (June 26, 1987)
    11 Robin van Persie (August 6, 1983)
    12 Carlos Vela (March 1, 1989)*
    14 Theo Walcott (March 16, 1989)#*
    15 Denilson (February 16, 1988)#
    16 Aaron Ramsey (December 26, 1990)#*
    17 Alex Song (September 9, 1987)#
    19 Jack Wilshere (January 1, 1992)#*
    20 Johan Djourou (January 18, 1987)#
    21 Lukasz Fabianski (April 18, 1985)
    22 Gael Clichy (July 26, 1985)#
    23 Andrey Arshavin (May 29, 1981)
    24 Vito Mannone (March 2, 1988)#
    27 Emmanuel Eboue (June 4, 1983)
    28 Kieran Gibbs (September 26, 1989)#*
    29 Marouane Chamakh (January 10, 1984)
    30 Armand Traore (October 8, 1989)#*
    52 Nicklas Bendtner (January 16, 1988)#
    53 Wojciech Szczesny (April 18, 1990)#*

    Players in # = home grown
    * = Under-21 for season 2010/11


  7. Shows the meaning of the home grown rule, doesn’t it?

    7 Arsenal ‘home grown’ players, none of them English. Not one.

    I think Fabregas was ‘grown’ by Barcelona. He was the star of a youth world cup before Wenger did anything. So he was absolute rubbish before England had any influence on him.

    The rest: I agree, Wenger has nurtured them.

    How typical of you not to put Walcott in the 25. He’s English, so you can’t include him, can you? Same with Gibbs, isn’t it? I can safely assume that Wilshere isn’t part of Wenger’s plans for this season can I?? So he’d better go off on loan again to play somewhere where being English isn’t a South African kaffir label……….

    Was this anti-English article commissioned by Wenger, or are you, as an English citizen, just a hater of the English????

    I am utterly serious about what I write: you rail about others not reading your articles, but it is about time that you look through all that you write and come to the conclusion that you talk about the English to pacify the largely English season-ticket-holder fan base, but when it gets down to it, you write them out of the script.

    Think about it……………

  8. Hello Tony, your line up for the Liverpool game just simply is not good enough. Can you tell that kind Mr Wenger to buy a decent strong central defender and a goalie, thanks.

  9. Rhys, you are talking nonsense. Go back through the youth world cups – numerous players shine in them and amount to nothing. Wenger made Fabregas, pure and simple. Oh, and Barca pinched Cesc off another team, so he hasn’t been there since he was nine a la Wilshere if I remember correctly.

    Rhys, all Tony’s doing is listing established first-teamers. Gibbs and Jack aren’t there because they aren’t established, while I presume Walcott was just an accidental omission. Your argument falls apart when you consider no Traore, no Barazite etc. Are they english too?

  10. Rhys JAgger…
    i’m a foreign gooner and you just summed up the reason why people get frustrated with the english (no offence to anyone else). I have an english mate here in Aust, who defends BP just because they are english…seriously?!

  11. Rhys, Walcott isn’t in Tony’s list because he is classed as under-21 for this season. Gibbs is under-21.

    I’ve written to the Arsenal web-site telling them that they have got their knickers in a twist. It will be great fun listening to all the misinformed when squads are gotten hold of by the media.

    As for Fabregas, he has been with Arsenal since he was 16. It’s a bit like saying Tony Adams, David Rocastle & Paul Merson weren’t homegrown.

  12. what can wenger do???their was an article where an ex member of arsenal coaching staff addmitted, wenger thinks english player are less technical and overrated. He can’t risk the position of arsenal to pacify some of the english fan, after all arsenal is a global brand…

  13. Apologies about Craig Eastmond – he has featured in all my articles through the summer, and been listed as a player who will break through, and somehow I lost him in the list above.

    Totally my fault.

    Jay Simpson – he didn’t go to Austria and has been playing in the reserves, so I am taking it that he is out of the rankings. He is over 21 so if he were to be in the set up he would need to be registered as one of the 25.


  14. Rhys you’re like ‘Little Boots’ with a bad period –
    ‘Stuck on Repeat’ and looking to start a fight.

    Don’t you ever get bored of being deliberately provocative and antagonistic? If you dislike Tony’s writing as much as you seem to why do you keep on reading it?

    If you think you could do better – as you certainly seem to – why not set up your own blog? Could it be because deep down you realise no one cares about what you say?

    Making wild unfounded accusations about Tony being anti-English is more dumb than it is insulting (unless you count the implicit insult to our intelligence).

    I guess it’s easier to tear down and poke holes than build, eh?

