Tag Archives: Alexis Sanchez

Most honest view of the Arsenal situation

 

City are really good

After 11 games, Manchester City are already 8 points clear. 11 wins and 1 draw. With a goal difference already of +31 (Liverpool finished 4th last year with a GD of +36), they are an awesome outfit with threats all over the pitch, and off the bench.

You would expect a team who have spent £500m on incoming players to not have a weakness, and it is probably a failure of previous managers that they have not been in the hunt for the last 3 league titles.

In recent years, Manchester City have not only spent big, they have spent well. The likes of Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus will be amongst the best in the world sooner rather than later.

In Kevin de Bruyne, they have the best player in the league, perhaps one of the best in the world.

They remind me of Arsenal in 2004. Match winners all over the pitch. For Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Ljungberg and Vieria, read Aguero, Silva, Sane, Sterling and de Bruyne.

What sets them apart from the rest this season is what they have off the bench.

Against Arsenal they were able to bring on Gabriel Jesus, Ilkay Gundogan and Bernado Silva. There entire bench cost over £200m. They spent nearly £200m this summer alone, yet only two of the 5 incoming players started.

Incredible strength in depth. You could make an 11 out of their B team that be a challenge for every other Premier League side (Bravo, Danilo, Kompany, Mangala, Delph, Gundogan, Yaya, Foden, Zinchenko, Jesus, Bernardo).

They have already beaten Liverpool (5-0), Chelsea (away, 1-0) and now Arsenal (3-1) this season.

17 games played in all competitions, they have yet to lose.

City are really good

Arsenal are not as bad as expected

Some fans were expecting (almost hoping) Arsenal to get destroyed.

Whilst it is no doubt that the better team one, City attacked and defending as a team, Arsenal competed for much of the match.

We were not humiliated like Liverpool, and the 3-1 scoreline was boasted by a debatable penalty and an offside 2nd goal.

Arsenal have been heavily criticised and written off by many in the press but, Manchester City aside, there is no much between Manchester United in 2nd and Arsenal in 6th – just 4 points in fact.

Through in Europe, into the League Cup Quarter Finals, and in the race to be best of the rest in the Premier League, the hundreds of words written about our demise are clearly agenda driven and for hits.

Let’s remember we have actually won trophies in recent years. Liverpool and Spurs, who are often written about in positive terms, have been pot less for a while.

With Spurs at home up next, Arsenal must win. And we should win. As we are not as bad as many make out.

Alexis can leave

And you can throw Mesut Ozil into that as well.

If you do not want to be at Arsenal, you know where the door is.

We have had bigger and better players than Alexis Sanchez in the past, and we will have bigger and better in the future. If you think Alexis is too good for Arsenal, that he is bigger than Arsenal, please join him going through the exit door.

Alexis is a terrific player, but he is an individual. Someone who wants the glory. A player who seems to only pass to others who he knows will pass back to him. Someone who throws a strop if he is not passed the ball – even if others are in a better position.

When he is scoring 30 goals a season, and winning us games on his own, you can understand the shrugs of the shoulder and mood swings. But when he is not performing to the high levels, it is detrimental to the team.

Sanchez now reminds me of Thierry Henry in his last year at the club. He does not want to be here, is underperforming, and is blaming everyone else.

Just 1 goal this season, he has given the ball away more than any other player, and only Olivier Giroud has a lower pass completion percentage.

His attitude stinks.

Coquelin must leave

Francis Coquelin’s desire is never in question. But maybe instead of trying to gee-up the away fans with aggressive hand movements, he should concentrate on his own game.

He is average and has been horribly exposed at the highest level time and again.

Against Manchester City, he was playing centre back. Not his natural position, but over the years I have seen the likes of Michael Carrick slot into defence and do a job. Coquelin just does not have a brain.

It is incredible to think that it was 3 years ago, Arsenal were telling him his time at Arsenal was over, and yet he is still our only specialist defensive midfielder.

The fact that we have not signed an improvement on Coquelin in 3 years is misconduct of the highest order. It is disgraceful.

For the B team in the cups, he thinks is a cross between Xavi and Iniesta. He is hopeless.

He will be 27 in May. He should have been shopped out years ago.

Why is he still there?

VAR is needed

The only part I disagree with.

Arsenal have been on the wrong end of some decisions this season – Watford, Stoke and Manchester City – but VAR will ruin the game.

In its current form, it will slow the game down too much. Recently I saw a referee take 3 minutes to come to a decision.

