Monreal Is Cause For Renewed Positivity

By Daniel Cowan
In Arsenal
Feb 1st, 2013

The transfer window has slammed shut and Arsenal have managed to sneak in a deal for Peter Crouch lookalike aka Spain international Nacho Monreal to the delight of some supporters. To the chagrin of others it seems that one was not enough and whilst I agree that the team needs further strengthening I have woken today with a renewed positivity.

I feel I have always been good at looking at the positive side of things, especially when it comes to Arsenal, whilst maintaining a reasonable degree of balance. I have never identified with any group or acronym that exist nor will I probably ever. I am an Arsenal supporter and my opinions are my own and not defined by others and I’d like to think the majority of Arsenal supporters would see themselves the same way.

Our newest signing... and a good one to boot

We’ve signed Peter Crouch!

I think we have the makings of a special team. The current squad I think are good enough to make the Champions League spots and good enough to win the FA Cup too but probably a few players away from title winners. The players that will “complete” our squad will hopefully arrive in the summer and I’m quite confident that hopefully is actually certainly.

Arsène said that he almost signed one more player and I wouldn’t want to speculate who but I think it would have been a big money move.

We were close to one more signature, it did not happen because of the desire of the clubs to sell or not sell. It is only linked with that.

Arsène Wenger – 01/02/2013

The signing he did make I feel has really added to our squad despite being told yesterday that Monreal lacking a YouTube video means he is a bad player!!

I must admit that I haven’t seen much of Monreal but what I have seen I have been impressed with. I’ve watched Malaga this season because I heard we were scouting Isco but maybe it was really Monreal we were scouting… or both. Monreal looks reasonably solid as far as attacking full-backs go and his crossing ability is excellent so I’m banking on a few assists for Giroud and a quick adaptation period.

I think it’s fair in saying that collectively Gooners were hoping for a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a left-back, a defensive midfielder and a striker. We got the left-back and I’m sure we were trying hard for the others.

It’s not easy to buy a player in any window but it is especially hard in January. The teams you are buying from have a better idea of what their realistic target is for the season, for example ours was to win the league and now it is to finish in the top four. We can argue all day long about what our ambition was at the start of the season but I don’t think for one second it wasn’t to win the league. Our main ambition every season is to win the league; finishing in the top four is our minimum goal. So, the selling team know what their target is so selling a player could damage that so they’ll need a good reason to sell such as needing the money (Malaga) or the offer is too good to turn down (Anzhi for Samba) and they’ll need to be able to find a replacement or have the depth to cope without a replacement.

The sort of player I think we, the supporters, want Arsenal to buy are not the sorts of players that are easily replaced. The sorts of players that are available, the likes of which QPR and Newcastle signed, are not at the level of the players we want/need. I hear a lot about our squad not being top 3 quality etc yet only Ba has been signed by a top 3 club and that was only because he offers something different to what they have already.

If we signed Ba, as Wenger has said, we would just be signing another Giroud and based on contribution this season and factoring in experience of the league I think we have the better or at least more effective player.

Twitter meltdown...

Twitter meltdown…

I’m all for competition for spaces and strength in numbers but I am often told that we need to have different options to combat different opposition. So if we had Ba and Giroud we’d have two players competing for the same spot to offer similar styles in a finite number of games that will play to those strengths. Where does the run of games come to gain consistency? I’m not anti-Ba but I can see valid reasons for not buying him.

We’ve had a whole month to do business and some may think we didn’t try hard enough but I disagree. It’s not easy to do business in January and especially not if you are a top team or challenging for a top four spot. Who did City sign? Chelsea signed Ba but they sold Sturridge, they had two strikers and they still have two strikers. United signed Zaha but he won’t play for them this season so that doesn’t really count. Spurs signed Holtby but that was because Sandro is out for a few months otherwise he’d be signed in the summer. Arsenal signed Monreal early for similar reasons. Everton signed a young defender, John Stones, from Barnsley. Where is the top top quality? Where is the superstar?

Arsenal have worked incredibly hard I feel since the departure of Cesc to tie down important players to long-term contracts where possible and sign talented and experienced players.

We now have a team full of players on long-term contracts and going into the summer we only have one player of real significance entering his last year and that is Sagna and even then I could argue that despite his run of games he’s not really our no.1 right-back any more. Or least hasn’t been performance wise.

