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Gibbs, Ox & Rosicky all doubts! Surprise Diaby return?

April 10, 2014

Morning all.

More Wembley woe to talk about as we are about to embark on what is these days, a surprising yet most welcome return to the big stadium in London. Not the best of course as we have that in The Emirates. Ok, I’m biased!

Personally I think it’s a great shame that the semi-finals are played at Wembley as it takes away the whole point of playing the final on the centre stage. For me, the days of playing at neutral grounds was far better.

As Kev said yesterday, our last trip to this stadium was back in 2011 and it was a day to forget for all Arsenal fans…..

It’s been 15 years since we came away from the London venue with the big jug held high as our fantastic 2-0 victory over Chelsea back in 2002 was at the Millennium Stadium. Two stunning strikes from Ray Parlour and Freddie Ljungberg stole the headlines that day and rightly so….

Will a couple of players step up and steal the headlines for us again this weekend? I hope so.

The last time we featured in an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley was back in 2009 when we faced Chelsea. Theo Walcott struck the opening goal but Florent Malouda’s equaliser and Didier Drogba’s 84th-minute winner meant there would be no return for the big day.

Arsenal’s Road to Wembley

R3: Tottenham Hotspur (H) 2-0
R4: Coventry City (H) 4-0
R5: Liverpool (H) 2-1
R6: Everton (H) 4-1

That clearly means this is our first away match in the Cup this season and our away record of late has been simply dire!

In fact, apart from the victory at SHL, we have to go right back to January to find our last away win and that was against Aston Villa when players like Ozil, Wilshere and Gnabry were fit and playing. The young German should be fit for Wigan but the others remain on the sidelines.

This domestic cup was once great for us and under Wenger, we have won it three times, two as part of a double in 1997/98 and then again in 2001/02. The last of course was back in 2005 when a Manchester Utd side battered us for the entire game yet somehow we held on and nicked it on penalties.

But it didn’t matter did it, not once Patrick Vieria fired home our last spot kick and the players went mad. We had our hands on this famous trophy and no-one could take it away.

Over the latter years it would be fair to say that the focus by Arsene Wenger hasn’t always been on the domestic cups. The league cup was always seen as a chance to let the younger and less experienced players have their moment and once the play-offs have kicked off in the Champions League, the FA Cup has been pushed to one side.

But not this season, maybe drawing Bayern Munich out of the pot made Arsene Wenger take this competition a little more seriously and it’s paid off so far and considering who we have been drawn against so far, we have done well to get to this stage, especially with such a small squad and with the injuries suffered to key players.

But let’s not forget, just because we are going to Wembley, this Saturday’s fixture is only the semi-final.

There is a long way to go yet and Arsene Wenger has a lot of work to do to get us to the final.

I hope from somewhere deep down inside him, he can find the right words for the players, the right approach for the day and of course, the right result to see us revisit the grand stadium in May….

Kieran Gibbs, Tomas Rosicky and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all doubts for Saturday according to Arsene Wenger in this mornings press conference and Fabianski will remain in goal as he has done throughout this competition and rightly so. Aaron Ramsey is fit, healthy and ready to start…

Finally, last weekend and before the Everton fixture, Arsene Wenger said that Abou Diaby was ‘back on the pitches’ which can only mean he’s back training. The player himself has said he hopes to return before the end of the season and this one is soon to come to an end.

Could he make a shock appearance on Saturday? I wonder……

COYRRG’s

 

 

 

 

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Big summer transfer boosts! Wembley – the happy and the sad!

April 9, 2014

Morning all.

Transfer Gossip:

Toulouse right back Serge Aurier, 21, to join Arsenal despite interest from super-rich French clubs Monaco and PSG (The Sun).

Manchester United will compete with the Gunners to sign France midfielder Maxime Gonalons, 25 (TalkSport).

Arsenal have been given a boost in their pursuit of Dynamo Kiev midfielder Younes Belhanda, 24, after the player said he was “dreaming” of a move to the Premier League (Metro).

Oh, and someone somewhere has started a cheeky rumour which suggests Nacho Monreal, Thomas Vermaelen, Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud could all be on their way out in the summer….

Onto some serious stuff:

Arsenal at Wembley.

