Tag Archives: gunners

“Spend Some Fucking Money!”

18 Aug

It is amazing how one game can change the whole mood. Arsenal fan’s have gone from a state of optimism into a mood of outright anger. “Spend some fucking money” was the chant ringing around the North Bank, as Arsenal conceded the third goal in a 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa. Laudrup, Klopp, Bould, Garde are names that have been mentioned in light of the weekend from Hell. These names are being bandied around in the “hope”, for some fans, that Wenger will resign and hand over the reigns to a younger, hungrier and more ambitious manager. 

ECONOMY

For Arsenal fans to turn on Wenger in such huge numbers, is indicative of the total disappointment, we as fans, have been made to feel during this debacle of a transfer window. We have let go of SEVENTEEN players (quite rightly) but have signed ONE player. Wenger is a fine economist who should be able to see, that will leave any squad extremely light. I am personally prepared to wait until the end of the transfer window before I judge Wenger, Gazidis and Co. but what must be made clear by the fans is, this is not a sudden, knee-jerk reaction. There are plenty of fans who have been very patient, myself included, but I am being tipped over the edge. Many fans will feel the same as me especially after 8 years of waiting.  

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WENGER: ALREADY UNDER PRESSURE

 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE CELEBRATIONS

Let’s not mention the fact that we are now under an unprecedented amount of pressure to beat Fenerbahce in our Champions League qualifier. After celebrating top-four, I assumed we needed that finish to be able to kick-on and finally break up the monopoly of Man. United, Man. City and Chelsea. As the days pass it is beginning to seem like they celebrated not falling any further behind the big boys. The reason we should be celebrating top-four is the excitement of the players we should now be signing after securing Champions League football, instead all we are doing is stopping Spurs from over-taking us, which any team will struggle to recover from (ask Liverpool).

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ARSENAL CELEBRATE FOURTH PLACED FINISH

WE HAVE MONEY

Gazidis has made it pretty obvious we have good money to spend, so I don’t want to hear excuses suggesting “there are no players available” blah, blah, blah. That is insulting and suggests fans don’t pay attention to football and cannot see the transfers that are happening around us. I am laying the blame at Wenger’s door thus far. I don’t blame him for pulling the plug on the Higuain deal in order to pursue Suarez, as it definitely shows a stronger ambition, however, please don’t make a bid of £40m + £1 in order to activate a non-existent transfer-clause. That is pathetic on our behalf and the big organisation that we are shouldn’t be allowing these grave errors of judgement to bite us in the arse so readily.

UNHAPPY CUSTOMERS

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ARSENAL FANS BANNER: SIMPLE EQUATION?

We are in danger of becoming a laughing stock, as our great ability in making profit on players and increasing revenue is not translated into doing great transfer business to make our main “customer” (the fans) happy. The fans are the ones paying the most money in the land for a poxy ticket to 4th placed League finishes, they surely deserve to be served a better product? 

I’m not a reactionary type of fan. I’ve been patient for 8 years, watching us lose all of our legendary assets one-by-one, to then seeing many teams come and fail to bring the trophies we crave. We are within touching distance of finally being exposed for the “money-making-only” machine that we are and not the colossal club competing for honours that we were promised to become

NO MORE HUSTLING ALLOWED

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GAZIDIS INSISTS WE HAVE A COMPETITIVE TRANSFER BUDGET

It is well-known within sport, what a well-run BUSINESS Arsenal FOOTBALL club are. It is also known that we now have plenty money, so Wenger, if you decide you want a player and that’s the player you well & truly want, make sure you pay whatever it takes to get that player. We are no longer in the position where we can pretend we don’t have money to get a player on the cheap. We now have to pay top dollar since we are one of the clubs with the most money in football. 

We shouldn’t be shirking transfer dealings on the basis of principles and our own “player valuation”. Instead we should be bullying teams into selling us the players that we want, showing a relentless, ruthless streak, needed to get the best players – regardless of the price. That’s the price of new-found wealth.

