Stoke v Arsenal: Tailor-made for Giroud

After a promising yet disappointing opening day performance which yielded only a point against Sunderland, it’s been a wobbly week for the Arsenal.

Alex Song left for Barcelona, Nuri Sahin was hi-jacked by Liverpool and Robin van Persie opened his Manchester United account against over Fulham. Frankly I’d like to give all three of them a slap around the chops, but that’s hardly the point.

A trip to Stoke, the team that prefer the scrappy joy of rough-and-tumble over the elegance of a well-constructed passage of passing football — Peter Crouch’s goal of the season was hilarious in its irony — is next up and proposes an intriguing challenge. The Premier League is relentless in its pace and demand throughout the season and it’s startling to think that this already feels like must-win territory. Given Chelsea’s lightning start and the threat of Liverpool and Manchester United games on our horizon that’s exactly what it is.

Everybody who took part against Sunderland is available again — yes, even Abou! — with only Wojciech Szczesny a doubt. I fully expect him to play though, given the fact that he’s a tough cookie and his importance is intensified by the inevitable oncoming long-ball barrage. Alex Oxlade-Central-Midfielder-Chamberlain returns to the squad while Laurent Koscielny is still out with a gammy calf.

My gut says that Wenger will make one change to the side that played last week. I expect Olivier Giroud, our 6’4 beast, to come in for one of Theo Walcott or Gervinho (hopefully the former) with Lukas Podolski pushing to the left side of the front three. Both Giroud and Podolski are highly physical players and they will not be bullied by a Stoke side that have made no significant improvements to their squad this season. This game feels tailor-made for Giroud and I hope he opens the scoring to banish the demons of his woeful slice against Sunderland.

The timing of Song’s departure, on the eve of an away contest against perhaps the league’s most physical side, has intensified the fear that we lack the power to win a contest like this. It seems clear that Wenger’s policy is that keeping the ball at all costs prevents the need for overt physicality and in Mikel Arteta and new boy Santi Cazorla he has two of the league’s best technicians. I expect Diaby to play alongside them to add some height and class and complete an excellent midfield trio.

Predictions are always risky business but I expect us to win today. Stoke are a strong side at home but we have a good blend of technical expertise and physical power and that should hold us in good stead. The mental and organisational side of the game will be all-important but with Arteta’s influence already showing and more emphasis being placed on our defending of counter-attacks, I feel optimistic.

How about you?



  1. Yep I think Wenger will start Giroud, but suspect he will start with Theo and bring Podolski on from the subs bench. Dont think he will drop Gervinho who was the best of our front three last week. Not sure if AOC will start. Would like to see him but I think we will see the same midfield three as last week.

    I saw RVPs goal and it was a cracker. He used to play for us didn’t he? Seem to remember him. With Rooney out for a few weeks it would be a perfect time for his ankle to rediscover its fragility! Not that I am bitter. I watched my second favourite team the Swans absolutely wipe the floor with Allardyce’s ‘ammers. They have picked up some bargains from Spain and look even better than last season. If he keeps this up for a season or two Laudrup would make a perfectly good replacement for Wenger when he retires. OK, I may be getting ahead of myself after only two games!

  2. Master Elf will undoubtedly have his Orc Army ready to go for this one. I sincerely hope Ramsey comes on and scores to shut up the inbred army’s booing. How he gets booed is beyond rational thought… no more than we should expect from them, I suppose.

  3. This fixture is irritating but we shall come out of it with a win. Check out for Diaby.

  4. Nice read but wish you’d kept the slant positive. E.g Liverpool did not hijack sahin deal. We pulled out because £10m is too expensive for a one year loan. I wouldn’t be happy paying that even for Messi. Leave the anti arsenal media to do slant negatively. Otherwise, again, enjoyed the read!

  5. I got a feeling the Defence and Midfield will be the same. Expecting the front three to switch – Gervinho, Giroud and Arshavin/Walcott to start.

