9 Arsenal Thoughts: cutting Laca loose, anti-social celebrations, the next Ems statue (and more…)


9 Arsenal thoughts 

1. The common reaction to a player potentially leaving is to find a transfer to replace him.

If Alexandre Lacazette leaves Arsenal, which is looking more likely, then comfort tells me we need to sign a replacement. Odsonne Edouard looks most likely. Due to the talent and age of Martinelli, Nketiah and Balogun, I’d go for the short term fix and guaranteed goals of Cavani.

Hold on though.

If we do sign a replacement then can we expect all three of Saka, Martinelli and Nketiah to stay? Are you ok with one of them leaving?

Two of them see Left Wing as their favoured position. Arteta sees Auba as a LW too. With Tierney likely being first choice LB/LWB, Saka will likely move back to his favoured position, right? That’s 3 big talents all at LW.

If the plan is to keep Auba then one of these three will be upset.


Auba goes back to CF or Martinelli goes to CF.

I’d hold off on buying a CF and trust Martinelli and Nketiah.

If it doesn’t work out, play Auba at CF.

This scenario would leave us with at least two options for the front three. RW.. Pepe and Nelson. CF… Martinelli and Nketiah. LW… Auba and Saka.

The rest of this season will probably be telling as if Eddie thrives then maybe we hold off on buying.


2. I’ve been wishing that Arsenal upgrade from Xhaka and Bellerin. I think Xhaka would be better served in Serie A and Bellerin seems to have been surpassed by many RB’s that could be available.

I don’t think Arsenal will sell either though.

If Arsenal did what I initially suggested then perhaps they find better players but do they lose more than they gain?

I was watching Watford beat Liverpool in February and was trying to figure out why Liverpool looked they lacked belief after clearly showing they lacked effort. The camera panned to the stands. There sat James Milner and Jordan Henderson. Those two are invaluable to LFC. There may be bigger talents at LFC and a lot of them, but football is far more than talent. 

I’m reminded that I’d far rather have two 7/10 players with 10/10 mentalities than a bunch of 9/10 players with a fragile mentality in times of trouble. 

Beyond David Luiz, I don’t see players at Arsenal that would motivate others when needed. In time I see Tierney, Guendouzi and Ceballos and perhaps Soares and Mari will, again in time.

I think if Arteta wants to replace Xhaka and Bellerin he may need to do it gradually as both are seen as leaders. Not sure either have the mentality of Milner and Henderson, but let’s be fair, who does these days.

3. One of the biggest regrets in my football life was experienced after I stopped playing.

I became a coach straight after and within weeks started to learn so much more than I did as a player.

Your perspective changes overnight. You become team minded, not selfish. You realize that the rules your coach has are necessary. You see the game with a totally different lens particularly standing on the sidelines. You see opportunity constantly, where you only see flashes of options whilst playing.

I think as part of a professional players development, they need to coach a youth team. Many of them kick their heels for many hours a day anyway. 

I would’ve been a much better footballer if I had coached before I stopped. 

Pepe is the current player that needs this experience the most.


4. VAR is partially killing the goal celebration and now we’ve got non-contact celebrations! Who would’ve thought we’d be here 2 years ago.

5. I’d love Arteta to go to a 3 man midfield.

In the modern game you either need multi functional midfielders who can rotate positions OR you need three specialists.

I’d go for three specialists. A destroyer, a line breaker (on and off the ball) and a play maker.

This summer I’d focus on redesigning our midfield. 

I’d be satisfied with Soares as a RB option and Mari to play with Luiz or Saliba.

As explained earlier, I think we have the pieces upfront.

I’d love to have Ndidi and Torreira as our two options as destroyers.

I’d be so excited to see Partey and Maitlind-Niles as line breakers. I know Partey is seen more as a destroyer but his game is fully rounded. He could give us the Vieira-Petit fear factor with N’didi whilst being able to have the freedom to expand his game.

I’d re-sign Cazorla to use him for 1 year before adding him to the coaching staff. I’d reluctantly rotate him with Xhaka, understanding the importance of mentality (see above), whilst preferring Ceballos but knowing that we would unlikely have the funds to purchase him.

I’d keep Guendouzi as he can theoretically play all three roles, with a view to him taking Xhaka’s place in a year. I’d loan Willock.

Athleticism, speed, aerial ability, elite technical level, aggression and creativity would now be seen in a modern day Arsenal midfield.

More importantly we have balance that we currently lack.

6. I think Arsenal will invest in at least two potential stars this summer. 

We have had such success the last two seasons in introducing many potential elite players into our squad. I think the introduction of Martinelli in particular will see us go back to Brazil. I think another Brazilian in Willian, will join too.

7. Will the club see the ‘Lacazette incident’ as a convenient reason to sell him? I do.


8. Two decisions that our club should make that would get 100% backing are as follows…

  • A statue of both Rocastle and Wright together
  • Either a statue or similar recognition of Thomas scoring at Anfield. Michael Thomas may not be as good a player as other ‘legends’ but he is clearly the main contributor to the single greatest moment in the history of the club. 

9. Hopping back to potential new players….. I was watching Bayern yesterday and once again reminded of the insane quickness and potential of Kingsley Coman. Looks like Bayern are getting Sane and they aren’t not playing Gnabry. Muller has returned to form and so I wonder if Coman will decide to move on. We don’t necessarily need him, but he is hugely dangerous.

Alongside Coman I’ve found another winger but a different story.

I remember seeing Adama Traore at Barcelona. Wow! What potential!Then at Middlesbrough where he lacked end product. During the 18/19 season he showed flashes of brilliance. This season he has been unplayable at times and found his consistency.

