Arsenal 2019-2020 - Because Thursday Games are the Best Way to Start the Weekend

lars10

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"Our commitment to being Arsenal is absolutely unrivaled. Take Arsenal away for however long you like, bury it deep beneath the earth for eons in a titanium capsule from which no part of our essence can be seen, heard or felt, and we can just dig it up and go from zero to full-on, turbo-charged, hyper-drive, light-speed Arsenal in the blink of an eye.

"What a club."
-
Arseblog today

Well, the return featured Arsenal playing some of their latest, greatest hits:
  • Controversy over Ozil not making the match day squad for "tactical reasons"
  • Untimely injuries (Xhaka and Mari)
  • Luiz deserving man-of-the-match for creating two goals for City and then having a bizarre press conference afterwards
  • Leno getting barraged with shots, and fortunately, looking pretty good
As Arteta said afterwards, "I want to delete the game from the hard drive." City is obviously at a different level from Arsenal, but the dominance was staggering.
  • City shots: 20, City shots on target: 12
  • Arsenal shots: 3, Arsenal shots on target: 0
I am struggling to look for a few positives (besides Leno), maybe a few early moments where Nketiah looked a little dangerous...? Bellerin and Tierney playing a full match was good to see. Not much else.

The fact that Arteta started Nketiah, Willock, and Saka (at wing) over Lacazette, Ozil, and Pepe seems to indicate he's going to give the younger plays a shot to close out the season, so maybe he'll at least get a better idea of what he has with them.
The offseason needs:
- Two or three players on defense - get rid of Mustafi and Luiz yesterday.
- Two mids that can pass... if you're not going to play Ozil you need another creative mid. It makes no sense to play three up top if you have nobody to pass them the ball.
- The three subs in the second half.. I can't think of a single positive contribution that any of them made.. Luiz in the first half was obviously the worst.
- Aubameyang is completely wasted on this team currently. He's getting zero service and I feel like he needs to be in the middle and up front so that other players are not constantly in his space.
 

Tuff Ghost

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With Mari out for the season with a serious tendon injury and Luiz suspended 2 games, the Arsenal defense could have some strange lineups in the coming few games if anyone else gets hurt.

Central defense roughly has a depth-chart of:
  • Luiz - suspended 2 games (and contract possibly ending within next two weeks unless extended)
  • Sokratis - injured, out at least another 2 weeks
  • Mari - injured, out for year (loan ending, so they'll have to decide if they want to buy with a minimal amount of match data to judge him on)
  • Chambers - injured, out for year
  • Mustafi - he is what he is, has looked a little more stable under Arteta at least
  • Holding - now's his chance to prove if he has a future at the club; he has looked pretty poor every time I've seen him play since his return from the ACL injury
  • Medley - 19 years old, maybe he gets a shot if Holding/Mustafi get injured
  • Bola - 21 years old, I doubt he gets any playing time
I would not be surprised if we end up seeing something unexpected like Tierney or Kolasinac ending up in central defense in an emergency. The end of the season could be pretty ugly. Not to mention that the team's best defensive mid-fielder, Torreira, is not going to resume training for another 3 weeks, and Xhaka is also out for a few more weeks.

At least next season, Saliba will be coming in and he has a ton of potential, but this being Arsenal, I suspect he'll suffer an ACL injury sometime before the fall. I am really disappointed by the Mari injury. The end of the season was going to be a great chance to get a feel for how he'll fit into the Premier League, but a serious injury (achilles possibly?) is not going to make a decision to buy easy, especially when funds are short to begin with and the team has immediate needs.
 

SocrManiac

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Mari's injury could be a recurring them for a few sides as the players try to go from "couch" (I know they've been training at home) to pitch in the span of a few weeks. The weather in Manchester certainly couldn't have helped.
 

PedroSpecialK

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It's also reported that they flew to Manchester 3 hours prematch. That can't be good for minimizing muscle / ligament injuries
 

The Gray Eagle

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With Mari out for the season with a serious tendon injury and Luiz suspended 2 games, the Arsenal defense could have some strange lineups in the coming few games if anyone else gets hurt.

