Cazorla (1)

Where could Arsenal buy? Pt. 2: midfield

Does Arsenal need to buy “just one player?” And if so, why is it that no one can agree on the “just one” player that Arsenal need to buy? Also, why is it that Arsenal need to buy a different type of player every three months when someone new goes down with injury? In this series of articles I examine whether Arsenal need to buy anyone, whether it’s more than one player, and tomorrow I will offer some players who might be good buys in January.

Ever since I published my piece on why Arsenal needed to spend £120m to catch the top three in the Premier League I have been under some criticism for one of my main conclusions; that Arsenal need to buy players and that they need more than one player to fill in the gaps in the squad and compete for the League title.

I should be very clear about what I stand for. Before I started doing my research into the distorting value of money in modern football, I was firmly an anti-buy-buy-buy guy. I believed that the most important thing in sport was to develop your own players and to win the game the right way and not just throw money at the problem. I am still more inclined that way and if the Arsenal played in a different league I think we could still get away with that philosophy with Arsene Wenger at the helm. But the reality is that in this league and at this time in history if you want to compete for the League title you have to spend money — a lot of money… a metric assload of money. Or, accept that Arsenal is basically a better Everton and be happy with any result above 6th place.

It’s also important to remember that I wrote my piece before Man U and Barcelona poached Robin van Persie and Alex Song and my conclusions were based on the assumption of keeping those two players and re-signing Theo Walcott. If anything, Arsenal have to spend more than my summer estimate, now. As we have seen illustrated this season, you cannot lose two of your most valuable players after years of losing your best players every season and expect to compete for the League title. In fact, this squad looks weak enough that I believe Arsenal will need to buy players (or win the injury lottery) just to finish 4th and hope to avoid relegation from the Champions League next season.

I happen to believe that Arsenal have a number of weak positions all over the field and that Arsenal are not nearly as deep as people give them credit. In yesterday’s piece on the defense, I suggested that there’s a bit of weakness in the backup keeper position and that Arsenal are in need of both tying Sagna down to a long-term contract and finding a replacement for Santos. Here I assess the midfield and forward players by the positions they play and rate their offense and defense based on how others in their positions would do.

After each section I give a £ rating (1-5) for the importance of buying in this position.

Midfield

Arteta

Offense 8/10: Despite playing in a deeper role already has 3 assists this season. That’s one more than all of last season. Metronomic passing (leads the League in passes per game, 2nd in passing %). Very tidy with the ball despite constant pressure.

Defense 7/10: Slightly underpaced and undersized for a defensive midfielder but still leads the Gunners in tackles per game and in the top 10 in the league overall in that category. Great steals numbers. Doesn’t win a lot of headers, doesn’t clear the ball well, doesn’t get in a lot of blocks — all things that DM normally do pretty well and would push his defense rating up.

Cazorla

Offense 9/10: According to whoscored.com Cazorla is the best player in the League. Spends the entire 90 parked in the opposition third and thrives there. 4 goals and 3 assists. Shoots from distance. Insane passing range and vision. Leads Arsenal in dribbles per game, key passes, crosses, through-balls, and shots. Would be a 10, but shoots a little too much (and misses! No one would care if he shot so much and scored) and leads Arsenal in being dispossessed. Maybe I’m being a bit picky.

Defense 8/10: Some forward midfielders are afraid to tackle or think it’s not their job. Cazorla isn’t one. Likes to win the ball high up the pitch and terrifies opposition defenders with his terrier-like tackling.

Wilshere

Offense 6/10: Scored a great goal against Montpellier. Still recovering from an injury that had him out for an entire year. Better dribbler than Gervinho and more tidy with the ball (fewer turnovers and dispossessed less). Passing numbers are low right now but historically he has a fantastic range of passing. Rating based on this season only.

Defense 2/10: Often called “tigerish” in midfield but so far in three games only has one tackle, one interception, one clearance, and five fouls. Also has a red card, which was a series of stupid fouls and somehow blamed on Arsene Wenger. Defensive problems could be related to recovery from injury but right now is a liability defensively. More likely to be sent off than stop an opponent. Looked at his numbers from two seasons ago and they show a player who averages 8th in tackling and interceptions at Arsenal. Could emulate Cazorla defensively but right now doesn’t.

Ramsey

Offense 6/10: Considerably better at keeping the ball than last season. Better dribbling. Best at playing the shuttler role in midfield but often called upon to play more forward. Still has no shooting boots and only has one goal in all competitions this season.

Defense 3/10: Plays deeper than Cazorla yet has fewer tackles, fewer interceptions, more fouls. Not even considered “tigerish”. Would rate lower here but doesn’t have a red card.

Coquelin

Offense 2/10: Somehow beat Frimpong out of a starting spot at Arsenal. Has 2 starts and 2 subs but only one shot, one key pass, and been dispossessed 5 times. How does he rate a place at Arsenal if he can’t get a start against a team like Aston Villa?

Defense 2/10: Defensive midfielder? Ox has more tackles per game, Cazorla more interceptions, and Walcott averages more clearances. When he came on in the Villa game went forward forcing Arteta to stay back and do the defensive duties. Last season, he was Arsenal’s top-tackling midfielder, seems to have slipped here considerably.

Diaby

Offense ?/10: Diaby is one of Arsenal’s most offense-minded players. He is second in dribbles and key passes per game. Completely unreliable player who has only started 18 League matches since August 2010.

Defense ?/10: Wins a fair number of headers, but a terrible percentage. Very low clearance numbers (Giroud averages more per game). Tackles well, reads the game well, and very rarely dribbled by the opposition. Could be a great defensive midfielder but no one knows for sure since he has only started 18 League matches since August 2010.

Arshavin

Offense ?/10: When do you stop making the excuse that a player is inconsistent and just say that he’s just not trying? One of Arsenal’s most technically gifted players, wonderful crosses, but drifts in and out of games like a stench over Stoke City. Has been dropped to the League Cup by Arsene Wenger, where he has 5 assists and a goal in two games. Looks like he will be sold in January.

Defense 1/10: Horrible defender and a huge liability when he plays. Has made precisely zero tackles, interceptions, blocks, or clearances but does have the four fouls. All in dangerous and stupid areas. Can not be used to spell Cazorla because he won’t play defense. Can not be used to spell Podolski because he won’t play defense. In the two games he started, Arsenal gave up six goals. Being a midfielder requires that a player put in a modicum of defensive work. Something Arshavin has never done for Arsenal.

