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Saturday 27 June 2015

Cech, Szczesny, Ospina and the problem of the Homegrown Rule..

 Here we are another Saturday and another Premier league-less Saturday. Not the best of sentences to open this post with, I know, but then again the great thing abut a blog post is the fact that you can write (type) informally. See at the moment the problem is that there really isn't much to write about. It's all transfer rumours and games of he says she says with a little bit of the Copa America thrown in to top it off. You can see already in this paragraph I have resorted to mentioning the fact that with a blog you can write informally, I mean who is interested in that?  As another blog Highbury House has pointed out even the club's official site is finding topical writing difficult with their latest poll about our best headed goals...

Anyway, there are more rumours circulating that Vidal will join the club. Most of these suggest that Juventus have already agreed to sell the player, however which club he has been sold to will not be revealed until after the Copa America. So make of that what you will.

The Petr Cech story rumbles on, like the proverbial snowball gathering more and becoming bigger the longer it goes on. The latest being that he had his medical at the club yesterday. It would seem as though this is true, I mean it has been picked up as the the general narrative from Arsenal bloggers/ newspapers etc. BBC reported it via David Ornstein on twitter who said:
"Chelsea gk Petr Cech will undergo a medical today ahead of completing his proposed    move to Arsenal. Fee & personal terms agreed"
 ESPN, another reputable source also said the same. This would also seem to tie in with the fact that Sky belive the deal would not be announced until next week as Arsenal generally don't announce transfers on the weekend, with the exception of it being deadline day. Anyway we will have to wait and see I guess..

See there you go, I just played a game of he says she says, with a transfer rumour and am now about to mention the Copa America...

David Ospina, the man supposedly making way for the arrival of Petr Cech had a great game last night for Columbia against Argentina. I didn't see the match but he made a spectacular double save from Messi and Tevez which is now been used by some to claim that Arsenal don't need Cech, which is ridiculous. It really bugs me how people can make such decisions based on one match. Most of those people are probably the same ones who were calling for a new keeper throughout last season.

The problem with this is that I actually like Ospina, well let me qualify that: I like Ospina more than Szczesny. However, as I said in the above paragraph it looks as though the Columbian will be the one making way after just a year at the club. There is supposedly a £4 million fee agreed between Arsenal and Fenerbache. I think he was solid when he came in for the second part of last season, whereas I just don't trust Szczesny at all. However, he has the advantage of the home grown rule.

First of all, I do believe that Wenger prefers Szczesny, and only dropped him as a punishment for his smoking antics at St. Mary's, so i'm not too surprised to hear that he will probably be the one to stay (unless both leave?) The manager has a lot of faith in him. I do firmly believe that the decision was helped massively by the home grown rule, though, why would you let a home grown player leave, essentially now a back up, when you can sell another non home grown backup player?

This ridiculous rule is supposedly there to help English players. Well this is one of the loop holes. Yes, Szczesny has been in England for may years and even has a not so slight English accent, however he plays for the Polish national side and I don't think him or any one else for that matter would say he is English. So why should this rule protect him over Ospina? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Football is a sport and sport has to be based on which player or team is better than the other, not on which passport you have. The world is more diverse and multi cultural than ever, so why start limiting who can play where? Really, when you think about it, at its heart isn't this rule not somewhat xenophobic? I am not saying the F.A is xenophobic or anything, far from it. I understand that they want to improve the English game, and moreover the English national team. However, the way they are doing it is just wrong.

How does a football player improve? By playing with better players. Do England currently have the best players in the world? No, far from it. Does the Premier League have the best players in the World?, no, far from it. So can anyone tell me what sense this rule makes? English players will always get the chance to play if they are good enough. At the moment a lot of them simply are not. It is far too simplistic and quite frankly symptomatic of an old attitude within both Irish and British society to blame the problems on foreigners.

Couldn't you also argue that for the F.A to implement this rule, they are saying British players are not good enough and need extra help, what sort of message does that send out? I believe that they should spend there time investing in youth football, improve coaching levels and training facilities for younger players. More English payers in the English league does not guarantee success for the national team, in fact all it does is promote mediocrity.

A Columbian player will most likely leave Arsenal football club due to an English rule that says a Polish player is more important than he is, all to make room for a Czech Republic international; if anything it just sounds like a bad joke...

Anyway time is against me, so I'll leave it there. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Also keep an eye out for the twitter and google plus follow buttons on the side!