    Let’s see if the pitch size at Stoke being increased has an effect on the way the game pans out.

    Here’s to Santi / Giroud scoring a cracker so everybody forgets Van Persie’s strike.

  6. This has the potential to be a very interesting game, I’m looking forward to seeing how well we cope. Remember the argument a couple of seasons ago that Arsenal didn’t have enough steel in the side? Now we have no properly recognised and experienced defensive midfielder in the squad and two very tiny guys in the middle against the roughest team in the league, but for some reason I’m not concerned.

    Mertesacker at the back could have an important game. All they do is hoof long balls over the top and that should suit him to a tee. Hopefully Stoke get what they deserve, the first loss of the new season which buys them a one-way ticket to relegation. A man can dream.

  7. You would expect Giroud to start alright with Podolski and Gervinho flanking…although I wouldnt be shocked to see a 4-4-2 adopted this season in some away games.
    I think Walcott would be better from the bench in this one and that Gervinhos pre season form has earned him his place…what I dont want to see is the same front three again, we need versatility today attacking wise.
    Am gonna state what has already become the obvious after one game and big up my man Santi who is world class and who is gonne run this game today.
    Theres not a man in the stoke midfield or team who can keep tabs on this guy..hes a more mobile fabregas..I think we can all appreciate what that means…and he will work and get behind the ball when we lose it, are you watching Andrei?
    Heres to bding clinical today and the three points that will come with it.

  8. Would be nice to see our new strikers scoring. Either one, from a cazorla through ball.

    Id say 3 – nil Arsenal

    Podolski scores 2.

  9. I don’t expect Walcott being benched, with his contract talks lurking around , Arsene likes to keep him happy. So it will be Gervinho or Podolski . I am considering Podolski just because arsene already hinted he needed time to adapt to the physical nature of Premier League.

    I am pretty much optimistic Giroud open his account in style just to prove he is not there to replace Van Persie , instead to craft his own record for Arsenal.

  10. Pretty decent result considering where we were playing, handled the thugs quite well I guess. Thedefence looks good, all we have to do is get the goals in from the many chances we create. Liked cazorla and podolski. What’s happening at the freekicks?

  11. Well we wernt clinical and got what we deserved. We knew what they would do and we couldnt do enough to get the job done sadly.
    Arteta was immense, Cazorla was himself, Giroud was trying to hard and as a result never settled into the game and was sloppy even with the ball at his feet.
    Gervinho and Diaby are so hit and miss its unreal..if they dont even know what their doing how is a teammate to be on the same wavelength.
    We needed more from Jenkinson and Gibbs in attack as there was little threat from them.
    Podolskis first half workrate was superb.
    Stokes fans manager and players are a joke..constantly pressurising the officials for make believe fouls then cynically killing the flow of the game every chance they got.
    Hope they enjoy the highlight of their season.

  12. lord have mercy…will someone….anyone….please step up and score please…i know we have the quality, and it will take time for these knew guys to jell together but these are two matches we should have put away. its gonna get more difficult from here. lets get this goal scoring party started at anfield.

  13. Our first goal and first win of the season is still getting misfired. It’s quite natural of Giroud desperation to get a goal.

    But i am optimistic about the level of consistency in the team’s play.It’s not far away for the team to adapt to goal consistency.I am confident that at the end of the season Van persie will be jealous of arsenal strikers on what he missed.

    @Shambo -I liked your comment on Diaby and Gervinho.Couldn’t control my laugh.

  14. well not bad for a very physical side such as stoke, would like to see goals though, expecting one or two in our next game #Law-of-averages.

  15. @Shambo… i think the fact that Jenkinson and Gibbs did not overlap is probably attributed to Steve Bould’s tactics…the defense is a bit more solid and able to prevent the counter attacks. at the same time it doesn’t give us the wide options going forward

  16. very disappointing game..diaby was very slow ..was holding the game same for jenkingson unable to play in one touch. gervinho giroud very weak. need more time but we dont have sub..what a change of space when walcott and ox came in.. we need a PL finisher ..should have incl Bervatov in the rvp deal. and should have never let Song go…

  17. Diaby as a midfielder has to decisive in attack when he has the ball and take his chances , we need goals from the midfield !