Rosicky

Scored a goal against Spurs last year and became a fan favorite. Injured this summer playing for his national team. Looks like he might play for Arsenal again this season. Eventually. May be a legitimate backup to Cazorla, though it’s hard to tell which Rosicky will show up after being out so long with injury.

Verdict: £££££ — This is without a doubt the most problematic component of Arsenal’s squad. Arsenal have 8 players listed as midfielders and none of them are suited to play the wings. Instead, Arsenal play with three center mids: forward, middle, and back. Ostensibly that means Arsenal have great depth: Cazorla, Jack, Rosicky, and Ramsey can play forward; Diaby, Jack, Ramsey, and Arteta can play middle; and Arteta, Diaby, and Coquelin can play back.

But in practice Cazorla is the only one being played forward, Arteta is the only one playing back, and Arsenal are playing the middle role by committee (Jack, Ramsey, and Diaby) with mixed results. Some of the problem here is injury, mainly to Diaby and Rosicky, though I question whether Arsenal really want Diaby to play defensive midfielder. He’s not ideally suited to it, despite the fleeting physical resemblance to Patrick Vieira and the fact that he nearly kicked John Terry’s head clean off.

Call time on Diaby, Arshavin, and Coquelin. Diaby because we have spent enough time and money on this player, Arshavin because he is a grifter, and Coquelin because he is in his fourth year at the club and still not made enough of an impression to start against relegation teams. Sorry but there are a lot of midfielders in the world better than Coquelin.

In fact, this is the main problem with Arsenal. The drop off between the starting talent and the backup talent is so massive that Arsene seems a bit gun-shy to start any of the backups. That explains why Arteta and Cazorla have played (nearly) every minute of every game. If you replace Diaby, Arshavin, and Coquelin Arsenal could buy a legitimate wing player, a legitimate defensive midfielder, and a utility midfielder. The alternative is to hope that Diaby, Coquelin, and Arshavin buck their historical trends and suddenly come good while simultaneously getting the best out of Rosicky, Ramsey and Jack (two of which are returning from injury).

In the end, I know the argument is that every buy is a gamble. But it’s not just buys who are gambles, every player is a gamble: returning from injury, bucking their historical trend, playing week in and week out without getting injured, on and on. If every player is a gamble, then who do you put your chips on? A player with 18 starts in two+ years and who is inconsistently brilliant or a player with 70 starts in the same time but who might not fit perfectly into your system?

In the end they are all gambles but right now I would choose the more consistent player even if he was less brilliant.

Tomorrow… forwards and some suggested buys.

Qq

 

 

77 thoughts on “Where could Arsenal buy? Pt. 2: midfield

  1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Dick Swiveller

    I was one of those that thought we had a bit of depth in midfield but when you look at it in the cold light of day, with everything spelled out, there just isn’t any.

    The best way to reduce gambles is to look at players already in the Prem, Fellaini would be costly but a good replacement for Diaby (although I’m not sure of his defensive uses, he at least is willing to kick people and is immense in the air), if we want some more creativity, Ben Arfa wouldn’t cost the earth.

    Frankly though, I’d just love to never hear the words ‘we’ll be ok if Diaby stays fit’ again.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

    Just wondering, but in assigning transfer values to individual players, why not just amortize the values of players the way clubs do? It seems that it almost universally inflates the value of players, when in fact, the transfer value of virtually everybody player over 25 or so should be going down.

    Obviously it wouldn’t go down to zero, but perhaps using that as the value of a player would give even better results? Or was that tried?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1LMG

      Wouldn’t it make sense to go down to 0 if amortized? That’s why they are gone on a free at the end of their last year and if their contract is renewed, you’d have to write off the previous amortization and give them a new valuation.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

        Yeah, for book purposes, teams will amortize over the life of a contract. So Chelsea can wait a few years, sell Torres for 5m and book that as a profit. Right now, though he’s an asset of 35m. But the model doesn’t seem to take any amortization into account at all, which I think is weird, since every asset is being used up. But a player at the end of his contract isn’t worth zero either. I think you can use transfer fees as a basis, but I think you have to amortize the value of the player. There is probably a pretty clear relationship between transfer value and player age, though, and you can probably amortize player values on that basis.

  3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

    We need somebody to spell Arteta more than anything. And eventually replace him. M’Vila can play a defensive role and circulate the ball. I wonder if he’s still on AW’s radar, just not at Rennes’ crazy valuation. Of course, he shows a substantial amount dunderheadedness, so maybe not. Capoue doesn’t seem to be enough of a passer to fit the bill.

    Diaby i suppose could do it ocasionally. But he clearly can’t be relied on very much. Would love Fellaini, but he’s certainly not going to be sold in January window.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      MVilla is to Felipe Melo…

      Ettiene Capoue seemed the more promising with equal height to Diaby, strength, able to cover as Cback, technical and aggressive going forward. If he can curb his penchant for amassing cautions, he could be a viable prospect from Toulouse (at less cost).

      I expect Wenger will want to keep a watching brief to see if last season was a one off or if he makes further progress(which it seems he is)

  4. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Michael Renzetti

    Sadly, i don’t think Ramsey, Diaby, Coquelin, Frimpong or Rosicky are good enough to play for Arsenal. Our midfield isn’t as deep as Arsene Wenger says. But I don’t think we shoud buy a lot of players at once. If it were me, I would try to spend my money on game changers, like Mario Gotze. He is a player that can come to arsenal (expensive, but…) and fit right in. And I don’t agree that we have to have a defensive midfielder. Arteta does the job perfectly.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I rated Arteta highly and have no problem with Arteta when he plays.

      What happens if Arteta gets hurt? Who will cover for him? Coquelin?

      Also, it’s important to note that Arteta has never started more than 29 League games since 2007 and averages 24.5 starts per season over that period.

      He has already started 13 League games and played every single minute. He looks old and tired at the end of games.

      He will probably have more than 25 starts for Arsenal in the League by Feb.

      I like Arteta but having Coquelin as a backup for Arteta is like putting 1/11th of your bank on one spin of the roulette wheel.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

        Scott Parker. Known for being good at the start of the season and exhausted by the end of it. We’ll probably see that with Arteta.

      2. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        I don’t think Wenger was comfortable with Coquelin as a back up either hence the near Sahin deal.

        But someone mucked up in between letting Song go prematurely and before securing a back up.

