Sunday, 25 December 2011

10 ways Arsenal can win the League!

What should Santa bring Arsenal for Christmas?

In a season mixed with highs and lows, a season which saw the pressure on Arsene Wenger reaching unparalleled highs and a season which saw Arsene Wenger change his recruitment policy. It is clear Arsenal have come a long way from the 8-2 thrashing at the hands of their old great adversary, Manchester United but the question is how far have they really come? Are Arsenal now back at their best and capable of challenging for the title or does Santa need to bless Arsenal with a sprinkle of his magic to go that final step forward.

With the estimated transfer budget I will attempt to choose the players I think will help to bring back Arsenal into the big time and also determine if any of the squad are preventing the club in their hunt for trophies.

Transfer budget: £70 Million– I know other places have sources have shown a lower estimate I am confident that it is closer to £70m than £50m due to an initial budget of around £40m in the summer, we spent around £46 on summer arrivals and sold players to the value of £75m = over £69m

1) Robin Van Persie to sign a new contract –Perhaps more important than anything else for me given his importance to the team. It has long been known amongst Arsenal fans how good RVP is but his prolonged run without injuries has shown to the world the quality the rest of us have known all this time. If Wenger had one choice of a present at the moment I am sure it would be the signature of Robin Van Persie on a brand new contract.

2) Signing Mario Goetze –The Dortmund superstar has shown all season his undoubted quality and he is certainly a player we have missed in parts this season. Games such as the one against Fulham or more recently Aston Villa where we have had to rely on a seemingly exhausted Aaron Ramsey who despite a bright start to the season has struggled to maintain his form and be the mantle that our attacking play relies on. I know he will be expensive but would certainly add the quality and attacking edge required.

Cost £35m

3) Selling Marouane Chamakh– The Moroccan international has had a somewhat torrid time as of late and despite a bright start has failed to really do anything good. He still has his fans but even the most ardent of his supporters I think have lost all hope. I personally never thought he was good enough but would have loved to be proved wrong. It is essential he is sold for the good of Arsenal with a replacement bought in.

Income £6m

4) Selling Andrei Arshavin– This is quite the opposite of Chamakh in that this is a player I expected to really shine this season especially with the need for a new attacking outlet. He however has performed at a level which would be unacceptable for a Sunday league game. The fact that his work rate is poor is frustrating enough but the fact that he has in recent games struggled to even control simple balls in indicative of the fact that he has come to the end of his tether at Arsenal and must be shipped off to the highest bidder.

Income £6m

5) Signing Eden Hazard– This is looking less and less likely due to the regard he is currently held in by the world at the moment and his seemingly endless options however it is clear that Arsenal would greatly benefit from another attacking option. We would undoubtedly have the strongest attacking lineup in the Premier League with the addition of both Hazard and Goetze.

Cost £35m

6) Signing Fernando Torres– This could perhaps be one of the dumbest things I have hoped for but I have not really understood the decline of Fernando Torres. It is clear that a combination of injuries and confidence have resulted in him being shit. I think Wenger could be the man to turn that around. He has done it in the past and I wouldn’t bet against him doing it again. The one thing is I would not sign him unless it was on the cheap and he took a massive wage decrease both of which I do not see happening but it could happen, you never know?

Cost £15m

7) Signing Thierry Henry on loan– Perhaps the signing most Arsenal fans want to see. Aside from the obvious appeal in bringing back a legend it would be pretty amazing having Henry in the match day squad and to backup the best striker in world football. Who better to have as an alternative then the record breaking Frenchman? Especially when options will be severely limited due to the African Cup approaching.

Cost Free

8) Loan out promising stars to Premier League teams – This one is pretty self explanatory, stars such as Frimpong, Miyachi and maybe even Coquelin are going to struggle getting games especially with Wilshire coming back. They will need to have premier League experience to improve to ensure they can challenge for places in the side next season.

9) Loaning/signing a full back– Given the almost crisis situation with our full backs you would think I would put this higher on the list but considering that in a month we could have our two first choice full backs return a new signing seems a bit illogical. The only alternative would be a short term loan but this would require it to be a player that is not needed at another club. If a player is not needed at their own club it is unlikely that they are going to come in and improve our team so for that reason, unless something/someone is on the radar I find it unlikely that this will happen.

10) Theo Walcott to sign a new contract – After a stop start career for Arsenal, Walcott has demonstrated recently that he is able to become the player many hoped he would. He has added a bit more consistency to his game which has resulted in better performances and him being far more effective. Whilst he is by no means the finished article he is showing good character and I think it would represent another blow if he does not sign a new contract.

So this is what I think Santa should bring Arsene Wenger. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas from GoonerVerse! Enjoy the day!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Is King Henry returning? Transfer news and fullback crisis...

Morning all,

As we are now well and truly in the festive season drunkenness is on the increase where as the quality of my posts are most certainly on the decrease.

It seems that we are hurtling towards the transfer window at great pace with only two home games against Wolves and QPR before we reach destination crazy.

The rumour mill will be in overdrive come January but it is safe to say that the mill is already working harder and harder by the day.

Today for example it is evident that the press are itching for a return to home for Arsenal legend Thierry Henry and their itch is being scratched so seductively by the words of Arsene Wenger at his press conference.

“I have to think about that. Short-term is ideal for us, but I haven’t made any enquiry yet. Thierry is not here at the moment. It has never come up in conversation… The first of January is the vital date for us. We have seven days to make decisions and I will make a decision in the next seven days on players.”

This seems like a no brainer on the surface as Arsene Wenger has even admitted that in the short-term this is “ideal for us”. I fear there may be far more sentimental issues to contend with which provide the only real barrier to this deal. I think, and bare in mind this is pure speculation based on my experience of Arsene Wenger in the past, that Arsene Wenger is concerned with the legacy of Henry.

He is the all time record scorer who by most accounts is the greatest player to grace the Premiership. For him to come and sit on the bench and perhaps not score would perhaps tarnish that to some extent and maybe Arsene is not willing to risk that. However, Wenger’s stance has softened on the issue as when he first arrived to train at London Colney it was emphatically made clear that no short term deal would occur. Perhaps this suggests that Henry’s performance in training is what is changing his mind and Wenger now thinks he could have some impact.

Either way it is all speculation at this stage but I have a feeling perhaps guided by the heart that we will see Thierry Henry play for Arsenal again in the New Year.

The other main area subjected to the back pages is that of our pursuit for a fullback. With lazy reporting suggesting Wayne Bridge as he is on the surface a viable candidate due to being frozen out so an easy loan option. Unfortunately as his spell with the Hammers last year highlighted; he is dog shit. Steaming, dog shit with fleas. So one would hope that Arsene has options less shit.

