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On Arsenal’s transfer plans
Quick congratulations to Huddersfield! Definitely the better team on the day and look forward to seeing what Wagner can do in the Prem.
Now that the season has officially ended we can look at our current squad and assess what needs to be done for each of our teams. As an Arsenal fan, here’s my view:
Players to keep:
GK: Cech, Szczesny
CB: Kosc, Holding, Mustafi, Mert, Gabriel
WB: Bellerin, Monreal
CM: Xhaka, Ramsey, Cazorla, Elneny, The Jeff
AF: Iwobi, Ozil, Sanchez, Walcott
STK: Giroud, Perez, Welbeck
Players to sell:
GK: Ospina (5m)
CB: Chambers (5m)
WB: Gibbs (7m), Debuchy (2m), Jenkinson (4m)
CM: Wilshire (12m)
AF: Cambell (5m)
STK: Sanogo (2m)
Total: around 42m
Combined games for Arsenal: Minimal
So first thing you realise: It’s great getting rid of the deadwood but deadwood doesn’t bring much in. So where do we need to strengthen:
LB: What’s that? We’ve already signed the Bundesliga LB of the year LB for free. Alright then…
RB: Can Bramall make the cut? Probably not yet. That means we are light here but Chambers can fill in
So actually, provided Ozil and Sanchez stay, I’m not worried at all. Maybe when Wenger says we only need one or two additions, he’s right. Wenger knows. But seriously I’ve been looking at my list on paper and it really doesn’t look like a bad team at all. Of course if Sanchez and Ozil leave we need to fill a 75 combined goal and assist hole in the team, and we’d be f******.
This also means in theory we have money to splash on a special transfer. Something to make Sanchez and Ozil want to stay. What, we’ve been linked with a young Striker from mainland Europe? Right you are Arsene…
Rob A (Wenger, Sanchez and Ozil to sign contracts in the next 2 weeks) AFC
Astonished by Wenger’s courage
Two days ago, Wenger became the record winner of football’s oldest competition – a record that will probably never be bettered in our lifetimes. There can be no doubt: he is the greatest manager in Arsenal’s history. Despite this, after Tuesday’s board meeting he might be out of the door and a huge portion of the support would be happy to see him go. Honestly, you can see their point. Arsenal groundhog season comes with a checklist. Injury prone key player going down midseason? Check. Massive slump in form derailing a title challenge? Check. Last 16 champions league hammering? Double-check with a cherry on top.
Even the highlights of his season come with an asterisk. Holding is developing remarkably well and seems a cracking prospect, but had no business getting thrown to the wolves against Liverpool on the opening day. A tactical switch might have turned this season around, but it was preceded by almost a year of headscratching, dysfunctional midfield selections that could neither build the attack nor protect an exposed defence. He won the cup, but took the risk of playing a shortarse keeper against a team who are great in the air, just to keep his word.
And yet, that’s what makes him so bloody wonderful. Who else has the integrity and faith to play the shortarse anyway, despite the fact his job might be on the line? Who has the confidence to send an injury hit team, with multiple players out of position, out against the champions and sets them up to play with swagger and on the front foot? Who takes all the abuse from the clickbaiting media, w**k-spanners on twitter (sorry, I have a pretty foul mouth but not even I can bring myself to type P**rs M****n) and ‘Brexit’ polluted goons (the “out means out” banner made me weep for our species) but sticks to his beliefs regardless and pursues his passion relentlessly?
Arsene f*cking Wenger, that’s who.
Of course, his new contract will be followed by Arsenal’s best player forcing a transfer to a European powerhouse, and the inevitable decline that ensues. Checklist complete.
Football: Bloody Hell.
Euan, (Wenger in, fwtw) Highlands.
Totti vs Terry
If recently departed captains, leaders and legends were wondering how to leave a club with some dignity, they might take a look at Totti.
We had a fair few of these…
Huddersfield promoted. Winty explodes
…How f**king delighted is Sarah right now?!
What to expect from Huddersfield?
Congrats to Huddersfield. Excited to see Wagner’s team face the big guns next season.
My only gripe from yesterday was the commentator talking up their survival prospects less than a minute after the game. How is survival a priority at all? Surely Huddersfield fans would much rather enjoy planning their trips to Anfield, OT etc than worry about survival for an entire year. If their stay in the EPL is only for one season, who cares? They get to go back to the Champo, face their local rivals again and try do it all over.
I’m already expecting Wagner to be criticised for playing an open style of football and the PFM pushing for him to be replaced by the likes of Allardyce or Pearson after 10 games of the season. The Premier League isn’t the end of football, surely Boro fans are excited to watch their team score actual goals again, and for them relegation is a better option than enduring another year of 0-0 draws with Swansea.