        Then the spin on Diaby etc.

        Arteta back up is a pressing issue. Mind you, before this season (myself included), you would mostly have met with derision if you had suggested that Arteta was ready to take over Song as the ‘DM’.

        Coquelin may/may not be the short term answer but over fits and starts, we have seen very little of him this season particularly given a run with more clear direction to screen and re-distribute where he has been used more as a link.

        So its too early to form a judgement on him.

        I expect likely in January, we should be on the look out for a loan to cover possibly till we can sort things out in this position better next summer.

      3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Adam

        Agreed. To add to your point, Arteta is 30, how much longer does he have? At the “top level” maybe 2 more seasons, if you’re optimistic. We need a young-ish maestro as back-up who will eventually take over. Mvila is too inconsistent. Capoue sounds good, but I’d go for someone a bit more technical. Wenger will unearth a gem from Ligue 3, surely?

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Which is why he had Sahin on radar.

        I expect he does not think Coquelin quite up to scratch yet but he was (over) confident Diaby would provide some insurance/back up.

        He will keep a look out for sure but I think we are good for one more season with Arteta with his contract.

  5. +3 Vote -1 Vote +117highburyterrace

    I’ll get the thumbs down for saying it, but I agree with your assessment but feel that Arsene’s ace in the hole is that league matches like Villa (away) will be much, much easier when we are eliminated from the CL and the domestic cups (February) assuming we can get to that point in the season with only a normal result in the “injury lottery.” Our best 11, on a full week of rest, would have won on Saturday….If we are truly faltering by the end of the year, another emergency Arshavin type purchase could be needed to augment the annual Henry fillip….(And dull the pitchforks, dampen the torches, etc., etc….)

    IMO, the eyes of management, at least for the time being, are focused on the teams below us, not the ones above. It may all pan out in the long run, but, as we transition towards the new era of extreme player power, we are clearly pursuing a strategy of sell and replace (with value) for players who can attract the “money down a hole” group of teams. (The list of players we’ve sold in the past 5 years to these clubs boggles the mind: Henry, Hleb, K. Toure, Adebayor, Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, RVP and Song. Have I forgotten anybody?…..)

    Our own “niche,” however, is attractive to the next level of players: decent prospects on their way to the big-time AND journeymen or injury prone players looking for a reasonable final contract. For this group, Arsenal is almost unique given our combination of exposure in the CL (for the prospects) and our generous wage structure (for squad players). We top Liverpool and Spurs in the former category and Everton and West Brom in the latter and, like I said, I’m fairly confident that we can get up for 4th even if we don’t buy in January, esp. if Andre Villas Boas gets a bee in his bonnet about trying to win the FA or Europa Cup…..

    Whether or not this pleases local fans who have to shell out the (exhorbitant) ticket prices or even us television/internet fans (who will need Arsenal Player for a good stream tomorrow night….) is another matter entirely…..

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      No.

      We must continue to attract top class players and stay in the CL minimum or we may suffer the fate of Liverpool.

      Because we are consistently in the CL, we have had less trouble regenerating the squad with good players (flux and its handicap a different matter) despite the loss of top performers.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        …we also have to balance this in house with development and continue attracting younger players with great talent.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1kwasi

    In fact, when do Arsenal stop making excuses about Diaby? Diaby will be fit at the beginning of the season. Arsenal need defending middle fielder who can stand the pressure more than him. Diaby will give intention that he’s fit, as soon as the window close he is out for for almost the hole season. Hopefully when Arsenal may need him most, he will not play R.V.P’s game and asked for arm and leg. R.V.P did the same thing, the only year he stayed injured free. instead of paid back Arsenal 7 good seasons with injures, he let for Man U. Fingers cross Diaby may not be the same as R.V.P. I wish him speed recovery. All the best.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      An excellent player. His qualities are obvious. not sure why there is a question mark on it.

      sadly his durability is the question (answered) where his temperament and application has improved.

      We should consider him as bonus but not to be relied on to start.

      Tis a shame if his career ended prematurely because of the knocks.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Yan

    Will miss Coquelin, I had (have) faith in him :(

    Re: how we will finish the league, I haven’t read your opinions guys on Rafa’s apointment at Chelsea. I think it will play in our favor (totally for no rational reasons, just don’t see him managing that lot with those egos)

  8. +5 Vote -1 Vote +111cannons

    One thing I love about Cazorla and am hopeful that Jack will pick up on, is that when he closes down a defender high up the pitch, he points to the area where he wants support from his midfield. His running in this regard can sometimes be wasted because no one comes with him and it turns into a monkey-in-the-middle drill with him just chasing. In 07-08 our midfield hunted in packs–any 3 of Cesc, Hleb, Rosicky, and Flamini would surround the ball and just take it back.

    As for a player like Coquelin, and many before him, he seems to flourish when he’s mixed in with the League Cup squad, but isn’t used enough with the first team to really gel. At times I think Wenger would be better served to put that League Cup side out against your Villa’s and Norwich’s. They do well against similar competition in the cups [When they don't, bring on Giroud and get that 7-5 win, ha!]. Wenger just runs the same XI into the ground every season because of the lack of trust Tim suggests, so why not take a leaf out of Fergie’s book and make wholesale changes from time to time? If you run the risk of losing against lower sides anyway [as we tend to over recent years] better to rest the first team and spare them the morale sapping loss, and use it as a learning opportunity/testing ground for the fringe players.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      Coquelin had some very good games for us last season where he weighed in with some excellent last ditch tackles.

      How soon our memories fade.

      I would say he isn’t convincing this season but ;

      1) We have been forced by circumstance (in incorrectly selling Song) to view him as Arteta’s designate back up (which he likely is). Hence unreasonable expectations

      2) When he has played (in fits and starts) he has not been given clear directive to sit and hold. Instead, he has been tasked to link which he isn’t quite as good at (doesn’t present himself for the ball well enough)

      That said, until we get ourselves a Sahin or viable back up to the overworked Arteta, we should play him in as much minutes as possible to give him time to settle in.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +111cannons

        Never said a bad word about Coquelin so don’t quite get the ‘memories fade’ comment.

        As for Sahin, we can do far better than a player who only gets half the games for a side 5 places below us in the table, who went there by choice because he knew he’d get even less with us.

        Song was a liability and had to get shipped. Arteta is much better at that role and I would FAR rather have players like Coquelin or Frimpong learn from a professional who will curb his attacking instincts for the good of the side [and take a pay cut to join us] than one always looking for the Hollywood pass and maneuvering for higher wages by flirting with Barcelona.

