Welcome to Arsenal, enjoy the ride

I have a post in the can ready to put up on Arseblog news but his web site is crushed with traffic, everyone has a hot take on the crazy close of the transfer window and they need to spill it, me included. So, I guess I can help you with your hot take by giving you a space to voice it while giving you my hot take.

Aubameyang – hell has frozen over. I still can’t believe Arsenal signed him. Up till the last minute I felt like this deal wouldn’t happen. I’ve never seen a situation where Arsenal needed to trade a guy to another top rival so that rival would do us a favor and trade a guy to a team that we are trying to sign a player from. Massive credit due to the Arsenal admin here, they pulled off what is easily the most complicated transfer of the decade.

As for the player, I’ve already written about Aubameyang over on Arseblog news. He is a poacher of poachers and if his record continues, he isn’t going to score you a bunch of eye-popping goals from distance. He is, however, going to be the first player in the box, he’s going to stand in the six, he’s going to clean up any sloppy clearances, and he’s going to be the answer to Arsenal’s question “WHY WASN’T ANYONE ON THE END OF THAT CROSS???” Auba will be on the end of that cross.

He will also frustrate you. Yep. Get ready to climb on his back! First off, he doesn’t really do anything other than score goals. He’s not involved in build-up, he’s not an outlet, he isn’t a hold-up player, and he’s not even a target man. He doesn’t really dribble, pass, assist, or do much of anything, except score goals. So, sort of like Theo Walcott, but with less crossing ability.

Second, he is NOT Thierry Henry. In their first media interview the dot com have already allowed that disastrous comparison to be made. Henry’s profile is so enormous that his name should never be mentioned in player comparisons. It will only end tragically for that player.

Third, he misses a lot of big chances. This is where I think fans are going to be really upset. He scores a lot of big chances but he misses more than he scores. I’ve watched him at Dortmund for a few seasons now and I can tell you that he frustrated me often with his missed big chances. But Dortmund were great at creating space and chances for him so that eventually he will score. Arsenal, as a team, will need to create a lot of big chances for Aubameyang to be successful. He doesn’t really score regular goals, most just tap-ins and one-v-ones. Fast breaks? hell yes. Alexis Sanchez style, break the opposition down with a clever dribble and dip of the shoulder before firing in a goal from the edge of the box? Not so much.

What I’m saying is that Aubameyang isn’t the kind of all rounder football player who gets picked up by clubs like Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, or PSG. Arsenal are going to have to change their style and build a team around him to maximize his ability. That’s not something I said four years ago when we signed Alexis was it? That’s something we have a great track record doing, right?

To that end, signing Ozil (announced today) is a great start. Ozil is criminally underrated for his counter attacking ability but now with Aubameyang (Mkhi) and Ozil in this Arsenal team, I expect the club to drill counters all day every day. This also fits Arsene Wenger’s love for verticality. Like the Invincibles of yore (did they really exist?), Arsenal will need to play “up the ladder” from Mustafi, to Mkhi, to Ozil, to Auba and bang, goals.

You’ll notice that I have Mkhi playing in the middle. Yep. That’s where he will land. He already did a good little job there in his first match, collecting and driving forward. He’s also got such grace and composure on the ball and unlike Wilshere he doesn’t over-elaborate or try to dribble into the teeth of the defense, and unlike Ramsey* he gets forward but picks his times rather than just bombing forward constantly and getting in the way of the other forwards.

Who to play next to Mkhi? Believe it or not, I’d pick Elneny. He isn’t perfect but he’s the best DM that Arsenal have right now. I love Ainsley Maitland-Niles but I’d hate to see him thrown into the middle of the park this season. Or maybe I would? But on current form I have to go with Elneny.

As for the rest of the team, Xhaka must be dropped. He was hiding yesterday and Wenger has taken to playing him in that ridiculous Coquelin “forward DM” role. He can’t tackle, he can’t read the game, he switches off constantly on defense, and now he’s hiding from his defensive duties (which is what Ramsey does going forward all the time). I remember a match against Man U when Wayne Rooney ran right past Denilson who was jogging back on defense. Denilson was dropped the next day by Wenger. Xhaka does this all the time and I honestly think he needs to be dropped permanently.

