Arsenal 1 – 0 Udinese: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

So, was this a lucky, undeserved win or was it winners finding a way to get a result when not playing particularly well?

I think neither statement does justice to such a game and would reflect more on the attitude of the opinion holder rather than the match itself.

As expected, this was an open game with both sides coming out with a positive attitude. Some might say it was too open and exciting!

Arsenal couldn’t have expected a better start as the Udinese high line was caught as early as the fourth minute. Sagna dinked it over the top for Ramsey to run onto. The play was squeezed into a fifteen yard area, so the Welshman got plenty of time and space. Theo got a clean, unmarked run into the box and finished an immaculate cross with a deft touch despite the awkward height.

At that moment, who would have thought that was going to be the high point of Arsenal’s night!?

The Gunners dominated the early exchanges and I got a feeling the visitors were showing too much respect to the hosts. This possession didn’t lead to any clear cut chances as the final ball was always lacking.

In the 13th minute Di Natale rattled the crossbar with an excellent free-kick. From that point on the Italians started gaining confidence and created better chances than the Gunners.

Arsenal were trying to play a high line and a possession game but the players were making far too many mistakes and conceding possession cheaply. They also lacked the technique, vision, and understanding to benefit from the space available in the attacking third.

Udinese were content with using the counter attack as the main weapon and it almost paid off in the 27th minute when Song lost possession just outside the Udinese box from a corner. The visitors played one pass and Armero was able to run straight past the Arsenal full-backs who were rooted to their spots just inside the Arsenal half.

Thankfully, the Colombian shot close to Szczesny who was able to make the save. The rebound fell to another Udinese player who laid it up for Di Natale, but the Serie A top scorer’s attempt was rather lame and was blocked by Song before Szczesny finally gathered the ball.

All through the first half, both sides gave their opponents plenty of space in front of the defence and on the flanks but neither had the quality to make it count, except the all important goal.

At half-time, Djourou came on for the injured Gibbs as Vermaelen moved to left back. For Udinese, an extra dollop of confidence was introduced for the diffidence that they’d started with.

The Italians pressed Arsenal higher up at the beginning of the second half and forced Koscielny into a mistake four minutes in as the Gunners struggled to bring the ball out. The defender gave the ball away with a rushed pass but once again Di Natale took an extra touch in the box allowing Djourou to slide in and make a block.

It was all Udinese for the next 20-25 minutes. Arsenal weren’t able to handle their pressing and struggled to string together any kind of passes.

The Gunners also lacked the right defensive shape and it allowed Udinese to get into the attacking third with relative ease. Only vigilant defending by the back four and some tracking back by Song and Ramsey kept Arsenal in the game when it appeared that the equalizer was only a matter of time.

It was another case where the defence looked terrible but the defenders were not at fault. I also want to clarify that in the preview I didn’t wish to imply the defenders were poor but I had exactly the scenario we saw in mind. Udinese were able to run rings around the defence because the shape of the team was really poor. Arsenal could never keep hold of the ball even when they worked hard to win it back.

The players kept rushing forward every time possession was regained but the defence was almost always forced to hoof it forward. Time and again two midfielders and the attackers were caught in a no man’s land as the ball came back within seconds.

It was another classic case of a system that wasn’t working which lead to desperate defending – credit to the back four for pulling it off – and an air of inevitability that we have become used to in recent games. This time the goal didn’t arrive but that does not mean the problems don’t exist.

The fact that Djourou went off less than ten minutes after he came on didn’t help. Jenkinson looked nervous but was dogged and tackled well.

Arsenal regained some composure and the game evened out in the final 15-20 minutes after Frimpong came on for Rosicky who hobbled off with an injury. The youngster conceded a dangerous free-kick soon after coming on, that brought a big save out of Szczesny, but did really well after that.

Ramsey and Frimpong showed a lot of composure and Arsenal were able to bring the ball out from defence in a much better manner. Gervinho and Walcott also contributed with their pace, movement, and ball retention.

Indeed, Arsenal were unlucky not to score a second when a lovely run from Gervinho led to a wonderful chance for Theo but Handanovic came up with a big save.

