Arsenal Vision logo

The Arsenal fans site for true Gooners

Log in Register

Login to your account

Username *
Password *
Remember Me

Create an account

Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required.
Name *
Username *
Password *
Verify password *
Email *
Verify email *
Captcha *
Reload Captcha

The Highbury Library animted promo v5 350x350

1) A lot of change has come your way over the last two years, can you sum up the journey since Alex Ferguson left Manchester United.

'Bizarre' wouldn't quite cover it. Having been born after Fergie took over, him leaving in the first place felt odd but then, in a summer where Mourinho, Guardiola and Ancelotti were all available, we somehow managed to end up with David Moyes. It was the management equivalent of the time we replaced Ronaldo with Valencia and Obertan. Thankfully, one of the few benefits of being owned by blood-sucking, parasitic businessmen is that they tend to be quite ruthless and are quick to rectify mistakes, so we now have a proper manager and, after years of penny pinching, the Glazers seem to have realised that, post-Fergie they are going to have to, shock horror, spend money in order to compete.

There was a real danger a year ago that we could have gone the same way as the Milan clubs have and become a completely basket case, but I'm now much more confident going forward. Though after years of mocking Spartak Fulham and ADUG FC fans for their spending, it does feel a bit hypocritical to be defending United for doing the same thing.

2) You've gone for it big time this summer in terms of transfers, while it is still early days for the new players, how do you think they have done?

Overall I'm very satisfied with the transfers so far. Little needs to be said about Di Maria, he's a no-brainer signing: the kind of player who, if you can afford, you buy, and I've certainly not been disappointed. As he becomes more settled, I fully expect him to be established as one of the league's stars.

The fee for Shaw obviously raised eyebrows, as did his reported wages (though personally, I suspect his basic wage is quite a bit lower than the figures bandied about) but to me it was a signing that made total sense. His signing solved a problem position and when you think we likely won't have to spend anything to replace him for 10-15 years, £27m doesn't look too bad. On the pitch he looks a superb prospect, he's technically sound, quick, strong and, unlike the rest of our defenders he is in possession of a brain. I don't think there's a better young left back in the world and if he continues to develop, he will become a truly world class player.

Herrera and Blind have both fitted in well, particularly the former, who has been badly missed recently. He reminds me a bit of Aaron Ramsey in that he doesn't really have any 10/10 attributes but he doesn't really have any weaknesses either. He does a bit of everything and does it all well, and it's no coincidence that our build-up play and creativity have suffered significantly whilst he was injured as he was the instigator for many of our attacks. Blind has the look of a player whose versatility will ensure that he's a very useful squad member, but I'm not sure he'll ever nail down consistent first-team place if the entire squad is fit (one can dream).

Rojo is the one I'm not quite sure about. He's not as good as Shaw at left-back and when playing centre-back he appears to lose his head quite a lot, as evidence in the derby when he dislocated his shoulder by flying out of position to make a stupid lunge. Technically and physically he's pretty solid but, like Blind, I suspect he'll eventually become more of a squad player, rather than a consistent first choice.

Falcao, when he has gotten on the pitch, has been better than he has been given credit for. I've seen him included on quite a few 'flop' lists recently but his general play has actually been perfectly good, though more goals would obviously have been preferable. Once he has a consistent run of fitness, I think he will do very well and, to be honest, I would pick him ahead of Van Persie right now if everyone were fit. The signing still feels a bit unnecessary though, kind of like the Arab billionaire who buys a twentieth gold-plated Ferrari, just because he can afford it.

3) Arsenal and Manchester United have been criticized for not strengthening at the back. Given how much you've spent and are prepared to spend why do you think you have not done more in that area?

Quite simply we didn't manage to get all our targets. In additions to the signings that were made, we went after a centre back and a defensive midfielder but we couldn't get them. I'm not too bothered by this as I'd rather wait and eventually get a player we really want, rather than over-paying for someone who isn't good enough (here's looking at you Fellaini).