Aside from that there is not much else going on. I will post later today with a special of what Santa should bring Arsenal for Christmas so be sure to check back later.

So ho ho ho and all that jazz. Have a very merry Christmas with lots of drinking and eating and drinking and I hope you have a great day.


Thursday, 22 December 2011

Arsenal vs Aston Villa (very brief) post match thoughts...

Evening all,

Apologies for the dearth of material over the last few days but I am in the middle of fucking nowhere.

Honestly, I went on a train west and I find myself surrounded by sheep, mountains and inbreds. Whilst it is all a shock to the system it is nothing compared to the difficulty in finding an internet connection.

I managed to watch the match through a phone which at best can be described as shit. I managed to work out we won the match and that Benny got us the three points we didn’t deserve. It was a fantastic result made better by the fact that it was against a side managed by the ginger twat. It is a game that we shouldn’t have won but we did, highlighting the giant strides taken forward since the poor start this season.

As mentioned previously it is important to not keep harping on about the beginning of the season as we have essentially nullified the start by catching up. Now the players must do all they can to grind out results if need be.

We are now firmly in fifth position level on points with Chelsea. Whilst they have a chance to gain some distance watching the first few moments of the match between them and the scum suggests otherwise.

So we are approaching the mid point of the season and there have clearly been highs and lows but more on that in my Christmas Special… Makes me feel really cool saying that, it’s almost as though I am famous! Ha Ha!

Sad news regarding the delay of the Wolves game, which is now scheduled to take place on the 27th at 3pm.

Anyway, I have to drive in the dark for 15 miles to find the next house and I need beer.

Good night all!


Monday, 19 December 2011

Transfer Evaluation Continued...

Evening all,

Just a really quick post to get some of your thoughts on a previous post I wrote to help me prepare to write a follow up.

I wrote a piece following our transfers in the summer evaluating our business. I will do a piece to say how I think all have fared as time has progressed but thought it would be interesting to go back to what I thought when we had initially signed them.

Check out the link to see my Transfer Evaluation and please post any responses/comments/ideas at the bottom of this page.

At the end of the last season Arsenal fans were promised a “busy summer” by both the Manager and Chief Executive alike. So when, with a week to go and the most notable transfers for Arsenal Football Club were both outgoing, you could sense the level of discontent rising. This culminated in an abysmal 8-2 defeat away to the Champions and whilst the travelling squad was severely depleted by injuries and suspensions, many of the fans felt that this result was the consequence of a failed transfer policy. The blame for the majority of people lay squarely on the shoulders of the Arsenal Manager; Arsene Wenger.
For many people the Arsenal squad required strengthening even prior to the sales of Gael Clichy, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri so when these transfers were finalised the feeling among Arsenal fans was understandably dejected. This however changed in the final 48 hours of the transfer windows following the completion of five incoming players. Fans are suddenly coming back to life as highlighted by the slow sales of the next home Arsenal game against Swansea. The match went to general sale, which if you have any experience of purchasing an Arsenal ticket is very rare. This dramatically changed following the transfer deadline day as all the remaining tickets were sold the following morning. The question I have though is: is this new found exuberance amongst the fans warranted?"

Thanks in advance for the help..


Bare in mind we now have the benefit of hindsight so don't be too harsh ;)

Lessons learnt from the Man City result!

Afternoon all,

Despite a loss against the league leaders we walked off the pitch with our heads help up high. It was as spirited as they come and considering our last trip to Manchester our progress is unquestionable. We have proved that we are capable of competing with the best of them so hopefully we can take away the many positives from yesterday and push on the start another winning streak.

The two teams may now be separated by 12 points in the league but it was only when Djourou went off and the defence was in a state of confusion that City finally got the breakthrough. Though they had chances both before and after, so to did Arsenal and it really could have gone either way. Aside from a couple of moments the defence looked pretty solid and despite what I have read elsewhere I felt Mertesacker had a cracking game. In fact everyone did apart from a shaky five minutes when Koscienly struggled positionally when moving out of position.

To be fair to the lads the response to the goal was great. We made some opportunities and you could see the will on all the players on the pitch. Well of course apart from Arshavin and Chamakh. I understand the need to make changes and the positions these two play makes their introduction understandable but their impact really highlights our problem at the moment.

The team that started had a good game but it didn’t feel like there was much else to look toward if things needed to be freshened up. I personally would have bought on Benayoun but for whatever reason, Arshavin was preferred and his lack of confidence cost us dearly.

I know you are not supposed to cry over spilt milk and all that but I also felt we were denied a clear cut penalty. I know nobody in the media will think it because the sky pundits said it wasn’t but for Richards to see a cross coming and still have the ball hit his hand is inexcusable. If it were hit from a couple of yards away you could understand a reluctance to award anything even though they are sometimes given.

I stressed how this game was not the be all and end all of our season as realistically we were always going to struggle with a title charge at this stage but last nights defeat confirmed that we are for certain out of the title race. This does not mean that we cannot get into the top four though. We have got over half a season in which I think we will win the vast majority of games. We have a slightly easier second half to the season as all the big games are at home but we all know how that has turned out for us in the past. Either way it is clear that we are well within our rights to expect to qualify for the Champions League from this point.

It is completely down to Arsene Wenger and the players now. We cannot blame anything on the poor start to the season as we have closed the gap and there is no real advantage to any of the teams around us except the Scum.

With all the positives; the solid defence, high work rate, organisation and the never say die attitude you would expect the team to build and continue in the same vein for the rest of the season.

However there are also clear lessons from yesterdays performance/result, most obvious to all is the need for another creative/attacking threat. On a day in which Ramsey was more frustrating than effective there were no real options that the manager deemed good enough. We are still in the need of a player who, whilst doesn’t have to replace Ramsey, must provide him competition as it is an area we struggle in at the moment. This could be in the mould of another striker or attacking midfielder but either way we need more options up top than we have right now.

With the January transfer window coming soon you would hope that lessons have been learnt and problems such as lack of depth with be rectified sooner rather than later.

That’ll do for now!

GoonerVerse out!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Era of the Mercenary - Nasri epitomises the modern day footballer..

Another chance to check out my article.. Please follow the link below!

"Loyalty is a dying breed in modern day football. Whether it is the money, the mind set, locality or just natural progression of the game, gone are the days when a team could buy a player and expect him to want to remain at the club for the rest of his career.