On the balance of play Udinese must be disappointed they didn’t get more out of this game but will feel confident of getting a result at home. Arsenal will have to improve and do much better. Wenger is playing a system he just doesn’t have players for. If he can’t get the right players soon enough he has to revise the style of play.

Individual Performances

Szczesny: Decision making was fairly good, saved whatever came his way, looked like had the long range strikes well covered even when they flew wide. Even his distribution has improved.

Sagna: Another hard working display. Bombed forward at every opportunity in the first half. Needed better end product though. A lot of fire-fighting in the second. Did well in the individual battles on the flank.

Koscielny: Made a couple of mistakes, one could have been fatal. But otherwise he had a decent game. Tracked the runs well and didn’t allow a lot through the middle.

Vermaelen: Did well under pressure. Positioning was good and covered the goal well when Udinese played down the middle.

Gibbs: Was looking impressive till he got injured.

Djourou: One excellent block. Wasn’t on the pitch long enough.

Jenkinson: Did well considering it wasn’t on his natural side. Looked a bit nervous but stuck to his task and chased his man if he got past. Tackling was impressive.

I thought the big problem was the ease with which Udinese were able to move from their defence to the attacking third. The shape of the team was at fault but the defenders can’t be blamed for that. It was surprising to see them back off from Di Natale which allowed him to play one-twos with his team-mates that created a number of half-chances.

On the whole, they covered for each other and prevented clean strikes on goal for most parts. The centre-backs did well against the aerial balls.

Song: Another grinding display. Covered a lot of ground and was always there to help the back four. Got forward in the early exchanges but wasn’t able to make anything of it.

Rosicky: Probably the weakest Arsenal player on the pitch. Had some impressive moments but wasn’t consistent. A player in his position in this system has to offer a lot more to the defence and would have to work a lot harder to help retain possession. Rosicky was caught on the ball at times, gave it away with hopeful passes, and didn’t offer himself to receive a ball as often as one would have liked.

Ramsey: Can’t fault his work rate but he can do with better awareness. Good assist. His composure towards the end helped the team regain equality on the pitch.

Frimpong: Excellent physical presence and power. Must avoid needless fouls.

Udinese gave the midfielders too much time and space in the early exchanges. But they didn’t create enough quality chances. In the second half they really struggled against the high pressing until Frimpong came on.

Walcott: Good instincts for the goal. Had a couple of other chances where he might have done better. A couple of good crosses but has to do better on that front.

Chamakh: Didn’t offer enough in terms of pressing, passing, presence, or movement.

Gervinho: Always looked threatening when he got on the ball. His confidence and running were impressive even if his touch or finishing wasn’t at the highest level.

After watching this game it felt like Chamakh wasn’t needed at all. Playing Gervinho down the middle with Rosicky on the left and Frimpong in the midfield might have given Arsenal the extra man to retain possession better when under pressure. It would also have given the Gunners a better counter-attacking threat.


35 Responses to Arsenal 1 – 0 Udinese: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    Walcott was man of the match for me. A goal, nearly a second, and 3 or 4 good crosses that a confident centre forward would have had a good chance of getting on the end of. What is happening with Chamakh is very sad to see. He is clearly a ‘confidence’ player, and he has none at the moment. Unless he can turn things around, we are dangerously short up front. Should we try to keep Bendtner?

    In both games, we have struggled to create chances. I’m hoping some of this is early season rust, but it is clear we will struggle whenever Wilshere is unavailable. We need some help here.

    As for our defensive ‘problems’, we have now kept 2 clean sheets out of 2. OK, Newcastle didn’t provide much of a test, but the back four did a good job tonight. Now if only we could stiffen up the midfield screen in front of them a bit.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/08/16/walcott-leaves-udinese-chasing-shadows-and-chamakh-in-the-shadows/

  2. w12mcee says:

    whats happened to chamakh! even if his touch aint there yet he should at least appear to be making an effort. bendtner would’ve killed these guys.

