Tag Archives: Shkodran Mustafi

Arsenal’s shocking transfer dealings exposed

https://shewore.mysupadupa.com/Throughout all of the Wenger stuff, one thing has become increasingly clear. Our transfer dealings this season have been atrocious.

When the summer transfer window shut, I was fairly optimistic about our season ahead. And part of the reasoning behind this was due to our transfer dealings.

Arsenal had signed two excellent experienced players Granit Xhaka and Shkdoran Mustafi, a talented young centre back in Rob Holding, and a fairly unknown forward who had excellent statistics in Lucas Perez. But it all seems to have unravelled. £93million spent on some exciting talents.

Granit Xhaka

When we signed Granit Xhaka, I was excited. I had followed him since his Basel days and was excited that we had signed him.

He looked the complete midfielder. Defensive awareness mixed with a fantastic range of passing. He would add steal to our midfield, protection to our defence, but would also be the man to start our attacks. He was the leader in the middle of the park that we had missed for so long. It seemed he had no weaknesses.

But then it all began to fall apart. His ill discipline that had hampered his early career reared its head once more. Rash into a tackle, he was clumsy rather than ferocious. 2 red cards and 9 yellows this season. And it could have been more.

Yes, he was unlucky to see red against Swansea, but there have been other times when he has been lucky to stay on the pitch.

He has probably not been as bad as it seems, but his position is made to seem worse due to the fact we picked Xhaka over N’Golo Kante, who has taken another huge step forward at Chelsea and is now the best defensive midfielder in world football.

With Xhaka, we are peering over the fence at our numbers Chelsea, seeing what we could have had, and it feels we picked the wrong option.

Shkodran Mustafi

I questioned Shkodran Mustafi’s ability back in December. At the time he had no lost a single game at Arsenal which he had played in. I was mocked in the comments o nthe blog, on Twitter and Facebook. How could I be criticising a player who had yet to lose in an Arsenal shirt?

Well at the time I looked beyond the results of the team and was looking at the performances of the defence.

At the time, Arsenal had not kept a clean sheet for 10 games, with just 4 all season – 3 of which had Mustafi in defence, and the Mustafi / Koscielny partnership was conceding at a rate of a goal a game.

I ended the blog with;

Arsenal defensive frailties have become worse this season. Mustafi has solved one problem but created another.

4 months on and he was part of a centreback partnership against Crystal Palace that failed to make a single tackle. Two crude tackles in the 1st half meant he probably should have seen red. He was lucky to stay on the pitch.

Mustafi has played 17 games in 2017, Arsenal have conceded 31 goals. We have conceded more 3 or more goals on 7 occasions this calendar year. We have kept just 6 clean sheets. 3 of which have been in the FA Cup.

It is not just Mustafi’s fault. The entire defence from Bellerin across to Monreal has been shocking. But Mustafi has shown as huge technical issues which worry.

He tends to chase the ball. He is a poor judge of a high ball. His headers rarely reach a team mate. He dives in to tackles. He is beaten too easily.

I still think he will turn out to be a good player at Arsenal, but at £35,000,000 you would expect better performances than the Sunday League level ones he is putting in at the moment.

Lucas Perez

It is easy to forget the Lucas Perez is an Arsenal player. He ha splayed just 265 minutes in the Premier League this season.

Whether this is because he is a poor player, Wenger does not fancy him, Wenger is misusing him, or a mixture of everything, it will probably never be known.

It would not surprise me of Perez was shipped out this summer with Arsenal recouping what they spent on him.

A hat trick against Basel in the Champions League has been his career highlight thus far. His other goals coming against Nottingham Forest, Bournemouth and Sutton.

He was clearly a panic buy when it became obvious that Danny Welbeck was going to be out longer then expected. With just Olivier Giroud up top, we lacked a pacey option and Perez was bought in.

Perez has been hampered by the decision to play Alexis Sanchez through the middle. Whilst this did work out for the good, it has meant less game time for Perez. Walcott has had a very good season wide right (18 goals this season) but I perhaps would have liked to see Perez get a run out ahead of Alex Iwobi in a few games on the left hand side.

With Welbeck back fit, Perez is currently behind Welbeck, Giroud, Sanchez, Walcott & Oxlade-Chamberlain to get game time. You would struggle to make a justification for him to start ahead of any of those.