Does Wenger have the courage? Someone needs to be punished for yesterday’s performance. Who? Mustafi? Cech? Xhaka? Monreal? Who will take the fall?

And finally, Arsenal just spent a ton of money renovating the attack and no money on defense and midfield where we need it. Still, I welcome the new signings. I hope you know what you signed up for and that you’re enjoying the ride as the car takes you slowly up – note the exciting new paint job on our rollercoaster, pay no attention to the fact that our timbers are rotting, and that the safety hasn’t passed a real inspection in 15 years.


*we’ve been Ramboozled by the Welshman running around a lot, he’s the exact problem with Arsenal’s midfield and unless Wenger can chain him to the center circle, I expect he will be sold this summer.


  1. The club has started the house-clearing a TW earlier than I’d expected. Powerfully good stuff too. With the WC this Summer? It’ll be shop-till-you-drop– and Sven, and Raul, and Ivan, and Arsene are still net-positive when this TW closes.

    Waiter? Bring me a DM, with sides of CB and GK please.


  2. A lot a sound stuff in there, but ….

    “……like Theo Walcott, but with less crossing ability.”

    Uncharitable, Tim. He contributes more than you acknowledge, plus he gets a lot of headed goals, something no one else but Giroud supplied with any regularity (except Welbeck occasionally, and he’s not going to get many starts). He’s slim, but tallish — not a dainty little fairy. The physicality of the league will suit him. He’s fast, intelligent, and can finish as well with his left foot as his right. It makes no difference if a defender pushes him left or right, he’ll get a good shot on target.

    And Ramsey the headless chicken. Come on. We can do better than this. Ramsey, by your own numbers and Arseblog’s own reporting, had a pretty effective season till he got injured. And noticeably dovetailed well with Lacazette. Some getting in his way.

    I agree, though, the midfield balance isn’t right.

    1. Ramsey is very much a headful chicken.

      Takes more shots per game than any current Arsenal player (2.4), makes just 1.5 tackles per game and less than an interception per game but also leads Arsenal in being the player most dribbled by opponents with 1.8 per game. Very very headful.

  3. Props for coming up with Ramboozled. Made me laugh. But no way is Ramsey getting sold.

    I agree that Xhaka needs to be dropped. He’s not getting better. If anything he’s doing less and less good things. I’d also drop Mustafi for a bit. Wenger does stick with players for too long sometimes. It can have a great effect occasionally, but very often it just isn’t great. I don’t know. Maybe with more options, he’ll be more inclined to change things up.

    I wouldn’t mind a 442 attack attack lineup, but a 433 is probably safer and more realistic.

    We apparently tried to sign Evans and failed. Some rumours around Manolas, but probably nonsense. Likewise with Meyer, even though that would be great. Still, it’s been a good window from Arsenal, all things considered, and the crazy thing is, we might actually have made money in both transfer fees and wages from all this. Good start for a rebuilding process.

    1. Ornstein mentioned Manolas, which means, although it may never have been a realistic possibility on deadline day, it definitely wasn’t “nonsense”.

    2. I thought mustsfi was stsrting to string together some good performances. The shame is i think he really dislikes playing for us.

  4. “…and unlike Ramsey* he gets forward but picks his times rather than just bombing forward constantly and getting in the way of the other forwards…
    *we’ve been Ramboozled by the Welshman running around a lot, he’s the exact problem with Arsenal’s midfield and unless Wenger can chain him to the center circle, I expect he will be sold this summer.”

    lol, yeah Tim, get in!!
    But where were you when I got absolutely CRUCIFIED by Claude and Doc for making essentially this point a week or so ago??! (Actually, what I said was way milder than this.)

      1. You’re the only one being dramatic, oh Eternally Pleasant One.

        I was bringing it up in a (pretty transparently) jocular, good-natured spirit.

        1. CRUCIFIED doesn’t spell jocular to me, but I may be the one living in a strange alternate universe, not you, so it’s probably just me being weird again.

  5. Also, agree with you about Elneny/AMN. (I said as much in an overly long comment posted to the last article earlier today.)