Doing things a different way
Congratulations to Huddersfield on becoming only the third “Town” to participate in the Premier League. It’s certainly the first time in a while when two of the three promoted teams were first timers to the Premier League (as opposed to the top flight). That said, I think there are only five teams who will participate in the Championship next season who have never played in the Premier League – Brentford (10th in 2016-17), Preston North End (11th), Bristol City (17th), Burton Albion (20th) and Millwall (promoted via League One playoffs).
This may come as a surprise to some people but it turns out that you don’t necessarily need to played or managed in a division to make a decent fist of managing a team if you are good at managing and coaching. Amazing how someone who’d never even played in England knew exactly what was required to “dig in”.
The play-offs: Like winning X Factor
The past three winners of the play off final before yesterday’s abomination of a game. Hull City, Norwich City and QPR. All 3 teams performed abysmally in the Premier League and are now back wallowing in the Championship as that’s their level. Huddersfield will undoubtedly keep the trend going next season as they are ill equipped to compete in one of the best leagues in the world and are one of the worst teams ever to enter the Premier League.
The past 3 winners of the Championship prior to Newcastle are Burnley,Bournemouth and Leicester. Teams that deserve to come up because they have winners in their team and managers with a winning mindset. They don’t rely on play offs to scrape through. They win things. Like all managers worth their salt.
The play offs are the X Factor of football. The brainchild of some bigwig to give inept footballers their 15 minutes of fame their talent alone could never satisfy whilst making everyone a bucketload of cash in the process.
The problem is they are then rewarded 12 months of fame at the top level and we’re all forced to look through our fingers and endure their sh*t football and Keystone Cops defending until the inevitable relegation arrives and puts us all out of our misery. The sooner the freak show is put out to pasture the better.
What an incredible atmosphere
I tend to hit the off button as soon as a match ends, but the scenes after the Huddersfield-Reading match were simply extraordinary. There are thousands of things for which to criticize modern football, and the Premier League embodies most of them. But if it can produce the emotions we saw yesterday, it may yet be a worthwhile exercise.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (Winty will of course be insufferable)
Manchester City: Not hanging about
Once the dust has settled on the footballing calendar (I know the CL final is still to come) but from an English perspective, it is both a fun time, trying to work out what players your team might buy and a time of anxiety as one feels another team has usurped your own with better buys.
This year, more than ever before, it feels a bit like being in the school playground with two ‘captains’ about to pick their team. With the rest of the boys waiting to hopefully be called up earlier as a sign of being better.
Pundits have lauded Man City for starting their ‘business’ early by signing two players. But this misses the point that today, each ’tier’ of clubs has to wait for the prior ‘tier’ to finish its business to see what’s left. At least for the upper echelons. When you have the spending and pulling power of Man City, Man Utd, Barca, Real and Bayern in particular the next tier – Spurs, Liverpool, Dortmund, Juventus, Inter, etc – all have to wait their turn. They tend to be after the top tier of players, to remain or become competitive at the highest levels.
This is exacerbated with the way each tier plunders the lower tier for their best players – Bayern ‘robbing’ Dortmund, Juventus ‘robbing’ the rest of Serie A and so on. What if Dortmund spends most of their funds on, say, a new central defender only to find Bayern have poached their best goal scorer?
So while everyone is lauding tributes on City doing such wonderful early business, they have a decided advantage over Liverpool, Benfica, Napoli, Villarreal and so on. Just as Liverpool do over, say, Southampton. Not only do they have an advantage, anything less than getting exactly who they want, when they want, should actually be considered a failure.
After all, it would be fair to say that at least half the buys by the top teams don’t work out or are certainly far less impactful in the first season as one would expect for the money these days. Man City have picked up a new goalkeeper – Yay! – great early business – only Claudio Bravo didn’t work out so well last year.
Learn your history
Paul in Brussels — and others who want to learn about the early days of Football365 — might be interested in this interview of Sarah Winterburn by Nick Miller. Great website over the years and still going strong. Indeed, the Totti of football websites.
The new Dembele?
May I suggest an alternative to Chelsea’s “loan player that should play for the first team next season”.
Bertrand Traore. He was a menace in the Europa final and I think has genuinely earned his stripes. Plus, with champions league football added to our schedule, having him as a cover for the inside or forward and the striker roles is a great thing. Versatility matters in a 3-4-2-1, hopefully Traore will get a shot next season.
Sood CFC ( Christensen to replace Cahill?)