How Does The Season Stack Up Against Predictions

Now that the horror end to the season is behind us I thought it worthwhile to look back at the predictions I’d made before the start of the season and after the summer transfer window had closed.

In this article, written before the season started, I’d mentioned United as the title favourites.

As of now, I’d say United are favourites. I know many people think Rooney will not be able to maintain his form and Fergie’s team will struggle this year. I’ll be delighted if that happens but I think the Scot is a wily old fox and will change his game style this year. They’ll try to get more from Berbatov, Hernandez, and Nani by playing a more defensive style.

That was a time when many Gooners and pundits were writing them off and predicting a poor year for Fergie’s men. Hate to say it, but the United manager did get a lot more out of Berbatov, Hernandez, and Nani.

After the transfer window closed my predictions were – United, Chelsea, and Arsenal followed by City, Liverpool, and Tottenham battling it out for 4 to 6.

This was my prediction for Chelsea,

I expect them to have some extremely dominant periods and some phases when they drop a lot of points. Second in the League is my prediction.

For United,

I think Fergie understands the Englishness of the League better than anyone else and that will help them a lot. Berbatov looks like he will do much better this season and that should ease some burden of Rooney. United fans will also be hoping for more from Nani, Valencia, and the refs (their twelfth man, especially at home).

It is impossible to ignore the contribution of referees to this United title.

For City,

I think they’ll be fourth because of their squad that should help them see off the Spuds and Liverpool. They will only finish higher if one of the top three really make a mess of things.

Arsenal did make a mess of things.

For Arsenal,

I’d mentioned that the fitness of Van Persie and Fabregas will be the key. RvP showed us his value after Christmas. But I haven’t forgotten the calls to sell him during the January transfer window because he was supposedly made of glass. Of course, that wasn’t anything more than the partly amusing and somewhat annoying routine of a vocal minority of fans changing their tune based on the current form.

Unfortunately for Arsenal, Fabregas struggled for fitness and completely disappeared at the business end of the season. Others like Nasri failed to rise to the occasion and some of the younger players, who’d done well thus far, disintegrated under pressure.

I will review the season over the course of the summer so don’t want to write definitive opinions in this article. But the lack of contribution from Fabregas during key moments of the season did make a big impact on the results. If he’d been fit for the Carling Cup final or if he’d played well in the final couple of months we might have had a completely different finish.

That’s not an excuse, nor is it a comprehensive explanation. It’s just one part of a complex puzzle that was the Arsenal season.

As far as the cups go I didn’t expect a strong run in the Carling Cup. That was a pleasant surprise. Runs in the other two competitions were going to depend on the draw. We all know how that turned out.

Overall I’d say the season went largely as expected although the final few weeks were extremely disappointing and frustrating given the quality of performances prior to the Carling Cup final.

PS: I was doing the Daily Mail crossword online and the following clue brought out a chuckle – A split at Tottenham Hotspur concerning money-management (6). The setter must be a prescient Gooner with a sense of humour 🙂


40 Responses to How Does The Season Stack Up Against Predictions

  1. Ufunnylot says:

    You make me laugh how you go on about UTD having ref decisions going for us!
    No mention about how many we get against us! How many bans we get, like 5 match bans!
    You fail to mention how many decisions your team gets, how many penalties did you get this year? I remember the number 16 being mentioned half way through the season.
    Everyone predicted the goons would finish outside the top 4 and you almost did. Heres a prediction, You’re out the CL next season.

    • G4L says:

      You lot got away with way too much. Why don’t you actually make a note of the calls that went for and against you. Come back with facts.

      I do feel sorry for you though. This article, if you think about it, does praise United and SAF. You’d have to be thick to focus on just one line while missing the forest for the tree.

    • 037 says:

      – Rooney’s elbow on James McCarthy in United’s game against Wigan
      – Blackpool game: when at 2-0 a clear push in the bck on a Blackpool player was not given the penalty that should have been given
      – countless “Fergie Time”
      – ending injury time just when Everton was about to shoot
      – Wolves game: Scholes scores with his hand and gets only a yellow;Giggs kicks out at a Wolves player off the ball – no card?
      – Neville’s challenge V WBA
      – Vidic’s deliberate handball at the Emirates

      (Touchline bans in England are useless anyway.. A meaningful way to do it is the way it’s done in the Champs League, with Mourinho only allowed to observe from the stands the entire time)

      Not to mention the decisions going against Arsenal when they were breating down Man Utd’s neck for 1st place.
      There’s been plenty of malicious fouls aimed at Arsenal with minimal punishment (Barton), soft penalties (Newcastle), offside decisions, Fergie Time for opponents when against Arsenal (against Liverpool, Sunderland), and the list goes on.

