The Morning after the Night before – More Squad questions than answers Monsieur Wenger?

Hi All, I had to write this for cathartic reasons!!

So, the transfer window light has been flicked off and we are shufflling out of the other side blinking, squinting and staring into the new dawn.

On the face of it, Arsenal have a nice, solid looking squad of twenty six.


Goalkeepers – Cech, Ospina and presumably Huddart.

Defenders – Mertesacker, Koscielny, Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs, Monreal, Debuchy and Bellerin.

Midfielders – Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arteta, Flamini, Coquelin, Ozil and Bielik.

Forwards – Giroud, Walcott, Alexis, Campbell and Welbeck.

Not too shabby. But a worry that the above, bar Cech and Bielik, didn’t come near to challenging for the Premier League, Champions League or even the League Cup.

Missing in Action sine April

What is also a worry is the fact that Welbeck has been injured since May, Rosicky has been missing this season, Wilshere has suffered an all too predictable injury and suddenly, the squad looks thinner. And there will be more injuries, of that you can be sure. Suppose that now you can factor in the oft-thought-theory amongst Gooners that Arteta’s legs aren’t what they used to be and that Flamini is lat present little more than a gob on a stick than a dynamic (or even semi-dynamic) footballer. And the squad looks that bit more lacking…

Gob on a stick

Lastly, we can look at who has left this summer. I agree with many that Sanogo and Ryo are no real loss. Podolski was however good for a few goals, if not for a few back-peddled yards. But did Akpom need to leave, after looking like he was ready for a chance to challenge upfront? Could Gnabry not have completed his rehab at the club that has launched him into the fringes of the German National team?

Necessary loan?

Last season, our strikers froze against the bigger sides. Well, this is actually an old issue. Giroud did net a consolation against Man Utd, and a super winner against Man City, but he might as well not turn up for a Chelsea fixture. Walcott was injured, and scored against Man Utd, so he gets a waiver. Alexis was sensational against Liverpool and Man City, but again, did little against Chelsea and Man Utd. Welbek is the very personification of hit-and-miss. Campbell; well, he still is an unknown quantity. The fact that he has barely been seen suggests that he is locked in the same Colney cupboard as Rosicky.

In a Cupboard with Mozart?

All of this, for me, makes the lack of signings over May, June, July and August even more inexplicable. Cech was a masterstroke, and another DM to cover or compete with Coquelin and another CF to keep Giroud on his toes is really all I think Arsenal needed. It is utterly understandable that ‘World-class’ (who defines this term?) forwards were unavailable or too expensive; there really does seem to be a distinct global shortage of up-and-coming striking stars, but surely a decent, proven squad addition with sell-on value could have been found?! Austin excelled in a shocking QPR side and gave Arsenal kittens in both games last season. Volland is a decent looking young striker in a medium tier side in a very competitive league. Fierro has all of the ingredients that Vela had all of those years ago. Yarmolenko is an absolute bruiser of a forward with a thunderous left foot which reminds me of Ivan Drago’s right hook (and they both look similar), and is very much available.


However, were decent forwards actually available this summer? Well, let us see who moved between European clubs since May for less than £30m: Martinez, Bacca, Luiz Adriano, Shaqiri, Jovetic, Dzeko, Mandzukic, Llorente, Rondon, Draxler, Thauvin and Konoplyanka being just a few examples.

Martinez – Big miss?

Were there any decent midfield options traded though? Well…Cabaye, Wijnaldum, Schweinsteiger, Schneiderlin, Clasie, Imbula and M’Vila were all available to be signed. Are these players better than Wilshere, Ramsey and Coquelin? No. Are they better than who’d step-up should any be injured or suspended? I would dare say, yes.

Bid for in 2014 and ignored in 2015 by Wenger

Arsene Wenger has more managerial experience in his smallest toe nail than I do. But he knows that Arsenal suffer with injuries. He knows that the team, more often than not, suffers a pre-March collapse in the league and Europe. He knows that the team collectively suffer a case of ‘virgins in a brothel’ when confronted by a ‘title rival’.

With fans who pay for the most expensive season tickets in the world, who listen to board members extolling the depths of wealth in the club’s coffers to any press ear cocked their way, and who see a new sponsorship announcement pretty much every fortnight, surely a belief that the club should ‘keep up with the Joneses’ is a fair one? I’m not saying €80m should’ve been spent on Martial, or £32m on Benteke, but surely, with the injuries that occur every season, and the loaning out of players that have filled into slots in the first team with some degree of success, outfield signings should’ve, and could’ve, been made this year?

