You may know it all about Fabregas, Lallana and the like, but other signings may have slipped under the radar. WhoScored run their eyes over those recruited from abroad...
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Ozil Is The New Silva
Interesting question from Simon CFC this morning: Is Özil the new Torres?
If anything he's the new David Silva.
The diminutive Spaniard, who I'm sure we can all agree is a fantastic player, was good if a bit 'meh' in his first Premier League season. Four goals and seven assists in 2010-2011, however, were followed by six and 15 in 2011-2012. Stats aside, his performances were generally more dominant and eye-catching.
There are two points of note here: one is that it takes time to adjust to a new league, not least the Premier League. In that context, Özil's return of five league goals and 11 assists already this season is not only impressive but makes a mockery of the gleeful bashing currently dished out by the media and sniping fans of other clubs (not to mention the Arsenal doomsday brigade).
The second point is that Özil needs a team built around him. In his first season at City, Silva was providing ammunition to Carlos Tevez, Edin D¿eko, Roque Santa Cruz, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jo. The following season, having ditched the latter three, the Champions-to-be had picked up Balotelli and Agüero. Silva's guile was no longer a peripheral feature and instead became the spark the entire team fed off.
I'm not suggesting that Wenger will replicate this spending spree, but I do believe a top-class striker with movement will be on his way to the Emirates in the summer. As much as I love Giroud and appreciate what he brings to the team, he is ultimately as statuesque in performance as appearance. Even a modest diversification, bringing in a good-to-average striker with pace (a la Remy) could make the difference. It is not beyond the realm of imagination to say that Özil's creativity could turn a player like Remy into a reliable, 20-goals-a-season striker.
Özil came on the market at short notice this summer. Wenger was absolutely right to snap him up. But he won't become the central feature we all hope for until Wenger has had time to properly plan the team around him. By next season enough time will have passed to expect Wenger to have made the necessary alterations. Judge Özil then.
Dane (North Bank)
Ozil: Best Ever?
In the history of the Premier League, Mesut Özil has the best assists-to-games ratio of any player at any club, with one every 2.63 games.
I'm just gonna leave this here with the view that he should play against Sunderland.
Higher In The League, Lower In Actual Trophies
A7med certainly makes a good point about Wenger improving our league position since joining.
However while our average standing in the 20th century may have lain between 8th and 9th - statistically the 20th century was Arsenal's in that no team in any of the leagues amassed more points in those hundred years than us.
A much better measure of success for Arsenal fans, particularly those who are bored rigid of groundhog season, can be found in the frequency with which Arsenal have filled their trophy cabinet.
Arsenal, before the move to Highbury was a very different beast, a south London club who never won anything. Once we completed the move north in 1913 in the period between being at Highbury and Wenger joining we picked up a trophy once every four years. Even if you add in the south London years this is only increased to a trophy every five years. If we end up pot-less this season we are staring down the barrel of a decade without silverware.
Yes, we live in an era of financial doping but being happy with qualification for the Champions League and having a go in the cups are Arsene's standards not Arsenal's.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Liverpool Perfect For Konoplyanka
Love football365, love the innate sensationalism you choose to indulge in. Making the headline for this morning's mailbox about one line from one bitter Man U fan in his laughable e-mail. onoplyanka too talented for Liverpool? In case you haven't noticed Liverpool is the best of the top teams at developing talent right now. Young talent like Sterling and Flanagan, foreign talent like Coutinho, under-used and under-appreciated talent like Sturridge and world-class talent like Suarez. Arsenal sells talent, Spurs buys talent that can't thrive in England, Everton only gets talent on loan, City and Chelsea kill young talent with their massive squads and huge benches and United haven't spotted a good talent since Ronaldo (Januzaj is massively over-hyped IMO). LFC is the perfect place for a talent like Konoplyanka, hopefully he will arrive in the summer.
...So that United fan says Konoplyanka is too good for Liverpool? Well he could have a few choices in the summer. Some of them might be:
1. To play for Liverpool, probably in the Champions League.
2. To stay at Dnipro, and probably play in the Europe League.
3. Maybe even to get that miraculous move to Man United...and probably not play in Europe at all.
Tough choice...but if he's far too talented for us, he's WAY out of your league.
Michael D'Arcy LFC
Penalties: Agreeing With A Pet Theme Of F365s
I wrote about this a while back but it wasn't printed. I've tweaked and re-submitted as it seems to be topical.
To extend the argument of 'red card and/or penalty', I don't even think every foul in the box should be a penalty. The awarding of penalties is completely disproportionate to some of the infractions committed.
To reward a team with a penalty for a handball at the edge of a crowded box and also for a deliberate handball on the line is ridiculous. Likewise fouls that take place on the byline or are not 'goalscoring opportunities'.
I suggest we let refs have more discretion to award free-kicks for these incidents.
Furthermore, under my regime, the debate about whether Demichelis' foul was inside or outside the box would also be a moot point - it was a goalscoring opportunity, it would be a penalty whether inside or outside the box. Punish the intent.
Football Is Back!
Happy Friday one and all. As an Englishman living abroad, I obviously keep track of what's going on in the Prem, as well as following the (many, may mis-)fortunes of the mighty Coventry City, BUT...exciting times are afoot here in the Czech Republic, as this weekend marks the end of our three-month winter break and the league resumes! Hoorah! It's all a bit bloody close too - just have a look at the league table - http://int.soccerway.com/national/czech-republic/czech-liga/20132014/regular-season/r21611/
Alright, Sparta are walking away a bit at the top due to not having had Viktoria Plzen's Champion's League commitments, but in the bottom half there's only five points in it. My mob, Zbrojovka Brno, have a nice, easy fixture to kick us off again (away at Sparta. Hmm.) but there is cause for optimism. In the winter break friendlies, we only lost one game and appear to have learnt where the goal is (goals being the problem in the first half of the year). In our final friendly, we beat Kuban Krasnodar (who are in the bloody Europa League!) 4-0! Which almost certainly means I'm going to trek all the way to Prague on Monday night to watch us get tanked 8-0 or something.
Anyway, I'm not sure where this is going or if anyone is even vaguely interested in Vaclav Kotal trying to resurrect 3-4-3 as a tactic, or the possible re-introduction of Mo Traore after a heart attack in the dressing room after we played Banik Ostrava, or the fact that both Banik and Slavia Prague could be relegated (but you should be interested!); I'm just excited because FOOTBALL'S BACK!
David (Zbrojovka do toho!) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep
Come Back Gavin
I have read with interest the series in which John Nicholson and Alan Tyers analyse pundits and agree heartily with their positive appraisal of Lee Dixon. It led me to ask myself whether I would vote him winner in this tallest vertically challenged contest. I quickly realised the answer was no.
You are of course desperate to know my opinions on this matter so I wont disappoint. Obviously I enjoy hearing from Jonathan Wilson and Philippe Auclair and on his day (which was about ten years ago) Alan Hansen can be insightful and provocative. But for me, the departure of one former player to pursue a more spiritual cause in Canada has left a vacuum in the world of punditry - a vacuum which has now been filled with eggy farts. That man is Gavin Peacock.
Adam (brackets) Pickering
Lee Dixon has a very bald face.
Are you aware that you forgot to include Tim Sherwood in your Latest Poll?
Alex G, THFC
Mediawatch: A Review
Howard's end point 3: headphones on, reading phone, waiting for Thai food to be cooked. Whoever wrote this owes me my dignity for nearly choking on my 'only had a half while they fished cooking it'. Thanks.
Three Minutes Later
Best Mediawatch ever. Thank you.