We are now living in a society which is expectant of continued advancement, whether it be individually or collectively. As an individual you are aiming to make the best of life and in general all are aiming for that next promotion or next step up the ladder, usually accompanied by the highest salary possible. So when footballers do it, it should be no surprise."

Era of the Mercenary

Cannot wait until 4.00pm! Come on you Gunners! Nasri to play?!? yeah right

Arsenal vs Man City Team news and a tribute to Fabianski and Manone's fledging acting careers.

Morning all,

With a mammoth tie fast approaching, I find myself restless in bed, unable to have a lie in so I thought I may as well do something useful with my life. I couldn’t think of anything so here I am, doing this.

With Chelsea dropping points the onus is on us to capitalise on these dropped points. The only problem is there is a 500m juggernaut in the way of us today. Granted most of them are Arsenal rejects and the rest are overrated overpriced mercenaries but they are worth a lot of money.

I sincerely hope we are going to go out there and take the game to them and use our pace to really hurt them. This is essential in order for us to stand any chance at getting a positive result. However, more important is the performance at the other end. It is essential that we are organised and watch the intricate movement of Aguero very carefully.

To me, it is clear that the tactics of Man City are going to centre around pressing high, winning the ball high and putting the Arsenal passing game under all sorts of pressure. These are the sort of tactics that have caused us problems all season long when teams deploy them. If we can weather the storm, of which there will be many this afternoon, there is no reason we cannot get something from this game. The longer the game goes without a city goal the better our chances.

I stressed yesterday that the result is not the be all and end all of our season and whilst I still feel that way, it does represent a great opportunity for this team to prove that they are capable of competing at the highest level.

I expect the line-up will look a little like this:


Djourou                       Mertesacker                             Koscienly                    Vermaelan

                                    Arteta                                      Song

            Walcott                                                                                   Gervinho

                                                Robin Van Persie

This is a team which on paper is strong but on form is even stronger. I am confident that this group of players are capable of beating Man City. It will require tactical discipline, great commitment and ruthlessness in front of goal. The diamond up top will need to be on fine form and will really need to apply some pressure on the opposition defence. Man City are not unbeatable and that was proved last week. A win here will see us 6 points off the top of the table which is phenomenal given the start to the season we had to endure. Either way the team has made me proud to be a gooner, regardless of result this afternoon.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remember some of our fallen keepers who have struggled for form and fitness this season. The entire GoonerVerse wishes you well but are delighted you are not playing.

Vito Manone

Come on you Gunners!


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Arsenal vs Man City preview, Injury News and much more


We find ourselves only one day away from the biggest match of the season. That is until we play against another big club in which case that will be the new biggest match of the season and so the cycle goes as Sky hype up matches and the fans follow suit. It is hard not to get carried away and start thinking that the future of the whole cosmos relies on an Arsenal win. When put into context though, this is essentially just any other match. Of course it will be harder than most matches this season but it is still only worth three points.

Whilst I would love a win and think we are capable of getting a result we mustn’t get carried away if the result doesn’t go our way. It doesn’t mean that the club is not moving forward and has not improved. As we have already seen in the big games this season; anyone is capable of beating anyone and anyone is capable of putting lots of goals past the others.

My point I suppose is; I hope we do not get carried away regardless of which way the result goes. We win, then fantastic, another win, another three points and our run continues. We lose, then no real biggy, we go back and win our next few games.

Since we have recovered and gone on to have somewhat of a run it is hard to imagine losing and even harder to take it when it happens in these big games. I just hope that crazyness does not ensue following the result whichever way it may go.

In terms of team news, there is nothing overly promising as nobody is returning to the squad but it seems as though there is nobody fresh who is added to our defensive heavy injury list.

It would seem that Kieran Gibbs is likely to be out for another week which is great news but somewhat on the sadder side of things is the news that promising full-back Carl Jenkinson is out for an undetermined amount of time. The fracture has not healed as the club would have hoped and another scan is scheduled in four weeks time to make a decision on how to proceed. Now I know I have said this before but I am no medical expert and nor do I claim to be one but a stress fracture in the back sounds like some nasty stuff. It however is not career threatening though according to Arsene Wenger but the mere mention of potential career threat might be an indication that there going to be a considerable amount of time before we see Carl Jenkinson’s name on the team sheet. A real shame. Strangely there seems to be no mention of Diaby again so one can only assume he is out for much longer than the ten days predicted back in the last week of November. On a more positive note it seems like Jack Wilshire is steadily improving and is on course for a return to the first team by mid-February. I wouldn’t be surprised if the medical staff didn’t secretly think he may return slightly before that but are estimating on the cautious side.

So despite the rather large absentee list, there is still room for optimism especially when over the next month or so we are likely to see a return from the majority of the injured players which can only help our charge up the table.

So with the above in mind I would imagine a fairly similar side to the one that faced Wigan. In fact I would expect Wenger to name an unchanged side to the one that faced Wigan. It is a team that, whilst compiled for sums comparable to just one Man City player should have more than enough to hold their own. I like the mix of youth and experience in the team right now and with the best striker in the world up front you are always in with a shot.

If we can defend as a team, keep our work rate up then I more than expect us to cause Man City problems.

The other highlight in terms of Arsenal related news was of course the Champions League Draw where we find ourselves pitted against the Itallian Champions; AC Milan. It is quite early to start speculating about the outcome of this match so all I will say is that whilst there were easier opponents out there, I still feel it is one we can win. Of course a lot can change with a transfer window and x amount of injuries before we get there.

In other news the rumour mill is frantically trying to link us to a number of players as it seems the January transfer window is imminently about to swing open. With only a couple of weeks to go we are expected to see more and more nonsensical stories as the days go by. One story that keeps reappearing though is that of the potential transfer of Podolski. Despite an awesome international record he has never been overly prolific as far as domestic football is concerned so it would not be risk free but one thing is certain, he would be far superior to our other options on the bench. It does seem strange that Wenger would spend so much money on a backup when he seemingly is reluctant to do so for a starter. He has all but ruled out the move however that means nothing really as he has himself admitted a reliance on Robin Van Persie and as much as I hate to say it, there is going to be some give somewhere with his fitness.

Well aside from that there is not much else to report on.

Until next time Gooners.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Arsene Wenger's 10 Worst Signings

I am currently the top writer for the month of December at Football Speak so please support by checking out the full article below.