    I like Gervinho, but if he wants to remain a starter, he can not have too many games like these. We know that he is not a good finisher, but he needs to make things happen if not he should sit on the bench .

    We need impact from our wing backs , the reality was that we created very little chances today. These 2 are not of top 4 clubs quality.
    I welcomed the purchase of GIroud by Wenger as a complementary player to RVP not to replace him and Podolski is not RVP .
    Considering that RVP and Song scored more than 60% of goals last year… This could be the most challenging season for Arsenal .

  18. @Shambo
    I watched the game on a fuzzy stream and from what i saw you have summed up very well. I hope Iam wrong but i just dont see what Gervinho brings to the team. Walcott has his faults and maybe he is on the way out, but i’d have him in the side every time ahead of Gervinho

    Would a goal scorer please stepforward now please

  19. Positives – the defence and keeper. I didn’t think DIaby was that bad. I think I saw him do one or two sloppy passes but the rest of the time he was solid. After I talked up Gervinho after the last game he reverted to type. I think we needed someone like Arshavin to take some of the creative burden off Cazorla. I thought Podolski was good but faded and Arteta was unspectacularly effective as usual! We missed Sagna (not that Jenkinson had a bad game – but Bacary is more of a threat going forward). All in all, could be better but also could be a hell of a lot worse. You don’t want this goal drought to go on – that will erode the confidence pretty quick

  20. Unfortunately I missed the game. Fortunately it was for a good reason: my younger brother turned 21 and it was one heck of a party.

    Anyone have opinion on the idea that we might be playing slightly more conservatively this season: not pushing the fullbacks forward. Could that be a reason for our lack of goals aside from the forward players still needing to gel?

  21. Maybe my 3 to nil prediction was a tad bit off the mark but its not all doom and gloom people! We actually played really well considering we played 2 teams that are just out to defend and beat us on the counter.

    We did play with the handbrake on as Le Boss would say but really impressed with this new shape defensively. They say defence wins championships right? Two clean sheets are a good indication that we fixed our problems from the past couple of seasons!

    We just need that little one-twos at the edge of the box to work and we should be right!

    Diaby did a mighty good job i reckon.

  22. Don’t worry, it was one of the most boring matches of all time! We defended pretty solidly, but you are right, the fullbacks aren’t going forward and providing any width. Whenever Jenkinson had the ball he tended to cut inside rather than overlapping down the wing. Maybe this will be a good thing over time as all of the other players ahead of the fullbacks are capable of scoring goals. The midfield looked pretty solid as well. I am trying to convince myself that Diaby has lost a bit of pace but I haven’t made my mind up yet! I reckon the goals will come, Giroud had a valiant long range lob effort late on, I’d have loved it if that went in.

  23. A formation change to 4-4-2 or 4-3-1-2 is one of the solution to our current problems.Present team don’t have the link up player to bridge midfield and forward.This has to come with the expense of either one of Podolski,Gervinho or Walcott and with inclusion of either one of Ox ,Arshavin or Ramsey to play centrally.

    Ox and Ramsey shooting abilities will free-up and allow Cazorla to create more.

    Defense being conservative in attack was the missing piece in the puzzle for Arsenal’s title run.

  24. @voley_gun, I agree with you on the formation solution. If we can get one more striker, that will be good, as it is there’s no one to balance the equation if either Ollie or Lucas get injured.

    I think we have all we need in the mid-field, buying another mid-fielder apart from Sahin who I wish we could just buy outright would be an overkill or an excuse to play the formation which we play right now. A striker and an extra RB or CB will be good. We have a plethora of talent in the mid-field, injured and fresh-out-the-kitchen.