He’s now seen as a £60M+ player who will likely play at the highest CL level. 

He’s not the one I’m talking about though, although he’d improve anyone as he’s totally unique.

The guy I speak of is where Traore was in 18/19. Will someone sign Sarr at Watford before he becomes as hot as Traore?

Thanks for reading my random thoughts.

If you don’t mind sending up a prayer for the mother of my good friend @grahamb195 who is suffering from coronavirus, this would be much appreciated 🙏🏻

Many of you know Graham as the one of the best analysts on Arsenal Football Club.


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5 Responses to 9 Arsenal Thoughts: cutting Laca loose, anti-social celebrations, the next Ems statue (and more…)

  1. theghostinside May 18, 2020 at 2:00 pm #

    Some blog articles are so bad, they should never have been written. I mean you wish that our player of the season from last year, our last captain and one of our longest serving players should leave, because you – the almighty coach with years of experience – says so? Do you even consider yourself an Arsenal fan, if you turn against players for no fucking reason at all? Get your shit together and support the players, don’t suggest they should be kicked out. This is digraceful and toxic. Noone needs a blog who turns against players.

    • Mike May 18, 2020 at 8:42 pm #

      Mr Ghost… When you read a blog you are reading either fact or more likely, opinion.

      Almost all of what I write is opinion. This particular blog is all opinion.

      If I was claiming my opinion as fact then your comments would have some merit.

  2. Victor Thompson May 18, 2020 at 4:37 pm #

    Firstly Mike, I have recently lost my wife so I know what your friend is suffering and it costs nothing to say a prayer but it does bring comfort to the bereaved.

    Insofar as your article is concerned, I find it impossible to think that you could write a bad article. Perhaps the above critic is well named and he really does have a ghost inside. I note that the commentators in the Bayern match constantly referred to ” Coman`s insane speed “. That is one source of support for you. and it is conspicuous by your used your talent to present your opinion and to validate it by the fact that you were or are, a
    qualified football coach.

    Thankfully all comments are not as callously presented as Mr “Ghost inside” has produced.

  3. paul35mm May 18, 2020 at 11:54 pm #

    It looks more likely that Arteta will play the 4-2-3-1 that Arsene Wenger favored over whatever it was the Unai Emery was doing.

    Guendouzi cannot play the three positions in midfield. He cannot even play one well. He might, in the future, but his lack of positional discipline and inability to remain focused looks baked in. It is really hard to understand why he played so often, other than the old effort over ability silliness.

    People look at Milner, for example and talk about his effort, but Milner is an insanely gifted player, with pace, skills, and football intelligence. He was a mainstay during Man City’s surge to the top of English football and has been a crucial building block for Liverpool’s current rise as well. Guendouzi is more Francis Coquelin than James Milner. Decent, but in the end, limited.

    My preference, if Lacazette does leave (I would if I were him) would be to look for someone who would be useful as a rotational player for cups and softer games and play Nketiah and Martinelli as much as possible. Sako looked really nice in his cameo at left back, but his pace and directness on the wing would be a major pucker-factor for defenders.

    I would love to see Ceballos stay. With him, Partey, and Ozil in the middle, Arsenal would own possession. Sadly, he seems determined to return to Madrid, hoping that Zidane’s intention to rebuild as an opportunity. I think he’s wrong and believe he will end up at a mid-table Spanish side next January.

    A genuine understudy for Ozil would be nice, especially since the club is unlikely to resign him at the end of his contract. Emile Smith-Rowe looks like he might have the talent but his injuries are a concern. None of the other players already in the team look to have the ability to play as a #10 at anywhere near Ozil’s level.

    Unlike most Arsenal fans I do not see a need for huge investment or rebuilding. This is a talented team with a lot of quality in starting X and the younger players on the fringed of the first team and in the level below. Give the Gunners a reserve keeper, Thomas Partey, and someone like Dries Mertens or Edin Dzeko to rotate up front and Arsenal can compete for top four

    For next season;

    Keeper – Leno
    Reserve – (new signing)

    RB – Bellerin; CB – Luiz, CB – Mustafi, LB – Tierney
    Reserves – Soares, Mari, Holding, Chambers, Kolasinac

    DM – Partey, CM, Xhaka
    Reserves – Torreira, Guendouzi, Maitland-Niles

    RAM – Pepe, CAM – Ozil, LAM – Sako
    Reserves – Reiss-Nelson, Emile Smith-Rowe, Martinelli

    CF – Aubameyang
    Reserve – (Edin Dzeko), Nketiah, Mertinelli

    Players that could move permanently- Lacazette, Mhkitaryan, Sokratis, Martinez, and Macey – There is probably 45-55 million in revenue from these sales, which would pay for Partey, at least. Miki’s and Laca’s salary drops would probably be a wash for a reserve keeper and Dzeko.

  4. Victor Thompson May 21, 2020 at 10:36 am #

    Interesting comment Paul, but there is one glaring weakness that we have had all year and which is not resolved by your suggestions. We do have a pool of talented young players but looking at your selection from Tierney forward – there is not very much muscle.In your defensive mid-field, Torreira at about 5` 7″ is the only tackler there. At RAM None of your selections would be of much help in a physical game. Partey would be an obvious selection and I hope we get him.

    I don`t think that Nketiah has made it yet to be a consistently dangerous CF. I certainly wouldn`t put him ahead of Lacazzette. I think Abo will be leaving so we cannot afford to play Nketiah in the hope that he will finally make it.

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