  9. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Not Arsene but Love Arsene

    One of the few pieces by you Tim where I cannot resonate with your views.

    No doubt you have very strong opinions on the squad however I don’t think I can agree with quite a few of your player judgements. I agree the le coq should have started against Villa if he has the quality, but with Ramsey, Jenkinson and The Ox all getting games it would not be right to wholesomely change the squad. Coquelin is still only 21(circa Song@21).

    Gervinho’s striking credentials have barely been given a chance. He’s played around 5 games in that position this season. Hardly a number that will let a striker settle in. In those times he’s gotten into dangerous positions is lethal and only his final touch has let him down, give him time, it will come. His off the ball movement, particularly to allow other players to get into dangerous positions (the way Walcott does too) is very important for us.

    Is the OX not in Cazorla’s position as well?

    Despite his metronomic passing, Arteta’s pace have been a big defensive liability as well as the number of times he has had to make ‘tactical fouls’ where a better defensive midfielder would have won the ball must count against him.

    You can argue what you want against Diaby but he’s the first name on the team sheet for France and has started a higher % of games than Rosicky since Rosicky arrived. With hindsight, I don’t think you would make the sell RvP argument now. Diaby on the market now would sell for around 5 Millions pounds if that. His wages are approximately 2.5 Million annually. If we say in the next 3 seasons he has one injury free season, his value would reach 20 Million without a doubt. Sell him then & we would get a 7.5 Million profit. Players of his quality are hard to find on the market and I don’t think it is coincidence that we kept three clean sheets with him in the side.

    The reason Coquelin stayed and Frimpong went on loan was because Arsene wanted to keep the better player as Song’s backup.

    Finally, before all else Arsenal need to get rid of their deadwood. This includes Squilaci & Santos(though he might be having dip as he wasn’t criticized so badly last year when Gibbs was injured).

    Now for football manager time: I’d argue our garage sale has Djourou, and Arshavin sold for their high wage costs. We have no choice over Squilaci, Park, Denilson, Bendtner (Do we even pay all of the latter 3′s wages)?

    I think Arshavin is one of the best subs we have and I am a big fan of his efficiency (His stats say something, and even against Aston Villa he almost won it for us within 10 minutes with that cross). However, for his wages and accounting for amortization, we can get another Arteta-quality player. His value is running out too on the market.

    Arsenal need to wait unfortunately. Yes we can spend this January, but we will only truly improve when our current squad come of age. Unfortunately, we have to hope that this new generation does not leave so soon. However, the good thing for us is that the previous generation (Song, van Persie, Fabregas, Nasri & Clichy all left almost together). Hence, the replacements have come together and the team will grow together.This will improve our chances of holding our talent and building a title winning side as there will be no player who is much much better than the rest at one time and would want to leave. Furthermore there is an English core too which should be a little more loyal (if there is such a thing as loyalty in football).

    Finally, you are a top blogger Tim, and I think a little more optimism should be coming from your words as it affects a large number of our fanbase. Your hope can make fans happier.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      Ditto.

      I cannot agree with you more with the assessments.

      This is a good blog but sometimes, it strays away from levity toward the reactionary.

      That said, Tim always comes up with the contentious topics.:D

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Phil

        Why all the hate for Squillaci? Because we might have to rely on him? Guess what, if we have to rely on the 5th choice CB, we’re in trouble!

    2. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Song aged 20-21 played 54 games for club and country.

      Diaby is in the last two years of his contract. He would have to have a Nasri-like season to get anywhere near £20m in transfer valuation in the last year of his contract as you are suggesting.

      Diaby has started just 9 games, total, in his entire life, for France. M’Vila has started 19, Cabaye 15. Perhaps in some ideal world Diaby is first name on the France team sheet but in the real world M’Vila was and Cabaye is now.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Song did not come good for us till 2 seasons ago when he was 22-23. forget about the country role.

        I don’t think we will likely get rid of Diaby anytime soon on account of his injury issue. no club would pay his wages so he will linger in the squad taking up the wage bill.

        This will be minimised if we sell some of the pretenders (Chamakh, Park, Bendtner)

        We have to then consider Diaby a bonus in addition to our squad requirement to play as and when available.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        First name on the French team does not equate to top quality.

        Its an issue of availability and try outs. The French midfield is trying to reform itself and is trying a number of options that are emerging. Cabaye for instance. It does not necessarily mean that they are preferred.

        Diaby was top of the list for France granted when available. I think that;s the key for him. Without which he is an existential asset.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Love Wenger but not Wenger

        Re Song, Hahaha :p you almost make playing for Bastia (32 apps) and Cameroon sound like playing for Arsenal and France… Coquelin has that too for a better side (Lorient).

        As for Diaby you can quote Arsene on that. He will garner a 20 million price tag for sure in one season. Give him a chance…

      4. Vote -1 Vote +111cannons

        “He will garner a 20 million price tag for sure in one season”

        Um, no. He won’t. He just won’t. It took van Persie 18 months of blinding football to garner 24 million from one of the richest clubs in the world. Diaby can’t possibly come close to that in one season. He can’t string together more than 5 or 6 games. He has unquestionable talent, could become an elite player, but I think the chances are just as likely, if not more likely that he will be forced to retire because of his recurring injury issues, which have outlasted even van Persie’s.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1Not Arsene but Love Arsene

        Van Persie also only had 1 year left on his contract. Otherwise he would have garnered a 40 Million pricetag. Arsene will try and renew Diaby’s contract I would think. 20 Million is no longer a shockingly huge transfer in football these days. Aquilani and Hargreaves have both transferred for such fees.

  10. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Top under-rated (and therefore RELATIVELY affordable) midfield picks for me (regardless of availability) would be:

    1. Youssuf Mulumbu, West Brom
    One of the big reasons for the Baggies Cinderella season so far. This guy has different levels. He is poised on the ball and a great passer.
    2. Nathan Dyer, Swansea
    Southampton is an amazing breeding ground for football talent. This guy is even slighter of frame then Ramires at Chelsea, but would fit well in our pass and move environment.
    3. Shaun Maloney, Wigan
    He’s 29, getting up there, and he’s been injury prone but his link-up play is excellent and he passed us to death when Wigan beat us 2-1 last year.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      None of them being better than what we have.