A very expensive panic buy. Not good enough to challenge for the 1st team when everyone is fit.

Rob Holding

It would be unfair on Rob Holding to label him a flop. He is just 21 and has shown good signs when called upon. At just £2million, he was clearly signed with the future in mind.

Unlike Calum Chambers, he does not have the hefty price tag over his head which will lead for calls for him to be ready for the first team.

He ha sonly played a handful of games this season, and could do with going on loan to a Premier League side next season to get some game time.

We could have a decent player on our hand, but he needs game time.

Takuma Asano

Does he even have a work permit yet? Throw him in the box with the likes of Joel Campbell, Wellington Silva, Samuel Galindo, Pedro Botelho & Carlos Vela. Players who we signed, spent years getting them valid work rights, and they ultimately turned out to be useless.

Kelechi Nwakali

Just a baby. We would moan if we signed him, and then moan if, after a trial, we turned him down and he became Yaya Toure.

£3,000,000 is a lot of money for a player who had only every played on sandy fields in Africa, but that is the cost of talented young players these days..

Cohen Bramall

Would be completely unfair to judge him as a flop. And I will not do so.

What he does highlight is just how poor our transfers have been this summer. He was the only signing in January, and he highlights just how little business we did in January. Just a young, non-league full back.

We have barely won a game in 2017. Not signing a single senior player in January is now looking like a ridiculous decision.

 

£93,000,000 spent. Money not well spent.

There is no point moving to the new stadium, having a big load of money to spend, if we are not going to spend it correctly. Just another reason why it is time for Wenger to go.

Keenos

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Arsenal’s Spine of Leaders

A follow up on yesterdays blog about The Curse of The Arsenal Captain.

For the first time in a very long time, it feels we have a team of leaders. A team of captains. A team that can be relied upon to rise to the occasion.

Since the invincibles were demolished, we have always struggled from a leadership point of view. A team too young, a team too inexperienced, a ship without a captain. And we have suffered from it.

I am sure in 2007/08, we would have won the league had the leadership of the team been better. We were top of the league and flying when Eduardo had his leg broken against Birmingham. Our captain, William Gallas, sat on the floor and sulked. Arsenal won 1 of their next 7 games and finished 3rd.

In 2013/14, we were once again top in February. We had led since the 2nd game of the season. And we fell apart. Finished 4th in a one horse race for the title. A run of 2 wins in 9 games. Once again a lack of leadership on the field. A season saved by an FA Cup win. It should have been a league and cup double.

But looking at the time now, it looks different, it feels different. Arsenal have a spine of leaders.

Petr Cechuntitled

The goal keeper position at Arsenal had been a problemsince before Jens Lehmann left. Whilst Petr Cech has had a couple of off games, what is undeniable is the leadership and experience he has bought to the squad. Cech has played nearly 700 domestic games and capped for his country 124 times. Now retired, there was talk of him being next Arsenal captain in the summer. He captained the side against Liverpool, but ultimately the armband went full time to Per Mertesacker. He is a man who has won everything domestically and on a European stage.

Laurent Koscielny

For so long, Laurent Koscielny looked lost without a leader next to him. He would drift positionally and basically struggled. But something seems to happened over this summer. At the Euro’s for France he was the senior partner in all the centre back partnerships. He was the leader of the defence. On his return to Arsenal, due to Mertesacker’s injury, he found himself as the senior centre back, and how he has grown. At 31, he has now been at Arsenal for 6 seasons. A regular for club and country. It has got to the point where the timid Koscielny should now really be Arsenal captain.

Shkodran Mustafi

Whilst Shkodran Mustafi has not been around the club that long, his leadership was recently praised by Alan Smith; “Those at Arsenal confirm that he is no shrinking violet when it comes to speaking up in the dressing room. A new arrival, maybe, but the 24-year-old is not afraid to say his piece”. You see it on the pitch as well. The way he dealt with Diego Costa in the early exchanges against Chelsea set the tone for the rest of the side. Mustafi is a World Cup winner.

Granit Xhaka

Granit Xhaka: a born leader who will finally bring some grit to Arsenal. That is how The Guardian described Granit Xhaka upon his unveiling. Since then, Arsene Wenger has also commented on his leadership qualities. Last season he was made Borussia Mönchengladbach captain. As he grew as leader and talisman, the team grew around him. He is barely 24, but has already been capped 48 times by Switzerland. A future Arsenal captain? Many on this list could be.