  15. Haven’t commented on here for a while but Rhys’ inane ramblings have prompted me to pick up pen (err…keyboard)
    Walcott, Wilshire and Gibbs count as U21, so dont need to be included in the squad of 25. Read the article, read the associated articles on the 25-man-squad rules, and it is really very clear.
    I don’t understand how people dont get it. I’m pretty sure that Monsieur Jaggar (see how I use a french suffix because as arsenal fans we’re all french now dont ya know?) (that may include some irony) (but as the sole representative of England here you’d understand that wouldn’t you?) gets it and is deliberately winding us all up, so I apologise to everyone else for rising to the bait, but still…
    Rhys, can I suggest that (as you suggest to Tony/everyone) you think about it, or simply stop trying to wind us all up.
    If you have the capability for reasoned debate then please feel free to use it, if not just restrict yourself to reading quietly to yourself and dribbling your xenophobia into your cup of (english) tea, and proclaiming it verbally to those who are “lucky” enough to be in the vicinity of your exalted self.

  16. It is rather funny – in my personal life and in my business life I don’t think I am ever accused of the things I get accused of here.

    Recently on this site I’ve been told I am anti-English, and also a Tottenham supporter in disguise. Going back a couple of years a bunch of people told me I was racist, either because I criticised the Africa Nations Cup, or because I called one black player a “clown” (which actually I meant rather affectionately, thinking of the circus clowns who made me laugh as a child).

    The other day a writer went to some length telling me how awful my writing was – a month or so back someone pointed out that my use of literary allusions was pathetic.

    I wonder why some people are so anxious to get angry with writers. I mean, I know there are people on TV who really annoy me, but I tend to avoid the programmes, and if I find myself on the channel by mistake, I turn the TV off.

    The great thing about Arsenal blogs is there are thousands of them – some incredible through their in-depth research (like Swiss Rambler) some (to my mind) lunatic in their anti-Arsenal stance.

    You take your choice, and read what you like.

    Unlike some Anti-Arsenal Arsenal sites I don’t block people’s comments, or change them, unless the comments are themselves racist or copied from another site, or come from a person clearly using multiple identities to try to suggest he/she represents a broad spectrum of opinion. (And in those cases, I wonder, why do they bother?)

    Anyway, sorry to meander off topic myself, but it just struck me as odd.

    Coming up…

    Walter is still in Spain reading the local papers talking about Cesc, and his report will be up soon

    And I think I have finally cracked the issue of the length of the waiting list for season tickets.

    On the Woolwich Arsenal blog we’re doing a series on how Tottenham have stolen Arsenal’s history in order to cover their own ineptitude. As pointed out, just as it was 20 years since Liverpool won the league last season, so its 50 years since they won the league this year – quite an anniversary.

    Big celebrations I hope.

    “Quest of the DNA Cowboys” by Mick Farren. (That has nothing to do with my reply, but is there just in case the guy who hates me quoting literature is reading. I suddenly thought of it while driving to Exeter with a colleague yesterday. Haven’t read it in years.

  17. @ Rhys.
    Please read the article in which one of Arsenal’s coaches was quoted again. Wenger doesn’t dispute that English players were NOT his priority in the many years he had been in charge at Arsenal. So, it is no surprise that even Wenger will agree with any observation or statistic that you may present that historically, Arsenal had not been English enough.

    However, the historical bias against English players isn’t due to racism or lack of respect to the paying English Arsenal fans and English TV viewers. It was due to Wenger’s observation that the English players, in comparison with their continental peers, lagged in technique and tended to be very overpriced.

    This observation is proven time and again by the consistent under-performance of England in European and World Cup competitions.

    This is one side of the coin.

    The other side of the coin is: Wenger went on to do something about his observation. He took in MORE English under 16 players – as it should be – into the Arsenal Academy; and, over the past 10years, have trained them to the point that as many as 10 of them are now good enough to play for Arsenal’s first team in this year or in the next 2years. Even if all of them don’t get to stay long enough to get their chances, they are sure to have great careers in comparable teams in England. They may even be more in demand by top class continental European teams than their predecessors and may not be as afraid as they were to take up the European challenges when the challenges come.

    This is something to assuage and convince you that Arsenal is a good and responsible English Club – for an Englishman like you that imagines that the club hasn’t been doing enough for its English roots and host.

    It is something to celebrate in Arsenal by English and non-English Arsenal fans who would love to see good quality football from young, capable and affordable players – English and otherwise.

    It is something that Tony and Untold Arsenal highlight and celebrate MORE than any other Arsenal blog. It something that the English press pay scant attention now but is bound to hit them in the next few years.

    Now, if you don’t agree with this, you really ought to consider setting up your own blog as some in this medium have already advised.

  18. 3 Mannone (Home Grown Player No 1)

    7 Djourou (Home Grown Player No 2)

    8 Clichy (Home Grown Player No 3)

    9 Song (Home Grown Player No 4)

    10 Denilson (Home Grown Player No 5)

    12 Fabregas (Home Grown Player No 6)

    17 Bendtner (Home Grown Player No 7)

    WAT!!!!! Not even a token Englishman as one of the “homegrown 8”??….lol..

