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Arsenal are a team in development but the future looks bright

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The future looks bright by AndersS

Arsenal should aim to win the PL. No doubt about it. It must be our goal, and anything less is unacceptable. But is it realistic? How? When?


2 seasons ago we were a massive 37 points behind the EPL winners and although that gap last year was cut to 28 points, it is still a huge difference to make up.
Given we don’t have an owner, or rather a sugardaddy, with almost unlimited amounts of money to spend on the team, we have to find another way.

I will suggest that other way can’t be to hope for a “miracle season”, like the one Leicester had a few seasons ago. We must be a bit more clever than buying a lottery ticket.

Before this season started I found it unrealistic that we could compete for the title. I think we had a good transfer window, but there is no way those improvements would be enough to close the massive gap we have to Man City and Liverpool. Unless they implode, we are competing for 3rd, and I still think this is the situation.

Now, I am sure a lot of fans will argue, if we had another manager, we would do much better. I am not going to go into that discussion, as it is already in full flow in as good as every article on this site at the moment. But I will say, I don’t think any manager in the world could turn us into champions this year. We were/are too far behind, and maybe another manager could do better than Emery. But champions this year? I am sorry, not realistic.


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For me the only realistic way for us to compete for the title, is to take a longer view, maybe 2-3 years, and develop a team, which by then will be ready to compete for the title. I think the current regime is doing exactly that, and it seems to me they are doing a fine job.

In 2-3 years, we might have a completely different squad to the one that finished 37 points behind City 2 seasons ago. Nearly every position could be with a different and, hopefully, a better player. When you can’t just go out and buy whichever world class player you desire, that really takes some clever planning and a huge football knowledge. It also takes the courage to trust and develop young players and providing the current trend continues, we could see this squad in 2-3 years:

GK: Leno/Martinez/Macey

RB: Bellerin
CB: Holding/Saliba/Mavropanos/Medley
LB: Tierney
MF: Torreira/Willock/Smith-Rowe/Guendouzi
Attack: Pepe/Laccazette/Saka/Nketiah/Nelson/Martinelli

Not many players left from the season 17-18.

If you think about it, it is not only very drastic to give your team such an overhaul in only 5 years. It is also very ambitious, and you could possibly excuse some periods, where the team won’t look very organized.

All the players above are at an age, where they should still improve quite a lot in the coming years, and as such it looks very promising to me. I admit, we haven’t seen Saliba and Tierney and there are of course many uncertainties, but overall I am confident, many of those can make a strong Arsenal in the future.


There could be other players in the current squad, that may still be in the frame in 2-3 years, but I don’t think it will be many. They simply aren’t good enough for a squad competing for the title, or they may be too old in a few years.

The 2-3 year perspective does not mean the next 1-2 years are without meaning. On the contrary. It is very important we offer the players the right opportunities to develop and it is very important, we economically can offer salaries that will keep the players here, and will attract the ones we need. Champions League football is close to being crucial to this.  So although top 4 is not “the goal” it is an important goal until, we are ready for something bigger.

Going by the above, I think we will see our coming transfer windows concentrating on the following:

  • Additions to RB and LB
  • Maybe a promising CB or even better, an experienced CB with 4-5 years in him (if we can find one)
  • 1 or 2 additions in Midfield
  • One attacker suited to play on the right wing as backup for Pepe

Should be possible to do in 2-4 transfer windows.

This is what I think our coach and management are planning towards. To me it looks good so far.  

What do you think?

 AndersS


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Arsenal star Hector Bellerin tweets 'f***Boris' to his 1.8 million followers

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Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin leaves his 1.8m followers in no doubt what he thinks of the Prime Minister with a ‘f***Boris’ Tweet on election morning

  • The British public has gone to the polls this morning ahead of today’s election 
  • Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are vying to become Britain’s Prime Minister
  • Arsenal star Hector Bellerin has implored people to vote and said: ‘F***Boris’
  • Corbyn is an avid Arsenal fan and has struck up a good bond with Bellerin

Arsenal star Hector Bellerin has weighed in on the political debate as people go to the polls ahead of today’s election. 

The full back, who boasts a 1.8 million following on Twitter, implored people to have their say as poll stations opened this morning with Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn vying to lead the country.

In what is being described as the biggest election in recent history, Bellerin, who joined Arsenal from Barcelona as a youngster, shared his views on current Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who took over from Theresa May earlier this year.

Arsenal star weighed in on the political debate on Thursday, telling his followers to vote

Arsenal star weighed in on the political debate on Thursday, telling his followers to vote

The Spaniard shared a post on the influence of non-voters, before adding 'F***Boris'

The Spaniard shared a post on the influence of non-voters, before adding 'F***Boris'

The Spaniard shared a post on the influence of non-voters, before adding ‘F***Boris’

‘Young people across the world have a chance to change what the future can be,’ he told his followers. ‘Today’s the chance for all the British people to influence what your future & those living here holds.’