We probably could have done with another keeper because it seems that Szczesny is a little comfortable and lacks a challenger to his spot. We probably could have done with another striker to offer competition for places and a different option to Giroud but where was the quality? That said, I think we have an option, made possible by the signing of Monreal.

Left wing? No problem.

Left wing? No problem.

With Monreal and Vermaelen probably taking the left-back spot until Gibbs is fit enough to fight it out with Monreal I think we could push Santos higher up the pitch. His defending at times can be abysmal but he is not a fundamentally bad player. His attacking instincts are excellent and his defending in one-on-one’s is adequate when he concentrates. He has had some blinding games, or halves of games (Chelsea 5-3) and could be an asset to the club in an advanced position.

Other bloggers have written about it in more depth than I will but Santos could play the left-sided role, as backup, allowing Podolski to have a rest or potentially play more games through the middle. The signing of Monreal offers us better rotation in defence and attack and potentially more options through the middle.

We also could have had bought a centre-back but apart from depth I’m not so sure we need one. Vermaelen is getting back to his best after a rough start to the season but even with players out of form our defence has been much improved. Yes we are still conceding goals but we also still have the joint 4th best defence in the league. We can look at statistics all day long but the only one that truly counts in the goals conceded stat.

Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs and Sagna have all taken their share of flack this season but I still don’t think we have a bad defence. For me, not one of those players mentioned isn’t good enough for Arsenal. They are all very good defenders, each with their own strengths and each with their own weakness. Can they be blamed for other teams exploiting that effectively? Is any defender infallible?

Good enough

Good enough

Oddly enough, I don’t think another team has exploited individual weaknesses that much. I’m struggling to think of a time this season that Arsenal have conceded a good goal. As a unit they’ve played well but individual errors or a string of separate individual errors or sheer bad luck has been the cause of most goals conceded I feel.

Take Liverpool for example. The first goal was a slip, a horrendous mis-kick and then an unlucky deflection off of Ramsey that he had no chance of controlling. Who got the blame? Going by my timeline on Twitter it was 70% Ramsey’s fault (what isn’t?) and 30% Mertesacker’s fault. Sagna slipped, the ball was passed behind Mertesacker before he could get to the ball (even Theo wouldn’t have got to it) and Vermaelen mis-kicked it and it’s Per’s fault? Come off it.

The second goal started in midfield with too much space and not enough tracking of men and then it was poor defending by one player and another unlucky deflection off Ramsey into the path of Henderson. It was calamitous but credit should go to Henderson for persisting.

If we can cut out or reduce the individual errors then our defence is good enough. Sure we could still do with another centre-back but I’m not so sure we could have bought one in January. If we did they would have to be a superstar and as we’ve established it’s not easy to buy those in January or they would be backup. We could have bought back up but we have three good centre-backs competing for one spot and maybe Wenger doesn’t want more backup, maybe he wants someone of top quality. Squillaci hasn’t had a sniff this season and we haven’t heard from Miquel in literally a year (last mention of his first team exploits in an article). Koscielny was probably our best defender last year and he’s hardly getting a look in. Why pay for something of similar or lesser quality than Koscielny to sit on the bench when you can wait for the summer and buy someone of better quality?

Wenger said a while back that we have two players for every position and I think in a sense he is right. We have enough bodies to put out two teams and overall I think we have enough quality in both XI’s to achieve fourth spot and the FA Cup.

Relax... I got this.

Relax… I got this.

We have quality and competition for places in all positions, or enough to see us through until June.

Arsenal have worked hard to reduce the squad size so we have quality over quantity and are setting us up so next season we finally have both.

For years we have been “a few players away” from winning the title and every time we have come close we’ve seen a player force their way out or refuse to sign a new contract and it has pegged us back. What is now some of our first choice quality could become our competition and backup to even more quality with summer signings. An experienced goalkeeper, a centre-back and a striker will complete our team but they have to be the right players and if that means waiting for the summer then so be it.

Next season will finally be different. We no longer have a need to sell. We have money in the bank. Our best players are on long-term contracts and none of our players have Barca-DNA or little boys inside them.

As long as we make the right signings and a good starting base we’ll do great things and it starts with getting behind the team as my friend Adi over at Positively Arsenal says.