Goal line technology has been brilliant. One reason why is because FIFA demanded it will only be bought in if it was instantaneous. VAR is anything but.

I am not a fan.

Keenos

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8 possible Sanchez / Ozil replacements

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are gone. They are not going to sign a new deal. I think we have to all come to terms with them leaving the club on a free.

And when I talk about all of us having to come to terms, I include the Arsenal management.

It often feels that Arsenal transfer windows are managed without a plan. It is disorganised. But with the clubs two best players set to leave for nothing, it will be a disaster if Arsenal are not already prepared.

The plans of action need to start in January. Even if Sanchez and Ozil are to not leave until the summer, Arsenal need to not only target, but secure at least one replacement for the pair now.

Replacing two in the summer will be hard. Getting one replacement in January will take the pressure off and also ensure that come the 2018/19 season, we already have a replacement who is settled in England having had 7 months to adjust to the weather.

So who should Arsenal be targeting in January?

Thomas Lemar

Our number one target from the summer will surely be re-targeted in January.

He wanted to join Arsenal, Arsenal wanted him, but we messed up and did not meet Monaco’s valuation until too late.

Hopefully since the summer transfer window closed, we have kept talking to both Monaco, Lemar, and his representatives, and that a deal in January could happen quickly.

Robert Pires recently claimed that he felt that a deal for Thomas Lemar to Arsenal will not happen now. A lot of people have jumped on this as to assume the deal is dead. But reading the full quotes from Pires, he is saying this due to the price tag of £90m. That he (and probably Wenger) does not think he is worth that much.

At the end of the day, if we have the money, we need to spend it. Every million that go’s unspent becomes less valuable every year as transfer fees continue to climb.

Julian Draxler

Another long term favourite of some, German international Julian Draxler could be available for a cut price fee as PSG attempt to balance the books.

Draxler is one of 4 attacking talents that are being linked with moves away from the club. Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura are the other 4.

Draxler has struggled to nail down a place since joining PSG, but if Arsenal could get him cheaply, a transfer could be on the cards.

Antoine Griezmann

With Diego Costa set to rejoin Atletico Madrid, Antoine Griezmann may well be on his way out – if not in January, certainly in the summer.

It feels he has been itching for a move away for a couple of years.

Whilst Atletico have performed brilliantly in recent years, the trophies have dried up since Griezmann joined the club. He has only won the Spanish version of the Community Shield.

It is all well and good being competitive and making Champions League Finals, but if you are not winning trophies, players will become frustrated.

If he does want to move, there will be a scramble for him, with the likes of Manchester United and Barcelona also interested. Arsenal moved to the Emirates Stadium to compete with these sides for the likes of Griezmann.

Griezmann would be a stellar signing and the perfect replacement for Alexis Sanchez.

Thomas Muller

Things have gone a little sour for Thomas Muller at Bayern Munich in recent months. After a slow start, the 28-year-old finished with 12 assists in 25 Bundesliga starts last season. However, he found the net just five times. This season he has scored just twice in 17 appearances for club and country.

An established world star, he would fit straight in and provide goals and assists from midfield. Signing him might also see Mesut Ozil sign a new contract.

Raheem Sterling

With the development and form of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling has found himself on the fringes of the Manchester City first team in recent weeks.

Add in David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and big money summer signing Bernardo Silva, Sterling is finding the competition for places tough to get game time. He has made just 5 Premier League starts this season.

Add in Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City are the envy of world football with their attacking talent. 7 into 3 (or occasionally 4) does not go, and whilst they might win the trophies and get the money whilst sitting on the Manchester City bench, many players want to play.

Sterling is a London lad (via Jamaica) and spends a lot of time in the capital visiting family and friends.

Despite his lack of game time, he has still managed 7 goals in the league this season – just two shy of his career high 9 at Liverpool back in 2014.

There has always been a world class player in Sterling, but he just needs an arm round him and get consistent playing time.

He would get both at Arsenal, and at just 23, still has plenty of time to develop.

Dries Mertens

It has recently been linked that Napoli’s Belgian born forward has a release clause of just £25m. This is a snip in the current market.

At 30, he would not be a long term replacement for Ozil or Sanchez, but he is having an Indian summer to what had been an average career since Napoli move him down the middle last season – no player has scored more goals in Serie A since the beginning of 2016/17.

Lorenzo Insigne

The diminutive team mate of Dries Mertens, he has also been in excellent form.

