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Fitness concerns for Ozil, Podolski & Mertesacker. Bellerin Debut Day?

Morning all.

Arsene Wenger:

The World Cup final in Rio was July 13. They came back on the August 11. That means I gave them one month of holiday.

It was important for me that they would recover. They have been training for one month and haven’t reached 100 per cent physically yet but they’re close.

What? How can they not be 100% fit by now?

The injury curse continues and we were in Germany waiting to face Borussia Dortmund with a very depleted squad. A squad which was already lacking.

Mathieu Debuchy is out as we know, Calum Chambers is also a doubt with his chances rated as 50/50 as he’s suffering with tonsillitis. Nacho Monreal has stayed in London as he has a back injury.

Kieran Gibbs will naturally slot in at left back but what happens on the right is anyone’s guess but Arsene Wenger has been bigging up Hector Bellerin:

He’s a boy with personality, who isn’t fazed by the pressure.

That’s a very important quality when you’re a young boy playing at a big club. His transition game is fantastic. He’s very quick and his final ball is good as well. He lacks a bit of experience as a defender, but he’s very dangerous going forward.

Despite the injuries, the manager remains upbeat about tonight:

We had a very physical game against Man City on Saturday so it will be tough for us. But we have recovered well and sometimes in the second game you can be even stronger.

Dortmund have their own injury concerns with Mats Hummels, Nuri Şahin, İlkay Gündoğan, Jakub Błaszczykowski, Oliver Kirc, Ji Dong-won and, Marco Reus all likely to miss tonight’s match.

Jergen Klopp thinks we are a much better and stronger side than we were last season:

Arsenal have new players in their squad and the last time we played them they had players with injuries like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey.

Now they have new players like Alexis Sanchez. Olivier Giroud can’t play but when you look at their squad they have a lot of alternatives. Arsenal played very defensively here last year. But you have to say that our Champions League fixtures is starting against a great team.

Arsenal are a very hard opponent and I think they did a great job on transfers over the summer. Now their squad has great stability and they’re actually able to play the type of football that Arsene Wenger wants to see.

All I can add to that is I hope we all see the kind of football we all want to see. Players creating and taking chances should they fall our way, a strong defensive midfield and of course a much better defensive performance than we witnessed on Saturday.

Apart from the two errors against City, at times we absolutely battered them and had we taken our early chances, we would have. If we can get an early control of the game, there is no reason why we can’t repeat that level of performance.

Good luck tonight boys, all injuries considered, this is a night which should go our way if Arsene Wenger get’s it right and the players all work hard!

And if Bellerin does start at right back, for goodness sake give him a bit of protection…

That’s it for today…..

 

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Is There A Clue In The Squad Photo?

Morning all.

I know the injury to Mathieu Debuchy was a fluke and it could have happened to anyone who plays football but it’s happened to us, again! There are mixed reports about the extent of his injury, the player suggests it’s not too serious, whereas other reports quote 2/3 months. Fingers crossed it’s not the latter.

What does Arsene Wenger do, pull on the huge experience and depth he has in the squad? Err no, we don’t have them do we? Why? Because Arsene Wenger truly mucked up our transfer window when it comes to have a deep and strong defensive unit.

Playing Calum Chambers there seems the logical answer but then what happens if he, or one of Koscielny or Mertesacker pick up an injury?

Well, the simple answer to that is, we are stuffed!!

I personally don’t think that Chambers looked anywhere near as assured at right back on Saturday as he has done whilst playing in the middle of our defence but then that could be simply down to the fact that he’s not played there with this group of players.

Meanwhile, back in the under 21’s we have Hector Bellerin, a proper right back who maybe considered young at just 19 years old, but then so is is Calum Chambers! We also have a very capable CB/CDM in Isaac Hayden, who again is 19 years old but he too is strong and very confident.

Our Savours....

Our Saviours….

If you look hard enough at the team photo, you’ll see not only Isaac Hayden and Hector Bellerin are in there, but also Chub Akpom and no doubt all three are being considered to make the step up. Either that of they were just thrown in there to make the photo look better!

I know they are all young and inexperienced at this level but if they really are good enough, they are old enough, after all, Calum Chambers is a similar age and he hardly looks out of his depth at this level.

On the 20th February this year, Yaya Sanogo, a player who is far from being the quality to play for Arsenal FC right now, was selected to play against Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Well in my opinion, both Bellerin and Hayden have far better footballing brains than him so perhaps it’s now time they are given a chance – especially Bellerin when we are so in need of a right-back…..

To be honest, I’d rather see those three play for the first team than a few of their fellow team-mates who are also in the photo!