Central defense roughly has a depth-chart of:
  • Luiz - suspended 2 games (and contract possibly ending within next two weeks unless extended)
  • Sokratis - injured, out at least another 2 weeks
  • Mari - injured, out for year (loan ending, so they'll have to decide if they want to buy with a minimal amount of match data to judge him on)
  • Chambers - injured, out for year
  • Mustafi - he is what he is, has looked a little more stable under Arteta at least
  • Holding - now's his chance to prove if he has a future at the club; he has looked pretty poor every time I've seen him play since his return from the ACL injury
  • Medley - 19 years old, maybe he gets a shot if Holding/Mustafi get injured
  • Bola - 21 years old, I doubt he gets any playing time
Good summary of this neverending defensive nightmare. Bola is referred to as a fullback on the official site, but I'm sure he's training as a centre back now. Why not?
There's also 20-year-old Northern Ireland's Daniel Ballard, who ranks somewhere near Medley on the depth chart, maybe 7th choice or so. Of course he is now reportedly injured too.

After Bola, the central defender depth chart is probably something like:
Tierney
Kolasinac
Academy Director Per Mertesacker
57-year-old Steve Bould
Sol Campbell, when he is not busy managing Southend United
The tallest ballboy
Nick Hornby
Arsene Wenger
The late Eddie Hapgood
Boris Johnson

The rest of this season could very easily become a complete disaster, with these injuries to the already inadequate defenders, the compressed schedule (5 games in the first 15 days) and the fact that the first 4 matches are on the road. As mentioned above, the unusual traveling protocols mean the team travels directly before and after matches, rather than staying in hotels and settling in for a while before playing.

I guess we'll find out who is starting at central defense in a few hours!
 

Tuff Ghost

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I think it is clear that stop-gap solutions are not helping the club and that a highly focused multi-year re-build is necessary. The short-term signings/loans of players like Luiz, Cedric, Denis Suarez, and even Ceballos (we'll always have that special August day against Burnley) are relatively small money on an individual level, but when added up, they are a large sum of money that has left the club stuck mid-table.

I hope we see Luiz and Cedric not re-signed and purchased this week, respectively. It's time to admit that the team is not an experienced player or two away from competing for Europe.

Saka looked pretty good in the mid-field on Saturday. His blast off the crossbar was nearly a thing of beauty and he had a nice cross to Lacazette that I thought should have been finished. What a year for him, now having played as a left-back, winger, and mid-fielder, all very competently at the age of 18. If Arsenal don't re-sign him this summer (one year left on contract) that would be massively disappointing. I am not ready to see him have a successful decade at another top-6 club.

With a thrown-together defense and now Leno gone (I am guessing an ACL and see you in 9-12 months type of deal), there could be some ugly goals-against numbers in the coming days. Holding was not impressive (definitely could have done better on the first goal, he was so off-balance). Mustafi was embarrassed on the final Maupay goal. These are not top-6 club CBs.

Oh, and it sounds like Guendouzi is possibly getting a 3-game ban for grabbing Maupay by the neck at the end of the match. That's a very Guendouzi-thing to happen. Arteta is going to have trouble finding 11 healthy and match-eligible first-team players.

These are tough times for the club, but let me desperately try to end on a positive note... Pepe's goal was aesthetically pleasing. There I did it.
 

Tuff Ghost

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No knee is safe at Arsenal. Martinelli has suffered an apparent meniscus injury in training:
Arsenal have been hit by another injury setback with fears Gabriel Martinelli could miss the rest of season after suffering a knee complaint in training.

The injury occurred on Monday and although Martinelli completed that session, he reported discomfort afterwards and underwent a scan on Tuesday to discover the full extent of the problem.

Early indications suggest it could be meniscus damage which, pending confirmation and consultation with a renowned knee specialist, would almost certainly sideline him for the remainder of the campaign.
 

mikeford

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As I said: no future

Raul, and by extension of that Kia, run this club right off a cliff. You're not going to rebuild with expensive 2nd rate trash.
 

Tuff Ghost

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The Kia Joorabchian relationship with Arsenal is pretty disturbing. His and Edu's ability to find talent in Brazil (Martinelli and Mari) is interesting, but it does not seem worth the cost of selling the club's soul to Kia. (I am intrigued by Mari, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that signing.)

Luiz is on six-figure weekly wages and rewarding him with another year despite erratic (to be kind) performance is surprising, except for the fact that he is a Kia client. (The counter is that he is supposedly a positive voice at the club and helpful to the younger players, so one more year of his veteran presence with a reduced role (and please, reduced red cards) may be fine since Arsenal are not going anywhere next year anyway.)