Aaron Ramsey

It is over 3 years since I spoke about Aaron Ramsey being next Arsenal captain. Much has changed since then, and he has perhaps fallen down the pecking order a bit. But this is a man who was made the youngest ever Wales captain at the age of 20 years 90 days. He was the key man in Wales’ recent Euro’s run. He has already been at Arsenal 9 years and is 26 in December. He is one of the senior pros at the club. Someone others will look up to.

Mesut Ozil

Whilst Mesut Ozil has never really been a captain, his leadership comes across in his performances. A truly World Class talent, others look to him to perform. When he plays well, the team plays well. Everything go’s through him. German player of the year for 4 of the last 5 seasons , this is a man who is the best German player, in the best German team for 25 years.

Alexis Sanchez

When you see the man at the top of the pitch putting in a shift, closing players down, chasing every ball, it changes the mentality of the rest of the side. They all start doing it. For Chile, Sanchez is a God. He is the main man. And he revels in it. Leading the line, he is their superstar. Their game winner. Whilst Claudio Bravo might be captain, Alexis Sanchez is the leader. When he performs, Chile perform. What he brings to Arsenal is the cherry on the cake. The man at the top of the field, over the hill first, leading his troops. 100 caps for his country, he could become a legend for his club.

I will let Arsenal legend Alan Smith’s comments summarise the article;

“Of course, that is how it should be. Strong voices and views go hand in hand with successful teams. Yet Arsenal have not always been blessed with such forthright sorts, whether by coincidence or through a deliberate policy from Arsene Wenger.

“They say that has changed now, that some players speak up with a little more force.”

Keenos

Note: If your comment is “Cazorla over Ramsey” please understand that is not what we are discussing in this blog. Well done to you for fixating on one single point rather than celebrating finally having a squad of leaders.

The Win, The Defence, Theo Walcott and The Arsenal

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The Win

2-0. It could have been more, it should have been more.

It was one of those situation’s where the game was so easy, rather than being ruthless, the players tried to create something special every time. A couple more goals would have been nice, but the keeper played well, and we sit top of the group after two games.

Beat Ludogorets in the next round of games and we will be on 7 points. With PSG likely to beat Basel at home, that will leave both clubs 6 points ahead of 3rd place. We than have the away games against the two weaker sides before finishing at home to PSG (I think).

It is always nice to get some early European wins under your belt, as it takes the pressure off in December when Premier League games come a bit thicker, a bit faster.

By not slipping up last night, and if we beat Ludogorets, we will practically be through.

The Defence

For a so called panic buy Shkodran Mustafi has settled in nicely next to Laurent Koscielny. He looks defensively strong, quick and good on the ball. Everything you need to be a defender at Arsenal.

And Laurent Koscielny seems to have grown into a new beast this season. It feels with the extra responsibility being France’s senior centre back this summer and being Arsenal’s leader at the back, he has grown. It leads you to the question as to why Laurent Koscielny was not made Arsenal captain?

I think we can now call an end to Per Mertesacker’s Arsenal career. His contract runs out at the end of this year, and with Mustafi and Koscielny on current form, I can not see him getting a sniff back in the team.

Rob Holding seems to be developing well, and Gabriel has always had all the physical making to be good, just not the mental. We are moving forward with a new batch of mobile, strong, quick defenders.

The line of succession is there. Koscielny and Mustafi for the next 2/3 years. Than Holding (who will still just be 23 in 3 years time) comes in for Koscielny.

Theo Walcott

Another great performance by Theo Walcott.

I have spoken about him a few times this season but he continues to go from strength to strength. He needs to keep it up, but the signs are positive.

Remember, this is a guy who scored 21 goals in 43 games in the 2012/13 season. He clearly is a good finisher, but has always been a confidence player. And always been one to respond when put under pressure by other players.

Being dropped by England and threatened to be sold to West Ham in the summer seems to have pushed him on.

Anyone out there still think Wenger was wrong letting go Joel Campbell in the summer, whilst keeping Theo?

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The Arsenal

Enjoy our performances whilst you can guys. As we are The Arsenal and we are only ever two poor games from being in a crisis. The boy boos will come back out. The banners will be displayed and people will lose their mind.

Performances like last night and Chelsea make you fall back in love with the game, back in love with the club again. We just need to keep it going.

Keenos

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