Celebrates scoring at WC in Brazil

As Vardy U turns will Wenger turn to 30 Goal a season Islam Slimani?

Is Islam the answer?
Is Islam the answer?

The reaction to the news that Vardy will not be coming to Arsenal has caused a typically over the top reaction from the media and from Arsenal social media. Those that wanted him never actually did and now are convinced he was never right for us and we should be aiming higher.

What is for certain is that Arsenal were played by Vardy and his agent. Whether this was their intention at outset by presenting the deal to Wenger or whether the initial intention was honourable and the player them had a change of heart is a moot point. I know what I believe but we are where we are and doomsayers are swiftly returning and telling us that there is no one left to buy in June, Morata is off to Chelsea, there is only Lukaku left to buy and Wenger has blown it again.

The reality is that Arsenal do need competition for Giroud with Welbeck injured and Walcott out of favour and yes Wenger has singularly failed to land an out and out striker for many years. It is well known that I would dearly love to see Alexis played as a striker in a two, as he is played by his country, but even if that was on the cards another Number 9 is required. Some may believe that Akpom is an answer but if so, the question has to be ‘which young striker is not ready to play regularly in our first team?’

One player that could present a solution is the Algerian striker who came to the fore at the last World Cup, Islam Slimani. The player has been linked to many Premier League clubs after a stellar season in Portugal with Sport Lisbon which saw him net 31 gaols in 46 outings, including 27 in 33 in the league. Sporting finished runners up to Benfica and Slimani only missed one match all season ans his clean injury record with what Arsenal have suffered wit Welbeck and others is a plus. His career record in Portugal over 2 season is better than a goal every other game and similarly for Algeria he has scored 23 in 43 caps.

Celebrates scoring at WC in Brazil
Celebrates scoring at WC in Brazil

He is tall, physical and good in the air but seemingly more mobile than Olivier Giroud. His hold up player may not be quite as good but his play on the shoulder of defender would offer more options to the likes of Ozil and his reactions to rebounds and lose balls in the six yard box is something Arsenal have lacked. Primarily left footed he is able to finish with either of his Nike Hypervenom Phinish boots as featured in this best of the boots at Euro 2016 article. The video here shows all his goals in 2015/16 and on the face of it what’s not to like?

The nagging doubt might be the strength of the Portuguese league outside the top 4 teams but equally many top strikers from that league have moved to Spain or Italy and succeed. Certainly the physicality of the Premier League would not concern him and he is extremely confident in his own ability.

Jorge Jesus the coach at Sporting has admitted in May that he would be powerless to prevent a wealthy club steal there star asset and the player is rumoured to be keen on a England move. At 27 the player although contracted to his present club until 2020 know that the next move is the most important of his career. It is suggested that the £24 million buyout clause inserted his last deal expires on the 30th June. This being the case and with no hindrance to access as with the Euro’s and some other potential targets, if Arsenal are keen this one will happen in the next week. If Talksport are correct Arsenal and Liverpool have both had £20 million bids rejected so the question is do Arsenal think Islam Salami is worth the extra £4 million?

I guess a fringe benefit to bring in Slimani would be that any approach this window on in the future for his international team mate Mahrez might gain a boost.

Until next time @Goonerdave66

Alexis wins his 100th Cap tonight as a Striker in a Two – Why not at Arsenal?

Winning the Copa America last time
Winning the Copa America last time

In September I wrote a column for Shoot espousing a theory that Arsenal might consider playing Alexis in the formation in which he often thrives for Chile. I have revisited the theme once or twice since but tonight it seems appropriate as our Chilean superstar prepares to win his 100th Cap in the Copa America semi in a few hours.

Chile often operate a 4312 with a playmaker behind Alexis and Vargas and the Arsenal player thrives with a partner. With rumours that Juventus and PSG are keen to tempt him away from North London I wonder Wenger telling him he can play up top in a 2 might carry as much weight as further key signings. He has taken his international goal tally to 34 with 3 in the current tournament and who would bet against him adding to that total against Colombia. Definitely worth a few quid, using 2016 bet365 bonus code, as he lines up, in a few hours against his fellow Gunner David Ospina.

