The Chuba Akpom Debate

What must it feel to have come through the Arsenal academy from a young age and actually don the shirt?  At Arsenal we have had plenty of great players through the history of the club, as well as plenty of hyped up players not to make it. Jack Wilshere and Alex Iwobi being the latest to be a success. Another of these young men hoping to make his name in the red and white kit is Chuba Akpom, but does he really have a future at the club?

Some people may think the debate starts and ends with his poor goal scoring record at senior level. This being 7 goals in 66 appearances, meaning he currently is a one goal in 9 goal striker. Break this down further and it shows that all 7 goals have come this season for Hull City on loan. So if you read his stats for this season he is now a 1 goal in 5 games striker. Looking at his game time it seems that he was not starting the majority of games for Hull but coming on quite often, this again should be noted.

Minutes on the pitch is definitely an argument to say that stats do not always reflect the truth. There should be a note next to these stats that shows his actual minutes on the pitch. His game time for Arsenal has been very limited, he was at the club in a period where Yaya Sanogo was constantly playing and constantly failing. It has to be asked why was Akpom not afforded the same opportunity?

Our rivals Manchester City and Man Utd have both been forced put faith in their young strikers this season (Rashford and Inhanacho) with great success, showing that no matter of your age and experience a goal scorer can cope at the top level. Akom’s record through the younger age groups of English football show he is a natural in front of goal. The saying is that a goal scorer knows where the net is at any level.

Wenger forgot that Akpom could have been an option in February when Theo was slowly going off form, Giroud was playing every game, getting battered on his own and Welbeck was still injured. With creative players like Ozil and Sanchez behind him I could have seen Akpom chipping in with a few important moments coming off the bench in games such as Norwich away or West Brom where we had lost.

I am not suggesting for one second that he will be the next superstar in world football but think the talents there from a player who has been at the club since the age of 6 should be given a bit of time. It wasn’t long ago that Wenger called him the next big striker for Arsenal. With Welbeck now injured this is an opportunity that Wenger must give and Akpom must take. We will surely be in for that big name striker in the summer and that should not change irrelevant of Chuba Akpom.

I feel that he could be a good 3rd strike option behind the new striker and Giroud. If he doesn’t cut it by January next season (When Welbeck should be back) then we always have the option then to cut lose. On another note we probably will be getting rid of a few home grown players in the Summer, with Walcott, The Ox, Gibbs and Jenkinson all linked to moves away (So much for that English Core). Having another Englishman who’s Arsenal through and through can only help the cause.

So come on Wenger, GET THAT CHEQUE BOOK OUT, and also show faith in Akpom!!!!!!

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How much is Pogba worth?

Paul Pogba Price

When considering the player that most of the top Premier League sides need a combative box to box midfielder is probably high on list for all the sides. Another side who have been linked with the young French midfielder is PSG. They like the top Premier League sides have a need for an all action central midfielder. All of the mentioned clubs have money to spend because of rich owners or big TV deals (or both).

His price has increased so much over the last year or so for a few reasons. These being:

  • His age (22 years old)
  • He is already one of the best in his position in the world
  • The new Premier League TV deal
  • The need for top clubs to get a strong box to box midfielder
  • A good world cup

Why all the sides need him:

Manchester United let him leave at a young age, but they have shown an interest to resign him. I personally do not think he is one of those players to go back to a club he left in bad taste. They have lots of money to change his mind though (as long as the get Champions League). (Would he go back to Utd after they didn’t rate him to put him ahead of John O’shea?)

Chelsea have been linked with him and they could really strengthen with a player like him. Buying Pogba could be a masterstroke for them. Magic would hold the midfield, Pogba as the guy who links the defensive side and attacking side together. Freeing up Fabregas to do what he does best as a number 10. The only issue is if they would rather spend the big money on a striker and another centre back (they are good with financial fair play).

Man City and Liverpool would want the player to replace inspirational figures in Yaya Toure and Gerrad who are both coming to the end of their superpowers. The issue here for City is financial fair play, while Liverpool may not qualify for the Champions League.