Those words should fill us with feelings of excitement, anticipation and visions of glory.

But doesn’t for me, it just reminds me of the many occasions that I’ve slogged away from the stadium, back down Wembley Way, whilst listening to the distant celebrations with an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach… Many of you will have shared those feelings of anguish, ones which lasted the entire summer.

Wembley is not a lucky ground for Arsenal. It’s a stadium where the ghosts of Hugh Ferguson, Don Rodgers, Alan Clarke and Rodger Osborne haunt our memories and trample on our dreams.

The Over the Line FACup Final of 1932, the injury ravaged team that ended the 1952 FACup Final with seven fit players, narrowly losing 1-0, the Trevor Brooking ‘once in a lifetime’ headed goal that robbed an exhausted Arsenal team in 1980 and who could ever forget the stumbling Gus Ceasar in 1988…

Lucky ground? My Arse-nal….

Even the Champions League experiment for two seasons saw Arsenal lose three of their six home games. It was a disaster in terms of results and we soon switched back to Highbury…

And who recalls Arsenal’s first ever FACup Semi-Final at Wembley vs Tottenham in 1991. The Champions elect who won the 1990-91 title losing only one game, somehow managed to lose 3-1 to our bitterest rivals…

Wembley jinx? A bigger jinx than even Scott From Oz… Yes, hard to believe… :-)

Those defeats linger long and hard in the memory bank and the Press never let us forget them either as they lap up every reversal with glee… And then remind us that our last trophy was 2005…

An FA Cup Semi-Final defeat to Chelsea in 2009 and that excruciatingly painful last minute defeat to Birmingham in 2011 remain the most recent visits to the New Wembley. New Stadium, same site, same kick in the Goolies for us Gooners!

God help us if we ever again reach the Champions League Final and it’s at Wembley. I think I’ll check into a monastery for the duration…

Of course it’s not been all doom and gloom, I’m just being a bit miserable. You know, having a Wath moment. ;-)

Charlie George and Charlie Nicholas remain my fondest memories from that dump in North-West London. Tony Adams heading the only goal in the 1993 ‘revenge’ FACup S/F. Steve Morrow and Andy Linighan in the same year. Marc Overmars & Nicholas Anelka in 1998, whilst Alan Sunderland brought me from the depths of despair to unbridled joy in 1979.

Arsenal thrashing Tottenham 4-0 in the Makita Cup when Brian Marwood took them to the cleaners, I loved that day…

Alex James, Reg Lewis, Paul Merson, Ian Wright, Jack Lambert, David Price, Frank Stapleton, all scored for winning Arsenal cup final teams, so there is hope….

It isn’t going to be easy against Wigan, remember Man City, twice…

It’s never easy for Arsenal at Wembley, but this time it just has to be our day.

Doesn’t it???

Written by BrainwashedKev

 


Ganging up on Arsenal! Olivier Giroud – vote for your choice….

April 8, 2014

Morning all.

Every footballing pundit who said many months ago that our squad was too shallow to win the league are all jumping on the ‘I told you so’ bandwagon and even though I hate them for doing so, can you blame them?

We have been saying the same since firstly, the summer transfer window closed and then again in January when yet again, Arsene Wenger decided we didn’t need any additions, despite the losses to injury of Aaron Ramsey and Theo Walcott and both were known to be long term.

Jamie Carragher has really gone for it saying we are ‘weak, slow and lack mental strength’. Ouch, but he’s right!

Success this season is now all pinned on the FA Cup.

Arsenal v Wigan in the semi-final this weeke. Arsene Wenger v Uwe Rösler.

The old Frenchman against a young 45 year old German.

A man who took his Championship side to The Etihad Stadium and beat a strong Manchester City side in the last round. A man who 13 years ago, fought and beat lung cancer. A man whose managerial career is well and truly on the up.

Under Roberto Martinez, Wigan won the FA Cup last season, beating Manchester City in the final so they’ll be no strangers to this weekends grand occasion, but what about us?

Arsene Wenger believes that having suffered an awful result after an equally awful performance against Everton, the break away from the Premier League is just what is needed to get some kind of confidence:

Once you are in the semi-final you want to go through to the final. To play in a different competition will help us find confidence back and focus on our next game.

