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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….

 

 

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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…..

 

56 Comments

Sanogo Again! Welbeck shines & Campbell Talks Competition…

Morning all.

Both Spain and England played last night.

England beat Switzerland 2-0 with our new boy playing the entire match and scoring both England goals. Hopefully he will return full of confidence and start scoring goals for his club. Nice to see him make a dash to the sideline and celebrate his goal with his new Arsenal team-mates, Calum Chambers and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

A lot of fuss is being made about his first goal as it went in off of his shin but who cares how they go in, as long as they do. Welbeck’s second was superb though, with the ball at his feet, he waited and waited and then fired home into the corner. A really good goal…

Jack Wilshere played 73 minutes and had a pretty good game. Even the pundits are agreeing with me, so it must be true!

Joe Hart made a couple of top saves to keep England in the game and I hope that’s his best performance now for a couple of weeks…!

Spain battered Macedonia 5-1 and without Santi Cazorla who didn’t make it off the bench. Good as he’ll return to London fit for Saturday.

Talking of Santi, Joel Campbell has been singing his praises:

Arsène Wenger has many good options to line up a great attacking force. I must say that Santi Cazorla has some exceptional technical skills. He can take corners or free-kicks equally with his right or left foot. That’s some technique! That is a very unusual thing to see and it has left me astonished.

On his own game:

I presume that every attacking player in the squad will fight with me for a starting place. But I am my biggest competitor – I have to train hard and get better day after day. Being here is a great opportunity for me.

I feel that I can contribute with speed, goals and dribbling skills. I am a player capable of playing either on the right or left flanks or in the middle.

It’s down to the manager to decide which of those three positions I am needed most in. I just have to do my best anywhere I play.

A very mature approach by our young Costa Rican….

With Mesut Ozil a doubt for Saturday, perhaps Campbell will finally get a starting place and at least we all know he’ll track back and help out if and when needed and no doubt at times against City, that will be needed. Not too many though I hope, we are at home and we really need to win all our matches at The Emirates.

There are a few more internationals tonight, Chile v Haiti, Andorra v Wales and Czech Repubic v Holland, so I hope that Alexis, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky all make it through without injury.

Finally, Yaya Sanogo scored again last night for the French under 21 side against Iceland making it three goals in two games..

That’s it for another day, enjoy the sunshine….

 

123 Comments

Sanogo Fitter, Stronger & Ready To Keep Welbeck out! Theo Ready To Face The Neighbours?…

Morning all.

Theo Walcott is fully fit and healthy and just needs a few training sessions and perhaps a couple of run outs for the reserves to check he’s 100% and then, hopefully, he’ll be ready to face Tottenham at the end of the month…

Theo Walcott loves to play against them just like Thierry Henry used to, although the Englishman’s goal scoring record is not quite as good as his idol….

Cheeky Theo...

Cheeky Theo…

Theo didn’t score in our 2-0 victory over them in the FA Cup season last but he played his part. Santi and Tomas stole the limelight that day, well until the horrible visiting fans bombarded Walcott with not only verbal abuse but what was ever in their pockets. White flags and pennies it was then…..

Our English winger/striker has scored some important goals for us, two in particular came in the Champions League qualifying game against Udinise when he scored away from home to give us a strong advantage and then again at home to help ensure we made it through to the group stage.

Possibly his and all Arsenal fans greatest moment was in February 2012 at home against Tottenham. 2-0 down at half time and he’d had an awful first half. So much so, I think most if not all here on HH wanted him off.. (Not me – I seldom do… lol)

The second half was so very different, Walcott tore Tottenham apart, the entire team did and we battered them 5-2 in the end. What a day that was, what a game it was….

Then of course there was the 4-0 down against Reading in the League Cup, to 7-5 victors, a hat-trick from Theo that day was key and he really played well… Another great result, especially seeing Chamakh score a very good goal at the end….

