Why Arsenal fans have more reasons to be optimistic than usual

Me, Simon and our Annual Optimism by Alan Peters

There’s a growing feeling amongst the community that this could be the season. Well, amongst me and my mate Simon at least.
OK, most of us get these unrealistic feelings of annual optimism in early August. Usually, in recent years, to be deflated by the middle of September as we sit in mid table, then thoroughly expunged by the time our American friends are tucking into their Thanksgiving turkeys (Arsenal’s own season long turkeys having by then been identified and verbally roasted).

But this season does seem different. If Arsene sticks with his reported plan to use the Europa league to give the Fringe players a game, and the Littlewoods Cup (or whatever name it goes by at the moment) is set aside for the youngsters, then the reduction in fixtures for injury prone stars might just see them spending more time on the green table and less on the physio’s bench.

We won’t have to face the annual thrashing by Bayern Munich either, with all the psychological damage that seems to instil. Although, given their pre-season form, the Germans might not escape from their own Champions’ League group – in which case, we are bound to draw them in the UEuropa!

Then there is the squad. Given that we keep Alexis and the Ox (big givens, admittedly) then the balance is close to becoming very impressive.

We have two high quality incumbents; there can’t be too many second choices in the world of the standard of Ospina, and Cech is as good as ever.

Wing Backs
On the right side, Bellerin will only get better with age and experience and both Mr Reliable Monreal and new signing Kolasinac should secure the left. The Ox could become a highly effective attacking wing back, perhaps even challenging for Hector’s spot.

Central Defenders
Whilst Gabriel always seems more secure at wing back, Koscielny, Mustafi, Holding and Mertesacker seem to have a good combination of experience and energy – staying fit will be the key.

Attacking Midfield
Even on a bad day, Ozil oozes quality, Theo has discovered how to score more regularly, Sanchez is world class. Iwobi is a very promising player, who will only get better. Danny Welbeck seems to me (and Simon) to be more effective when playing wider. Then there seems to be a host of youngsters waiting to break in to the first team.

Up Front
Even if Perez goes, which he probably should, being too good to be fourth or fifth choice, new boy Lacazette more than compensates, already looking a good buy, Giroud is, remember, first choice for France at centre forward. Sanchez and Walcott can both play there on occasion and, even though he does not score enough, Welbeck does create opportunities for others when he plays through the middle.

So this just leaves central midfield. This comes down to a series of questions. Will Xhaka improve his discipline? Will Ramsey remember how to score? Will Santi ever be fit enough to regain his form of two years ago? If the answer to these is yes, and with the solid back up of Elneny and Coquelin, we are strong enough in this crucial region as well. Having said as much, what a Petit, Gilberto or Viera type could add is still considerable. Perhaps, as many fans and the more informed pundits suggest, this is the area on which we need to concentrate any more transfer market action.

But, even with no further purchases, we look to be good enough. In fact, if it all comes right, not just good enough, but excellent.

With better fitness, fewer fixtures and the jigsaw clicking together, this league is ripe for taking. That’s what I think. And so does Simon.

Alan Peters



  1. rkw says:

    am reminded of that remixing (for wenger) of an ian dury classic … reasons to be cheerful part 12

  2. Raj says:

    Wow , We are going to win League, FA cup , League cup and Europa League and next season without any new additions we will win League, FA cup , League Cup and Champions league.
    Who needs lemar or Seri or Lucas Moura?

    1. Raj says:

      If this article is meant to be satire , than u have nailed it

  3. J says:

    Don’t forget SC coming back will be like a new signing lol he needs to be replaced now. And I think AW being now HARD should have got a captain in

  4. satanK says:

    We’re not really strong in the CB area, as Boss is going to miss out on way more matches this season and if we’re going to have to make do during the season as we had during the community shield match, I’m not sure we’ll be in much luck on a long run, especially with Per as an option, he’s no long term solution anymore.
    We’re quite schizophrenic in the midfield, so it’s a hit and miss, which is not something you want during the whole season.
    A CB and a Vieraesque midfielder will change our outlook and give us an actual opportunity to compete, even though Elneny and Xhaka were killing it during the whole match.

