Taming the Beast in the North East and the Transfer window slams shut – The Arsenal Week


Winner from sustained pressure but OG once more

It was tough going against a resilient Newcastle side on Saturday. In the end, our top striker Own Goal came to the rescue. As long as we can keep him fit we’ll be in with a chance of winning the big trophies this season.

On a more serious note, the two own goals that have gone in our favour both against Crystal Palace and Newcastle came about as a result of the sustained pressure that we placed on our opposition, so we’re doing something right. Personally I don’t care who scores, I don’t even care if ‘own goal’ is our top scorer this season as long as the results keep coming in.

Poor decision to not gibe blatant oen

As with Liverpool the one poor decision the referee made in the game cost us a goal. When Thauvin brought down Bellerin I was on my feet shouting for a penalty even though I Arsene Wenger’d and didn’t really see it. (I sneezed and missed the foul). It should have been given by either the man in the middle or his assistant and we would have scored the resulting penalty, (probably) and won the game 0-2. That would have been a more appropriate score and would have more accurately reflected the dynamic of the game. Ultimately it didn’t cost us points, so for that we can be thankful.


10 men and other factors

Toon down to 10

In real terms an away win in the premier league is always a good result and although in theory it’s easier to win against 10 men, it doesn’t always work out that way in practice.

I mentioned last week that I expected Newcastle to attack, and that we would win as a result, but when they went down to 10 men they shut up shop and tried to defend their 0-0 draw. We see this all the time at the Emirates, which I probably why we’ve been better away from home when teams have a go at us. As an aside, when they dropped deeper Theo became almost redundant. He needs space to be effective so I don’t count this game when judging him as a centre forward.

Their approach remained aggressive even when they were a man down, but not in a constructive manner. Steve McLaren had obviously told his players something like, ‘let them know you’re there’ and the 6 yellows and one red card given reflected their robust ‘tackles’. It seemed to me that they were trying to hurt us, and Mbemba’s approach to Alexis was clearly to tackle the man first and worry about the ball later. In days gone by getting kicked about away from home would likely have seen us lose or draw, so I’m pleased we stood up to the challenges, but the constant fouling clearly disrupted our rhythm, which was another factor in why we only scored one.

Lastly I couldn’t help but notice how dry and bobbly the pitch was. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a team allow their pitch to get dry and bumpy before playing us. It slows down our passing and can make the ball harder to control. (If you watch the game back you may notice some poor first touches, which I blame entirely on the playing surface).


The transfer window 

Never happened

I was surprised that we didn’t sign anyone else because Arsene had maintained that if the right opportunity came along he would take it. Clearly he didn’t feel that the right player was available.

I believe (like everyone else) that Benzema would have improved our starting XI, however I don’t believe the assertion that Wenger either didn’t want to pay big money for a player with little resale value or that any player can be bought if you throw enough money at them.

I think Arsene would have paid £50 million for Benzema if the deal could have been done. This is because he is aware that although you’d swallow a loss in player resale value you’re more likely to win trophies, (which go some way to making up for it in prize money and resulting revenue). As Arsenal supporters we have the painful memory of watching Van Persie win United the league title. Sometimes managers buy a player for short term gain. I have absolutely no doubt that Arsene would have done it, but Madrid did not want or need to sell, and Benzema did not want to come.

Who else could have come in as a striker who is genuinely better than Giroud, Alexis and Walcott and (here’s the important bit) who was actually available? As for buying a midfielder, the emergence of Coquelin meant that we would never have been interested in Schneiderlin but having back-up for him would have been nice. Wenger is probably of the opinion that when Wilshere is fit he can play there in a pinch and I agree based on how well he’s played there for England. Again we’re faced with the same problem of finding a better player who is available. Pogba would have been amazing. Is he available? Absolutely not.

Returning Jack at a pinch can do Coq role

At the end of the day we don’t want the bench full of dead wood clogging up the wage bill. If someone (like Cech) is available who will walk straight into the starting line-up Wenger will get them. If not we have to make do with one signing. We’re still better than last year.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly will remember that I said a few months ago that we already have the squad to challenge for the league. I stand by that statement, especially now that we’ve signed Cech. I expect this team to explode soon and show everyone why we’re contenders.