  25. Liverpool, Southampton, Man City, Chelsea.

    Our next 4 games may well see us in the same position as last season if my prediction on current form says that at least two of those will be defeats. One key factor being we don’t have the RVP factor to pull us out of the s**t.

    Top 4 is already looking like a dream. A title? We are about 5 years off at best if we carry on selling. It will be very interesting to see what the outcome of the Walcott deal is.

  26. My advice to Le-Boss would be to leave Diaby out completely and stick to Coquelin(who is the real Song replacement). Is there any other defensive midfielder in this team apart from frimpong and coquelin? Arteta should be where Diaby/Cazorla is and not made to play like a defensive midfielder. We are definitely not playing to our strengths this way. Arsene shot himself in the leg by selling Song. He was our Field Marshall.

    If he is waiting for Diaby to come good, then he has chosen a very wrong time. When will this team be built? He chose Ramsey(and kept on subbing Rosicky who was by far better) last season and refused to accept he was not good enough until January. We keep on building and building and building senselessly. Look at bayern, look at barca, they have pillars who we know have been playing there for years at the highest level. Once you begin to get slow, you have to vacate that position because, they want good results or trophies as some others call it. For me, if we play well and effective(round pegs players in round holes only) to the best of our abilities and do not win any trophy, I would be very satisfied. I feel if we play like Chelsea do when they attack(running all over the pitch), instead of Gervinho/Podolski/Walcott sticking to one side of the pitch when running… would serve us better. I saw their mid-week game and immediately saw our weakness in attack. It was only magnified yesterday. 1. We are too STATIC.
    2. We remain in the box, pass around it and over-crowd it instead of running towards the box(striker inclusive) to create openings.
    3. Thus, we should be simulating counter-attacks. Run towards/inside the box and create penalties or whatever. Not running when everyone is already inside.

    Immediately the second half started, the ineffective Gervinho and Diaby should have been withdrawn to make way for Walcott and the Ox. We know Arteta is not a defensive midfielder, why punish him to learn this new style when he would not be thinking too much playing where he is used to. We simply limit our effectiveness. Now, Diaby is a makeshift player….but he is not performing and Wenger claims we have abundant midfielders(hence the very good reason to sell Song), therefore, why not introduce some other person? If he thinks Diaby will loose confidence when subbed, I would like him to know that the good players have already lost/are already loosing confidence in his abilities to pick a team as a result. They get weak knowing they will play with a sloppy Diaby for 90mins. Is this the guy that will lay the killer pass at the 88th minute? The same way we feel over here is the same way they feel on the pitch and i can bet you it is quite disheartening to say the least.

    I have always said we have a good defense. They have done well so far, credit due. Podolski worked harder than necessary, Giroud is still acclimatising but the last thing we need is inefficient people behind them. Diaby is/was most definitely the weak link. I’ve said it before that Song used to work/think for 2 people and this was when the ineffective Ramsey used to be our attacking midfielder last season. Things definitely changed when Rosicky came in. So, letting an already weak Diaby to string passes(?) with Ramsey in our midfield towards the end of the game(when we were not yet 3-0 up) shows our coach does not still know he does not have good players. Players know they cannot question the coach on who plays where, but they see it and don’t even know when they make up their minds to leave.

    Walcott’s contract issue has been up since January, why is it that Song(who simply asked for a raise) was sold cheaply when he still had till 2015 on his contract?
    Why he does not start Coquelin is the same reason he starts Diaby and the same reason he stuck with Ramsey last season.

    I hope to soon see an Arsenal where players would be picked on current form and team cohesion characteristics rather than on favouritism and seniority(how long one has been in the squad). For this will only foster gamesmanship(sincere fight for places) and commitment towards the squad, rather than the building distrust towards the manager.
    Finally, i think RVP was a very good piece of business considering his age and he obviously went for the money too, but did we really need to sell Song as well?

  27. Really nice comment GunnerBoss, good to hear from you. Good to put a face to the name too.

    I agree with a lot of what you’ve said but wouldn’t mind commenting on some parts that I don’t. Bare in mind I only saw highlights of Sunday’s match so my thoughts should be taken with a pinch of salt.