We have to acknowledge that we must go back to basics and come in much stronger in the challenges, much stronger in the way we win the ball back, before we start winning games.

The Arsenal players must wonder where and why it’s all gone so horribly wrong since Christmas just as we fans do, well most, there’s still an odd one or two who think we are in a good place!

Arsene Wenger might be right though, some of our best performances this season have been in the FA Cup.

We have beaten Tottenham, Liverpool, Coventry and Everton to get this far and we got lucky as each of those fixtures were drawn at home, giving us a slight advantage.That aside, we played very well in all of those games and we’ll need something like that again on Saturday if we are to beat Wigan.

But how does Arsene Wenger get some kind of confidence and self belief back into his players after what has been an awful few months in which the only real light was a victory at White Hart Lane?

How do the players individually and collectively pick their chins up off the floor and start putting a lot more effort into the task they get paid an awful lot of money to overcome?

Well if they are to beat Wigan at the weekend, they certainly need to dig deep and find something. Something that was there before the turn of the year and something which desperately needs to resurface.

Having Aaron Ramsey back may just be the lift they need, knowing Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere are not far from a return may also help lift them but between now and Saturday, it’s down to them. They all need to take a long hard look in the mirror and ask themselves ‘Am I doing the best I can for my club’?

The answer for many will surely be no, just as it would be for Arsene Wenger if he did the same…..

Four days for all them to buck their ideas up and go and fight for their lives at Wembley on Saturday evening…

If they can’t manage that, then they don’t deserve to be playing for such a great club like Arsenal FC…..

Finally, poor Olivier Giroud has been on the end of some stick and seeing as all the newspapers are asking for votes about all things Arsenal, here’s your chance.

Finally the transfer gossip:

Arsenal are ponding a bid of £17m in the summer for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti, 21 (Metro).

The Gunners are also interested in Rubin Kazan striker Sardar Azmoun, 19 (Daily Star).

On that note…….

 

 

 

 

 


Fergie knew when to walk, does Arsene, does Kroenke?

April 7, 2014

Morning all.

And it isn’t a good one……

At 2-0 down we had a chance if Arsene Wenger had the balls to make changes, he didn’t, just like he so often doesn’t.

Ask yourself this. If you were a football manager and you were sat watching how everything was going wrong in front of your eyes, what would you do?

Sit back and hope it gets better?

Or do something about it to ensure it could?

It was clear very early in the game that we had no width, no pace or drive in our side to offer a real threat to an Everton defence which in all fairness, have been darn good this season.

There was no way through the middle so we needed width in abundance but not for the first time, we didn’t have it. The one player who can give us width and who has the ability to drive at defences was sat firmly on the bench.

We were totally outplayed, over-run and all that the Everton players had in their hearts and minds utterly outweighed the level of desire our boys seemed to have.

We were a shambles from start to finish and to be honest, we got what we absolutely deserved.

Yesterday for me was the final straw.

We had players on the bench who could have come on and changed things but they were ignored until the scoreline sat at 3-0 and by then it was far too late.

But not only could those players changed things, they could have given us a far better chance from the moment Martin Atkinson blew his whistle but they were overlooked.

Ok, I get that Arsene Wenger selected who he did, he clearly had his reasons but my gripe is why when it’s not working, does he leave it all so late to change things?

Watching all this unfold before my eyes is heartbreaking, we are better than what is being dished up each week and it’s not fair on the fans, especially those yesterday who travelled so far and yet remained in full voice. And that’s just one game.

The past has been great, well certainly 1996 until 2006.

We all understand that financial restraints had been in place for a long time since we moved to The Emirates and I doubt there isn’t a fan who will look back on that time and admire Arsene Wenger for achieving what he did during those tough times.

But, forget all of that, we are now a cash rich club who can afford to buy big and maybe this summer we will.

But focussing on the players we have, surely we could and should be setting up in a very different way than we do, we should be able to put in a good performance and we should as a team, look like we have been pre-coached for the job ahead and go all out to execute those plans….

We don’t!

The team looks lost and all out of idea’s and I think that’s comes from above.

Arsene looks lost in today’s world of football, a world he once reigned.

Those days are long gone…..

Fergie walked away after somehow securing his last PL trophy. He knew his days were done and the football his side played was possibly the worst during his reign and it had been for a couple of seasons.

