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13 Sep 2014 04:19:16
I feel there is a bit of a ball rolling on the issue of our 'weak' midfield against teams like City and Chelsea, so I just wanted to counter a few points. Not attacking anyone about it, it's just how we see the game in the end.

There is the idea that we needed a player brought in to take up the role of defensive midfielder; in the sense that he's a physical unit, won't be bullied or intimidated, in fact taking that to the opposition, and will allow our forwards to express themselves without restraint. I have problems with this in that there is a lot of fear and negativity floating around about our prospects without this person, and a lot of anger towards Wenger and the management for not signing this person.

First things are that I followed all the stories about targets for this position, and come the end of the window I was left wondering who we should have signed? Schneiderlin was blocked, Rabiot was not a defensive player and not first team anyway, Carvalho was in a sense untried, and damn expensive, Bender was not moving, Pogba/Vidal never moved and were really expensive if they had, Khedira was a huge saga, and that was proved a wise decision with his obvious fitness struggles. I think we all wanted a player in, but then even this list is full of very different types of footballers, so what did we actually want? When Khedira seemed likely the talk was about how we could run two box to box guys with Rambo/Wilshire. We were excited that Carvalho was a beast. Looking at the midfielders who did move, are there any that we'd have wished for retrospectively? Sandro, Fernando, Colback, Besic, Medel, Song?

What do we think Wenger wants here? I've said it before, but I think Arteta is almost perfect. He is unfortunately not a naturally physical footballer, and his age is not a positive. In games though, he makes interceptions, is quick into the tackle from the back of a recieving player, has a strong competitive edge and drive, and in possession he is neat, clever and accurate. On the down side he struggles to dominate in the air, and is a liability once he is turned. Most of his game though suits what we want our style to be as I see it. He's always behind the play, giving options for forwards under pressure, and efficiently moving the ball on from a defensive area. Not many players around can add to Arteta's physical faults without taking away from his technical skills. I think in the end there just wasn't a good buy on the market.

Looking back on our frailties in our big losses last summer, the one thing I don't see mentioned enough is how awful our passing was. Possession conceded cheaply in really dangerous positions, which was punished clinically on the most part. Its accepted that Mertesacker and Arteta in particular are strongest when facing the play, and in these games reckless team play cost them position which exposed them. These are not bad players, but our team didn't play enough to its own strengths, and faultered too much on its weaknesses. We weren't good in these games, but we weren't helped by problems with injury and form higher up the pitch for sure. We've got the potential to become the best passing team in the country again this season, and if we can our worries about the size and shape of certain players will disappear I expect. We'll know a bit more after the game tomorrow, but even so I'm excited about our potential to improve all the way through till winter with this team. We've got a happy squad by all the evidence, and an ethos that shows faith in the players we've got, and those rising through the ranks. that's a delicate thing, and one we'd all miss immediately if it was eroded.

Finally, as its hard not to get involved; even if Wilshire doesn't become our best midfielder, he'd still be a superior squad player to what most teams could put out, and he's Arsenal through and through. How can it be bad?

Gunner Ned

1.) Well said :)

2.) Could have got your point across with 1 paragraph,
It took a you too long mate lol

3.) 13 Sep 2014 08:44:49
I agree - we need crisper passing and movement to create options plus attack with a little more venom
Arteta is great and I just want a CDM like him but younger and slightly more physical plus want him now to get bedded in for hen Arteta retires by rotating or partnering with Arteta this season

4.) You make a valid point GN. A DM has two key roles in a team. Firstly the tackling and defensive cover, but perhaps just as key is distribution, as the DM is the player with the responsibility of bringing the ball forward from the CD and starting each move. If the DM was a defensive Titan but who couldn't pass they would very quickly get exposed in the premiership and would start giving the ball away in some very dangerous areas. Looking at how Liverpool are using Gerrard it seems as perhaps managers want passing ability to be the main priority for their DM or base midfielder rather than tackling? Wenger perhaps also sees it this way which is why he is sticking with Arteta in this role?



