Arsenal’s line-up for next season; reality versus expectation.

“arsenal must sign all da best playa or wenger can die in hell”

Afternoon, you delightful individuals.

It’s Sunday afternoon, and there’s little for me to do at present. Initially, my thoughts were of heading out with the dog for a walk, but the skies have become menacingly overcast, so you’ll all have to endure a bonus post today instead.

One of the most noticeable things when scouring through comments is that some folks who pop by to drop me a line are very reasonable and intelligent. Others, it’s fair to say, are not. With all the hullabaloo and balderdash on offer regarding transfers, I’ve started to see an alarming lack of patience amongst a few choice individuals in our glorious fan base.

If I were to ask the question, “How would you like to see Arsenal line-up next season?” to the average contributor to my silly little blog, I’d get an intelligent and well-thought response. The team they picked would probably look a little like this:

Reality FC

Then you have the impatient blighters – folks with apparent anger issues who like to pour out vitriol and bile on the internet. Mercifully, they tend to be few and far between, but occasionally they pop up with a vengeance. You might wonder why I bother to approve their comments at all. Well… I’d be telling you fibs if I said I don’t enjoy the hilarity of it all, plus I do enjoy a verbal tussle from time to time. I’m a bit of an arse like that.

If I were to ask one of the aforementioned characters the same question previously stated, I’d probably get a comment such as this one:

“arsenal must sign da best playa in da world and start to win da trophees. if not wenger must be sacked and go to meet the devil in hell. die wenger you cheap man. spend da money on top class player or i will have sex with your family and eat any of your pets for my dinner. buy da player or die in hot hell”

Those enchanting words will be swiftly followed by the team they’d like to see, which will be something like this:

Expectation FC

Admittedly, that’s not a bad side.  The forward line speaks for itself, and the defensive cover provided to Vermaelen and Ferdinand by the tough-tackling Jesus Christ would ensure few concessions. It’s a good team, but hardly one ever likely to take the field together.

I guess it’s to be expected. Every football club across the land has its share of fans who take things a little too personally and allow bouts of irrational rage to get the better of them. Perhaps it’s particularly ill-advised to use your blog to mock them for the sake of passing a bit of time.

I’d not thought of that. Oh well, I shall publish regardless.

The comments await your thoughts. How would you like to see Arsenal’s starting XI look? What’s the most over-the-top version you’ve come across? Let me know.

I shall return tomorrow morning with more – assuming I’ve not been violently murdered by someone who has read this. Until that time, and as I always say; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.

45 Comments

  1. Somali Qabiil (@ArsenalPundit21)

    @_ArmchairGooner hilarious article mate.Keep it up.

    Reply
  2. Danny

    Neymar geeza has done nothing yet. Everyone goin on about him seen him afew times now not be funny but hes been poor.

    Reply
  3. Varun Nair

    i hear Jesus is close to signing with us though, so don’t rule it out just yet…

    Reply
    1. daudi

      think Jesus will join us this summer but will play in goal. I hear he saves….

      Reply
  4. vebhav

    messi as false 9 and neymar on the left! & Jesus should be our goalie!

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      Jesus is useless with crosses….

      Reply
      1. Sam

        But he does save…..apparently. Reminds me of a sign outside a church “Christ saves” underneath, some bright spark wrote “but Darwin scores on the rebound!”

        Reply
      2. Mr Bond

        Please do not take the name of the lord in vain or jest. Its not done. The lord will punish all who grieve the holy spirit. The name of Jesus should not truffled with. Learn and ask for forgiveness, so Gods wrath does not consume you

        Reply
        1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

          I’ve spoken to God. Fortunately for me he has a sense of humour. He loves the occasional bit of “truffling”…

          Reply
          1. Sam

            Yeah, God definitely has a sense of humour, perhaps he could share a little of it with his flock. Remember, don’t confuse religion with football, we are not Tottenham.

  5. Roman

    I would like to see Arsenal sign:

    Higauin
    Fellani
    Thiago
    Telleo
    Illremendi
    Sangogo
    Papadopolus

    Move on:

    Gervinho
    Rosicky
    Park
    Chamackh
    Santos
    Djourou
    Frimpong
    Conquelin
    Bendtner
    Manonne
    Diaby

    This would equate to a net spend of around £40m but a wage saving of around £15m meaning the transfers will have paid for themselves.