Stay positive.

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About "" - 509 Posts

I am a South London born Gooner now living in Leigh-On-Sea, Essex. I'm a husband, daddy, podcaster, trainer enthusiast and aspiring author. My work is my passion and for that I will always be grateful. Here is where I write my thoughts and views on Arsenal Football Club, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

50 Responses to “Monreal Is Cause For Renewed Positivity”

  1. Analytical as usual Dan., all of a sudden I don’t feel so bad anymore… It’s this post; splendid.

  2. g says:

    Great post Daniel, well thought and well written, I agree with 95% as with most of your posts, we really do need a keeper, Szczesny is not a bad stopper of the ball but has no sense at corners/free kicks etc, he is at fault for much of the so called sloppy defending, he very rarely catches or punches clear from corners, I don’t think he gives our defenders much confidence, as for Santos/ Gervinho. Ok for reserve team or early Carling Cup!!! Villa would have been a decent short term buy, so hopefully in the summer Wenger forgets him and goes for the longer term, Keeper,DM, striker and then I also believe we will then be back to our best and be able to mount a decent challege, keep up the good work

  3. Theis says:

    Great article, support the team!

  4. Don Ifepe says:

    Good write-up and may i say i totally agree with You.
    You see it takes patience and calculated action to achieve a sustainable success and I know Arsenal FC is on the path of creating history without attaching the headache of debts to it
    Don K
    Toronto Canada

  5. Dgob says:

    A very positive, thoughtful and enjoyable post.


  6. A/S says:

    That was a joy to read. Please keep writing.

  7. søren frey says:

    Thanks for that mood lifter. Was getting sick of all the miserable gits on Twitter and most of my arsenal podcasts.

    • søren frey says:

      Does anyone have suggestions for non-angry/suicidal/miserable podcasts? Have been following arse2mouse, footballlistically and arsenal America (who invite talkShite on there ffs!)

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      You should try @HughWizzy… if you have iTunes just search for Hugh Wizzy, if not, check him out on twitter for details of how to get it elsewhere.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Haha, thanks mate. Glad you enjoyed. I’m not always super positive (I prefer realism) but am rarely a negative blogger.

  8. Miami Gooner says:

    Great read Daniel, could not agree more about getting behind the team for rest of season. We have what we have and should by any stretch be good enough for 4th but it will be a massive challenge. And there is the FA cup too, fingers crossed.

    For quite a while I, like many others, had thought there was little sign of a plan. Funny enough, after yesterday i am now convinced that there is in fact a significant plan but that it is all aimed for next season. It is now obvious that the signing of Nacho yesterday was only in reaction to Gibbs being injured the previous night. With the exception of one other target, Arsenal had no intention of dipping into the significant war chest that exists. I believe that the war chest will be opened in full in the summer when there will be big changes, including and possibly because of a change in manager. The Liam Brady announcement was perhaps the start of a large number of changes we will hear about in the coming months. With new sponsorship deals, the Emirates overhead becoming more manageable and as you say having many of our core players on long term deals etc, while still optimistic about this season, I am becoming very excited for next.

    Love your blogs (and stay clear of the Acronyms)

  9. Cupsui says:

    Dan your positivity is very uplifting. I do agree with most of it but my biggest concern is our defence.

    As this season drags on the form of mertesacker and TV5 is declining. I still think Kozzer is our best defender although his form has been hampered by injuries. At the moment i would go with Kozzer and TV5 (but tomas may have a croked ankle).

    It is ok to say…ok a stuff up…fine we concede one there but this is becoming an all too common recurrence. The first goal for liverpool was THE MOST SHAMBOLIC piece of defending i have ever seen. 1. Sanga slip (can be excused) 2. Walcott not tracking run (probs can be excused as the ball was going straight to bac…should have been more aware) 3. Merte out of position 4. TV5 misskick (the worst of the lot) 5. Ramsey back heel (not far behind – all he had to do was play it to open merte or bac and its clear)
    So not 1 but 5 errors, that was literally park football stuff!? come on this is arsenal. these players need to stand up. Especially TV5, he is our captain and playing so down on confidence. I ask where is the guy that was charging around the pitch, banging long shots, scoring headers, screaming at players?! If he wasn’t captain he would be the one on the bench not Kozzer…Step up son!

    merte is getting exposed by his pace, he just takes so long to turn. its a danger.