02 Sep 2014 12:38:22
The instant reaction after the window closed was mostly rashly worded dissappointment and hate, but that's how these forums work out I guess. More balance and consideration in the posts to enjoy this morning thank biscuits.

I've decided that I'm excited about the Welbeck signing, and positive about what he can bring already, and the improvements he can make to his game given the chance. It's possible that he'll be played out of position and not find his feet, or that he'll not be a good player at all for Arsenal, but let's get upset about that when it happens surely?

I worry us supporters sometimes prioritise being right about our opinions on players, tactics, money over just enjoying being a football fan. Some of you on this page might have watched most of the games Welbeck has played for club and country, and respect if your negative opinion derives from such attention to the game! I can only say honestly that the few times I've watched him play 90 minutes, he's looked very useful. In our system of involving all the front players in the build up, I think he'll be strong and technical, and over Giroud he has a bit of pace for the quicker pass aswell. a lot of hate because we feel we want a blockbuster 30 goal striker, and he hasn't done that so far, but I definitely haven't seen him as the striker in a team yet, so I can't say. We could have spent a lot of money both in fees and wages bringing in Balotelli or Falcao, but there would still be unknowns about how they'd perform in the team wouldn't there? It seems that some are more concerned with the profile of the player over the likely job they could do for the team. Unless Balotelli (or whoever it may be) scored 30 plus goals this year to make up for the drop assists and team cohesion he wouldn't be worth it. After that its just a matter of faith, and supporting your team.

Some great debate about not signing another defender or a defensive midfielder, and I think the consensus is that everyone is worried about it! It is obvious we were in the market for both right up till the end of the window though, so who knows exactly went wrong. It seems likely that too much money being asked by the club, massive wage demands by the player, or unwillingness to commit to a squad position were the big reasons though (probably our top target though, Bender, just wants to stay at his club. Fair play!). I'm fairly relaxed if that is the case, but personally I enjoy the team building project. From recent windows I can think of a lot of clamour for M'vila, Yanga-Mbiwa, Diame, Parker off the top of my head. Hardly ever does the expectation match the performance. In the long run Wenger was correct to take the flack on these guys.

Anyway, I love reading the posts, good or bad. Hopefully in the end we all come here because we love our club, and are slightly addicted to football. let's leave the hate for something important in the world, enjoy watching our passing polish up, and get ready for January!

Gunner Ned

1.) 02 Sep 2014 13:08:27
Damn fine post Ned.



21 Aug 2014 02:19:30
Evening guys and girls, been enjoying some great debates on filling in the missing pieces of our squad jigsaw, thought I'd add my two pennies and see what comes back!

Seems pretty certain that Mr Wenger will be adding before the window shuts, at the right price obviously. At this stage I believe that only rules out £50-60 million for Pogba, or £200,000 a week for Khedira, or such like. He's proved to me he's ready to pay a fair price for the quality now. So, DM or Stiker, or both? (Seems to be we can assume a back up defender for under £10 mill, from what the media and this site suggest).

The DM chat is really interesting this summer, especially with a few games already played. My take is that we should consider harder what the role actually means for Arsenal, before getting too emotional about laying out the top prices. Case in point is £12 million for Fernando at Citeh. Would we have been happy with that during the summer, or after seeing his play in the first few games? Looks like a quality defender so far. Can't see how he wouldn't have been on Wenger's radar if he was looking for the powerful, tall, uncompromising holding midfielder? I also think back to a fit Fletcher covering for United to much acclaim a few seasons back. Stick him in our midfield, and would we moan about his limited passing and athleticism (my opinion), or praise that he gave everything in a game, and created a platform for others to shine? Is Cattermole a good player for Sunderland? Is there a difference depending on the level of club you play at?

