Arsenal Failing Without Santi Cazorla


As the game evolved on Sunday between Man City and Arsenal I had this surreal sensation of a slowly unfolding train wreck. From the moment the ball ricocheted from midfield to defense after Cech’s back-kick and somehow eluded both Gabriel and Koscielny to find the clearly offside Sane, who went on to score, it was apparent to me we were losing control of the game. By the way, the mealy mouth media bastards who are usually the first to proclaim that offside applies to any part of the body that is off, deserve a place in hell for trying to justify Sane’s goal on the grounds that  Koscielny’s “boot” kept him on. This fate applies equally to ex-Gunner Lee Dixon as well as his team of yes-men, Arlo White and Graeme LeSaux who were on my NBC tv feed. Their ex-post justification of a clear officiating error, is further confirmation that the mainstream media can do nothing less than reflexively and automatically  justify officialdom, no matter how wrong and unjust. But then they are all part of the Establishment. How dare they criticize one of their own?

From the moment Man City scored, the swagger, confidence and bravado that was apparent for much of the first half clearly began to slip away. The Arsenal men, slowly but surely, lost control of the game both on the defensive and offensive end. Too often the team was desperately defending on the edge of the box unable to move the ball from defense and attack. Justifiably they tried to play the ball out of the back rather than whacking it down field. More often than not it would ping uncontrollably off the legs of a Gunner resulting in a turnover to the opposition.

Nobody in midfield seem able to take-on one or more opponent in tight paces and beat them with skill or win a foul giving the team time to reset. No one had the audacity, impudence, the nerve, simply the chutzpah, to attempt a dribble from deep in Arsenal’s defensive 3rd and put the pressure on the opposition forcing them to retreat as fast as hell fearing Arsenal could easily turn defense into attack at lightning speed. Simply speaking there was no Santi Cazorla in sight.

I am not sure how many shared my feelings but as the game increasingly fell from our grasp I desperately pined for our little Spanish maestro. Afterwards, as is my wont, I researched the data to confirm whether my feelings had any factual basis or not.

7 Games With Santi:

6 1 0 16 6 19 2.7

9 Games Without Santi:

3 3 3 19 13 12 1.3

Is there a more telling series of data? With Santi the club was putting up an eye watering statistic ppg of 2.7, which is title-winning numbers, and without him the ppg has fallen by 50% to 1.3. The dramatic fall in ppg,  if not arrested,  is a slow but sure slide to mid-table mediocrity. The data-phobic critics will be the first to say the sample size is small, etc. But PA readers are aware of the research I did last October, which prove that ever since he arrived from Malaga four years ago, Santi Cazorla has been the most valuable player at Arsenal Football Club.

Take a gander at the following key data

Season Apps Mins Goals Assists PS%
2015/2016 15 1293 3 90.2
2014/2015 33 2992 7 11 89.0
2013/2014 30 2597 4 8 86.3
2012/2013 37 3311 12 11 86.8

From the moment he arrived at Arsenal, Santi was required to play some heavy minutes, well in excess of 3,000 in his very first year and a trifle less in 2014/15. Add 624 and 559 minutes respectively in the champion’s league campaigns, then we get a full measure of how vital it was for the manager to have the little maestro on the team sheet. It was only because of injuries that his minutes were abbreviated in 2015/16.

When playing, Santi excelled in all the key technical attributes of a midfielder.  Never the most prolific of goal scorers, he rattled in as much as 12 in 2012/13 but this leveled off over the years as his role changed to someone operating from a deeper midfield position. Equally, if not more significant, was his ability during the first three injury-free years to create a consistently high number of assists improving  from 1 in 3.36 games in 2012/13 to 1 in 3 in 2014/15.  Throughout the years the Spaniards passing percentage was never less than the 86th percentile improving to as high as the 90th percentile in 2015/16.

How did this translate into results? The data reveals that consistently, without exception, for all games played by the ambidextrous Spanish maestro, Arsenal’s ppg was consistently higher than the ppg for the entire team for the comparable season, i.e. when one accounts for games without Santi.

