Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Wenger expects title tilt. Doesn’t rule out signings

Wenger expects title tilt. Doesn’t rule out signings

Arsene Wenger believes Arsenal will be one of a cluster of clubs challenging for the Premier League title this season after spending 128 days at the top of the table last time out.

Believing his reinforced side can take heart from last season, the Frenchman pinpointed a need for greater consistency against the top sides against whom the Gunners all too regularly got a bottom-spanking.

Speaking to media at London Colney ahead of tomorrow’s opening game of the season, Wenger reflected:

“You have six or seven teams. You have the top four and then you have Man United and Everton; how well will Tottenham respond? I don’t know. But Everton was very dangerous last year as well and they could be candidates.

“I believe we have a chance because we were a long time top of the league last year. It is difficult to know how much better the other teams will be. We have some challenges that we did not face well last year.

“That means we have to take more points from the top teams, that will be our real challenge this year and also keep the consistency against the teams who do not fight for the championship.

“We finished fourth and made 79 points. Man City won it with 86, so it was very tight in the top four, that [difference] is one or two games. If you win against them, they have three points less and you have three points more, that means it is down to one game.”

The boss also underliend that he’s still open to doing more business before the close of the transfer window. Admitting his squad is lacking numbers in some areas he still took time to stress that he’s pleased with his summer signings and the overall depth of the squad.

“I’m happy with the players I signed, with their quality and their attitude,” he continiued.

“There hasn’t been a massive change but we signed Debuchy, Sanchez, Ospina and Chambers, all of them have integrated well mentally into the team.

“We are not destabilised and I feel it’s a strong reinforcement of our squad. Will I still do something? I don’t rule it out. Our finances are still healthy but we want to go through in the Champions League group stages to do that.

“Number-wise we are maybe a little short in some areas of the game but the depth of the squad is very good.

“Up front we have plenty of candidates. Joel Campbell has joined us again, plus the new signings, while Walcott is coming back at the end of the month. So if you look at the number of players we have up front, we have unbelievable strength.”

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Picture courtesy of @Arsenal.

16,646 views

87 comments

  1. Stuart Steele (@Stuart_Ten)

    Signing a CB is surely our only priority right now, we will won’t we?..Won’t we?

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    • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Of course it is. We might be waiting until after the CL qualifier is sorted, but we’re getting another CB to replace TV5. God know why you should think otherwise.

        The only question is will there be some other last-minute signing. From what Wenger has just said – there might be.

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        • See….the depressing remarks are what get my goat. I believe that we are trying to sign what we need. Springbank is right that it will be easier to get the targets we want with guarantees of CL games and just like every other transfer window I’ll be plugged glued to the PC screen waiting and hoping. AW buying Özil and the other new signings have given me more belief. COYG

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    • Yeah, I thought that was it, but then he’s talking about waiting for the CL qualifier to make more transfer decisions. Now this may be slightly tenuous logic, but, he needs another CB even if we’re only competing for the league and cups. So now I’m all excited that he’s still looking at other positions once we are guaranteed CL games.

      That’s what this fucking transfer window has done to me. That’s what happens when you’re eating McDs three meals a day for ten years and suddenly get invited to a caviar buffet with caviar dessert and a caviar based drink selection.

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      • In CB, waiting until after the champions league qualifiers logically has no impact on the need to sign a player or not, but might tip the scales on who.

        Our first/second/etc choices could well be waiting to see if we get through before committing.

        Mercenary of them I guess, but it makes sense.

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    • A CB is important, but if we want to realistically be a title challenger, we need to by a DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER. We saw it with Monaco, we were overrun in midfield. Without a DM, i see us comfortably finishing third behind Chelski and Man City, but I think we are definitely title contenders (maybe even favorites) with a world-class DM.

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      • Defensive Midfielder is the BIGGEST priority. It is more crucial than CB, as we have Chambers, Mert, Kosc, Debuchy, Gibbs, Monreal and even Flamini can fill in. But, we need a strong DM to sort the mess out when we get hit on the break and to distribute quickly.