PSG have the money to buy who they want and they want to get to the next level. A player of Paul Pogba’s calibre is what they are after. It also helps that he is French and young. Their only issue is financial fair play, a big signing without selling half their side could see huge penalties for them in Europe.

Then we have Arsenal (my side). Now listen to the reasoning before judging me. Here are my reasons for why we should go for him:

  • Arsene Wenger is a known fan and tried to sign him at 18
  • We have no box to box midfielder like him
  • This can free up Wilshere or Ramsay to play in an advanced role
  • Cazorla wanted out last summer and may decide he wants one last crack in Spain
  • Rosicky and Arteta are ageing – Both may go into coaching or leave this summer
  • Diaby will not be with next season as his contract ends (Thank GOD)
  • If all the above players were to go we would only have Coqulen, Ramsay, Wilshere and Ozil as midfielders
  • Ozil normally plays on the wing if Ramsay or Wilshere play
  • Wilshere or Ramsay are always injured ruining our season
  • The stadium is fully paid off so we can afford to spend big like rivals now
  • The defence has been strengthened in January so all thats left is a box to box midfielder and backup striker
  • Pogba is young and French
  • Wenger will only have 2 years left to make another impact on the league or win that 1st Champions League – He must know what we need by now

I am not saying that he would want to come to us, but for the reasons mentioned I would love to see a serious effort made to lure him. He is the marquee player that we need. I would be willing to spend up to £55mil on him and less if there was to be a player exchange.

What is really possible for Arsenal in May 2015?

What can Arsenal achieve?

Being the only English side left in all three remaining competitions, I felt it was a good time to asses the possibilities left for Arsenal.

The FA Cup: This is still in most likely hood our only chance at a trophy this season. We are now the favourites for the cup, but a potential final against Liverpool may be tricky. I feel that this is a priority for Arsenal this season. Even though Bradford or Leeds could be a tricky semi final, I expect Arsenal to get a minimum final birth. Anything other than a place in the final will not only be heart breaking but also shocking.

Champions League: We start the match against Monaco on Tuesday as huge outsiders. According to the majority of pundits we are already out. I do agree with most of these pundits, however I would not write Arsenal off at all. We are probably the most dangerous English side to write off. We took them too lightly in the first leg, the same mistake will not happen again. Our pace can cause any team problems. I think we will win the tie however probable lose again on away goals yet again. All I want is a good performance, going through now is just a bonus. We really need to make a huge assault on this competition next season.

Premier League: We have sort of caught up with Manchester City all of a sudden, this despite having a so called poor side.Our momentum currently is strong, we are getting our players back from injury and have probably the better fixtures out of all the other sides around us. For this reason I do not put 2nd position out of our reach. Finishing 2nd would be great season for us. It would be a warning sign for all our rivals for the next season.

Can we win the league, the best answer is YES. Mathematically we can still win the league, Chelsea are 7 points ahead having played a game less. Do I think we will win it? Probably not! I think we will get close though. A lot will be decided in our games against Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea. If we can win all three of these games I think we will be very close to them. Lets hope for lots of favours.

The season looks like it could end up to be a decent one. Lets just hope we can build on this next season. Let me know in the comments on what you think we can achieve this season.

What Are The Expectations Now?

Firstly I have to say, CAN WE PLAY IN MANCHESTER EVERY WEEK!. Again we went there with many people doubting that we could win, and we won. We put in another of those well drilled performances, where we defended as a team and broke on the opposition.

This is Arsenal’s best tactic. When teams attack us we usually have enough pace to hurt teams through counter attacking. When teams defend deep against us we sometimes find it hard to break teams down. Defend deep is what Man Utd did do at The Emirates. This time it was a must win for them so they gave it there all in trying to win. Much of our good play was down to our midfield axis of Santi Cazorla and Coquelin. This is definitely a partnership to be developed.

Man Utd are not the side they once were, but beating them at their own backyard is always fun. I love our rivalry with them, this year its as if we have once again over taken them. Lets hope it continues.