      While it’s true that Arsenal should have had a stronger defensive system, some tactical flexibility, and a tougher bounce-back mentality (while at the same time Man Utd are excellent at those factors), it’s difficult to argue that refereeing decisions did not help Utd.

  2. WafflingWenger says:

    Very nicely constructed and informative article once again desi.

    It really is a shame that utter crap like @2:13am will now dominate the comments – you’re a more patient man than me for putting up with repetitive drivel. At some point, you’ve just got to ignore them and let bygones be bygones.

    It’s an interesting moment to reflect on pre-season predictions. For all the talk about how this was suppose to be the most open and unpredictable season in years it did end up pretty, well, predictable. If anything the stereotype/character of each club has only strengthened, but again this might just be a strengthening of my own interpretation.

    Look forward to your articles during the off season.

  3. G4L says:

    I was among the silent readers during the early part of the season. I remember that United prediction and thinking that you’d lost the plot, lol. Now it seems silly but I was convinced United were going to flop.

    Chelsea looked like the favorites to me early on. Never thought they’d crumble the way they did. Interestingly, the difference between us and them was that their free-fall, as it is now known, came during the mid-season and is now forgotten, whereas ours came more recently and will haunt us all through the summer.

    • Paul says:

      g4l, good on you, you were certainly wrong about most things this year. Glad to hear some people can admit it.

      Desi, don’t break your arm patting your back, you missed a lot this year as well. Didn’t you say we had a good shot at the title quite a bit?

      Guys, if you want to play above board don’t just trot out the few bits you ended up being right about, do mention all the other wrong parts alongside. I don’t mean to sound harsh but many of you are constantly exaggerating the highs of the season whilst turning away from the lows and then attempting to criticise the fans who point out the obvious weaknesses, and then to top it off at the end of the season you try to tell everyone how foresightful you are. Desi, don’t take this the wrong way, but you and many of the posters here have a long way to go, this is merely meant to aid that process.

    • desigunner says:

      Paul,

      I’m not sure what makes you so bitter but this really isn’t about patting myself on the back.

      If you’ve read this blog on a regular basis, you might have noticed that I like to take the approach of a student and not an expert. The only time I criticize people is when they end up pretending to be experts without really looking at all the relevant facts.

      I have my own set of criticisms for the players, board, and the manager. But I try to show respect along with that because I acknowledge how tough their jobs are. I always accept criticisms and opinions that disagree with mine but not oversimplified or trivialized nonsense. Unfortunately, some fans end up believing they have all the solutions and it’s easy. That’s the type I cannot stand.

      Anyway, it seems you have taken something personally and I’m not sure what that is. So I can’t really say anything about that.

      Btw, I still believe we had a good shot at the title. We just blew it and I will share my thoughts/observations on why it happened during the coming days.

      • Paul says:

        Desi, just be sure to place at the top of your next article that fourth place is not quite where you predicted us to be.

        I simply take issue with the blatant bias present in your work that precludes an honest assessment of the season, followed by this farcial piece on predictions which in effect seeks to twist most of what you’ve written this year. ‘we just blew it’? Substitue ‘we’ with ‘I’, because you haven’t been right about much of anything this year.

        Your heros, players and manager, that you put up on a pedastal, have basically taken a giant crap on your vision of how things would turn out – clean yourself up and write something worthy of a true student of the game.

      • Steve says:

        Really Paul? What is an honest assessment of the season?

        Do you wish to imply that anyone who isn’t moping around and blaming the manager left, right, and center is not making an honest assessment? Get a life.

        I love this blog because it is by far the most balanced one I have found on the internet. I don’t agree with everything but I appreciate the ‘honest’ attempt.

    • desigunner says:

      @G4L

      You were not wrong about Chelsea. At the start they looked unplayable. But over the years I have realized teams have good spells and bad. Actually, it was a Liverpool supporting business partner of mine who first pointed that out to me a few years back. After that I started noticing the broader patterns and consciously tried ensuring that I don’t get caught up in the recent/short-term memories.

      • santori says:

        Good of you to remind us of some of the predictions made.