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  2. A Wenger is never late

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  3. These quotes shout out a defender to me or a midfielder who can play as Defender but we won’t see any movement till CL qualifier or at least a convincing away win next week to assure progression

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    • Makes sense I guess, I’d never really thought about it but if (fingers crossed this isn’t the case) we weren’t to go through, it would reduce the number of games we play by at least 6, likely more, which is a fair amount even over the course of the season. I’d think it’d be dangerous even still to not sign another centre back, but it’s easy to see the reasoning.

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      • we will still in Europa League, worst come worst, with even more games to play!

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      • Of course, it’s not the reduction of games that’s the issue, but the reduction of finances to the tune of 25 million pounds or so.

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  4. Hmmm… “Our finances are still healthy but we want to go through in the Champions League group stages to do that.”
    I feel a big signing coming up!!! or at least I hope so.

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  5. “unbelievable strength” *shudders of excitement*

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  6. Gooner stuck in Cornwall

    Wouldn’t it be nice to win the league at Old Trafford again.

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    • With the dutch skunk having a shit game, being bossed out by Kos and throwing a tantrum through out? Yes please!

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  7. We’re signing Jonathan Cuntface Terrence

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  8. Seems like Le prof is suggesting new signings depend upon qualification for the group stages of the CL.

    Am I reading that correctly? Surely we need another centre back regardless. (Obviously we’ll qualify anyway you would hope)

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  9. Am hoping for Mats Hummel’s or some other massive signing. Not a fan of signing a 3rd choice CB why not sign something better than we already have.

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    • Hummels or Reus won’t happen this year mate. we can be sure of that

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    • Because what we already have is pretty much impossible to better. Individually Koscielny and Mertesacker may not be the best and brightest in the world, but together they form the top defensive partnership anywhere. We’re not going to rotate through that partnership every second game, and we’re not going to sign a Matts Hummels and tell him to sit on the bench for most of the season. Remember, Szczesny attributed much of his success to having the same standard back four in front of him for most of last season. Let’s not break that up – all we need is a third choice centre back.

      That said, “third choice” doesn’t necessarily mean a Sylvestre or a Squillaci. It just means we aren’t going to be purchasing Hummels or anyone else of that stature.

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  10. “Our finances are
    still healthy but we want to go through in the
    Champions League group stages to do that.”
    Which mean ,we beat Basiktes over two legs on 29th august, and then wenger will make a deadline day signing!

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  11. Was Born a Gooner

    Loads of respect for you Mr. Wenger…
    But saying Spuds is a top team is wrong…
    .
    Am I the only one who thinks William Calvaho is the answer to any of the problems we could possibly have right now???
    .
    And hey! Its the Ox’s birthday today!!!
    Happy “Bulls’day! You Fine ass Ox!!!
    .
    Ama eat Palace tomorrow…
    Pulis knows he couldnt bear the embarasment and resigned…
    .
    Ho’ Says Maureen O. Said he’ll rule for 10years… Hahahaha LoLZ.
    Please laugh… Cos I did…
    .
    #COYG!

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    • Carvalho looks like a decent option, but I doubt most of us watch the Portuguese league enough to truly judge, if we sign him instead of a CB I’ll be astonished, unless he can play there then I’ll just be very suprised.

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    • Too many oneliners Gooner …but I like the effort … and yh the only reason we won’t sign Carvalho is because Wenger just signed Chambers…I could see Wenger loaning someone though

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  12. The only Olivier is Giroud

    I feel we are a CB away from really having a full blown tilt this season. We’ll then be able to really field strong teams even in the cups. Dreaming of a double! (Obviously know that is getting carried away, but it’s the day before the new season starts, I’m gonna allow myself some carried-away vibes for now).