A system to get the best from our best
A system to get the best from our best

The joy of this fluid system is that not only does it get Alexis closer to goal but it allows Ozil playing behind him at least one mobile and fast target to hit. Not only that but with our embarrassment of riches of central midfielders it allows us to play 3 of them at once and not 2. As I have said recently the width needs to come from energetic full backs and it may explain wht Arsenal are limlked with young left-backs like Rodriguez and this week Douglas Santos.

This was the argument for the system I used back in September….

No today I wanted to consider the misfiring Arsenal attack and how an alternative team set up might assist us. My theory or solution proposal is born out of a growing concern about Alexis Sanchez and his role in the Arsenal team. Last season Alexis hit the Premier League like a whirlwind, surprising defenders with his combination of strength, pace, tricks, energy and of course finishing prowess.  After 6 league fixtures last September the Chilean firecracker had already scored on three occasions in separate games yet this season he is yet to get off the mark. Now this is a player who could not be higher in confidence having just assisted his country win their first Copa America in a century so what has changed? Continue reading

Surely England need Jack Wilshere against Wales

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Arsenal fans were distressed to see Jack Wilshere not included in England’s starting 11 against Russia in the Three Lions opener. From my perspective it was a surprise, more because Hodgson seemed to be trying desperately to bring him on in game time and fitness and because if his key role in qualification pre-injury. Disappointingly for Jack the troublesome role of the most defensive midfield berth for England seems to have been cemented by Eric Dier. Even with an Arsenal hat on I cannot argue with the Spurs anchor man’s inclusion and he certainly justified his selection.

Many Gooners were angry at the pack seemingly being shuffled to accommodate Rooney and felt it was the captain being shoehorned into midfield that cost Jack his start. Again whilst I have sympathy with this view I was fulling expecting the United veteran to play a deeper role after his form for United I the final weeks of the season. The decision was made easier for the manager I suspect both Wilshere and indeed Henderson were well behind Rooney in a match fitness sense. Despite any misgivings some may have had, although not shared by me, Rooney did play well and certainly in the first half controlled the game. Indeed as Jack sat on the bench he could only admire his captain’s performance.

Wilshere admired Rooney's performance
Wilshere admired Rooney’s performance

Opting for a 433 however was a trifle surprising, particularly given that Raheem Sterling had shown little in the warm up matches or indeed all season to warrant a place. Despite a few runs after 90 minute and the ultimate disappointment I was astonished the City wide man was still on the field late in the 2nd half after contributing very little and making awful decisions continuously. On the opposite flank, with the exception of his poor finishing, Lallana more than justified his inclusion. The Liverpool payers was aggressive, busy, inventive and showed far better decision making than his ex-team mate at Anfield.

So looking to the ‘big one’ tomorrow what is the online soccer betting on a few changes in the starting team against Wales? The big question marks are over Sterling, Alli and Kane for me and I suspect 2 of the three will miss out.  I genuinely believe that Hodgson always had in mid to start Jack Wilshere in the UK Derby on Thursday and given how poor Sterling was I think Vardy will also come in. But who should miss out and which of his 2 formations will he play?

Arsenal target Vardy to come in?
Arsenal target Vardy to come in?

We have seen Hodgson play Vardy on the left of the 3, in the centre of the 3 or along another striker in a 2. I hope that for the Wales game we see Vardy where he should be which is centrally with a partner. I would love this to be Sturridge as Harry Kane look a shadow of the player he has been all season. Hodgson knows what Kane is about so to be play him in all 3 friendlies after a long campaign where he is never rested by Tottenham was foolhardy. As I say though he will persist with the Spurs front man and Vardy should play with him. Arsenal fans are still hopeful that Vardy may combine with Wilshere at club level next season. As and aside it is reported that Wenger has an alternative target if the Leicester frot man chose to remain so.