 

CONCLUSION

I will put my hands up and say, Wenger has this transfer window to save his reputation from being totally destroyed. He MUST make the signings necessary for us to compete for trophies. If he truly has this £100m+ budget he must spend every single penny. If he doesn’t, he should be held accountable and must not be offered an extension on a contract which expires at the end of the season. Then we should be making plans for a new manager to take charge from next season onwards.

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JACK WILSHERE: A BIT OF BERGKAMP OR MORE MAKELELE?

31 Jul

Here we have Jack Wilshere, arguably the goldenboy and the future of English football.

A big performer for the big stage with a big personality. This has been demonstrated on a few occasions, most memorably against a legendary Barcelona team at The Emirates.

The main problem that seems to have hindered Wilshere’s incredible progress, is undoubtedly his injuries which kept him sidelined for the whole of the 2011-12 season, the season after his breakthrough into the Arsenal first eleven. In the 2010-11 season he won the PFA Young Player of The Year Award and also made the PFA Team of The Year. He accomplished a lot in his first year as a regular member of the team.

This is a player who has made his League debut at the age of 16 and is the youngest league debutant in Arsenal’s history but he has missed out on crucial stages of his development.

However, the big question for many Arsenal fans is, what position will Wilshere conquer? He has a bit of everything in his locker. A player who, I would say is a hybrid of Paul Scholes and Joe Cole. He can glide past players elegantly in midfield, provoke, prod and commit the opposition but he also has a lovely left-peg which he uses to stroke the ball around from deep.

He has been seen by many as a No.10. As evidenced by Arsene Wenger, who upon selling Robin van Persie, decided to reward Wilshere with the famous playmaker number, also worn by Dennis Bergkamp. This shirt number is usually a signal of intent from the manager and would suggest that, if at least long-term, Wilshere will be the resident creative midfielder.

I haven’t been convinced that this is Wilshere’s long-term role in the side and although I think he has got a good level of flair, I don’t think he has the creativity or goal-scoring potential of, as an example, Cesc Fabregas. In my eyes, Wilshere will not be able to match the creative exploits of Santi Cazorla, who is a superb creative influence on the team. However, he does have a degree of dynamism, that will be a huge virtue in a more central position to the team. In an outstanding all-round performance against Barcelona, Wilshere made a superb attacking contribution in the final third with a pass completion of 91%.

This suggests that Wilshere can make a quality contribution in attack but, for me a quality No.10 scores at least 12 league goals per season. Wilshere currently has 1 league goal in his career for Arsenal.

I’m not saying that he isn’t an outstanding player, as I believe he is one of the best player’s at under-21 level in world football but as a No.10 he will definitely have to increase his goal-scoring record drastically.

Fabregas was in a similar position where his profligacy led to a few doubters but Fabregas always seemed to have the potential to blossom into a goal-scoring midfielder. When Wenger watched him at the u-17’s World Cup in 2003, Fabregas won the Golden Boot. When Fabregas begun to score regularly for Arsenal, Wenger said, ‘I believe he is more relaxed, there is less tension in his finishing. You feel that before he wanted to force the chance and now he is more relaxed. Also he has gained more physical power. You can see he resists much more the runs of his opponents and he is more powerful in his runs. These two ingredients make a big difference.’ In Wilshere’s case, I wouldn’t say he has this problem, he just doesn’t have the instinct of a goal-scoring midfielder.

I would also say, football is changing. You need great passers at the base of your attack, who help you to keep the ball well, change the tempo of your game and start of your attacks. Jack Wilshere is in this mould but also has the bite in his game which will allow him to cope well in the battle. Think of Arteta who has a tidy, short-range passing-game with the tactical nous to screen his back four without being quick, strong or particularly aggressive. Jack Wilshere can be this player but will have to strongly develop his tactical understanding of the game. He has the tenacity to succeed and also has a much better passing-range. Also with Steve Bould, a defensive coach who has a great understanding in the defensive aspect of the game, Jack Wilshere can blossom alongside the correct clientele.

Wenger’s use of him correlates with this idea also. When Wilshere was used alongside Alex Song in midfield, Song would advance forward and Wilshere had to sit and screen his back-four, like the under-rated Claude Makelele. With all this in mind it is fair to say his schooling in this position has already begun.

