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Sakho linked, Cazorla signing today? Here’s what to expect from him……

July 31, 2012

Today’s post is about what we can expect from Santi Cazorla if he agrees to sign for us and Lee found an article written by La Liga expert David Cartlidge who describes the player as having:

Exquisite technical ability, passing, vision and movement….

He was also asked:

What happens to the best players in Spain that don’t play for Barcelona or Real Madrid?

Well, one of two things. They either join one of the Big Two, or move abroad. This summer Jordi Alba chose the former, joining Barcelona, and it looks like Santi Cazorla could do the latter.

Malaga’s pocket-sized magician may have run into trouble off the field with his current employers – a complaint was filed against the club for unpaid wages and subsequently withdrawn – but on it he rarely encounters any problems at all.

At just 5ft 6in Cazorla fits the typical mould of a modern Spanish midfielder, making up for his lack of stature with exquisite technical ability, vision and movement.

As agile as they come, Cazorla has matured brilliantly over the years in various surroundings. He first came on the scene with Real Oviedo as a product of their glorious cantera, before heading to Recreativo de Huelva.

Villarreal then saw something special in the midfielder and is was at El Madrigal where he really began to shine. The midfielder became an integral part of the Castellon-based club’s rise from unknowns to European heavyweights – when he left for Malaga it was no coincidence his former club struggled.

Playing in the famed Villarreal 4-2-2-2 he shifted gracefully between defence and attack proving himself to be a vital cog in the works of the Yellow Submarine as they produced some of the finest football on the continent.

Not only was Cazorla efficient in his attacking work, providing a presence between the lines and picking opponents part with his agility, he also understood his defensive responsibilities and was energetic and selfless at the back as well.

Further recognition of his talents came with a Spain call-up at Euro 2008, when the country won their first international honour in 44 years.

Questions were asked when Luis Aragonés called up the uncapped Asturian, but time would prove him right and he was one of the first people to truly acknowledge his talent.

Moving onto Malaga helped Cazorla’s beloved Villarreal ease their financial troubles but it also gave him the chance to lead a team into an exciting new era.

Linking up again with Manuel Pellegrini, Cazorla was a key figure in Malaga’s qualification for Europe as he produced another phenomenal individual season.

The 27-year-old again showed his maturity and added more versatility to his game. Cazorla moved through various roles: most interesting was his deeper role in which he dictated play and moved the ball into advanced areas for the attack to thrive upon.

He also featured in his favoured attacking midfield role, positioned on the right but cutting in effortlessly to pick holes in the centre of opposition defences.

Despite not being the quickest Cazorla is still capable of smart bursts of pace and changes of direction when necessary to evade defenders.

It’s his on-field intelligence that remains the finest asset though, deceiving opponents by remaining one step ahead of them, whether it be with a cute pirouette or a subtle pass.

Often surrounded by three or four players, Cazorla still manages to find passing angles and create space for himself.

His 86% pass success rating throughout all competitions last season shows he rarely wastes an opportunity.

At free-kicks he can be deadly too, firing four in directly last season and generally providing classy delivery.

Altogether in his first season with Malaga, Cazorla managed nine goals, five assists and contributed directly in 23.9% of his teams goals.

For many, he was the best player outside of Barcelona and Real Madrid all season.

Cazorla then went on to be part of Spain’s elite squad that won Euro 2012 – a bit part player may be, but an essential inclusion given his outstanding season and the undoubted quality he brings to the squad.

Despite being a consistently good performer, it seems Cazorla never gets the recognition he truly deserves.

Perhaps with a move to a bigger stage – like David Silva took when moving to Manchester City – his talents will get the platform they deserve.

Cazorla has all the attributes that Arsene Wenger deems necessary in a footballer and the Frenchman has always been a fan – indeed it remains a mystery why he didn’t follow up his interest last year.

Wenger has already brought in two big money signings this summer with Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud, but his best bit of business this year might yet be Cazorla – and the little Spaniard would not disappoint.