    (1) We are too static, but I wonder how much that has to do with the new signings. We’ve all played in teams when things just flow and that is what I hope, and I’m sure Wenger hopes, will happen. There has been a shift to better counter-attacking and I think that will show but we have played two of the most defensive teams in the division straight from the go. Let’s see how our transitions go against teams that show a bit more desire to score.

    (2) Arteta has been shifted into the most defensive role because he is the most organised and disciplined player. We had a problem to solve last season regarding our concession of goals and he is providing a solution for this. I don’t think we’re losing an awful lot from having him play there, Cazorla’s influence is already starting to show and I don’t think we can judge Diaby until he gets a run of games in the side and builds more confidence. I am optimistic about how dominant these three players could become as I indicated in the season preview.

    (3) Song left because he was becoming ill-disciplined and was not doing his job on the pitch. Simple as that. Comments that Song was just asking for a raise seem like absolute trollop dished out by a player who is trying to save face. He wanted to go, Wenger showed some balls and told him to get lost and I like the way this was handled.

    Very much looking to Liverpool. Should be a great indicator of where we are at in these early stages.

  28. Just now finished watching the replay.
    I thought the team looked pretty good and a good deal stouter than some Arsenal squads in the recent past.
    The thing that remained the same was our inabilty to finish.
    I don’t think we will win anything this year but I would love a good FA Cup and of course qualify for the CL again.
    Still, I think this is the best blend of players we’ve had in awhile and if we have lost a bit talent-wise with the loss of Cesc,Na$ri and Arshavin we have gained a bit more strength and toughness with Podolski Giroud,Arteta and BFG.
    I expect this season to be a good if not great one.
    But first, howzabout a goal to go with the clean sheets?
    1-nil to The Arsenal, now that has a pleasant if familiar ring to it!

  29. I agree with Andy about Song. He did not do his job well enough last year and we suffered coz no one protected the back 4 and he gave to many useless fouls. Might be unfair to blame it all on him coz we did have injured defenders all through out the season but he is gone now! So he can take the blame with him. hehehe He did make some brilliant passes last year but he was most effective 2 years ago when he actually covered for our full backs or when Kos and TV5 go high up the pitch. Bye Bye Song. I do not miss you at all.

    I also like Arteta playing the “Defensive Mid/Deep lying Playmaker” because of his organisation and he can ping balls around long and short with accuracy. Kinda like a Pirlo or Xabi Alonso. Might not be a big bruiser like a De jong or Barton but he reads the game well so he doesnt really need to break the oppenents leg!

    I am also sure that Mr Wenger doesnt choose his team because he has favourites or because of pity. He sees them in training everyday and sees who is sharp and who still needs work. So if Wenger wants to play Diaby, I will trust that coz I wouldnt know any better.

  30. Just wanted to point out a couple positives on our sale of Van Persie for any of you still pouting:
    1. Have we forgotten who we sold? Great season last year but he’s due for another injury at this point, I’ll take 24 million for a sidelined striker any day! To be honest, his attendance record for us over the years was atrocious. When I calculate a player’s goals per game ratio I count the days games they were out injured for and that means Van Persie was in fact very average.
    2. It’s looking now like he might have been brought in as a replacement for Rooney, not a strike partner.

  31. Looks like Diaby is the new Ramsey for some of you. Personally I don’t think he is the reason we haven’t scored and also the DM debate is misplaced. Clearly Cazorla is the most creative of the three and plays further forward but there does not seem to be a clear distinction between Arteta and Diaby as you think Gunner Boss and Delano. For me the problem has been our wide two forwards: podolski and Gervinho this game and Walcott and Gervinho v Sunderland. I don’t think either of Gervinho or wAlcott are good enough. Poor first touch, poor decision making. For all his faults Arshavin has the technique to unpick defenses and would provide a balance to Cazorla. But he is probably on the way out more is the pity. But as everyone agrees there is something more solid about our defense this season so far touch wood!
    Now just because I don’t totally agree with you don’t get all mean and nasty now, remember the house rules!