    Starting 11
    Schz
    Gibbs
    Mert
    Kos
    Sanga
    Fellani
    Cazorla
    Wilshere
    Thiago
    Walcott
    Higauin

    Second
    Fab
    Mon
    Ver
    Pap
    Jenk
    Arteta
    Irllmendi
    Ox
    Telleo
    Giroud
    Podolski

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      Ambitious…

      Reply
      1. Roman

        But not wholly unrealistic

        Reply
        1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

          Agreed, excluding Thiago, who I’d say we’d struggle to get. Barcelona would be mad to let him leave.

          Reply
          1. Roman

            He has a release clause of 18m euro and I am sure Cesc would put in a good word.

          2. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

            He does? It’s that low? Not sure I’ve heard of that before…

  6. Rodenh

    Just a couple of refinements. 4:2:3:1 formation. Fellaini & Wilshere occupying deep mid roles. (Yes Wilshere is a destructive force running from deep ) move cazorla into centre behind striker. cos he’s wasted out wide.Podolski is about as effective we’ve got in the wide left berth.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      I disagree. I think Santi can be just as effective from the left.

      Reply
  7. Grandson Erasmus

    i disagree with the jerkinson am seeing there!

    Reply
  8. jeff flash

    As hilarious as hilarious can b itself……..great post dude…..xpect me poppin up on ur twitter page……..nd hey i wud lov to arsene play as d lone striker

    Reply
  9. jeff flash

    As hilarious as hilarious can b itself……..great post dude…..xpect me poppin up on ur twitter page……..nd hey i wud lov to arsene play as d lone striker……..justin bieber wud hav been more preferable at DM

    Reply
  10. Rory

    Good lineup, but would like to see Pod get a good amount of games on the left. Higuain dream / perfect signings

    Reply
  11. LittleDano

    For me its all about the squad and I’d be absolutely delighted with the four players we have been most strongly linked with; Cesar, Williams, Fellaini and Higuain. Plus there’s Sanogo in the bag.

    GK Cesar/Szsz RB Jenks/Bac CB BFG/Kos/TV5/Williams LB Gibbs/Monreal

    MF Fellaini/Cazorla/Rambo/Arteta/Wilshere/Ox/Rosicky

    FW Hig/Walcott/Pod/Giroud/Gerv/Sanogo

    Then there’s the young ‘uns like Coq Eisfeld and Bellerin. So many options, so many opportunities for rest and rotation and all important cover for injuries for what should be some 60 games if its a successful season. I’ve always rated our 1st eleven but we have lacked that strength in depth for some time.
    I’d love to be picking an eleven out of that lot! £60 Million investment apx; what do you think? Too much to ask?

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      I think that would be a very, very positive outcome indeed.

      Reply
  12. Rory

    Meant Higuain & Fellaini ideal signings. Not sure Rooney necessary. Would prefer to strengthen at CB depth & goal, given mentioned signings.

    Reply
  13. Rob

    I think Cazorla out wide left would be a good choice, our mercurial little Spaniard possess a bit of pace (granted perhaps not as quick as Walcott) but he has terrific ability on the ball and can shoot equally as well with both his left or right foot (something you don’t see that often at even the highest level).. He can turn inside in a blink of an eye and his ability to run at defenders with the ball at his feet is a kin to the great Lionel Messi, like Messi, Cazorla has a low centre of gravity (being a bit of a short arse) and is difficult to ‘knock off’ the ball… Cazorla is also a cunning little bugger with a sharp eye for the quick pass… If we do end up getting Higuain then he’d be my choice for the left sided wide berth with Walcott on the other flank…

    Reply
  14. Caligunna16

    ———–chezzer———–
    Sag—Per—-Kos—–Gib
    ——-jack—–fellani——-
    Wal——————–santi
    ————girou————
    ————higua————-

    This might a tad offensive, but with jack and fellani switching on and off protecting the back 4 we would be ok.

    Giroud was great last year…double digits in assists and goals is terrific.

    I think he could connect well with higuain who finishes virtually whatever comes his way.

    Stats showed that Kos/Per connection was the best, I would let that start next season and tell Verm to wake up and play like his first season again.

