How Arsenal can potentially restart in 2017/2018

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With many of our major stars contracts in limbo and the manager situation up in the air, it seems Arsenal need to restart. Who ever the manager is there seems likely to be major changes in the playing staff as well as backroom staff.

The article will be based on the assumption that Arsene Wenger will be the manager for next season and Sanchez/Ozil will go. It does not take into account the contract situations of  the other players such as Wilshere, Gibbs, The Ox and Cazorla to name a few of the others. Below are just some issues I think the club need to address on the pitch.

Youth investment:

When Arsenal were at their best Wenger would constantly buy the best youth players from all over the world. Players such as Fabregas, Cliche, Oxlade Chamberlen, Theo Walcott and Van Persie were all brought in at a younger age, we also went after Christiano Ronaldo. We are losing top quality players to Chelsea and Man City, they offer higher wages but much less chance into the first team. Some of you may suggest putting all the investment into the first team now but strong clubs survive on long term planning.

We need to have a big recruitment drive across the world, particularly following how Dortmund attract top young talents.

Long term first team replacements: Goalkeeper

I think Cech is a top class goalkeeper but with age against him and the likely departure of David Ospina Arsenal need to start looking long term. The candidates for this role are:

Joe Hart – Would be an ideal keeper for the next 5/6 seasons for Arsenal. He brings a bit of leadership and passion to Arsenal something we lack. The only question is if Manchester City would sell him to us.

Jordon Pickford – Although he has only one season of first team experience under his belt, he has already shown he has quality. The transfer could be more likely if Sunderland relegate this season. He would have to wait his time though to displace Cech. Is he willing to wait his time?

Gianlugi Donnaruma – Only 19 but is already Milan’s number one and also heir apparent to Buffon. It would take massive offer to take him from Milan and also to fend off interest from other big clubs in Europe.

Long term first team replacements: Outfield

Our troubles seem to have stemmed from the Santi Cazorla from injury. We do not have another player who can transition the play from deeper in midfield all the way into attack. With his age, contract situation and injury record it might be worth bringing in a younger player to replace him long term.

With Ozil and Sanchez also likely to leave that leaves a serious lack of goals and assists drained from this side. The suggested players are:

Asier Illarramendi – Although he probably is slightly more defensive than Cazorla, he is still a player capable of controlling a midfield. Constantly linked with Arsenal it could actually happen this year.

Kylian Mbappe – If we were sitting here 10 years ago Mbappe would already have been an Arsenal player. Young, French, plays up front or on the wing and a hot prospect. This signing could go down as another we have missed in five years time when he is banging the goals in for a rival of ours.

Bernardo Silva – A player who can offer something a bit different. I think we probably will not get this man with Man Utd and Chelsea also in for him, but trying for him might not be the worst thing. If we can persuade him to join Arsenal it could be the game changer we need. A little like the Bergkamp signing.

Romelu Lukaku – Again another player Arsenal should be going for if we are to show any ambition. Yes he will be expensive but given his age the return will be there from Lukaku. It looks like he will leave Everton with many clubs circling around. Arsenal should be one of these clubs.

Arsenal should also look to buy stronger players who add value with work rate passion and those who are tactically aware. These are skills that the current Arsenal squad are lacking.

Leadership and defensive composure under question!

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It annoys me when a pundit such as Graham Souness talks about Arsenal. For years he’s been blubbering on about defensive frailties and a lack of leadership at the club. He constantly talks about how Arsenal can never win the league under Mr Wenger.

Over the years I have overlooked his comments as being someone from the ‘Old School’, i.e. someone who was dirty and did not care about the beautiful side of the game. However it is getting harder and harder to ignore such voices.

Everything the Souness spouts on about seems to be right, when the going gets to the toughest Arsenal fold like a pack of cards. Alexis aside there seemed to be no one on that field against Man City who really could, pass, shoot or even run.

The problems stem from Granit Xhaka in midfield, I have never seen such a weak performance, especially from a player who came with a massive reputation. He still has age and time to improve, but he will have to learn very fast.

Behind Xhaka and Coquelen we had our so called captain Koscielny and Gabriel. The later probably could not get into the Sunderland side on current form. Neither player showed any kind of dominance, no leadership and most worrying of all, the ability to string a simple 2 yard pass together.