    I feel we may need another CB unless these guys step it up in the second half.

    At first glance i agree 100% with your summation about the Nacho Nacho man…he allows versatility. And we needed a “real” LB that stays fit (fingers crossed). I’m not really a fan of playing santos on the LW i would rather see Nacho pushed up and TV5 at LB or Gervinho/The ox. I think santos has done his dash and he is clearly losing his fitness

    It does look like we will have a much more positive summer (i would hold Bac to his contract even if he doesn’t sign) and get a DM, (maybe) a CB, and a winger/striker and we have a quality side that can give the title a shout…i have said that before…

    either way i am positive about a top 4 spot…but we need our defenders we know are quality to stand up, concentrate and eliminate these school boy errors because they are embarrassing at times recently

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I have to disagree with you mate about the first goal. Sagna slipped, it happens. Mertesacker wasn’t out of position, he was exactly where he should have been if Sagna had not slipped. He can’t move around the pitch anticipating slips. Vermaelen’s mis-kick was awful and probably the only inexcusable part of the build up to that goal. Your comment on Ramsey I must admit has me fuming a little. I really think you need to watch it again and maybe ignore the name on the shirt as you do it. The ball ricocheted onto Ramsey and off behind him. There was literally nothing he could do about it. At speed it looked like a back-heel but watch it again and you’ll see it was not.

      Mertesacker is slow but his game is about more than that and it is up to the players around him to compliment his strengths by covering his weaknesses.

      I think like many supporters mate you’ve become a little disillusioned with certain players and can no longer see the value in them. Santos can play LW. If you consider what people rant about him, it is always about his defending so why no utilise him on the wing instead? I’m not saying play him all the time, or even some of the time. Just to consider him as an option should Podolski need a rest or needed in the middle.

      The defence does need improving but a lot of that can be done on the training ground.

      Anyway, here’s to a top 4 finish and hopefully a cup. 🙂

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I have to disagree with you mate about the first goal. Sagna slipped, it happens. Mertesacker wasn’t out of position, he was exactly where he should have been if Sagna had not slipped. He can’t move around the pitch anticipating slips. Vermaelen’s mis-kick was awful and probably the only inexcusable part of the build up to that goal. Your comment on Ramsey I must admit has me fuming a little. I really think you need to watch it again and maybe ignore the name on the shirt as you do it. The ball ricocheted onto Ramsey and off behind him. There was literally nothing he could do about it. At speed it looked like a back-heel but watch it again and you’ll see it was not.

      Mertesacker is slow but his game is about more than that and it is up to the players around him to compliment his strengths by covering his weaknesses.

      I think like many supporters mate you’ve become a little disillusioned with certain players and can no longer see the value in them. Santos can play LW. If you consider what people rant about him, it is always about his defending so why no utilise him on the wing instead? I’m not saying play him all the time, or even some of the time. Just to consider him as an option should Podolski need a rest or needed in the middle.

      The defence does need improving but a lot of that can be done on the training ground.

      Anyway, here’s to a top 4 finish and hopefully a cup. 🙂

    • Cupsui says:

      I actually like a rate ramsey but i dont like him where he is (although he is improving) cause positionally his defensive work is not up to scratch. And he still wont make a slide tackle and someone playing DM or CM must be able to do so. He needs to work on this side of his game to improve but i think he has been better recently (still a long way to go to force diaby/arteta out)

      But i have watched that first goal over and over (i watch downloaded replays) and from the many many times i have seen it i can only draw the conclusion ramsey was unaware of the player on his shoulder tried to flick and turn and caught out…it was one of 5 errors…FIVE! if but one was fixed it was not a goal…that was embarrassing. And as i said the biggest portion of the blame goes to TV5

      On santos i will have to agree to disagree. He looked sharp in attack early in his arsenal career but now he hasn’t even got that. No confidence, he is losing his fitness (you surely can’t argue that) and i would rather see the ox or gervinho play ahead of him…

      As for the comment below. I really think we need a DM, a versatile DM yes but if it is a DM that isn’t the sharpest passer (Capoue) i think he still works (he is still a pretty good distributor mind you). Play him when we need an enforcer and play arteta when we need technical play…heck play them both…its the depth and rotation we need in midfield (and as i have said until Rambo picks up the defensive side of his game, playing him weakens the team…i believe you can acknowledge that too)

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Sadly no mate, I disagree with a lot of what you said but we could go round in circles for hours doing this.