    Actually, as I said there, I’d consider playing both of them (with the long term plan to replace the weaker of the two with Jack) in central midfield, and let Ozil and Mikhi go wherever they want to dictate play, taking turns to push up on the wing one minute, drop into midfield the next. Then Lacazette and Auba in a flexible and mobile two up top (with the former dropping off or wide a bit): 4-2-2-2.

    Which raises a question, Tim: how do you see Aubameyang playing with Lacazette, or do you think it will be a straight replacement and Laca immediately becomes backup?

  6. Finally I find someone who share my views.. Xhaka wont work.. sell or bench him.. Elneny or Niles is a must! We need someone to tackle and recycle ball especially when we plan to play both Micki and Ozil. Micki will be our new cazorla.. I hope AW arrives at the decision soon.
    Ideal scenario is we buy/develop someone who can play both CB and DM, good in air, tackle well and good in short passes. But its Arsenal and I should stop dreaming!

    1. Bielik? I like that kid; not sure why Wenger doesn’t seem to rate him…

      But I don’t think we need to find one player to play both roles. Rather, we need to find two players, one of each. But that’s for the summer, now, obviously!

  7. Elneny?

    I want to weep. Our skinny Egyptian isn’ t a good answer to any questions posed by the squad. Watching him easily shrugged aside by a none too big player bursting into the box in a recent game (cant remember if it was Chelsea or Forest) showed his limitations. He has the physical presence of a baby eel.

    Yes, he’s defensively and tactically disciplined, and is always available for an outlet, but painfully, painfully limited. If sideways and back passing is your thing fine. If the inability to spot a run further forward is your thing, fine. If erratic, uncomposed shooting at a rare opportunity is your thing, fine. If fruitless pressing without putting in an actual tackle is your thing, fine.

    The contrast with Wilshere’s fine footballing brain is painful to watch. He’s a decent squad option. That’s it. We need to go into the market in the summer for defensive quality, and one of our marquee midfielders will have to be sold.

      1. Look, I agree about him being shoved aside way too easily (I think you’re thinking of an incident against CP, but there are many such to choose from), and I agree we need to buy an improvement in the summer (does anyone doubt this?). But he’s looked useful in that deep role the last few games, especially compared to our alternatives, and certainly did more good defensive things than bad.

        And he does pass between the lines ok when he has options ahead (was excellent at this against CP recently; I know they were porous, but it shows he’s capable). I’d prefer AMN to rapidly develop into the player we’re hoping he becomes, but in the meantime, Elneny is a better option than Xhaka, Ramsey, or Jack as a holding player (this strikes me as nearly impossible to dispute), and we need a holding player (impossible to dispute). So play him alongside Jack or AMN for the rest of the season, and let our brilliant creative/attacking talent do their thing.

        1. I would prefer AMN gets the nod over Elneny. Not necessarily because I think he is better but because he has the potential to be better. We know what we are getting with Elneny: a good engine, always makes himself available to receive a pass from the defense, decent ‘water carrier’, defensively suspect, weak on the ball, not a great passer, not a great shooter. AMN is still a bit of an unknown. I don’t think we have seen his full potential yet but the initial eye test tells me he can be a better version of Coquelin. Also, if he is “the future”, why not try to make him “the present”?

          I don’t think we should have both Elneny and AMN on the pitch unless we are really just trying to defend and play on the counter. Even then, I don’t see Elneny being a guy who can start off counter attacks. To be a good counter attacking team, you need to make efficient use of the little possession you do get and Elneny is more prone to pass it back to the opposition than starting an effective counter attack. I think a CM combo of AMN and Rambo could be good. If only someone could just gently stroke Rambo’s hair and softly whisper to his ears that we have some good attacking players now and there is no need for him to bomb forward every time we have possession. But really, we just need another CM.