I hope Arsene Wenger thinks the same because there has to be a reason somewhere for him not signing extra defensive players in the summer…

This is far from being the perfect situation and we can only blame the owner/board and manager for the club being in such a mess but it is what it is and now it’s about getting the best out of what and who we have in the squad and to be honest, there’s plenty of room for that…

That’s it for another day….

 

117 Comments

Highs, Lows and The Darn Right Unacceptable!

Morning all.

So many and I mean so many chances and we didn’t take them.

1-0 down after the players jog back to defend like it was a training session!

1-1 and a simply stunning goal from Jack Wilshere.

2-1 up after an even more stunning goal by Alexis.

2-1 up and we couldn’t defend a bread and butter set-piece from a corner.

2-2 and game over, another draw at The Emirates…..

The lows as usual sit with our defending. The first highlighted the weakness in our midfield and apart from Flamini, there was no-one and yes, I know we were pressing forward but come on, show a bit more determination to get back and had certain players done so, that goal would not have gone in. And if Aguero been marked properly in the box, he wouldn’t have scored but our man let him get on the wrong side….

Another low, the bloody post which got in the way of Danny Welbecks early chance. It looked destined to find the back of the net. He should have buried that chance…..

Another low was their second goal! Who the heck was marking their goal scorer? No-one, absolutely no-one and it was shocking defending!

The highs were of course our goals which were both finishing at the highest level.

The unacceptable is the performance of Mark Clattenburg. He allowed far too many fouls and nasty game playing to go unpunished and on another day, perhaps two City players could have seen red.

All that said, I thought that was one of our better performances and certainly for Jack Wilshere who truly deserved his man of the match award….

Sadly, our defensive frailties in the squad have been exposed as Mathieu Debuchy picked up what looked like a nasty injury. We are now down to the bare bones and one more injury will see us calling for Isaac Hayden..

Mind you, he looked good the other night, as did Bellerin……

Any regrets about the summer transfer window Arsene?

He sure should have!!

Over to you all…..

 

255 Comments

The Emirates is Becoming a Fortress!! Make a Statement Arsene!

Morning all.

I don’t know about you guys and gals but I am seriously concerned ahead of our lunchtime fixture against last seasons Premier League Champions…

We have no midfield anchor man to stop Yaya Toure and his side brushing through our midfield like they aren’t even on the pitch. Mikel Arteta is back but he hardly settles my nerves and neither does Mathieu Flamini. But, if by some miracle, we can take control of the midfield battle, our attacking force is pretty darn special and since we beat City at Wembley, we have added a very good striker with oodles of pace….

Ramsey, Alexis, Welbeck, Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ozil – how good can they be together?

Over the last few seasons we have really struggled against the clubs who have always ended up finishing above us, well, apart from Liverpool until last season, and that really has to change if we are to make a proper challenge on this PL title. We are at home and we should be thinking of nothing other that winning this match today!

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won 52 of their 86 home league games against Manchester City (D20, L14).
  • However, the Gunners have won just one of the last five home league meetings (D3, L1).
  • City have only lost two of their last nine games against Arsenal in all competitions (W4, D3).

Arsene Wenger needs to stop the rotten draws and losses against the sides who think we are an easy target and a walkover. He needs to pick a team, pick the right team and get them playing the right way. Please, not one which plays sideways and backward passes, well not unless there is seconds to go and we are winning of course! The manager needs to have done his homework and send the team out to stop every strength City has and one which will exploit any little weakness on show…

If he can do that, and the players make it all fall into place, we can win this game just like we did at Wembley!

This game can be ours, IF we want it…….

It’s time to step up our game, play with a bit of attitude, passion and a lot more pace.

City are beatable, we all know that but we need to give them nothing. Keep it tight at the back, use the wings and when we go forward, do so with a purpose and cut out the 20 passes around the box. Shoot on sight too, test Hart from the off until the end, one or two might just go in!

We have pace in abundance now, we need to use it and take our chances!

Finally, look at this one fact:

Arsenal have not lost a home league game since the opening day of last season (W14, D5).

Keep that record going but it’s time to increase the wins!

COYRRG’s – 3 Big Points Please!

Hope it’s a great day folks….

 

 

140 Comments

Welbeck not good enough for them, so why is he for us?

Morning all.

Louis van Gaal has been asked why he sold Danny Welbeck to Arsenal:

Welbeck played for three years at Manchester United after his Sunderland loan but he doesn’t have a Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney record. He didn’t have the standard.

So that’s why he sold him!

As for the question about why is he deemed good enough for us, well Arsene Wenger answered that yesterday:

 He can make himself a better player [here] because I can help him. He’s a young boy, he’s not 24 yet and let’s not forget that some players who arrived here at the age of 23 made huge careers here so I hope we can contribute and help him.