    • Tyler says:

      I’m going to weigh in here. I can see both sides of Ramsey’s flick or no flick in the build up. Personally I think it was a reaction rather than a decision. He had milliseconds to make a decision to do something with the ball or let it go. I don’t fault him for trying the flick, as I do believe it was a flick. I think his only other option was to let the ball go, which might have ended in the same result anyway.

      That said, I do believe that Ramsey played a poor game positionally. I remember at times seeing him in the opponents final third sending in a cross. I was thinking, “OK, what if they head the ball out and hit us on the counter attack? Ramsey, you have no chance of getting back to provide cover for the defense.” He will learn in time to stay at home more often. I do think he has the potential to be great at the position. He has a great work rate and is technically better than Arteta. It’s his decision making off the ball that he struggles with. I do think he will get there though.

      As for Santos, he does hold some value as a left winger, but 3rd or 4th choice at best. He’s mostly around for depth at this point IMO

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks Tyler. Can’t agree about Ramsey positionally either. He played a great game overall and you’re in a small minority of people that I know would disagree.

  10. Jamie says:

    I agree with some of of what you say but to say we are a CB, GK and ST away from being complete is wrong.

    It’s glaringly obvious that without a shield in front of the back four we will continue to struggle.

    Capoue would have done the job. No matter how much you rate Arteta or Ramsey they just aren’t the presence we need. Not since Gilberto was let go have we had a decent DM.

    In some games Jack needs a minder, someone who will kick the opposition if they try and ruffle our feathers. Against Chelsea and Man City it was blatantly obvious. Our midfield couldn’t get hold of the ball and as a result our strikers didn’t get much joy.

    I think Diaby could do they job but his body is held together with string and masking tape.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I think people get too hung up on DM’s. A defensive midfielder doesn’t have to be a destroyer. For our style of play we need someone who can break down the opposition and start attacks with 88%+ passing. Capoue is excellent and someone I’m not adversed to but he doesn’t have the passing ability of Arteta.

      A lack of a “DM” this season hasn’t be our downfall. It has either been a lack of goals or conceding silly goals. DM’s can’t stop you conceding silly goals. I remember everyone calling for M’Vila and me being ridiculed for saying he wasn’t right for us. I remember people saying “If we had M’Vila we wouldn’t have conceded that goal” and then watching Rennes concede a very similar goal with M’Vila on the pitch.

      A DM would be good but I don’t think it is our most pressing issue.

  11. DSlush says:

    Good post, bar one thing. I am not buying that we were working hard to get a CB or DM, and i don’t think we have any interest in a new keeper, and all these things worry me going forward.

    We can play ‘OH WHY DID THEY GO TO NEWCASTLE/QPR/WHOEVER’ all day but players like Sissoko and Mbiwa would have unquestionably improved our squad and, possibly debatable, our team. And are players like Etienne Capoue ‘unavailable’? Really?

    We’ll see i guess.

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Sissoko and Yanga-Mbiwa would have improved our squad if we want a squad that can compete for Europa League. If you want a team that wins titles you need to aim higher. They would have been good for a year maybe but after that, when we’ve bought even better players we’d all be complaining that they are deadwood.

      Capoue probably was available but for a lot more than we wanted to spend. It’s important to buy the right players not the right now players. It’s hard to understand sometimes but I trust Wenger to buy the right people when the money is there. When it’s not (as has been the case but not any more) it’s harder. We’ve had decent money since last summer, maybe even before that, and we bought Cazorla, Podolski and Giroud. That is the level we should be buying at.

    • Dan Briones says:

      Finally someone who talks with some sense. Too many people these days want a quick fix and I couldn’t agree with you more about M’Villa and capoue being dead wood in a year. I’d rather wait for a better player than bring in just anyone. Everyone wanted Diame as well and I think we NEED to do way better if we want to be in the top 4. Cheers

    • Dan Briones says:

      I think Friedel would be a nice back up/competition. He’s at that age and Szczesny could learn a lot from him. Still a top GK in my opinion.