          1. 1. You don’t like Jack? Gotta be in the conversation, for me.
            2. I’m done with hoping that stroking Rambo’s hair and asking him to pretty please be a midfielder will yield results. I still like him in a midfield three, but with Auba-Laca-Ozil-Mkhi I don’t see how there’s room for him. Getting those four in the team is my starting assumption right now.
            3. Agree about AMN having greater upside. Hey, if he gets the DM nod this weekend and is outstanding, I’m all for keeping him in the team and Elneny on the bench. I just don’t know how he will fare, and none of us do. That’s the problem with relying on inexperience.
            4. But I would just add that, although we more or less know what we’re getting with Elneny, it’s not *impossible* for a slightly older player to improve in a certain area. He’s still in early-mid career and he hasn’t been in England that long (ok, he’s not a newcomer, but it’s not like he’s been played game in, game out, like Xhaka, given chance after chance). This is crazy optimistic, but there have been little signs in the last few games that he’s been working on his defensive game, and maybe with Shad(?) to be a bit more robust in the tackle and harder to knock off the ball. But I admit that’s distinct optimism…
            5. The reason AMN and Elneny together could work at times in the short term (I’d still prefer to have Jack in there, and new players in the summer), is that it gives us a proper base to play all of Auba, Laca, Ozil, and Mkhi together, more or less in their best positions, but without going “full Chelsea” and playing two strictly defensive bruisers/ball-winners in central midfield (they can both pass, in other words).

          2. I’d prefer if AMN was given a real chance with a real coach who put a good structure around him so that he could have a real opportunity to grow and learn a single position. I reject the idea of just tossing him out there into this Arsenal player meat grinder so that he can have his career Frimponged by Arsene Wenger and his fucking weird idea of how to play football. Elneny’s career is basically already over, let him take the heat.

          3. A number of young players have been regressing under Arsene of late, that’s for sure. Iwobi looks a worse player now than he did when he broke into the team. Does he practice shooting? Cool and composure when presented with chances? Doesn’t look like it. He’s got good feet, physicality and a high technical level — a rare combination. But he seems to have gotten a bit up his own rear in the celeb culture. He remains a terrific talent, though.

            Rob Holding looks shot after a promising start last year, and a sure sign that Arsene has no faith in him or Chambers was his attempt to buy Jonny Evans.

          4. Ainsley starting in CM would give the team a shot in the arm and would help with our startling vulnerability to pace through the middle, an issue since about the time a much younger Flamini signed with Milan. But you’re right, it might not last, depending on whether he is “the real deal” (in which case you really can’t play him too much) or if he’s another snowflake (in which case he will get figured out and pulverized eventually). However you don’t really find that out about a youngster ’til you play him. So, let’s play him.

          5. Haha, feeling optimistic about The Arsenal these days then, are we Tim?

            Actively hoping that our most promising players DON’T play in OUR team, so as to avoid going backwards under our OWN manager, has to be some kind of nadir for the outlook of Arsenal fandom.

      1. Could be any of three. We can’t keep them all happy. Ramsey, however, is far more important and influential for Arsenal than Xhaka.

  8. I don’t think people need to worry about Auba and Laca playing together. Wenger will find a way. Oh yes. If there are strikers on this team, Wenger will find a way to put them all in the field together. Will it work? Probably not, but at least we will have the most expensive Arsenal team ever put together and Wenger won’t have to listen to that filthy, disgusting “Spend some f***ing money” chant coming from the stands. After all it’s his money we want him to spend. Well, not his money technically, but he treats it like his own money so what’s the difference?

    Personally, I think they can play together. Not all the time, but when we are faced with packed boxes I think they can cause problems for the opposition in a modified 4-3-1-2. We will need some width though and thereby lies the problem. Where is the Ox when you need him huh? Hopefully we will buy another winger. Also hopefully, we buy a defensive minded central midfielder. And while we are at it, a goal keeper to replace Cech (I’m okay with giving Matt Macey a chance as I like the cut of his jib), a CB, two backup fullbacks and last but not least, a new manager, would be perfect.

    Seriously though – it’s good to see the club make some strides in the transfer market this January. Admittedly, the reason why we were in this predicament in the first place was because of our ineptitude but even though we seemed to make it up as we went along, I think some of the faith in the club has been restored. I wouldn’t go far as to say we have redeemed ourselves but at least as far as “rebuilding” goes, we should be set with our attacking line-up (sans a winger) in the foreseeable future which takes some of the pressure off in replacing players in the summer. So, good job there Ivan, Sven and Ravl.

