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Have Arsenal Packed Their Kwells? Wenger Gets There At Last…..

Morning all.

Happy birthday to Arsene Wenger who is 65 years old today.

Retirement age isn’t it? Sadly not but darn I wish it was and applied to football management. Fergie wouldn’t have won as many trophies as he did and now we’d be wondering who is set to become our new manager. If only eh….

Anyway, the birthday boy has been talking about the team news ahead of tonight:

Chambers is back in our squad after suspension. Coquelin is not in the squad. Szczesny is not here as he is suspended and will be replaced by Martinez.

And on the injury to David Ospina:

It is exactly the same one [as from the World Cup]. He had his first injury at Nice – it was a knee problem and he was a bit rushed back and did not use his leg, so his muscle became weaker. Then he got injured in the World Cup. After that, he came to us injured after the World Cup and it took him two months to play again. I had to bring him on against Galatasaray without a warm up and being prepared, so he had a recurrence of that injury. It means he is out for two to three months, now we have to be really careful because it is a recurrence of a thigh injury, which is very difficult. It is a long-term injury.

Beggars belief doesn’t it! I’m sure there must have been other goalkeepers available in the summer and ones who were fit. Alex McCarthy springs to mind, a big, tall and strong keeper who excelled for Reading but no, yet again Wenger signs a crock, a player who we won’t now see until January.

Emiliano Martinez will now get his chance and I hope he takes it. He’s only 22 years old but so is Thibaut Courtois and David de Gea is just one year older. If he’s good enough, he’ll prove it tonight and lets not forget, Szczesny was his age when he was first confirmed as our number one keeper!

Wenger:

It is a big game for us and I just dedicate all my energy to getting things right to perform, because at the moment I feel there is a difference between the quality of our performances and the points we get.

We want to add something to the quality of our performance and get the points that you feel is there in the team. That little percentage we can improve in the team is vital and I hope we get it.

Well Arsene, that’s your job. Get the defenders defending properly, the midfield organised and get the players motivated and make no room for any passengers.

Not only are we missing Szczesny, Ospina and Coquelin but we travel without Theo Walcott, Mesut Ozil, Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo. Not sure what is happening with Mikel Arteta, but Aaron Ramsey should be fit to start, as should Jack Wilshere.

Despite our absentees, Anderlecht manager Besnik Hasi insists his side won’t take us lightly:

Arsenal are playing in the Premier League every week – they are playing big games. We are playing in a smaller competition and we need these types of games to get better.

We are a very young, talented team. But for us it will be a mistake if we are thinking that because Arsenal are missing some players and have not been at their top level in their competition, they will not be difficult opponents. That mistake will not happen here.

Well I hope the boys have packed the Kwells today as our last match on the road was a disaster. The way we rolled over for Borussia Dortmund was embarrassing! A repeat of that kind of showing again tonight will leave us with an uphill battle to progress through to the knock-out stages.

It’s about time this team clicked, it’s about time Arsene Wenger got the balance of the team right and each player does his job and does it well. That has to happen tonight otherwise our Champions League hopes will hang by a thread. Well, getting out of the group stages I mean….

We are playing Anderlecht, not Munich, Madrid or Barcelona! This is a night on which we should be thinking about nothing other than returning to London with three big points in the bag and I’m confident we will.

A display similar to what we witnessed against Galatasary should make sure we do!

Arsene Wenger will then have had a nice birthday and he deserves that doesn’t he……

COYRRG’S!!

Have a good one all…..

 

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Striker Deal In January? Podolski Makes It Clear Where His Future Won’t Be!

Morning all.

Something which will cheer us Gooners relates to Lukas Podolski. Despite not being able to force his way into the Arsenal side this season which in itself is somewhat strange when we consider how many injuries we have and the fact that Danny Welbeck is yet to be given a break, he is a true Arsenal player. Having read that the nasty neighbours are interested in rescuing his career, he tweeted:

Hell would freeze over before this transfer happened.

It’s funny how some players, regardless of how the manager treats them really get why making a move across the North of London is so wrong.They know just how much that would cheese off the fans. Thierry Henry would have never dreamt about making such a move, neither would Dennis Bergkamp or plenty of other overseas players I suspect because they loved our club and they respected the fans.