So there you have it, if you didn’t know about the little Spaniard before, you do now.

Suggestion is that Malaga, Arsenal and the player will strike a deal today, one that would be welcome by all Arsenal fans I’m sure.

Another deal which could be seriously considered by Arsenal comes from Juventus. According to most newspapers, the Italian club have, or soon will offer £20 Million for our captain with a wage of £190,000 a week.

Will that be enough, who knows but what it might do is force one of the richer clubs to dig a bit deeper…..

Mamadou Sakho of PSG is linked with a move to us, primarily he is a centre-back, but he’s known to slot in at left-back if needed.

Wenger not convinced by either of our two full backs?

Neither am I.

That’s about it for today, have a good one.

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Left Back on his way in? Wenger confirms three exits & shares our fears……

July 30, 2012

Morning Gooners

So, we have finished our tour of the far East and Arsene Wenger spoke about yesterday’s performance:

I think defensively we looked fragile, especially in the first half. In the second half not so much because we were not challenged. Defensively we have a lot of work to do as a unit to do much better.

Most Arsenal fans voiced the same concerns during and after the game, the simple ball over the top or a pass down our left was exposing our frailties, those same frailties we witnessed week in week out last season and something really needs to be done about it.

Many will say that we weren’t playing our ‘proper’ back four and of course they would be right but surely the tactics are the same, regardless of who plays?

Once everyone is back at Arsenal and the Bould/Banfield duo get to work, something surely has to change and they need to be allowed to change it.

Our left back position is the worst on the pitch, not players but the way both Gibbs and Santos are caught out time after time is a huge concern, maybe that is why Arsene Wenger has turned his attention to Luke Shaw from Southampton?

Wenger spoke about possible defensive incomings:

We let everybody play today and some players are not yet at the level of the Premier League. It is a learning process. If you don’t do it in pre-season then you never do it – you give them a chance to see what is requested at the top level. I played all of the defenders during this tour to see who is ready and who is not. We have Sagna, Koscielny and Mertesacker at home – three experienced defenders.

What that really means I don’t really know.

One defender who is definitely on his way is Sebastian Squillaci:

Bendtner, Squillaci and Park will be on their way to go somewhere, Arshavin, it depends. We have to sit together and talks. He could still have a future at the club.

Looks like Chamakh is staying though, deary me – after watching him play in the Far East, I’d have thought Wenger would want him gone pretty sharp – he really was poor.

With Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud unlikely to be fit enough to start the new season, the thought of relying on Chamakh up front is a worry.

Benik Afobe looked more of a threat than Chamakh but suggestion is that Owen Coyle wants him to join Bolton on loan for the season. A good move for our player but hopefully he won’t be allowed to go until the two new front men are fit and playing.

That’s about it for today, have a good one..


Santi to arrive on Tuesday, Diaby fears the axe & Plenty of Rising Stars for this coming season.

July 29, 2012

Morning Gooners..

The Santi Cazorla story again makes the headlines this morning, a few newspapers report that the deal is expected to be completed by Tuesday as the Qatari negotiators for Malaga are flying in this weekend to sort out the deal and hope to conclude this quickly.

Just where these negotiators are flying into I don’t know, could be Spain, could be London but either way, Arsenal will finally have someone ‘proper’ to talk to as they attempt to secure this deal.

Another newspaper reports that Abou Diaby fears that if he doesn’t finally shake off his injury woes, Arsene Wenger will lose patience and sell him:

It is a crucial season and it is really important for me to be back strong and have a very good year.

I think everyone would agree that Diaby needs an injury free season and he really needs to start showing us all just why Arsene Wenger has such belief in him. For the good of the player, club and results he really does need a great season but as for Wenger selling him, I doubt that very much.

Should Diaby continue his dreadful run of injuries, Arsene Wenger will have no problem giving a few of the youngsters a chance and a few of them have played well on this pre-season tour of the Far East.