He ended the tweet with the hashtags: ‘F***Boris’ and ‘GoVote’.

Johnson is hoping to win a majority that will allow him to pass his Brexit deal through Parliament, which is currently stuck in a deadlock. The Prime Minister wants to ‘Get Brexit Done’ and allow the country to move forward.  

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are vying to lead the country for the next five years

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are vying to lead the country for the next five years

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are vying to lead the country for the next five years

Bellerin’s tweet is likely to have gone down well with Labour supporters, with the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn, being an avid Arsenal fan.

The 70-year-old, who is the MP for Islington, is a friend of Bellerin’s, having met the Arsenal star at an event in 2017.

The pair speak Spanish and struck up a good bond, Daily Mail columnist Piers Morgan said the pair excluded him from a conversation at the event as they spoke Spanish. 

‘Later, fellow Arsenal fan Jeremy Corbyn came over to speak to him,’ Morgan said. ‘When I tried to interrupt, the Labour leader – whose wife is Mexican – promptly switched to fluent Spanish to shut me out of the conversation.’ 

Corbyn (left) and Bellerin (right) met in 2017 and spoke together in Spanish at a ceremony

Corbyn (left) and Bellerin (right) met in 2017 and spoke together in Spanish at a ceremony

Corbyn (left) and Bellerin (right) met in 2017 and spoke together in Spanish at a ceremony



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Arsenal next manager: Carlo Ancelotti has 'suitcase packed' and is close to agreement

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Patrick Vieira also has backing among the board, particularly Arsenal chief Edu.

And links to Massimiliano Allegri and Mauricio Pochettino have also refused to die down amid the Gunners’ need for a new boss.

Meanwhile, Ancelotti has been urged to pick Arsenal over Everton by Ruud Gullit.

The Italian has been linked with the Toffees following their decision to relieve Marco Silva of his duties.

And Gullit said: “It’s not because of Everton, but Ancelotti belongs to a contender for the Champions League.

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Marcus Rashford has more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo after 127 games for Manchester United

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REVEALED: After 127 games in a struggling team, Marcus Rashford has more goals than Cristiano Ronaldo scored at Manchester United – and converts TWICE as many chances as the Portuguese superstar managed

  • Marcus Rashford played his 127th Premier League game against Manchester City
  • Huge expectation has been heaped on his shoulders since his debut in 2016 
  • However, Rashford is outperforming Cristiano Ronaldo in a struggling team
  • Rashford has three more goals and a better shot conversion rate than Ronaldo
  • Ronaldo pips Rashford on assists but was surrounded by superstar team-mates 

It feels quite astounding that Marcus Rashford’s man of the match performance over Manchester City on Saturday was his 127th Premier League outing for his boyhood club. 

After all, it only seems a short while since the Wythenshawe-born striker burst onto the scene as a sprightly 18-year-old, notching two braces in the space of a few days against Midtjylland and Arsenal

That was in February 2016, and since then plenty of expectation has been heaped on the young man’s shoulders to be the talisman that can lead United to glory in an era that has been largely disappointing post-Sir Alex Ferguson.    

Marcus Rashford's man of the match display on Saturday was his 127th Premier League game

Marcus Rashford’s man of the match display on Saturday was his 127th Premier League game

The 22-year-old extended his goals tally to 13 goals in all competitions this season

The 22-year-old extended his goals tally to 13 goals in all competitions this season

The 22-year-old extended his goals tally to 13 goals in all competitions this season

Former United boss Louis van Gaal, who handed Rashford his debut over three years ago, hailed the youngster as one of the most special talents he has ever brought through. 

‘I believe in young players, and at all my clubs I have given them a chance, even when I started out at AZ Alkmaar,’ he said in April 2016.

‘Then I went to Ajax and Kluivert, 18 years old, gave the same sort of performances as we are seeing from Rashford. I can give a lot of other examples of the same thing. Müller at Bayern, Xavi and Iniesta at Barcelona. Age is not the issue, quality is more important.’ 

It doesn't feel all that long ago since Rashford burst onto the scene at Manchester United

It doesn't feel all that long ago since Rashford burst onto the scene at Manchester United

It doesn’t feel all that long ago since Rashford burst onto the scene at Manchester United

Former United boss Louis van Gaal hailed Rashford as one of the most special talents he's worked with

Former United boss Louis van Gaal hailed Rashford as one of the most special talents he's worked with

Former United boss Louis van Gaal hailed Rashford as one of the most special talents he’s worked with

It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of prematurely comparing talented youngsters to the superstar icons football has been blessed with in years gone by. Comparisons are made all the easier when both players have played for the same club, and in Cristiano Ronaldo, lofty expectations have been cast onto the 22-year-old to be the superstar United have long yearned for.