  3. Davi says:

    Nice report. Agree with everything you’ve said.
    It’s worrying the number of injuries we are getting but Frimpong is a very welcome surprise. I knew he was talented, but he just looks so reliable already. I was calling for coquelin to be given a chance, but I really doubt he could have done so well. Frimpong is just closing out games for us at the moment. He obviously hates to be beaten, and that leads to the odd freekick, but I’d rather that than him just being careless, as denilson was in previous seasons.
    Udinese looked a very good side, and we did well to scrape the win. I had a feeling we might have been heading to a similar 1-0 against newcastle before the red card. I think it’s going to be another interesting season where we will be questioning whether the squad is capable. Again, I think we will surprise people early in the season, it’s just a question of whether we can maintain the form when it counts.

  4. el bizarron says:

    Given the great importance of this match, I was quite happy to see an attacking game. Yes, mistakes were made, but it was nicer to watch than a team parking it at the back. And I agree with you all – Bendtner needs a shot up front because Chamakh is sadly not performing right now.

  5. Nick says:

    Really think that you need to improve the level of your comments. What we have here is vague, not particularly helpful, and definitely not precise. “Lacked defensive shape?” What shape? In the middle or at the back? How were they arrayed, and how did that provide openings to Udinese? C’mon, at least have a specific once or twice. Chamakh didn’t do enough? What didn’t he do enough of? Give an instance where he didn’t do enough?

    This is not a simple matter of drifting in and out of the mood to compete. Its more a matter of athletes trying to do certain things and the other athletes trying to stop them. Was it all down to Arsenal’s failings, or did Udinese have anything to do with it, and how did Arsenal respond, or not, and why not? You want to criticize and critique, then please do so.

    • Phil23 says:

      The ‘Shape’ refers to the whole team. The defence can’t really be out of shape unless the fullbacks are constantly bombing forward which wasn’t the case once Gibbs came off. So obviously he is referring to both the midfield AND the forwards. The wingers need to cover better for the fullbacks while the midfield needs to sit in front of the defence more. When on attack instead of going forward in a ‘gung ho’ style we need to still keep some shap or we will be caught on the counter attack.

      In terms of Chamakh, I’d say what he didn’t do enough of was:
      “Didn’t offer enough in terms of pressing, passing, presence, or movement.”

      If you want to Criticize Desi you should at least know waht you’re talking about. Desi is far more tactically aware than 99% of the other bloggers on the web. If you don’t like his style just read somewhere else.

    • Claverc says:

      I totally agree with you on this Nick. Desi used to be more analytical, now he seems a bit more touchy-feely, swing with the mood and bum the cold hard facts kinda.

  6. Good overall analysis Desi and particularly about Frimpong and Song. Szcesny was more than greast tonight otherwise we’d haev ended up with egg all over our face. Oure return trip to Italy will see RVP back and hopefully Wilshere. Walcott was a buzzsaw all night and what really surprised me was to see Gibbs AND Sagna right in the opponent’s area when we had a corner along with Vermaelen and Kos at times! Talk about playing a high line. Rosicky is trying very hard to play the Nasri role but he’s not got that flair. Ramsey is not back to his best but hopefully he’ll work it all out. I’m looking forward to seeing Campbell and OAC get on for a run as well.

  7. George_D says:

    Chamakh is horrible… like we were playing with 10 men… we must pay for his transfer, not to get paid……….

    • IF CHAMAKH IS WHAT YOU GET FOR FREE, THE ANSWER IS HELL NO. HE IS NOT FIT TO PLAY FOR PUB CLUB. HE IS THE WORST STRIKER I HAVE SEEN IN A LONG WHILE, OFFERS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO THE TEAM. WENGER SHOULD GIVE HIM AND SQUILLACH AWAY FO FREE

  8. Jack Hackett says:

    Very good summary on the whole> I though Szczesny made a couple of really good saves and the confidence he exudes spreads to the whole back 5 who look now like a unit (even when a 19-year-old had to come on as a stop gap LB).

