Tag Archives: bundesliga

Aubameyang – Stick or Twist?

With absolutely zero football taking place right now, our minds have a little more room for thought.

Instead of your brain juggling your teams impending fixtures, injury worries, potential changes in your fantasy team and league placements all residing in a cortex of your grey matter, there is now more room to ponder other things……

Erm…

In the absence of that leather ball bobbling around on that lush carpet we call The Emirates pitch, we have been privy to the usual mix of player rumour – especially circulating around our star striker and perennial goal machine – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gabon man is in contention to win the Golden Boot again after securing it last season. What puts that into perspective is that Auba has done this while for at least half of our season, the Good Ship Arsenal has plotted a course for mid-table ignominy.

Our number 14 has acted as a one-man lifeboat, keeping our precious cargo and personnel above the plunging depths. He has continued to terrify goalkeepers no matter what mess has been going on behind him. He has performed wonders – and we have recognised this.

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Our club has been attempting to lasso the striker into extending his stay with Arsenal as his contract winds down. Currently in his peak years, Auba is now approaching what will be the biggest decision of his footballing career.

Of course, the media have taken it upon themselves to write the alphabetical equivalent of smoke and mirrors surrounding Auba’s future at the club – and one story has certainly captured everyone’s currently free imagination.

The rumour surrounds Real Madrid, their unwanted striker Luka Jovic – and a large wad of money.

That’s right, the transfer rumour is that those at the Bernabeu want to lure Auba to La Liga, and will tempt Arsenal with a cash plus Jovic bid.

The question is – would you take it?

Everyone knows that the hardest thing to buy in football is goals. With Auba putting up more than his fair share of goals for the team, selling him and his numbers would almost certainly weaken our team.

We currently have Alexandre Lacazette, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah to make up the goals – but Lacazette aside, neither of the young strikers have proved week in, week out that they can make the difference in front of goal. How efficient will they be?

Lacazette has also changed his role somewhat since arriving at Arsenal. He still prowls centrally, but he is dropping deeper as his part in attacks is intrinsic to our moves. That has affected his goal return almost as much as poor form this season.

Then there is the Luka Jovic part of the equation. Jovic was a sensation in the Bundesliga – a competition far more similar to the rigours of the Premier League than La Liga ever has been. Rotation and reported poor discipline has seen Jovic play an ever-increasingly remote part of things at Madrid, but does his pedigree convert to success in the Premier League?

In short, can he be the man that replaces the certainty of Auba’s goals?

Maybe not, but throw in £50m and the search becomes a little easier.

There are other variables to take into consideration. Auba’s age means he has two, maybe three years maximum that we will have the PREMIUM version of the striker. Make no mistake, as he hits 33, 34, he will still bang in the goals, but he won’t be AS prolific, he won’t be able to beat as many defenders with his pace as he runs into the box, he won’t be AS lethal as the man we have now.

So, do we stick or twist?

Can we improve the team more with the money and Jovic?

Or do we stay where we are, potentially risk losing what is a huge asset on a free, but still feed off his goals while he does stay?

What a conundrum.

Good thing we have time to mull it over…

Sokratis Signs For Arsenal – Here’s What To Know About Our New Defender

Sokratis Papastathopoulos has finally signed on the dotted line for Arsenal, after a delay in officially announcing the defender.

In what must be one of the worst kept secrets in recent transfer windows, Sokratis has signed and been declared a Gunner after joining from Borussia Dortmund after five years with the German club – for a fee thought to be around 17.7m.
The 30 year old was officially declared by the club yesterday, but what do we know about our new defender?


Well, we know that former Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel has said Sokratis is ‘obsessed’ by defending, and that he is Vice Captain for Greece. He was at Werder Bremen before joining BVB, and has a fixation on the backline perhaps thanks to his time in Italy with AC Milan and Genoa.

Sokratis joins Bernd Leno and Stephane Lichtsteiner as Arsenal new boys this summer, and will also join up with former Dortmund teammates Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. A sure fire sign that Sven Mislintat is involved heavily in the recent recruitment process.

Sokratis revealed to the Arsenal media team he had spoken to his former comrades about joining, saying “I spoke to them a lot. They said to me the best thing about the club is that it’s one big family and of course they called me a lot of times telling me to come here.”

Sokratis, when asked about his thoughts on his new club, said “Arsenal is one of the biggest three teams in the Premier League, and one very big club. It has a lot of fans and a big history.. I’m very happy to be here to help the team.”

Sokratis is another recruited player from this summer that ticks the ‘experienced’ box. With Stephane Lichtsteiner also in the 30 and over bracket and with heaps of top flight and international experience, It would seem Arsenal’s new boss is focusing on making an immediate impact, rather than looking to making a splash in the future.

It is also a big plus, as we have all been able to see we need a steady hand at the back with leadership qualities – especially when the ship is rocking. With both Lichtsteiner and Sokratis in the backline, we will have that reassuring influence that we have been wanting for quite some time.

