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Arsenal, Pt. X: Boom-Xhaka-Laca!


Dr LBC
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Seems like Alexis is going to be back next season. It will be very interesting to see if Arsenal can do enough to convince him renew this season. 

 

What do you guys expect for the season? Do you think you'll be back in the top four? The rest of the top six seems to have really strengthened and I don't know if Lacazette is enough to change anything from last season. 

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If we keep Alexis and make a central midfield signing that allows us to not have El Neny and Coquelin as our first player off the bench to replace Xhaka/Ramsey, then I think we'll be right back into the top 4 mix if not more. I actually think the squad is good enough for a title run at that point but I do have doubts about whether Wenger can sustain the level of consistency needed to make 1st place happen. But the top four race? Liverpool and Chelsea will both have to deal with European fixtures which will definitely affect their league form. And even last season, when we were quite frankly terrible for long stretches of the season, we ended up all of 1 point behind Liverpool in 4th place. We'll be right there again next season, as we are every season. 

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13 hours ago, BaltimoreTerp said:

If we keep Alexis and make a central midfield signing that allows us to not have El Neny and Coquelin as our first player off the bench to replace Xhaka/Ramsey, then I think we'll be right back into the top 4 mix if not more. I actually think the squad is good enough for a title run at that point but I do have doubts about whether Wenger can sustain the level of consistency needed to make 1st place happen. But the top four race? Liverpool and Chelsea will both have to deal with European fixtures which will definitely affect their league form. And even last season, when we were quite frankly terrible for long stretches of the season, we ended up all of 1 point behind Liverpool in 4th place. We'll be right there again next season, as we are every season. 

I think you're probably right. I actually think Chelsea will struggle a bit this season. I think having CL football and transitioning from Costa will hurt them in the early stages. Liverpool could falter a bit as well. This should be an ultra competitive year for both the title and CL spots, the Manchester clubs will be interesting and Spurs should pick up where they left off. 

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17 hours ago, BaltimoreTerp said:

If we keep Alexis and make a central midfield signing that allows us to not have El Neny and Coquelin as our first player off the bench to replace Xhaka/Ramsey, then I think we'll be right back into the top 4 mix if not more. I actually think the squad is good enough for a title run at that point but I do have doubts about whether Wenger can sustain the level of consistency needed to make 1st place happen. But the top four race? Liverpool and Chelsea will both have to deal with European fixtures which will definitely affect their league form. And even last season, when we were quite frankly terrible for long stretches of the season, we ended up all of 1 point behind Liverpool in 4th place. We'll be right there again next season, as we are every season. 

And the telltale bit on this may be whether or not Wilshere (and/or Ox) is sold.  I'm not saying it's the ideal situation, but I could see Arsene, assuming Jack wants to stay, opting to work Jack back in as the cover to Ramsey/Xhaka because he's capable of playing both roles.  If we don't sign anyone additional in the central midfield, I'd expect there to be a heavy use of Ox in that capacity during the first half of the season (or until Ox tweaks another hamstring per usual) as a means to try and coax him into signing an extension.  Under Bosman, all the guys on the final year of their contracts will be able to sign pre-contracts in January, so we'll have some gauge of what their intentions are.  And Wenger does have a history of flat out sitting the guys who have made it clear they're planning on leaving - for better or worse - and while I'm not sure he'd do that with Alexis or Ozil, I'm fairly confident he would if Ox were to sign a pre-contract elsewhere.

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The more this is dragging on, I'm seeing the likelyhood of Alexis leaving rising. With him coming out saying how he dreamt of playing in the champions league, and the persistent rumors linking Arsenal with Lemar.  I do wonder how a Lacazette/Lemar pairing would fair vs the Giroud/Alexis. Certainly the youth is nice. 

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8 hours ago, NickButera said:

The more this is dragging on, I'm seeing the likelyhood of Alexis leaving rising. With him coming out saying how he dreamt of playing in the champions league, and the persistent rumors linking Arsenal with Lemar.  I do wonder how a Lacazette/Lemar pairing would fair vs the Giroud/Alexis. Certainly the youth is nice. 