And yes, it still is our club despite Stan Kroenke trying to make sure it doesn’t feel like that these days. We’ll get it back, one day!

Of course they’ll always be a twit like Diaby who was supposed to have owned/worn a Spuds shirt but in the main, our boys do not switch sides in North London. Not these days.

With Podolski looking likely to leave, on the way in could be Marseille striker André-Pierre Gignac. Apparently his contract expires next summer and come January, he’s free to talk to overseas clubs and one of those is rumoured to be Arsenal.

However, with Olivier Giroud due back before the end of the year and Yaya Sanogo expected to turn into Thierry Henry when he returns, I doubt if Wenger will be too keen to sign him in January as he’d have to shell out a few million but come the summer, we may just see another French and free striker join.

Sounds very unlike an Arsene Wenger signing doesn’t it!

Tomorrow night, young goalkeeper Martinez will between the sticks in our Champions League fixture in Belgium and he’s ready:

I’ve been working on being more commanding in the box. I didn’t have any experience before and I went to the Championship, which is all about crosses and making the right decision.

I learnt a lot because I played nearly 20 games so I’m a completely different keeper now. I was working really hard and I played really well in quite a few wins and gained a lot of experience.

I’ve been working with Wojciech for nearly four years already. Since I came to Arsenal I’ve been working with him.

Let’s all hope that having worked with Szczesny for four years, he has’t picked up any of his bad habits. And there’s a few he could pick up…..

Fingers crossed he doesn’t get injured or sent off as on the bench will be  17-year-old keeper Ryan Huddart….

Could only happen at Arsenal couldn’t it……

Have  good day all…

 

 

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Defensive Problems – Coaching Or The Players To Blame?

Morning all.

Back on this day in 1934, Ted Drake scored a hat-trick in a 5-1 battering of Tottenham!

Nice Shirt!

Nice Shirt!

I think Mikel Arteta models himself on Ted Drake, especially the hair…..

Arsene Wenger has been talking about why results aren’t going our way. No, not in that tricky interview after the match with the BBC but to the official site, a place where he’s a lot more comfortable:

Hull defended well and we struggled to score – that’s why it’s an urgency not to give easy goals away like we did.

It’s not easy against a team who plays with five defenders, four midfielders and one striker. Where we are guilty is to give away two goals from nothing. We showed some great quality today in the build-up.

Finding the balance is an issue. Look at the number of shots on target we’ve had in the last five games – you’ll be surprised. Hull had two shots on target and [scored] two goals.

We have progressed since last season in the way we dominate the games and the way we combine. Last year we had 17 clean sheets with the same defenders but we have not started to do that yet. Our defensive efficiency is not there and we cannot survive at the top level by always conceding two goals.

I don’t know about anyone else but it seems like we have heard/read these words from Arsene Wenger for many years now. Hiding behind the ‘we had 100 shots’ line is wrong as those shots mean absolutely nothing unless they find the back of the net. Players might as well hit row z with a shot as a miss is a miss regardless of where the ball ends up. Same can be said about the amount of possession we have during many of our matches, unless we make that possession count, it’s pointless, especially when we concede goals at the drop of a hat.

And if a team has two shots on goal during a game and they both go in, most of time that will result in them getting something from a game. Wouldn’t many Arsenal fans love the team to be able to defend in the manner in which clubs like Hull City do? I know I would.

In my opinion, if the coaching staff are working on defending in training and they have been doing so for as long as Arsene Wenger has been highlighting our frailties then at some stage he and his staff have to concede defeat and admit that perhaps those players being asked to do their job in defence and just ahead of them are really not good enough.

It might cost the club money but something seriously has to change and not many of our problems can be solved from within. In January we need a CDM and a CB and we need them as soon as the transfer window opens but until then, gawd only knows what Arsene Wenger and his coaching staff are going to do in order to address that balance issue he talks about…

We head off to Belgium on Wednesday to play Anderlecht in a very important Champions League fixture and we go there with two rookie keepers as both Ospina and Szczesny miss out through injury and suspension respectively. I suspect Koscielny will also miss out but Chambers, Arteta, Wilshere and Ramsey should all be available and who knows, we might see Gnabry and Walcott in the squad too. Yippee!!

That’s it for another day…..

