Arsenal: ESR stays in dream team for next season, avoiding an almighty disaster?

By Sir Hardly Anyone

There is an article in the Express newspaper in which what they call Arsenal’s “dream team” for next season is described in detail.

So far, as you’ll know, we have signed Nuno Tavares, a defender from Benfica, and Albert Sambi Lokonga, a midfielder from Anderlecht.

Only one of those three new boys makes the opening “dream team” XI – Lokonga.  But we would still have a team of six new guys and five established players.   Here is their “dream team” with the newbies in bold.


Bellerin, Gabriel, White, Tierney;

Lokonga, Neves;

Pepe, Maddison, Saka;


This would mean that obviously a lot of our current players would have to make way for the new men.  That list would include these (with the number in brackets being the number of games each played for the first team last season….)

Leno (35), Holding (30), Pablo Mari (10), Elneny (23), Partey (24), Smith Rowe (20),  Chambers (10), Aubameyang (29), Xhaka (31).

That is a lot of experience to throw out.  Not just experience at Arsenal, but experience in the Premier League.  And above all, experience with the new non-tackling approach of Arsenal, plus experience of the nefarious doings of PGMO referees.   Indeed I am not sure how many of these projected players coming in would ever have had experience of a situation where the behaviour of the referees has to be a central part of the club’s planning.

Furthermore, Smith Rowe must be a central part of the club’s future.  What would he be thinking if we brought in all these players? 

And then there is the issue of having a maximum of 17 foreign grown players in the 25 team squad.  I am not at all sure that the Express man even knows about that.  

Plus in addition to all that there is the issue of introducing six new players into the team all at once.  They would have to get used to the no-tackling approach, that unique behaviour of PGMO referees, the club, England, the manager and each other, all within three weeks.

To give an example of what I mean, if we consider Ramsdale in goal, he might be good, and he played in the Premier League last season, but he played last season for the worst defence in the league.

And the team he played in was utterly different from Arsenal.  Arsenal committed 39% fewer tackles, 33% fewer fouls, got 55% fewer yellow and made 29% fewer clearances than Leeds.  That makes for very different football.

Tackles Fouls committed Yellow cards Clearances
Arsenal 456 345 47 615
Sheffield United 634 459 73 796
Difference  39% 33% 55% 29%

And the question is WHY?  Why kick out a perfectly good keeper, and take such an almighty risk?  Why not bring in more younger players?

The Express says, “Arsenal will almost certainly be looking to improve their defensive ranks this summer” but why?  Indeed WHY?????

We had the third best defence in the league last season, and when we see the table for the last two thirds of last season after we had the new tactics sorted, we have a defence that most teams would love to have had.  This table puts the clubs in order of goals conceded in the last two thirds of the season.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 24 20 0 4 62 20 42 60
2 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
3 Manchester United 24 13 8 3 43 21 22 47
4 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44
5 Chelsea 24 12 6 6 29 22 7 42
6 Leicester City 24 11 6 7 42 33 9 39

Indeed why change a defence that only conceded 21 goals in the final 24 games?

The newspaper continues by suggesting that “Arteta could be lucky enough to field a completely new midfield trio next season, with Lokonga already in north London and preparing to fight for a starting berth over the course of the campaign.”

Why? Why chop out Emile Smith Rowe?  Come to that why get rid of Xhaka, who is seen by many outside the insane world of English football writers to be one of the very best defensive midfielders in English football?  Sadly he seems to have had enough of English supporters, English referees and English journalists, and one can have some sympathy with that.

But they continue,

“Perhaps the most important summer signing of all needs to be made in the No 10 role, and the Gunners could do far worse than to bring in James Maddison of Leicester City.”

Or we could use Smith Rowe there; a young man who already knows the club, knows what Mr Arteta wants and understands the tactics.

In fact, as I was writing this the report came in that ESR has signed a new contract and been given the magical number 10.

Thank goodness no one is following those idiots at the Express.