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Lots and lots to be said about Arsenal at the moment, but not a lot of it wholeheartedly positive. And perhaps rightly so. Personally didn’t agree with the #wecaredoyou stuff earlier in the week, thought it made the fan base sound like spoilt brats and it’s clearly being used by some to further promote their blog or online personality. But I can also see how on the surface, there appears to be little good happening at the club right now.
However, there is something which is currently flying low under the radar but might now start to stick its head above the parapet.
Last season Freddie Ljungberg, invincible, built a wonderful under 23 team. Successful and exciting to watch. We’ve been here before though, a great youth team which massively fails to deliver when making the step up. Ryan Smith, Arturo Lupoli, Jay Emmanuel Thomas, Chuks Aneke, Chuba Akpom to name but a few youth team stars who couldn’t handle the step up.
This season Freddie has been promoted to first team coach. A relatively minor move in the grand scheme of things you might think? Wrong. The current crop of Arsenal youth are exceptional. Willock, Nelson, Smith-Rowe, Nketiah, Saka, John Jules, Ameachi. Add to that Bellerin, Holding, Maitland-Niles and Chambers. These are exciting players. Freddie has been moved to the first team so that he can integrate these players into the fold. The thinking is that they are all able enough but can they handle the pressure. Making Freddie first team coach should in theory help Emery to get the best out of the younger players and give him the confidence that they can be relied upon. I think it’s a very smart move.
There’s no doubt it’s a gamble. But if it works it could set the club up for years and years, and clearly Freddie will be the next manager. I think the majority of Arsenal fans would get behind project youth and it would give Emery far more leeway than if he persists in playing idiots like Mhkitaryan, Mustafi and Kolasanic. It might also help the club to lower its astronomical wage bill. Signing Tierney, Saliba, Ceballos (loan) and one of Zaha and Soares adds quality to the squad and should enable the deadwood to be trimmed off fairly easily.
It’s not all doom and gloom at Arsenal, and whilst this season might not prove ultimately successful in trophy terms it might go an awful long way in shaping the long term future the club.
And you never win anything with kids, right?
Let’s be Frank
It’s a very strange feeling with the ghost goal that was (get over it Jose), the Benitez/Jose rivalry, the crazy way Chelsea have behaved / performed over the last 10 years, top quality managers only lasting up to 2 seasons, player revolts, success and cups…. that after all this I want Frank to succeed. He has a glorious opportunity to turn Chelsea into a respectable, well liked, ‘proper’ club that values its supporters, has a good relationship between supporters and players, an iconic player returning as manager and a clear path to the first team for those hordes of youngsters Chelsea have been corralling around Europe for the last 10 years.
What does Frank have to deal with ? Random song titles added too…….
Garden of Eden – Guns & Roses
The biggest question is whether the loss of Hazard is a killer or a blessing in disguise. So much went through him that sometimes when a team has that one player the others don’t try as hard and so the team overall don’t perform as well as they should. I got that feeling last year and maybe that was a sign that Sarri-ball was actually just Hazard-ball. I would err on the side of the latter as these are a solid group of players who should have the experience, heart and head to stand up and be counted.
Kids – MGMT (Soulwax remix)
What a great time to be an up and coming Chelsea player. Farmed out to Holland, nope. Random Championship team for a season, not this time. Fancy 6 months in Newcastle… we’re good….With Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mason Mount signing new contracts and Hudson-Odoi possibly poised with pen in hand Frank has some good players who will finally get a chance. Honourable mentions for Ethan Ampadu and Tammy Abraham.
Running up that hill – Kate Bush
Let’s not beat around the Bush (did you see what I did there !?) it’s a big job for Frank but he has a lot of goodwill, full support of the board, Surely Roman loves him, there’s a bromance there if ever there was one and most importantly player power is significantly reduced as no one is bigger than Frank (metaphorically speaking of course, he’s not fat, let’s lay that to rest). So essentially he’s ‘running up that Hill, with no problems’…. on reflection that’s a tenuous link, other song suggestions welcomed !?
Propellerheads ‘History Repeating’
Anybody who watched Derby last year saw how well they played. With Mount and Wilson playing with confidence and tenacity the whole side worked hard, was structurally sound and he almost got them promoted from the hardest league in the world (personal opinion, you may disagree…..) it bodes well for Chelsea as his style and formation should be a good fit.