I'd say that Arteta has been quality for us since he was moved into that anchor position. If he'd done it his whole career before he came, or not been unfortunately pushing his legs a bit after he did, I'd say he'd have defined the role for us. The job is different at each club, depending on coaching philosophy, or the balance of the midfield around them. It wouldn't hurt to buy someone with a bigger presence, or more pace, than the captain, but I'd not swap that to downgrade on first touch, accurate passing and squad influence. I'm not saying I know who to sign guys! No educated clue about a lot of the names about. If it came to it though, I'd not be too upset to rely on Arteta, and mature Chambers in his role as Wenger seems to see it, as long as excellent cover was brought in at central defence. Our game is strongest when winning the ball as a team, and keeping it off the opposition with passing and movement through the second third of the pitch. Personally I'd rather build on that, and keeping the team spirit strong. Shoot me down, but I believe we dropped off last season because our ball-playing spine collapsed through injury and loss of form. Granted that exposed that we can't fall back on solid, destructive play, but its really hard to have both without the stupid money of Chelsea or Citeh isn't it? Especially if you enjoy producing the stars from the youth like we do.

I'm looking forward to finding out how our attack will form up when Alexis finds his feet in the team (becoming the first choive forward as Ed 27 suggests?), The Ox gets his full fitness, and Ozil returns. Will we see Giroud as the impact sub, and cover for the forward role, rather than relying on him? That would change a lot about how we feel about his slow start to the season wouldn't it? I really rate Giroud, especially how he integrates the forward line, hardly anyone does that better. As an option rather than a reliance, I think he becomes exciting again! The big question for me is increasingly who occupies the left midfield/wing position. Not Cazorla anymore, he's wasted/ineffective and unmotivated, take your pick. He'll come alive again in the middle, if he's prepared to wait for his chances. Does Podolski finally click? Does Wenger see something big in Campbell, or The Ox there? Alexis has looked good when switched, though that may just be that he shows up how weak we've been there for ages too! I'd actually hope that when the transfer dominoes start again, Arsene has a coupe lined up for this role, and this is where the final money goes.

I think I've talked myself into the familiar path of Rues, Di Maria, Draxler etc! Also Robbie Gooner, I think I might finally concur with your persistant calls for '2 cbs'! Keep up the great work people and Ed's, this site is my daily read. Can't wait for the window to shut and the season to start in earnest!

Gunner Ned

1.) Cool! .

2.) Good post. I agree on much of that.
As ever it's squad depth for us. 2 games in and we have injuries already.
I've got a funny feeling we will wake up at Everton with our Germans back in the squad

3.) I like the point about the DM position here. Rumoured today is De Jong on loan. That would work - He sat in front of Citeh's defence and allowed the flair men to do their stuff in their title winning season. No fool on the ball either. Keeps budget to spend on a front man.

4.) The one thing I will always give wenger, even through his prudent years, he always looks for the greater good of the clubs, besides the likes of squillachi, bendtner, andre santos, chamakh, park chu young, who he did buy for nominal fees, if the papers are to be believed, when it comes to attracting the right quality of players, wheter it be Vermalen, Per, Kos, Chambers, santi, walcott, ox, ramsey, wilshere, rosicky, sczesny, and so on, basically he gets it right more often than wrong.

but I think in terms of DM position, he really wants the best there is for years to come. perhaps that player is lars bender, perhaps he just wants a one year fill in, or perhaps he will buy Carvalho or Khedira, only time will tell.

we are still missing key pieces, but adding Ozil and Alexis to an Improved Ramsey and the backline we have now, its already half the battle won.

2 players, CDM and CB from competing for league honors and a forward short in the mould of Reus to challenge on the continent.




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19 Jun 2019 13:18:08
I don't know how fair that is on Emery or not, but there's a number of young players looking nearer the first team than in ages. Holding would have been starting lots of games if not for his injury, Iwobi pushed on this season. Willock, Nketiah, Smith-Rowe all got pretty good game time. Maitland-Niles was trusted over Lichsteiner/ Mustafi for the majority of the season, although you can see there's not much choice there! AMN is a good example of what we should expect when playing youth though. Lots of promise in his good games, but his frankly shocking performance in the UEFA final is the flip side. I'm happy to accept it from a young player though, with the hope that they grow into a team and style that is well performing, but also allows room for some extra quality signings to fill the gaps.