        Also worth mentioning how certain players were slated at different intervals without clear view of the overall picture.

        And now we’re hearing the same clamour for certain favorite players (namely English) as the cure to our woes much like we did with Felipe Melo last summer. I expect most have forgotten that name.

  4. RockyLives says:

    Very good Desi – can I borrow your crystal ball?

    My predictions were:
    Chelsea 1st
    Arsenal 2nd
    Man City 3rd
    Man Utd 4th

    I also predicted Arshavin would be our player of the season.

    Shows what I know!

    • desigunner says:

      Arshavin wasn’t that bad actually. His numbers are better than Nasri. Arshavin had a goal or assist every 128 mins, Nasri was 216. That’s a big difference.

      I think the Frenchman scored some wonder goals and that led to unbelievable hype which has helped him avoid criticism for his recent contribution, or lack of. Arshavin on the other hand is paying the price for a loss of form when the team was struggling. That and his defensive weaknesses (which have always been there) kind of made him an easy scapegoat.

      And out predictions aren’t that different, Chelsea – Arsenal – City are in the same order 🙂

      • santori says:

        Desi, your opinion on his loss of form?
        I think Andrei is suffering because of a lack of speed out wide (due to age)

        I think he might do better being switched in field if Fab is sold. His numbers for assits are up there and the bloke isn’t afraid to have a goal at goal with a snap shot is he?

        If Fab stays, then he might have to be content with being an impact sub out wide (If we land another winger which I think we should) or he might just be sold on.

      • desigunner says:

        I don’t know why but Arshavin really struggled with his shooting this season. In the past whenever he was around the box he was a big threat. This year he has missed a number of good chances and rarely produced the kind of thunderbolt we expect.

        It started really early in the home game against Bolton where he missed a couple of one-v-one’s. And after that his shooting just hasn’t been the same. I have a feeling that has contributed to his loss of form. Not sure about the cause though.

  5. Tim says:

    Desi, you got them spot on. Good job. I wonder if you put your money where your mouth is.

    I got mine completely wrong. I thought Arsenal were going to win. Based on the quality of the players, we could have won more than 80 points which would have made us champions.I did not predict our self destruction(as usual).We ended up with only 68 points.I had Man City as 2nd but I did not expect Mancini to be such a poor and not progressive coach. I had Man Utd as third and expected the pensioners from Chelsea to finish 4th.
    I am sure that this season was our best chance for trophy. I can not see us winning the Premier League next season. I will wait for the transfers to make my final prediction but it does not look good so far.

    • desigunner says:

      I don’t know why but betting sites don’t accept bets from US. At least Betfair doesn’t and that’s the one I like. Haven’t really checked others.

      I do like betting but not on such predictions. I like the extremely high odds ones. Like betting on Arsenal after Barca took the lead at the Emirates or betting on the Gunners to drop 2 points after scoring 4 goals against Newcastle, etc. Those things often don’t work out but the loss is small and when they do the reward is huge. The thrill of getting it right when odds are stacked against your prediction is something else.

  6. Tim says:

    Desi, which striker(s) do you suggest we buy?
    I think we need a quick tall striker who can dribble and of course score goals.
    Felipe Caicedo from Man City is great.
    Moussa Sow(5ft11) is very good.
    Demba Ba looks excellent.
    Pappiss Cisse looks good although I am not very sure about him.
    We need a striker like them and of course we have to wait for Benik Afobe and Chuba Akpom to become old enough(around 22).

    • desigunner says:

      Ideally I’d want someone as good as Adebayor from 07-08 or Drogba of last season. Not sure there are many around who can perform at that level on a consistent basis. Most strikers will have good moments and struggle on other occasions. I haven’t seen many in recent times who’ve really excited and convinced me.

      • WingedGooner says:

        I think the need for a ‘goalscorer’ is overhyped. Benzema is ideally the best striker for arsenal but wenger will buy him ONLY if he is thinking of changing the formation to accomodate both him and RVP in a 4-1-3-2. However with our current fluid 4-3-3, he won’t really get to play as many games(fingers crossed RVP is fit) and theres no reason in buying him or anyone over 10M in that case as 2nd/3rd choice.

        If 4-3-3 it is, then he needs to concentrate on getting wingers. If cesc leaves,then i would get affelay+25M for him and young/hazard. Arshavin as backup for nasri at AM, wilshere/ramsey at CM, song/parker/diaby at DM.