Cedric Soares is somewhat of a mediocrity, and at least the transfer is a free, but four years for him is depressing and surprising, except for the fact that he, too, is a Kia client.

The Athletic had a detailed piece about Kia and Arsenal last fall. Some choice quotes:

When Arsenal wanted Edu to be their new technical director earlier this year, it was Joorabchian who brokered the deal.
Romain Molina, a journalist who has written a book about Emery, was moved to say: “Kia is behind the arrival of Edu at Arsenal, so the interests of the club will follow his own, as usual.

“To allow Kia to bring back the sporting director brings many risks — ask QPR, Reading (both have signed several Joorabchian clients), Corinthians. It remains to be seen whether Edu remains ‘independent’ in his choices. The past shows that Kia, Pini (Zahavi) and family have the last word.”
Joorabchian is once more a familiar face at the Emirates — only this time, he’s welcome in the directors’ box as well as the corporate seats. Sanllehi has shown himself to be amenable to working with ‘super-agents’ — or the less catchy ‘super-intermediaries’, if Joorabchian prefers.
At least Kia Joorabchian has a successful past when he works very closely with a club, as he did with Brazil's Corinthians:
Who were MSI, the mysterious consortium Joorabchian represented? The Sao Paulo organised crime squad and the state public prosecutor instigated an inquiry which concluded there was sufficient evidence to “show that the Corinthians-MSI partnership is being used to practise the laundering of money”. Controversial Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky and Georgian tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili were identified as probable investors. Patarkatsishvili, the owner of Dinamo Tbilisi, but was best known for his aggressive attempts to assume political power in Georgia.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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The Kia Joorabchian relationship with Arsenal is pretty disturbing. His and Edu's ability to find talent in Brazil (Martinelli and Mari) is interesting, but it does not seem worth the cost of selling the club's soul to Kia. (I am intrigued by Mari, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on that signing.)

Luiz is on six-figure weekly wages and rewarding him with another year despite erratic (to be kind) performance is surprising, except for the fact that he is a Kia client. (The counter is that he is supposedly a positive voice at the club and helpful to the younger players, so one more year of his veteran presence with a reduced role (and please, reduced red cards) may be fine since Arsenal are not going anywhere next year anyway.)

Cedric Soares is somewhat of a mediocrity, and at least the transfer is a free, but four years for him is depressing and surprising, except for the fact that he, too, is a Kia client.

The Athletic had a detailed piece about Kia and Arsenal last fall. Some choice quotes:

At least Kia Joorabchian has a successful past when he works very closely with a club, as he did with Brazil's Corinthians:
Thanks for posting this. I had absolutely no idea about this.
 
There was a piece in The Guardian today about Kia and Arsenal as well:
Meanwhile, Arsenal travels to Sheffield United for their FA Cup Quarterfinal tomorrow - it feels like they've played 18 matches already since the return from lockdown, and somehow none of them have been at The Emirates.
 

mikeford

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Just gotta win 2 more matches and we can forget about this entire disaster campaign and go out on a high and go to Europe next year.
 

The Gray Eagle

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Man City, Chelsea, Leicester, and Man U are all still in this tournament. It'd be downright shocking if Arsenal beat any of those teams, much less 2 in a row.
I'm glad we are in the semis, but I would give us about a 5% chance of actually winning the trophy.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Yeah, true, the odds are against them, but it’s fun to still have something to root for in these otherwise bleak mid-table days.

The back 3 (or 5) has been interesting to watch. Arteta is definitely experimenting more with tweaks to their formation and tactics (and Saka is proving he can be whatever Arteta wants him to be that day- wingback, midfielder, winger). I think a back 3 protects Luiz a little, preventing him from getting lost out wide.

Holding has also looked a little better, particularly with his start at Southampton. He still has shaky moments and I don’t trust him when they are playing out of the back, but he is looking slightly more like his pre-ACL self.

Bellerin was pretty poor at Southampton, hopefully just fitness issues, but we may be seeing more Cedric Soares than I’d like soon if Bellerin continues that way.

Emi Martinez has been satisfactory in net. He can also deliver some nice long passes, so the absence of Leno is not as terrible as I thought it could be.

It seems as if Guendouzi has really checked out and Arteta is done with his antics. I like Guendouzi fine, but the midfield would be my number one priority in the transfer window, if there is any money to be spent. If they can sell him, but also bring in someone, that’s fine.