Koscielny on his day is probably one of the leagues top defenders, but he can also have days where he has an absolute stinker. Yes he does not have Mustafi next to him to help out, but surely for such a good defender he can do better. Is he really the right choice of captain?

It is time Arsenal invested in a leader, he doesn’t have to be better than what we have he just needs to knock a few heads together in times of toughness. Viera, Adams or Keown would have rallied the troops at 1-0 up yesterday, this is something the Koscielny simply can’t do. Even an average player such as James McCarthy would make a difference. He might not be as talented as Coquelen or Xhaka but he surely will bring more in terms of the physical and mental side to the side. Danny Drinkwater is another who comes into this category. Players like these will improve their game, but bring another side to the game.

Ultimately I still truly believe that Arsenal missed a golden opportunity to get Jurgon Klop, this surely will be something we will rue in years to come. Wenger has an important January to come, if he is not wise we will see another battle for fourth.

First Stan, then Gazidas & then Wenger

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We play Norwich later this afternoon and it seems that all fans have all reached boiling point. This is the culmination of 12 years of promises, lies and on field disappointment. Fingers are being pointed to all parties involved, including Arsene Wenger blaming fans for making the atmosphere for his players.

The fundamental questions need to be asked by those of any power at Arsenal. The key question is in regards to what the fans want? It seems that Silent Stan cares only for the profitability of the club. Ivan Gazidas is his yes man, while Arsene Wenger is blinded by all business targets.

What these three people do not understand is that, by winning more trophies and having better players will in turn increase Arsenal’s profitability. It will also increase the mood of the fans and encourage fans to keep coming and spending money with the club they love.

The reported £8million that Wenger gets a season does matter to us, especially after we have seen managers with a lot less reputation/salaries outperform Mr Wenger. What hurts more is that a side like Leicester or our rivals Tottenham can take advantage of all other teams falling but we can’t. The players we do have are adequate, they are better than most sides in the league (probably only 2nd to Man City), the fault lies with Wenger. Not adding the extra 2 players season in season out to change a top four side into champions is just stupid.

All money talk aside I think we have reached the point where it is evident that Wenger and Kronke will not change, while Gazidas is happy to go along with any decision by his two masters to have any courage to say anything contrary. All three need to go now, we all know nothing will change for next season. At most what will change will be Wenger goes and his replacement is appointed by Kronke and Gazidas (two men who nothing about football). If this does happen we still need to continue the protests until the other two muppets have gone. Stan Kronke should have a conversation with his friend Randy Learner about football. It took Learner a relegation out of the league and a severe loss of money to realise what he has done.

What the club really does need is for Silent Stan to go first, selling to Usmanov, Gazidas goes with him being replaced by David Dein and then Wenger goes. I do live in a dream world sometimes, none of this will happen, but as an Arsenal fan we could only dream about this.

5 Things Arsenal can do to improve

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Defeat today against Man Utd seems to be another bad day at the office for Wenger and his boys. We have seems to have said that far too many times over the last 10 seasons. With teams coming from nowhere to perform better than Arsenal it seems that we finally have hit breaking point with most Arsenal fans.

In my opinion the following 5 things need to change before we will ever by strong enough to compete again at the very top level:

  • Wenger to vacate the managers role and move into the board

Arsene Wenger has been a great servant to Arsenal and has possibly carried us out of crisis point when building the new stadium. We are no longer in financial trouble, but he seems to have forgotten the art of buying the right player at the right time. I still trust Wenger enough to know what makes a good manager to have a say in appointing his replacement. I personally would try and tempt either Frank DeBoer or Joachim Low to the role.

  • Dead wood needs to be cleared from the squad

In the past we have carried many players but I feel its time to get rid of those players who are in our squad but never play due to old age or injury. I really Thomas Rosicky but feel the decision to give him a new contract last summer was wrong. Arteta and Flamini have been a good buy for us, but we should be looking to move these two out or into coaching roles. While I’m on it, Per Mertesacker is not old or injury prone, he’s just not good enough any more. We should cash in while he has any value left.