Have a good one.

Subjectively, Cosmic Kid.


  1. In his first interview with Arsenal, Cech made it clear that he’s come to Arsenal to be the number one choice and that he spoke with Arsene Wenger about that very thing. The club haven’t announced his squad number yet, but given that he’s the most expensive ‘keeper in Arsenal history he almost certainly has to take the #1 away from Szczesny.

    So, Chelsea, Arsenal’s hated rival, whose manager is the polar opposite of Arsenal’s manager, whose owner is ruthless, just sold one of the best ‘keepers in the world to Arsenal. And Wenger, who waited 13 years to get his man, just sent a warning shot across the bow of all his young players: Arsenal have the money now, Arsenal have the ambition, Arsenal want to challenge for the title, if you’re not up to snuff, you’ll be replaced.

    Never in doubt?

  2. Schneiderlin is 2cm taller than Coquelin at 180cm, shorter than Ozil even. Not sure where the misconception of him being "tall" comes from. May even say Coq has the better leap and so is handier aerially. He is physical but not the most physical. Creative, but not the most creative. But what swings it for him IMO is that he'd potentially offers us dominance both from a physical standpoint as well as through his ability on the ball and management of space. He's a great package to have as a pivot in our system and would allow the likes of Ramsey/Cazorla and Ozil do what they do best further up as he screens the defence, while able to get the ball out from the back and switch defence to attack for us in one fell swoop.

  3. I don’t follow up all the rumours of the transfer window. On second thoughts I do follow them by the funny way Sir Hardly Anyone presents them at Untold and I find them very amusing to be honest. But when I look around on facebook and on twitter there is no escaping some things. But I am not going to talk about new signings but talk about people who feel like a new signing.

  4. Given that Arsenal went nine years without landing any silverware, how does winning successive FA Cups achieve par? Look at the general balance of the Premier League, plus the realistic difficulty to land a trophy and technically Arsenal have achieved exactly what they should have done in the last two campaigns.
    At the beginning of every season, many Arsenal supporters fret about whether or not we can finish in the top four and above Tottenham. Some give up the ghost early and bitterly accept the perceived yet premature media wisdom that Arsenal will be the infamous side to slip out of Champions League places. It hasn’t been us so far and I never buy into that myth, because I never feel it. Every season I say the same thing because I feel it to be true: Arsenal will finish in the top four and above Tottenham. I never worry about Tottenham, they haven’t got it in them to last a whole season. They win two games in a row, buy their own hype and then can’t handle it. Once a campaign settles and quality teams separate from the others, in any given season Arsenal should finish in the top four. It is our natural equilibrium.
    Last summer, when people asked the annual question, with the same usual half-defeatist trepidation, I predicted confidently that Arsenal should finish third. To me, only Chelsea and Man City were likely to be definitely better than us last season. Liverpool had obviously had a fantastic season previously with Suarez, but without him they were desolate. United with no Ferguson are no longer our superiors, so I felt that both were at a similar level to us. I expected Sanchez to be the difference in our favour and that we should be good enough to edge above both of them. So, in basic logic, that meant third. If Arsenal finishing fourth is normally par, then last season third was par. Arsenal finished where we should have.

  5. This summer there’s no need for signings to make up the numbers, so to speak. We’re not short of bodies in any particular area. We have pretty much enough of everything. Whether you think those options are sufficient to win the title is another matter, but the bottom line is we have them. It’s not like last summer, or the beginning of last season, when we had to play full-backs at centre-half and so on.

    I know we went over this the other day, but I’m more and more convinced that if we sign any more players they’re likely to be ‘blue chip’ purchases that really improve the first XI. In the same way that Cech was brought in to improve a position that wasn’t really a problem, we might sign a striker if the right one becomes available despite the fact Giroud did pretty well last year, and that we also have Welbeck waiting in the wings.

    I know there’s some unrest about what other teams are doing, particularly Man Utd who have bought Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin. To my mind, while we could have used the latter, their midfield situation was one which really required them to spend a lot, while our only real issue in that area is if we have the right kind of back-up/competition for Coquelin.

    Like, we’re not getting bent out of shape over Chelsea signing Begovic from Stoke because we’ve got three keepers already. Schneiderlin might well have been a useful purchase but at £24m, and as player who I think is closer to a traditional CM than a DM, it’s becomes harder to make the case that he’d have been worth that investment when you’ve got Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Still, from the way the manager is talking, if the DM of all DMs was found or became available then I think we’d do it.