So this win leaves us in the semi final of the FA Cup, probably facing another season in the top four and also probable elimination from Europe. I think the new target should be to win the FA Cup, finish as close to Manchester City and possibly win the game in Monaco. The later will be hard but I feel we can achieve all three. What do you think?

Our fixtures say we still should finish top 4!

Lets remind ourselves of what happened yesterday. We were out played and quite frankly didn’t want the game just as much as a few of their players did. Praise for this should go to Ryan Mason and Harry Kane who lifted their side.

We have lost the NLD in the past and have still finished above our arch rivals. I admit they are looking better than they have ever but what really counts is the end result. Arsenal have the experience of qualifying for the Champions League and I do not see why this season should be different. Its not all doom and gloom, we need to take it game by game and start winning again.

Comparing our fixtures to all our rivals it seems that we have played the majority of our tough games. We have only two of the top five sides to play, where as Man Utd still have to play Chelsea, Man City ourselves and Tottenham still. As I write they are warming up for a huge game against West Ham. See Manchester United’s full fixture list.

Tottenham have a slightly better run of games than Manchester United do, but this still includes away games at Chelsea, Man Utd, Southampton and Liverpool. They play Man City, West Ham at home as well as tricky fixtures away to Newcastle, Stoke and Everton.

Lets not forget that they will re start their Europa League experience. They are capable of wining that competition but do they really have a squad or the experience to manage to do both? See Tottenham’s full fixture list.

Southampton are a real threat and I do see them as genuine challengers for a Champions League place. A lot depends on whether they can keep Schneiderlin and Wanyama fit.  See Southampton’s full fixture list.

Considering that we have a relatively easier list of games coming up against our rivals and that they all are still to play each other I feel we still are in poll position to qualify for Champions League. Lets not forget that our record for all other teams out of the top 5 is really good.

Realistic Arsenal January Transfers

Logo-Arsenal As with most seasons it seems that we are short of quality in key areas, these are the same areas that Arsenal fans have been calling to be filled for the last five seasons. There could be an argument to say that Arsenal need a dominant player through the spine of the team. This being a poacher upfront, a dominant midfielder, combative centre back and a trust worthy goalkeeper. Lets forget strikers for the time being as Giroud, Welbeck, Sanchez and Walcott can get us through this season. The wingers when fit are the best options in the league, if fit Theo, Sanchez, Welbeck, Ozil, The Ox and Santi Cazorla make these up. I personally think we need a goalkeeper, but Ospina is a steady option for us until the Summer. Martinez is a good back up keeper while I feel Szczesny will be kept until the summer where he will probably start to look elsewhere. The pressing positions are at CB and DMC. The needs are must so big money may have to be spent. Lets not delude ourselves WE WILL NOT BE GETTING HUMMELS or EVEN A PLAYER LIKE GODIN THIS JANUARY!

CB Options:

1. James Tomkins (CB)– (Surprised?) It is clear we are after Winston Reid but Tomkins is the real star here. He is the ball winner in his partnership with Reid. Tomkins would be the long term replacement for Mertesacker. We should not let what happened with Gary Cahill happen with Tomkins as he has the potential to be of a similar quality. Very low chance of this happening.

2. Winston Reid (CB) – It is very unlikely that Wenger will pay over the top money for a player he can get for a free in the summer. So it will be a test of West Ham’s nerve. I don’t think they have an issue with just letting him go for free, especially if they can’t get their replacement in. If we do not get him in January I think we will be seeing him in the red of Man Utd or Liverpool instead next season. A good player who would improve us greatly. he would be the cover we need when Koscielny is injured.

3. Nacho Fernandez (CB/RB/LB) – He is a good defender who plays at Real Madrid, he  has had little game time. That is not surprising considering the players who he has in front of him. A defender who is primarily a CB but can play anywhere along the back line. One of Jose Mourinho’s boys that he promoted up from the youth system. With a bit of game time he could be a gem of a premier league player. He has one international cap to his name and is pretty highly rated. He is also a more realistic option to purchase over Varane (who also struggles to get into the Real Madrid side).