Season PPG-Santi PPG-AFC PPG – Title
2015/2016 2.14 1.87 2.13
2014/2015 2.06 1.97 2.29
2013/2014 2.24 2.08 2.26
2012/2013 1.92 1.74 2.34

The difference ranges from 0.27 ppg in 2015/16, the period when Santi was absent for nearly 6 months, to a mere .09 ppg in 2014/15. These numbers may appear to be marginal and insignificant but such are the fine margins between winning and losing a title:

  • If Arsenal sustained Santi’s 2.14 ppg in 2015/16 the club would have exceed Leicester’s title-winning total of 2.13.
  • If Arsenal sustained Santi’s 2.24 ppg in 2013/14 they had the possibility of competing with Manchester City for the title, definitely coming closer to 2nd rather than finishing 4th.

Despite years of unbiased data which demonstrate, without need for headlines and drama, that Santi Cazorla is the key link in the chain built by Arsene Wenger, not every pundit and tactical expert was willing to proclaim that he left a big gaping hole in the Arsenal midfield last October with his injury. Even the relatively decent WhoScored .com to date averaged Santi as less than a 7 out of 10 player:

20-08-2016 Leicester 0-0 Arsenal 6.17
27-08-2016 Watford 1-3 Arsenal 7.08
10-09-2016 Arsenal 2-1 Southampton 8.05
17-09-2016 Hull 1-4 Arsenal 6.88
24-09-2016 Arsenal 3-0 Chelsea 6.97
02-10-2016 Burnley 0-1 Arsenal 6.80
15-10-2016 Arsenal 3-2 Swansea 6.91

It was left to Arsene Wenger, when recently asked whether he would go out into the transfer market to get another Santi Cazorla, this January to state:

“… in January you will not normally find a Cazorla – even if you want to.”

Seems to me Arsene will have to tinker with the shape of the side between now and Cazorla’s return to make it a little more solid defensively at the expense of the earlier swashbuckling attacking style. Between now and then our title-winning chances will rest on the very fine thread sewn by Santi’s surgeon in Sweden.

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90 comments on “Arsenal Failing Without Santi Cazorla

  1. Chilling figure work this Wednesday morning Shotts, and not in a soft, enveloping way.

    I think as was said after Sunday we have a number of talented, creative midfield players at the club, Mesut, Rambo and the Ox being the most obvious, who need to be told to shoulder the creative burden more with Santi sidelined.


  2. Very good Shotta and I fully agree, Cazorla is one of the most unfancied, under-rated players at the club. Your stats clearly highlight his value to the team. At the risk of sounding unintentionally trite, other stats will also highlight the price we are now paying for the loss of Mustafi.

    To me the team look shot to pieces (pardon the pun); a successful and high-achieving run in the Champions League will do that to you. It’s noticeable that those clubs less inconvenienced by Euro competition are looking fresher whilst question marks sit against all of last season’s fourth-placed finishing sides.

    And we don’t need stats to show us how our form fades away in the second half of recent games, just our eyes will do.

    Factor in the most atrocious and sustained diabolical refereeing performances I think I’ve ever seen in any season of any sport you care to name, and it’s not hard to see why we are currently where we are. Overcoming the referees, the injuries and the CL induced fatigue as Arsenal have recently failed to do would prove too much for any side, regardless of manager, short of someone with two genuinely world class first-team squads at his fingertips.

    I predict a big win v WBA as part of the post-Xmas bounce-back and an extended run that will stuff the words of the weasel’s back where they belong.

    The heights to which this next run will take us depends largely on how injuries affect us when the Champions League get going again. The form of others will of course be a factor but let’s not imagine they will be entirely impervious to the rigours of competition, with or without the CL. The return of Santi and Mustafi will doubtless see a welcome repair job on our own stats take place.

    Recent days and weeks have been useful if only to remind ourselves of the shallow vileness of the media observers and the odious nature of some of the cretins within our own fanbase ranks.