Well, he's "dreamed of winning the Champions League" - ironically that may be one of the few accurately reported (i.e. not twisted) quotes in most of the articles that have cited the interview conducted by the Chilean paper.  As reckless pointed out in the Transfer thread on the other site, no English club is very close to winning the CL any time soon - and if we can realize that, surely players and player management have as least some shred of that reality.  If winning the CL was his priority, he'd have angled harder for that Bayern Munich transfer at the onset of the window - but he clearly also wants to get paid a tidy sum (i.e. more than Bayern are willing to pay) on what will likely be his last big contract.

All that said, as I mentioned on the other site, I expect Wenger to dig his heels in and absolutely will refuse to sell unless there's something upwards of 70m put on the table - because he realizes that 1) He's not getting a player remotely comparable to Alexis for less than 50m and 2) If he does sell, assuming Monaco are even willing to part with Lemar (they've been digging their heels in too), the price goes up on him because our need/demand will be more pronounced.  I'll say this, if Alexis is sold for 60m or less, I would be shocked if the outcome wasn't us missing out on Lemar and having to pay 45-50 million for Mahrez (who, correct me if I'm wrong, we'd lose in January to the ACN - just as an aside).

 

 

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From 2019 onwards the AFCON is moving to the summer. 

 

This is a postive for European clubs who rely heavily on African players. 

 

It's going to suck for the tournament though as the summer in Africa either means rainy season or 50 centigrade of heat. Take 2019 in Cameroon for example. Both Douala and Yaounde will see more rain in June and July than you can even imagine. Same story for the Ivory Coast in 2021.

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30 minutes ago, persiandud said:

good signing with Kolasinac, he'll be a fine player 

what do you Gooners think of Iwobi? 

Not a Gooner, but I think he's a far better prospect than Walcott was. 

I feel like he could be marginalised in the pursuit for success.

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1 hour ago, texans_uk said:

Not a Gooner, but I think he's a far better prospect than Walcott was. 

I feel like he could be marginalised in the pursuit for success.

Walcott is a decent player. above average finishing for a wide player. not a starter in a top 6 side, but a nice bench option to have around. 

I'm not high on Iwobi, but I wanted to ask around because I know some Arsenal friends who are pretty high on him

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6 hours ago, persiandud said:

Walcott is a decent player. above average finishing for a wide player. not a starter in a top 6 side, but a nice bench option to have around. 

I'm not high on Iwobi, but I wanted to ask around because I know some Arsenal friends who are pretty high on him

Agreed on Walcott. I'm not the biggest Walcott fan but he scored 19 goals last season despite being in and out of the team. We often struggle in big games and he is one of the few big game players we have.

Iwobi is a good player but I don't think he has world class potential. He started brightly last season but had a midseason slump and struggled to get playing time. I think he is more of a CAM than a winger though. He should start in the EL and cup games this season.

Edited by marky mark
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1 hour ago, marky mark said:

Iwobi is a good player but I don't think he has world class potential. He started brightly last season but had a midseason slump and struggled to get playing time. I think he is more of a CAM than a winger though. He should start in the EL and cup games this season.

This.  Iwobi is a more natural #10 than a winger, but it's Arsenal... everyone starts on the wing or gets forced there at some point.  I think the formation shift helped him considerably because it didn't put as much emphasis on him needing to come back to defend (as much as people were giving Monreal stick when we were playing 4 at the back, a lot of those instances it was Iwobi not tracking back to cover his fullback).  As to "world class potential," that's always tough to say because people have incredibly differing definitions of that term.  Does he have potential to be one of the best #10's in the world?  No, not unless he shows something from his locker that he has yet to show; but, then again, few players ever have the potential to be one of the best #10's in the world.  Does he have potential to be one of the best #10's in the PL?  Yes.  He's just turned 21 - not even hit his prime - and has yet to get any kind of run of games in his natural position.

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