Gunnerblog is the brainchild of childbrained football writer James McNicholas. Aside from Gunnerblog, James currently contributes to Bleacher Report, The Mirror and ESPN.

31 Comments

  1. Honest John   •  

    Yep, good call on all awards apart from the last in my view.
    Disappointment of the Season has to be Monaco at home in the Champions League for me.

  2. Anirudh Pareek   •  

    Hey James,

    I just read your article on Bleacher Report “Can Arsenal Afford Not to Sign a Defensive Midfielder?”. I find this to be a more pertinent question than whether or not we need a striker. As you said, if something were to happen with Coquelin, Arsenal will undoubtedly lose their defensive edge in the midfield, even with the likes of Arteta and Flamini as back-up.
    My answer to your title question is No. Arsenal need a replacement for Coquelin. You could argue that against weaker opposition we can afford to rest Coquelin, but even then, the nature of our play will change (less freedom for the schemers to do their best).
    If I was Wenger (Ahh, what a fantasy!), I would offload Flamini (rumored Gala switch) and get a more reliABLE replacement and allow Arteta to fall further down the pecking order for this position. Now the question is who? As amazing Busquets is, you have to worry about what adding a world-class DM would do to Coquelin’s confidence. The goal should be to capitalize on his current form and add a DM who is willing to stay on the bench and bide his time until Coquelin needs a rest. Perhaps a slightly older but still physically capable player would be ideal. A few years ago, Nigel De Jong, Xabi Alonso, or Essien would fit the bill. I cannot think of any such player now (perhaps you have an idea).
    If I had to choose someone with 3 weeks left in the transfer window, I may focus my efforts on Victor Wanyama – a physical specimen, EPL experience, technically gifted, and the temperament to thrive in our squad. Having such a player would be a massive boost. Not only would he provide DM cover, but also allow Wenger further attacking flexibility (not that he needs any more) by pushing up Cazorla/Ramsey.
    Undoubtedly, there are already too many MF to choose from at Arsenal, and replacing Flamini (who is seemingly happy on the bench) is a risk. Given Wenger’s history of taking risks, I can see him not adding another DM and relying on the Coquelin/Arteta combo. We as fans must pray for that he maintain his fitness and form, and if we encounter any problems, we can strengthen the position in January.
    Just my thoughts. I’m a big fan of your work and follow you regularly. I find you to be one of the few writers that asks pertinent questions and conveys an argument in a clear and concise manner. Keep it up mate!

    Regards,
    Anirudh Pareek

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  5. James   •  

    Alexis Sanchez and Cristiano Ronaldo are two good choices.
    Chelsea is a disaster this year. Murinho will be fired soon

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