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  13. I’ve been really really lucky to get a season ticket for this season, maybe the only season I have this chance to properly follow the adventure with my team. I am so ridiculously excited for this season, some of the counter attack play against shiteh last weekend was like the Arsenal of old, CANNOT WAIT until 5.30 tomorrow. I’m still a bit nervous about us defensively and I hope i’m reading into what the boss is saying ” Will I still do something? I don’t rule it out. Our finances are still healthy but we want to go through in the Champions League group stages to do that.” that theres a BIG signing to come when we get into the CL. COYG

    and John Terry is STILL the cuntiest cuntting cunt of them all.

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    • “and John Terry is STILL the cuntiest cuntting cunt of them all.”

      and Cunt Cunty is cunt the cuntiest cunting cunt of them cunts.

      Fixed that for you.

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  14. I would like to see a young CB probably early 20s to partner Chambers in 2-3 years but provide solid backup to Mert and Kos in the next couple of seasons. Be good to add another young German, English lads are too expensive!

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    • No, we need an experienced CB, say 23 – 24 years old who can jump into the team and crack on (for several years). COYG!

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      • no..we need one who is 25-26..

        sorry…thought it was a game..

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        • We need an experienced player median age between the younger hopefuls in Chambers, Hayden and possibly Miquel and the older stalwarts in Meterscielny.

          That would dictate between 23-25 preferably.

          Manolas is 23. Someone like Subotic who is out of contract is 25.

          Preferably this player should also carry a bit of height to replicate Per is he goes injured where Chambers currently can match Koscielny in very least with speed.

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    • We either need a young player to pair with Chambers like you said (makes sense to me) or an older player that doesn’t mind playing sparingly as the 3rd CB option.

      Anyone coming in knows that Mertesacker and Koscielny are firmly entrenched as a partnership. Wenger isn’t looking to break them up. Szczesny credited the having the same four players across the back consistently to much of his success. If we bring in Hummels when and where does he play? We were looking at Ashley Williams at some point. He is 29 turning 30 this month. Might be looking to take a lesser role for more wages.

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  15. I think that Wenger will sign a defensive player regardless of CL qualification. However, if they fail to qualify he’ll probably want to sell someone first.

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  16. Anonymous Kumquat

    I honestly can’t believe that signing a new defender depends on CL qualification. Even if Sepp Blatter disqualifies us from the CL for wearing shirts that are slightly too tight, we’ll still have the PL, FAC, COC and EL to play in, and surely there’s no way Wenger would attempt to do that with the current set of CBs we have? Or maybe he would, the crazy devil.

    I hope Wenger is planning to buy a new CB regardless, and I wonder whether his remarks hint that CL qualification will affect how much money he’d be willing to spend on one. But I could be wrong. Maybe he has plans to bring Bould out of retirement?

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    • Its more likely he has 2 candidates that hes reasonably sure he can get for a fair price, but 1 of them is decidedly better and pricier, so he wants to be guaranteed the revenue from the champions league before stumping up the extra fro the higher quality/ younger/more versatile etc of the 2 and worst case he signs the cheaper. personally id sign a dm who can play dc fairly well because he shouldnt be needed in dc all that many games and a dm would fill a hole in the squad, win win but thats just my opinion.

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      • How much more pricey can the expensive option be? Unless it’s sticking an extra 10/15m onto the money we’d be laying out for someone like Manolas to get Hummels, why not just go for the better player anyway? I know we’re not a penis extension like some of the other clubs but we should still spend a little more to get better players, yes?

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      • Might also be that our transfer target wants guaranteed CL football.

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    • Bould was a CB
      Arsene was a DM

      problem solved

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  17. Could be the player Wenger has his eye on is saying; “I want Champions League football, come back when you’re sure you can offer me that”

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  18. Julio Baptista's humble alter ego

    Maybe the type of player he signs depends on the CL progress? Maybe what he meant is “it will be a lot easier to attract the top top quality if we are in the CL”. I have no doubts he’ll sign defensive cover, he’s THE Arsene Wenger he’s not an idiot. But maybe that’s what he meant by saying we’ll wait till we’ve qualified.