  32. I agree with you Terry.
    The defensive midfield play has been good.
    Our wings are not on top form and there is little cohesion in our attack.
    This will take a bit of time with new personnel but we will get there as a team.

  33. @Andy- Thanks. Been a rough and quite emotional period. While the new recruits are doing marvelously well so far, I guess our goal machinery is not well oiled. I don’t think its from the wings, but rather our approach to attacking the opposition. Like i said earlier, we need to run more positively and aggressively, but with a scoring intent. I do agree that against teams that aim to attack us, we will thrive. Well, I agree somehow with your points 1 and 3, but for point 2, it is back to old arguments of if these guys(Diaby & Ramsey) are actually doing enough to merit starting places cos they don’t seem to be used as squad players. They should be the ones alongside Chamakh to easily win us the Carling cup while the rest slug it out for FA cup and EPL.
    @Terry – Chill out. Its okay. Only hope you can understand me better now.

    Doing business and leaving yourself inefficient, but competitive is not enough. Dortmund has twice beaten a great Bayern side to two titles in a row. They are efficient, guess same too can be said of Juve.

    Our self image affects our future, if we begin to feel we are not worthy or ready to win the EPL, then a part of our future is killed. Why our manager feeds us that qualifying for champs league is the ultimate achievement now is completely lost on me. Good players want medals/titles/trophies.
    We should stop having a bad attitude towards our selves/players. Rather, we should set our sights on the future. But, unfortunately Diaby/Ramsey have loads to do to get into this future with the first team. Let’s hope they can make it.

    We can win the EPL this year by staying positive, we just have to look forward from now and try to be as efficient as possible. We definitely need some improvement in our self image. We cannot use our weaknesses as excuses. How we see ourselves does keep us from succeeding. Can the players rise above this? We are not yet where we need to be, but we are definitely not where we used to be. We are just okay, but someone should get this armoured Gunship moving at full throttle again. The road is rough, but we should just keep moving ahead positively. Its been so emotional over here, my young cousin(17 yrs) switched immediately Song’s sale was confirmed. He does not understand why it seems we do not want to win anymore. Trying to explain puts him in more confusion and he got a Torres chelskum Jersey to confirm his shift after two barren draws in succession.

    I love my Arsenal. I do not enjoy everything we do and I want us to change, but I refuse to reject my Arsenal.

  34. @gunners boss

    Spot on mate……

    A lot of people on this blog and others as well keep saying that the vanpercy to MaU deal was a good deal, and i agree to an extent BUT did we really have to sell him to a rival, (highest bidder) and how do these contracts work??? does the player have a say on where they end up????
    And i’ll tell you something else, vanpercy and MAU will show up Arsenal’s medical team and there incompetence because a lot of you keep saying that he will get injured i’ll take a bet he stays fit the whole season

  35. @kel – A lot of valid points made. Ur good value for your money. I wanna say something i think no one has mentioned yet. Ferguson actually begged Wenger for this guy. He wanted him so badly, he personally came for him. Wenger has never sold to fergie and he wanted to keep it that way. It certainly becomes a lot more complex when your own player wants to go out there and strengthen the opposition. Now, how many of us would refuse that money? Seriously!. The others teams would have paid the transfer fees, but it all boiled down to the salaries. VP wants to earn his big pay day before retiring. The trophy talk is crap seriously. The max we would’ve paid this guy is 150k, so, he is earning a 100k more.

    It seems we wanna scrap for aFELLAY/Isco and just keep selling. Seriously, I wouldnt mind Walcott leaving if the boss feels Afellay will do a better job. Like I said earlier, its just about how efficient we are as a team on the pitch. The more urgent problem is we actually need a DM in the side(Coquelin) or new buy. A lot of patience will be needed for the current makeshift central midfield. In the last two games, Diaby has really been very sluggish. I seriously dont mind him in the side, but he needs to speed up, get more mobile around players with the ball. He is not looking like the guy who runs forward, dribbles and scores for us anymore. What is wrong with Diaby?