      We have to be extremely careful who we load on.

      the flip side of the coin is if the player under performs for us, we will have a hard time releasing (as we are with Bendtner, Park, Chamakh, Squillaci etc)

      We cannot take on just decent players. It needs to be players that will significantly enhance our dynamics. Also, currently (in the modern game), Wenger prefers multi-positional players rather than uni-roled ones.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

        Mulumbu’s not a bad idea actually, not that it would ever happen. He’s better than Ramsey and Coquelin at the moment, and provides a lot of energy. The problem is that we have a lot of players who are theoretically very talented, but guys like Mulumbu will give you a good, if not stellar, performance week in week out.

  11. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    On Coquelin…

    When I first saw him play, not long after we signed him, I thought “this guy will be some player”. He was tenacious, battling, and awesome. I waited patiently for him to come good. But now here he is, and I’m disappointed. Yes, he’s young, but he’s just not very good. He doesn’t have much of an attacking game. Fine. He’s supposed to be a DM. But he doesn’t seem to defend very well either. Without looking at stats, he seems to give the ball away a lot, being both dispossessed as well as not passing accurately. Don’t want to write him off with us just yet, but if he wants game time assurances he may have to look elsewhere.

    This line, Tim, resonated with me: “How does he rate a place at Arsenal if he can’t get a start against a team like Aston Villa?”

    This is a broader problem with our team. At Man City, Man Utd and Chelsea, you see some degree of rotation that they don’t get too much criticism for. Hazard hasn’t started every game for Chelsea, or even come off the bench for every game. Because they have people behind him who they can rely on. Fergie rotates all the time, to some criticism, but generally it is accepted that players can come in and do the job. For us, we very quickly find our first 11 and then are unable to drop at least 9 of them, because there is the fear (often justified) that the backups are not good enough. We can’t even drop a couple of players against Villa because when we draw, the criticism is that we needed to play a better team.

    That’s the problem, and it’s the depth problem. We may have players, but they aren’t good enough. Why? There are tons of good midfielders we could have. Cabaye, for example, or Tiote (not sure I’d have either of them, but they are quite good). Other leagues. Why rely so heavily on Arteta? He’s a fine player, best in the league perhaps, but we should have someone there who can come in and do a good job when required. And Arteta? Surely there is SOMEONE capable of playing that role who is available? When Wilshere regains full fitness, he will be one of these untouchables, believe me.

    We need depth, and the trust from the manager to play such players. I think we’ll get someone in midfield in January.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      On Ramsey, he plays one decent game and suddenly he is better than Jack.;)

      This is the problem with blogs that get over reactionary and do not take into account long term trend.

      Coquelin has played in fits and starts this season with no clear direction to hold. It is difficult to pass judgement even if his displays should be considered slightly underwhelming at present. But his technique and tenaciousness is without fault. There are qualities in him which given a bit more time will make a great holding DM.

      And as we consider Ramsey, Jack, Coquelin, it will be worth noting that neither Song nor Walcott came good for us till 23. These are all young players in development (like our policy or not) who are not complete article. If we pass judgement and cull them now, their full potential will never be realised. Surely development is as much an excitement in this club. Question is how do we get the mix right between development and ready made coming in.

      I believe Wenger is closer now toward a balance squad (some deficiencies permitted but you can say that of any squad bar say City)

      We are now with one senior player for every position (albeit selling off our gems for whatever reason)

      On the issue of squad depth, this is nonsense.

      Arsharvin could have easily been used to better effect against Villa.

      He has shown better hunger and fitness this season to match his inherent vision/distribution.

      It would not have been a disfavour to us to have had him at LW pumping in crosses to Giroud (or later Podolski)

      Also bearing in mind midweek, Gervinho for all the comments to his erratic finishing should have been played. He is an enigmatic player that given but he has weighted in with good goals start of season before going out injured. I’m not sure how we can say he is any less effective because of long absence where his pace and off ball running generally creates chances for us.

      Lastly with regard the Ramsey/Coquelin issue, I think you get differing merits and negatives from these two.

      Where Ramsey is better with vision and distribution going forward he is still weak defensively (albeit an encouraging effort put in against Villa which shows his hunger and aknowledged pressure likely from Eisfeld)

      In the sum of things, if we consider effectiveness, than Arsharvin is the better option to have creatively still. This does not preclude Ramsey not playing as they are employed in different areas.

      Where Coquelin is less accomplihed going forward, given clear instruction, he is much better defensively. This in particular I thought should have been key in his selection for at least one half of the game against VIlla as Arteta is looking leggy (with midweek clash at Everton to come). Coqeulin puts in more of a shift covering Arteta where Arteta works harder when Ramsey plays beside him.

      So I do think we have limits but I don’t think the gaffer is getting maximum mileage from the full assets of his squad.

      I pointed out when Walcott was sidelined for contractual issue the falacy of this approach. Again, I stand by on issue that Wenger is not using a good asset in Arsharvin to the benefit of the team/rotation.

      Better utilisation may be the difference between a draw and 2 points and a 1-nil and all 3.

      1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        I don’t understand. You’re saying we can’t judge Coquelin because he’s only played in “fits and starts,” but then wax panegyric for Arshavin, a player we’ve only seen play in “fits and starts.” I think the idea that Arshavin would play well if we just gave him more time on the pitch is a sentiment borne of nostalgia, and I don’t think it’s reactionary to suggest that if you scratch beneath the surface, our squad is very average indeed, do you? Don’t you admit as much when you say that players like Ramsey et al just need more time to develop?

      2. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        Bun…

        No Arsharvin is based upon recent games where he has shown renewed temperament for fight and good distribution/awareness. he’s also (in case you haven’t noticed) bothered to lose some weight.

        As far as dynamics go, Ramsey may be improving, I disagree with the over board sentiment in the other direction that he now smells better than Jack, but is he really the only (or even right) choice in Jack’s absence?

        I put it to you that we can play Arsharvin in concert with Santi and Giroud and have a different more lethal dynamic. Arteta and Coquelin holding should give us enough solidity to cover.

      3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        San…

        What fight? Care to explain in quantifiable terms?

        Also, please don’t write an essay in response.

        Cheers,

        Bun

      4. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        Arshavin can not and will not play defense. He plays as a sub only when the team are in dire need of a goal as a result.

        Arshavin will pump in crosses but he will also turn the ball over with his foolish flicks and lose possession in stupid areas because he is lazy and tries to be cute instead of the simple pass and move. This is something I have said for a long time.