I personally think that LvG has been a bit quick to write Danny Welbeck as do so many people associated with Manchester Utd who have declared their disappointment over this transfer. People who know Welbeck a lot better than LvG.

Just who will end up being right remains to be seen but I have a sneaky feeling that our new man will hit the ground running and will totally enjoy his next few years ahead and with it, prove LvG very wrong. I also think that making such a public statement about a player not being  up to standard is quite cruel, inconsiderate and totally unnecessary. Especially when it’s the opinion of just one man who has probably barely seen Welbeck play.

One thing is for sure and that’s this transfer has caused a big stir everywhere and for once, it’s good that we are not the club being criticised. On the contrary in fact, we have got a young and very talented English International striker for just £16 million.

Wonder what Alexis and Ramsey are thinking...

Wonder what Alexis and Ramsey are thinking…

Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez are either both grumpy or they just have been told the joke which Jack Wilshere and Danny Welbeck have been told. Or maybe they are just thinking about the lunchtime kick-off tomorrow. We don’t like those do we?

Arsene Wenger disagrees:

I think the coincidence was that we played against very strong teams away from home at 12.45.

I think it was more the quality of our opponents and the lack of quality in our performance that produced a result, not the kick-off time.

At home we’ve played well at 12.45. In the FA Cup we had great games at 12.45. It’s not the kick-off time, it’s your performance. It’s how you turn up. At 12.45 or three o’clock – for me that’s just talk. It’s the quality of the performance that counts.

Would you rather kick off at 3 o’clock or 12.45? It’s two hours and 15 minutes. That does not produce a miracle in your physical recovery. Sometimes maybe, on our side, we go a bit too much overboard on that. I think 12.45 is a good kick-off time. I like it.

Well I hope they all turn up in the right frame of mind tomorrow as anything less and we’ll get beaten. The players are clearly in good spirits and enjoyed their photo shoot yesterday as there was a lot of larking around. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain appeared to be at the heart of most things.

Finally, the Under 21’s beat Aston Villa last night in a game which saw Abou Diaby play for 90 minutes and that’s welcome news for the squad. Hopefully soon he’ll be knocking on the first team’s door. Whether or not it will open remains to be seen but if he can play at the level he did against Liverpool twenty years ago, he’ll no doubt get a few games this season.

Chuba Akpom scored both goals and I bet he thinks his chance could come soon too, after all, he’s scoring goals, unlike someone else I coud mention…..

On that note, have a good Friday….

 

126 Comments

Wenger’s Shock Welbeck Admission! Ozil, Gibbs, Arteta and Ospina boost!

Morning all.

Back in 1998 and on this very day, Freddie Ljunberg signed for Arsenal FC. What a super little player he was. Him and his red hair and CK pants forever on show!

Bit early for the CK’s so red hair it is…

And Trophies of course...

And Trophies of course…

I wonder if back then, anyone said Freddie who?

Mesut Ozil, Mikel Arteta and David Ospina were all snapped taking part in full training yesterday. Kieran Gibbs is back in the squad for Saturday too which is good news.

No sign of Danny Welbeck or Aaron Ramsey though and that’s to no great surprise. Apparently our last minute signing was put through his paces in the gym ahead of Saturdays lunchtime fixture. Hopefully someone has had the common sense to give him a new wash bag!!

Arsene Wenger has finally muttered some words about our new striker, saying he’s a versatile player, an ideal signing and one who may start against City. Come on Arsene, he has to start, he’s on a high after his two goals for England, play him, it’s a must!

Aaron Ramsey has suggested that any worrying concerns over his fitness should be cast aside:

I’ll be alright – the pitch was very hard. There’s no give in it so I rolled my ankle a bit. 

Hopefully it will be nothing and I’ll be available for Saturday. These are the games you want to play in and I’m looking forward to it.

Phew, let’s hope he is right and he’s on the pitch come 12.45 on Saturday!

Mesut Ozil being fit is a huge boost too, players like him are hard to replace, almost impossible I’d say and now that we not only have a bit of pace up front, but a striker who knows how to score in Danny Welbeck and Ozil’s ability and vision is key to fixtures like this one against Man City. Not from the wing of course!

And why Arsene Wenger plays our world class German on the wing is hard to understand but all the time he does, we aren’t seeing the best of him. Even so, with 13 assists already, which in my opinion would be much higher if he played centrally, Mesut is happy:

I’m very proud of my assist record. Often there is a lot of talk or a lot written about goals and not necessarily about who has given the assist, which is normal. But you can’t forget that the assists are just as important as goals. But it doesn’t matter who sets up the goal or who scores it, the most important thing is that we are successful as a team. I’m a player who doesn’t score that many goals but gives a lot more assists.

