I am in the positivity train. I got on the moment Arsene Wenger announced he was leaving. The day we announced Unai Emery I got a job as ticket inspector. These days I am so positivity that I am driving the train.
I do however have two negative thoughts circling my head, both surrounding us playing 4231 – the formation preferred by Emery and played in pre-season.
Time and again Aaron Ramsey has shown he can not play in the two.
He is a wonderful football, amongst the best central midfielders in the league. I want him to stay. To sign a new contract. To be captain. But he needs a midfield 3 to get the best out of him.
Ramsey covers a lot of ground, and loves getting forward.
The problem is his lack is positional discipline leaves his midfield partner exposed. We have seen this time and again throughout his career.
If we want to get the best out of the Welshman, we need to play him in a trio alongside Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka. Not partnering just one. But Emery’s preferred formation does not allow for the accommodation of 3 in the middle.
The only way you could accommodate all 3 in a 4231 is by pushing Ramsey even further up, into the number 10, and then playing Mesut Ozil out wide. But then this is a waste of both of their talents.
Ramsey at 10 is too high up the pitch. He then can not make his late runs into the box.
And Mesut Ozil needs the freedom to find the ball. Whether it is is on the left, right or middle.
By playing him on the left you end up with half the pitch having no Ozil. 50% less Ozil is no good.
My second concern is the lack of widemen to sufficiently play 2 wide forwards.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan can certainly play wide right. People forget that in 2016 he was named Bundesliga Player of the Year coming in off the right in a similar formation as what Emery is planning.
The problem is the left hand side. Dortmund in 2015/16 had Marco Rues on the left hand side. Arsenal have a choice between Danny Welbeck and Alex Iwobi. Not quite the same is it?
There is an obvious solution to both situation. Sell Aaron Ramsey.
It is not a situation that I am comfortable with, but it is one that makes sense.
You sell Ramsey, and invest that money into a wideman. Someone like Dembele at Barcelona, Leon Bailey, Anthony Martial or Julian Draxler.
Then behind the 3 you have Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira. A much more solid middle of the park, Ozil in his best position and natural widemen.
Former Football Manager “wunderkid” is about to join Crystal Palace on a free transfer.
For a while, he was top of my list for central midfield options at Arsenal. At a free transfer, it seemed like a no brainer.
Arsenal would get a 22-year old midfielder who would replace Jack Wilshere, cover Aaron Ramsey, as well as back up the 3 behind the striker.
But all was not as seemed.
Linked with Liverpool and AC Milan, as well as Arsenal, Meyer is now joining Crystal Palace. An odd fall from grace.
It transpires that money is Meyer’s motivator. That he (and his agent) priced himself out of a move to a top club by demanding what he felt was his transfer value to be paid as a signing on fee. The problem is those clubs did not see him as worth that much.
By paying Meyer and his representatives a £30million fee, he no longer really becomes a free transfer. He becomes a £30million transfer.
Clearly Arsenal, Liverpool, AC Milan and others felt that £30million could be better spent elsewhere.