Chuks Aneke and Thomas Eisfield both found the back of the net against Malaysia, something which senior counterparts couldn’t manage and of course others have stood out too, like  Benik Afobe, Nico Yennaris and Ryo.

We have some young players who are already experienced, for example if I tell you Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, you will tell me he is not young but he is 18 years old.

Jack Wilshere is 20, Aaron Ramsey is 21 and we have some more young players who might push up this season.

On tour we have Chuks Aneke who has shown quality and of course Ryo. We also have younger players who are 16 or 17, who are not with us on tour, who will certainly appear this season. We are faithful to what we want to do which is to promote young players and give them a chance at that level.

Finally it seems that we really have a few players coming through doesn’t it?

For a few seasons now it seems that the future always looked bright with the reserve/youth players at the club, but apart from Wilshere, no-one has really made their mark and proved themselves.

Ok it’s still early days with this current crop but they look different somehow…

We should get to see them all on show again today as we play out our final match against Kitchee FC in just under half an hour.

Let’s go out in style eh….

Have a good day all…..


Wenger getting snappy & No Signings…. Yet!

July 28, 2012

You have to feel a bit sorry for Arsene Wenger really, having just lost 2-0 to Manchester City in China the press after the game didn’t really want to talk about what was a much better display from Arsenal. Despite the loss there were many positives to take from the game.

Of course their were a few negatives too, but those just need addressing not moaning about.

Not just yet anyway!

As Wenger faced the media, only one thing was on their mind and yes, that was Robin van Persie. Whether that was down to us having played Manchester City, the side heavily tipped to win the race to sign our captain, or not I don’t know but they were itching to ask about the Dutchman.

Wenger wanted to talk football, the previous 90 minutes to be more accurate but no, Robin van Persie was the main topic.

The Van Persie case doesn’t cross my mind. We have had no offers. He is close to fitness, of course, but we have not had any contact (from City or United) about him at all.

We will not come back forever on Van Persie, We have many strikers at home. Van Persie is one of them, but we also have Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud. 

For now, we must prepare for the season and it is about more than one player.

So, that was all made pretty clear wasn’t it and of course, Arsene is right, Arsenal are not about just one player, they never have been and never will be and he has a season to prepare for.

But no, it seems it wasn’t clear.

Wenger was then asked to clarify the Van Persie situation after it was reported last week that City, United and Juventus had all lodged bids for the player and that was one question too many on what has become a very boring subject!

Wenger snapped, and I’m not surprised!

We have talked about Van Persie. We have just played a football game tonight, there are four English people here and there have been four questions about Van Persie.

I have talked about that, I am not talking about that question anymore. Do you understand? If you understand and respect what I said, then why do you ask me again?

Arsenal have made their offer and RvP has turned it down. What more can Wenger say or do other than concentrate on the players who do want to be with us and any that want to join us this summer. If another club really want to sign him then let them put their money where their mouth is and in the meantime, may the gutter media get off of Wenger’s case!

Another question they wanted answering related to the rumour that broke yesterday afternoon relating to us being close to sealing a deal for Real Madrid’s Turkish midfielder Nuri Sahin.

He said categorically:

We haven’t signed anybody, this report is wrong. We are not signing anybody at the moment and we are not close.

Sorry Arsene, I don’t believe you…. ;)

That’s it for today, have a good one.

Don’t worry about yesterdays result, we’ll get our own back, but when it really matters!


Wanyama linked, Losing out on Santi Cazorla & Juventus don’t want RvP…..

July 27, 2012

What a day ahead we have…

We all get to see Arsenal perform again in Asia, today we are in China at The Beijing National Stadium and kick-off is at 1pm UK time. Coverage of the game is live on ESPN or Arsenal Player.

Then a bit later in the day we have the Olympic Opening Ceremony and if you aren’t interested in that, Eastenders is on BBC2….

Back to our game  though, lets beat Manchester City today, don’t care if it is a friendly, let’s get one over the current Premier League Champions and show them and the rest of the lazy, moaning, gutter media that we are a strong side and we will be competing with, and beating the so-called best in England this coming season!