    But I’ll be glad when Xmas is over, 100%.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Super stuff, Shotta, and some great tables to peruse along with an analysis of what the data means from your perspective, which although subjective as is the way of these things, is difficult to disagree with should anyone be that way inclined. (lol)

    As someone who loves statistical data, you will be aware that the composition of each team that has won or lost with or without Santi, can have a material effect on the outcomes, and if they are not the same players in the Arsenal teams, with the exception of Santi when he is injured, or a calculation made of the calibre of the opposition teams Arsenal have met during that period, if indeed that is possible, both when winning or losing, with or without him, then there is inevitably an element of subjectivity about the conclusions.

    That said I believe you have made a very good case that Santi is an essential component of a winning Arsenal team.

    There is however an alternative theme that could be extrapolated from the conclusion that without Santi Arsenal are vulnerable to less than perfect outcomes.
    At the the age of 32, we have to face up to the inevitable fact that he is entering his sporting twilight zone, and in the not too distant future he will move on into retirement, or for one last hurrah for his boyhood club as he has said, more than once, that he would like to finish his career with them.

    As is also often the case, players frequently become more injury prone as they age, and this is becoming the case with Santi, so whether or not it is established, to everyone’s satisfaction, that Arsenal are not the same class team without him, it is natural to assume that AW will have given thought to ensuring we have, or will get, a similarly classy player to act as his deputy during injury episodes or as his eventual replacement.

    The obvious name that will crop up, and already has, I suspect, is that of Jack Wilshire, provided that he can overcome his chronic injury problems, maybe he is that player, but there are lingering reservations about that being the case, and Jack has recently also said he may have to move on from Arsenal to further his career.

    If not Jack, then who? That is not for me to say obviously, and in truth I would not have a clue anyway, but I am sure Arsene has thought about that, and will take the appropriate steps to resolve the matter – altho’ recent comments seem to indicate that he will, or already has, offered Santi an extension to his contract, which will solve the problem in the short term, but it remains to be seen whether the offer will be accepted by the little maestro.

    As I said earlier, super stuff, Shotta, and a great Post to get the responses flowing.

    [And a good morning to all.]

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Rich. wonderful stuff
    And Shotta. of course, that goes without saying


  5. Great read Shotta, and a focus on the player in this team I rate and admire above all others. Think some of the players are really missing Caz, especially the likes of Ozil, Iwobi and maybe Alexis. Mustafi is another huge loss, Like Gab, but he lacks the organisation of SM. Injuries really cost this team unfortunately…some reports Gary Lewin is returning.
    In hindsight, it is a real shame Jack is not with us this season, perhaps the closest fit for Caz, along with maybe Ramsey. This is something Wenger will have to address, Caz is not getting any younger, and his injuries seem to be increasing in terms of time out and severity
    Can only echo the thoughts of Arsenal Andrew…how many more times will they be on the receiving end of incorrect decisions by officials? Will Wengers remarks about the PGMOL make things even worse?
    Hate to seem pessimistic, just cannot see this team winning the league this year, there always seems just too many things stacked against it, but they can still make progress

    Liked by 4 people

  6. My problem with NBC’s coverage and the analysis of Sane goal was not the interpretation of the off – side rule by Lee Dixon and LeSaux( I can draw my own conclusions without someone telling me what to think), but rather what seemed to be an erroneous off -side line drawn a cross the Arsenal back four, which suggested the play might’ve been closer than it really was.

    Now , I don’t know the reasons for this and I don’t subscribe to any conspiracy theories of biased media, but after having reviewed pictures of the same play from other sources, the only reasonable conclusion one could come to was a clear off- side.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can’t comment on the tactics etc. as I don’t really know but what I do know is, like Mean Lean and many others, there are few footballers I have enjoyed watching play football when compared with the blessed Saint Cazorla.