  9. Phil23 says:

    I’m happy with how the game went although I can’t help but wish Theo had put that last chance away. Imo we will have a better team on against Liverpool. FWR will get us through! I really want the Arsenal blogesphere to get excited about this combination. This is the future of Arsenal we are talking about here! If these guys perform against Liverpool and United we have no reason but to accept that Arsene’s youth strategy is a success. Frimpong Wilshere and Ramsey is a better combination than Song Ramsey and Rosicky imo. Please people, for the good of the club get excited about these guys! Tell all your Arsenal friends and post your excitement about these 3 all over the internet! There are enough Spurs fans, Tainted media, drop kick “Arsenal” fans, etc putting out negative spam everywhere. We, the true Arsenal fans must fight back!!! No longer will I accept a negative Arsenal blogesphere! Promote the FWR combination!!! Arsenal to down Liverpool and then United!!! ARSENAL!!! ARSENAL!!! ARSENAL!!! 2/2 clean sheets

    • OF THOSE THREE, ONLY WILSHERE IS READY, THE OTHER TWO SHOULD GO ON LOAN FOR SIX MONTHS

      • Phil23 says:

        I would expect nothing else for a tard who always writes in capitals and makes comments like
        “ARSENAL NEEDS A COMPLETE OVERHAUL: NEW OWNER,NEW BOARD, NEW MANAGER, NEW BACKROOM STAFF, NEW YOUTH SET-UP AND COACH, NEW PLAYERS.”

        New youth set up? Frimpong Wilshere and Ramsey will shove your words up your loose arse.

  10. josh says:

    i think this match was a good test and we did well.coming back of van and nasir in d 2nd leg will make it better.i still feel wenger is putting himself at a difficult edge cos d leagues r starting n teams will be reluctant to sell der super qualities,so he has to act fast n spend good money.we players like benzema,jadson or marvin and i will prefer samba cos d height,strength n experience.a van n joel combination both left foothed will be too predictable.

    • Tim says:

      Van Persie and Joel Campbell are both left footed so they will be too predictable ?
      Man Utd play with two up front.Rooney,Hernandez,Berbatov,Macheda and Welbeck are all right footed. Are they predictable? What a ridiculous statement.

  11. Tim says:

    Even if Chamakh is rubbish, we still have the new Etoo in Afobe and the panther Joel Campbell and of course Gervinho and Walcott. So no need to worry if Van Persie gets injured. He has been very fit in the last 8 months so I dont think he will get injured from now on. He is not injury prone anymore trust me.

    • Prabal Rakshit says:

      ‘new Eto’o in Afobe’ that is a gem of a hyperbole! :-).
      Please.. positive thinking is a great trait, but stretching the envelope of your imagination to such an extent is just hilarious at best. I hope you are being sarcastic and not realistic!:-). I feel Joel Campbell is a replacement for JET and not Bendtner. We still need Chamakh to be in a good shape (or possibly a new striker) if we ever want to play a ‘plan B’ variation of 4-4-1-1. If his form does not improve, we do need a serious backup (or maybe hold NB52 till the Jan window).

  12. Arsenal4 says:

    I share the same feeling. Being more pragmatic, I thought we’re lucky, but with that team I’ll take 1-0 anytime.
    The team plays like the team without Cesc. Poor distribution in the middle, no one take charge and calm the boat and lack of creativity. RVP would struggle if he keep getting crosses. Luckily, we have quite strong wingers that play so directs when they got the ball. I hope Wilshere will get back soon and Ramsey continue to raise his level quickly. Or else, might be better to use 2 strikers for the crosses from wing. It’s sound very unArsenal though.

    I don’t know what happen to Chamakh, as a striker his contribution is almost zero. I am worry that he’s running out chance. At this rate I’d take Bendtner any time or might as well try the youngster.

    • Messi's dad says:

      About Chamakh, he’s Muslim right? If he is, he would be fasting right now (it’s still the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan)?

      That could hugely explain his overall lack of sharpness.

      • 037 says:

        I think it’s more down to his confidence than his fasting.

        Kanoute also fasts, but statistically he scores more while he is fasting.

        Not saying that fasting makes you score more goals, but I’m saying it’s the state of mind that counts more.

      • MSL says:

        The fast from sunrise to sunset. They eat before dawn and after twilight. This should not be a massive issue.