Of course my aims this season are to score lots of goals and provide many assists to help the team. I’m positive that I can do that because I have the potential and the faith of the coach.

Funny how so many players talk about having so much confidence in our manager but then they are hardly to say anything else are they?

Per Mertesacker been talking about Ozil, Podolski and the FA Cup:

Mesut is an incredibly good footballer; a steady source of unrest for opponents. He’ll continue to develop here, the Premier League hasn’t seen the best of him yet. 

We have many players who dribble and can carry the ball towards goal, but we have nobody like Poldi who can smash the ball into the top corner from 25 metres.

After our FA Cup win in May — our first title in nine years — Wenger’s become even hungrier to build something here, and set the pace with Arsenal.

He’s an institution, and has built up so much. That’s why the club is sitting pretty. And through extending his contract three-and-a-half months ago, he’s shown his critics that he can continue to develop a team.

No Merts, the club is sitting pretty because Arsene Wenger won’t spend the money to give Arsenal FC a squad which is complete and truly ready to challenge on all fronts!

Still, it is what is is right now and we just have to hope that key players, especially our defenders, don’t pick up too many injuries from now until January 1st and if they don’t, we could be in a good place when the next transfer window opens.

Finally, and thrown in at the last minute after the managers press conference, Wenger has spoken about signing Danny Welbeck:

It was quick because it was the last day of the transfer window but I had no hesitation to do it.

If I stayed at my home, Welbeck would not be here…that is the truth.

I will tell you the story one day.

Thank goodness he went to Rome then. Perhaps he should go back there next summer for a couple of months…..

That’s it for another day….

 

 

118 Comments

Monreal or Gibbs? Ramsey Injured But There Is Some Good News….

Morning all.

Kieran Gibbs must be nearing a return. I think Arsene Wenger said just before our last game that he was a ‘little bit short’ so would miss out against Leicester. In his absence and in my opinion, Nacho Monreal has slowly gone back to being the solid left back we signed in January 2013. He had a pretty good pre-season too and even when called on to play centre-back, he hardly let himself down did he?

So what does Arsene Wenger do when Gibbs is fully fit and match ready? Does he simply dump Monreal back on the bench or stand by our Spaniard?

I personally would be tempted to stick with Nacho Monreal but I strongly suspect Kieran Gibbs will walk back into the side. Either way, and perhaps more importantly, it’ll be good to have two top quality left-backs fit and healthy again because this is when our season starts to get really busy.

This weekend we are at home against Manchester City, then it’s:

Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday 16th in Germany.

Aston Villa the following weekend,  Saturday 20th and funny enough, another away fixture. Aren’t they always after an away fixture in the Champions League!

Southampton are next up in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday 23rd at The Emirates.

And then the month ends with a tasty NLD at 5.50pm on Saturday 27th, again at The Emirates.

That’s five games in fourteen days.

We have the numbers and on paper a pretty big squad with 25 outfield players but that includes a few who are yet to prove either form or fitness or of course they cannot be relied on. We are already without Olivier Giroud, Abou Diaby, Theo Walcott, Serge Gnabry, Mikel Arteta, Mesut Ozil and now, possibly Aaron Ramsey after he took a knock on his ankle right at the end of Wales 2-1 victory over Andorra – hopefully whatever he has suffered is not serious and he recovers quickly.

Take those seven out and we have 18 outfield players, which includes Francis Coquelin, Yaya Sanogo and Gedion Zelalem, none who have yet proved themselves at the right level so really, that number drops to 15. If Kieran Gibbs isn’t near a return, make that 14!

What was I saying about the depth in our squad?

Hopefully Arsene Wenger will give us better news on the injury front tomorrow.

Alexis Sanchez played 85 minutes for Chile and Tomas Rosicky played the full 90 minutes against Holland. Fingers crossed neither of those two will come back jaded or injured.

Onto some brighter news. Theo Walcott has been talking about his rehab. He’s on the verge of a return and vows to be stronger and fitter:

The time has seemed to fly by and there have been other things going on in my life, like a new baby boy, which makes time go quickly. It’s a cliche but it’s true.

I knew how long the rehab would be, it was always going to be around nine months. But I approached it that I had to enjoy it, and that’s what I have done, it’s given me the opportunity to work on my legs and build up the muscle strength. If anything, I hope to come back stronger and quicker.

We’re not setting specific comeback matches, but I’m just pleased it’s hopefully now only a matter of weeks before I’ll be back playing. There may be one or two under-21s matches I’ll be involved in first. I’m just looking forward to getting out there and playing again.

I strongly suspect all Arsenal fans are looking forward to his return to, I know I am….

Finally, well done to Calum Chambers who has been voted as Arsenals player of the month for August……

That’s it for another day…..

 

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