Ozil. Oh, Ozil. Will we see him play one match before this campaign ends? It’s exhausting.
 

mikeford

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Holding basically caused the tying goal today fwiw

Last time we won the FA Cup we beat City and Chelsea as pretty massive underdogs IIRC
 

Tuff Ghost

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Holding basically caused the tying goal today fwiw
Holding went for the header on the tying goal and missed, but, if I have to assign blame, I think I place more on Kolasinac kicking the ball off of Mustafi than Holding on that one. No one looked good, though.

It’s been a season long struggle defensively on set pieces. I keep hoping Arteta will get that turned around.
 

mikeford

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Arsenal haven't been able to defend a set piece since fuckin George Graham was skipper, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
 

Tuff Ghost

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It was a fun day yesterday between the new Saka contract and Norwich City letting the team have a laugher. Things are about to get tougher over the next two weeks, though (@ Wolves, Leicester City, @ Spurs, Liverpool).

Amy Lawrence at The Athletic had a nice piece about what the Saka contract means to Arsenal:
It’s strange to think that it was as recently as August that Saka had a game for Arsenal’s under-23 side. Imagine that. Imagine him not even being involved in the first team this season.
...
Of course, everyone loves homegrown talent. But sometimes one comes along that pulls on the heartstrings that bit more intensely. Saka’s performances this season — his consistency, his continual improvement, his fearlessness in a variety of positions — created the biggest waves of excitement since a young Wilshere emerged.
No pressure, Saka.
 

fletcherpost

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Tesco Tierney potential future captain...that's whit I'm reading and hearing here and there amongst some of the unwashed fans (naebdy here of course).

For those of me who watched him week in week out in the mickey mouse Scottish Prem, we always knew he was a player. Just hope he stays fit, cos he's a few years off his peak. The more his confidence grows (he's a modest lad), a good run of matches free of injury (Celtic overplayed him TBH) he might start chipping in with a goal or two cos he has that in his locker.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Tesco Tierney potential future captain...that's whit I'm reading and hearing here and there amongst some of the unwashed fans (naebdy here of course).

For those of me who watched him week in week out in the mickey mouse Scottish Prem, we always knew he was a player. Just hope he stays fit, cos he's a few years off his peak. The more his confidence grows (he's a modest lad), a good run of matches free of injury (Celtic overplayed him TBH) he might start chipping in with a goal or two cos he has that in his locker.
I haven't seen him play that many matches but I've never seen him do anything except give 110% on the pitch at all times and I think you're right that he has some real talent going forward as well.

Arsenal really does have a nice core of young players - I think Tierney (23), Guendouzi (21), Saliba (19), Martinelli (19), and Saka (18) all have the potential to be legitimately top players and the ceiling of the last three is particularly high. Maitland-Niles and Nketiah look at least like useful squad players. I'm less sold on Nelson and Willock but I won't count them out either.

The big question is whether they can effectively build a team around these guys with limited funds and facing competitors for whom money isn't really a problem.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Yeah, I think one of the best things about the return has been getting to see a healthy Tierney get out there. I am optimistic about his future and hope the injuries were just a run of bad luck.

He played really wide left as a wingback against Norwich City, with a back three behind him giving him some more freedom. He worked well with Aubameyang and got to showcase some of his talent on the attack. The Xhaka goal was my favorite of the match, and that was created from Tierney and Auba.
 

Tuff Ghost

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You left out the guy who made the most important pass: David Luiz

Please don't make me praise David Luiz.
True, credit for Luiz is definitely due there, too. And I’ll go right ahead and say two positive things about Luiz:

(1.) He still can play a beautiful long-ball to advance play.
(2.) He seems beloved by his teammates. The young guys always mention him and having some positive veterans around will hopefully help with their development.

If they stick with a back three for now, he is also less of a defensive liability. I could even seen them going with a back three next year. Saliba has some experience in a back three and it could ease his introduction to the Premier League.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Nice competent professional win from the Arsenal against a well drilled side that doesn't concede many and some dangerous players. We were up for it, never really gave them much except for a little flurry around 60 minutes, and were opportunistic in front of goal. Nice to see Cedric, Tierney, and Saka all involved in the first one and then Willock did very nicely to set up Laca for the second, who took it well.