    • Twoleftfeet says:

      I can’t see Wenger changing his formation and clearly, nobody frol within the squad (perhaps even outside) can be a like-for-like replacement for Cesc. What this and the last game showed to me was that the quality of out defensive personnel is better than expected. The central midfield is sorely lacking creativity and consistency though. Song and Wilshere are definite starters but Ramsey or Rosicky aren’t there yet and we struggle when the two play together. On the evidence of the last two matches, I would put a creative CM as our top priority signing especially if Nasri leaves although getting such a player will be very very tough.
      Having said that, I can only see the squad getting stronger as the season progresses as some of our injured/suspended players return and the likes of Ramsey, Walcott and Gervinho get up to speed!

  13. Long Island Gunner says:

    Phil23 – I think you have a point about FWR being the “future” and I do share much of your enthusiasm. But a considered review of the last 2 games would offer that Song has been absolutely immense in midfield. We have a former Newcastle player offering match commentary on Fox for us here in the USA and he hates everything about Arsenal and AW (he’s a Big Sam fan, you know the type). In any case, even this thumper has said that Song may be one of the best holding mids in the EPL over last year and in the here and now. Notwithstanding his Barton let down – I think many would agree with that.

    As for Rambo, my personal view is he is not at the level he was 2 years ago even though he is now 2 years older / more mature. A player like AR is not going to spin you inside out on the dribble so he really needs to avoid giving away possession cheaply and maximize his own chances to shoot from distance. I’m really seeing less of those required aspects of his game than he needs to be as influential a player as we expect.

    Frimpong for me – as I’ve said elsewhere – can be a Makelele in waiting, so to speak. So much physical presence and great bursts of speed coupled with a simple game and good technique. I love what we’ve seen from this guy so far.

    As for Wilshere – people are saying that the Cesc-less, Nasri-less Arsenal need a 26 year old Roy Keane in the midfield. I think we already have that player – it’s just that he’s 20.

  14. Claverc says:

    At the end of the day, it boils down to

    How about we all just admit it? We all thought we’d lose tonight. But it turns out that Wenger actually knows a bit more about football than the lot of us.

    I think the boys in the video are sounding a clarion call, a rallying rap if you like.

    I’d rather support Arsenal than Chelsea, Citeh and a pile of debt Manure.

    • Phil23 says:

      No I wont admit it. Some of us have faith when the weak don’t. Some of us have watched Arsene pull it out of the bag again and again, so we learnt to trust the man. It’s that attitude of “were gonna fuck this up somehow ” that you can feel all around the Emirates. It caused collapses last year at home. The guy who sings this song is an inspiration. Do you think he goes to the stadium to be a spectator? Do you think he goes in the stadium to wait for a collapse? I’d like to think real fans go into that stadium with their heads held high knowing that whatever the result, we are Gooners and we follow our team through thick and thin. THAT my friend is what creates a true atmosphere. Go to Anfield and tell me why 45,000 fans who came 6th last year double the atmosphere we create at our 60,000 seater even though we are enjoying the Champions League this year.
      Anyway, no we didn’t ALL believe we would lose. Only those of little faith expected such a thing at a club like ours. Go back to Desi’s match preview and you will see that many predicted wins.

  15. Arsenal says:

    Something to add over my observation of the match …… Arsene Wenger tea formation be it 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 required the three lines to work seamless. However tonight shows either some flaws:

    1) How can we rely or trust Chamakh to play Backup to RVP in the false 9 position? He looks so lethargy, listless and so out of sync with the team. Will Wenger buy establish player rather than wait for Joe Campbell? I doubt.

    2) Rosicky is really inconsistent for long period of time, and he lose possession in his creative Attacking half quite often and that was so worrying. I suspect this will be Rosicky last season and he should be more of a substitute than to start any game.

    Ramsey frankly is not ready to set-up into Fabregas provider role but probably a year or so it should be alright. Ramsey contribution
    and consistency need much more improvement.