  12. Rohan says:

    I think the best part was reading the bit that this summer, we don’t quite have to be scared of losing any player. God, I almost forgot what that feeling was like.

  13. RealG says:

    Very well said!! For once I agree with an arsenal blog/article from newsnow! Usually its all anti-arsenal/wenger idiot writing deluded thoughts after watching and agreeing with the thoughts of silly pundits from sky sports news or motd!
    You say ‘I think it’s fair in saying that collectively Gooners were hoping for a goalkeeper, a centre-back, a left-back, a defensive midfielder and a striker’ …i would argue that we have 3 decent young keepers, unless we could find a really old GK who is still quality and will retire soon then there is no reason to block the path of our young keepers…fabianski isnt match fit yet so he can compete with scezni!
    A CB woulda been nice to replace squilaci but obviously we couldnt get rid of him plus like u say we have 3 great CBs fighting for 2 places with Miquel and Squilaci as back up..thats not too bad!
    A left back…from what i have seen, Monreal looks quality and can actually defend!!! So very happy with our options at LB now! He wont block gibbs either as he can play left wing plus he is 4/5 years younger. Agreed Santos will be much better as a left winger back up too!
    a striker?? not sure we need another 1!! we have Giroud! Walcott wants to play there and so does Poldi! so thats already 3 and we only play with 1 striker anyways! and the Ox or Gervinho can play up there! So we have many otpions for a striker!
    Now for the strangest want! a defensive midfielder?? why is that what arsenal fans are crying out for?? doesnt make any sense!! you can only play 11 players so how the hell would we fit in another DM?
    Arteta does that role and whoever thinks Song was or Mo Diame could do a better job than Arteta is just wrong! even Ramsey has looked decent in that role so yeah, can someone explain to me which Defensive Mid is better that Arteta and who we coulda singined in january?? errm no1!!! or if u suggest we coulda played a DM aswell as Arteta than do we drop Wilshere or Cazorla??? yeah right!! lol!
    we have a top team!!

    Gk – Szezcney, Back Up – Fabianski/Mannone

    RB – Sagna, 2nd choice – Jenkinson

    LB – Monreal, 2nd choice – Gibbs

    CB – Vermaelen and Kos6/BFG, Back Up – Miquel/Squilaci

    CM – Arteta, 2nd choice – Ramsey

    CM – Wilshere, 2nd choice – Diaby

    AM – Cazorla, 2nd choice – Rosicky

    RW – Walcott, 2nd choice The OX/Gervinho

    LW – Podolski, 2nd choice – Gervinho/Arshavin/Santos

    ST – Giroud, 2nd choice- Walcott, Podolski, Gervinho, The OX

    and ppl reckon Spuds or everton have a better squad than us?? yeah right!! our 1st choice team is as good as any in the league! even the 2nd choice team looks like it could beat most teams! our squad is possibly the 3rd best in the league, but def the 4th best by a long way!

    • Cupsui says:

      Agree that wholesale changes aren’t necessary BUT…

      We need another midfielder. Preferably one that can play in the holding role. Clearly we have a good one when he is fit in Arteta. I rate the guy immensley. Diaby can do a job too…but there is big concerns over these guys fitness.

      So in comes Ramsey to the DM type role. A great distributor, technically gifted player, who i think can become a real asset to the team. But as i have mentioned he has A LOT of work to do on the defensive side of his game before he can come in for arteta/diaby and not decrease the quality of the midfield. Positionally he is not up to scratch defensively. And he won’t slide tackle, which as you can see from Arteta is a key tool for a DM.

      Ideally (IMHO) we would bring in a DM (not adverse to players like Fellani [probs #1 option], Capoue, M’Vila [if he pulls his head in but not until then], et al.) and loan Ramsey out for 6months to a prem team that we know plays a technical style and that he will play week in week out and learn the defensive side of the game (preferably swansea, norwich or even wigan). he comes back an improved more rounded midfielder that can slot into any one of the 3 midfield positions. By that stage the need to have Rosicky is probably little so he moves into that part of the rotation and Rosicky can move on and finish his career playing games (which he needs and deserves)

      But yes i believe 100% the area we need to address the most is midfield. Depth is our issue there cause we cannot rely on diaby (especially), but Arteta is a worry too cause there is no cover for him that doesn’t weaken the team right now…

      I’m optimistic our CB can sort out there rookie errors and start playing like we know they can and we won’t need a CB (miquel looks like he could still develop into a handy player), a striker/winger is a luxury item if top quality can be found after the midfield is addressed…

      Agree 100% we have a better squad than spurs and everton. But do we have a better squad than chavs, and the manchester? No but one or two quality additions could put us right up there!!

