Final Arsenal signing should NOT be dependent on the fitness of the others

Hello again. For those that care, the movie I told you I was seeing last night – Mutum – turned out to be pretty damn good. If you’re a lover of international film then I highly recommend it. I’m sure Brazilian readers of the blog (if I have any!) will know what I mean.

Anyway, enough said about that – time to move on.

Arsenal’s pre-season preparations continued overnight with a virtual reserve-team outfit accounting for Huddersfield 2-1 in a friendly match to honour the late, great Herbert Chapman. The Arsenal boys fell behind in the 75th minute to a goal to Huddersfield’s James Berret but were able to turn it around through two late goals from subsitutes Sanchez Watt and Nacer Barazite.

There were some notable names in the run-on side, including Lukasz Fabianski, Johan Djourou, Theo Walcott and Carlos Vela, but virtually the entire starting team were substituted at half-time. I’ve no idea how the game went as I didn’t get to watch it, so if you did manage to catch the game please fill me and all the other readers in on the highlights.

One player who did feature in the game was Justin Hoyte. The Englishman has been speaking about his future at the club and is hoping to take the chances when they are presented to him this season.

In his own words:

“Obviously I just want to play as many games as I can and hopefully I’ll do that. When I do get a chance I have to show the manager I am as good as Bac so I keep my place.”

Hoyte’s persistence and belief is admirable but I have always been of the opinion that he is just not a good enough player for Arsenal. There is no way he will be able to show the manager that he is as good as Bacary Sagna simply because he’s not. Sagna is a phenomenal right-back and Hoyte is, at this stage, distinctly average.

I really don’t know what else to say about Hoyte. As I said, his persistence and belief – not to mention his loyalty to the club – is admirable but does anyone else get the feeling that he’s just not going to make it at Arsenal? Last season when Sagna was injured Wenger chose to play Kolo Toure at right-back and I think that says it all really. I’d suggest that even Emmanuel Eboue was ahead of him in the pecking order so it’s going to take some pretty impressive improvement to turn that around. Good luck to him I guess.

The manager has also been a bit chatty since the Huddersfield game, speaking in particular about the fitness of Tomas Rosicky and Eduardo and the impact that their time out of the game will have on his decision to dip into the transfer market.

Wenger was quoted as saying:

“We believe Tomas could be available in September and Eduardo maybe in November. If we have everybody on board and nobody injured then [OK] but maybe we could do to take one more experienced player.”

While it’s certainly good news that Rosicky and Eduardo are progressing so well I think – and I know I’m not alone here – that we could do with one more experienced player regardless of their fitness. Indeed, we’re still one man short in the centre of the park after Gilberto Silva and Mathieu Flamini’s respective exits and the manager needs to fill the hole with a new signing.

Whether it’s Xabi Alonso or not – and I do think it will be I – I don’t really care, but Wenger absolutely needs to make another midfield signing. I know that Amaury Bischoff has come in but even the manager has admitted that he is a bit of a gamble so more work needs to be done to secure an additional central midfielder based on the efforts Wenger appears to be putting in.

Next up I want to announce the final results of yesterday’s Wednesday Poll. For those who missed it, the question was: “Has Adebayor won your heart back yet?” and the four responses were “Yep, most definitely”, “No, still got a lot more to do”, “He’ll never win my heart back!” and “I never had a problem with him in the first place”.

I have to say that it was a pretty predictable outcome with 57% of voters admitting the big striker still has a long way to go to winning their heart back. Interestingly the next highest selection was “I never had a problem with him in the first place” which suggests he may not have done too much wrong during his contract negotiations.

As always, I’m interested to hear what you think about – so be sure to leave a comment. Indeed, if you’re a regular reader of the blog and you’ve never had the guts to leave a comment then why not give it a go today? We won’t bite.

Oh and last but not least is the stunning news regarding West Ham’s termination of Freddie Ljungberg’s contract overnight. It’s a huge fall from grace for my all-time favourite player and another perfect illustration of Wenger’s ability to let his players go at exactly the right time. From the bottom of my heart I hope that Freddie bounces back soon because I think there is still a place for him somewhere in the game.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Have your say on Huddersfield, Hoyte, Adebayor or the need for a midfielder by leaving a comment.