    Nasri had never been a creative midfielder, so even if he is sold to Manu Shitty I am not so concern unless Wenger buy like for like replacement….I fact due to our injuries record we need two more bodies in this area…..wide proaches and a creator so the name of quality signing would be Juan Mata, Eden Hazard come to my mind.

    3) Our back line had less worries for me, but clearly Djourou injuries history must force Wenger to buy at least a body there.
    Jag or Cahill for 3-4 choice to prevent Squillichi to ever play.
    Please Wenger sell him off when in next season, as he worries me a lots when he was on the field as well as if Wenger see Bartley ready for the first team. We really need just one more buy in this transfer period.

    4) Frimpong makes mistakes and his performance are good enough but really need improvement fast. IMO Coquelin should be brought back to provide even more bodies as well as gell them (Song, Frimpong, Coquelin) . The two youth should be training with the first team and given more playing time. I don’t see the need to buy for this reason.

  16. santori says:

    Spot on with regards the wrong players for the system.

    It would seem we are so porous in the middle that the oppnents by pass it like a time warp and end up in our defensive area almost immediately.

    Judging by our injuroes at the moment, one can’t help but feel nervous

    Gibbs out injured again. I would really look seriously into Michel Bastos if I were Wenger. Good solid player who can be re-roled in midfield on either flank but steady back up for the LBs (where was Traore BTW?)

    Whilst Frimpong was solid (Bet Barton would have a slightly harder time hauling him off the ground), still think we could well do with cover in this department.

    Plus we could well do with someone with better vision to pick those pacy wingers we have out quicker. Rosicky simply slows things down.

    Our movement off the ball was also lacking and in a ways testament to our tentative approach as we struggled between our attacking instincts and playing it safe. IT would have helped to have had a better playmaker (even regardless if Jack was available)

    One option could have been to play Arsharvin in the hole for 50 minutes.

    IMO, Montolivo is worth a look at. He can combine both disciplines of Dm and deep lying playmaker and at 26 is just entering peak years. Did I mention he is a contract rebel and Fiorentina need dosh?

    Finally, worrying to see Djourou off. Baffling to see our best defender deployed as a makeshift LBack.

    We need that experience CBack (out with Squillaci). Alex at Chelsea is rumoured to cost 7.5m quid. Taht’s a bargain for winning know how, and overall grit. Another one who would snarl Barton into submission. (No hugging zone)

  17. dukung_arsenal_nepikamodar says:

    when wilshere return? we need him badly, anyone know? and we should sign bastian sweinsteiger.. with our money now.. i read he’s in milan target.. hope good result next week..

  18. critic says:

    i think and hopefully i am wrong, arsene won’t buy anyone. He is again sacrificing present for future. He won’t play arshavin in the middle coz that’s wilshere position and might affect team’s balance when wilshere returns. He won’t buy creative midfielder coz it will hamper the development of ramsey and wilshere + diaby will be a new signing when he returns.

    There’s absolutely no indication that he will buy any1. He has already said arsenal have a big enough squad.

    By the way, he should have bought by now. It’s his fault that all the people connected to arsenal are feeling very nervous. I don’t mean internet fans like me but real supporters and staff members.

  19. critic says:

    One more thing :
    cesc, clichy and bendtner were all home grown. Now, if arsene wants to bring new faces some of them must be home grown. Another problem faced by arsene at the moment.

    • Prabal Rakshit says:

      very true.. and the same holds true for Vela and Denilson as well. We cannot replace them by players from other leagues. We either need somewhat overpriced English players (like Cahill/ Jagielka) or would have to stick to whatever we have. However I am hoping we can even get some foreigners to replace Nasri and Eboue and maybe Almunia.
      I believe the second leg of the CL qualifier is what is holding back player purchases. If we do not qualify for CL (a not so trivial possibility after yesterday’s show), the money made from Cesc and Nasri would be shown as necessary to compensate the financial loss by missing CL. Also prospective signings who look forward to playing CL will not sign the dotted line unless we have qualified. I hope I am proven wrong and the necessary investments are made to strengthen the squal irrespective of the CL result.

