Summer 2012 – Arsenal to Overhaul the Squad

Summer 2012 needs to see a change in direction in Arsenal’s transfer policy.  Out must go this incessant desire to collect 15-16 year olds from around the world and expect and hope that they will develop.

Arsenal have many youngsters in the reserves or on loan for whom the time is ripe for them to be given their chance.

Kyle Bartley will have played the better part of two seasons for Rangers, the time is for Kyle to come back and be given a real chance at Arsenal.  In addition we have seen Ignasi Miguel this season at left-back, 2012 must see play at centre-back.

In midfield we need to allow Frimpong and Coquelin a real chance.  Wenger needs to play these two guys next season regularly.  Arsene needs to learn the art of developing and bringing young players through the ranks.  This means resting your regular players.

In addition to these two, is the precocious talents of Henri Lansbury.  This youngster has Arsenal running through his veins, he has spent the last two seasons on loan at Championship teams and he was a vital member of Stuart Pearce’s England under 21 team.  If Wenger fails to keep Lansbury and develop him, then Wenger can be discounted as manager who develops and gives youth its chance.

Another youngster who will be given his chance, next season or more likely this season is Connor Henderson.  His progress has been hampered by severe injuries for the last two seasons, but Wenger believes in the young Ireland winger.

The final person that needs to be given an opportunity is our other summer signing Joel Campbell. Campbell will develop into a good striker, only through Arsenal’s folly in applying for a special talent work permit for Ryo rather than Campbell, has the Costa Rica international had to ply his trade in France,


These seven youngsters along with Szczesny, Gibbs, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain will be the basis of Arsenal for years to come.  They will fight for Arsenal and feel Arsenal, every defeat will mean something to them, they will give heart and soul for the club.

This is the promotion from within that we failed to undertake for many seasons.  Too often our talent has been releases, only for them to flourish elsewhere.

The club then needs to invest in three top quality players.  A central midfielder, a creative player and  a world-class striker.  The argument that buying these players will curtail the advancement of the players mentioned above is utter rubbish.  Young players will thrive by training and playing alongside top players.  The youngsters will develop better and faster in a winning team.

This summer needs a clear-out of our deadwood, and we have a lot of deadwood, we need to promote and give young Arsenal players the chance to flourish and we need to invest in three world-class players.  This is the mix that Arsenal need to overhaul our squad and put us on the right track.


Clean the Arsenal Stables

Over the last few seasons Arsene Wenger has gathered an assortment of players, paid them good wages and has waited for them to deliver. Unfortunately, they have not delivered the goods nor have they developed into the world class players we thought they would turn into.

For a few transfer windows we have been expecting these players to be sold, but the ridiculous wages, for their limited wages has meant we have not been able to get rid of these deadwood players.  This summer the board and Wenger need to bite the bullet and clear them out.

Out must go goalkeepers Almunia and Fabianski.  How Almunia is still at the club is a miracle, Wenger’s refusal to pay Fulham £3.5M for Schwarzer and Almunia’s crazy wages of £50,000 a week, sees the clown of Pamplona still at the Emirates.  Lukasz Fabianski will leave as he needs to play regular football to enhance his international career.

In defence Sebastien Squillaci, Arsenal’s very own self-destruct button will be released in the summer if not earlier.  Squillaci would have left in the summer, but no club was prepared to pay him £50,000 a week! The other defender to leave must be Johan Djourou. As with his Switzerland colleague, Sendeross, after a promising start, everything he does turns pear shape, it is time for Djourou to find a new circus to perform at.

Mifdfield requires the biggest clearout.  Arshavin has failed to impress after his first six months at the club and every performance nowadays is an embarrassment to everyone. Roscky has never been the same since his injury and his time at the club must now be numbered.  The next player to depart must be Diaby, not because of his inability to perform, but because he spends more than 50% of the season injured.  He will never show his full potential at Arsenal.  Finally Benayoun should not be offered a permanent contract at the club. He provides very little to the squad.

Both our strikers, Chamakh and Park need to leave in the summer.  In the case of Chamakh, Wenger has done a great job in destroying the player by stating he is finding the going tough in the Premier League and then only playing him when we are chasing a game.  Park is a mystery and the cynic in me believes we was bought as a favour to Wenger’s old club or as a marketing ploy to sell Arsenal merchandise to South Korea.

In addition to these players we still have three “world class” players on loan who need to be sold this summer,  Denilson, Vela and Bendtner.

This shows us the mess our transfer policy over several seasons has created.

This Could be Start of the End – Wenger

Dateline 22 January 2012, this date will go down in history, it is the date the fans at the Emirates turned on Arsene Wenger.