        Imagine a Defense of Sagna-Samba-Al Habsi-Koscielny-Vermaelen with Vertonghen, Djouro, Szczezny,Gibbs and Jenkinson as backup.

        I have thought this through in my head and it seems more efficient but requires a major overhaul. I would prefer the 4-1-3-2 with benzema but I cant visualize it happening now. What do you think desi?

        OUT: Bendtner, Clichy, Denilson,Almunia, Rosicky,Squillaci,Vela,Fabianski,Fabregas,Eboue
        IN: Affelay,Young,Parker,Samba,Vertonghen,Al Habsi,Demba Ba

      • santori says:

        @winged gooner.

        You are dreaming.

        Maybe 2-3 signings (hopefully quality) this season. 4 (possibly) if Fab leaves

        What’s so good about Samba? He is too slow for us IMO (works for Blackburn as they tend to sit deep). Would prefer Hangeland.

      • santori says:

        @Desi… CHelsea seem to be heading toward a clear out.

        Zhirkov and Bosingwa are seemingly on the way out. Not sure if they’ll keep Drogba if the offer is right either.

        See any utility in us making a cheeky bit for Drogba? Or mayba Bosingwa as a holding player/fullback ?

        Conversely, what is your opinion on the West Ham fire sale? Any value there?

        I don’t see Parker as being useful to us but Hitzelsperger could be (defensively). How about Nzogbia?

      • wafflingwenger says:

        @winged gooner

        “OUT: Bendtner, Clichy, Denilson,Almunia, Rosicky,Squillaci,Vela,Fabianski,Fabregas,Eboue
        IN: Affelay,Young,Parker,Samba,Vertonghen,Al Habsi,Demba Ba”

        Sounds like a severly weakend side to me. I would only take 1 or 2 of those ‘INS’

      • desigunner says:

        @WG,

        I agree with your reservations about Benzema. It’s hard to see him fit into the starting eleven on a regular basis.

        In the current system, a Winger who could double up as striker or vice versa (Rooney comes to mind) could be the right buy.

        @Santori,

        Drogba can be a big player but I’m not sure he will come to Arsenal and his wages will be an issue. It will also depend on how Wenger is able to manage his ego when he doesn’t get regular starts.

        I haven’t seen much of West Ham this season but will be surprised if they had the quality that could help Arsenal.

    • santori says:

      Why not get Drogba? He has been a scourge for us over the years. We should at least take him out of circulation.

      At his age, he’ll make a very useful back up.;)

  7. Yang says:

    I always enjoy reading this site. btw I know large faction of Arsenal fan support Wenger and there is almost no chance to make change but is it really necessary to keep one manager at one club for long period of time?

    I read through few articles about historically important manager ever and I surprised at the fact so few of them manage to get a sustained result for one club. Most of manager fade out after some successful time.

    It seems like staying at one club for long time and maintain success is extremely difficult task.

    I guess that if Barca fail to win CL this time then there is good chance Pep want to move some where else.

    • santori says:

      Chnage is subject to the unknown.

      Had Wenger been merely responsible for developments on the pitch, then yes, he may have seen his last days earlier.

      However, Wenger has transformed the club and oversees its management in a holistic way.

      Yes someone may come in and win us something on the picth but it may also be at the expense of the overall plot.

      Our fundamentals are sound.

      1) Strong youth Academy. This does not exclude purchase from without but affords us the option of not being hostage to price fluctuations in the market.

      2) Consistent CL for 15 years. That’s 35m quid a year but more importantly, it allows us to continue to attract some of the best talents in the business despite our inferior pocket vis-a-vis some overspending clubs.

      3)Despite the poor defense and inexperience, we have challenged the title right up to the 36th game. Says something about the quality of the team despite the poor run at the end. Certainly something to build on.

      But you may be alluding to a fundamental problem facing Wenger in that the modern game is now much more complex and he may be a tad overwhelemed (He won’t ever admit it)

      Just looking at the market alone, there is now a more equitable knowledge on players from lesser leagues around the world. Coupled with the deep pockets of some clubs, this makes finding players for the right value far more difficult than it used to.

      Coupled with the fact that (I feel) the game in England is also more technical these days and you just feel Wenger could do with some help.

      In particular, I think he will do himself (and us) a great favoue if he finds better tactical counsel or at least a specialist coach each to concentrate on defensive and attacking issues.