  • Training pitches and training methods need to be assessed as well as the medical practices

I always wonder why certain managers get more injured players than others. Before LVG came to Man Utd they generally had a good fitness record as soon as he implemented his training they fell like flies. Slavonia Bilic moved West Ham’s training ground early as he felt the pitches were causing injuries. Wenger has changed the medical team but has he ever questioned his own training methods or got an investigation done on the training pitches? A new manager could see players like Jack Wilshere stay fit for longer.

  • Quality signings needs to be made to improve moral

It seems that Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United will all revamp their squads this summer. We also need to invest in a clinical striker and dominant centre back to support Sanchez and Ozil. I would personally love to see us aggressively target Paul Pogba this summer. Id be willing to spend over £70mil on him. More realistic signings would include Hummels, Ibrahimovic and Rues. Leaders need to be brought into the side, which we clearly do not have.

  • Invest in the youth

As a by product of investing all the money in the new stadium we may have missed out in signing those top youth stars. We need to restart paying top dollar for those players with great potential again. In this regards we have to start competing with the top European clubs by spending more on the youth side. We are still an attractive proposition for a player in the mould of a young Fabregas.

A New Formation For Arsenal?

Currently most Premier League Clubs find it fashionable to play a 4-3-2-1 otherwise known as the old 4-3-3 formation. Arsenal were one of the last clubs to leave the traditional 4-4-2 formation after the retirement of Dennis Bergkamp.

It can be argued that we need to have three players in central midfield to counter other teams who have three in central midfield. This is a theory that the team needs a Guttuso as the out and out defensive midfielder, a Pirlo to link the defence and attack and an attack minded midfielder like Kaka. The variation on this is to play two strong defensive midfielders like Matic and Obi Mikel as that boring team often does.

The downside to this formation is that the team needs non traditional wingers who can score, assist and also track back from high up the pitch from attacking positions, as well as a more complete lone striker.

We have pacy wingers who all do to their credit create a lot of assists and do track back. Arsenal do lack goals from the wingers and often a lot of this burden is put onto Sanchez. Upfront we have two strikers who are both very good but both lack a clear attribute to be great as a lone striker.

Giroud has the hold up play, strength and a decent knack of scoring goals. He however lacks true pace to be a great lone striker. Walcott is the opposite, he lacks the hold up play and the killer eye for a goal when he is not on high confidence.

There are plenty of opportunities where Arsenal could take the game to opponents, possibly not in the big games but against sides like Newcastle, Aston Villa and West Brom we should be looking to attack.

I personally would try out the 4-4-2 formation that got Wenger so much success in his early days. This would be a midfield of Coquelen and Ramsay or Wilshere. Ozil and Sanchez on the wings with Theo and Giroud up front. Theo and Sanchez would be swapping positions.

Why is Wenger so rigid to his formations? It surely should be horses for courses? Let me know any of you agree that we should experiment a bit more with two up front.

We Are Back! Rivals Watch Out

The last ten seasons have hurt so much. From being this all conquering side to one that simply could not challenge for top honours, it had to. I remember the days when we used to go into any game rightly believing that we would win. Those days will never come back but we have very slowly come back to a side that people consider challenge worthy.

It is a big ask to talk about winning the league this season, but at least we are being mentioned. All we have to do is make the Invincible Wannabes sweat a little. My how they have dropped off, shame we could not have made an impact slightly earlier.

Being an Arsenal fan does not cloud my judgment when I say we have one of the best squads in the league. All we are lacking now is a Sol Campbell or Tony Adams in defence and world class goalkeeper. Saying that both Ospina and Gabriel both are young enough and talented enough to change that. We could also do with a Edu type figure to fill in for Coquelin from time to time. Hopefully Bielik can do this job if he lives up to the hype. With further development of our current players we can be anything they want to be.

When Arsenal were at their best they would buy youngish stars so we could have them for their peek years and also buy/produce exceptional talent through the academy. The later was always there. A sign that we are back to competing is that we are now doing all of these things.

The signings of Ozil and Sanchez followed up by Welbeck, Gabriel and Bielik fit this policy. We have today been linked with an exciting Argentine youngster as well another highly rated centre back from Charlton. This all excites me for the future as does some of the next generation players we already have.

This all shows that we are back and a good summer transfer window will mean we can once again get to the summit of English football.

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.