Motley Crue – Same Ol’ Situation
The big question is what if Chelsea get off to a bad start or go through a slump. Will Roman give Frank a chance and ride it out or do Chelsea revert to type, fire him and press #1 on the red phone ‘Hello Guus is that you, what’s your nearest airport, we’re sending the jet?….sorry Guus, yes, we’ve fired another one already, start packing’
Interestingly if Chelsea results don’t go Frank’s way will he revert to type and throw in Willian, Pedro et al and leave the kids on the bench. You have to think he needs to stick with it.
Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
What on earth will happen to Ross Barkley. The enigma, wrapped in a good footballer, wrapped in a scouser whose confidence is in his feet but not in his head. A wonderfully gifted, talented, stress inducing, disappointing player. Frank will have his work cut out but if he can get a tune out of Barkley he will finally unearth the player he should be which will be good news for Chelsea.
Steelers Wheel – Stuck in the middle with you
Looking at the squad 36 players into 25 won’t go, so what will happen?
3 keepers – Kepa, Caballero (hopefully he gets on this year!), Blackman – seems good.
Defenders – 13 defenders…,sweet Jesus! It’s like a Tony Pulis wet dream. Omeruo, Hector, Miazga and Baba-Rahman are surely out the door. 2 left backs in Alonso & Emerson, 2 right backs in Azpili….Asplila….. Dave & Zappacosta leaves 5 full backs including Ampadu and Zouma so possibly 1 of those out ? Surely Everton will bid for Zouma, he was excellent last year for them and they could do with him back. Ampadu to Palace on loan maybe ?!
Midfielders – 17…. including wingers…. too many questions to answer here so I will leave it to the Chelsea fans to tell me who’s best. Will Drinkwater get a look in? Is Bakayoko back ? Van Ginkel, Baker, Pantic, Kenedy & Piazon are surely out so 5 down probably 1 or 2 to go ?
Forwards – Giroud, Batshuayi, Abraham – solid.
So based on the above I think Frank should be good. A solid squad, no whiners or whingers allowed, a board united behind their manager and an ex player on a roll. Chelsea 4th with an FA cup win to finish off the season nicely. Good luck Chelsea, I almost like you…..
Ian (too much time on his hands) LFC
…When I was in primary school, the headmaster once explained my punishment as a case of doing the right thing at the wrong time. I feel this will also plague the beloved Frank Lampard. I cannot remember the last new Chelsea manager who wasn’t backed and who went into the season with such an underwhelming summer behind them. I fear for Lampard, because Eden Hazard was the only bright and shining light at that team. In as much as Kante was lauded as EPL POTY 3 years ago, he will not win Chelsea many games by himself. Without Hazard, I seriously wonder how Chelsea will cope, even with a Pulisic and Hudson-Adoi, it just feels like a very light squad.
I feel terribly for Frank Lampard, that he has to take the reigns when the chips are down, and when he really can imprint his philosophy and has to rely on players brought in by other manager. It’s almost like Chelsea are willing to sacrifice his managerial future when the mistakes were done by other people. I personally hope the club allows Lampard to at least get a tranfer window and bring some players, and support him during this period. I know Abramovich is impatient but he needs to show restrain and judge Lampard season 20/21, not this one.
As an aside, Liverpool finished 4th 2 seasons ago, Man U finished 2nd, is James not cognizant of how loosely these positions seem to change?
Dave(this has been a sh*t* transfer window),Somewhere
Okay so I was sucked in by the headline. I find these attempts at creating dream teams from two different squads to be a fairly meaningless basis for comparison of quality. The implication is that Liverpool is a team full of superstars and Man Utd has a load of dross. In reality, Liverpool is a very functional, well organised team playing truly above the sum of it’s parts. I hardly recall Liverpool facing much competition for a single one of their players when they were purchased. Yet I expect most teams around the world would probably sign most of the players if they now became available. You could argue that that is the point, but I would counter that by saying if Liverpool purchased any one of Man Utd’s players they too would probably improve slightly at this current point in time.
I think James is being incredibly biased and is completely guilty of rewriting history by suggesting that last year there was perhaps an argument for only De Gea and Herrera. Does he not remember that Man Utd had just finished 2nd, above Liverpool? I am pretty sure most Liverpool fans would have comfortably chosen De Gea over the keeper who had just conceded a bucketfull of goals against Liverpool in the Champions League. There were question marks over the consistency of Alexander-Arnold, Gomez wasn’t first choice centre back and Liverpool’s middle three weren’t exactly world beaters (they still aren’t). I am no expert on Man Utd but I don’t even think Herrera was a Utd first choice pick, let alone one of the best of both squads combined.