The fans booed the team off at half-time and were rewarded when youngster Nico Yennaris replaced the hapless and hopeless Djourou who becomes a bigger liability every time he puts on an Arsenal shirt.  Wenger was decisive with his first substitution, but his second left everyone at the Emirates, including his captain van Persie totally bemused and unimpressed.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was causing the Manchester United defence problems with his direct and physical running.  Every time he got the ball there was a buzz in the ground and fear amongst the United defence.  It was one of these runs that Chamberlain passed the ball to van Persie which led to the equaliser.  Arsenal had the wind behind them and Oxlade-Chamberlain had the key to unlock the United defence. Then disaster.

Arsenal had been preparing to bring on Arshavin and Park, yes he does actually play football, but when we equalised the substitutions were put on hold.  Then Wenger played his card, Arshavin to replace Oxlade-Chamberlain.  As one the Emirates faithful turned on Wenger, boos echoed around the stadium and the boos were a sign of disgust for the decision.  Then the crowd shouted at Wenger “ you don’t know what you’re doing”, the only surprise is that this was the first time this was directed at Wenger who appears to have lost the plot this season.

Never have the Arsenal fans showed so open hostility towards Le Professor as today and they were justified, as within 8 minutes, Arshavin failed to make a challenge on Valencia and United took the lead.

Later Wenger refused to justify his decision “Oxlade-Chamberlain had started to fatigue, started to stretch his calf, and was not used to the intensity. He was sick on Sunday night during the week. Arshavin is captain of the Russia national team. I have to justify [substituting] a guy of 18 who’s playing his second or third game? “

This is the usual Wenger rubbish, players getting tired; I don’t think he understands sports psychology.  A manager’s job is to encourage his players not give them reasons to play below par.  This was the same man who claimed last season that Chamakh  was finding it hard to adjust to the Premiership, after scoring countless goals.  Following Wenger’s comments, Chamakh has been a pale shadow of the striker we signed last season.

Was it just the fans that were not happy, no van Persie, our remaining world class player, our talisman and captain  clearly showed what he thought of the decision too.

Wenger was losing the fans this season, with pathetic transfers in the summer, a lame start to the season, a series of away defeats and the same old excuses, but his substitution today has lost him the Emirates crowd too.  Whilst discontent was mostly restricted to internet forums, this has now spread to the Emirates, previously a bastion of loyal support for Wenger.

Arsenal fans are not content with merely qualify for the Champions League, Arsenal fans want to compete for the title every season.  Arsenal fans do not accept Champions League qualification in lieu of trophies; we want trophies and Champions League qualifications.

If Wenger and the board  believe we will settle for another trophy less season, and non-qualification for the Champions League coupled with mediocre football, then they will have a few nasty months coming up.

Tactical Change Required to Bring Back Glory Days

The last couple of seasons, seeing our midfield overrun, Wenger changed from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.  This added more players in central midfield where too often we had lost vital games, but the flip-side meant that the striker was isolated.

For 4-3-3 to work you need at least one of your three central midfielders to get into areas to support the striker.  At Arsenal this has not worked, this season nor for the past couple of seasons.  It is time Wenger to change back to 4-4-1-1 with the player “in the hole” being either a second striker or an attacking midfielder.

For this formation to work we need two work-horses playing in tandem in central midfield, a throw back to the Vieira and Petit partnership.  Song and Wilshere will work ideally in this formation, they both have energy, strength and stamina to get up and down the pitch.  People who say this is a suicide formation, I say look at Manchester City Yaya Toure and Barry or De Jong or Tottenham Parker and Modric (can anyone honestly say h is a tough tackling midfielder?).  It is all about a mindset, it also requires your central defenders to be solid.

Robin van Persie, a great striker that he is, could and will cause havoc if he played just off the main striker.  This will give van Persie greater freedom to maraud where he wishes.  He will arrive late in the penalty area for crosses and the opportunities will be endless for him.  Playing this formation will require the two wide players to track back and be more involved in midfield.  Arsenal’s great sides of recent years had good wide players, Pires, Ljungberg, Overmars and Limpar.  All were masters of the wing, great crosses of the ball and scored goals aplenty.

What Arsenal   lack at the moment is numbers in box.  How many times have we heard commentators state that there is nobody in the box for Arsenal? This is down to the 4-3-3 formation, van Persie is on his own, Ramsey is not in the box, and even if he is, his finishing is woeful.  A 4-4-2 formation should have both strikers, the other winger and one of your central midfielders all in the box, whilst the full-back will also be in support of the attack, whilst the second central midfielder will provide cover.

It makes no sense to play 4-3-3, especially against lower teams like Sunderland, Wolves, Blackburn or Leeds for 80 minutes, then when we haven’t made the breakthrough throw on another striker and start getting the ball into the box and hope 10 minutes of 4-4-2 will achieve what 80 minutes of 4-3-3 have failed to do.

It’s time Wenger woke and smelt the coffee and made a tactical change that will help bring success to the club.