Arsenal is 10-1-3 in all competitions since that 2-2 draw against Chelsea where we played with 10 men. Two of the losses have been really bad (Olympiakos and Brighton) but overall I think Arteta is doing a nice job with a roster that obviously still has some massive problems.

The next four matches are absolutely brutal (Leicester, @Spurs, Liverpool, City in the FA Cup semi) but they'll give us a good gauge of where the club stands heading into next season. I'd be pleased to win two.
 

mikeford

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Saka and Lacazette both really turned in technically beautiful goals. Laca's first touch and break the defender in half was particularly good.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Nice competent professional win from the Arsenal against a well drilled side that doesn't concede many and some dangerous players.
Well put. I like how Arteta described it after the match:
I think the reason we can win against any team is because, at the moment, we are enjoying suffering together. In difficult moments, if you can enjoy doing that, then you will get rewarded because we have the ability afterwards to hurt teams. At the moment, we don’t have the ability to batter teams for 95 minutes. If you are not able to do that, you have to be very able to compete and be a team.
The Athletic also described it succinctly:
This was not a stylish victory, but one built on shape and structure. For so long, Arsenal have lacked those fundamentals. For Arteta to introduce them into a team playing with a back three of Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz and Sead Kolasinac is testament to his coaching ability.
 

Zososoxfan

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I haven't seen him play that many matches but I've never seen him do anything except give 110% on the pitch at all times and I think you're right that he has some real talent going forward as well.

Arsenal really does have a nice core of young players - I think Tierney (23), Guendouzi (21), Saliba (19), Martinelli (19), and Saka (18) all have the potential to be legitimately top players and the ceiling of the last three is particularly high. Maitland-Niles and Nketiah look at least like useful squad players. I'm less sold on Nelson and Willock but I won't count them out either.

The big question is whether they can effectively build a team around these guys with limited funds and facing competitors for whom money isn't really a problem.
:eyeroll:

Come again??

Rank Club Transfer Fees Est. Total Salaries
1 Manchester City F.C. £167,580,000 £145,771,000
2 Manchester United F.C. £179,060,000 £135,195,000
3 Liverpool F.C. £9,350,000 £109,356,000
4 Chelsea F.C. £51,300,000 £107,690,000
5 Arsenal F.C. £139,540,000 £99,406,273
6 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. £132,180,000 £81,978,000
7 Everton F.C. £133,840,000 £78,956,000
8 Crystal Palace £6,950,000 £71,942,000
9 Leicester City £113,320,000 £70,540,000
10 West Ham United F.C. £119,460,000 £53,820,000


 

Tuff Ghost

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Come again??
View: https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1234383607948619777?s=20


View: https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1234383619638071296?s=20


For those unable to see Twitter, these are a few tweets in the Swiss Ramble thread on Arsenal from March 2nd, pointing out the financial downturn of Arsenal (in a pre-COVID-19 world). In short, don't feel bad for Arsenal (still a big-money club), but they have been trending in the wrong direction due to lack of Champions League and a poor job selling players.

#AFC are the only Big Six club to see revenue fall in the last two years. While they have dropped £30m, others have made huge gains, especially #LFC, up £169m, and #THFC, up £153m. In fact, #THFC are now £65m ahead of #AFC, compared to a £141m shortfall just 3 years ago.
#AFC £395m revenue is now 6th highest in the Premier League, having been overtaken by #LFC £533m, #THFC £459m and #CFC £447m in the last 2 years. The £230m gap to leaders #MUFC £627m is substantial, but at the same time Arsenal are £200m ahead of 7th placed #WHUFC £191m.
#AFC fell 2 places to 11th in the Deloitte Money League, their lowest position since 2001. Their £4m 2019 revenue growth was one of the smallest – in contrast see Barcelona £129m and PSG £81m. Ivan Gazidis will have noted that Bayer Munich £582m earn around £200m more.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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:eyeroll:

Come again??

Rank Club Transfer Fees Est. Total Salaries
1 Manchester City F.C. £167,580,000 £145,771,000
2 Manchester United F.C. £179,060,000 £135,195,000
3 Liverpool F.C. £9,350,000 £109,356,000
4 Chelsea F.C. £51,300,000 £107,690,000
5 Arsenal F.C. £139,540,000 £99,406,273
6 Tottenham Hotspur F.C. £132,180,000 £81,978,000
7 Everton F.C. £133,840,000 £78,956,000
8 Crystal Palace £6,950,000 £71,942,000
9 Leicester City £113,320,000 £70,540,000
10 West Ham United F.C. £119,460,000 £53,820,000


Those wages numbers are way off what is reported anywhere else. United's wage bill is around 330m, City and Liverpool around 260m, Arsenal 220m. I don't think spotrac is a very reliable site for that kind of information.