      Wenger is a great intergrator and should stay in charge but he really needs the right person(s) to help him with certain specifics. It can do no harm.

      If things continue the way they are and we are left in similar situation come end of next season, I think we will see a change at the helm.

    • desigunner says:

      I think the simplest way of answering that question is to look at the track record of managers. How many managers have worked on the kind of budget that Arsenal have and achieved anything? O’Neill, Mark Hughes, Redknapp, and others have had a much bigger budget and achieved much less.

      So those who want Arsene out have to conclusively show that someone else will do a better job. In this league, if you drop out of the top four it’s hard to get back in. After that it can easily be a downward spiral.

  8. bob says:

    Desi,
    You mention Fergie’s unsurpassed understanding of the “Englishness” of the League and his “wiliness” and – in passing – how the ref’s are his “twelfth man.” With all due respect, this isn’t analysis. I think even a glance would behoove you to give some spirited credit where it’s due – to a serious analysis of these descriptive adjectives that bears attention and a principled coming to grips with: http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/12369
    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/12395
    I urge you to look and, as I respect your analysis for the most part, eagerly await your thoughts on these. There is an internal crisis at Arsenal – inadequate players under pressure; and an external crisis visited on Arsenal – chronic dubious (at best) “handling” by your “wily fox”‘s “twelfth man” Read it and weep, but learn.

    • santori says:

      With all due respects, there is no internal crisis.

      We have finished dissapointingly fourth but we have achieved our minimum goals.

      We do not have to off load players rather we have an opportunity to enchance.

      Yes there are some inadequecies due in some part to inexperience but despite our poor run, we were still in it to win thte title right to the 36th game. The opposition (United and all) were not as far away as it seems from us.

      We won’t be crying over anything because we will have the opportunity at it again (yes hopefully with some lessons learnt).

      OTOH, you might learn to be a bit more circumspect considering your own analysis in itself seems filled with hyperbole.;)

  9. Phil23 says:

    An interesting article in which Nasri states he is better on the wing! Sign him back up Arsene…
    http://www.espnstar.com/football/premier-league/news/detail/item625920/Nasri:-France-snub-blessing-in-disguise/

    • santori says:

      I agree that he is better out wide. He can play both flanks and has added speed to his repetorie.

      OTOH, IF we keep AA, I think he is much better tucked in field (particularly if Fab is sold)

    • desigunner says:

      If my assumption that he is adapting, learning fast, and enjoying his game, is correct, then everything should work out. Hopefully, he won’t be too greedy.

  10. santori says:

    Hate to say this but you were right Desi (I wish you weren’t)

    I did think United were the main challengers this season but I did thinnk we had a decent shot.

    I don’t think the C Cup destroyed us necessarily more then Wenger’s overemphasis in winning it.

    Consequently he played more first team players than we should have for the Carling and we suffered on all 4 fronts.

    But had we the mental gumption, we had plenty of chances to get back in it right till the very end (36th game against Stoke)

    We were missing some inspiration on the pitch. It was a pity that Fabregas went missing again following a CL knock out.

  11. Tee Song says:

    Regarding selling RvP, Arsene is kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Firstly, I absolutely love Robin as a player. He’s sublimely skilled and seems to be Arsenal through and through. I’d go so far as saying, without his injury record, he’s captain material. But that’s the rub, his injury record. Over the past five years, just looking at the EPL, van Persie’s played in 106 of 190 possible games, 87 starts, 19 substitute appearances. His record of Champions League appearances in the same time period is 26 starts and 2 substitute appearances in 56 games . Considering he’s essentially an automatic starter when fully fit, that’s a pretty damning record.

    So one needs to ask a very tough question. Is it wise to build your team around a player who has a five year record of being available for half your games? In terms of goal scoring, I consider RvP to be almost as important to the team as Cesc. So taking Robin in and out of the lineup can only be disruptive and result in a significant drop in the team’s offensive efficiency. RvP’s backup has an impossible task. He has to be good enough to slot in as seamlessly as possible when called upon and yet be willing to drop to the bench when van Persie is available. So you have a situation that in half your games, you have a world class striker, half your games you play with a substitute who’s not.