  1. The huddersfield game was alright, Arsenal played some good football in patches, but you could see the kids were facing the first real test of preseason. huddersfield were up for it and defended well. The first half showed the lack of experience in the kids, as the Hudders kept playing quick long balls to the attack and the kids struggled to control the game. Instead of winning the ball back and then moving it around, they tried to set off fast counterattacks, which backfired cos the no sooner did they lose the ball it was again long ball from huddersfield. Still all the youngsters played well and it was a pity it was goalless at half time

  2. Shame about Ljungmberg. I think he is still a very good player but what might have done him in could be his wages(I read they were high). When you are getting the big bucks you better deliver. Unfortunately soccer is a team sport and you need compatible teammates to flourish which he did not have at WH. I believe the same thing is going to doom our current Captain and I would be interested to see how Flamini applies himself @ Milan otherwise he might be shipped out within 2 seasons.

    Back to other stuff, I am still on the opinion that we may not need more “experience” in the team. I am a bit wary of AW’s potrayal of Amaury Bischof’s signing as risky. I believe he is just blowing smoke and will eventually come out as a genius(again). A good player could look average in a crappy team. Ever wondered how West Ham deemed Tevez and Mascherano “not good enough” to play for most of the season untill late for Tevez while Mascherano couldn’t even get a look in?
    AW has a clear picture of where and how Bischof might be used.

    Our opening fixtures are good enough to “experience” the players we have and we will be crowded come November when we will have Eduardo, Rosicky, and Amaury fighting for places and our younger players have already blodied themselves sufficiently. Every conceivable offence intended to Tottenham, we are facing the first tough opposition in November. If the injuries ManU, Chelski and L’pool have are “true”, I hope we take the opportunity to cruise in overdrive untill then.

  3. the fact of the matter is that last season we let go of three world class defensive midfielders. now we have none. those who claim that denilson or diaby are adequate replacements are dillusional, because they simply cant tackle well enough, nor are defensive players who are happy staying back. diabys challenge on schneider personifies his defensive inadequacies, whilst i remember a horrible challenge denilson made against blackburn amongst others last season which were a disgrace. why cant wenger face up to the fact that our first team will be complete with a DM. if someone wrote up their fave 1st team right now, that is the only position where anyone would feel is a bit dodgy. and considering weve got a whole season ahead of us… im worried that if we dont get one, we wont be good enough. we may not be good enough with a DM, but we’ll be better!

  4. Josh:

    Two of the three midfielders you are talking about were not “world class” by this time last season. Infact a lot of fans wouldn’t have cared less if they were shipped to Sunderland for free. Flamini had his lunges too last season and to me he was a red card waiting to happen. Fortunately he has a small frame which doesn’t do as much damage as Diabys. AW wouldn’t have let Gilberto go if he didn’t have options. We have too many players who can do the job.

  5. why are so many Arsenal supporters in denial. It is pretty obvious to me that we are not going to do as well as last season, the squad is far too weak. it seems that there is a blind faith in arsene no mnatter what he does.

  6. It’s so sad for Freddie. I hope he finds the right place for himself in football.

    I’m hoping for Alonso in the midfield, but I really think we need another defender.

  7. It’s true we’re short of a defensive midfielder, and that we need one with experience of playing CL and international football. A bigger concern for me is our lack of quality cover at centre back. If we lose (as we will at some point in the season) Gallas and/or Toure, we’re left with Djourou (good prospect, not there yet), Song (likewise, probably better in midfield) or Senderos (surely we all now agree he’s not up to it). We also need another keeper; we’ve got a very average one as first choice, backed up by a boy with a lot to learn. If you take into account our reliance on players with a history of injury (RvP and Rosicky), others who have yet to reach their full potential (Diaby, Walcott etc) we have a squad that is simply not ready to sustain a prolonged challenge for honours. We only have 2 world class players, in Fagregas and Sagna, with another couple nearly there in Clichy and Adebayor. Realistically this season, we should be looking at maintaining our top four place in the Premiership, getting to the CL semis and possibly winning a domestic cup. That, in the context of our still-limited financial position, would be a good season. The danger is that, in failing to seriously challenge both England’s and Europe’s best, the likes of Fabregas and Adebayor start to look elsewhere. I read that the club is lining Arsene up for a place on the board, in the hope that he won’t give in to the frustration of not being able to compete at the very top table. Let’s hope it keeps him happy. I don’t particularly relish the prospect, but I think the only way we can really ensure we’re up there with the Man Utds, Chelseas, Madrids and Barcelonas of this world is to open the doors to one of the billionaires sniffing around the club. The fact is, it’s all about who’s got the most money; a fact that David Dein understood even if the rest of the board didn’t. If we rely on the new stadium to get us there, we’ll need to wait at least another decade. I’d rather we sold out to someone who’s prepared to provide the wedge we need to buy a place at that top table. Do we really care who sits in the boardroom, as long as we get more nights like Paris in May 06? Anyone agree?