    As Ramsey said after his previous demolition of City: “different class”.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. < i've enjoyed watching Cazorla play football more then I have more then most other players that I've seen


  9. << excuse the typos! Back to work…


  10. Technical Leader

    The level you need to aspire to reach if you want to play for Arsenal and the type of game Arsenal want to play.
    Key elements include
    Pass long and short
    Game understanding (Football IQ), to have the ability to go and help offer a solution or fix the problem on the pitch in game.
    Personality to play your game at even the most difficult of time
    The standard setter for the majority of elements of the way Arsenal want to play
    All teams can be identified by the technical leader.
    He does not need necessarily need to be the best player .
    Arsenal previous great Technical Leader was not our best player Denis Bergkamp, but was so far advanced in football IQ that he stood by the best player easily.

    Santi is our current technical leader, he sets the aspirational standards the team want to reach. You can survive for a while without him, but unless you have serious strong leaders in other aspects of the team,(i.e Best Player and Spiritual leader both playing top form ) after a while the team will lose its way. Players look to these Leaders when things are not going well. The team is in a bit of a funk,it needs its technical leader.

    Could someone else take over the role?
    He would have to set as high or higher standards than Santi, consistently.
    I have to also add we miss the element that Mustafi has added, his passing from deep through the lines on the right hand side, as well as that spiritual element, intangibles.

    Quick comparison with Barcelona (It is easier because most fans have a very good idea of Barca strengths) The great team had a great Technical Leader in Xavi(Now it is Iniesta of course Messi could be but Iniesta is club cpt )
    Best player has been at various times Ronaldinho and Messi.
    Spritual leader is Puyol (We had Adams then Vieira)
    Barca’s advantage is the Cantera ,that spirit of growing up together is unquantifiable .

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I believe it was Arsene himself who said last week that “the guys who aren’t there are heroes”. I’m also a fan of data, as it’s how I make my living. And it’s true that the toughest thing to prove with data is with the negative: “x happened because y didn’t happen”, or “if x had happened y wouldn’t have happened.” So, I’ll try not to despair too much that it’s impossible for us to win without Santi. Many, many variables are at work on the pitch at any one time…so much so that it makes my head spin.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. I don’t need stats to tell me Santi is our most important player, just like I didn’t need them to tell me it used to be Arteta.
    But they help confirm it.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Marvellous innit – my one moment of Arsenal insight bumping into Olivier on the Selfridges’ escalator earlier – and barely a bite on social media.


  14. A5 – what is this “bumping into Olivier” of which you speak?! I’m hours behind on Twitter, as usual. *scurries off to see*

    Liked by 1 person

  15. @WhenWeWereBoring Well spotted: The technical leader is not necessarily your best player. So glaring on Sunday.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Delusional Rich 🖖 ‏@AlternativeArse 9m9 minutes ago
    If every Arsenal player had the heart and fight of Sanchez, no one would ever pass and we constantly lose possession on the edge of the area


  17. We’d win every game 7-4 though

    Liked by 1 person

  18. GeoffArsenal ‏@GeoffArsenal 2h2 hours ago
    Experts everywhere. And not one of them working in Football.



  19. Fair point Eddy – I have respect for souness and other pundits who actually have experience of playing and at least trying to manage – but Hargreaves, Owen, Savage, “Stan Collymore?!?” (As Pep helpfully pointed out)

    Barely functioning no marks – lazy, ignorant, short term and on Stan’s case a pervert


  20. Clearly I mean no offence to any perverts reading the blog – you are more than welcome – just Collymore.


  21. lots of rumors that West Ham are trying to take Carl Jenkinson on loan again, odd this as the twitter experts say he flopped last time he was on loan with them.


  22. yeah anicol normally the ex managers are a different sort of pundit than the ex player who either flopped as managers or are too scared to go into management at all.


  23. Gunners Town ‏@GunnersTown 6h6 hours ago
    New on http://GunnersTown.com : A Fresh Perspective on Defeat by A Concerned Arsenal Fan http://dlvr.it/Mx6nLg #Arsenal

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ozil has covered more ground per 90 minutes in the league this season than Alexis, Theo Walcott, Francis Coquelin and Laurent Koscielny


  25. my post above, just shows what a lazy bastard ozil is, and when I say Ozil I mean malcontents, they find a soundbite, like ozil is lazy and no attempt is made to find out if its true or not, and even when the stats are put out there, they still stick to it. Lazy Ozil it will remain.