With Laurent Koscielny out until at least December, it gives Calum Chambers and Sokratis time to gel and forge what could be an impregnable bedrock. The Greek defender can also help his Greek compatriot who shone briefly toward the end of last season and is another Sven Mislintat recruit – Konstandinos Mavropanos.

Sokratis ‘ main strength is his physicality, and his obsessive desire for clean sheets, which sees him put his body on the line when the pressure is on – something he will expect from his teammates. He is also half decent in the air at the back and on set-pieces, although his goal ratio is hardly prolific, with only eight goals in nearly 200 appearances for Dortmund, Bremen and AC Milan.

Our new recruit will give us immediate resources at the back and could be an astute signing and a valuable player for our defence, who sorely needed a player of his stature in some hairy moments last season.

Welcome to Arsenal, our new Number 5 – Sokratis!

Sven Mislintat – the Diamond Eye of Talent Spotting

Arsenal have been busy overhauling their backroom staff in the last couple of years.

Shad Forsythe, Jens Lehmann, Huss Fahmy and Darren Burgess are all recent additions in varying capacities to Arsene Wenger’s network of coaching.

Now, the latest name to join that list is perhaps the most exciting – Sven Mislintat.

The German has joined us from Borussia Dortmund, and he will be taking up the role of Head of Recruitment. Mislintat will be taking over from club stalwart Steve Rowley, who will still be helping Arsenal on a freelance basis.

So, who is Sven Mislintat? And why is there such a fuss over him?







Well, Sven created a bit of a legacy at Dortmund. He started as a green scout just after BVB were declared bankrupt. Money was inevitably strictly budgeted, so a shrewdness to player acquisition had to be be a priority. This is where Mislintat grew into the man German journalists have dubbed ‘Diamond Eye.’

Mislintat is credited with the stellar careers of Shinki Kagawa, Robert Lewandowski, Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aside from Kagawa, Mislintat didn’t discover these players from ignominy, but he is responsible for highlighting that these players were destined for greatness. This is his talent.

He learned his trade from the old-school scouts who were at Dortmund, but has also embraced data into his vision. It is this all-encompassing view that has enabled Mislintat to alert his respective managers to players that they need to nurture rather than offload.

Simply put, Mislintat knows when a player is the real deal rather than a waste of time.

Old Diamond Eye is a Dortmund pedigree and was not seeking a move away from the club, but a falling out with Thomas Tuchel that led to Arsenal making enquiries. Apparently, Tuchel banned Mislintat from the inner circle of the club, and it was this that pushed the German into the welcoming arms of Arsenal.

His hiring has led to many questioning voices, wondering if this is a step toward preparing for a Wenger departure? You would have to say yes. Arsene has the rest of this season and one more until his latest contract extension ends, and it is looking doubtful that he will sign another with such doubt over the last few years results. Sven will not be joining for just a year, so if he is indeed in it for the long haul then he will be staying on when Wenger does depart. It is a necessary step in preparation to future-proof the club.

This move takes a smidgin of responsibility away from Wenger. He will undoubtedly still have the final say on any recommendations for players, but Mislintat will most likely take the lead on acquisitions. They both share the same vision on transfers, so this will help Mislintat acclimatise at Arsenal.

We have hired the cream of the crop in fitness, we have a new and un-ignorable voice as a coach (just try and not listen to Jens Lehmann) and from December, we will have a man who can revolutionise our recruitment policy.

Our club prides itself on creating diamonds rather than buying them, and with Sven ‘Diamond Eye’ Mislintat in our ranks, we can be hopeful this will continue. 

Arsenal Vs FC Koln – Europa League Preview

Our first step into the Europa League feels a little like the League Cup, but with a little extra spice.

Every year, the Coca-Cola/Rumbelows/Milk/Carling/Carabao Cup represents the opportunity for fans to see the next generation of our team, at a reasonable price for once.


For many seasons we have seen some incredible things performed by kids who dream of making it onto the biggest level, and us dipping our toes into europe’s second-tier competition means another chance for these kids to shine a little brighter.









The first game in our group stage sees us welcome FC Koln to The Emirates. The German club had a great season last year, but this year sees the Cologne team struggling badly. After three games, they currently sit bottom of the Bundesliga, with no points and just one goal scored.


Former fan favourite Lukas Podolski hails from the club, and the tattoo he sports of the Koln club crest shows his allegiance. The man with the hammer for a shot brings back happy memories for most, but he will not be torn in this match as a fan.


Does their poor form mean we can take the foot off the gas a little? We all know what our team plays like when we do that. For Arsenal, there is no middle ground. We either play awfully or we play teams off the park, so we must go into this game intent on three points. The Europa League may not be our desired level of competition, but we should be looking to win it, especially after years of pain in Europe.


We also have the chance to blood our kids more than in previous years. Usually, when we get dumped out of the League Cup it means our kids must bide their time until next season, but this group stage and the fixture congestion that comes with it means that our kids may well have to come of age if we are to progress and also keep our Premier League aims firmly in focus.