        Ramsey is better than Jack so far this season. Please attempt to read the entire assessment before making a reactionary remark about how I’m reactionary.

        The rest of your speech is an impassioned plea to stand by our youth program. I have stood by the youth program for years. The youth program has been flogged for 7 years now and I’ve been waiting for the following players to come good. Get a pen…. ready?

        Vela, Denilson, Ramsey, Song, Bendtner, van Persie, Cesc, Nasri, Clichy, Gibbs, Szczesny, Wilshere, Coquelin, Djourou, Jenkinson, Diaby, Walcott, Ox, Frimpong, Miyaichi, Traore, Hoyte (both), Bartley, Lansbury, JET, Senderos, Simpson, Aliadiere, Muamba, Larson…

        In each of those players Arsenal are either still waiting for them to fulfill their promise or they are off fulfilling their promise for another team. That’s hardly a “reactionary” position but rather one which takes into account a long history of failed projects.

        Anyone who has read my blog knows that while I can be impulsive this shift for me is hardly a reaction to the draw at Aston Villa or some sudden change but rather an entire change of philosophy spawned by years of hearing the same argument over and over and watching it fail.

        Anyway, always appreciate that you only comment on articles you disagree with and that you stalwartly refuse to see any position other than one forged 10 years ago.

        Have fun with that.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        1) Arsharvin has been hungry and fit this season and has tracked back over recent games. You are repeating the same tired myth much as you slam others for doing the same with Ramsey.

        2) Arsharvin has better vision than Ramsey and distribution. So why won’t we play him. Clearly this is nonsense perpetuated by what Arsharvin was and not what he is at the moment (defensively)

        3) Ramsey is not better off than Jack. You are basing it on one game and reading into your stats again. Denilson could have a high pass completion rate but it isn’t dynamic going forward.

        4) With regards younger players, you seem to have misread what I was saying (as you clearly admit skimming through). I mentioned we have in general now one senior player for every position which affords us some ability to develop the younger players through the squad. There are some exceptions namely that Arteta does not have a senior cover (as you may gather many of our players are adept at multiple positions)

        Thereby, the policy has to be 2 fold.

        1) Develop younger players (There will always be a majority who will not make the cut in any team, listing those that fall by wayside is superfluous to those that have successfully come through to first team)

        2) Buy what we need from market but at a price we can afford to keep (and more importantly sell on if need be)

        There. That was fun.;)

      6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Love Wenger but not Wenger

        Youth policy a fail? Those players were sold for millions each. And you forgot Bentley! The youth program does not only look to get players into the team. That’s an aim, but the money we earn from it is a joke! Most of those players are still coming into the squad as well. Circa Szcz, Gibbs, Jenks, Wilshere, Ramsey?, Ox.

  12. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

    Team Positive Gunner people: what do you think, Jack is going to chelsea, or is it city? Stan going to use the Emirates money to move the Rams to LA? Usmanov still irk you? how cruel to spend money improving one’s team.

  13. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    I think within the framework of the 25 man squad, it is convenient to see the team delineated into 3 groups (minus keepers) with particular emphasis on capability. I see these mainly in groups of 2 (primary and alternate)

    Group 1 Forwards :

    1) CF : Giroud, Chamakh (quite obviously we need to replace Chamakh if we can sell him likely we will benefit form someone speedy to match Giroud’s physicality. I like Leandro Damiao if we can afford him as he has the aerial presence to go with better speed and technicality. he is also young @23 which offers better long term value.

    2) LW : Podolski, Gervinho ( Poldy should also be explored as a striker back up. we know Gervinho can play there on occassion too)

    3) RW : Walcott, Chamberlain ( I consider Walcott likely sold. If he goes, Gnabry will likely take his place but maybe with LW emphasis and Gervinho shifting to RW)

    4) Multi-role : Santi, + Arsharvin* (Santi is nominally our CAM but he can also deputise out wide LW or RW. I feel particularly if Walcott goes, that graduating Gnabry is not enough albeit the young German should come into the first team. Rather we will need someone with better technical trickery out wide to complement Santi’s position and who might also deputise for his role.

    Arsharvin* is not quite as multi-role as Santi although his ability to play through the middle has not been fully exploited. Likely he will leave next summer, if not January which will mean a vacancy to be filled. I think someone like Konoplyanka at Dnipro will fit in nicely for us with quick feet, speed and ability to playmake. Crucially he is 23.

    5) CM : Rosicky, Ramsey ( These are the more traditionalist midfielders preying on good vision and passing without so much the quick feet of Santi. I think Rosicky will be gone by summer and Ramsey likely is heir if he continues and upward progression. In this he will be pushed very hard by Eisfeld from the academy)

    6) CM-link : Diaby, Jack ( This is the link role whereby requiring equal amount of defensive savvy/combative spirit as does ability to drive the ball forward through traffic. Diaby’s durability is an answered question. Whether he stays on as a bonus is irrelevant. We need to sort out a back up. Someone like Capoue at Toulouse, again multi-positional could be very useful in both covering Arteta and giving us some drive in this position without sacrificing Diaby’s physicality.

    7) DM : Arteta, Coquelin ( And DM being a loose connotation to what Arteta does. In this role, Coquelin does not come close …yet. I ‘m not sure if he will but he has attributes that suggest he may have a good shot at it. Again a good back up in the previous role may help give better cover to Arteta and afford Coquelin some space to develop better. In that he will likely also feel push from the academy with Toral, Ollson showing good form. Frimpong is a possibility but seems a tad crude for my liking at present)

    8) LB – Gibbs, Santos (Tricky clearly Santos is more liability than plus…unless going forward. Gibbs is injury prone. I think our answer may lie in a re-role of Vermaelen who after a shaky start showed good application in the position/albeit he lacks speed)

    9) RB – Sagna, Jenkinson ( I don’t expect Sagna to stay. we will need to cover and none of the academy prospects Bellerin being the closest, Yennaris, Angha, are as yet fully convincing. Again I think one of our old targets Yanga Mbiwa may be an interesting option @RB as he can also cover as CBack and as DM, amply displayed with Montpellier this season.

    10/11) Cbacks – Per, Koscielny Vermaelen, Djourou ( I won’t even list Squillaci as he doesn’t make the bench even for the mickey mouse cup. Djourou will likely go but his place will likely be naturally replaced by the young prospect Miquel. If Vermaelen gets shifted to LB in lieu of a more natural fullback option, then Yanga Mbiwa could come in if we finda Rb option. Or Vermaelen could continue as Cback if LBack as covered by a proper full back.)