  26. top 2 in Germany playing other tonight, its half time and its Bayern Munich 3 – 0 RasenBallsport Leipzig which will have Bayern going 3pts clear at the top as they head into the winter break. By the way Dortmund are in 6th and 12pts off top. But oddly enough this does not impact the malcontents love for their manager, Tuchel, he has replaced Klopp not only at dortmund, but in the heads of the wob


  27. Steve Gooner@Merse10
    @Negative_Gooner @wiltybanter zzzzz £10 league cup. £26-£36 for majority of league games. It’s £25 to see Southend in league 1 btw


  28. shotta_gooner it’s probably better that the Technical Leader is not THE best player,because the responsibility can be shared around a bit more. Less chance of SPF.
    I feel with Santi out, you need the other leaders to take on more, so the effect of losing Mustafi (who seems to have quickly adopted the spiritual leadership role married to his technical proficiency), seems to be too much for the team at the moment .
    The squad has no real like for like replacements, it is impossible if you want a balanced squad
    That is no slight on Kos or Gabs with Mustafi we play 20 yards further up the park on the front foot defending in the main.


  29. Santiago Hercules Cazorla. The stats loudly proclaim his importance alright.

    I’ve become a little fixated on what we’re attempting with our central midfield three, or two and an attacking midfielder/ten. Since 4-4-2 slipped from fashion and nearly all teams played with three central midfield players, certainly the best teams, it’s quite hard to find examples of using a 10 as part of the three.

    These are the 3’s from winning world cup, Euros and champions league in recent times

    Spain 2008: Xavi, Fabregas,Senna (Iniesta and Silva wide)
    Germany u21 Euro winners 2009: Hummels(played dm), Khedira, Castro (Ozil lm/10)
    Spain 2010: Busquets, Alonso, Xavi (Iniesta wide)
    Barca 2011: Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi
    Spain 2012 : Alonso, Busquets,Xavi (Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva ahead of them)
    Bayern 2013: Martinez, Schweinsteiger, Muller * (Ribery, Robben wide)
    Germany 2014: Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Kramer (Ozil, Muller wide)
    Real 2016: Kroos, Modric, Schweinsteiger.

    *closest from above teams to our 4-2-3-1. Ribery and Robben were probably the two best wide midfielders/forwards in world at that point.

    I’m well aware these are the best of the best, incredible teams, but I think it’s telling they all play with three bona fide central midfielders. A Madrid in recent times are an exception- they play with central midfielders in the wide positions as well.

    My point is we are trying something different in making Ozil part of that three. others have no doubt tried it as well. I’m guessing Mata and two has been tried plenty, Hazard and two (happening now, i guess, but he has 7 defensive players behind him); Rodriguez and two;Di Maria; Others also, no doubt.

    The evidence seems to be that we can make it work well, gathering enough points to be on course for a strong title push, with Cazorla in there. It goes against the ideas I held for years- that two solid defensive midfielders guaranteed more solidity than one and a tiny magician- but the evidence is compelling. Defending and attacking seems to break down without him in the toughest games, with the team virtually split in two if the opposition get on top of us.

    Without anguish, I can say I really don’t think it can work without Cazorla. Ramsey on the right should help a fair bit if he is completely on board, but even then I’m uncertain about how well it can function without Santi in there.

    I hope it won’t be taken as an attack on Ozil- he’s virtually blameless to me (true I wonder why he can’t go with a bit more aggression when it’s pretty safe to do so. i.e when the worst might be a bang on the noggin, but that’s really pretty superficial to me)- nor as an even bigger attack on Wenger.

    I believe there is mitigation galore for trying to make it work, with the bulk of that being that it does often work. All those games unbeaten. All the players having plenty of good days. Also, a lot of experimentation in the wide positions and with the two at the base to try find the right formula.

    Still, here we are. I’m a little excited ,to be honest, to see if we try something different in the coming weeks. The tricky thing is that the challenge of those toughest games, especially away, is only replicated partially in any other game. But I think there’s been enough evidence gathered now to force a rethink which takes that into account.