  14. Zama says:

    I am not exactly the most optimistic of people, but even if we had not bought anyone & kept Djourou, I’d be much more comfortable of our chances of finishing in CL places. Not that I’m not positive of our chances right now, but would’ve preferred better back up in central defence. But whats done is done & its great that we have signed an international at the peak of is abilities, hopefully he’ll adapt well and push Gibbs to get even better. But how we will keep them both happy is Arsene’s headache, I for one am not going to talk about lack of depth one second & unhappy players the next. All in all this bunch of players is what we’ve got till the end of season & they need our support.

  15. Arsenal fan (India) says:

    Rightly said in the blog..with Giroud and walcott forming a good partnership up front, podolski getting sharper with his passes, wilsher giving 200%, ramsay has started moving in the field again, vermaelon fighting for his players..Arsenal is coming back on road!!!

  16. Dejuwon says:

    Great analysis of the situation of the team and I must add that it is reassuring and very optimistic.RealG really Mage it even clearer with his( graphical representation).Like originally posited,it’s high time we give the team the team all the support we can…Monreal is cause for renewed positivity

  17. Rochard says:

    Sorry, don’t agree. We needed to strengthen our squad this season but our additions were not added since RVP and Song were sold. We now has a chance to show some ambition and send a signal. We did not. Now we will struggle to reach our minimal goal yet again. Bayern will crush us and I can’t see this current Arsenal beat for instance United in The FA-cup. Question is, will something change if we miss 4:th place or is it just the same come summer…

    • OMGArsenal says:

      A few questions and observations:

      *What additions were not added Rochard? You mean Podolski,Giroud and Cazorla…right, they were cardboard cutouts who only appear to be real but are actually totally invisible!
      * How would we have shown ambition and sent what signal? You must mean that we didn’t sign 25 players, all of whom were¨linked¨to us in the transfer window and spent 100 million Euro…sounds like Fantasy Football Manager has addled your brain mate!
      * Bayern will crush us, really? We tend to do well against German teams in the CL, especially away so lets try and be a treue supporter and NOt write off our Arsenal before the game has even started. Finally, YOU can’t see anything, never mind the future or results against Manure…you’re just another whiny, negative,groaner plastic fanboy…not a true supporter.

  18. madge says:

    Great uplifting read Daniel. I also think we have the makings of a great team.
    There are a couple of additions to be made imo but even so if we can get a bit of consistancy that will add to our confidence. now’s the time to support our team.

  19. Norris says:

    Like the article, thanks.
    Like you I’ve been a very positive Gooners, able to brush off heartbreaking defeats, near misses and players leaving.
    But something has snapped this season and I find myself becoming more and more pissed off at the manager and the board as the team contrives to fuck things up time and again.

    Since last summer I felt we needed at least three players so was rather annoyed again when they didn’t materialise!

    Yet, despite all my misgivings and criticism of the boss, I want to thank you for this blog, as it’s made me claw back a semblance of perspective not get too het up about things outside of my control!

    I’ll be there Saturday and I’ll be right behind the team, as I always am.

    Nice work fella

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      Thanks Norris. I’m glad my renewed positivity has helped renew someone else’s. My positivity was waning but I’m back on track now 😉

  20. ph7l73d says:

    Hey, did anybody notice that the two clubs most at risk from FFP have negative net spends this window? Just saying…

  21. ph7l73d says:

    Totally agree about the defending anyway. Seems to me that there aren’t very many defenders in the world that you could definitely say would improve the squad. And they’d be big money, which I guess is why there were rumours about Mats Hummels. Who is good on the ball, and could conceivably fill in a DM role, who could drop back into a back three when in possession. So the fbs can bomb forward and not worry too much about balls behind since, the CB will be spread 3 across the pitch.

  22. Nir says:

    I do agree it. Few quality signings will make us title challenger. From the squad we have, we can finish in top 4, then in summer AW needs to look for few quality players. Its useless to spend money on players just for sake of buying.