 

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City Want Ozil. The Story Remains The Same……

Yesterday began with the earth shattering news that Man City were preparing to sign Mesut Ozil for £32million. A loss to Arsenal of over £10million should the move go ahead. The report was in the Express and repeated in the Metro. Two newspapers, famous for reporting a load of rubbish, so still my beating heart….

Later in the day Hull City took to the field at the Emirates with revenge in their heart as they faced an Arsenal team still smarting from it’s 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge and with a makeshift defence.

Yes, all our worst felt fears about the lack of depth in the Arsenal defence, was being realised. Those fears were not eased by Arsene’s admission at the recent Arsenal AGM that he had needed another centre-back this summer. I suppose the question is, how long does it take to actually sign one? As Wenger seems to make a career out of dragging these transfers out, endlessly… Therefore, Nacho Monreal became Per Mertesackers third centre-back partner of this EPL season and Hector Bellerin made his first EPL start at right-back.

The rest of the Arsenal team had sufficient quality to see off a stubborn, time-wasting Hull team but once again, as at Chelsea, a referee did not do his job and it ultimately cost us points.

Following an encouraging start,  Alexis Sanchez destroyed Curtis Davies before firing a vicious drive across the face of Harpers goal and into the far corner of the net. A well deserved lead at that point. Harper had already made two top class saves to deny Welbeck and Cazorla.

Then Diame burst forward threatening the Arsenal box. Mathieu Flamini did his job, getting across in front of him, preventing his progress and had the situation under control. Diame could only regain the ball by fouling Flamini and that’s what he did by twice pulling back the Arsenal man. We waited for the referee to blow for the foul. And waited, and waited, meanwhile Diame ploughed on and equalised. The referee, Mr East showed the kind of ineptitude that Martin Atkinson had shown at Stamford Bridge when he failed to send off Gary Cahill, and once again, a PGMOL cretin, cost us points…

Hull rode their luck, Arsenal showed their fragility and Wenger sat on his hands.

We expected the team to come out in the 2nd half, breathing fire… Instead they conceded a sloppy goal in a not untypical manner. Acres of space where Gibbs should have been was filled by a Hull attacker who delivered a delicious cross which was totally misjudged by Mertesacker, headed home by Hernandez, and we were trailing 1-2…

The rest of the 2nd 45 was like, well, like so many Arsenal games in recent years when poor defending has led to the Gunners chasing a deficit. It was left to the best Arsenal player on the field and probably the best Arsenal player of this season so far, Alexis Sanchez, to salvage a point, as he twisted and turned in the Hull box to deliver a perfectly weighted pass that Welbeck crisply controlled and dispatched into the net for the face-saving equaliser.

Arsenal are now 11 points behind Chelsea, with absolutely no chance whatsoever of catching them. Of course, Arsene will continue to claim that that is not the case and that the EPL is still within our capabilities and to a certain degree he is right. He also has to convince his players and us fans that that is the case, but in our heart of hearts we all know the truth.

But in his darker moments when he is alone at home re watching a video of a recent game or some obscure game in a foreign land, Arsene will also know, that the game is up for us this season…

All this won’t bother Stan Kroenke as he counts his Arsenal profitability. Nor will it stop Stan from eulogising the achievements of Billy Beane, the American sports coach he associates most with Arsene Wenger. Beane won absolutely nothing, but he did it on a shoestring.

Sounds familiar eh?

Written by Allezkev.

285 Comments

Ray Parlour Backs January Signing. Double Boost! Arteta Returns As Hayden & Bellerin Called Up….

Morning all.

Here he is. The man heavily rumoured to make a move from the Scottish PL to the English PL and join us in January.

Virgil van Djik....

Virgil van Djik….

Nearly every newspaper believes Virgil is the £7 million man wanted by Arsene Wenger in January! The 23 year old Dutchman stands 6′ 4″ tall which is great, but is he ready for Premier League football?

Ray Parlour says yes:

Van Dijk would be a good signing. Arsenal look really short at the back. Koscielny is out now for a little while, which is another blow.

Arsene is just hoping he can get through to January. He’s got to go out and buy a couple of defenders. He needs to strengthen if they’re going to have a serious run on the Premier League title. You need to have a big squad.

It’s Saturday, the PL returns and we kick off at 3pm at The Emirates!