    Maybe it would be better for the team to have a striker of slightly less ability but more availability. Because of the way Arsenal play, the players need to have a very high level of understanding with each other. Our system requires the players to play intricate one touch football requiring the anticipation and understanding to predict what every other player on the pitch is going to do. RvP has been with the team for long enough that even with his injury enforced absences, he can come into the team without disrupting the team dynamic. Robin’s backup will never get enough games to develop that same level of understanding. So while selling van Persie and bringing in another striker may mean that we don’t have the same quality up front, it may make the team function more effectively in the long run. By having a first team striker who’s available for 40 games, the team develops the understanding to become more efficient overall without being so dependent on scoring from van Persie.

    It’s a difficult question and I’m not saying I have the answer. I do, however, understand the premise of selling RvP and reinvesting in another striker. When people talk about bringing in another striker, the one I want is an RvP who’s available for 40 games. That’s an unrealistic possibility given his record over his entire career. Thus, we have our current conundrum.

    • santori says:

      I don’t think it is a conundrum at all.

      Yes you are right that RVP is injury prone but he has stayed fit for half a season and scored 21 within that period.

      More importantly he has also stepped up this season with his leadership role

      Thirdly he is a creative player as you mentioned somewhat, and I believe he is actually best played in a libero role behind a main striker where his unpredictability can work to our best benefit.

      We have seen in recent games Wenger resorting to a sort of 4-4-1-1. I think this is the correct approach when we play teams sitting deep. It affords us a physical presence in the box (Chamakh) to get at the end of things or simply bruise space. But it also allows RVP full freedom of movement (in particular with Nasri out right and Andrei out left)

      Therefore, with Bendtner leaving for ‘better shores’, we have the opportunity to reinforce our frontline.

      I think we need to compliement the finesse of RVP and the aerial strength of Chamakh with someone sufficently physical but pacy up front.

      It will afford us to switch between a 4-3-3 9With RVP up top) or a 4-4-1-1 (RVP and either Chamakh or the new man.

      That way, we have utility for RVP as a playmaker/striker in 4-4-1-1 or as and out and out striker.

      If he gets injured, we have cover with (say) Andrei (or the new striker)in the 4-4-1-1 (Chamakh up top. or anyone of Chamakh or new guy for the 4-3-3.

      So I see it more as an opporunity than a conundrum
      and I don’t think we need to sacrifice quality in the new pplayer provided he can also take up a wing position if need be.

      There will be ample room to rotate and it will give us that much more options, thereby making us a touch less preictable next season.

      Just my opinion. I’m sure Desi can weigh in better.

      • santori says:

        Falcao anyone? Price seems a bit steep. 26mil quid.

      • Tee Song says:

        Well, I guess you’re an optimist. Personally, I believe that a team has a best 11 which should be able to start as a unit as often as feasible and a core group of perhaps 15 or so players who can more or less seamless interchange for the vast majority of EPL and UCL games. For the domestic cups, you’d probably expand that group to 20 or more. RvP is our best forward, but with him, Arsenal can only count on having their best available team 50% of the time. And that would optimistically assume that the likes of Cesc, Walcott, and Nasri aren’t injured or in need of a rest concurrently. Football is game of small margins, and whenever RvP is unavailable, it undoubtedly decreases our goal scoring ability. Even if the team without RvP is only slightly less efficient offensively, can we afford that in half the games we play?

        It may seem that I’m advocating van Persie’s sale. I’m not. But, it is imperative that Arsene develop a plan B in terms of personnel, formation, and tactics in order to compensate for Robin’s frequent injury absences. Doing that for half of Arsenal’s games as opposed to 20% (assuming availability for 40 of approximately 50 of Arsenal’s EPL and UCL games) is difficult. Merely hoping that he’ll overcome his injury woes seems naive. Hopefully, as you state, Theo, Chamakh or perhaps a forward yet to be named will seize the opportunity to fill the gap.

    • desigunner says:

      Tee Song,

      I can see your point. It’s definitely a very difficult situation of Wenger. The big problem, as you mentioned, is that finding someone of that quality is really hard.

      If Wenger buys a striker it has to be someone who can play two roles. That is the only way the new player will get regular games and get a chance to settle with the teammates. Your point about the need to develop an understanding is also very important.

      The ideal situation, and I have seen small glimpses of this, is that the Gunners be able to change the style completely based on the players involved. With Chamakh the team would go wider more often, with RvP it would be more of a passing game, and so on. It sounds simple when put that way but the details involved are complicated and each players role will change so chances of individual mistakes and mix-ups increase drastically.

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