Reiss Nelson and Jack Wilshere are two names that should go straight into the lineup, but for varying reasons.


For Nelson, the youngster has been banging on the door for selection ever since our summer friendly games, and he has begun this term in the Under-23’s in blistering form – winning the August Player of the Month award. His trickery, ball control and eye for goal means he must be given a shot in the Europa League to gauge whether this is either where he belongs or if he needs more nurturing.


Jack is a conundrum. He hardly set the world alight after opting to join Bournemouth on loan last season, and since returning from the Vitality stadium inevitably injured, he has been fighting to get fit again. Now only match sharpness is needed, and what better way to attain this than the Europa League? Plus, our central midfield is hardly setting the world alight right now – a fit and firing Wilshere could make a huge difference to our team. This is a huge gamble though. For now, let us just see if he can stay fit for a few weeks.


The team should have a sprinkling of youth mingled with fringe players who have seen precious little gametime this season. Eddie Nketiah, Jo Willock and Ainslie Maitland-Niles can expect some minutes, as well as Calum Chambers, Theo Walcott, David Ospina and Alex Iwobi.


What of Alexis though?


The Chilean has recovered from his abdominal injury, but now seeks the last 5% he needs to be fully firing. Alexis may well play in this game, and instead of being swapped out for the following game at Chelsea on Sunday like the rest of the team probably will, Sanchez could stay in the team. It makes sense to get him flying as quickly as possible, and then play him as much as possible with an exit looking nailed on. Let us make the most of him whilst he is here.


FC Koln will be looking to play it tight and sneak away with a point most likely, especially with their season being worse than ours right now. No form means they need something, anything, to latch onto. They have some good players and last season showed they merit inclusion in Europe, but we must hurt them as they lay prone on the floor. We cannot afford to give anyone a second of recovery, we simply aren’t playing well enough.


Hopefully the players Arsene Wenger picks will go hell for leather to prove they are worthy of more minutes. that is the benefit of a packed squad, and this game is the stage in which they can show what they are made of.


So, for the first time, Thursday will see the The Emirates lit up for the Europa League. Let us all hope we have a fairly decent crowd and that our players put in a performance which is worthy of the badge.


Predicted Lineup – Ospina, Holding, Mertesacker, Chambers, Debuchy, Wilshere, Elneny, Nelson, Iwobi, Walcott, Alexis


Predicted Scoreline – Fingers crossed, 3-0 to The Arsenal.

Grass Is Greener For Gnabry

Serge Gnabry left our club in the summer of 2016. It appeared to be a brave, perhaps foolish move on the part of the youngster in a bid to gain more first team experience. He was on the fringes of the team at Arsenal, but this wasn’t enough for the ambitious German.

A quick look at his career whilst in London appears to justify Gnabry’s boldness in his career move however. Five years were spent attempting to break through into Arsene Wenger’s first team plans, but the winger made just ten appearances in all that time. 

A loan move to West Brom only exacerbated his woes in England, as Baggies boss Tony Pulis had nothing but disdain for Gnabry’s talents, using him less than sparingly and this set back any plans Gnabry had on pushing on.

There were a few who lamented the youngster’s transfer back to Germany, but there were precious few who predicted the immediate impact he would make in his first season back in his homeland with Werder Bremen. 

His new club are currently as I write, level on points with the threshold of the Bundesliga dropzone. Bremen fans are understandably in low spirits, but Gnabry is providing a spark that the rest of the Werder squad seem unable to. 

Ten goals in 21 games as I write represents an excellent goal ration, especially for a wideman rather than a striker. When you take into account how young Gnabry is – the German is still only 21 years old – then his blistering season appears even better. Gnabry has exploded onto everyone’s consciousness, including German coach Jogi Low.

Arsenal had fair warning about what potential Gnabry had. The Gunners were given a timely reminder of what a precious commodity they had in their ranks just weeks before Gnabry was allowed to leave. 

Gnabry was part of the Silver medal winning German football team in the 2016 Rio Olympics. Gnabry was a vital part of the eleven and ended the tournament as joint top scorer. Gnabry couldn’t do much more to show Wenger and the club he was ready to jump into the team. Instead, Gnabry opted to leave. . 

Our club are obviously struggling at present, with the Champions League exit at the hands of Bayern Munich only compounding the misery around our malaise this campaign. Could Gnabry have changed things if he were still on the scene? 

His dynamism appears to be sorely missed and a weapon we could have really utilised, but instead we get to see his talents on a different stage. 

There were reports that Gnabry had a buyback clause in his contract, inserted via a request from Arsenal as a condition of his sale. If this was the case, his move to Bayern Munich burns just a little. 

Now that Gnabry has decided to leave Bremen after just one season to move to the giants in Munich, this whole fiasco leaves a bitter taste, and yet another talented player has swapped their Arsenal shirt for another club.