    That makes 2 players in each position = 22 + 3 keepers.

      1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

        and I even numbered them for your convenience. Have fun spotting/correcting spelling mistake I left for you above.:D

  14. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    I’d love more options in midfield. We have NONE when the game is locked up and the team is getting tired. I quite like Cabaye and think he could do a job for us (to say the least). I’m worried about Arteta. I think the odds are against us that he’ll continue being a machine. I love him when he plays… I’m just worried that will happen less and less. I do think we need another forward, for sure, but if we were going to buy one big, big money player, I’d rather it was in midfield as I think Santi could be even better (!) if someone else was drawing attention. Someone like Götze or Isco or some fellow.

    We have so much dead wages. We need to shift it out. Badly. Unfortunately, no one is dumb enough to take it off our hands.

  15. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Todd Parker

    Great insight. I agree with the entire series and have agreed with your analysis that we need $120 million investment + since you first researched and authored such claims. I would agree that now we may even need more. I also agree that we probably wont get it. I do think that our squad is weaker than suspected, but I also think we have over achieved for a couple years. When will the shoe drop to the floor? This year (if January is not profitable from a player acquisition standpoint) we may find ourselves out of the Champions League places. I however am optimistic-I think specific purchases will be made in January because I think Wenger knows his squad is light and I think he does not want to leave The Arsenal until his job is done in bringing the squad to a better place.

    That said, I am puzzled by some of your player ratings. Specifically, I am puzzled by your analysis with Jack and Ramsey. Jack does not deserve the low grades you give him in this post and that comment has nothing to do with me thinking he needs to be given time to come back from injury. Why Jack would be rated as low as Ramsey, or why Ramsey would be rated equal to Jack to me is laughable at the extreme. Let us take the red card and his need to sit it out versus Villa. Forget the numbers for a moment and watch the games. When Jack was out because of the red card and out at Villa we looked a MUCH different proposition in the middle of the park. It is not mostly about tackles per game, interceptions per game, etc. I track those on my 4-4-2 app as a coach as well and I know such stat keeping can be instructive. However, it is about looking at “how” people play–”how” they express themselves over the ball and “how” they get along with other players (synergy and understanding). Make no mistake, when Jack is in this team is different. Just like when Mertesacker is in our back 4 is different. The Big German may not be the fastest, so say what you will, but we are a different back 4 when he is in and he has become the first choice for Wenger out of the central pairing for good reason. Likewise, Jack may not YET be showing he is worth it statistically, but your comments are very harsh because all you need to do is watch the games to see that Jack on the field makes our midfield one of the best in the EPL and Jack not on the field changes how our attack functions. He is not the best, Cazorla is, but even Cazorla has sung the praises of Jack coming back and how he loves playing with him. Conversely, as talented as Aaron Ramsey is, look at how we lack cohesiveness and continuity when he is playing as part of the midfield three. He looked to have a good game at Villa as many people sang his praises and he is a talented player. However, when looking at “how” we play it is easy to see that with him Arteta and Cazorla do not look as good as when Jack is in the game. Ramsey for all his talent holds on to the ball way to much, loses the ball way to much, and does not know the difference between when to play with simplicity versus when to show creativity and flair when the situation requires him to do so. I know it is all part of the learning curve for every player and I like Ramsey, but if we are grading right now I do not think the grade is correct. I think people need to look at “how” players play and “how” players work together and it will be plain to see who is needed most.

    1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I like Wilshere but I was very clear that I’m rating them based on current performances and that there is room in my assessment for improvement. So, I disagree. Wilshere is overhyped and his performances at the moment are on par with Ramsey’s. In fact, for some reason we are all forgiving his performance against Man U where he had one of the worst defensive and offensive games of his career and failed miserably to fit in with teammates. So much so that he got himself sent off in frustration.

      That was followed by another horrible midfield performance against Schalke where Arsenal were overrun in the second half.

      Since then he has started to gel with teammates and has looked better offensively but his defensive performances, especially for a center mid are abyssal.

      I think a 6 in offense and a 2 in defense is just about right. And like I was careful to say, that could be down to the fact that he is returning from injury. Maybe one day he’ll be a 9 and an 8. But right now he’s not.

      As for Ramsey turning the ball over or “ball dawdling” as I like to say, he has markedly improved this season and has a mere 21 in 20 games compared to Jack’s 7 in 5. The turnover numbers are similar also. In the end, I can only rate on how they are playing and not on how I think they will play. If I did that the numbers would be wildly different.

      What would you rate Wilshere and Ramsey at right now? Not his potential but his actual performances. Also, why would

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1alabamagooner

        “Wilshere is overhyped…”. This is what worries me. I am afraid too many people are expecting him to be the savior of this team – what’s going to happen if (when?) that doesn’t pan out, or doesn’t happen fast enough. Jack himself said in an interview that he was one of the ones giving the ball away against Montpellier. He needs time. But fans, the media, keep screaming Jack, Jack, Jack. He’ll get more leeway than Ramsey did…because he’s Jack. But I hope for his sake that patience doesn’t run out before he’s able to deliver.

    2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      I was trying to be on my best behavior with Wilshere considering that he’s on the comeback trail. He was shockingly bad in one game recently where he made 3 poor passes in a row. To his credit he stayed in the game and worked his way out of it.

      I love that “tigerish” label that only gets applied to Wilshere from the sympathetic British media.

      That goal he scored against Montpellier reminded of his first goal for Bolton.

      Whatever we get from Wilshere this season will be a bonus. Like Ramsey, he has a ways to fully be back from his injury.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1dano328

    I also disagree with you giving Jack and Aaron the same offensive grade. I know you are going by stats, but do those stats really show Aaron making the key, creative passes that Jack does? JW is much more instinctive and creative. Jack inspires more confidence in the rest of the players. Not bashing Ramsay here, but I don’t see them being that close in ability.

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      I can’t agree more.

      I have similar opinion on Ramsey. He is decent and is showing improvement.

      BUT he is not Jack (not saying he won’t be)

      This is the issue I have with Tim going over reactionary (no offense). One thing to point out Ramsey’s improving merits but another to go totally blinkered and have statistics prove otherwise.

      Sorry. I think we have other assets we are not using (yes, Andrei) at our expense. At very least, with all these complains of our so to speak lack of depth, it would be useful option not realised.