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  19. Tick tick tick. NLN til the season starts and we’re gonna kick some arses this term. COYG

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  20. Anonymous Physicist

    It’s an odd comment from Wenger. If you read it to mean we probably won’t sign a defender if we don’t qualify, it doesn’t make much sense, because the europa league will give just as many games.

    If you read it to mean the quality of defender we’ll sign, it’s still odd. We’re not going to sign someone like Hummels anyway, so it’ll probably be 5-12 million pounds for the kind of player we’d want either way.

    However, you can also read it to mean that we’ll go for someone like Manolas if we don’t qualify, but for Carvalho if we do. That sounds pretty unlikely, but it’s what I’m going to choose to believe for now, just out of wishful thinking.

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    • I think the defender will get signed anyway and might be a non-news. It could be that we may make an additional big splash for an attacker/midfielder who is presently waiting to ensure he doesnt miss out on CL when he signs for us.

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  21. I would still like a CB and a CDM. I would also like a new striker to strengten our central line. Now I like Giroud, and rate him as a good player, but I dont think he is good enough for an amitious team like ourselves that want to compete with teams like €ity, Chels£a, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. I dont think he is in the same league as Aguero, Costa, Messi, Suarez, Ronaldo or Lewandowski. But that is just my opinion ofcourse, Wenger might think otherwise.

    However, a powerhouse in midfield might be neccesary if Giroud is not playing since Giroud does an important defensive job for us with his aerial ability and strenght. And removing Giroud without adding a player with some of the same strenghts will leave us abit short on Muscle and aerial ability. But if we sign a big powerhouse in the CDM role, then it would not matter and we could safely play Sanchez or Walcott upfront, or bring in a pure goalgetting striker.

    I also see we are Linked with Cavani, which would make alot of sense if Wenger wanted to sign him since he has pretty much all of Girouds strenghts only with added technique, pace and finishing ability, so signing him would be a straight on upgrade on Giroud without the need for that big powerhouse midfielder to take over Girouds defensive obligations which imo would be needed if we we’re to play Sanchez or Walcott upfront.

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    • I take your point about Giroud, but remember the all conquering Bayern of a few years back? They had Mandzukic as their main striker, with Pizzaro playing a bit part. Now is Mandzukic far better than Giroud? I’m not so sure. And to be honest that Bayern team under Jupp Heycknes was probably the most efficient team I’ve seen in a while, and frankly I think with the players we have (great engine in Ramsey, speedy wingers in Walcott and Sanchez, similar to Schweinsteiger, Ribery and Robben) that is the system Wenger seeks to emulate. The only downside is that, that Bayern team had Luis Gustavo and Javi Martinez marshaling in front of the defense, though I love both Arteta and Flamini, they’re not really in the same class.

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    • I’ll eat my hat if we’re in for Cavani. All the paper links to him stem from a quote from his agent where he said, “Arsenal inquired about him.” This probably happened two months ago (or two years ago), and the conversation swiftly ended after finding out how much he’d cost in wages and transfer fee.

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      • Some of the papers is quoting spanish journo Kike Marin who said on twitter that we might go for Cavani if PSG gets Di Maria. It’s not a 10 on the poo-ometer because that’s the way we’ve been doing our big business lately (Özil/Bale, Alexis/Bitey) and Kike Marin is pretty reliable, he broke the news of Cazorla and Monreal before anyone.

        It’s probably still around a 8 though..

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  22. “Number-wise we are maybe a little bit short in some areas of the game… ” that is the key for me. I don’t think Arsene will want to go into the season with that feeling of inadequacy. I think he will bring in one or two especially if the match on tuesday is like Fenerbace first leg last season.
    Make no mistake, Wenger wants the league title more than any other this season. I think he wants to settle that and then go after the champ league in his remaining two seasons.

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  23. Wegner did hint that he wants a player that can play cb and dm and IMO Javi martinez would have been the best option for sure because at bayern he is behind lahm and thiago and schweinsteiger soo he could have been availabe but now he has a cruciate injury -.-. It also looks like Nastasic is staying at city really dont know who we can sign that will actually add to the squad because ALOT of clubs are in the market right now for a CB it seems.