  5. wilshegz says:

    we need a reliable, top class third CB.. to partner Koscielny n Mustafi.
    Holding is good but still inexperienced, d others (mertesacker,monreal,gabriel) are not reliable.
    MY TAKE: sell Chambers to Crystal Palace for 15m (insert buyback clause)
    add 35m to it and pay 50m for VIRGIL VAN DIJK.
    we need a quality CM…
    Wilshere n Cazorla are now injury prone
    Ramsey lacks positional discipline n is inconsistent.
    .MY TAKE: sign LEMAR and play him in CM like wa done to Cazorla and David silva.
    needs to be done quickly before Liverpool or Barca get him to replace Coutinho..
    OTHER options:
    pay Seri’s 35m release clause n get him.
    get matuidi for as little as 15m.

    1. Fatboy Gooney, Too Fat to track back. says:

      Barcelona are now in for Seri and Lemar ?? I wonder if they are just being bitchy towards Arsenal because they couldn’t get the Bell-Boy?from us?

  6. waal2waal says:


    1. waal2waal says:

      …ideally with MBAPPE, LEMAR AND CARVALHO

  7. Adam Criniti says:

    Thanks for the laugh, much needed after a few to many beers last night.

    Arsenal still needs a Seri or Goretska type midfielder, a Van Dyjk or Koulibaly @ CB and a Mahrez or Moura in attack to seriously threaten for
    The EPL crown and be competitive in Europe.

    Ramsey, El Neny, Walcott, Welbeck, Jack, Per, and Mustafi are all decent players but really shouldn’t be anywhere near the starting 11 when Arsenal play against any of the top four or five teams in England.

    Truth sometimes hurts but this is Arsenal were talking about.

    My preferred Arsenal 11

  8. Raoh says:

    Really like what I saw yesterday specially when you know that: Kos, Ozil, Sanchez & Ramsey were not in the side.

    1) Ox should not be playing as a left sided wing back unless he is allowed to cut infield and have a go at goal! He is clearly more at ease as a right wing back and as much as I love Bellerin, Ox would be more effectif in our 3 at the back formation. Also in the middle with Xhaka who is less mobile.

    2) Welbeck is clearly better as a wide man and is not clinical in the last third: I don’t like much his decision making. He had one moment when He and Lacazette were on the field and he could’ve made a lateral pass which would’ve put Lacazette free on goal. Instead he went wide and tried to shoot and the result was out of bounds.

    3) Iwobi was lively and I expect more from him this season. Also Lacazette movements and touch was great to see with Ozil & Sanchez he should get to 20G and a couple of assists.

    4) Kolasinac is a beast and should have the left wing back role full time throughout the season barring any injuries/suspension. He is incredibly strong but has such a pace going forward. We missed such an athlete last season. Early favourite for player of the season at Arsenal?

    5) The squad is too too big. I don’t know what is going on with those players not facilitating there exits. Do you want to play football or earn a fat paycheck for doing nothing and see your career be forgotten? You’ll get paid wherever you go (aka Debuchy blowing the Nice move). Jenko, Gibbs, Debuchy, Perez are sure fire to move than you have others Wilshere, Chambers & Elneny who are a bit more special in there case.

    1. Nothing changed says:

      Are you crazy??? You don’t know what you are saying!!

      Sorry, bad joke 🙂

      I agree with most of what you are saying. Most importantly for me, Ox should be our starting right wingback. Bellering doesn’t have the football brain to go forward neither does he have the final ball. I think Iwobi is better and more comfortable on the left. Most of his best actions came from the left yesterday. Ox should not play on the left if you ask me.

      I do like Elneny and would not list him as a potential sale candidate. Particularly with Coq out Elneney is vital to have as a back-up.

      Kolasinac is my new favorite player, let’s hope he doesn’t do a Mustafi.

    2. Arsenal1Again says:

      The biggest and weirdest thing is these players blocking their move and risking no play time during the season => Aren’t going to be picked for their National team for World Cup 2018.

