Tag Archives: She Wore

Arsenal new boys “best signings in years”

Over the summer criticism of Edu creeped in as the transfer window rolled on.

The criticism was not unfounded, as Arsenal publicly struggled in their pursuit of Houssem Aouar and only completed the signing of Thomas Partey on the last day of the season.

But praise actually needs to be given for the transfer business we did over the summer. Especially with the recruitment of Thomas Partey and Gabriel.

Arsenal signed Brazilian centre back Gabriel on September 1st for a fee in the region of £24million.

He came with a good reputation in France, having impressed for Lille last season.

But there were questions marks.

Prior to 2019/20, he had a couple of uninspiring loan deals at Troyes before joining Croatian side Dinamo Zagreb, where he made just one league appearance for each club’s senior team.

His statistics, however, held up well.

Whether it was aerial duels, ground duels or passing, he was producing better statistics than anyone at Arsenal. Although this came with the caveat that he was playing in France.

He has taken to English football like a duck to water and should already be considered one of the best central defenders in the league.

When you consider Manchester City and Manchester United have spent so much on central defenders in recent years, and Chelsea had to settle on vetran Thiago Silva, Gabriel feels like a real coup.

Virgil van Dijk aside, it is a struggle to name a better central defender in the league than Gabriel. And at 22 (and with van Dijk out for a year), Gabriel will quickly establish himself as the best in the league.

Thomas Partey was signed on the last day of the transfer window.

We have only seen him for 90 minutes in the Europa League, but he confirmed what we already know about him – that he is a beat of a central midfielder.

A few people expected Partey to replace Granit Xhaka as the midfield anchor. But this would result in Partey losing 50% of his influence.

Just because you are a defensive midfielder, does not mean that your job is to sit in front of the defence.

Take Patrick Vieira for example.

One of the greatest midfielders to have ever played the game, he always played with someone behind him – Emmanuel Petit or Gilberto for Arsenal and Didier Deschamps for France.

That allowed Vieira to press forward, to bully players across the park. If he was the anchor, he would have to be more statics. Cleaning up rather than dominating.

Partey is in a similar mould.

You want the Ghanaian to have the freedom to press opponents regardless of where they are on the pitch.

Against Rapid Wein we saw this.

He would push forward, bullying players, with Mo Elneny playing behind him providing that cover.

Partey’s game is ready made for the Premier League.

In Partey and Gabriel Arsenal have made two big signings. Two players that we have missed for a decade.

A dominant central defender and an equally dominant central midfielder.

They are the men Edu now needs to build the team around for the next 5 years.

We might have finished the transfer window not adding the creativity we craved, but through Edu’s recruitment and Mikel Arteta’s coaching, we now look more defensively solid.

Once a manager has built that solid foundation, he will transition into a more attacking style of play.

Partey and Gabriel are Arsenal’s best signings in years.

We are looking good.

Keenos

Like Project Big Picture, a European Premier League will be a non-starter; but could the 2nd half of the season be played abroad?

European football starts for The Arsenal today as we face Rapid Wien away this evening – a 17:55 kick off.

Earlier this week we had the leak that Manchester United and Liverpool, amongst others, were in talks with financers to discuss the possibility of a “European Premier League”.

According to Sky Sports, the key details are:

A European Super League has been mooted for decades.

Talk often increases when domestic clubs want a bigger slice of the pie, and use it as a threat to national federations.

It is no surprise that this has been leaked shortly after the Premier League rejected Liverpool and Man U’s “Project Big Picture” .

This is the two northern clubs way of saying “if we do not get our way, we will go it alone”.

The problem is, a European Super League with no relegation will never work. It is why it has not happened yet.

Promotion and relegation is the key sticking point.

Winning the league, qualifying for Europe, the Play offs and relegation keeps teams interested for the majority of the season. It is what keeps fans watching, keeps fans entering the ground.

You remove promotion / relegation and within 5 or 6 games many of the matches become pointless.

Say Arsenal lose their first 5 games. Already 15 points off the top. Not going to win the league. Unlikely to make top 4 for the end of season play-offs. Why would Arsenal bother to put out a strong XI for the remaining 29 games?

With proposals that a super league would take the place of the Champions League and run alongside the Premier League, Arsenal would be best off putting out their youth team and leaving the strongest XI for the domestic games.

And then all of a sudden you have Bayern Munich facing Arsenal B. The integrity of the competition will be bought into question.

Whilst the theory is “everyone will want to tune in to watch Barcelona v Manchester United”, would then many be bothered about watching 17th place Porto face 18th place Marseille, both of whom are putting out 2nd string sides as they know they do not have a chance of winning it?

The odds of a Porto winning the league are dramatically reduced when you have to play every side twice. A lucky penalty, a strong rear-guard action, a favourable draw no longer work in your favour ala knock-out football.

So we will end up in a situation where by Christmas, half the sides in the European Premier League are putting out B teams, and fans have lost interest.

So we have had Project Big Picture rejected, and I am sure the European Premier League will go the same way. What this leaves is “competitive games abroad”.

Competitive games abroad has been mooted a few times over the years. Most recently Game 39 in the late 00s, that was finally put to bed in 2014.

With COVID19 restrictions in England, games abroad could rear its ugly head again.

In the second half of the season, if games are still not being played in England, it could be proposed that fixtures be taken to “COVID19 safe countries” where crowds are admitted.

Whether this be across Asia, Russia, America or Australia.

It would be proposed that these are games that would currently be held behind closed doors, so domestic fans would not be missing out. Clubs would be taking advantage of the opportunity to take the Premier League around the globe. Playing in front of packed houses in countries that allow capacity crowds.

The issue is this would not be a one off. It would open it up to happen the year after. And so on.

Project Big Picture and a European Premier League are non-starters. The real fear is the second half of the season is played abroad. It would be a pandora’s box that could never be closed.

Keenos

Martinez, Ozil, Wenger, Gazidis and More

Emi Martinez

Some people are still going on about the former Arsenal goal keeper.

He played a dozen good games for Arsenal and then left.

One weirdo said he has been “heartbroken” since he left.

We do not need to talk about him  anymore. Time to move on.

Mesut Ozil

As expected, Mesut Ozil was not named in Arsenal’s Premier League squad.

He has played his last game for the club.

Back Mikel Arteta, back The Arsenal.

We do not need to talk about him  anymore. Time to move on.

Arsene Wenger

The Arsene Wenger book tour is still going on.

The man is putting in some hours.

By now we have all read the entire book via Twitter.

We do not need to talk about him  anymore. Time to move on.

Ivan Gazidis

We do not need to talk about him  anymore. Time to move on.

Enjoy your Wednesday.

Keenos