  9. Just watched the Totts absolutely wallop United: total demolition job with Dembele imperious in midfield against Matic and Pogba, who was subbed he was so ineffectual. They took him off after 85mins to a standing ovation, bringing on Wanyama. An embarrassment of DCM riches.
    I love what we’ve done this window, Ozil signing was totally unexpected, but let’s hope for a similar upgrade in the engine room in the summer.

    1. We destroyed Dembele when we played them last. I wouldn’t praise him too highly. Just depends on if we switch on defensively or not. Too bad Xhaka switches off more then on.

  10. Watching Davinson Sanchez dominate Alexis and Lukaku on the ground and in the air, and really looking forward to the chapter in Arsene’s forthcoming memoir where he explains precisely why he began avoiding Ajax players after the failure with Vermaelen.

    It’s just too ironic that in going for Vermaelen we overlooked his then partner Vertonghen who ends up at Tottenham, then were so burnt by TV’s crazy defending that we refused to look at any other Ajax players.

    We could really do with any of Vertonghten, Alderweireld or Sanchez right now. If I was to pinpoint the one area that’s enabled Spurs to close the gap and overtake us? It’s the ability of their defenders to play. Really play.

    We like to say Mustafi can play, but compared to the Spurs guys, he’s a donkey. Mertesacker is the master at passing out but can’t run, Koscielny is a beast but not very creative with his passes. The Spurs guys all have a good mix of being able to dribble out, pass, and head the ball. Fuck Spurs forever but Wenger has worn me down to the extent I’m fine giving that part of their game respect when it’s due, especially because ours is so bad and will keep infecting the way we play until we make some tough decisions.

    Also Nasty Dele Alli connected with a kick at Alexis that Xhaka would have been shown a red card for, and only got a yellow. Typical.

    1. Amen. Seeing the photo of him in blue gave me a big sad. I will be looking forward to a classy reaction from gooners if/when he lines up against us next season.

  11. How bout we sign Alex Song?! He could slot right in at CDM. Drop into CB as required. I’m sure he was trained to do as such with his time at Barca not to mention his past playing the same with us.
    I don’t want to see Xhaka play another game this season. Can’t see how we can do worse than doing a Flamini & signing him for 6 months on a free now that he’s apparently back training with Arsenal. Would #likeanewsigning apply here?

    Sidenote: Crazy how a top Russian club (Rubin Kazan) can go 4+ months without playing any of their players; no punishment to date from the Russian FA and yet the World Cup will still be taking place there this summer smh.

    1. Song isnt interested in sitting. He wants to be a buccaneering, swashbuckling box-to-box. PFo will be longing for Ramsey within a month 🙂

      Song actually had the makings of a decent AM. Ask Robin Van Persie.

      1. I never thought he was all THAT buccaneering! He was a good player for us that Wenger was happy to sell for a relatively low fee, which suggested he maybe wasn’t the best in training and the dressing room. And subsequent years (e.g. with Coquelin) suggest that it was probably Arsene as much as Song himself that was responsible for him playing so far forward. Remember he was partnered with Arteta, and when Song left Wenger didn’t “replace” Song with a DM but with Ramsey, suggesting Wenger saw Arteta as the one suited to sit deep all along, and it was only all the Arsenal fans who had assumed that Song was in the side to play DM. Of course, that means that if we bought him again, AW would probably just (mis)use him in the same way…

        1. Oh he was a buccaneer, but you shouldn’t read that as a criticism. I remember half the stadium howling at him to get back. Arsenal fans in those days howled at players for two reasons. One, “shoot!”, as we painfully over-elaborated in the box. Two, to Song to stay/get back.

          Song and Ramsey had completely different roles. Song’s role approximated Xhaka’s in the current setup.

          And Wenger didnt flog him on the cheap. Barcelona came in for him.

          Bar Sa Lona. You make it sound like he was shipped off to Real Betis. Which footballer can resist the lure?