I happen to think there is argument now for perhaps 4 or 5 Man Utd players who might improve Liverpool. Wan Bissaka, Pogba, Martial, Rashford, De Gea could all look better than they currently do if they were playing in an in a form team. Yes Liverpool have very good players in those positions, but these are extremely talented players who I think would elevate their game even further if they were playing amongst a team oozing in confidence.
Given the Bruce appointment, how much the Geordies hate Ashley, and how much Arsenal fans hate Kroenke, could St James’ Park actually be empty for the first game of the season?
Will Sky have to supply Newcastle with one of those murals Arsenal had when the North Bank was being constructed to pump fan noise through?
It’s the ‘we really hate our owners’ derby.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Wine bottle teams
In response to DC, BAC Wine bottle team, I think Arsenal’s would be insane. Fast, physical, creative on the pitch and off. The players I left off could make a second team that would be better than most’s first team
GK – Seaman 98-99 – We only conceded 17 goals during that season, and Seaman was big proponent of that.
LB – Cole – 03/04. Traitor he may, but he was undeniably World Class during our invincible season. Fast, dependable, solid on the ball and arguably the best left back in the world at the time. How we could do with him right now.
CB – Campbell – 01/02. The big man’s first season at the club couldn’t have gone better, and he showed why he left Spurs for Arsenal, to win trophies.
CB – Adams – 97/98. Just for that volley against Everton.
RB – Lauren 03/04 – Another invincible who was fast, physical and had a bit of shithousery in him.
LM – Overmars – Speedy winger and big game player.
CM – Petit 97/98 – Arrived and tore through the premier league with his glorious ponytail.
CM – Vieira – 00/01 – Premier League’s player of the season, he was everywhere as he adjusted to a new role since Petit was gone.
RM – Pires 01/02. Took a season to get settled in, but was was he once he did, he was unstoppable.
CF – Bergkamp 97/98. Player of the year that season as we won the league. Such a creative force.
CF- Henry – 01/02. 24 goals, 20 assists. The year he blew up and would run past people like they were mannequins.
Lehmann 05/06; Silva 03/04; Toure 05/06 (CL only); Fabregas 09/10; Ljungberg 01/02; Wright 93/94; Van Persie 11/12.
…Vintage Liverpool XI
Alisson (2019). Best of an average bunch
Babbel (2001). His one and only year before a horrific injury and what a year
Van Dijk (2019). Need I say more
Hyppia (2002). Was either this or Carra 2005 or Torben Piechnik 1993
Alonso (2009). His vintage year before being bummed out
Gerard (2006). The year of the West Ham
Salah (2018). Him of 844 goals
Suarez (2014). Him of 845 goals
Fowler (1996). Him of 846 goals
Ravi , London
Stop the comparisons
Mikey, CFC and the countless others, please stop referencing for comparison the NFL, NBA etc. The NFL (etc) is the corporate headquarters. Each team is a franchised location operating business. There can be no comparison.
Matt Carr, Spurs, Wilmington, NC
Not the sharpest tool…
Ally London; It is hard to logically respond to the ironical thickness of just saying someone looks thick without elaborating.
I’m going to assume the points you are trying to make are all the other managers were chosen for their success elsewhere, even though the swedish/danish leagues in Hodgson’s case the Scorrish league (Rodgers ) and the B teams of Dortmund for Huddersfield Managers are not necessarily all better than the Norwegian league. I’ll even wager that if you read up on how he managed to break up the status quo in Norway you’d actually consider him intelligent.
So according to you Ole apparently can’t think for himself which is why he is running after Bale and Neymar again and buying the sort of players Utd have been linked with for the past 427 …. Sorry what do you mean his first acquisition was a speedy winger ,he spent money on the full back utd have needed for years, he is allowing youth get game time albeit in the first few games of pre-season and the prattle about Neymar and Bale is mainly coming from there desperate agents, Hardly sounds like a man who can’t think for himself.
Lest we forget around the time Le Prof was earning his moniker , Ole was earning his for his ability to analyse games from the bench which makes your rant a whole lot stranger You even had Ed Woodward lying around if you wanted to score cheap points with your mates at the pub..
It’s mails like that which makes me wish the phony war could end and we get back to proper football debates,