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Why Arsenal’s defensive frailties must be addressed this summer

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Arsenal is coming off the back of yet another disappointing season following their failure to reach the top four and flopping in the Europa League final. For a club the size of the Gunners, this performance is really not acceptable, and most of the fans will agree that some big changes are needed. The problem is that the club has backed itself into a corner with regards to wages, transfer funds and players leaving on a free.

The fact that a player of Aaron Ramsey’s gravitas has been allowed to walk away without a fee is unacceptable in itself, and there is still an argument about whether he should be permitted to leave at all. The contract that Mesut Ozil signed in January 2018 has the German earning a reported £350,000 per week, and yet his performances rarely merit that kind of money. This is just one deal that has stung the Gunners in recent years, but they also need a lot more from the current squad if they are to improve next season.

Defensive unit needs to be re-evaluated

The Arsenal defence has become a bit of a joke over the last couple of seasons. Despite adding the experienced Stephan Lichtsteiner and Greek centre back Sokratis, Emery’s side still shipped 51 goals in the Premier League last season. To put this into context: that is more than Leicester, Wolves and Newcastle – all of whom finished below the Gunners in the table.

This season has to see improvements in this area if no other. The worst defensive record of the sides finishing in the top-four were Tottenham and Chelsea (both 39 conceded), which is a big jump ahead of Arsenal – but at least there is some consolation that Manchester United was even worse at the back, shipping 54 times.

Whether Arsenal can sign players on a tight budget is the tough question that has to be answered by Unai Emery and his scouting team. The Gunners do not want to drift further away from the top-four sides in England, or their odds of finishing in the Champions League places, currently, 11/10 in the Premier League betting markets, will only get longer.

That attacking xG tells us a lot

Going forward, there is a perception that Arsenal is in pretty good shape. That can certainly be argued, but the xG data provided by InStat Football tells a slightly different story.

The outstanding Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang was bang on his xG, which stands at 22, by netting exactly that number in the top flight. Yet, the next best xG of any Gunner was the 12 registered by Alexandre Lacazette, who did slightly better, netting 13. In the meanwhile, Henrikh Mkhitaryan hit a derisory six goals from an equally disappointing xG of 5.3.

What does this tell us? Simply put, Arsenal is too reliant on Aubameyang and, even though they hit 73 goals last season, they will need to improve across the board in order to make up for the inefficiencies at the back. It is a huge summer for Unai Emery and one that he must get right starting with the defence.


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Why Someone Should Be Held Responsible And Sacked Immediately Over The Disastrous Denis Suarez Deal

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I’m so annoyed right now, it’s proving extremely difficult to compose a rational blog regarding the monumental fuck up regarding the loan deal involving Denis Suarez.

Denis Suarez, a £2m pound emergency panic loan, made in the absence of any cash was drafted in after protracted negotiations with Barcelona. The deal was done at the expense of all others and Arsenal decided to place all its eggs in one basket by focusing on the Spaniard.

In the months that followed, Denis Suarez played no more than a cameo role in Unai Emery’s first season, but at least he avoided the embarrassing end of campaign collapse that saw Arsenal bottle a top four position and roll to an average and disjointed Chelsea on the Europa league final.

We were informed on numerous occasions of the special working relationship and existence of mutual appreciation between Suarez and Emery but as time went on, this seemed to be the whispers of a man in a straight jacket talking to himself in the mirror.

Then Suarez, from a safe distance somewhere in sunny Spain revealed that he was less than 50% fit on his arrival at the Emirates, which begs the question, who signed him and why have they still got a job.

Denis Suarez told Cadena SER:

“I’m still recovering from the injury, I’m practically fully recovered,”

Adding:

“On the 16th day of arriving at Arsenal I was not even 50 per cent, it was a year to forget but also to learn.”

Now I’m going to go down the Raul Sanllehi route again because we were informed at the time that the new director of football personally involved himself in the deal.

I had doubts about this guy’s credibility before, but this revelation from Suarez confirms to me that the club is no safer under the new regime than it was under the dark lord Ivan Gazidis.

I’m looking for heads to roll, if it was Sanllehi, he needs to go. I’m an Emery supporter, but if he signed him knowing of his injury and ineligibility, he needs to go.

No excuses, no explanation, just an open door and a wave on the way out.

Arsenal have been the subject of ridicule over limited finances and loan deals but, this new level of incompetence is deeply worrying. The club is now openly referred to as ‘Farcenal’ and it appears for good reason.

Arsenal was well and truly shafted in this deal with the club virtually spending money on nothing.

Surely Suarez had a medical ?

If he wasn’t fit, why bother ?

Was he just bought in to motivate others ?

The whole business is appalling. Suarez played a full 90 minutes in a worthless promotional showpiece in the UAE and after that a handful of minutes here and there.