I fully expect that we will see significant defensive signings next summer, I would do disgusting things to get Aymeric Laporte to the club and would love one of the Atletico pair as well. The club's finances are such that we can spend similar amounts to that which we spent this summer and I expect our defence next season will be very different personnel-wise.

4) How does it feel to be Arsenal and suffer a comical amount of injuries?

Well our own injury record hasn't been great for a few years now, but for a while we had Fergie to paper over the cracks. The current situation, though, is ridiculous, our players are dropping at a quicker rate than the characters in a George R. R. Martin novel and I'm not really sure why. Van Gaal teams haven't tended to have bad injury records and we don't play in a style that creates injury issues like Dortmund, for example, do.

It's certainly a combination of things: training methods, less resting time in the summer because of the World Cup and a bit of bad luck, amongst other things. It has to change soon though because, particularly in defence, these injuries are threatening to kill our season.

5) Onto the big game, are you feeling confident of getting a positive result?

Not really. We could well go into the game with a defence of Valencia, Smalling, McNair and Blackett (and you thought Monreal at centre back was bad) so it could get very messy indeed and, if that is the lineup, I would be surprised if Arsenal don't score at least a couple. Hopefully De Gea has one of those games that Brad bloody Friedel used to have against us every season. Of course there is a chance that our attack has one of those golden days but the game plan that has served us so well against Arsenal since 2007 or so is no longer feasible, as we simply aren't solid enough.

6) How do you think you will approach the game and what Arsenal weaknesses do you think you will try to exploit?

The lack of anything resembling a defence forces us to play in only one way and that is on the front foot, it was notable that against both Chelsea and City we were able to cause plenty of problems for their respective defences. The obvious Arsenal weakness would be the defensive midfield area and I would seek to exploit this by playing Di Maria in a central position, either at the tip of a diamond or as part of a central trio. Arteta tends to struggle badly against players who are quick and/or strong and Flamini is about as effective as a brain-damaged turkey.

7) I think I may already know your answer but which Arsenal player do you fear the most?

To state the obvious, Alexis Sanchez, I'm a huge fan of his and have been for a long time. My maternal grandmother is from the Udine area so I follow Udinese closely and I desperately wanted United to sign Sanchez when it became clear he was going to leave. Fergie confirmed a couple of years ago that we actually did bid what would have been our transfer record at the time for him but he evidently wanted to go to Barcelona.

He's an absolute nightmare to defend against and, given that none of our likely starting defenders (with the possible exception of McNair) could be described as 'calm on the ball' I worry that his manic pressing will force plenty of defensive errors.

8) Do you mind if I kick Robin van Persie on his shin... hard?

As long as I can hit Jack Wilshere's glass ankle with a cricket bat in return.

9) Can I have a match prediction?

With my unbiased hat on, 3-1 or 3-2 to Arsenal.

10) Do you think you will finish above Arsenal this season?

Probably not, I think the defensive injuries have put paid that any chance of that. Chelsea will run away with it, City and Arsenal will fight for the next two spots and then I think we will get 4th in the end. Liverpool are shite and completely reliant on a perma-crock and a Narcoleptic teenager. Everton are overrated in general and seem to be prioritising the Europa League given the lineups that they've been picking in that competition, whilst Spurs are Spurs, they could be in a one team league and they'd find a way not to win it. Southampton won't last in their current position, they're only 3 points better off than they were at this point last season (when they finished 8th) and their fixtures have been ludicrously kind so far. They've played only two of the seven teams that finished above them last year, arguably the worst two, and lost to both.


Thank you to Jack for taking the time to answer my questions. I don't follow many non Arsenal fans on Twitter but Jack is certainly a funny and knowledgeable fan. Follow away @JakLew89

If you missed his previous post on Danny Welbeck then have a quick read before getting ready for the big game today. "Welbeck is a superb athlete, having an excellent combination of strength and mobility" - Q&A with Manchester United fan

My preview of the game today can be seen here Manchester United (h) Thoughts & Line Up: Injury concerns, Return on the exes & More

'till later

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more