More importantly, the big gap between the richest clubs - United and City - and everyone else in England is not in wages but in net transfer fees. Arsenal did a terrible job in the market in the last Wenger years and are still paying the price for that. But there is also a real gap in financial clout too. That doesn't make it impossible to compete (see Liverpool) but it definitely raises the degree of difficulty.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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For those unable to see Twitter, these are a few tweets in the Swiss Ramble thread on Arsenal from March 2nd, pointing out the financial downturn of Arsenal (in a pre-COVID-19 world). In short, don't feel bad for Arsenal (still a big-money club), but they have been trending in the wrong direction due to lack of Champions League and a poor job selling players.
This is a bit deceptive as both Spurs and Liverpool have their revenues very inflated by reaching the CL final.

I think in the big picture what we really see is two clubs with far greater resources than anybody else due to some fundamental factors like commercial clout (United) and ownership (City). Then you have four other clubs with fairly similar financial fundamentals in terms of the combination of matchday revenue and commercial appeal. But two of them are currently well ahead because they've been very well run in the transfer market and also reaped the benefits of strong performances on the field (Liverpool, Chelsea) whereas the other two are well behind for somewhat different reasons (Arsenal due to being very poorly run in the late Wenger period, Spurs due to a combination of having just reached this status, having reached the end of a cycle with Poch, and debt from the new stadium). Whatever the reason, what Arsenal and Spurs share is that they currently have weaker teams than the other four and fewer resources to rebuild their sides.
 

Tuff Ghost

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This is a bit deceptive as both Spurs and Liverpool have their revenues very inflated by reaching the CL final.

I think in the big picture what we really see is two clubs with far greater resources than anybody else due to some fundamental factors like commercial clout (United) and ownership (City). Then you have four other clubs with fairly similar financial fundamentals in terms of the combination of matchday revenue and commercial appeal. But two of them are currently well ahead because they've been very well run in the transfer market and also reaped the benefits of strong performances on the field (Liverpool, Chelsea) whereas the other two are well behind for somewhat different reasons (Arsenal due to being very poorly run in the late Wenger period, Spurs due to a combination of having just reached this status, having reached the end of a cycle with Poch, and debt from the new stadium). Whatever the reason, what Arsenal and Spurs share is that they currently have weaker teams than the other four and fewer resources to rebuild their sides.
Agreed. Another troubling thing is the importance of match-day revenue for Arsenal, which is not great in our current world.

The importance of match day revenue to #AFC is very clear, as shown by 25% of their total revenue coming from this category, well ahead of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Lyon, all 19%. Could be a big hit of Arsenal fail to qualify for Europe.
View: https://twitter.com/SwissRamble/status/1234388602802647041?s=20
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Martinez was definitely a bright spot in today's loss, but I'm not sure what you do with that. He's only a year younger than Leno, so it's not like you're going to groom him for the future. If you think his upside is similar to Leno's you could sell Leno, who I am actually quite high on and for sure has the higher floor.
 

shaggydog2000

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Just when you start to feel good about those central defenders, like maybe one or two could still be there after a rebuild, you go and get reminded that they still are Luiz, Kolasinac, and Mustafi.
 

bosox4283

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There's talk that Arsenal may be signing Thomas Partey, the 27-year-old midfielder, from Atletico. I presume that Partey is attracted to the wages, the historic prestige of the club, and the chance to take on a larger role at Arsenal than being one the leaders at Atletico.

1. Is Arsenal going to make this move?
2. Are you excited about it?

I think it will be a loss if Thomas leaves Atletico, in part because Atletico lost Rodri(go) to ManCity last year. This role is so important to Atletico, and there's no immediate replacement on the team.
 

67YAZ

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Dec 1, 2000
2,446
After watching Partey boss Liverpool in the CL a few months back, I am not a fan of this.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Jul 15, 2005
210
I'd be happy to see Partey at Arsenal, but I don't expect it. Midfield should be a priority in the next transfer window, but without European football and the missing matchday revenue, I think they are going to be going pretty cheap and will not end up getting Partey.