          Song was a very reliable assister of Robin Van Persie during RVP’s banner season. He was a terrific talent — a much better ballplayer than Ramsey, with whom he shared the attribute of fabulous stamina. But he wasn’t as good a goalscorer.

          It didn’t work out at the Camp Nou, but Barca did buy him because they saw huge promise in him.

  12. I could only watched the highlights and I must say I agree with Tim. Xhaka has to be dropped because he was dreadful yesterday. He was sightseeing on that 1st Clucas goal.
    The whole of Arsenal’s defense was asleep or clueless as Clucas strolls through the box for the near post tap in. We seem to have problems with players scoring at our near post, Lichaj comes to mind. That goal chance started with a muffed acrobatic clearance by Monreal. We can’t can drop Monreal right now because he is our plan A and B.
    Mustafi and Xhaka were poor on the Dyer chance that graze Cech’s near post.
    We also need to drop Cech after that fumbled clearance.
    Ramsey did block the early Mawson chance and full credit to him for having that awareness early on.
    We need to drop so many at the back but we have nothing on the bench for replacements.
    I like the Myhki/ElNeny axis which I think is the right move but knowing Wenger, we should not expect to see it.
    Now we face an Everton with its fearsome (R) sided attack of Coleman and Walcott. Hooboy.

    1. Xhaka was obviously the major culprit in that first goal, but anyone else think it was weird/poor the way Hector charged forward to nowhere as soon as Ozil had the ball, thus vacating his defensive responsibilities and also not offering Ozil an easy pass, right before Mesut lost possession and Clucas scored?
      I can’t see the fullbacks in too many other teams pushing forward on the overlap with such abandon in that sort of situation. Pretty much sums up our defensive strategy.

    2. Walcott is already “fearsome” just because he changed his shirt color to blue!! It’s funny how quickly things change. Let’s hope we don’t play Valencia and have to deal with the twin terror of Gabriel + Le Coq.

  13. I don’t get the whole “he misses a lot of big chances” thing. According to Squawka, he scores 0.83 goals/90min on 3.7 shots/90 min, and math tells me that’s 22% shooting. For comparison, Messi scores 0.95 goals/90 on 6.1 shots/90 for a rate of 15%. Ok, he’s having a down year, but Aguero’s been red hot and his conversion rate is… 22%. In fact, I can’t really find a better goalscorer in the PL right now than Auba has been, on a per-shot basis, in the BL this season. Lukaku, Morata, Lacazette, Firmino, Kane, Vardy… none of them better that 22% rate. If we get this lad some shot attempts, he will score the goals.

  14. 4-2-2-2, Box Midfield, Brazilian style

    Wilshere & Ramsey to interchange with Ozil/Myki

    Us Counter-Attacking? haha We will be THE team to play counter attack against. Teams will be running at our back line all day.

    I’m negative Nancy – this was stupid. You don’t “rebuild” a team with two 29 year olds. City spent the same money on Laporte, he could have been our starting CB for the next 10 years.

    1. “I’m negative Nancy – this was stupid. You don’t “rebuild” a team with two 29 year olds. City spent the same money on Laporte, he could have been our starting CB for the next 10 years.”

      So what’s your answer? Sign a young midfielder and hope that will fix things? In a sense, you’re right, the club needs a new manager and new players most likely won’t fix the issues that have kept this team from being great instead of just good, but it’s just as easy to see a damned if you do/damned if you don’t slant to what you’re saying: if Wenger signs Max Meyer (and not Aubameyang) we’d all say that’s classic Arsenal, buying youth and not investing top dollar at the top of the market like we should. If that Auba deal doesn’t get over the line, I bet you’d be saying that’s classic Arsenal, unable to close a deal. Now that it has, it’s no way to build a club to sign someone his age. What would it take to make Jack happy? I’m not sure the club could’ve done much better with this transfer window than they have. That’s not stopping Marcotti from giving us a C on the Aubameyang transfer. To quote a great philosopher: I mean, shiiiiiiiiiiiit….

      On Laporte, he COULD become the anchor for Man City next to Stones for 10 years. Or he could be completely unsuited for the job, like Rudiger is proving to be over in Fulham. We won’t know until he’s played a little bit. It sure seems like you’re anointing him while you (and a lot of other folks) are busy trying to talk themselves out of being pleased that Arsenal just signed a top drawer striker.