  8. Freddie was a fantastic player for us and I wish him all the best. I was at Highbury to see his debut and first goal for Arsenal against Manchester United, and I was lucky enough to be in Cardiff to see his goal against Chelsea in the 2002 FA cup final. He was a bit of a lucky charm whenever I went to a game!

    I cannot for the life of me understand the decision to allow Gilberto to move on with no experienced replacement in mind whatsoever. Yes it was probably time to leave but this is a world cup winning DM here at the age of 31 with an abundance of experience in the top competitions.

    I know some here are more than happy to see Diaby in CM next season but personally it worries me a little. I read an interview with Cesc last night in 442 magazine in which he claimed the lack of experience was what costs us as a team, although he was reluctant to blame anyone for this. Please can we see a seasoned pro in the middle of the park alongside Cesc? It could make the world of difference.

  9. We need a DM, surely thats obvious. Cesc/Flamini partnership was so crucial for our title challenge last season and now he has gone we need to sign another one. I am going to miss Flamini because he was very important player for the team. Barry, Alonso, Gattuso. Sign a DM AW please and a def, Sendy cannot play anymore surely. Djourou needs a bit more time, a def and a DM.

  10. Fran Merida is currently playing in the UEFA U-19 Championships for Spain. I know a couple of bloggers were wondering why he had not been played in pre-season.

  11. Ian, your blog just about says everything that is on my mind and in answer to your question, No, i don’t really care who the board is as long as it brings success on the pitch.

  12. You see how Wenger has got Jack Wilshere, the 16 year old, in the first squad? I have seen him play in two pre season games, and my god, he is pretty damn good. Love to see him play in the premier league this season…could be the youngest player ever at 16.

  13. I think Hoyte could be very good I dont understand why everybody blame him as one of the worst Arsenal players (there some others that are worst) , Im pretty sure that if he goes to another team an he plays every week he could be good.

  14. @ Ian – You make some really good points. I like your angle on our two world-class players (Fabregas and Sagna), I’d put Rosicky and van Persie in that category too granted they can stay fit.

    My only problem with what you are saying is the comment “open the doors to one of the billionaires sniffing around the club.”

    In theory it seems like a good idea but the problem is that when billionaires come in it is not like they are giving money to the clubs – they are loaning it. The clubs have to pay it back at some stage and that puts them in HUGE debts. Huge debts = huge risks and I don’t think a club like Arsenal, which consistently performs well in England and Europe, needs to put themselves at such risks.

    It’s possible that even with big money Arsenal could perform worse than they are now – team dynamics and big egos play a part after all. In other words, I’m perfectly happy with the way things are going and I think we have the right setup to challenge for the league in the correct way – without relying on loans or big money from people who don’t care about the club.

  15. Our squad is good enough now. You can’t hold back Diaby, Denilson, Song, Djourou, etc. forever. A player with experience would be handy, but it won’t be Alonso. This is a ridiculous rumour made up by tabloids trying to join the dots on a puzzle which doesn’t exist.

  16. Still upset we lost Flamini…Man, I guess it takes me a while. Hopefully wenger will make a move for Yaya Toure or the swiss midfielder but as I recall Xavi Alonso make too many mistakes in the midfield every time I have seen him play. Wenger, if you are reading this 🙂 go with anyone but O.k.? alrighty then.

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