Following the hugely successful Top Ten Wenger signings many fans (I assume of other teams) were quick to point out a number of his failures. So I though, in the interest of fairness, that I should compile a list of Arsene Wenger’s worst signings. I thought that this would be easy as there are so many off the top of your head. Then I thought about the issue more deeply and struggled to come up with a definition of failure. It is easy to determine success as it is very measurable but how do you define failure in a relatively successful period in the club. If it is trophies than surely the last few years of transfers have been awful but they surely aren’t the worst.
I have then considered price tag and expectation alongside role in the team as something to measure against. If any of these were high for the three aspects I just mentioned, then I will be more critical. For instance a player who comes in on a free transfer and nobody has heard of him will not be measured against the next big thing who flops regardless of who the better player is. Slightly different criteria to my last series but the same principle so let’s crack on!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Arsene Wenger's 10 Best signings!

I am sure many of you have checked out this post but here is another chance to see Arsene Wenger's top ten buys in his time as Arsenal manager. I am currently the top writer for the month of December at Football Speak so please support.

Arsene Wenger has had a long and successful career at Arsenal and despite a barren spell when it comes to trophies in recent seasons has been well regarded by the media and fans alike. One of Arsene Wenger’s greatest talents has been to spot talent and get players with high potential and turn them into world class players. Here I will look at some of Le Boss’ most successful purchases from his tenure in charge of Arsenal and try to rank them. This is no easy task when you consider the number of world class players he has bought to the club. My list is based on ability first and foremost but I have factored transfer fees paid, selling on fees and commercial value to the club as other factors. Another important point is that Wenger compiled a team that went an entire season unbeaten. To have done this would have required exemplary recruitment which only highlights the difficulty in compiling such a list. So without further ado, here is my top 10 Arsene Wenger purchases…

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Santos injured for 3 months, Bronze Statues unveiled and post match thoughts!

Evening Arsenal fans,

The weekend has once again come and gone and so to has real, meaningful football. A weekend which saw a sumptuous Robin Van Persie strike to clinch a pretty bland affair thus maintaining our charge up the table. Whilst we did re-enter the top 4, our rightful home, it was only momentarily as Chelsea managed to beat the previously unbeaten Manchester City.

Now whilst I am glad they have lost and as such the stupid suggestions that they are in some way better than the Invincibles team can be laid to rest once and for all. I am ultimately disappointed in that we are no longer in the top four. Also this win could go a long way to galvanise a team with some top quality players, not exactly what we want from one of our closest rivals. Well, either way we are where we are, and that is 5th. We are not too far behind the pack and that is all good news.

With no football midweek, we have a bit of a “calm before the storm” moment right now. There is no doubt all of our players could do with a well deserved rest before the colossal task of taking on the money might of Manchester City. It will be a tough game and knowing that Robin Van Persie will get a week to rest his amazing self is reassuring to some extent, even if it comes at the expense of my boredom.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I love him. I really, really do. I bought a pair of trainers a few years back, which I customised to have his name on them which screams sexual stalker but I assure you that is not the case. I do not know his new address or anything.

Well my weird obsession aside, we had some scintillating football promised to us for the weekend just gone as well as the club celebrating it’s 125th birthday. Unfortunately the football was not the type we had hoped for but a win is a win and a quite fitting score line to celebrate this great clubs birth – 1 nil to the Arsenal.

What a great 125 years they have been, from our inception as Dial Square to our name changes; Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal and then of course Arsenal in 1913 following our migration to the North of London. From our great managers and fantastic football league records, one thing is abundantly clear. There has always been a class in the way we have conducted ourselves as a club and that is why we are the only club with a “the” at the beginning.

The unveiling of great legend bronze statues of Herbert Chapman, Tony Adams and Thierry Henry preceded the game and the atmosphere at the ground prior to kick off was certainly carnival-esque.

The Arsenal took on Everton in a game which saw Mikel Arteta go against his former employers and was settled by a Robin Van Persie wonder goal. I love him. *Looks away in a shifty manner.* Really I am not weird.

As mentioned earlier, Chelsea’s win over Man City ensured we remain out of the top four but has also proved that Man City are by no means unbeatable. I expect that whilst it will be a tough game on Sunday, it is one I hope that we will rise to the challenge for and continue our excellent form.

Without trying to go into speculation overdrive with a stop off at dream city, if we beat Man City this coming Wednesday, we will be back with a shout at the title. Of course it is fantastical in many ways, even if we do win, but we are not out of it, and with the propensity other teams have shown to drop points much could hinge on the transfer window and any business we may or may not do.

However, let’s take a step back from crazy land and be a bit more realistic. It is a tough ask to go to the “fraudulent naming deal stadium” and come away with anything let alone a win. And if the task was not difficult enough, it is made all the more tricky given the sad news that Andre Santos is likely to be out for 3 months following surgery to his ankle.

With no fit full back you would expect the four centre backs that filled in at Everton to continue. Though there are clear disadvantages, the natural width, pace and work up and down the flanks, that the first choice provides, there are some advantages as well. It was clear that having all three of Koscienly, Mertesacker and Vermaelan greatly assisted our defensive display. All three had great games and all did admirable jobs filling in when needed. Whether they will play as well as a unit against the onslaught of a £100m attack is up for debate but we shall see.

Aside from that I don’t think there is much to report on aside from the pre-January obsession with transfers and possible targets and the ten new players we need. My thoughts on this are simple Mario Gotze and a striker would be fantastic failing that just a striker is all we really need. With Wilshire coming back and another creative midfielder you would say we have 2 good to great players in all the forward positions. The only area really weak at the moment is up front, and that is despite having the best striker in the world. Especially with Chamakh's future more and more likely to be outside of Arsenal, one would think that a striker would be absolutely essential this window.

I leave you with those words of wisdom.
Until next time!


Thursday, 8 December 2011

The future of our fringe players and post match thoughts!

Evening all,

Apologies for the late post but been bogged down by life today in ways that have prohibited a timely post.

After an awful yet ultimately meaningless defeat yesterday I felt very underwhelmed, underwhelmed by both the performance and the result. If last week with our second string was promising, last night was anything but. The side were overran, overworked and ultimately outplayed by a hungry team who caused all sorts of problems for a team who played like they had nothing to play for.

Perhaps it is a sign of the times that such calamitous goalkeeping is such a shock but in reality it was almost a weekly matter that we would see such humorous debacles such as the Manone scissor kick or the Fabianski follow the leader and leave an open goal.

Regardless of that it was an unacceptable performance from a side that for all accounts and purposes should have been out there to impress. I expected a hungry performance from the likes of Coquelin, Frimpong and Chamberlain but essentially was subjected to one of the dullest Arsenal performances in a long time.