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If you are an Arsenal fan and you aren’t spitting bile at this news or wanting to put Raul Sanllehi in the boot of your car so that you can drive fast over speed bumps, there’s something wrong.

How can fans possibly trust the club in the hands of these witless wonders, who lurch from crisis to crisis without a care in the world.

If Stan Kroenke believes in Raul Sanllehi, he’s a bigger idiot than I thought he was.

Stay Tuned to know more!

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Arsenal run the risk of alienating one of their brightest talents

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You would have thought that with a tight transfer budget Arsenal would move fast to secure the futures of some of their brightest prospects and none are brighter than Reiss Nelson who spent last season on a successful loan at Bundesliga side Hoffenheim.

But not Arsenal, they have left the 19-year-old hanging and told him they will discuss what next season holds for him after the U21 Euros.

When asked if he had spoken to Unai Emery about his future the teenager responded,

“I haven’t spoken to him [Unai Emery] yet.

“The recruitment team said I need to concentrate on the Euros and then we’ll get back into Arsenal later on.”

Nelson appeared in 19 Bundesliga games for Hoffenheim last season but only actually started five and yet he still found the back of the net on seven occasions and also appeared in five Champions League fixtures, not a bad experience for the lad but apparently, the hierarchy at the club remain unconvinced.

If he is good enough for the Bundesliga you would have thought he would have something to offer Arsenal who needs to be careful with their spending and obviously, Nelson would not cost them a single cent and on top of that, he is probably on a very low wage.

If he becomes disillusioned at the Emirates then Arsenal will only have themselves to blame for not offering the young forward an opportunity.

I can understand that asking him to wait until after the U21 Euros would be the sensible thing to do but these are not normal circumstances and he will no doubt be reading all the gossip like the rest of us including the many teenagers that we are reportedly interested in.

What a way to show him that we appreciate him and see a great future for him at the Emirates.

And before anyone says that I am overreacting just look around you at other clubs, Callum Hudson-Odoi at Chelsea as an example, these kids want to be appreciated and to feel like they are wanted.

I am not sure too much is going to change from recent years.


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What The Arsenal Supporters Trust Have Said Which Simply Increases Fears Of Long Term Stagnation At Arsenal

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Anyone expecting an early Christmas in the transfer window needs to wake up quickly.

The thing we all have to acknowledge is that whoever owned Arsenal football club at this moment in time would be unable to operate it any differently given the circumstances.

I’m not suggesting we should accept Kroenke, buy him lavish gifts, serenade him and give him a big sloppy kiss, but it seems there is little alternative.

There are no bids on the table and even if someone bought Stan out lock, stock and barrel, there would be no more money to spend in the transfer window.

As I’ve been saying for months, especially towards the end of the season, Arsenal have to sell heavily to reinvest in the transfer window. The only problem with that is that their current assets aren’t really worth what they need to be, if they were Arsenal wouldn’t be selling them.

So, the much anticipated arrival of up to six new players may be nothing more than a pipe dream considering Arsenal only have £45m available.

I’m also of the opinion that this situation is something of a catch 22.

No champions league football equates to a huge drop in finances, which in turn mean a lack of investment in the transfer window. A lack of investment means that champions league football is less likely and so on.

In terms of Arsenal becoming competitive, they have to win something consistently and compete at the highest level and to be frank, that doesn’t look at all likely in our current position with our present circumstances.

This is also highlighted by the Arsenal Supporters trust (AST) who issues their ‘Analysis of Arsenal’s Financial Position’, which states:

‘To truly get the financial capacity to rejuvenate the squad, Arsenal need to get back in to the Champions league which would add some £50m to the bottom line net of wage increases (through a mix of commercial deal uplifts, higher ticket prices and the higher TV revenues on offer in the Champions league).  This would potentially allow bigger name signings to be made without big name sales to finance them’

It goes on:

‘There is a general misconception that Arsenal are debt free and sitting on spare cash.  This is incorrect.  The analysis of the May 2018 accounts published back in March showed that whilst there was substantial cash held at that time (£231m) it was largely spoken for’

And the summary concludes:

‘Arsenal are cash strapped, boxed in by FFP and saddled with existing debt obligations of £200m that would cost £250m to refinance early. Their rival clubs have much more free cash flow to invest in transfers and salaries and arguably start with stronger squads so it is going to be an uphill struggle to narrow the gap.’

Fears that Arsenal’s decline will be as swift as it is inevitable, will certainly increase with this report. Remember it’s independent and that it is able to represent the concerns of the club’s fans.

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The news is something every long suffering fan has suspected over 10 fruitless years and although I’m probably the single biggest anti Kroenke man on the planet, there’s nothing that can be done between the debt, loss of earnings, repayments, wages and FFP.

It looks bleak in one transfer window and only sustained success will turn it around. No pressure Unai.

Follow Arsedevils for more news and updates on Arsenal.

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