The problems at the back are obvious, but at least there are some potential changes next season in Mari (when healthy) and Saliba (young, but has pretty solid potential).

Arseblog had a few depressing numbers on the midfield:
  • 0.86 key passes / match (14th in Premier League)
  • 0.06 xA / match (19th)
  • 0.48 shots / match (19th)
  • 1.3 touches in box / match (17th)
Arsenal’s midfielders (not counting attacking midfielders) create just 0.86 key passes per match. That is total, not per player. This ranks 14th in the league. Arsenal’s midfielders create just 0.06 xA per match. So even on the rare occasion that they create chances, they are often not very likely to be converted into goals. This ranks 19th, only ahead of the relegated Norwich City.

It is also a problem that Arsenal’s midfielders are not contributing to shots with just 0.48 shots per match from open play. This also ranks 19th in the league ahead of just Everton. Arsenal’s midfielders are also shy of getting into box, with just 1.3 touches in the box per match. This is again ranks among the worst in the league at 17th.
 

shaggydog2000

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Apr 5, 2007
7,376
I'd be happy to see Partey at Arsenal, but I don't expect it. Midfield should be a priority in the next transfer window, but without European football and the missing matchday revenue, I think they are going to be going pretty cheap and will not end up getting Partey.

The problems at the back are obvious, but at least there are some potential changes next season in Mari (when healthy) and Saliba (young, but has pretty solid potential).

Arseblog had a few depressing numbers on the midfield:
  • 0.86 key passes / match (14th in Premier League)
  • 0.06 xA / match (19th)
  • 0.48 shots / match (19th)
  • 1.3 touches in box / match (17th)
I've seen rumors that there might be a Lacazette swap as part of the Partey deal. That would certainly help rebalance the team, but would only happen if Auba re-signs.

Some defenders have to come, and some have to go. There are just too many mediocre ones already present to make things work without selling someone like Mustafi or Sokratis. They have 9 CB under contract for next year, and yet they've been playing a wingback who sucks defensively at one of the back three positions. The salaries alone add up for that. Maybe Saliba can step right in, but that would be a pretty big jump not to expect him to need to split time with someone else more experienced. Even with Holding healthy and in there you're looking at your best combo to be a rotation of Mari, Saliba, Holding, and Luiz. That is not the optimal combo of talent and premier league experience you'd want in a top 4 team. There's just too much hoping and wishing for me.
 

Tuff Ghost

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Jul 15, 2005
210
I've seen rumors that there might be a Lacazette swap as part of the Partey deal. That would certainly help rebalance the team, but would only happen if Auba re-signs.
That would be an excellent swap for Arsenal, in my opinion. As you note, the balance of the team would be improved. As a result, you can move Aubameyang central and get Saka back out left. Now you have a front-3 depth chart with six players in seemingly natural positions (note: I know it could be a while before Martinelli is back):

1: Saka - Aubameyang - Pepe
2: Martinelli - Nketiah - Nelson

The midfield could look rather different next year. Guendouzi may be on his way out thanks to his attitude, Torreira previously expressed interest in leaving, and I think Ceballos ends up back in Spain, so it is hard to envision all three of them being back. (I think Arteta likes Ceballos, so it is possible they extend the loan, if that becomes an option.) I'd prefer not to see Xhaka in the starting XI each week.

To be honest, though, I just don't see the team making major improvements in the off-season with the current financial climate and Arsenal's probable lack of Europe. I think the best hope is that Edu and Arteta can work to find some young talent and gradually grow the squad back to a better place in a couple years. They have a few very interesting young players that are at least a starting point. I don't think anyone is going to buy players like Mustafi or Sokratis in this environment, but maybe I am too pessimistic on the finances of football as a result of COVID.

It makes me wonder, who on this Arsenal team will be around the next time they are a top-4 team? With Chelsea and Manchester United improving, I fear that it could be a while. Things can change fast and hopefully this is rock-bottom for Arsenal, but it's hard to be optimistic about the immediate future.
 

mikeford

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Aug 6, 2006
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Toronto, ON
It makes me wonder, who on this Arsenal team will be around the next time they are a top-4 team? With Chelsea and Manchester United improving, I fear that it could be a while. Things can change fast and hopefully this is rock-bottom for Arsenal, but it's hard to be optimistic about the immediate future.
Saka and that's literally it.