    After a tough week for him, a little reminder of what Ozil is great at with these two assists in the final. 1st one is glorious.


    Also this pass, about 2.30. Remember watching the game and being amazed by it. Pretty much the goal that sealed title for Madrid, away at the Nou Camp

    Can see Mou actually went 4-2-3-1 for that game, with an extremely attacking front four- Ozil, Di Maria, Ronaldo; Benzema. Truer to form. he got one of those attackers off pronto the minute after they got that precious goal.


  30. Fat Sam is on the horizon.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Brétt Mendöza ‏@BrettMendoza 3h3 hours ago
    Pardew has managed to get sacked from Palace just 5 years into his 8 year contract at Newcastle. Impressive


  32. “it will be Wenger’s decision, and Wenger’s alone, if he stays on at Arsenal or not”
    has to be the greatest load of old tosh the WOB ever come out with.

    Wenger can not stay if Arsenal do not offer him a new contract, simple really. So if Wenger stays on after this season, it will be his and Arsenal’s boards joint decision. And of course just like anyone else who is offered a new contract, in any job, if Wenger refuses to sign, there is nothing Arsenal can do about it, but to say Arsenal FC has no hand or part to play in Wenger staying or not, is just stupidity of the highest order.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Stop the navel gazing!

    Tuesday, lose to Everton.

    Looking forward, to a good time.

    Wednesday, a bit of a do for Xmas.

    Recovering, from excess …..

    Sunday, lose to Man City.

    Simples, not applying themselves at work?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ha ha ha, just seen an article from an arsenal blog, that is critical of Wenger, cos Arsenal do not allow Rugby to be played at the Emirates. It seems the wob will use even the most idiotic of notions to have a whine about Arsene and Arsenal. Maybe next week it will be that we don’t allow monster truck shows on the pitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Don’t play rugby ?

    We beat Stoke last home game ffs – are these people daft ?

    Liked by 1 person

  36. they are an odd lot at HH, “where it is all right to disagree” as long as you don’t disagree with certain posters on the site.


  37. it is being reported that the Arsenal players have called off their Christmas party due to fears it would upset the malcontents, and see more abuse aimed at the players and club.
    Disgraceful if true, some so called Arsenal supporters really need to have a long hard look at themselves and then fuck off.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. “Called off their Christmas party” cos of the Scarfist wankathon

    Perrlease – Don’t be ridiculous Eddy


  39. Go Ahead Eagles have confirmed that Daniel Crowley is joining them on loan in January till the end of the season.


  40. yeah anicoll that is what the reports are saying, after all the abuse on the net aimed at the players after our last two games, the players thought it best to not give the whingers another phantom reason to slag them off.


  41. Sounds like a load of shite tbh

    Now fair enough these days, Christmas “do” I would rather crawl over broken glass with my arms tethered behind my back pushing a Dinky car with my nose

    And I say that as someone who enjoyed a super evening on the 9th

    But the notion of some two bob third party influencing if it was on or off is absurd

    In my opinion obviously


  42. Shotts I think a great example to support this article (along with the data, and a recording of that previous Away game at City) is the recent match against the Fulham Oilers. Cazorla was not the obvious headline grabber from that performance, but he was the standout CM on the pitch, he was as they say ‘dictating play’, acting like a ‘midfield generalissimo’ etc.

    My only critique of this article is that the title should’ve been:
    “Arsenal Failing Without Midfield General Santi Cazorla”

    Liked by 1 person


    Arsène Wenger had good news to deliver when he was asked for his team news ahead of the West Bromwich Albion game.
    Read on for the latest on who’s coming back soon.

    on the latest team news…
    I think for Monday we lose Chamberlain from the last game against City. I don’t know if Ramsey will be involved or not but he will be back in full training today. The good news is that Welbeck will join in today for the first time – he has been out for a very long time. Mustafi is still out until the beginning of January.

    on Oxlade-Chamberlain…
    It’s not very bad. It’s a question of days rather than weeks.