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  24. Anyone think that Varane, either bought or loaned from Madrid might be an option? Surely Madrid have some book balancing to do to comply with FFP? Anyone got any lowdown on that?

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    • Madrid dont breach FFP because they are such a big club and also fan supported when they make a galactico signing they recoup the money by shirt sales and what not and they also won the Champions leauge and the copa del rey so i think they can afford to make crazy signings like that.

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  25. Last season, we started with an offensive mindset against the top teams, which resulted in our defence being ripped apart! I hope we would be more conservative and defensive when we play teams like Chelsea and City and capitalise on counter-attacking with our awesome wingers.

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    • Rightly said, we have more outlets this time where Wenger was concern with support for Giroud in the bbig games and his supporting midfielders were over adventurous and tactically too far forward. This exposed the space around Arterta and (incidentally) Flamini.

      We need to tighten up (which we now seem to be able to) with either of Ramsey, Giroud, Rosicky or even Diaby closer to Arteta or Flamini. We can dot his now because we have outlets to hit at in Alexis (to some extent even Sanogo who is quicker than Giroud) and of course the returning Walcott.

      We do not need a SUPER DM.

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  26. “Wenger expects title tilt.”

    By “title tilt” does he mean that we’ll start really well but collapse in the second half of the season? Or does he mean that we we’ll have a horrible first half but then rally later in the campaign to claim that all-important fourth sport? It’s gonna be one or the other.

    Tell you what I expect: more incompetence in both the transfer market and his tactical approach to the big head-to-head games. We don’t quite have the squad yet to challenge for the title, but there is still time to do something about it – but he won’t. And don’t expect us to win at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge or The Eithad because Inspector Clueless doesn’t have the nous to outsmart Maurenn, Peli and co.

    That’s why we’ll finish third or fourth.

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    • Brilliant assessment. Really insightful. So wise. So well thought out. And constructive too. Quite literally unarguable.

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    • Tactics are over-rated with us, I’m guessing you don’t agree with the principle of taking intelligent players and teaching them how to deal with things on the pitch, I think it’s what sets us apart and I’d rather have that than rigid tactics that are often obsolete once you’re out there.

      I’m pretty sure we have special tactics for different games from what I’ve seen but less emphasis than the tactical ‘geniuses’ out there that can’t educate their players to think for themselves.

      Pretty sure our tactics for the big losses weren’t ‘give the ball away too much and act terrified until the game is lost’, before you consider getting clever…

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    • Perhaps you can explain yourself a bit better. What specifically do you mean by “incompetence” in the transfer market? Sanchez? Debuchy? Chambers? Ospina? I noticed that when we signed each of those players, you were conspicuously silent. Couldn’t think of anything negative to say? You can’t (not even implicitly) approve of Wenger’s signing those players last month, then turn around and call Wenger’s transfer dealings “incompetent” now – that’s a double standard. In fact, the only incompetence around here today is, as usual, yours.

      As for tactics, perhaps instead of just offering your normal diatribe of pessimism and negativity, you could suggest different ones. And please, suggest them BEFORE the game, not after. It’s just whining if you do it after.

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  27. Cavani.

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  28. Got to share this link – shows a Spuds fan breaking his arm trying to skateboard on the AFC sign at the Emirates!!!

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/08/15/arsenal-have-last-laugh-as-tottenham-fan-breaks-arm-skateboarding-over-gunners-sign-at-the-emirates-4834356/

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  29. Yes we do need CB, we should wait a bit more, Le Prof will deliver. But a striker? I don’t think we need another CF, maybe next season. Our strike force is really good. I’m sure our focus will be directed to win the premier league. We can win it. Why the hell not?

    On another note, I hope we win at the bridge and rub it at Cuntesc Fabregas face!

    I like this blog.

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  30. What are the chances that Ignasi Miquel is actually our 4th choice CB?