4. Philipe Mexes (CB) – This would be at least ten years too late, just like we missed out on a young Vincent Kompany we sort of missed the boat on Mexes. He is now 32 but could still be a value signing in January, bringing lots of experience. He is also French and may be looking for one last pay day. I would love this to happen but again do not see Wenger go for a stop gap option. Mexes would definitely mix it up against the likes of Stoke.

Other CB Options: These are probably more likely to happen – Howdes, Perrin. We have been linked with these players pretty heavily so who knows. Nastasic at Man City could be another option but it might be hard for them to help us out.

Defensive Midfield Signings:

1. Adrien Rabiot – He has had a season ravaged by injury so far. But watching him last year there is defiantly a quality player there. At only 19 years old this would be a long term signing, but one Wenger would relish. Rabiot is tipped to hold the French midfield in years to come with Paul Pogba. Despite his slight frame he actually adds defensive cover. Wenger do it!

2. William Carvalho – I will be honest, I have not seen much of Carvalho. All I have seen is bits and bobs of his game against Chelsea. This is not really enough to go on, but saying all that everyone else seems to think he is the real deal. Including his club who have slapped an high value on his head. Lets see more of him to judge.

Luxury Signings For The Summer:

  • Juan Quintero – We do have a lot of attacking midfielders at the club but lets not forget the injuries we have every season. This kid is quality, he should be made to shadow someone of Santi Cazorla for a season and eventually take over from him.
  • Jackson Martinez – It was this time last year that his name cropped up when I wrote about us signing him. We should still make this plan a reality in the summer. Just so no other rival team can snap him up.
  • James Milner – Many people dislike him, but at the age of 27 he still has many many good years ahead of him. Whats better is that he could be available on a free transfer who would say no?
  • Chuba Akpom – Not a new signing but someone who should be treated like one next season. If we do not enter the market for another striker he is a perfect number 3 striker for us.

Cazorla, Ramsey & Gibbs – Players of 2014

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When looking back over 2014 there has to be mixed feelings for Arsenal fans. We started the year top of the league and were the best side in the tail end of 2013. We also ended the year badly in the Premier League, currently sitting way off the title contending pace (Even if injuries are effecting our position). The good thing about 2014 was that we broke the trophy drought and won two trophies (You got me, I count the Community Shield) as well as securing our usual Champions League place.

Another positive is the fight shown by the players over the year. After being humiliated by all our rivals we still ended the season with more to show than Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd and Tottenham combined.

When thinking of our best player of 2014, my vote would have to go to Santi Cazorla. This may not be most peoples choice of players but I will explain why I feel he slightly edges out Aaron Ramsey and Kieron Gibbs (Yes you heard right).

1. Santi Cazorla: He was the catalyst for the FA cup win. Scoring the first goal against Spurs in one of his best displays of the year and the all important first goal in the final. He also played his part in the Liverpool game. If he had not scored the free kick in the final I believe Wenger would now be sitting in Paris. He has also finished the year on a high with lots of goals of late and assists. This is when Ozil, Ramsey, Wilshire are all out injured. We have also seen him drop back a bit deeper where he put in lots of shifts. Still bugs me that he doesn’t take all our set pieces. #Worldclass

2. Aaron Ramsey: This year Ramsey became a man. For a while in the 2013/2014 season he was looking like the best player in the league. A lot of his good work came pre January although he did carry his form over. Injuries robbed him of being the man of 2014. The FA cup final winner and scoring again at Wembley in the community shield marked his transformation. With Ozil and Sanchez he is now a go to man.

3. Kieran Gibbs: It is hard to judge Gibbs when he plays with a make shift back four. When Koscielny plays he is a much better defender. He saw a better year in terms of injuries and was part of the 3rd best defence in the premier league last season. At times he has made errors but he has also made big saves. One that springs to mind is the clearance in the FA Cup final. That would have killed us. I also remember his late goal in the Champions League this season. He has also been recognised by England. #BestEnglishLB  

Others who were close:

Ozil – Had a bigger impact than people think this year

Sanchez – Love him but he has only been with us since Septemebr

Koscielny – One of the standout CB’s in the league, injuries have cost him

Have your vote as to who is Arsenal’s man of 2014 and don’t forget to comment: