Besiktas, Champions League Draw, Calum Chambers, New Signings


So we are through. We did it The Arsenal way – the hard way. But we are through. We survived the hell that is Turkey, an awful refereeing performance and a below par Arsenal performance. But the most important thing is we are through.

Alexis Sanchez showed selfless running, challenging for every ball reminiscent of Luis Suarez. Jack Wilshere had his best game since he was a teenager. Santi Cazorla worked hard. Matheiu Flamini did not get booked. Matheiu Debuchy looked an improvement on Sagna.

Some say we should have cruised through, that Beskitas’ season has not yet started, but lets remember, they have played 4 competitive games this season (2 qualifiers v Feyernoord, 2 v Arsenal). That is the same amount of competitive games as Arsenal. They also had an entire week to prepare for us. We had a couple of days.

A battling performance which showed great mental strength.

Champions League Draw

So we are through (have I said that yet?). Now to look forward to the draw, which will be this afternoon at 16.45. Arsenal are in pot one. But who can we face?

Pot One: Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Benfica, Atletico Madrid, Arsenal, Porto.

Pot Two: Schalke, Dortmund, Juventus, Paris St-Germain, Basle, Shakhtar Donetsk, Manchester City, Zenit.

Pot Three: Bayer Leverkusen, Olympiakos, CSKA Moscow, Ajax, Liverpool, Sporting Lisbon, Galatasaray, Athletic Bilbao

Pot Four: Anderlecht, Roma, Apoel Nicosia, Bate Borisov, Ludogorets, Maribor, Monaco, Malmo

Dream draw: Arsenal, Basle, Sporting, Maribor
Nightmare draw: Arsenal, Juventus, Bayer Leverkusen, Monaco

Calum Chambers

Omitted last night, many people criticised the decision, wondering what he had done wrong. But the fact was, it was the right decision. Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are better individually, and better as a partnership. You play your best players, and Chambers is the 3rd best centre back at the club.

At 19, he is extremely talented, but it is important that he does not get over hyped, with too much pressure put on the lad. There is talk of him getting an England call up for next weekend’s International’s. I would rather he stayed with the under 21’s, out of the limelight. Remember, this is a guy who has played just 3 competitive games at centre back.

His talent is not in question, but his game is still error prone. His slip against Demba Ba in the away leg. Playing the world onside for Everton’s 1st goal, diving in for Everton’s 2nd. He also has a problem under the high ball, often misjudging his jump.

Let him develop in his own time and he will become World Class.

New Signings

So we are through (I said it again). We have banked around £25m. There are now no excuses. We can offer the money, we can offer the success, we can offer top level football. We now need to go out and buy, and buy big.

With Olivier Giroud out till January, we need a striker. Even if the big name’s of Cavani or Falcao are not available, we need to add to the forward line. Go out and get Loic Remy – a proven Premier League striker – who can do the job until Giroud is back. Or Mattia Destro – Maybe not World Class, but Roma’s top scorer last season.

On the other side, I hope we do not waste big money on someone like Jackson Martinez or Danny Welbeck.

We also need to add in midfield and defence. Likely to be a dual player, someone who can be 1st choice defensive midfield, 4th choice centre back, we need someone. Let’s spend big and get in the right man.

Sadly, I would not be surprised if we bought no one. And this could cost us success this season.

Enjoy the draw.



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19 Reasons why we will beat Besiktas + My Starting 11

This is an updated version of the blog for the 1st leg…


1)  Our Record in qualifiers is Played 13, Won 12, Drawn 1, Lost 0, Goals For 29, Goals Conceded 3.

2) We beat another Turkish side (Fenerbahce) at this stage last season.

3) Gibbs is out for 2 weeks (2 months in Arsenal time), Koscielny is fit as is Mertesacker, which means the defence picks itself with Chambers likely to be on the bench.

4)  2 of the Arteta/Ramsey/Wilshire midfield trio are out. Arteta is Injured and Ramsey is  Suspended.

5) Sanogo and Diaby are sadly listed as available , luckily all our German World Cup Winners are too.

6) Flamini will be Mr Versatile tonight covering every position on pitch (if needed) including between the sticks.

7)  Their main threat will come from Chelsea reject Demba Ba.

8) Their Champs League record reads.. P 66, W 22, D 12, L 32, GF 64  GS 103. The Arsenal’s.. P 174, W 88, D 39, L 47, GF 279, GS 174.

9) The Arsenal Vs Turkish sides, P 8, W 4, D 4, L 0 GF 12, GS 2

10) Wenger Knows, get a good win tonight and it could be all steam ahead for not only the Champs League for real but also for signing the 3 or 4  players we will need to really challenge this season on all fronts now that Giroud could be out for a long spell.

My Starting 11 – Chesney – Deb, Kos, BFG, Monreal – Flamini, Jack, Ozil – Joel, Ox, Alexis

We’ve got Mezut Mezut Ozil on the wing…on the wing !

Firstly I will admit the starting 11 yesterday Vs Everton looked spot on, it looked fresh, exciting and full of attacking options, sadly that didn’t turn out to be the case. We almost set up like a counter attacking side against a team who have been perfecting this skill over the last year or so under Martinez.

Ozil out wide left does not work, it’s never worked in the past and won’t work in the future. Yes Ozil has played successfully in that role for Germany, but he has the worlds best left back behind him to cover.  Ozil like many a left midfielder Wenger has tried since he sold Pires (too soon) is bloody useless at tracking back, it’s just not his game, he loses his man at key moments and without even bothering to read the gutter press this morning I’m sure he’s blamed for Everton’s first goal.

The left midfield is fast becoming our graveyard position….

Reyes – Never the same after Neville kicked him

Arshavin – A number 10 played out wide where he lost interest and looked lazy

Gervinho – Lost all form once he came to us

Podolski – The most natural finisher we have (had) but like Ozil he can’t defend

Santi – Cuts inside too much, gives us no width

The problem is Wenger seems to like buying small tidy tippy tappy players who are versatile, when what he should be doing is identifying where we are weak and buying players to fit into that position. Round holes and square pegs springs to mind over and over again. There is little or no point buying £30mill plus players then not building a team around them, Ozil needs to play as a number 10, he needs runners around him, he needs no defensive duties in our box and then we will get the best out of him.