    Aaron Ramsey is on his way back. The Wales midfielder will return to training before our Boxing Day game after a spell on the sidelines with a toe problem.
    It’s a timely boost for Arsène Wenger’s midfield options after the boss lost the injured Santi Cazorla for a number of months.

    “You know the strengths of Aaron,” said Wenger. “He’s efficient offensively, he has a high level of activity and is a very complete box-to-box player. Overall I think he gives us options in the team when he plays.

    “Yes he’s almost like a new signing because he has not played many games,” added the boss. “He has played maybe two games since the start of the season, but let’s not be too premature. He’s had some setbacks and I hope this time he will be alright.”


    Not long now for Danny Welbeck.
    The England international needed a lot of patience and hard graft to get through seven months on the sidelines, but the end of the road is in sight.

    Welbeck last played on May 8 and has managed just 15 games in 20 months because of injury problems, but he returns to training ahead of our Boxing Day game against West Bromwich Albion.

    The old cliche that Welbeck would be “like a new signing” was rolled out at Arsène Wenger’s pre-match press conference, and understandably the boss will tread carefully.
    “I’m cautious with Ramsey and even more with Welbeck, because Welbeck will need some time,” he said. “Friday is his first team training session.

    “Of course it’s fantastic, because for him it’s like starting a new career, because he has been out for such a long time.

    “But I’m a bit cautious with the little setbacks you have when you have been out for a long time. You have to be patient.”

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161223/team-news-welbeck-ramsey-and-theox#UGbMl8zosuC1dGMX.99



    Mesut Ozil has come in for some stick this week following our defeat at Manchester City.
    Arsène Wenger accepts that Sunday’s game wasn’t Mesut’s finest moment in an Arsenal shirt but, at the same time, only Eden Hazard has won the ball more in the final third this season.

    The manager did not divulge what he and Ozil discussed in the wake of the City game but he stood up for the playmaker at his press conference.

    “I don’t give him any leeway when the team doesn’t have possession,” said Wenger. “He has to do his job like everybody else and usually he does it well.

    “His main strength is of course when we have the ball and he suffers more when we don’t have it. At City, he suffered more than others because we didn’t have enough of the ball. Unfortunately, if you want to have the ball, you have to win it back.

    “He is a guy who works much harder than people think and his body language goes a bit against him sometimes. We are a team who win the ball back high up the pitch very well, which means he and Alexis do their part of the job very well.

    “We had a deficit in winning the ball back in the middle of the pitch at Manchester City. When you do not win the ball back immediately, you suffer after because you have to win it back a little bit deeper. That’s certainly what people highlighted in our game.
    “To be absolutely fair, I did not hear or listen to all of the criticism we got after the game. We have to accept that, we have to live with that. People analyse the game and have their opinions, and I think that’s normal.

    “We have to respond. Mesut Ozil is an important player, a big player, and the big players always respond to criticism on the pitch.”

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161223/wenger-responds-to-ozil-criticism#bQUubV5TVgeVBvIK.99


  45. Separate to that is that consistent unavoidable and undeniable problem of the PGMOB roster. If I can make a comment here, before the match on dodgy offside calls at City, it’s not because I am a prophet, trust me. And I most certainly don’t have any glowing crystal footballs. Nope.
    Observations of patterns is how we historically arrived at the scientific method which can then be supported with data IBSF

    Liked by 2 people

  46. ah Wenger can’t help but make me smile, not happy with “Ramsey is almost like a new signing”, that will have thousands of furious malcontents tweet the “like a new signing” bit, but he has caught them off guard with Welbeck and its “like a new career”, watch the bewilderment unfold on twitter and arsenal blogworld.


  47. Kaveh Solhekol ‏@SkyKaveh 1h1 hour ago
    Sky in Germany: Julian Draxler moving to PSG from Wolfsburg for £38m. Deal almost done


  48. Arsène’s Son ‏@hughwizzy 4h4 hours ago
    Photo confirmation of Oscar’s £52m move from Chelsea to Chinese Super League side Shanghai SIPG.

    have to say that to me this looks like more money laundering with Chelsea right bang in the middle of it.


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