Does Arsene now feel the same?

But I personally don’t solely hold Arsene Wenger to blame, on the pitch yes but off of it, no. We have an owner who has no backbone, an owner who has been happy to sit back and watch all this unfold before his eyes, an owner who clearly believes that getting Champions League football each season is success on its own.

He and ‘his’ board are totally ineffective and for the club to move on and up to the level it deserves,  they all need to go.

I really want us to win the FA Cup, but by doing so and getting CL football, on paper this season will be seen as a vast improvement of those gone by but the reality is, on the pitch, it isn’t.

If finishing outside of Europe and losing out on an FA Cup final means that finally Alisher Usmanov will make his move, then I’m all for it because Usmanov is a fan and his sits and watches us each week at The Emirates in his big posh luxury box.

I doubt he’s happy watching what we all have to but unlike Kroenke, I strongly suspect he’d do something to change it….

That’s it for another day…..

 


3 clubs can catch us, we have to win!!

April 6, 2014

Morning all.

Seriously, Everton, the Totts and Manchester United can catch us, even overtake us and nab that 4th, and last Champions League place!

We have to be focussed, we have to be united and we have to be strong. Certainly a lot stronger than we have been since Christmas.

Yes we can moan about injuries, we can moan about refereeing decisions in fact we can moan about anything we choose can’t we, as long as it makes us feel better and helps to brush away the the reality. That reality is that we are where we are right now because of Arsene Wenger, the club, and of course the players….

But we’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt, now it’s all about putting every last bit of effort into each and every remaining fixture we have and that starts today!!

The manager needs to get his selection right, he needs to send the right players out onto the pitch in the right frame of mind and get them playing the right way to win this football match.

And the players he selects, need to give everything they have within from start to finish!!

Aaron Ramsey is back which really is good news. Whether he starts or not remains to be seen but just knowing a player who was hugely influential to our great run up until Christmas is fit and ready to play again, is just what the team and us fans needed to hear.

Kieran Gibbs is a doubt but these days that is not such an issue because behind him is a fit Nacho Monreal.

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is expected to be fit despite suffering  an injury against Fulham last week. Phil Jagielka and Steven Pienaar remain on the injured list.

Head-to-head

  • Everton are without a win in their last 14 matches in all competitions against Arsenal.
  • The last three league meetings have all been drawn.
  • Everton’s last victory over the Gunners came at Goodison Park in March 2007 (1-0).

Everton are having a really good season. They have won their last five league games, their longest winning run since November 2002 and no team has lost fewer games in the Premier League this season than them. Added to that, they have only suffered one home defeat during this seasons campaign!

Mind you, so have we!!

We’ve had a torrid time of late, winning just three of our last 10 Premier League games (W3, D4, L3).

We have been pretty average, no, make that dreadful away from home having been battered very early on at both Anfield and Stamford Bridge but today that has to change. Martinez will have watched both of those games and no doubt he will tell his players to get at us from the off. We have to be ready for that early bombardment and deal with it. Not just roll over and fade away.

No more early kick off excuses and no more turning up and not being ready to fight either.

We have a great group of players, and today those players need to fight tooth and nail to get a result and they can do just that.

If they really want to…..

COYRRG’s…..!!!!!!

 

 

 

 

 


Arsene Wenger: Financial pressure lifted but on a sporting front, it’s massive!

April 5, 2014

Morning all,

The Daily Mail clearly believe they have the right to publish such poppycock as below.

What they suggest is that half of Arsenal fans want Arsene Wenger to leave if he fails to deliver top four AND the FA Cup

This is their little table of voting statistics……

Should Arsenal win the FA Cup and finish in the top 4

Stay as manager, on a 2-3 year contract 59%
Stay as manager, but on a rolling 1 year contract basis 9%
Leave his managerial post 32%

Should Arsenal fail to win the FA Cup, but finish in the top 4

Stay as manager, on a 2-3 year contract 47%
Stay as manager, but on a rolling 1 year contract basis 14%
Leave his managerial post 39%

Should Arsenal win the FA Cup, but finish outside of the top 4

Stay as manager, on a 2-3 year contract 40%
Stay as manager, but on a rolling 1 year contract basis 16%
Leave his managerial post 44%

Should Arsenal fail to win the FA Cup, and finish outside of the top 4

Stay as manager, on a 2-3 year contract 31%
Stay as manager, but on a rolling 1 year contract basis 23%
Leave his managerial post 46%

So, did you vote? I know I didn’t so how can an article like this one in The Daily Mail be taken with any seriousness?