    Reply
  15. LittleDano

    You guys want too much change, Id keep Gerv and Rosicky I think we were a lot closer than a lot of people make out by the end of last season. the squad needs tinkering, not trashing.

    Reply
    1. Ash

      I’d keep Rosicky because his alleged sell on value is only 2mil and who could you get to play a squad role better than him for 2mil. He won’t start many games unless there are injuries but you know when he does he’s reliable. As for Gervinho, his estimated sell on value is 10-12mil and quite frankly there are a plethora of more talented players at that price range. He’s wasteful and makes consistently the wrong decision when on the wing-the only time he’s done alright is down the middle but Higuain should mean he won’t play there again. I’d snatch someone’s hand off if they offered 10mil for him and buy David Villa to give competition to Podolski on the left hand side of attack. His finishing is lethal and links well with monreal and cazorla as he showed the other night in the confederations cup.

      Reply
  16. atid

    to get a better first x1 you have to look at the current best x1 and see where it can be improved? you also need to look at how much improvement is required? So firstly we reached 73 points last season, compare that to the winners who got 89 points. so we need to win 17 more points, that is a 23.2% improvement on last season. This is arguably wengers 1st x1 based on how we finished the season.

    szczesney
    sagna
    mertesacker
    koscielny
    gibbs
    arteta
    ramsey
    Walcott
    Wilshire
    cazorla
    giroud

    To improve by 23.2% after a complicated equation, involving all the opta stats, 5 players have been identified as needing to be improved upon in order to improve by 23.2%. They are, szczesney, sagna, mertesacker, ramsey, giroud. now I am not saying they are poor far from it, if we only signed fellaini and higuain, with ramsey and giroud dropping to the bench, you would say that is a damn good window. However if we improved on the other 3 as well, I believe we will win the title. The 5 players named would still remain with the club, as would some of the other players that people seem desperate to abandon. However 4 more players would need to make way for 5 to come in. The 4 would be Mannone, Santos, Park, Chamakh, as i believe of all the players currently classed as deadwood these are the ones we could most cope without. This would mean that 1 of the 5 would need to be homegrown. If we was looking to move on another player, the next for my cull would be Bendtner.

    Reply
  17. Philbet

    James You are a star… keep it up man….

    Reply
  18. henry

    D acquisition of julio cesar,ashley williams,fellaini n higuain wil giv d reguired depth den we axe chamakh,santos,djourou, bendtner,park n frimpong

    Reply
  19. christy

    I think the best 11 albeit these players are done deals.
    Szczesny
    Kos Williams Verm
    Sagna Fellaini Wilshere Gibbs
    Cazorla
    Podolski
    Higuain.
    2nd 11.
    Yashin
    Maldini Baresi The Kaiser
    Garrincha Mattheus Eder
    Maradona
    Messi Cruyff
    Van Basten

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      I think Arsene might have his work cut out with your second 11 🙂

      Reply
  20. Ian Hawthorne

    I believe Reality FC is how we are likely to line up and for me that is enough. We don’t need 5 or 6 players. Just Higuain and Fellaini added to last years squad with maybe another back up centre half is ample. I don’t think we need a new keeper as I think Szczesny will and is always improving.
    Top article mate

    Reply
  21. Nikhil Sriram

    Consider this for a bit… maybe out of reach, but isnt that what this post is about…

    GK – Cesar
    RB Sagna
    CB Mertesacker
    CB Koscielny
    LB Monreal
    DM Fellaini/Capoue/Gonalons/if no DM – Arteta
    CAM Wilshire
    LW Cazorla
    RW Walcott
    ST Rooney
    ST Higuain

    Subs
    Szczesny, Arteta, Vermalen, Ox, Giroud, Podolski, Ramsey

    Reply
  22. Admir

    Another brilliant post.

    I would sign your Reality FC immediately as I believe we are not that far away from the top. Two top signings like Higuain and Fellaini (I hope) should be enough for us to win some silverware and challenge for the title in Premiership. One back-up central defender of Mertesacker’s organizing skills wouldn’t be a bad idea given that Koscielny and Vermaelen together are more dangerous to Szczesny than Drogba was.

    And, we should also nail Jesus Christ and tie him for his best years.