Not to mention what the legendary Fabio Capello had planned for him as England manager. Capello compared Wilshere to Makelele.

Capello said: “Wilshere will play in front of the back four. It is not the position he prefers – he wants to go forward. But one of the midfielders has to stay back.

“Makelele was faster and could play with both feet, but Wilshere is really intelligent on the pitch. His movement, with or without the ball, has improved a lot. For me, Wilshere is better.

“In some games at Arsenal he has played forward. In other games he has played in front of the back four.

“He has improved a lot with short passes and winning back the ball. He is playing with confidence now.”

This gives us an indication of how Wilshere and his career can progress. For me he will have to take the advice of ex-England captain Bryan Robson, who said on Wilshere, “I look at him and think what kind of player does Jack want to be? Is he going to be an offensive player? If he is, he needs to score more goals. If he is going to be defensive, he has to work that little bit harder on the defensive side of his game.”

I am of the opinion Wilshere really should consider trying to establish himself as the heir to Mikel Arteta rather than the next Dennis Bergkamp. He should challenge himself, to live up to Capello’s huge billing of being better than Makelele.

 

 

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ASHLEY WILLIAMS: COULD BE A HUGE SQUAD PLAYER AT ARSENAL.

27 Jun

From as early as the Tottenham game at White Hart Lane it had been obvious that Arsenal’s choice of captain, Thomas Vermaelen, had an issue with the captaincy. Arsenal have since made an informal change of captain, with Mikel Arteta taking the reins effectively and managing to impress many Arsenal fans with his leadership. 

It hasn’t stopped Arsenal fans calling for more experienced leaders and in particular defensive organisers. There is also the section of support who are awaiting the archetypal  British defender that will adopt a no-nonsense approach – somebody that us and the up & coming British players, at Arsenal can identify with.

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WILLIAMS: HOLDING THE CARLING CUP

This is where Ashley Williams, the Wales and Swansea captain comes in. The centre-half, who has just won his biggest honour to date, the Carling Cup, will be looking to finally take the last big step in his career. This is a player that has had to play in all four-tiers of English football with a big opportunity to play in the Champions League. He has had to work his way up to the top and I think that commands a huge respect. 

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WILLIAMS IS A TOUGH DEFENDER

These types of players are battled-hardened and add a totally different dimension to a very Continental squad at Arsenal. They bring the mentality of grown men, who have worked their way up through the leagues and haven’t had the many luxuries of a lot of the younger, more polished international players at Arsenal. 

There is always an influence, example and inspiration to come from a player like Williams. Let’s also be honest, I wouldn’t suggest he is top class but he has come a long way under the technical Swansea style of play, which makes me believe he would be a good fit at Arsenal. He won’t demand to start every week but I think he would relish the challenge of breaking into the starting eleven and his professional attitude will ensure he is ready when called upon. His experience as captain could be a huge asset for us, as we have lacked leadership at times. 

I’m of the belief that it isn’t just the technical ability alone that makes a player a big player for his club. It’s his mentality, desire to win and leadership skills that can help to raise his team-mates performances and I think Ashley Williams is one of those players that can help to give us solid, Premier League experience which can only enhance our squad depth.

 

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The Ox – Box to Box?

23 Jun

Of course the football season is over and the annual, or should i say, the every 6-month transfer-window meltdown, is soon to be amongst us.

It’s warming up a bit now and there are plenty of rumours on a daily basis regarding some of Arsenal’s supposed transfer targets. There have been incessant transfer rumours since Ivan Gazidis came out with a public announcement, suggesting we have a significant amount of money to spend on investment in the team.

Since this announcement, us Arsenal fans have been awaiting the first announcement of a big signing. We have supposedly purchased 20-year-old Yaya Sanogo from Ligue 2 club Auxerre. The Club haven’t announced it yet, perhaps not wanting to announce another youngster as our first signing of the window. Other than that, we are desperately awaiting news of the world-class players we have been promised.