    2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +111cannons

      It would seem some folk are viewing Wilshere’s 2012-13 performances through 2010-11 tinted glasses. He’s rusty. He’ll get there. But he’s not there at the moment.

      I did think Tim’s rating seemed low at first, but when you think about what he COULD be contributing when fit and in form against what he IS contributing, the ratings are pretty accurate.

  17. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1pat

    hmm – the whole DM debate…. arent we oversimplifying the role and does it belong to one player? I would take a punt on JW being given more responisibility in that department as he settles back more into the team – at least being able to have some sort of rotation with Arteta so that teams cant just sit on him when we try and play the ball out of defence. Why should we have one player being responsible for this – we talk about group pressing so as a group there should be 100% focus across the team on getting the ball back when we dont have it. Santi gets it – hopefully the rest of the team can help him out….

    As a rule I think as well as strengthening players we need to strengthen the tactical area – the whole get to the final third to just pass it back and across again just doesnt work (at least at the passing speed we saw vs villa) – teams with the 2 X 4 defence have their zones sorted out. Quick counters or at least quick attacks that are going to end with an attempt on goal need to be the focus! Otherwise its too easy to defend against – teams know we arent really trying to get to the goal. Tired of seeing all the ball possession just wasted. Also dont seem to be bringing Poldis left foot into the game enough…

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

    I want Capoue. He looks a player, although my knowledge is based entirely on Youtube clips, for whatever that is worth. Adds the physicality we lack in midfield, the height and aerial ability we lack at set pieces, and can carry the ball forward too, even if he’s not in Diaby’s class in that respect.

    I think Coquelin’s okay. I don’t see him as a long-term starter at Arsenal – he’s someone who could start for a mid-table club, but that’s not what we aspire to.

    But his versatility is a big bonus, and due to our horrendous injury record I think we need someone who can fill in at several positions. Coq has played 4 positions for us, and I believe in France he frequently played on the right of midfield in a 4-4-2. Since Eboue left, we haven’t had anyone else who can perform that role. If he is happy being mostly a fill-in, I think we should keep him. As a full-back, he was pretty good… defensively not the greatest (still better than Santos, I’d say), but showed a willingness to run at defenders and put in some good crosses, and seems to use both feet quite well.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1dano328

      So glad Time Warner has beIN Sport now as I watch the French league whenever I can. I too would love to have Capoue. The French league probably isn’t too popular with Arsenal fans right now but I think he could play for any side in the PL. He can play DM or CB.

  19. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    “Arsharvin has been hungry and fit this season and has tracked back over recent games. You are repeating the same tired myth much as you slam others for doing the same with Ramsey.”

    No, no I am not. I am looking at the facts. Here’s your “hungry and fit” player who has “tracked back over recent games”.

    6 apps League play — all subs
    1 app CL, sub
    ALL STATS COMPLETE
    Villa — 17 minutes, 2 turnovers, 1 foul, 8 passes, 0/4 crosses, 1/1 long ball, 1 aerial duel won, 14 touches.
    Fulham — 8 minutes, 6 touches, 0/2 passes, 0/3 crosses
    Man U — 12 minutes, 9 touches, 2 key passes, 1 foul, 7/9 passes, 1/1 long balls, 1/1 through balls
    QPR — 14 minutes, 10 touches, 3 shots, 1 key pass, 1 foul drawn, 1 foul, 3/5 passes, 1/1 crosses — arguably his contribution helped win this game.
    Schalke 04 — 11 minutes, 2 touches, 1 foul drawn, 1/1 passes, 0/1 crosses
    Norwich — 22 minutes, 20 touches, 1 dispossessed, 1 turnover, 11/15 passes, 1/2 crosses, 0/1 long balls
    Sunderland — 18 minutes, 17 touches, 1 dribble, 2 key passes, 1 foul, 9/13 passes, 1/2 crosses, 1/2 long balls

    Those are the facts. My insight into the game also tells me that he comes and goes when he wants and doesn’t bother defending but since he’s being thrown on at the end of games when Arsenal just need a goal anyway that suits him down to a tee.

    That guy above, will never be fit to start for Arsenal in a Premier League game. In a 5-7, no defense kiddie cup match? Sure. In a Premier League game where Gibbs would have to suffer his shit for 90 minutes or, worse, the Arsenal midfield would be carved open like a salmon while he stood there expressionless waiting for someone to win him the ball back? No.

    Fuck Arshavin. The only thing he’s fit for is desperately making Arsenal fans wish that Thierry Henry were back. And the only thing he’s hungry for is playing in what amounts to “pick-up football” time.

    Again, thanks for the insulting remarks that belittle my opinions which are based on experience and facts.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      We’ve have been burned too often by Arshavin to trust him him with a start in a big spot. Also when he plays for Russia he’s like a different player because of that nationalist thing. Well paid for his less than a part time role.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      Speaking of “myths,” what’s that one santori is spreading about Arshavin in a mythical universe in which he plays regularly? That he’d be awesome and everything!!!! Yay!

      Anyway, it’s Suntory time. For relaxing times!

  20. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

    sure Arsenal needs reinforcement in a few key positions, but I just wish the money would be spend on one really excellent mid- fielders, world class. Throw all the transfer money into this one player because any 10-15m just won’t cut it at the EPL. If we think Fabregas is good, RVP is good, then think about their sell amount, 25 to 35m. There might be a wonder player like a 2 year old unknown thoroughbred waiting to come through. The wait, which might never happen until the day Arsenal drifts into the deep of no return.

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1kratoshes

    I have been saying for the past two season …we need fellaini in our ranks…expensive but very much worth every single penny. He can solve so many problem in our midfield…he is physical player plus great awareness in the box, he can bully going forward or defending, he has fantastic aerial presence great for corners in either end, he has played extremely well for everton without much injuries, a good consistent performer who has carried everton for so many years. And he wants to play CL, lets arsenal be the team to sign him up or we might rue missing him like kompany,yaya, silva, mata,etc.

  22. Vote -1 Vote +11steved1

    Bring back the legend that is Eboue and all will be fine.
    In all seriousness I think le Coq has been given a chance to shine and he’s not really grabbed it, I think when frimpong frimponged himself the lack competition has hurt. I would recall Frimpong in the window to provide the cover for Arteta, give Diaby a bionic leg and punch John Terry in the face and all will be well in midfield.

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