    Reply
    1. James 'Raul' Stokes (Post author)

      He does tend to go missing around Easter, though…

      Reply
    2. Sam

      I agree with this guy. The worst thing, for me, is that I have just left the country, now living in Canada, and if there is any truth in the rumours, it looks to be an exceedingly promising season, just a bit of evolution (I believe in evolution), a tweak here and there and an improvement on Squillaci, and watch them go.

      Reply
  23. Pingback: Is a new goalkeeper on the horizon? And a look around the interwebs… | Wrong Foot Pele

  24. Inter YourGran

    First 11

    GK Szczesny

    RB Sagna
    CB Mertesaker
    CB Koscielny
    LB Gibbs

    DM Fellaini
    CM Wilshere

    RWF Walcott
    SS Rooney
    LWF Cazorla

    CF Higuain

    2nd 11(Squad/CCup)

    GK Fabianski/Martinez

    RB Jenkinson/Bellerin
    CB Vermaelen
    CB Williams/Miquel
    LB Monreal

    DM Arteta/Coquelin
    CM Ramsey/Diaby
    AM Rosicky/Eisfeld

    RWF Oxlade-Chamberlain/Miyaichi
    CF Giroud/Sonogo
    LWF Podolski/Gnarby

    Reply
  25. Felix

    I’m going with the “areas to improve” angle. The areas are the center foreword, goal keeper, Center half-Martesaker- Central midfield ball carrier, and CAM. A few comments here. First, i believe we have internal solutions for our goal keeping. Sceczney will improve and should remain first choice and i believe with a change in coaching, Fabianski can push for first choice if not take it over. Secondly, many people keep picking Monreal as the left back but to me Gibbs is clearly Wengers and my first choice. I also feel that Sagna will get back to his consistent best and if not Jenkinson is ready. Thirdly, we cannot play with both Walcot and Poldy on the wings. They are not creative and cannot retain the ball. They need to be supplied and tend to over work the mid fielders. Also, Carzola cannot play the Fabregas role since he lacks physicality though very creative. The team is further exposed if Jack is to play. That’s why Wenger put him wide. If he has to play centraly, he has to be very close to the center forward and not the focal point of the 3 man midfield. His problem is similar to what Rooney and Kagawa are experiencing and what Arshavin experienced. The Fabregas role requires a creative central midfielder who gets pushed forwad rather than pulling back a “traditional” number 10. They play well as part of a front two not a midfield 3. A similar scenario was repeated with Benayoun when he was on loan. Forthly, I believe that Wenger has earmarked Jack for the Fabregas role and Arteta for the Pirlo role. That means having two hing energy midfielders shielding Arteta and providing the thrust and creativity. I believe Fellani will replace Diaby and not Song in the Makelele role. He will have the role of covering the midfield with pase and physicality allowing Arteta to simply clean up behind him and Jack to create ahead of him. However, Jack is not yet ready for the creativity role. Roscisky is retiring and not fully upto it. We therefore need some more first team creativity which can also cover wing play. The player has to be ready for the first team. Any younger and they will be overtaken by the ones in the Accademy. Lastly, i believe that Wenger is thinking seriously on Martesaker. He is good but not a fit for what Wenger wants to achieve. That’s why wenger tried out the Vermalen and Koscielny combination at every opportunity. That is partly why the midfield had to push back during the run in. I dont see this continuing for more than the next one season especially if a solution can be found. So, my line up is as follows;Scheczny, Gibbs, Koscielny,Mertesecker, Sagna, Arteta, Fellaini, Wilshire, Walcot, Higuain, Carzola. Who to buy, Williams to challenge for Mertesackers position, Fellaini for Diaby’s, Higuain and Grenier or any such a creative midfielder.

    Reply
    1. Sam

      What, no Jesus?

      Reply
  26. goonerdhanesh

    hilarious article in my opinion. if am to tell my dream team for next season then it would be

    Szczesny
    Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs
    Fellaini, Cesc, Ramsey
    Cazorla,
    Higuain, Rooney

    Subs: a decent keeper if Fabianski and Mannone are leaving the club, Vermaelen, Arteta, Podolski, Giroud, Wilshere, Ox, Jenko

    Reply
    1. goonerdhanesh

      oh and i forgot to add Theo in that subs list.. 😉

      Reply

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