Title challenge hanging by a thread!

 

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Todays 3-2 defeat really hurts, almost as badly as the 8-2 scrolling a few years back. If you recall back to that time we had a number of key injuries and an altogether weak side. Today when the tables were turned we still could not take advantage.

The result leaves us a massive 5 points behind the league leaders Leicester and a further 3 points behind the spuds. If today was a massive game, the next two will decide if we are still in with an outside chance of winning the league or if we will have a battle on our hands for fourth place.

Everyone keeps telling us that this was our best chance of winning the league back. This statement is very true, if we are to win the league next season we will have an even bigger battle on our hands. Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City and Man Utd will all improve with their new managers (Including Klopp’s first full season) while Spurs should also improve and who knows what will happen to the Leicester story?

Our next game is midweek against Swansea, a side we have struggled to beat in the past, and then to Tottenham who will be licking their lips about the prospects of us ending their title charge.

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.

Bring Them On!

The game tomorrow against Manchester United is our biggest game of the season for many reasons. Firstly because I hate everything about Manchester United this season, from their arrogant manager, know it all fans or their ridicules transfer policy. The other reason is that I just do not rate their side.

If Wenger sets up correctly then I feel we have every chance to start avenging a few of our past defeats there. As we saw in our home defeat to them we should not over attack. The reasons for this being that Man Utd’s biggest strength is counter attacking. In fact we should sit back and bring them onto us and hit them on the break.

This has been shown to be a winning formula against them this season. Lets not make the same mistake twice. All in all I am looking forward to the game tomorrow night but as always will be nervous. I love big weekday evening games, so really can’t wait!

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.

Combined Man Utd & Arsenal XI (Fifa Rankings)

We had a great debate at work today over who had the better team Man Utd or Arsenal. A colleague of mine stated that Man Utd have better players than Arsenal and would have more in a combined XI. I decided to put this theory to the test and make the XI based on Fifa 15 player ratings.

The up to date ratings were taking from SoFifia.com who provide uptodate player ratings as well up to date player potential rankings. (Its a good site to compare players according to ratings). Players who have more than 1 position were taken with their best position only (so both Ozil and Di Maria can only be counted as attacking midfielders not wingers etc). It made for pretty interesting reading.

TheEssexGooner-ManU-Arsenal

GK: There is no doubting this one. David De Gea wins this hands down. Even I will admit he is the best keeper in the league. His rating of 85 is only 1 being Courtois

CB: The two Arsenal centre backs win this hands down. Both have a rating of 82, there closest competitor at Man Utd is Marcus Rojo who only has a rating of 79. Not surprising that both Arsenal centre backs are in as they have a great defensive record together. They were both part of a defence that won Szsesney the golden glove award.

RB: Debuchy wins this position with a score of 80. This is better than Man Utd’s best right back rankings (Rafael 77).

LB: Gibbs was again part of a tight defence last season and wins this close battle over Luke Shaw: 77 rating v 75. Credit where it is due, Shaw is young and has the potential to be one the worlds best. But we are looking at currently who is better.

DMC: This is a tie between Blind and Arteta. Both players have 79 points. Arteta has had very little football this season due to injury, yet he has still an equal rating with Man Utd best defensive midfielder who plays every week.

CM: The centre midfield position had many candidates to play here but all the top ratings in this position were Arsenal players. Ramsay was the best of the lot with 82 points, closely followed by Wilshere and Rosicky. The closest Man Utd player in this position was Herrera but even with 2 injuries he would not make the side.

AMC: For some reason Di Maria is listed as an attacking midfielder in this list. That is where he scores the highest points. He is equal with Ozil as an attacking midfielder. It is worth noting this season that this season Di Maria is slightly ahead of Ozil in terms of goals and assists. He has started 23 games scoring 6 and assisting 9, while Ozil has started 16 games scoring 3 and assisting 3. Also note that Ozil had a so called bad season last season, yet he he reached double figures in goals (11) from midfield and 20 assists in his first season in the premier league.

Wingers: Santi Cazorla and Alexis Sanches score the highest in these positions. Valencia the highest challenger from Man Utd. Bot Cazorla and Sanchez are in the top 5 wingers in the league. Note that Theo Walcott has a higher rating than Valencia.

Strikers: Manchester United definitely have the better goal scorers. That is reflected in the fact that RVP and Falcao both score highly in the Fifa 15 ratings list. Rooney is also only one point behind. Again like De Gea there is no argument that Arsenal are better up front.

Arsenal = 7

Man Utd = 2

Tied = 2