  9. Who said Arsene can't do grime? says:

    What we need to really do is not hang game to game. If we are there or thereabouts in the league come new year then that would be a good platform. Until then no point in judging because nothing much has actually changed.

    Most of the work needed is in training because the squad on paper has been decent for the last two seasons. If that work is successful the earliest we can know of positive steps is early Jan so not sure why this article is getting so carried away

    1. Nothing changed says:

      I think there is no point talking about the possibility of winning the PL until we are within 3 points and it is March 2018.

  10. Break-on-through says:

    A big signing in central mid and a big signing at CB would make allot of difference to our team. Would have liked to get that Italian youngster, but it would most likely be two seasons down the line that he could become that big CB for us. We need a commanding one, great aerially and strong in the duel. We still need to improve that right wing, still not happy with the quality out there. Wing-back we are ok, but we won’t always go with that formation. Basically the same stuff most of us are saying all summer. We’re looking at it and thinking is there enough of an improvement, but I bet if we also got a highly sought CB along with a star CM player everyone would take notice. Then Arsene’s back yard unearthing another young Frenchman, it’d be great, effort wise.

  11. Ronny says:

    Did anyone see the tunnel cam footage that focuses amount Morata?
    Interacting with cazorla, Monreal abd bellerin but avoiding eye contact with his own team mates and that was before the penalty miss.
    He looks a bit lost at the moment I’d say and likely feels he should have tried to go with the red side of London 🙂

  12. Ronny says:

    No point talking about title chances until we assess what sort of November it’s going to be for us.

  13. Arsenal_Girl says:

    We are tantalizingly close
    Xhaka and Eleny played very well yesterday but I’m still hoping for another top CM

    Also, we need Lemar, Mahrez or someone like that as I’m not positive about Theo and Danny to be honest

    We really need a couple of excellent players to fight for the title

    Again we are VERY close to where we want to be

  14. Sapiman says:

    Still need to sort out the wing backs as ox could still leave thus leaving Bellerin without backup. Coquelin has played in that position before but he is more needed in the middle.

  15. Chuks says:

    To stand a chance of winning d league am imposing CM to partner Xhaka is needed.up Gunners.

  16. Viera Lyn says:

    Exhibit A your honour in the ongoing case of why this team will never get it right as long as Wenger stays at this club…there is no way any rational soccer fan could have wrote this article unless they were killing time waiting in the line to apply for the Wenger fluffer job again!!!

    1. Alan Peters says:

      Soccer fan? Pre Season? Rational???


  17. David Rusa says:

    Some on this site talk as if they are from Mars! There has never been an ideal team anywhere, hence my scepticism with those who keep saying we need two or three more signings or whatever number to compete. How many more signing did Leicester need to win? Instead of setting number targets we should be setting mental or psychological targets because that is what our team needs to win. We need to treat all teams equally. We should treat Brighton the same way we treat Man City or Chelsea. Don’t underrate any team. Play every game as if it is a cup final and Arsenal will dominate teams and win EPL. Did we borrow mid fielders for FA cup final or the community shield? Who did not see Xhaka dwarfing Kante and coming on top? Why can’t we use the same spirit to win all games? Let us us will power to win EPL?

    1. Alan Peters says:

      Football fan? Rational???


  18. David Rusa says:

    Use not us will power.

  19. amb98 says:

    I am optimistic about Lacazette and Kolasinac but for us to mount a serious title challenge we need to sign a quality central midfielder like Matuidi/Carvalho/Pereira/Kovacic/Goretzka/Can or sign Lemar and convert him to a CM. We also need a CB, we have 6 at the moment but Chambers seems to be going, Mertesacker is retiring at the end of the season, Koscielny is injury prone and Gabriel is inconsistent. Leaves us with Mustafi and Holding. Manolas/VVD/Koulibaly/Tah/De Vrij would all be good signings.
    Also the club need to sort out contract situations. If Ox wants to leave, then we’d either need another rwb or promote Nelson. Wouldn’t mind swapping Ox for Emre Can, who only has a year left on his contract at Liverpool. He is exactly what we need in midfield.

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