Why did Arsenal release TWO kit launch photos?

Yesterday was the Great Arsenal Kit Launch. One of the greatest days on The Arsenal sporting calendar (I jest). It is basically a massive waste of time where you get a load of work shy in back packs turn up and live tweet and vlog about it, as if they have been invited to something special.

You get the idiots who always believe we are going to unveil a player at the kit launch – this never happens. Yesterday there were rumours that it was being held at Kings Cross as Arsenal were going to unveil a player just coming off the EuroStar. It was pure fantasy up. There was more of a chance of Harry Potter appearing.

Social media was awash with the usual moaning. People complaining about the kit, who then go on to say they have not bought a kit for 20 years. And probably have a go at adults who buy kits (with names on the back) and call them shirters.

If you do not buy the kit, do not plan to buy the kit, and have not bought a kit since you were a teenager, then zip your gums up. Arsenal do not care about your opinion on something you had no intention to buy, and you should not really be criticising others who choose to buy it.

I always laugh at the vloggers and bloggers out there who during the season go on anti-board protests, moan about prices and the greed of the board, calling for people to boycott, etc. We know who these people are. Yet on kit launch day, they ensure they are in line as one of the first to buy the kit. They then run home and film themselves in the care wearing it.

How drippy can you be that you spend 24/7 on social media moaning about the greed of the club, having a go at fans who renew their season tickets, then you put money in the clubs pocket within seconds of the kit being released. Always laugh when I see someone continually criticising the club whilst where more merchandise than Ty from Arsenal Fan TV.

Yesterday, one noticeable thing came out when the official club pictures of the kit were released. That there were two sets of pictures.

Two pictures being released sent Arsenal fans into conspiracy theory mode. Including myself. Everyone started making jokes about spot the difference. Fuelling the conspiracy theories was that in one picture, Per Mertesacker, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez appeared. In the second picture, all 3 plus Petr Cech had been replaced by Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal. Olivier Giroud was in both.

What this lead to was the theory that Arsenal had produced two pictures. One for it Ozil and Sanchez signed new deals and were at Arsenal next season, the other in preparation for their departure.

It was soon pointed out by many that there was no conspiracy theory. The top picture contain Ozil, Sanchez, Mertesacker, Cech and Giroud was the Official Arsenal picture.

The second picture was for Puma. Giroud, Bellerin and Monreal are all Puma athletes. The rest wear other boots. The second picture is what will appear in Puma stores up and down the country, and on Puma’s website.

So no conspiracy theory, just different marketing materials created for different reasons.



Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – Should he stay or should he go?

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. 1 year left on his contract. Currently making a lot of noise about leaving the club.

I had a debate in a WhatasApp group over his contract. My pal was in the corner of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Demanding they we do everything we can to get him to stay. Myself was looking at the other side of the corner. Fairly non-plussed. If he does not want to stay on Arsenal’s terms, he can go.

This is a summary of the discussion…

Give him what he wants

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should be offered a new contract. And I am sure he has been offered a new contract. The problem is, like in so many contract stalemates, what the club are offering and what the player wants often do not meet each other.

So when the point was made give him what he wants I questioned as to what his worth actually is?

If Oxlade-Chamberlain wants £500k a week, should we pay it? Clearly no.

Let’s half it to £250k a week. Should we pay him that? Again, it is no.

Half it again, £125k a week. It is around what Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are on. It would make Oxlade-Chamberlain our 3rd highest player in the squad. Is he our 3rd best player? He is not even a guaranteed starter.

In the end we settled on £100k a week. It was what Hector Bellerin’s new contract was reportedly worth.

To put that into perspective, according to Total Sportek, £100k a week is currently what Petr Cech and Olivier Giroud get. It is just shy of Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott – who are both ahead of him in terms of first team players, but slightly more than the likes of Shkodran Mustafi, Jack Wilshere, Granit Xhaka and Santi Cazorla.

I would say £100k a week should be the offer on the table to him – even though I wonder if he is really worth £30k a week more than Danny Welbeck…

So it is not a case of pay Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain what he wants to stay, but more of a case of pay him what he is worth.

Manchester City have a history of over paying players. Look at recent examples of Scot Sinclair and Jack Rodwell. They paid Samir Nasri £120k a week to poach him from Arsenal. Raheem Sterling is on £180k a week.

If Manchester City (or Chelsea) come in with a silly offer of wages to Oxlade-Chamberlain, should Arsenal match it? Clearly not.

£100k is the peak of his weekly value. If he turns that down to join Chelsea or Manchester City for £125k a week, £150k a week, or whatever they will offer over and above his market value, then we should not match it.

We should not pay him what he wants, we should pay him what we think he is worth

But he found his form last season

It feels like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had a brilliant season for Arsenal last season. But is this the mind actually playing tricks?

He only actually started 16 league games. He only actually scored 2 goals. For me, last season was no different to his previous 5 years at Arsenal.

2016/17 was the 6th season Oxlade-Chamberlain ahs been at Arsenal for. And it was a season which typified his Arsenal career.

Inconsistent performances interjected with the odd bit of magic. Unable to play twice a week, and as soon as he puts in a run of half a dozen games in a row, he picks up a slight injury.