    I also firmly believe that focusing on what other teams do in the transfer market is the easiest way to drive yourself mad during a transfer window. Remember how crazy people went over United signing Falcao? We have a good squad – which can be improved, no doubt about it – but for me there just isn’t the urgency or demand for us to do quick business just because others are.

  6. My feeling is that he probably does want to stay but has been told not to say anything publicly that might weaken the negotiating position, and in this day and age that’s understandable (if not particularly comforting for those fans who are invested in his future in a big way).

    It was a hugely difficult process last time around and it looks as if it’s going to be something similar again this time. You could ask the question why it’s so tough. There doesn’t seem to be the same difficulty in agreeing new deals with pretty much every other player in the squad right now, most of whom are tied down to long-term deals, and whose performances have merited them. What is it about Walcott that makes it so tough?

    I understand that at 26 he’s heading into his peak years and wants his new deal to reflect that, but at the same time there seems to be little or no consideration for what ‘this club’ has done to get him to this point in the first place. Maybe that’s naive anyway, to think a player should have some gratitude, but still Arsenal have stood by him through countless injuries.

    While someone like Jack Wilshere is criticised and almost written off every time he picks up a knock, Walcott seems to get something of a free pass for his injury record which, over the years, is probably worse. This statistical breakdown of how much football he’s missed makes for pretty grim reading. And bar the 2012/13 season when he scored a career high 21 goals, his average goal return per season since 2010 is a little over 9.

    So, if you have a consistent, always fit 20+ goal a season player playing hard to get over a new deal, you can understand it, but Theo Walcott is not that player. He could possibly become that if he stayed fit and if he played often enough, but the second part of last season saw him left on the bench for the most part. The manager spoke about him recovering from the knee injury he suffered and I’m sure that was a factor, but I think there was more to it than that.

    His end of season obviously caught the eye and I’ll take nothing away from him for the FA Cup final performance and goal. That victory was down to Arsenal being far too good for Villa on the day, and he played very well. His hat-trick against an already on holiday West Brom in the previous game won him his place along with Giroud’s loss of form, but I have to say I’d be far from confident if he was starting games for us up front on a regular basis. Maybe he’d prove me wrong, but I think he’d struggle against the best defences.

    I think if we really want to improve our striking options this summer, then it’s got to come from the transfer market. I’m not convinced we’re going to do that, by the way, but I just don’t think Walcott is the player to add what we need in that position. I think he’s most effective from the right where he faces a real battle for his place with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and that’s the kind of healthy situation I’d be happy to see.

    Two players whose skill-sets overlap in certain areas scrapping it out and, hopefully, driving each other to be better and more consistent. I do wonder if the reluctance or delay on Walcott’s part is because of the time he spent on the bench last season and the realisation that he’s gone from being an automatic starter and a crucial part of the team just a couple of years ago, to somebody who is really going to have to fight for his place.

  7. We have played 4 pre-season matches and by now we should begin to see who are the players likely to be picked for our starting line-up at the beginning of next season.This presupposes that we do not bring any new players in
    the foreseeable future.My view is as follows:GK Cech
    RB Debuchy/Bellerin Rotate
    CB Mertesacker
    CB Koscielny
    LB Monreal/Gibbs Rotate
    DMF Coquelin
    CMF Ramsey
    RW Oxlade-Chamberlain
    AMF Ozil
    LW Sanchez
    ST Giroud/Walcott Rotate Bench
    GK Ospina
    FB Gibbs/Monreal Rotate
    CB Gabriel
    CMF Cazorla
    AMF Wilshire
    W Walcott/Welbeck Rotate
    ST Giroud/Walcott RotateInjury Replacements
    GK Martinez
    FB/CB Chambers
    MF Arteta
    MF Rosicky
    W/ST IwobiThe one major hole in squad at moment is substitute DMF should Coquelin
    get injured or need a rest. The team looked “fragile” defensively in first half
    yesterday. That was a combination of a weakened defence and a midfield
    combination of Arteta and Cazorla who were fairly ineffective. The other position in team where I do feel that we could look perhaps for an
    upgrade is left back. Monreal and Gibbs are adequate rather than brilliant.The team will have plenty of goalscoring potential even without a world class
    striker particularly when you factor in that Sanchez who was our top scorer
    last season has not played. Obviously bringing in a more clinical and mobile
    striker would enhance our opportunities.