      1. The Aubameyang buy is the very definition of a no-brainer. Class, track record, price, and yes, age. He’s easily a 90m player in this market.

        If I just spent the night with Scarlett Johansson, I’m hardly going to complain about the fact that the bedsheets were cotton instead of silk.

        Judicious team-building means buying both promise and potential (Mavropanos, oddly left out of the discussion) and experience ( Auba and Miki)

      2. Look, I get it.

        If we play some Moneyball then

        Giroud + Walcott +Sanchez = 55 goals in 2016/17 (all competitions)
        Lacazette + Aubameyang + Mhykitaryan = 83 goals in 2016/17 (same, from WhoScored)

        Wow, I guess assuming we can find a way to play all of them equally and if Laca and Auba can be that productive in the Premier League then I guess we’ve theoretically increased our offensive output by 50% – not bad. (You’ll have to explain to me though how two fox-in-the-box poachers play together)

        Giroud + Walcott = Sanchez = average age 29.3 years
        Laca + Auba + Mhyki = average age 27.67 years

        Again, congrats. The club have lowered the average age of their front three by over a year.

        And we did all this by only spending 7m net.

        Resigned a 28 year Ozil to a mega deal that will make it impossible for him to be moved, so we are stuck with Ozil, Laca, Auba, Mhyki – all players in their late 20’s and on big wages – until they are into their 30’s.

        A player’s prime is 23-29, roughly. Not 30+

        Does anyone, for a second, think Ozil would have resigned if he though Ancelotti was coming in? Ancelotti was the one who said Ozil was surplus to needs in Madrid and was using him as a substitute. Wenger is staying another year.

        So we have 4 players, in their prime, who if I’m being honest, have little hope of carrying us to any kind of title past City, Liverpool and United, especially with this manager who cannot address our defensive issues.

        What would have made this Jack happy? This team needs an enema. We need a serious restocking of young (17-23 years old) talent instead of wasting cash on players at the top end of their prime years. For me the only keepers on this team are Bellerin, Iwobi, Holding, Chambers and AMN. I would have kept Cech (for the time being), Kos and Giroud because they are good pros, solid examples for younger players.

        The rest should get flushed with the manager so we can start over.

        Peace, out.

        1. Also, there should be blood running through the streets. Anything short of that is just the man keeping us down, man.

          1. Yes, Monreal too. If he were healthy I’d have said Cazorla as well. And Mertescker but he’s retiring, so moot point.

            Overhaul the roster, forget top 4 for the next 2-3 years, rebuild with younger players, keep the veterans who might be good teachers, bring in a manager who actually coaches and develops youth.

            Basically… what Spurs have done.

          2. “Monreal’s not a good pro?”

            He is, but like most Arsenal players under Wenger he puts so much effort in his offensive contributions that his defending , even basic one at that, suffers.

            Leaving his man unmarked for a return ball , or even a simple give and go , these are things youth level defenders master under a well rounded coaching.

            Valencia’s goal in the Man U game , Dyer’s cross after one two with Jordan Ayew saved by Ramsey’s last ditch tackle in opening minutes of Swansea game, and many other examples in between show Monreal in less than great light as a solid defender.

            Those are plays that would give me more pause when assessing his play than his recent scoring prowess or a simple mental mistake of letting the ball go out for a throw in and then putting it into play in dengerous area, instead of up the pitch and down the line.

    2. Or our putting a bid in for Laporte would’ve just triggered City to go higher (it’s no secret Pep has wanted him for ages).

      PEA is 28 until the summer (that’s still half a year, no?). And Ozil and Sanchez are both 29 and everyone thought (a) it would be a big blow if we lost them and (b) it would be a coup for another team to get them. I agree the ages aren’t ideal, but it’s not like we signed a couple of 34 year olds. The real question is if Wenger can effectively integrate them into a lineup with our other best players. Time will tell.

    3. We sold a lot of experienced players so it makes sense to replace them with some established, world class internationals. It’s all well and good to buy young players for the future but young players need experience around them to develop. Of course we would have all loved a young, dynamic CM but attack wise we seem improved – at least in theory.