Whilst the work rate of Olympiakos must be admired, one thing is clear. Our second string, whilst all talented tidy footballers need to be playing in order to progress as situations where they were pressed and rushed were ones that they really struggled in. You can’t help but think that if they were to have more games under their belt they would have had more success getting the ball out of their own half.

So whilst the result was as unimportant as any in recent memory so was the performance by the team. The question then is; where do these players go from here?

I cannot imagine the likes of Frimpong nor Coquelin getting many chances especially given the imminent return of Diaby (again) and the eventual return of potentially our best player in Jack Wilshire. It is difficult to see opportunities arise unless of course the boss wants to treat the FA Cup as a League Cup. This is something I will not be happy with but would not be overly surprised. The logical step for both of the player’s development is to be sent out on loan to top flight, ideally Premier League clubs to get the invaluable experience they so desperately need.

Then we have the older, more experienced fringe players in Arshavin and Squilacci who, on the evidence of yesterday are going to find it even more difficult to get close to the starting XI than ever before. Whilst I understand Squilacci being unable to perform to some extent, Arshavin is going to run out of excuses, even from his most ardent of backers. It is becoming more and more difficult to justify his role in the squad and I personally feel losses have to be cut and he should be removed from our squad. Whilst undoubtedly full of talent, he has the work ethic of a 13 year old that hangs around outside a Budgens “supermarket” on his BMX asking people to buy him cigarettes. The number of times he just gave up yesterday was unbelievable. I am about 15stone and his height and I could have run more than he did last night.

Lastly we get to our second and third choice strikers. Sorry to steal Mr. Arseblogs’ line, as time goes by the “less the transfer of Park is understandable”. I cannot understand how in a game where we had nothing at stake could the little Korean still not make an appearance, I know injuries were unfortunate but it is seeming like a pointless signing. Not that the other striker in the reserves offers anything better. Whether it is confidence or incompetence, I am not qualified to say. All I know is that he is not good enough and from what I can tell never will be for our club so again let’s cut our losses and move him out for the type of money that has been mentioned.

All of this coupled with the injury to Santos and last night is looking more and more like a disaster by the second. I understand the logic for playing him but it was a gamble that never really offered great returns so was never worth taking. We should all just count out blessings that Vermaelan was not injured last night.

Seeing as we officially without all four of our fullbacks life could be fairly difficult for the foreseeable future, especially with the all important game against city coming up. I imagine it will either mean bringing in Miquel who looked fairly good or moving Vermaelan out to the left and shuffling the rest. I am not sure which way to go and do not envy the challenge the boss has over the next few games.

So whilst I would like to say that the last leg of Champions League fixtures was the one I was hoping for, I cannot really. Well that is until you see the two “dominant Manchester clubs” crash out of the Champions League at the first hurdle!


Got that out of the way, now back to sleep and a depressing life.

Good night to you all.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Arsenal vs Olympiacos Preview, Team new and Frimpong the Super Soldier!

Morning all,

As Tuesday dawns upon us we realise the type of team we are; one that plays in the Champions League. Had this been a Spursday Thursday, I would feel much different. I wouldn’t feel the glow of optimism sprouting from my being as we approach an ultimately meaningless encounter in the context of the Champions League, but exciting nonetheless. Exciting because there will be a wealth of talent on display, much of which rarely has the opportunity to shine in competitive matches and believe me this will be competitive despite the lack of importance from our perspective. This was highlighted by Wenger when he said:

“It is true that some of the players do not play many games but they will be even more motivated to show they deserve to play. I wanted to bring this team because they gave a hard time to Manchester City last week. This side will be up for it. I would be deeply disappointed if our winning attitude was not right. I will make sure we walk out there with an immense desire to win the game.”

Olympiacos have more than a shout of going through if they beat us which will mean we can expect the frosty atmosphere to be particularly severe as we take them on with a depleted team in their own back yard. Their fans will expect a result and you can expect a hostile atmosphere which in itself is great experience for the lads.

More exciting however will be another opportunity to watch the Ox in action. He has impressed on nearly every outing this season and has seemed to make life difficult for the opposition regardless of quality. I would expect a positive performance to heap more pressure on the boss to include him for League matches in the future. I am sure that is one bit of pressure the boss wont mind having.

Also expect real performances from some of the other fringe players. This may well be their last chance this season to prove themselves on the big stage following our League Cup exit last week. In fact I expect many to go out on short term loans following this busy period to ensure that they have the game time to develop. One of the key players in this regard is Frimpong. After a superb performance last week, he will be eager to demonstrate his worth to the team. He is Arsenal through and through and you can see that every time he has put the shirt on but you feel that if he is to kick on he really needs some experience in top flight football. Perhaps the touted loan move to Wolves may come to bare fruit which could represent the kind of opportunity for Frimpong that Wilshire had two seasons ago at Bolton. Wenger obviously sees great potential in him so now I think it is down to heed the advice given to him and really make that next step up. Wenger remarked:

"I love his raw enthusiasm, the only problem is to keep him on the right track. Like every generous guy, you don't want to see him lose that. He's a real fighter. You would love to go to war [alongside] Frimpong. But he also has to use his energy in a positive way because sometimes too much energy can be a handicap. He has a good mixture of confidence, humility and energy. He learns as well. So after the heat, he accepts that he needs to think about what is wrong and right. Football is made about what the game wants not what the fans in the stands want. Good players always respond to the game situation and make the right decision taking all the emotional part out of it.”

I really like the last part as it sums up well the feeling for an enthusiastic come aggressive personality playing for the club he loves. It would be easy to get carried away with the crowd cheering your aggressive challenges to go that one step too far but I am sure as he matures it will become less prevalent in his game.

With regards to team news it is unclear who will get the nod today but I expect a much similar team to the one that played against City last week. I even expect the same formation of 4-4-2 to accommodate the game time both Park and Chamakh need so desperately. Rosicky is included in the squad but could be touch and go for fitness but I expect to see him at some stage. My predicted starting line up for tonight is:


Yennaris                             Djourou                                 Squilacci                    Miquel

Oxlade Chamberlain                       Frimpong                           Coquelin                Benayoun

                                             Park                                  Chamakh.

Although like last week don’t be surprised if the defence is supplemented by a heavyweight in Vermaelan or Arshavin to play.

So with that I shall leave you to enjoy your day!

Come on you Gunners!


Monday, 5 December 2011

Arsenal Squad to Face Olympiacos...

Evening all,

Today we saw the Champion’s League squad announced as well as having the news of our FA Cup third round opponents of Leeds. We will talk about that when we get closer to the time so let’s have a look at the squad for tomorrows tie in Greece.