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    • So you are willing to compromise at Cback and risk it in a critical area for this mythical SUPER DM?

      Where were the goals from in pre-season.

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  31. I have to preface this by saying AW is brilliant and I am not a boo-bird….
    The team needs a powerful CDM if they expect to win anything substantive. No one has come close to the Vieira of old; possibly Gilberto and – to a lesser extent – a height-of-his-powers Flamini during the ’06 CL final run. Its obvious we have lacked the height, ranginess, dynamism, defensive instincts, tackling ability, and edge that Vieira brought. Its no coincidence that Arsenal enjoyed their best spell of the modern age when Vieira (and Petit until his requisite Catalan move) were the midfield ‘pivot/fulcrum/etc’. Yaya is the modern-day Vieira comparison; the one player who has given me chills upon viewing because of the similarity to a younger version of these players is Carvalho. The crazy Portuguese bailout financial situation (esp. the banks’ ownership of player rights) has made it ripe for a classic cut-price Wenger buy. AFC needs him. Short of that, there could possibly be a comparable player to him out there but the comprehensive and pervasive nature of the transfer rumour mill would have speculated about such a player already. Do people honestly think that Arteta, past-his-prime Flamini, and Wilshere (!?!) can even compare to the CDM quality we had in ’06? The problem will rear its ugly head ad nauseum without a proper sussing out.
    We also need a solid CB that’s content to ride the bench, but that could be a tough nut to crack (Miquel as 4th option??). All in all, an outlay of 30-40 million in transfer fees, which would require at least one outgoing player. Unless, of course, we find a magical 100-150 million pound per year sponsorship deal (hello, Mercenary City).
    Not to be confused with sour grapes, though, as the signings this year have all been impressive. Just need more to mitigate quality and depth issues.

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    • You are too stuck in the past narrative.

      Football has changed and what Arteta does for us he does very well. He transitions us quick and sets us moving forward immediately.

      He will eventually need replacement on account of age but he is good till next summer and was brilliant for us against City (Yahya Toure)

      This whole SUPER DM argument is spurious and built on emotion rather than logic.

      Both pre-season goals have come in from set plays.

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      • Santori, you think Arteta is good enough as the holding midfielder? The narrative that AFC has played well in big games is surely in the past; 8 years in the past. Why is that? What do all of the big losses across the better part of the last decade have in common? We’re short in stature at CM, literally; Arteta, Flamini, and Wilshere can’t hack it in that position; don’t base the quality of defending off of two preseason games. They will be overrun time and again (see aforementioned post for the attributes lacked). Its such a criminal waste of the artful offensive game the team has perpetuated. Cover at CB is also needed but not before they adequately protect the back four.

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  32. I see this is happening and I want it at all Trafford! To do this, we do need CDM♡♡♡…totally. Rupert Turdoch I’m with you for this.

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  33. “You have the top 4 …and then you have an U”

    Lol

    Brilliant! Man U are officially a mid table club.

    Let’s batter pulis-less Palace and focus on getting our revenge on shitty and chelskshite ASAP

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  34. Man U even

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  35. Meant Wenger by the way peeps ;)

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  36. Some people still think we should have a SUPER DM over a Cback.

    Like Yann MVilla or Victor Wanyama or Luis Gustavo. Where are their careers if they are so good?

    We did not leak any goals from open play this pre-season. The 2 we did leak 9and where we still look vulnerable without Meterscielny) were from set pieces.

    Meanwhile we are short at Cback and one injury away from couorting with disaster.

    We don’t need a SUPER DM, that can wait till next summer.

    We don’t need a mediocre signing like Scheniderlin or Carvalho, they are not SUPER DMs

    We need a Cback.

    Likely if we do get someone in midfield, it will be someone like the Rabiot kid who could eventually evolve into the SUPER DM. But Cback is first and foremost critical.

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  37. Manolas is a possibility.

    Subotic is out of contract. At 25 and 6’4, he is a good option since Dotrmund have Ginter and Papsdopoulos to partner Hummels

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