    I remember when we were an Arshavin(cos thats what we needed) away from beating Milan in the UCL earlier in the year. We lacked quality substitutes then. But, just when it seemed we had this strength in depth, the machinery got dismantled, key parts have been sold and the machinery is hurriedly reassembled. It certainly is taking a lot of fire, its thick amour yet to be breached. It sure has the capability to outgun the best out there, BUT……can it? Liverpool will showcase us further.

  36. No worries GunnerBoss. I live in Canberra so in August I am as chilled as I ever want to be!
    Kel: I take your point about RVP to Manure but as I understand it no one else bid for him and that is where he wanted to go. He locked us in a corner and then it was a matter of squeezing every last peso out of Old Purple Nose. But none of us here think its ideal. Not sure about the injury comment. Maybe you know something we don’t. But given his track record would you be surprised if he did get crocked?
    Anyway I am waiting for the end of the transfer window, nobody has bought/loaned Squillaci, Park, Chamkh and The Greatest Striker In The World and Arsene tells us it’s like a whole bunch of new signings!
    Hope he can keep Arshavin though. Something tells me he could play a useful part this season if he can get off his arse and work.

  37. @ GunnerBoss — Interesting you use Dortmund and Juve as two examples of teams that have overcome the odds. Unfortunately both sides contest their leagues under vastly different circumstances.

    As far as I’m aware clubs in Germany must balance their books or else drop 2 divisions, meaning clubs like Manchester City, United or Chelsea (or pretty much any other club) could not operate under their current models.

    Juve are a slightly different case. They have a history as the most successful side in Italy and that will unlikely change. They will always have that power to attract players. They were impeccably efficient last season, but what of manager Antonio Conte’s match-fixing charges?

  38. @ kel — I really appreciate your contributions to this blog, as much for the debate they spark as anything, but it bugs the hell outta me when you spell player names wrong.

    Vanpercy? What the?

    For the record I don’t think van Persie will have an injury-hit season. His injury problems are well behind him and only bad luck will see them return. Even so, he wanted to leave and given the offers on the table we got the best outcome out of a bad situation.

  39. We have become a complete joke if we sell Walcott. Wenger seems to be fooling fans again. I bet he will not buy anymore.
    I would at the moment immediately stop any sale of Bendtner. He can offer us something different to these strikers we have.I repeat Diaby is the weak link. Nothing more nothing less. The defense hasn’t been tested and Sunderland had one on ones against us. I sure we are going to conceed goals in the next games we play. Nothing has changed yet. The fans shouldnt get fooled. There is no trophy this season and Champions league qualification will be the trophy .

  40. @Andy – I meant team efficiency. I meant efficient in front of goal or efficient with scoring goals. Please do not read anything else into it.

    Didn’t mention magreed or barca. Don’t know why everything has to be about our model. It does not matter if the coach fixes matches, the other side has to agree to let that happen.
    Are u trying to say Dortmund is not efficient. Have you forgotten Bayern have been in the last two UCL finals? It doesn’t even matter if Juve is a big club, they were very efficient last season, please do not take anything away from them. I purposely mentioned them cos they have no superstars, we could beat them in Europe if we meet… point is that having the so-called stars does not make you efficient. Efficiency lies in the brains and practice. Efficiency lies in putting round pegs in round holes. Are Swansea efficient so far? With a +8 goal difference, you bet they are. This is my point exactly.

    @left coast – Yes, you agree with Terry, but u also acknowledge that the link up was bad. Whose fault? I hate it when u just come on to rubbish what someone else has said while actually acknowledging his points. My point is if we had Coquelin, we would’ve freed Arteta to help Cazorla with the link-up play and attacking duties.

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