As expected, Arsene Wenger has named a much changed squad to the one that faced Wigan for that thumping win. With Arsenal already through to the knockout stages, guaranteed to be top of the group there is little value in risking some of our big name players.

Moreover, this is a fantastic opportunity to give some of the fringe players another opportunity to shine as well as some of the promising youngsters.

After the fantastic display against Manchester City last week in the League Cup, the same set of players have another chance to show what they are made of! I for one am very excited for a number of reasons. 

I love watching football without having the feeling that I may have a heart attack which is something which has happened more often than not this season. Secondly it is nice to know that Robin Van Persie will not get injured in the match tomorrow as well as some of our other key players. Lastly, I love having the chance to see our fringe players, so all in all I am looking forward to this immensely. 

Though the team will have many youngsters who rarely get the chance they crave, the team will still have a number of experienced internationals in Park, Chamakh, Benayoun, Arshavin, Rosicky and Vermaelen.

The Arsenal squad is one that is built around players who need game time which I am sure they will relish. Particularly, the trio of Frimpong, Coquelin and Oxlade-Chamberlain are ones to watch tomorrow. Arsenal squad: Fabianski, Mannone, Park, Chamakh, Benayoun, Coquelin, Frimpong, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Arshavin, Squillaci, Djourou, Vermaelen, Santos, Rosicky, Ozyakup, Yennaris, Eastmond, Miquel.

Well with that I shall leave you to it!

Have a lovely night and speak to you tomorrow!


Sunday, 4 December 2011

Arsene Wenger’s Worst Signings - Part 2

Evening Gooners,

I sit here today hung over and suffering but still full of joy. Joyful that Arsenal bounced back from their mini-blip in fine style with a thumping 4-0 victory. Arsenal were well on top for the majority of the match and it was great to see such a variety of scorers. As much as I love seeing Van Persie score it was great for some of the other lads to chip in. Four different scorers from the one man team… I love it.

As promised, I have finished the list of worst Arsene Wenger signings which for some reason has been more popular than his best signings. Anyway, here is the conclusion of the list:

5. Alexander Hleb In: £13.5m     Out: £15m

On the surface this seems a strange choice, especially so high up the list. He was a tidy player who was a first team regular and a vital part of the team in his time. He came with very high expectations and was regarded as one of the most feared players in the Bundesliga. It was somewhat surprising then that in his time at Arsenal he was too scared to do anything of substance. I am surprised that bookies did not take bets on how many times he would pass the ball from a goal scoring opportunity. It was very frustrating to watch him and I imagine even harder to play with. Despite that Arsene Wenger managed to turn a profit when Barcelona inexplicably wanted Alexander Hleb. It is fair to say his awful performances weren’t rewarded with an extended run in that team.

4. Richard Wright In: £6m      Out: £3m

Richard Wright signed for Arsenal for a relatively large fee for a goalkeeper and was lined up to be the long term replacement to David Seaman. Despite playing second fiddle, the expectation was that he would be the man to be the pillar of Arsenal’s defence for many years but it just was not meant to be.
He got a chance to show his worth sooner than expected when he came in for the injured David Seaman. He did not take it as his form can only be described as atrocious and was quickly usurped by the young Stuart Taylor.

His Arsenal career was very short, in fact just a year which saw his stock fall by 50% and to the relief of many a Arsenal fan, he was never seen sporting the Arsenal Goalkeeper Jersey.

3. Pascal Cygan In: £2m      Out: £2m

Despite being a part of the Invincibles side which swept all before them, Cygan can only be described as a liability. He made you cringe watching him and one can only wonder how a professional footballer can look so unnatural on the football pitch. He rarely looked comfortable and every moment he touched the ball was a moment of anxiety for anyone who supported Arsenal.

It was amazing then that, Arsene Wenger actually managed to find a buyer that was willing to pay them £2m of real money. Truly stunning.

2. Jose Antonio Reyes In: £11m     Out: £10.5m.

Jose Antonio Reyes was only 20 when he joined Arsenal from Sevilla in the January transfer window of 2004 for around £11m. He struggled to ever really settle in at the club and despite some good form in patches he managed to score just 23 goals in two and a half seasons. This wasn’t a great return from a player who had some huge expectations and was touted as one of the future greats. He took time to get off the mark despite scoring on his debut. Just a shame it was at the wrong end of the pitch.
Despite immense potential, being homesick clearly took its toll on him. His form seemed to coincide with the weather and quickly returned to Spain ultimately leaving as a failure and one of Wenger’s most disappointing acquisitions.

1. Francis Jeffers - In: £8.5m     Out: £2.6M

Francis Jeffers was hands down Arsene Wenger’s worst signing ever. From whichever angle you look at it, it was a disaster. He lost huge sums on him, he hardly played and when he did he resembled the thing you need to look out for when taking a stroll in the park. He came with the title of the "fox in the box" something Arsenal apparently needed. Wenger signed him from Everton in 2001 for a mammoth £8.5m and only managed to get £2.6m when he offloaded a few seasons later to Charlton.

Though it is a bit harsh to him seeing as he was a young player who had little to no playing time, the sheer hype around him is reason enough for him to take the top spot. A truly, truly awful player and by far Wenger’s worst ever signing.


Saturday, 3 December 2011

Wigan vs Arsenal Preview: Team news, The Ox and our striker problems.

Afternoon to all in the GoonerVerse,

We are approaching an increasingly vital game on the back of a mini blip of sorts. Whilst our performance was admirable mid-week a setback here and the button men on Fleet Street will be sharpening their knives to really stick it in.

I think today’s game is vital, not because the pressure is up again, I just think this is exactly the type of game we should be winning and to maintain our surge up the table we must continue in the vain of form prior to the Fulham game. I spoke at length then, that perhaps the problem may have been complacency more so than fatigue but either way this is a game we should not be taking lightly. Wenger asserted as much in his pre-match notes when he said “For us of course the three points are the target, no matter who we play. We dropped two points against Fulham and it is important we get back to winning habits."

The manager has spoken of the importance of the upcoming game and all the players have had sufficient rest, bar Koscienly, so we have no such excuses this time. I anticipate we shall return to our collaborative team ethic of working hard for each other and building from the back. From that solid base we can launch attacks against a team whose luck is bound to get better. It is imperative that we ensure we are ruthless as I think it may be a tighter affair than the table may suggest, especially given their recent successes against us. To be completely honest, I think this will play into our hands as Roberto Martinez has already spoken of the need to play football.