  23. Nick Nguyen says:

    First, this is a great blog which I believe every Gooners out there should have a read. I feel the passion and positive from Daniel, which is good as there have been too many negatives lately. I think it’s been over the top. It’s ok to have different opinions but it’s not ok to abuse others without putting up a good argument to defend a position we’re taking (at least this is what I believe).

    Sorry but back to the Arsenal now. I hope we can all stay positive and support our players instead of whining, criticizing, or even abusing our own players. If they’re not good enough, give them your honest opinions (without abusing of course) and a pat on their back just like what Wenger did to Santos after the Brighton game. These could encourage a player a lot if we understand the psychology of it. Some players like honest and reasonable critique to work hard and be better while others need encouragements more. The latter I think applies well to Santos. I feel he’s a chap who likes to be given “sweet punishment” in order to do well. At least we can give him a chance to show us what he can offer to the team until the summer, no? He just came back from 2-month injury so he definitely needs game time to find his feet again. And the last time he did, did he not score an important goal vs West Brom last season to put us in 3rd? Besides, we really have a bad memory, don’t we? Who questioned Wenger’s decision to pick Santos for the last game of Champions League Group Stage versus Olympiacos last season, which led to him being injured? I remember he was in good form and we were all whining about Wenger picking him for an unnecessary game. Yes, I’m defending Santos here because he is still a Gunner and I think he deserves it. We’re just being too impatient with a player who just came back from injury. Whether he’s good enough for the team or not, I think the manager and the coaching staffs have a better idea than all of us here. They talk and work with him everyday while we only see him on the pitch and on twitter. If Wenger said himself that he still believes that Santos still has something to offer to the team. I’ll blindly believe him then.

    To be honest, here is what I think we should all do, especially ones who can attend home and away games: SUPPORT and BE POSITIVE. Frankly, we, human beings are social creatures whose actions and behaviors are greatly influenced by the surrounding environment and people around us. If we’re around people with negative thoughts all the time, we more likely CONFORM with people around us due to social pressures (we don’t want to be the one who stand out, and plus it’s easier to conform with the rest than put up a thoughtful argument to defend our own views). Gradually, this whole negative stuff spreads out and reaches the team. And it affects them even greater as they’re going through a rough patch, low on form, etc. Therefore, if we can be positive and keep supporting, I believe the whole concept I mention above will also apply. We can together create a positive atmosphere around the Emirates, which I believe the players will feel it and thrive under it. Yes they earn lots of money and are professional players. However, they’re still human and the fact that they earn lots of money doesn’t mean that they should be treated differently when it comes to this psychology stuff, or like Wenger usually said “mental strength”. Now we can see why the players themselves said that they do much better in training than in real match. Because our negatives do not really reach them while they’re inside Colney while in real game, we often boo some miss passes, or wrong decisions. Don’t get me wrong as I’m not criticizing any of us. We have the right to have different opinions but whatever opinions we have, please do not let them affect our players. We, supporters, should do what we’re good at: SUPPORTING.

    That’s all my thoughts. Sorry Daniel and everyone for a long post. And if it doesn’t sound good for anyone, please just ignore it. I won’t be offended or anything. But if you actually read this post till here, thanks a lot for your time and hopefully I’ve provided a fresh point of views here.

  24. Jay Smiles says:

    I agree with some points you made Norris, but in the case of Sagna I beg to disagree! What happens off pitch affects a player once he’s on the pitch. He complained on the sale of Song (which even I did) and said his own contract is just a season off,then all the board could do is offer him a one year contract extension? Please mate, go back memory lane this season and see his contribution after returning from injury (I was of the school of thought that he should fight for a place with J-boy,but was proved wrong cos his class). Yes I know we’ll have a better team next season (which is always the trust after each failed season) but we need to understand that the board and Arsene should make the players contented not unsatisfied! Letting Sagna go will only compound our problems. So happy we got in Monreal, just hope our January buys jinx won’t get to him.

  25. OMGArsenal says:

    First class article Daniel….and put paid to the perpetual denigrators and demeaners who call themselves ¨fans¨ but, due to the anonymity of the net, could be Spuds or anyone holding a grudge or hatred for the Arsenal (that can be a lot of people) or even an organized campaign of negativism sponsored by someone with a hidden agenda.

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