    4. Buying two 28/29 year olds is hardly a bad thing. I mean those are supposed to be a footballer’s peak years. So maybe their production starts to drop off in 2 years. Ok. Nothing is stopping you from buying a 26-28 year old to fill that gap then, if the young players you have coming through right now don’t make it. But for now, the ages, and profiles, of both Miki and Auba mean that there’s hope for the youngsters, and also experience for them to learn from on the training pitch.

      How long has Koscielny been with us now? We bought him a year out of Ligue 2 and he’s been a mainstay. Why could the same not happen with Mavropanos? Not saying it will, and Laporte is obviously a more known quantity. But your insistence that he instead of Auba is the only way to rebuild the side is OTT.

  15. My hot take is pretty lukewarm by now but it’s an upside-down world at the moment. We land Auba and Mkhi, Ozil re-signs and we lose to Swansea in calamitous fashion all within 24 hours.

    Whatever is going on at the back needs to get sorted and fast. It seems that with Kos’s achilles an ongoing issue, Mustafi is now the CB who goes for the ball, with Kos mopping up. It used to be the other way around. Kos’s speciality was stepping out when the pass comes in and he almost never lost a tackle on the front foot. Mustafi on the other hand is mistiming his interventions, giving away fouls or getting turned or just not getting there in time, and as a result we are getting cut open time and again. Add that to losing possession in our own third when we try to play out (which is more a systematic problem than just the defenders) and it’s no wonder we are so porous.

    Anyway, fun times ahead I think. Can’t wait to see that new-look front four in action. And farewell Giroud, you were a beast.

  16. Xhaka has needed dropping for a long time. I can’t find enough
    words or the eqloeunce to get this point across but Tim you are so right.
    The swansea equaliser particularly when he looks at Clucas and Clucas
    waltzes by him, the thing is in that passage of play our centre back is
    already consumed by a swansea attacker so its clearly his responsibility!
    FFS Big time! Whichever way you look at it the situation is bad, either wenger
    and caoching staff do not know this is a problem and are not coaching him, or
    they do know and they are trying to coach it out of him but through a combination
    of him switching off and wenger persisting in faith in him he keeps doing the same
    thing every game. Elneny is great but that’s more due to limitations imposed on him
    as the least creative or metronomic of them all. As for Ramsey I thought Max Meyer
    was the replacement for him but that did not come off, and again either he is being instructed to leave
    that zone and overload the attack or he is not listening to instructions, either way not good.
    This is a dead cat bounce, Wenger is a smart man but he cannot outsmart the deficiencies that are systematically
    built in, that would be anti to his faith in expressive football, so we are stuck until he goes. I think
    he figures if we convert more chances the back will sort itself, it won’t! And I am a loyalist but guys wer
    finished! Have been for some time but we are done for.

  17. These are positive steps. It’s not the strategy I would have taken – Laca, Mkhi and Auba are all players we should’ve bought 2-3 years ago. And again, nobody knows how this is going to work. But it’s positive at least.

    The Ozil new contract is the biggest thing for me though. Had he gone, it would’ve essentially been replacing Ozil and Sanchez with slightly inferior players (yes, Mkhi and Auba are less good, slightly). But keeping Ozil, even if we cast off bit-part Giroud and Walcott, is a big net positive.

    Midfield, of course. The Max Meyer rumors were exciting, and hint at us doing a Kola in the summer. But what does it mean for our midfield? I can’t see us selling Ramsey, but perhaps it points towards Jack’s future. He paints himself as Arsenal through and through but I see the chances of him leaving at 50%. He wants to play, and he doesn’t want to take a pay as you play deal on a lower salary. He’ll move if he has to, Remember when he was at Bmouth? His comments about Arsenal were a lot more lukewarm.

    Perhaps Max Meyer is a bit of an insurance policy there. Perhaps we’re waiting until the summer to see what happens with Jack, rather than sign him now and push Jack out. Or perhaps it’s all bullshit. But it’s a signing I would like. Young, highly-rated, free, what’s not to like?

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