But perhaps it isn’t all too foolish to dig deeper into a Rashford-Ronaldo comparison. United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer does not consider it a stretch to earmark the England international as the heir apparent to the Portuguese supremo’s throne.   

‘It’s very easy to compare the two of them, yes,’ he said after United’s 2-1 win over arch rivals City. ‘Both with skills, body shape, attitude, attributes – everything. The boy has every chance in the world to become a top, top player. Let’s hope he continues like this.’

Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Rashford with Cristiano Ronaldo

Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Rashford with Cristiano Ronaldo

Current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer compared Rashford with Cristiano Ronaldo

Solskjaer (left) played with Ronaldo (second left) while the pair were at Old Trafford together

Solskjaer (left) played with Ronaldo (second left) while the pair were at Old Trafford together

Solskjaer (left) played with Ronaldo (second left) while the pair were at Old Trafford together

And, quite surprisingly, Marcus Rashford’s statistics after 127 Premier League games compared to those of United’s former number 7 make for very interesting reading. 

Despite arriving from Portugal as an exciting, albeit unknown, quantity in 2003, Sir Alex Ferguson was not hesitant in throwing a young Cristiano Ronaldo straight into the heart of his famed side. 94 of Ronaldo’s 127 league appearances were starts.

Meanwhile, Rashford has made eight fewer with 86 – perhaps owing to the continuous change of manager at Old Trafford meaning he was favoured by some more than others. 

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo

Rashford’s (left) statistics after 127 Premier League games compared to Cristiano Ronaldo (right) make for  interesting reading

The Portuguese star made more starts and played more minutes owing to consistency during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign

The Portuguese star made more starts and played more minutes owing to consistency during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign

The Portuguese star made more starts and played more minutes owing to consistency during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign

That’s also reflected in minutes played, with Ronaldo playing a combined 8,924 minutes to Rashford’s 8,110. The 814 minute difference equates to roughly nine games. 

Most interestingly, in those 127 Premier League games Rashford has found the net on three more occasions than his Portuguese counterpart, scoring 37 goals to Ronaldo’s 34. Add that to minutes played, and Ronaldo scored a goal every 262 minutes to Rashford’s goal every 219. 

Ronaldo also had almost double the amount of shots on goal to Rashford, too, striking 471 attempts to Rashford’s 256. That means that the Englishman’s short conversion rate is double that of Ronaldo, at 14.5 to 7.2.  

It should be noted, though, that Rashford has been played through the middle as the leading forward for United as well as out wide on the left, while Ronaldo played solely on the wing under Ferguson.

Ronaldo was also surrounded by world class team-mates who helped him develop his game

Ronaldo was also surrounded by world class team-mates who helped him develop his game

Ronaldo was also surrounded by world class team-mates who helped him develop his game

Rashford, meanwhile, has excelled in a struggling team as United flounder post-Ferguson

Rashford, meanwhile, has excelled in a struggling team as United flounder post-Ferguson

Rashford, meanwhile, has excelled in a struggling team as United flounder post-Ferguson

With the likes of Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs and Carlos Tevez surrounding him, it is hardly surprising that Ronaldo trumps Rashford with assists. He provided 22 for his team-mates while the 22-year-old laid on 18 assists for Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial and co. 

And the key factor to consider when comparing these statistics is the state of play at Manchester United during Rashford and Ronaldo’s respective tenures at the club.

Constant managerial change, disarray at the top of the hierarchy at Old Trafford as well as underperforming team-mates are all factors that would understandably stump the progress of any youngster coming through the ranks, and yet Marcus Rashford is defying the odds with consistent top level performances.

United's dominance in the noughties provided a settled platform for Ronaldo to perform

United's dominance in the noughties provided a settled platform for Ronaldo to perform

United’s dominance in the noughties provided a settled platform for Ronaldo to perform

Constant managerial change, disarray behind the scenes and poor team-mates should have stumped Rashford's growth, but he continues to perform

Constant managerial change, disarray behind the scenes and poor team-mates should have stumped Rashford's growth, but he continues to perform

Constant managerial change, disarray behind the scenes and poor team-mates should have stumped Rashford’s growth, but he continues to perform

There is still an overwhelming feeling of any Ronaldo-Rashford comparison being slightly premature, given the Portuguese’s all-conquering supremacy, alongisde Lionel Messi, for the best part of a decade. It should also be remembered that, following his world-record move to Real Madrid, Ronaldo’s statistics skyrocketed to levels football has never seen before. 

But after 127 Premier League games Marcus Rashford seems well on his way to making history of his own. 



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