Amongst all this, what of the potential superstars we have already at the club? In past years we have heard talk of “killing” young players such as Song, Denilson, Bendtner etc. To be fair to them none of these players came with the reputation of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

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THE OX LEAVING SANTON FOR DEAD

The Ox came as a 17-year-old talent with a growing reputation. A strong physique with the technical ability and swagger not generally associated with young, English players. He has great pace and dribbling ability while also being very positive in one-on-one situations with the full-back. Every full-back will say, it is torture having a young, quick, tricky winger, running at you with every opportunity and this is exactly what The Ox will do.

It’s been a rapid rise for The Ox. He is one of the most well-known youngsters in world football despite Wenger’s best efforts to let him develop without the unnecessary spotlight. The thing with The Ox is he is always capable of making something happen in a game, despite how young he is. As much as you try to hold him back, he still has the ability to make a difference. Take the games against AC Milan and Manchester United at The Emirates, in his debut season, as an example.

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The Ox was even thrown into the England squad for Euro 2012 by Roy Hodgson despite not even making 30 appearances for Arsenal, albeit some sparkling displays for Arsenal. He even started Englands first group stage game against France. After The Euros, his form had certainly suffered a dip. he came back for pre-season as an international player, had less time to get ready for 2012-2013 season and it was uphill from there. He struggled to establish himself in the team after a couple of niggly injuries and it was a lot for a young Oxlade-Chamberlain to adapt to.

I’ve heard a few comparisons with Theo Walcott. People suggesting that all the attention and fast-tracking into the national squad has hampered Walcott but I am not seeing any similarities in the two. The Ox is confident, extrovert and has a great temperament. Not only that but he is actually a better footballer than Walcott.

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THE OX AND WALCOTT

These personality traits come out in his game and how he plays. He already looks very comfortable within the England set-up and that speaks volumes about his maturity. He is very popular and assured in himself, possibly taking on a lot of his fathers advice, who is also an England international.

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OXLADE-CHAMBERLAIN: STRUGGLED FOR CONSISTENCY

The thing what amazes me about The Ox, is despite his young age, he is very versatile and can be asked to play in a variety of positions. This isn’t easy to ask of a young player. Many have seen him play on the wings but he is supposedly a long-term centre-midfielder in the eyes of Wenger. A lot of fans rate Oxlade-Chamberlain highly but not many are sure how he will perform next season after an inconsistent 2012-2013 season.

Oxlade has the technical and physical capabilities to play in centre-midfield and looking at his attacking performance in the Champions League against AC Milan, it was no wonder that Dutch football legend Marco van Basten described The Ox as “a gem”.

The Ox has been chomping at the bit, rearing to get back into the team and establish himself as a starter. Thats the attitude needed from a lot of youngsters these days. Thats what further impressed me about The Ox and his performance in our crucial, last game of the season away at Newcastle. He had to come onto the pitch to replace our captain and defensive-midfielder, Mikel Arteta.

The Ox had to be mentally ready to step in if any injuries were to come about, and he was. He stepped into the tactical shoes of Arteta, who has been vital in the tactical shape of our team. The Ox had to show us a totally different part of his game. That ability to screen the back-four alongside Aaron Ramsey showed his maturity and his willingness to do a job for the team. He sat in front of the back-four, broke up play, kept the ball moving, got forward when needed, gave us a good energy in midfield and helped us to keep a clean-sheet with a smart, disciplined and tactical performance.

A player like him is he always good to have in the first-eleven mainly because of the possibilities he can give you during the game. He allows you to change your team shape during the game and can give you the ability to overload in attack. His ability to glide past players in midfield is easier for him because of his experience on the wings. This experience will serve him well, just like it has for a player like Moussa Dembele. Not only that but The Ox is consistently a goal threat when he is playing, as he showed most recently while scoring for England against Brazil, and he certainly does possess an attacking instinct. He has good passing ability also which makes him quite a good all-round player.

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THE OX FIRES ONE IN AGAINST BRAZIL

This skill-set will ensure that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be an effective central-midfielder for Arsenal, sooner rather than later.

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