Unless there is a dramatic improvement in maintaining fitness amongst the first team squad, a few injuries here and there are going to ravage this team. A defence shorn of Mertesacker and Koscielny were almost humiliated by Liverpool at The Emirates. Cech really did earn that point.

Will Walcott, at 26, finally get a full season and prove he is worth top-tier wages? Will the midfield conundrum of square pegs in round holes sort itself out? Will Giroud turn up against the big boys? Can Oxlade-Chamberlain transform pre-season electricity into end-product in games that matter?

I hope so, I really do.

A Coquelin injury away from a disaster?

Sadly though, I feel that this team is a Coquelin or Alexis injury away from calamity. And I don’t think it had to be this way.



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6 Responses to The Morning after the Night before – More Squad questions than answers Monsieur Wenger?

  1. Victor Thompson September 2, 2015 at 9:00 am #


    I might have written this article myself. I also think that Charlie Austin would have been a no brainer. he may not be “World Class” but he would undoubtedly score goals. AW could have had him for relatively little money and he would have kept Giroud on his toes.

    Even if he did not work out for us, he is still young enough to sell on for a moderate loss. At least he would have been a decent cover for injuries. As it is now, Arsene has backed himself into a corner. There is no apparent option to the tried and failed methods we use when teams park the bus.

    With the players we now have, he has no plan B available to him. Charlie Austin would have given him one.

    We have The Ox, Walcott, Sanchez and Welbeck when fit and we have Ramsey and Jack, when fit. With the first four all fit, we have pace to burn but the established way of playing is stop, sideways, backwards and back again, all done at half pace, so any pace we have is lost. That is down to coaching.

    We needed more than anything, someone like Terry, to shout and cajole the players and make sure they kept the pace up. He need not have been the best player but if he could make those who have the talent, play to their best on the pitch and who do not get mesmerised by the big clubs. A player like that ( Wanyama ? ) would have been a real target.

    Now we all know beyond doubt that we are scrambling for third or fourth place again. If the next half dozen matches go the wrong way, our season is virtually over again by the end of October. In my view, it is all because of bad stewardship. We should have got rid of the deadwood and cleared the deck for new imports well in advance of the window. It wasn`t done and we shall now pay the price. I don`t know if it was Arsene or the Board`s fault, but undoubtedly, the Arsenal fans are not getting their money`s worth.

    Victor Thompson

    • nobert September 2, 2015 at 10:24 am #

      Agree with a lot of your points but don’t see how all the decent sides never bothered to sign Charlie Austin and yet he could have made a difference to us. I don’t see how Austin knows how to play against the bus. We have a more than decent squad barring injuries. Lets not sell Hernandes to buy Martial

      • Victor Thompson September 2, 2015 at 4:29 pm #

        Thanks for your response Nobert,

        I dont know a lot about Charlie Austin except that he scored over 20 goals for a rubbish team. I saw a lot of his goals and they were varied between headers, shots, long and short and some made by himself. he gave a lot of Premier defences problems and whilst I am not saying that he should have been one of Arsene`s targets, when it became obvious that he was not going to get the ones he wanted, Charlie would have been a decent risk to take. Financially, the risk would have been small, but the possibility of a big dividend was worth taking a chance on.

        At least there was the possibility of a change in tactics when the present set up is not working. This is not a blip. Our problems with tight defences have been going on for some time. Charlie Austin gets among the defenders and creates room for himself. While the Centre backs are looking after Charlie; Santi, Walcott or Ramsay would get chances. As for the other teams, if Charlie had been playing for a more fashionable team than QPR, I am sure they would have considered him. If he played for Arsenal for one season and scored 20 goals, he would be worth 26-30 milion. We probably could have bought him for £20m. Its a win win.

        Victor Thompson

  2. Kabir September 2, 2015 at 9:08 am #

    i pray arsenal will doom to hell.. Just to ensure Wenger to be sack…

  3. Greg September 2, 2015 at 9:43 am #

    Cheers Vic, most appreciated and I completely agree!

  4. BarryMac September 2, 2015 at 11:24 am #

    I agree with most of what You wrote Greg I just dont think Charlie Austin comes close to being good enough to wear Our shirt.We need to change the way We play in games as the set-up with Santi playing so deep is just defeatist and the West Ham game showed how weak of a set-up it is.Giroud gives 100% but gets no credit but with a partner and players pushed up higher We could see a far better return from Him,BFG’s lack of pace has Us playing deeper(IMO) than We need to and Our players go missing in games because of it, so I think We need to start with Gabriel as Him and The Boss can deal with the space in front and have the pace to get back allowing Le Coq and Santi to play higher and bring out the best in Ozil Rambo and co.Rant Ends

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