Let’s get one over the moaning Mancini, who is crying in his cornflakes this morning as his rich boss won’t shell out for Robin van Persie at the moment, or any other player it seems right now.

I strongly suspect though it will be little different to the way we approached the Malaysia fixture, a run out for everyone which is fine, just make sure we win…

One who will no doubt feature a some stage today is young Benik Afobe, an exciting young player who is in a bit of bother after a little spat with a Tottenham fan on Twitter. The offending comment written by Afobe is this one:

2-0 and you f***ed it up. 10 points clear and you f***ed it up! 

Don’t worry this year might be your teams year.

It seems this will heinous offence will be dealt with in-house, or should I say has been dealt with in-house as an Arsenal spokesman said:

We are disappointed and will be reminding Benik about his public responsibilities as an Arsenal player.

Is using the ‘F’ word in such a way that Benik has, really that offensive??

Personally, I found last nights antics far more offensive, the Welsh players representing Great Britain’s football team in the Olympics refused to sing the national Anthem. Disgraceful in my opinion, they are there representing GB, not Wales!

Maybe Stuart Pearce should have selected David Beckham after all he would have done GB proud!!

Titbits:

The Defensive midfielder link isn’t with Yann M’Vila or Etienne Capoue – today it is Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama, according to The Daily Mail anyway!

Sky Sports report that Juventus are not so keen on signing RvP, the clubs director Giuseppe Marotta told Sky Sport Italia:

A top player is not only judged by how much he costs, it can also mean a player who costs less but on the pitch shows an absolute value.  

Van Persie is a great player but Arsenal do not intend to lose him. And you cannot indulge in a player if the owners don’t want to sell

Talk of our real interest in him seems excessive to me.

Sky also report that Malaga are after top price for Santi Cazorla. Thier coach Manuel Pellegrini confirmed that an offer has been made but they won’t be selling him cheaply:

If significant offers come in for players they are worthy of consideration, but I don’t think Santi will be leaving for €20 million.

Has that offer been made by us?

Is it a ‘derisory’ offer that will see us lose out?

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


Van Persie staying? Oxlade-Chamberlain needs to improve & New Signing without a shirt number…

July 26, 2012

Today really is a slow news day.

We discussed the squad numbers yesterday and how poor old Lukas Podolski has yet to be given his, well we all know why don’t we?

Of course we do, he is going to get Dennis Bergkamp’s old number 10 as soon as it’s freed up this month or maybe next, either way, the writing is on the wall isn’t it.

Another significant number change is the goalkeeper department, even though afc.com told us that Almunia has left, seeing Wojciech Szczesny finally listed as our number one keeper brings some kind of comfort and reassurance that the Spanish waiter really has gone and it wasn’t all just a bad dream!

Olivier Giroud has been given the number 12 shirt – I’m sure he’ll be good even if he had ’52’ on his back!!

Francis Coquelin will wear No 22 and Kyle Bartley No 35.

Number 15 stays on the back of one of the most exciting young English players ever seen, well since the emergence of Jack Wilshere of course, and that’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but he’s giving himself a bit of a tough time.

I am taking it step by step and the first aim is to make sure I am fully fit for the start of the season, to get the best chance to get in the team, I know it won’t be easy. The new signings are really good while we have good talent here coming through.

So if I do manage to get into the team, I need to try and stay in there. 

Being more of an attacking player, I need to score more goals and get more assists. That wins games and people notice of that. I will always put my own style on things, which is taking people on and try and be an exciting player to watch.

Sometimes it is all too easy to forget how young Oxlade-Chamberlain is, he’ll turn 19 years old just before the Premier League season kicks off, but he keeps his feet firmly on the ground and knows that his career will be a long and successful one as long as he puts the work into his game and remains confident in his own ability:

You have to have that confidence otherwise you won’t go anywhere. If you don’t believe in yourself, no-one else will. But you also have to keep your feet on the ground, realise it is a very hard league and know you cannot take your foot off the gas at any time. 