Where do they get they figures from?

And doesn’t it just about sum up how easy it is to make mischief and stir things up at any one given club, and boy don’t they like doing just that when it comes to ours…

Anyway, six matches left to make sure we secure a Champions League spot, and at least third is still possible. Tomorrows fixture is huge for that very reason alone as Everton are just a few points behind us.

Arsene Wenger has admitted he’s feeling under a bit of pressure:

Financially, the pressure is less. On a sporting side it is greater because we have been the leader of the league this season so not to make it… the pressure is bigger.

We want to be in there, but it’s down to our results in our last six games to make sure that happens.

Since we built the stadium, it has always been the obsession. I got that reproached enough.

It was an obsession because of the financial compulsory situation. I’ve always been guided by – no matter what what happens – get in the Champions League.

But for me it’s not financial – it was before. What it is now is to play against the best: Pride and prestige.

That statement from Arsene kind of hints that this summer really could be the summer that we as a club, spend bigger and better. The financial restraints have clearly been lifted from what’s he said and now the focus is on winning things other than the 4th place trophy.

Arsene Wenger has reportedly told Kroenke and the board that he wants total control of all transfers both in and out of the club. Well if that’s because he’s finally ready to go back in time and be as successful in the transfer window as he was during the time when he made signings like Overmars, Petit, Vieira, Campbell, Henry etc etc, then it has to be only a good thing.

If he is and he does, then he’d get my vote!!

Not that The Daily Mail would bother asking for it…..

COYRRG’s….

 

 


Dutch takeover at Arsenal. Good news as we close out the season….

April 4, 2014

Morning all.

Andries Jonker has not yet officially started in his new post at Arsenal but my goodness, he’s not sitting around on his butt waiting until the 1st July to get his sidekicks in place.

No, he’s already swooped in and made a few signings, one’s which he clearly believes will finally take our Academy to another level.

From July 1st, current under-18s coach Carl Laraman will join Steve Gatting to work with the club’s under-21 players.

The under-18s will be managed by new arrival Frans de Kat and former Arsenal player and current under-16 coach Kwame Ampadu.

The under-16s will be under the leadership of Jan van Loon.

Who??

Well, Dutchmen Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon bring with them a wealth of experience from previous roles at leading clubs and the national association in Dutch football. (According to afc.com)

Frans de Kat has vast coaching experience with the KNVB, (Royal Dutch Football Association) where he was a coach at both under-15 and under-16 levels. He has also held positions at Dutch clubs Willem II Tilburg, as head of scouting, and ADO Den Haag, as head of youth academy.

Jan van Loon joins Arsenal from the KNVB where he is currently a coach for his country’s national youth teams. He is a vastly experienced youth coach and, as well as representing the KNVB, has worked at Dutch clubs Willem II Tilburg and PSV Eindhoven.

Of course I nicked all of that from the official site because I have never heard of either but they are Dutch, come on, they have to be good! Don’t they?

Finally, Arsene Wenger has been giving an update on our injuries and returns:

Aaron Ramsey…

Aaron and Nacho Monreal are back training with the squad, so that is good news. Hopefully they will be available for Sunday. Diaby is back on the pitches, so that is good news.

On the others…

At the moment that is all because the other injured players are not back, not Wilshere, not Ozil. Everybody else is alright.

Laurent Koscielny…

He is still out. The earliest [he will be back] is next week, the latest is the week after.

Wilshere and Walcott…

They are alright, they are doing well. It is still early for them, of course for Theo the season is finished and Jack is progressing well.

Mesut Ozil…

The FA Cup will be too soon for him, but he will hopefully be back soon after that.

Just six league fixtures are left of this seasons campaign, hopefully eight matches in total if we can secure a place in the FA Cup Final next weekend.

Barring Theo Walcott, we could just end the season with every player being fit…..

Yes, even Abou Diaby….

That’s it for another day….

 

 

 


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