    It sure defeats the intent of “25-man squad” to encourage more Englishmen in premiership.

    These kind of “Homegrown 8” violates the spirit of the proposal, nevermind that it also needs to comply to EU “Freedom of Movement of Labor”………lol.

  19. Ficky,
    Yes it’s possible to register just 17 Non-home grown players and get the rest of the team from U-21’s.
    I think, from now on, Premier League scouts will be scouring the Under-20 World Cup and the Under 21-UEFA to get quick cover for their team.

  20. Gibbs, Traore, Vela and Walcott all turn 21 this year, so they don’t have to be included in the 25 man squad we submit in August. However, does that mean that they must be included in the squad list we submit in January?

    This would mean we need to have 4 places available for them in order for them to play from January onwards.

  21. Wrenny, I don’t have a list of birthdays, so I don’t know which ones click through to being 21 when, but do remember it is a question of being 21 on a certain qualifying date, not just becoming 21. But leaving the technicality aside potentially yes this could be true, and yes if the numbers don’t work out someone could be dropped.

    If I am right in my calculations (and I know lots of people disagree) we currently have six spaces free. Let’s say Mr Wenger buys one player without selling anyone that leaves five. In that case all four of the players you quote would fit in, and indeed we’d still have room for someone else.

    And of course we might have someone out with a long term injury by January, and we might sell someone. But I would say even if all four suddenly clock into the 25, and even if we buy two more, we are still ok.

  22. Tony is right, well done mate, now lets get a centre half in, get rid of Almunia, replacing that foreign spot with someone else! Easy

  23. Yes Tony, I’m aware of the qualifying date (January 1st) thanks to your great articles on the matter. I was looking yesterday at the dates of birth and what I found was that those four players will become “overage” by January 2011. What I still don’t know is whether the January squad submission will then require us to register them at that time, or whether they’ll use the ‘January 2010’ ages of players for the entire season. I wondered if you (or anybody else) knew the answer.

    I believe your calculations are correct, which would mean we have room for 2 signings as well as taking through all four youngsters in January (if the rules deem that necessary).

    It will become a tight squeeze though, and another six(!) Arsenal players will require registration in the January 2012 submission – Szczesny, Nordveit, Ramsey, Eastmond, Lansbury and JET. It has me worried that the new squad regs might prevent us from keeping all these young talents beyond the age of 21.

  24. I asked this same question approx 3 months ago and i think Arsenal will be the first to answer the following. With the new rules in place, it appears to me that the cut off point for proving yourself with a prem club is 21, your either good enough to be named in the 25man sqd or you move on. With all the youth available to Mr Wenger, he does have some hard decisions ahead of him.

  25. Not necessarily Adam. If they were prepared to be patient, they could play in the reserves, European, Carling and FA cups and/or go on loan. This rule only applies to the PL, I think?

  26. Fem Dee @ 1:08 pm – Awareness that Arsenal is now producing the best technically prepared English players is known to the pros more than the general public or readers here are aware. If you read Young Guns or Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal Youths blog on 7/28/10 you would have noticed that at the Reserves game with Dagenham and Redbridge there was reportedly a “swarm” of scouts. No doubt they weren’t there for their health. I suspect many are assessing players like Simpson and Randall. Knowing that they are available for sale many of the buying clubs may be waiting for the last minute to put in their bid in the hope we may flog them for less than they are worth.

    Only the xenophobes like Rhys and Merlion96 could fail to join Tony and Untold Arsenal in highlighting and celebrating this ongoing contribution by Wenger to English football.


  28. Shotta:

    Tom Cruise: “I want the truth!”

    Nicholson: “You can’t handle the truth!”

    Can you?
    Knowing there isn’t a single “homegrown” Englishman from Tony’s list of “25”??

    WHy is it so after 13 years of Arsene Wenger Regime?

  29. Merlion96
    Why are you repeating the same post despite the fact that the Idiot Rhys already made your ‘point’ and it has already been answered? Go back and read the responses to the post. Oh and take off your blinkers first.

  30. steww – it is called sarcasm and cynicism to reinforce Rhys’ view of point.

    Nope I do not have blinkers nor your pair of rose-tinted glasses.

    Fundamentally, you should realise that as long as FA does not repeal that stupid “90 minutes bus ride rule” of allowing Arsenal to cast their net wider on catching 9 to 16-year old English lads, Arsene Wenegr will bypass England and goes worldwide for the best youngsters..hence Arsenal youngsters will always be predominantly foreign.

    It is an extremely rare occurence that any football club can garner a group of homegrown worldclass youngsters playing together in teh same football club like Ajax 70s, Busby Babes of 60s (before and after Munich Tradegy”, Fergie Fledgingd, Barca Golden Generation, and now hopefully within this decade, the real Wenger’s Wunderkind.

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