Reminds me of a young Santi Cazorla, he is great with both feet, and can play anywhere behind a front man. The only question for both Napoli men is whether they would want to leave a table topping side for Arsenal in January, and lose the chance to become legends.

Possibly not.

James Rodriguez

The Columbian has only recently joined Bayern Munich on a 2 year long long deal, but things have quickly turned sour.

Signed by the since departed Carlo Ancelotti, Rodriguez found himself on the bench in the game after the Italians dismissal and there are reports that both he and Munich are looking for ways to end the loan deal.

With Real Madrid unlikely to want him back, the only option will be for Munich to find a club to take Rodriguez for the remainder of the loan deal. Arsenal could well step in and Rodriquez could show the creative abilities to fill the void left by Mesut Ozil.

Keenos

Aaron Ramsey, David Dein, Sead Kolašinac & Alexis to Everton?

Aaron Ramsey

Against Swansea, Aaron Ramsey became the 50th Arsenal player to score 50 goals.

A man who has divided opinion over the years, we should be forever grateful of 2 of those goals, which won us 2 of the 3 FA Cups in recent years. In years gone past, he would be labelled a legend for winning us two FA Cups. I imagine this status will only come once he retires, in years too come.

He will always be remembered as that guy who scored the winning goals in the FA Cup finals.

It is easy to forget that he is still just 26 (27 in December). He still has a lot of years to go at the top level. As long as he remembers to keep it simple, and play to his strengths, there is no reason he can not go on to score 100 goals and play 500 game for The Arsenal.

Well done Aaron on your 50 Aaron.

David Dein

Once again, the name David Dein is being spoke about for a return to Arsenal. Like Aaron Ramsey, opinion is split on the former Arsenal director.

I am of the opinion that we won a lot under his stewardship, but these trophies covered up the discord he had between the fans at the time.

There is a clear split between fans on the matter of David Dein. Those under the age of 35, or who were not going to games regularly in the late 80s / early 90s, think he is a messiah. That he can walk on water. They see the league titles, the FA Cups, the world class players who joined. It was a successful period.

But then those who are of a certain age, going in the late 80s / 90s, will remember the North Bank Bond fiasco. They will point to the moment the club chased the money instead of protecting its long term fan base.

The Bond Scheme was fairly similar to the Club Level season tickets that came on the market when we moved to the new ground in 2006. By paying a big chunk of money (back then it was £1,000-£1,500), fans could secure themselves a season ticket for Arsenal for the next 150 years.

The following is an extract from the book Fanatics: Power, Identity and Fandom in Football:

There were protests, a Ban the Bond campaign involving the release of balloons. There was as much anger at David Dein at Highbury than there is at Stan Kroenke now.

Also under David Dein, ticket prices rose at incredible rates.

In the 10 years from 1990 – 2000, the average Arsenal ticket price rose 289%. From 2006 – 2016, under Stan Kroenke, prices rose 18%.

Whilst this is not to justify Stan Kroenke, it is too highlight that David Dein was certainly not a man of the people. He only cared for maximising profitability at the detriment of loyal working class fans.

On top of this, he also introduced Stan Kroenke to the club, before selling to Alisher Usmanov. He created the current ownership problems we have.

Dein profiteered from the club to the value of nearly £100m. He was in it for himself, for his own pocket.

All of this is forgotten about because we were successful under Dein’s stewardship.

It does make me wonder, would many of the current fan base who moan about ticket prices soon be quiet if we won a league title? Probably.

Dein did a lot of good for the club. But he was also the man who kicked off the current PLC mentality of maximising profitability at the detriment of match going fans. He we the catalyst for many of the problems we now face.

Sead Kolašinac

What a player this boy is turning out to be. He does have a bit of a poor injury record, so I hope the slight strain he picked up against Swansea does not turn into a season long thing.

He is a sharp reminder to us all that it is not what you spend on a player, but what player you buy.

It is laughable to remember some fans in the summer moaning that he was a typical Wenger signing. Cheap.

Manchester City spent nearly £150m on full back this summer, and Kolasinac is better than them all.

Alexis Sanchez to Everton

Bit of laughable transfer news this morning.

Everton are interested in signing Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal this January for £30m as former Arsenal shareholder Farhad Moshiri looks to splash his cash.

If Sanchez does go to Everton, it will be for huge wages and show that the Chilean is interested in money, not trophies. Hope he enjoys playing in the Championship next season.

 

Have a good week

Keenos