Last night saw the return of both Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry albeit for the under 21’s. Who cares, it’s playing time and both of them needed it. Theo made it through until half-time, Serge played on for a bit longer and as far as I know, both are fit and waking this morning. Abou Diaby also returned after suffering a little hip problem. None will be involved today of course but Mikel Arteta will be. He’s back and raring to go, well, he’s back.

Around five months ago, we huffed and puffed are way past Hull City in the FA Cup final. They hit us hard from the off, stunned us with two very early goals and to be honest, I didn’t know if we had enough in us to get the two goals back let alone a winner but we did. Somehow we did.

Apart from Alexis, Welbeck and ‘the never played’ Joel Campbell, our squad for today is pretty much the same, perhaps weaker with the absence of so many players. Ozil, Koscielny and Calum Chambers who serves a one match ban, all miss out. Hector Bellerin and Isaac Hayden are expected to be in the squad as both missed last nights game. Both young, inexperienced in the Premier League but no doubt chomping at the bit and quite excited at the thought of playing at home in front of their own fans. Will they both start? Somehow I doubt it, in fact rumour is Francis Coquelin might fill the right back position. If he does, then perhaps that’s because Wenger believes him to be more experienced, allowing Hayden to stand tall alongside Mertesacker in the middle.

Meanwhile, Hull City present a very different side to the one we faced at Wembley, they are stronger after Steve Bruce had a busy summer transfer window signing Hernandez, Ben Arfa, Ramirez, Diame and Ince. They can brag about having thirteen international players on duty over the last fortnight and I think that’s more than us!

I hope they all return feeling like Sterling did midweek for England……

But, for all their international players and new signings and looking a lot stronger on paper, Hull have had a similar start to the season as us. Since the opening day of the season, they couldn’t buy a win until just before the international break when they defeated Crystal Palace, the rest have pretty much been draws with a couple of defeats thrown in.

Nikica Jelavic and Mohamed Diame are the players to watch out for. Between them they have notched up seven goals which is about as many we have managed as a team!

Can’t say I’m overly confident about today, despite the history books suggesting this game has a home win written all over it.

The experienced players need to step up today, they need to show maturity, discipline and lead by example. If Bellerin and Hayden do start, they’ll need their calmness and togetherness around them. Don’t leave them exposed and don’t let them be the fall guys. Go out as a team and play as a team. Defend from the front when needed and let’s see pace, width and a lot of passion going forward.

Enough of the draws, it’s time to start scoring more goals, getting more points and putting in a much more solid performance.

Starting today!!

That’s it for today, let’s hope its a great one for Arsenal FC…

 

144 Comments

AGM Discloses Staggering News! Wenger Swerves Tricky Question….

Morning all.

Yesterday, at the AGM, Sir Chips Keswick made it crystal clear where the decisions on football matters rested at the Emirates Stadium….

I don’t think that my wish or intention to double guess what Arsene Wenger wants to do – as you know, your board backs him 100 per cent. If he has a plan, we back him, if he doesn’t have a plan, we keep quiet.

Funny enough, Arsene Wenger made no comment about Sir Chips grand statement, a statement which is all wrong. No manager should have such control at a football club and certainly not ours and no wonder Wenger has been so frugal when it comes to signing players, he’s allowed to. What is the point in having such a toothless bunch of board members led by a toothless Chairman who seemed more interested in talking about playing Bridge four nights a week than answering the question about our ageing board members and whether they are the right people to take the club forward.

Do our current board members, including the Chairman really care about Arsenal FC achieving success on the pitch? Or are they just a bunch of Kroenke puppets who care only about making him and themselves rich? Well, more than they are already? Perhaps they just can’t be bothered and just want an easy life. After all, why bite the hand what feeds you..

As for Kroenke, well the little he did say meant nothing much did it. Glad he enjoyed a nice day out at Wembley though, just a shame he didn’t ensure that more of the most loyal and long serving fans didn’t get to share the occasion!

I’m no ageist but our club needs new blood, younger blood, men/women who have ambition, people who truly care about the club both on and off the pitch. People who are prepared to take that control from the manager and start making him accountable because unless that happens, Wenger will continue to be a right old tight arse in the transfer windows and always leave us with an unbalanced, small and short squad.