(Did anyone else notice how well Kos and Gabriel did together?)

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5 Responses to Taming the Beast in the North East and the Transfer window slams shut – The Arsenal Week

  1. Victor Thompson September 4, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    Hi Dave,

    Reading over your reprise of the Newcastle match, it reminds me ( even though it was only a week ago) of some of the things which happened in the game. For instance the dry and bumpy pitch. I hadn`t particularly noticed it but on reflection, you are right. In the Match of the day inquest I particularly looked at the position of the Ref. and the Linesman. The ref was partially unsighted but the linesman was parallel with the Defenders and there is no way that he was unsighted. He made a huge mistake in putting his flag up and it was thanks to him that the referee made the wrong decision.

    I note what you say about the squad of players and just cannot understand how you can be so optimistic. We made a brilliant recovery last season to finish third. The improvement came with the arrival of Coquelin and it proved that we had been short of a DM. He has remedied that situation but if he is injured or suspended, we don`t have cover. Jack will of course go into it with a heart and a half if that happens, but we have learnt before that he usually gets injured playing like that. He can get away with it in Internationals because he has space to run with the ball. In club football he is set upon by the opposing defenders. He is also prone to mis timing tackles.

    I understand your trust in Arsene but you are saying what other pro Arsene followers say; you accept that if the suitable player became available, he would have got him. I don`t know if that is true or not. There were DMs available but he did not make any offers. We assume that he knew that Benzema would not come and from what I had seen on the Internet, Benzema made it clear that he wasn`t coming, but did Arsene actually make a bid? Had he actual knowledge that he wouldn`t come? If he did was it because a bid had been rejected? If you don`t know the answers to those questions it is because like me, and all the other fans who don`t know, we have not heard his account.

    He knew two weeks before the transfer window closed that Welbeck needed surgery. We didn`t hear that until afterwards. Why did he not consider an alternative to Benzema? and I don`t mean Carvani. I would not have expected him to pay £50m for a man with no re sale value. I have already suggested Charlie Austin. I hear £15m would have got him. He would have been a decent sub. if Giroud wasn`t playing well, or even if we needed a bit of muscle along with him for some games.

    The point I am making is that either the fans matter or they don`t. I am not anti- Wenger but he is the main man, the CEO at Arsenal and he is paid well for his job. If a CEO in any large corporate institution made the mistake of not replacing a vital member of the team or providing cover when he is not there, the shareholders would be asking questions. He has made the same mistake twice in recent times regarding a DM and he let the transfer window close when he knew he was a CF and DM short. He did the same thing just before we signed Ozil and my understanding is that if Real Madrid had not contacted him on the final day he would not have signed him.

    The fans who support the team and pay top money every year should matter. We deserve to have these matters explained. I am not after Arsene`s blood. I respect him, but I think that respect is a two way thing.

    Gary Neville has been lambasted for calling him naive or arrogant and with due respect, he could remedy that by producing explanations for some decisions or non-decisions. If Gary Neville thinks he is naive or arrogant and he is a very astute commentator, then the ordinary punter has a job understanding these issues.

    Nobody expects Arsene to be accountable for his every move. I can`t think of anyone who could say that he doesn`t know better than him, including Gary Neville. The solution to these persistent complaints is communication. It is sadly lacking from this regime.

    Victor Thompson

    • Dave Seager September 4, 2015 at 5:06 pm #

      Victor I think I will just start taking your comments and turning them into articles for the site. Dave LOL

      • ken September 4, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

        Hi Dave , why the lol?
        After reading your article, I have not learnt anything new, except that some blind AKB keep telling the same things year after year. But the fact remains Arsene cannot be trusted and will never win the league again.
        And you surely must know why!
        Because he balances the book such that the club ends with a massive profit. Investing in players to win the league is not profitable and will lessen the profits made. So stop pulling out all sorts of justifications for Wenger’s actions and don’t turn out to become a liar like Arsene, someday you’ll might regret it.

        • Dave Seager September 4, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

          Which LOL and are you addressing Dave the editor or David who write the blog? I am confused

      • Victor Thompson September 5, 2015 at 11:45 am #

        Thanks Dave.

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