There are always lots of errors he [Arsène Wenger] speaks to me about, he wants to fine-tune my whole game and make me a better player. 

I think I have to be more assertive defensively to be a better player. I will hold my hands up for that. It is not a natural side of my game – defending. But it is equally as important, particularly when you are playing in the team and especially in a league like the Premier League. 

Don’t worry Alex, there are a few of our players who need to work on their defensive side of the game, and they are defenders!!

Titbits:

There was a story going around yesterday which suggested we are interested in Brazilian goal-keeper Julio Cesar, Celta Vigo have joined the race to sign Nikki Bendtner and PHW’s newspaper suggests that RvP will not be sold until January…

That’s all folks, have a good day….


Defender signs! Midfielder Next? Wenger to sign Malaysian player & New Coach set to join….

July 25, 2012

First up is the news about Emmanuel Frimpong, he’s in trouble with the FA after a tweet to a Tottenham fan calling him ‘Scum Yid’. This was of course in reply to the same fan’s tweet which said ‘I prayed you break your arms and legs’.

I can understand why Frimpong would get pretty narked by such a comment but he should realise that as soon as you start bringing race, colour or religion into a response, he is in trouble.

Hopefully he will get away with a stiff talking to from the FA and they will make it clear that it’s not until he’s a bit older, has played and captained England a few times and of course, slept with his team-mates wife/girlfriend, will he get away with being abusive to someone in such a fashion!

But of course, Frimpong has opted for Ghana so he will never be favoured by the FA or any other authority.

But it does make you think doesn’t it, how many internet sites other than twitter, allow that level of abuse and worse to be plastered all over comments section? Just imagine if Arsene Wenger sat down one day and thought he’d look at some of the Arsenal blogs, there would be a few people in the dock.

Thankfully, Highbury House isn’t one of them, well, majority of the time…. ;)

From one up and coming youngster to an old boy, a one-off who wants to make his return and of course that is Thierry Henry. He doesn’t want to play for us again though, in fact he didn’t really want to play back in January but he agreed to help us out when the ACON took a couple of players away.

His plan now is quite clear in his mind, once his playing day are over, he wants to coach and at Arsenal.

Eventually I’d like to go back to Arsenal,

I don’t know how, it depends. Seriously, I don’t know (what it will be). I just want to finish my career (first). I would go back to England, for sure, with Arsenal. Coaching does interest me but I really don’t think about it right now.

Henry is 35 years old next month so that day of returning could be sooner rather than later…

Onto the will he or won’t he, much news has been about Santi Cazorla. Nearly all the newspapers report that we have agreed terms with the player but Arsene Wenger strenuously denied that after our 2-1 victory over Malaysia.

When asked if he was close to signing him, or any other player:

No we are not close. Maybe we will sign a Malaysian player?

Large pinch of salt taken there Arsene.

Of course now the speculation over Theo Walcott’s future will go into overdrive and already, one or two lazy journalists already suggest that he’s soon to be a goner, well why?

Santi Cazorla is described as being a versatile winger who can play on either flank, being ambidextrous so should he sign for us, all this will do is provide more options on both wings, isn’t that what we all want to see within the squad, a bit more depth and strength?

There is a place for both and it could be that Wenger plans are to move Theo central, after all he has said that he will one day, maybe that day has arrived.

Yesterday’s friendly showed us all that we clearly have a few youngsters that will one day get their chance, but for me, this season is too soon. Most need another season on loan before they are ready to take place in the squad.

In the meantime, add Cazorla, M’Vila or Capoue and definitely a goal keeper and we’ll be ready to challenge and beat the rest….

Finally, and I know we are already aware of this but Laurent Koscielny has signed a new long-term contract and he is delighted:

I’m delighted to have reached agreement with the Club. I have had a fantastic time here and look forward to an exciting future with Arsenal.

Trust me Laurent, so are we……

That’s it for today, have a good one…


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