Talking of Wenger, as already said, he chose not to comment after Sir Chips bold admission but what he did say after rambling on about how he’d love to please the fans more than he does and that we’d had a good summer in the transfer window was we lack numbers in defence:

I agree we could have bought one more player but we didn’t find one.

We are a bit short with the injuries we have (defensively), and I think we will rectify that in the transfer market in January.

Everyone could see we were short of defensive cover before the season started let alone now and not only did he leave us short in defence, the midfield has for a long time, and still does, lack the presence of at least one strong and powerful player.

One fan asked why Thomas Vermaelen was sold in the summer and not replaced. Sir Chips invited Wenger to answer the question. He declined, clearly having no answer to such an important question, a question that no doubt all fans wanted to know the answer to.

Does he really expect us to fall for the ‘we tried to sign one more but couldn’t’ garbage we have all heard before, something he again said yesterday?

No, if you pay the money, you can get almost any player but my guess is whichever player he wants has a contract which runs out in the summer of 2015, so when January arrives he can get a cheaper deal. Even cheaper if he waits until July. That is of course if that player does want to join us.

That’s all well and good if we had players within the squad who can fill in certain positions with ease, but that’s not so easy when it comes to playing in central defence. Wenger has to choose between Isaac Hayden, a 6 ft 2 strong central defender who is yet to play in the Premier League or Nacho Monreal, a 5′ 10″ midget of a left-back tomorrow and we all know he’ll opt for the latter. That’s what he does!

Oh I bet Steve Bruce can’t wait to roll up at The Emirates tomorrow!!

That’s it for today…..

 

112 Comments

Jack Wilshere Hits The Headlines Again! Stojkovic Waiting To Replace Arsene Wenger?

Morning all.

Jackie boy is back in the news again and thank goodness, it’s all good, very good!

Just seven months ago, Paul Scholes laid into Jack and went as far as saying he’d failed to improve his game since he burst onto the scene at 17 years old. Two stand out performances for England has given Scholes food for thought, so much so, he’s totally changed his view:

I thought Jack Wilshere had two very good games for England over the last week. I would go one step further than that and say that at the moment he is England’s best player.

I think the penny has dropped and he has added another dimension to his game. He has always been capable of intricate passing. Now he can play the ball long, too. The quality of some of those passes into Wayne Rooney in Estonia was high.

You cannot underestimate the importance of eye contact between a midfielder and a striker in those situations. Wilshere mentioned it in one of the interviews that he gave and I would agree that it is critical.

Best player for England he says, that’s a far cry from his overly critical comments in the past. Let’s hope he continues his good form for Arsenal and we finally see the player we all thought he would one day become and with Aaron Ramsey struggling to replicate is high standard of last season, maybe this is Jacks time. Although I don’t think it’ll be too long before Ramsey finds top form again once he returns. After all, class is permanent isn’t it?

Well, it is when it comes to players, managers however seem to fluctuate with their performances and our fine leader is a perfect example of that these days but interesting enough, Ivan has just talked about how difficult it will be to replace him, although I’m not convinced he’s truthing. Just after his words though, Dragan Stojkovic has been talking about his future in football management:

I respect English football very much and the Premier League is an incredible league.

Of course [I would like to manage in the Premier League]. Why not? I believe I have enough knowledge about modern football to be part of the development of English football.

I have had a few meetings [with English clubs] but I am still waiting for a good offer.

Wonder who he’s been in touch with? Perhaps he is set to wait for another two and a half years?

Could he be the man lined up to take over the managers role at Arsenal? Well he’s pretty much followed the same path as Arsene Wenger during his career and has played for and managed Nagoya Gramous so perhaps Stan Kroenke sees him as the ideal candidate to replace Arsene Wenger.

And of course, they share the same footballing philosophy:

Arsene Wenger is a friend of mine and that relationship and friendship exists from 1995.

If you remember how he changed Arsenal, the way they play, the style and the quality, this is the same style I used in the last six years, and Grampus became champions for the first time in their history thanks to that work.

It is my objective to teach players to play in an attacking style and to give pleasure to the fans.

Well if he is to become our next next manager, let’s hope he’s not following the Arsene Wenger of today and thinks that’s attacking football will win everything because it won’t. Defending is equally as important too!

I still think Andries Jonker will be the man tasked to take us forward…….

That’s it for another day, have a good one…

 

 

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