Gunner Ned



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05 Oct 2018 11:55:05
Interesting points! It's easy to forget I think, how spoilt we were getting to watch the invincibles. That team could rinse the opposition on the break, could pass waiting for space to open, or press hard with strong players in and around the box. It was absolute magic, but it never seemed like a heavily coached formula. Wenger relied on enabling great players to express themselves, and thus on great defenders organising themselves. It'll take some getting used to a team being coached into a system again. It's totally necessary, as things had deteriorated into chaos under Arsenes last years, but it won't always be fluid or balanced as Emery learns and adjusts, and the players change their mindsets again. The high or deep line defence will become less of an issue hopefully, as slowly the team gets used to defending as a unit, not as separate entities.

Gunner Ned



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17 Sep 2018 16:44:21
Why would I assume, or care, if you hate him as a person? You state in abundance you hate him in the team, I don't understand all the defencivness and confusion. I basically replied that you'd totally mis-represented the use of vital in RG's post, and I think you don't comment sensibly on why Xhaka continues to get in the team. I never stated that Xhaka is our star player, I don't think it's in dispute he's been underwhelming. I definitely think he can be better, but may also need replacing. Also that if we change the balance of the midfield with the players we have available, then we'll need to adapt in other areas of the pitch to be creative or control possession. I suspect our wide forwards are not suited to the task.

Gunner Ned



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16 Sep 2018 15:40:22
It's so obvious that the 'vital' refers to that role in this system! Discuss if you think this system is correct, the midfield balance needs adjusting, no problem. If we need a player to move the ball though periods of possession, then he is clearly the best option in the squad, and thus gets picked. Not the best player in the team or whatever, as its boringly obvious you two hate him. Otherwise we fill our team up with box to box players who do a bit of everything, I'm not clever enough to know if that's better, but I'll trust Emery on this. Maybe Xhaka flourishes as the season grows, maybe we use the transfer market to improve on him, maybe we change the system. Keep discussing football RG, I enjoy it, even if I rarely contribute!

Gunner Ned

{Ed025's Note - you should a bit more ned..




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16 Jul 2019 09:28:15
Appreciate that summary of the game, cheers for writing it up!

Gunner Ned



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12 Jul 2019 12:18:46
Very consistent of you. Complain about lack of transfers, and leaving it too late, and being a joke if a club, then immediately state we should sack our manager weeks before our season starts! That would be brilliant preparation for everyone, and guarantee success I'm sure. It's fine being negative if that's how you feel, but if the mob start ruling this club we're doomed.

Gunner Ned



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11 Jul 2019 22:01:03
SY4, seems you, and many others here, are choosing to believe it's mud, and choosing to believe who's dragging us through it? This is all opinion, which is fine of course, but why concentrate on the negative information so much? Everything is spun to reflect our clubs utter incompetence, and our inevitable decent into mediocrity. Why is it more engaging to believe that, when the truth is we don't have a clue what's going on with the money and the transfers, and the long term policy?

We're a club transferring from a regime under Wenger that lasted decades, and we haven't hit the ground running. Big surprise! Try and keep a little faith, it'll make it more fun surely?

Gunner Ned



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28 Jun 2019 14:53:04
Home alone today?

Gunner Ned



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28 Jun 2019 14:50:28
I've no idea if that is likely, but I'd find it understandable if we did. He's 30, so it'll be our last chance to make money on his sale. He was in terrible form for the last half of the season, and though he can find that again, if utd get a poorly performing PEA, then we'd be the beneficiaries. We need some cash to help with our transfer strategy, so if you want to see anything above the signing of Tierney this summer, we've got to be realistic I think.

Gunner Ned