  20. Phil23 says:

    Having just watched the Barca game I feel sick to the stomach. After reading Gaurdiola’s comments that Cesc will most likely start I decided to watch the game. I will follow Cesc until the day he retires. At half time I was disappointed that Cesc hadn’t come on. By 60 minutes I was furious. At 75 minutes I felt sick. I still feel sick. Fabregas deserves game time and this is early but I can see him getting nowhere enough time on the field. He came on at 80 minutes and looked great (he said he is match fit so obviously that was a lie). He was involved in the winning goal but I’m sure it wont be enough. I miss Cesc and I cant help but feel he should have stayed with us for even his own good… I miss Cesc.

  21. Phil23 says:

    Haha nice… guess that was a bit sentimental but until watching the Barcelona game, I had blocked all thoughts of Fabregas out of my mind. Personally I am not ‘worried’ about Arsenal as I believe that this Liverpool game has got more opportunities for good than bad. This is surely going to be the weakest team Arsenal will field this year. If we lose the game it will be seen as somewhat expected by most fans. If we win the match, everyone would have to stand up and admit that Arsene knows what he is doing.

    We are missing Gervinho, Wilshere, Diaby, Song, Gibbs, Traore and Djourou through cards and injury. Nasri is a massive question mark for obvious reasons. Fabregas has gone but we haven’t had time to spend the money yet. Let us not forget that he was our highest earner and so his replacement will be our marquee signing. If you consider Nasri as good as sold, he was one of our highest earners and so this will be another top quality signing.

    So far Arsene has delivered brilliantly in the market. In exchange for Bendtner, Eboue, Clichy and JET we have gained Gervinho, Jenkinson, Chamberlain and Campbell. Almunia and Bendtner are both for sale so you would expect they will go on deadline day. Denilson, Vela and Bartley have already gone out on loan to make room for some of the youth players who have pushed their way into the squad. If there weren’t better players pushing them out surely they would be in the squad?

    The players who have pushed into the first team are Frimpong, Lansbury, Afobe and Miyaichi. Traore has come back from loan as a replacement to Gibbs. Mannone has also returned to replace Almunia. Finally, Ramsey and Vermaelen could hardly be considered as part of the squad last year so some may see them as additions (depending if you’re a glass half full/empty kind of person).

    So if I include my presumptions that Bendtner, Almunia and Nasri will go, we will have sold 7 players while loaning out two. On the plus side, 10 players have already been added to the squad, plus the two replacements for Fabregas and Nasri. So that means our squad will have 3 extra players this season (5 if your glass is half full!). This means that Arsene has already attended to the problem of lack of depth. Let us not forget that he could easily have kept Denilson and Vela at the club but he didn’t. He foresaw in his plans for the team that both of these players would see little to no game time.

    I believe that Arsene has identified the exact positions that need strengthening and he is just sticking around in the market in case any world class players become available at a reasonably decent price for some reason or another. I trust that he will make the right buys as this time, if he can’t get a bargain he has the money and the pressure to spend that little bit more. I know people wanted the players early on, (so did I) but any known players who have been bought so far have had a massive fee added on for this “convenience”.

    Look at Liverpool for example, because they were in a position where their only option was to buy at the wrong time they managed to blow 35 million pounds on Andy Carroll. Even this summer they have spent massive money. The first two signings were 20m each for a total of 40m. Imo none of them are better than the two cheaper signings of Adams and Enrique, who have a combined transfer cost of 14.5m. Funny when Liverpool had bid 16m for just Adams in January.

    Anyway, what I have been trying to say is that we have every reason to back our team. The people who are booing the team and just as bad in my books, not actually ‘supporting’ the team are shooting us all in the foot. Lets not forget, the players can easily gain confidence from a crowd. We helped drag Arsenal over the line when we beat Barcelona. Fans do hold power and yet we are using it to sabotage our team instead of dragging them through anything.
    What will young Jenkinson, a life long Arsenal supporter, think of the Emirates faithful? In 5 years he will probably be England’s right back and one of our mainstays, will he think back fondly on his debut? Will the crowd urge a young lad, dying to impress, to play the best game of his life? Or will they feed off his every mistake in-taking a collective breath every time the ball goes his way? Only time will tell…

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