Rooney will retain his position but perhaps at the head of a diamond midfield. He made 55 passes with close to 90% completion against the Russians but critically 38 of them were in their half. Play Rooney closer to the opposition goal and yet younger legs do the lion’s share of the work.

Impressive cameo
Impressive cameo

Wilshere for his ball retention, creativity, decision making and his ability to beat a man should play on the left of the diamond. His interplay with Rose will be critical and far more natural than that shown between Rose and Sterling. Rooney and Wilshere enjoy playing together and have a good understanding. Wilshere did well when he came on the other day but it should have been to play with the captain and not to replace him.

The last call is for me the trickiest one to make. As with Kane, taking club allegiance to one side, I seriously rate Deli Alii but did he really play to his usual level on Saturday? To me he also looked a shadow of himself in the second half but it is anyone’s call between him and Lallana for the right side of the diamond. Both like Jack and easily interchange fluidly with Rooney at the point and both have the engine to work box to box. For experience and for his display Adam Lallana edges it for me and this would be my team to play Wales.

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Until next time thanks for reading @goonerdave 66

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No Room for Wilshere in England Team to face an Aging Russian team – Preview

No Room for Jack at start
No Room for Jack at start

Arsenal fans on social media are expressing outrage at the non-inclusion of Jack Wilshere and the inclusion of Dier and Rooney. I am mildly surprised, given Jack’s heroics in tournament qualifying but equally not shocked given his lack of football and the emergence of Dier down the road. Hodgson had played Wilshere as a play-maker at the base of a diamond whilst out inured Eric Dier made the DM role his own at Tottenham and is a more conventional safe bet in the role. It is cowardly and unambitious but are we actually surprised? Really?

Emergence of Dier
Emergence of Dier

Add to this, the fact that he was always going to select his captain somehow in the staring 11. Alli, although Gooners will hate to admit it, is a shoe in but for me the surprise inclusion is that of Sterling who had done little all season or in the friendlies to justify the start. It will be very interesting to see how the 11 set up as whether 433 or Diamond the section feels like the manager is forcing his favourites into the 11 rather than selecting a system and then selected the best individual for each role.

Either way, if I was Jack Wilshere I would be quietly confident that the imbalances will fast be in evidence win, lose or draw against Russia tomorrow and I will be called upon sooner rather than later.

Jack will be called upon soon
Jack will be called upon soon

Personally I am excited for the start of the Euros and anticipate some cracking action in the coming weeks with many of our players to the fore. I will certainly be having a few bets and at http://www.accumulatortips.org.uk/ you can find all the best Euro offers and there are many for backing your country or top scorers. Continue reading

Does Vardy bid suggest a diferent formation and a partner for Alexis in an new Arsenal Attack

Vardy bid suggest a change in thinking?
Vardy bid suggest a change in thinking?

Speculation on the Jamie Vardy on/off move to Arsenal if still rife and will continue to be so until he makes his decision. For me the player choice is interesting as much for what it could suggest about Wenger’s plans for a style of play as much as the individual concerned. Even more so really as one would hope that having learned from previous windows who have back up plans for a similar player if Vardy decides to stick.

It is no secret that that I have hoped to see Arsenal once again play with a two striker attack. For years I was told that 442 was dead, which I never bought but in recent years there have been many variations used and with success. Of course at present in the English media we are debating with England will play with a 442 Diamond that would feature Vardy in the attacking 2 or whether Hodgson swings back to 433 and this might feature Vardy wider or not at all. The Online Sportsbook will no doubt be offering odds on whether Vardy starts and if he does I would love to see him with a partner.

I feel the same when thinking about Arsenal for 2016/17 and for most of last season found myself thinking about a 4312 formation. The drivers for this are multiple and all valid in my view. However the 2 main factors for me in thinking along these lines were to keep Ozil at 10 and to get Alexis closer to goal. I am not tied to Mesut being a central play-maker, as I know many are but it is my preference.  The only reason to move him nominally wider is to accommodate Ramsey as Spurs have done with Eriksen to allow Alli is attacking central berth. It is a possibility but with 4312 not required. Continue reading