“We both need the points for different reasons, so it will be a great match. You can’t beat arsenal by trying to be solid and defensive, they will find a way through… there are always plenty of goals in the games here. We both treat the ball really well and play football from the back… we will have to put a lot of our energy into trying to break them down at the back.”

This is clearly an indication that it will be an open game, especially from their perspective. Martinez is unbeaten against Wenger at home and I think he thinks he knows how to hurt us. We must be prepared and I am sure the right preperations have been made. Such are the recent league results that we as fans would expect to win this match with ease but the reality is that it will be a huge battle. One, the likes of Arteta, Song, Vermaelan and Koscienly will be crucial warriors in.

With injury news relatively good in that there are no new casualties from the Carling Cup match, however the sad news that Diaby has had yet another setback has permeated through. Though it comes as no surprise to anyone that has followed his injury plagued career, I can’t help but feel sorry for the lad. He has showed glimpses of brilliance but is unfortunately now going to be stuck in a bit of loop of little niggles, recover and play, more niggles and recover etc. The other long term injuries are Wilshere (ankle), Gibbs (stomach), Jenkinson (back), Diaby (hamstring), Sagna (ankle), Ryo (ankle).

So without those players I expect the starting line up to look like this:


Koscienly                  Mertesacker                          Vermaelan                Santos



            Walcott                                   Ramsey                                 Gervinho

                                                            Van Persie

Certainly with that line up you would expect to beat a side in all sorts of trouble but stranger things have happened especially with Arsenal. I still expect a win, I would put my penny or two on a two nil win with Van Persie to score first.

Aside from the match there have been two issues which have dominated Arsenal press since the Man City match midweek. These have been what role Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should play in the squad and whether we have any backup strikers worthy of the shirt.

Let’s start with the Ox; after his sincilating performance midweek, where he caused international defenders all sorts of problems, questions are understandably being asked as to why he hasn’t had more opportunities. My feelings on this are simple enough, he is good enough so should be included in the squads and be given an opportunity where possible. The last part of that sentence is crucial though, where possible. With the situation we were in at the start of the season Arsene Wenger did not really have much choice but to stick with a consistent line-up especially as things were looking up. He has had some opportunities and I think he will get more. Arsene Wenger’s record in blooding young players is second to none so rest assured when he is completely ready Wenger will play him!

The second of the major issues is our dependency on Robin Van Persie for goals and the lack of a deputy that can come in and do a job. I do not want to use this as an opportunity to speculate what will happen in the transfer market but one thing is clear: Chamakh is not going to be good enough and neither is Park, not at the moment anyway. This means that we will need to do something to remedy this whether it is a foray into the transfer market or use someone else up there but an injury to RVP will be difficult to cope with.

I know there is lot’s of hysteria around Wenger’s comments regarding him not buying this transfer window but he has made these comments before. I can guarantee that if the right player is available he will buy him. If you look at Wenger’s comments carefully he doesn’t fully rule out a signing which is understandable, he does not want to knock the confidence of players who are already low on it.

"At the moment, I do nothing in January, we have a big squad, but if you knock at my door and say 'I have a fantastic player for you', I will not turn it down… If we have no injuries, we should get away with it because we have Oxlade Chamberlain, who can play there, Park, Arshavin and Van Persie. So we still have offensive players, but we could be a bit short if we have an injury.”

Well I think that’ll have to do it for the day. I will speak to you all tomorrow!


Thursday, 1 December 2011

Arsene Wenger’s Top Ten Worst Signings - Part 1

Following the hugely successful Top Ten Wenger signings many fans (I assume of other teams) were quick to point out a number of his failures. So I though, in the interest of fairness, that I should compile a list of Arsene Wenger’s worst signings. I thought that this would be easy as there are so many off the top of your head. Then I thought about the issue more deeply and struggled to come up with a definition of failure. It is easy to determine success as it is very measurable but how do you define failure in a relatively successful period in the club. If it is trophies than surely the last few years of transfers have been awful but they surely aren’t the worst.

I have then considered price tag and expectation alongside role in the team as something to measure against. If any of these were high for the three aspects I just mentioned, then I will be more critical. For instance a player who comes in on a free transfer and nobody has heard of him will not be measured against the next big thing who flops regardless of who the better player is. Slightly different criteria to my last series but the same principle so let’s crack on!

Honourable mentions must go out to Pascal Cygan, Oleg Luzhny and Philipe Senderos all very poor players who had some bright moments which kept them out of the dreaded list below. Looking at the position, anyone think they might be seeing a trend or perhaps this is just a coincidence.

10. David Grondin - In: £500k    Out: Free

We start off with someone I doubt many fans outside of Arsenal will even recognise. In fact you would be forgiven as an Arsenal fan to not have even heard of him. He only made four appearances for the club with only one in the Premier League and was bought at the same time as Christopher Wreh (a close miss on the list) who was cheaper and played more. In fact Wreh even started in the FA cup final. Either way Grondin is the first on our dubious list.

9. Jermaine Pennant – In £2m     Out: £3m

Jermaine Pennant was signed as a 15 year old with ridiculous expectations. I myself was caught up in the hype and expected miracles. To be fair, he did score a hat-trick on his first start for us which everyone hoped would set the tone for his career but a string of legal problems mainly due to drink driving offences scuppered his career at Arsenal. Whilst he didn’t play many games and was sold for a profit he was definitely a failure given the expectations he came with.

8. Tomas Danilevicius – In: £2m     Out: Free

Another one who enters the list in the category: “Who the… is that?” To that I say, a really bad player. He was a tall striker signed by Arsene Wenger for around £1m, yes twice the fee he paid for Nicolas Anelka and what a difference. He clearly didn’t impress as he did not last very long at all. He was loaned out and eventually sold only able to make a handful of appearances. A really bad buy by any measure.

7. Igor Stepanov - In: Way too much

Despite a relatively bright start for Arsenal where he was beginning to establish himself as an option it all went very wrong one fateful day in February. It was unheard of that the Arsenal back four would concede 6 goals in a single game but Stephanov did his utmost to ensure that he could disprove these ideas. He was almost singlehandedly responsible for the goals. The fans would never forgive him and neither had it seemed could the boss. He never recovered and neither did his Arsenal career. Not only was he awful he was one of the major contributing factors to one of Arsenal’s worst days ever.