Another hat-trick fell his way in December 2012 when Walcott was deployed as a lone striker. This was his first in the Premier League during a 7-3 battering of Newcastle. The last of his three was absolutely outstanding…

Theo Walcott has it all in his locker, he just needs to remember to take his locker key with him for every game because his performances have been very hit and miss. When he’s on form he can trouble the best of defences, when he’s not, well he’s very average.

A big season ahead for our winger and if he’s stays fit, it could be a very good one. Him, Alexis and Welbeck up front equals pace, pace and pace!

Looking forward to seeing him return? You bet I am!

Yaya Sanogo reckons he’s ready to keep Danny Welbeck out of the side:

He’s going to have to battle for his place in the side. Last season, I didn’t doubt myself. I was more afraid of getting injured. If the coach brought me in, it’s because he has faith in me.

I’ve become more solid. The defenders can be quite nasty. When you have come out of Ligue 2, and you know that you’re going to come up against [Vincent] Kompany, it’s quite a thing. But I’ve gained in experience.

It’s a big club. The fans know that I’ve scored a lot of goals at youth level, they’re putting me under a little bit of pressure. Once I’ve scored my first goal, everything will be fine. It’s their problem if they criticise me. I’ll still be here. I’m going to play, improve and score goals. Sooner or later, it’s going to go in.

Of course he’ll still be here, he’s French!

On that note, have a good day all….

 

88 Comments

He’s back in the news again! Haven’t things have changed at Arsenal….

Morning all.

Actually, since we signed Danny Welbeck on deadline day, I don’t think he’s been out of the news has he? Even Alexis has been pushed to one side on the official site to make way for interviews, pictures and anything else relating to our final summer signing of the summer. But still no word on him from Arsene Wenger and I wonder how that makes the player feel.

All is very different for England of course and following the injury to Daniel Sturridge, our new man might finally get his wish to play central for his country instead of being asked so often to play out wide. Pretty much the same happened to the player he hopes to replace tomorrow night.

It still seems odd reading ‘Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck’…..

New England captain Wayne Rooney, yes, it’s hard to believe he has been given such a responsibility isn’t it, believes he’ll flourish both for club and country:

Dan is quick, he can score goals and I am sure now that he has got his move to Arsenal and him playing up front there, that can only help England.

I hope Hodgson puts his faith in Welbeck and we get a glimpse of what he might bring to Arsenal….. Mind you, who’d bet against Wenger sticking him out wide against City and playing Sanogo through the middle?

Talking of English players, Ian Holloway has heaped nothing but praise on Arsene Wenger and Arsenal:

I’ve never made any secret of my admiration for Arsene. I think he runs the Gunners in the way any side should be managed, with the long-term good of the club being the principle aim.

He’s probably the best example of the sort of manager I’m trying to be, where you develop a side and build over time to leave behind something better than you took over.

It’s easy to forget that, when he walked into ­Highbury all those years ago, the club had slid away from winning trophies and had become almost mid-table.           

It is down to his work in identifying young players and bringing them through his system that they are now one of the superpowers.

It can’t be argued that the club is in a better place than it was when Arsene Wenger took over. We have achieved top four every season since the man arrived and during his early days, we even won a few trophies including the big one, the Premier League on more than one occasion but our manager did benefit from what managers before him left behind, especially the back five.

Back then he added many players of exceptional quality and he got the balance right and with that came success but not everyone was happy, certainly not the media as more English players left and were replaced with overseas players. In fact nearly ten years ago, Wenger fielded a side which didn’t contain one English player, much to the horror of all but the Arsenal fans. Why should it have mattered, after all, it was permitted back then…

Jump forward to today and it’s Arsene Wenger and Arsenal who are providing a good number of players for the England side.

As Ian Holloway asks:

Who’d have thought that Arsenal’s manager would all this time later become the standard bearer for young British players?

Not many I bet, so perhaps he’ll stop being accused of ruining the England team from now on?

Not that he’ll escape criticism when it comes to ruining the Arsenal team……..

That’s if another day, roll Wednesday when all the international games are over……

 

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