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It is still very early, but how does Arsenal compare to our nearest competitors in the PL for next season?
In the first TotalArsenal post for ‘ArsenalArsenal’, I focussed on the position of our manager and came to the conclusion we should let him complete his mission to turn us once again into the top team we all crave for. In the second TotalArsenal post, I focussed on the positives within our, young and quickly developing squad and why there is plenty to be upbeat about for next season. In this post, I will focus on the positions we and our competitors are in, by focussing on the key areas of: squad, manager, transfer potential, and previous success/confidence levels. The comparisons below are of course not the pinnacle of scientific analysis, but should help to start a good debate about where we are compared to our competitors at this ‘early stage of next season’.
I have translated the above comparisons into a points table (1-5: 1 = low and 5 = high):
To me the table shows we are in a decent-to-good position compared to our competitors at this stage of the season. If we can get a few quality additions to the team, and Wenger and his staff can rebuild our brittle confidence levels again over the summer, we will be competing again for next year’s PL title.
TotalArsenal, 30 May 2011
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Okay, so we didn’t sign anyone.
Some people wanted a new keeper, others wanted a defensive midfielder while a hell of a lot wanted a striker.
Actually I got that first line wrong, we did sign somebody, Sol came back!
Yep, it mightn’t exactly be as exiting as AA23 last January but Sol looks as tough as ever. Not too bad a guy to have on the bench if you ask me.
Just for a day lets forget about the lack of activity in the transfer window and have a look at what changes Wenger can make to the squad and starting XI.
Most would agree that Almunia has had a shocking season.
He doesn’t know whether to come off his line, if he does he flaps at it. He’s not commanding and couldn’t organise a nun-shoot in a nunnery never mind his defence.
I’m still at a loss as to how Mannone went from having a more than decent spell in goals to not even been on the bench anymore.
Wenger knows more than any of us about their state of mind and how they train but I saw nothing so bad from Mannone that warranted him going from playing every week to not been on the bench.
Fabianski has become Flappy No2 to Almunia’s Flappy No1. Whatever happened to Arsene giving players a chance and if they do well keeping them in the side?
At the back I think we are okay – despite the silly goals.
Vermaelen and Gallas have been awesome all season. Sagna has been decent at the back but average going forward.
Left-back seems to be a problem but I feel it comes more from midfield than anything else.
On the right, Sagna gets cover from Rosicky, Eboue or Bendtner when they are in front of him. Clichy doesn’t get the same from Arshavin, Diaby or lately Nasri – this has to be looked at.
Another problem is Denilson.
I actually quite like him as a squad player. He is often quietly effective but lately he has just been quiet. It has gotten to the point where we are often playing with ten men on the pitch because he is so….well, useless.
I’ve made my suggestion well known that I think Super Tom could play that role. In fact I’d suggest Wenger should try a different midfield against the Chavs, one which mixes defending with attack.
Song would take up his usual role in front of the back four and be under orders to stay there. Ventures up field would be kept to a minimum.
Denilson would be dropped to the bench and Rosicky would become the link player.
The Czech is aggressive in the tackle, disciplined and has one hell of an eye for the pass – so why not?
Cesc would be there doing his thing while on the right of the front three I’d go with the African Pele.
Eboue has come on a lot from last season. Tries his heart out and can defend and attack, so why not put him out on the right wing?
Give Cashley some defending to do while also making it difficult for him going forward as he’ll be playing against two full backs.
Lets face it, Eboue is a better option at the moment than Walcott.
If Bendtner is fit, he should start as CF.
Chelsea suffer from the same flapperitis as our goalkeepers. Cech is really not the same keeper as a few seasons back. The way to get at the Chavs is to get in crosses – at least Bendtner is tall and can head a ball.
Trying to play through Chelsea is difficult cos they will crowd the midfield but spread it wide, cross it in and make Nikki put Flappy Chav under pressure and see what happens.
Its also time to move Arshavin back to the wing.
He’s not a main striker and I wonder whether his greed against Manchester United came about from him being under pressure to score as opposed to him being a gloryseeker?
In short my team for Chelsea would be:
I’d rather see Mannone or a scarecrow with extra big gloves in goals but he’ll stick with Almunia.
I’ll stop rambling now!
Just to fill you in: Eduardo is out of the Chelsea game. So too is Vela but its not like he’d play. Diaby is a “maybe” and Wenger has decided not to sign Stefan Savic after all.
I am surprised, I don’t know why but I am surprised that there are still so many inaccurate myths doing the rounds about Arsenal’s transfer policy and no matter how hard I try to ignore them they still ruffle my feathers.
Top of the Pops at Arsenal are: we could have bought Alonso if only we had offered the asking price; next comes, the club refused to offer Flamini a new contract so he left to AC Milan and number one of my bug-bears is the idea that we almost lost Arshavin by holding out until the last minute for the best possible deal.
I can only assume that these rumours were started by people desperate to find something to write about on a slow news day, a kind of slow news day like today that I am using in an attempt to correct one inaccuracy in particular.
The Arshavin deal, in my opinion, is fundamental to understanding what the whole of the, post Abramovich, Arsenal transfer system has been forced to evolve into.
The central tenet of my argument is that it was Zenit, and not Arsenal, that kept the negotiations going until the last possible minute; the reason being that by doing so they hoped to attract other clubs for the purpose of creating an auction. It’s not rocket science, it really is quite easy, what possible reason could Arsenal have had to drag it out to the last minute?
To try and pay less than the asking price I hear you say……….Wrong.
There was never a fixed asking price for Arshavin, Arsenal being well aware of this offered what they thought he was worth, if Zenit had been successful in enticing Man City (a euphemism for any team with more money to spend that us) into the fray then we would have had no choice but to back out; so, with this possibility looming, why offer an unnecessarily high price from the outset.
I suggested a couple of days ago that some people (not on this site) seem to be under the delusion that buying players was as easy as buying apples and clubs like Arsenal, who have money in their pockets from the sale of other players, can simply waltz into any supermarket, chose a player within their budget, go to the check out and pay for him.
Continuing the theme: if the Arshavin deal was an apple in Tesco and it had a price tag of £1, it would be wrong to assume, as many do, that you could just pick it up, walk up to the check out and pay for it; you may be able to take it as far as the check out but you will not be able to buy it before Tesco have found out if Man City are interested in buying it as well and if they are then we all know that no matter how much Arsenal offer they will offer more. So, rather than suffer the embarrassment of losing an auction it surely makes more sense to give up any hope, there and then, and put the apple back.
Some may suggest that it might have been better to offer £1.25p for it at the beginning but even so, Tesco would still not have sold it to us before they were certain that Man City were not prepared to pay more.
The clever solution that Arsenal came up with was to pick the apple up and shout at the top of their voices, making everyone aware in the shop, that there was something wrong with it, in our case this took the form of Wenger commenting that he thought that “Arshavin lacked stamina” which was broadcast all over the media, with this doubt ringing in any other potential buyers minds Arsenal went ahead and offered 80p for the apple, accepting, that if Man city came in, then, so be it, but if they didn’t then Arsenal would know that we were the only club interested in buying this rosy cheeked Russian and Zenit would have no choice but to sell him to us at the price we were offering, which is exactly what happened…..we paid 80p for Arshavin, a clever bit of business if you ask me.