6. Mikael Silvestre In: £300k     Out: Free

If Igor Stepanov was bad for Arsenal than Mikael Silvestre was atrocious. He never ever displayed anything but calamitous displays and was almost immediately hated by Arsenal fans. Not for anything he had done in his past or even his work ethic but the fact that he really looked awful every time he stepped on the pitch. There was no surprise that he was to be sold, the only surprise came when Werder Bremen actually wanted him. Truly past it.

Tomorrow we should have pre-match news and a roundup of a few other bits and bobs... The list of worst signings should be concluded by the weekend.

Have a lovely evening!


Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Arsene Wenger's Best Signings - Part 2 and some post match views

So last night was not the best of occasions for us but there were far more positives in there for me not to care too much about the result. I suppose it highlights the difference between this competition and others. If we were to lose in the league I think it would take me quite a while to recover but now I am already over it.

It was good to see us hold our own against a stronger team on paper. I was particularly impressed with Coquelin, Miquel, Frimpong and of course Oxlade-Chamberlain. He really does look a class act and I think he exemplifies what qualities a great all round footballer should have. Let’s just say I look forward to seeing him in the future.

The other point to note and perhaps my favourite part of last night was the humiliation that Nasri must have faced… Frimpong had him in his pocket for the night and at the end of the night revealed to him a “Beeeench” T-shirt, whilst not classy, was still brilliant. I am beginning to love this side of him and whilst I appreciate some fans find it irksome, it is something we haven’t had for a while.

Well with that mini round up, I suppose we can get back to Wenger’s Best Signings part 2.

5: Marc Overmars In: £7m     Out: £25m 

Marc Overmars arrived from Ajax after already winning 3 league titles in a relatively short career. This was soon added to as Overmars was an immediate success for Arsenal and managed to win the double in just his first season. He continued Arsene Wenger’s evolution of the club adding his blistering pace and sublime finishing to an already accomplished side. He may have not lasted long but given his incredible scoring record, particularly in big games, he remains a fan favourite to this day. Couple this with the fact that he essentially made the club well over 200% profit from his transfer, it is a great signing by any stretch. To make things even sweeter for the Arsenal faithful his transfer facilitated the moves for Robert Pires, Sylvain Wiltord and the reliable Lauren. Overall a fantastic signing with good business that followed.

4: Cesc Fabregas – In: £500k     Out: £35m(ish)

Well here we have an incredible talent that Arsene Wenger hand picked at the age of 16. Upon signing him he helped nurture the lad who eventually blossomed into a world class talent. Fabregas was a technically gifted player, one whose ability is not seen very often. This was recognised by all and as a result he was in a protracted and very painful (for Arsenal fans at least) transfer saga to return to the team he came from. Aside from having great technical ability, Fabregas worked very hard for the team and had one of the best footballing brains I have witnessed. He broke countless records for the Arsenal in no small part due to the faith exhibited in him by Arsene Wenger. He became Arsenal's youngest ever first team player, aged 16 years and 177 days when he played in a league cup tie against Rotheram, he shortly after became the youngest goalscorer in Arsenal's history in a later round of the League Cup, scoring in a 5–1 victory against Wolverhampton Wonderers. The following season he capitalised on an injury to Vieria and managed to become Arsenal’s youngest ever League scorer in a match against Blackburn. Although he only won 1 major trophy in Arsenal colours his contribution to the club cannot be underestimated. He was one of Arsene Wenger’s Greatest signings.

So here we are into the business end of the top ten… So without further ado here is my top three.

3: Robert Pires – In: £6m    Out: Free

Bought for just £6m from the profits of the Marc Overmars sale, it is fair to say that the Frenchman more than provided value for money. He was a phenomenal success and in a team with greats such as Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieria and Igor Stephanov, he more than held his own. In fact it can be argued that he was for large parts of his career one of Arsenal’s best players. He scored 84 goals in his time for Arsenal with 19 being his best return for a single season; not bad for a midfielder eh? He won two league titles, three FA cups and countless individual honours in his time at Arsenal. The highlight individually of course, was being recognised as the best player in the land by the Football writers in 2001/02.

2: Robin Van Persie In: £2.5m Now Worth: £100m

Now this might be a little controversial. Note at the start of the piece I had declared that ability was the single most important factor in deciding my rankings and whilst there are some supremely talented individuals here, Robin Van Persie is hands down one of the best players I have ever seen. Now I know he has been injured, hasn’t won much and all the rest of it but I have not seen many players that have such undoubted ability as this guy. Watching him live is such a joy, a pleasure I have not felt since watching the great Dennis Bergkamp. He is a truly amazing player with bags of talent but please do not think he is on this list due to current form alone. He has had undoubted ability since he joined the club and with some of the most unbelievable goals known to man to come from this man it is difficult for me to place many people higher than him. A particular highlight was his goal against Charlton. The fact he is now being compared to Ronaldo and Messi is testament to how good he really is and has been all this time. This is his longest period without injury and has cemented his place as a real talent. One can only imagine what could have been for Arsenal had he been fit these past few years.

1: Thierry Henry  In: £11m     Out: £16m

There was never really any doubt, was there? Arsenal’s record scorer and most celebrated talent, Thierry Henry is widely celebrated as the best Premier League player of all time. He scored at an incredible rate but it was his all round game that was really outstanding. He like many before him won two league titles and three FA cups and was instrumental in all of the successes. To highlight his importance as an individual just consider that in his time with Arsenal he was the French Player of the Year 5 times, Football Writers’ Player of the Year 3 times, in the PFA team of the year 6 times in a row, won the Premier League Golden Boot 4 times, won the European Golden Boot 2 times and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame to name just a few. In 369 appearances for Arsenal he scored a record breaking 226 goals along with a phenomenal 92 assists. For ten of his best check out: Homage to a Legend.  Thierry Henry is undoubtedly Arsene Wenger’s best signing to date!

Honourable mentions:

Patrick Vieria    In: £3.5m     Out: £13.5m

I know, I hear what you are saying, even though I am not there. I hear you loud and clear; “How the hell is Vieria not in your list?”

Well to be honest, the main reason is it is a bit of a grey area. Patrick Vieria was signed in August of 1996 whilst Wenger was only appointed the manager of Arsenal at the end of September in the same year. Although it is clear that Wenger had some influence in the transfer and it was certainly a recommendation, it is difficult to give him full credit as he was not even in the job in the first place. So for this reason I have refrained from adding him. I shall leave you to speculate as to where he may have been if he had been included.

Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and Emmanuel Adebayor AKA the Cash Cow

I will not go into detail with each transfer but only will say that as well as getting good quality players for relatively small amounts, Arsene Wenger was able to sell them on and make lots of profit. In fact around £30m at a very low estimate.