Able to beat a man, but then runs down a blind alley, or into traffic. He is a frustrating player as the talent on the ball is clearly their, but his decision making is poor and is output in terms of goals and assists is not good enough.

Last season probably was his best in an Arsenal shirt. But 16 league starts is not the sign of a regular first teamer, yet we are willing to pay him first XI wages. And he potentially wants more?

One reason he has piped up about moving is to secure first team football elsewhere. He knows 16 league starts is not enough for a player who will be 24 in August. But would he get first team football at Chelsea or Manchester City? He would even struggle to start for Liverpool.

And just 2 league goals…

A major issue for him throughout his Arsenal career is he has never really nailed down a position. A jack of all trades, a master of none.

He found his position last season

Oxlade-Chamberlain was excellent at right wing back towards the end of last season. He has potentially found his position in the Arsenal squad. Arsenal may finally be able to offer him the first team football he demands.

But there are a handful of problems…

  1. He has only played 5 games at right wing back. Is this really enough data to say Alex, here is £100k a week, you’re going to be our first choice right wing back next season.
  2. Does Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain want to play right wing back? He has previously made it fairly clear he wants to play in the middle of the park. He is not good enough to play in the middle of the park for Arsenal. Perhaps he sees himself moving to play central midfield elsewhere and prove himself?
  3. Are Arsenal even going to be playing 3 at the back next season? If they return to 4, he is not a right back, and he will once again find himself behind Theo Walcott on the wing

But he is better than Theo Walcott

Is he really better than Theo Walcott? I hate it when people say this, as it often shows someone who prefers style of substance. Someone who would rather be with a pretty girl who is a shit shag.

Theo Walcott is not everyones’s cup of tea, I understand that. He is not a great player to watch. He is poor at crossing, can’t beat a man with skill, and often loses the ball. But he gets goals and assists.

On the other hand, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is very good on the eye. He looks busy, will nut meg a player every game, beats his opponent for fun, but he never scores and rarely gets an assist.

A friend of mine (I have 2 friends) wanted us to target Douglas Costa from Bayern Munich to replace Theo Walcott.

Douglas Costa is another one who looks brilliant, but actually produces very little. He scored just 7 goals last season. It is all well and good showing a piece of skill on the half way line, beating a man with a step over, putting in a rabona cross, but if the skill leads to nothing, no goals, not assists, it is fairly pointless. It is for YouTube advertising revenue, for teenage boys to get excited over.

I am a stats man, and Theo Walcott pisses all over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Last season, Walcott scored 19 goals in all competition. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, in his best season ever (quote; my mate) scored just 7 goals in all competitions. 10 Premier League goals v 2 Premeir League goals.

In the league, Walcott averaged a goal every 192 minutes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a goal every 781 minutes.

And the argument of ‘but Oxlade-Chamberlain is younger, he has more potential’ is now out of the window. Ox is 24 in August. It is time to deliver.

It is not really a debate, if we return to 4 at the back and it is Walcott v Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right win, Walcott starts every time. He is the more dangerous player.


I do not want Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave. I want us to offer him a new contract. But my opinion is similar to the one I held over Jack Wilshere a few summers ago. It is time for him to get consistent, time for him to remain injury free.

He is not a good enough player, not an important enough player, to hold the club to ransom over wages. If he wants more than £100k a week, he knows where the door is. He can enjoy sitting on the bench of Manchester City or Chelsea. Enjoy winning nothing for Liverpool.

Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to stay at Arsenal, but on Arsenal’s terms, not on Oxlade-Chamberlain’s.


Arsenal backroom overhaul begins

But nothing is changing came the cry last week when it was announced that Arsenal would not be bringing in a Director of Football .

Despite the board seemingly favouring the appointment of a Director of Football and Chief executive Ivan Gazidis having sounded out several candidates during the second half of the season, Arsene Wenger proved resistant to relinquishing control of the club’s transfer strategy.

A decision was made to make a new appointment to the clubs backroom staff this summer, but at a lower level than the director of football role originally planned. A move was made yesterday with signing of new legal expert from Team Sky.

Commercial expert Huss Fahmy has been bought in from Team Sky to work on player contracts. A sign that the Arsenal board have recognised a weakness within the clubs current structure.

Fahmy has been a key part of Team Sky’s operation since around its inception in 2010 after moving to Sky the previous year from the City where he worked for the multi-national law firm Herbert Smith.

His arrival at Arsenal is a further signal that chief executive Ivan Gazidis is delivering on his promise to bring change this summer in the ongoing search for best practice following the disappointment of finishing only fifth in the Premier League.

Following Fahmy into Arsenal is fitness expert Darren Burgess.

Burgess joins the club from American Rules Football side Port Adelaide, and takes up a new role as director of high performance. Whatever the hell that means.

He previously worked at Liverpool as the club’s head of fitness and conditioning from 2010 until 2013.

Expected to work above Shad Forsyth, Burgess’s new role could see the end of Tony Colbert’s 19 year stay at the club.

Arsenal have still yet to fill the Academy Manager role left by Andries Jonkier back earlier this year. Luke Hobbs will continue in the role as Interim Manager until a permanent appointment is made.

Whilst Arsenal might not be going for the director of football, a new man to oversee contracts and another to oversee the fitness set up will see Wenger’s work load and stranglehold reduce.