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

Morning all.

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

Virgil van Djik....

Virgil van Djik….

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

Ray Parlour says yes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Starting today!!

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

 

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AGM Discloses Staggering News! Wenger Swerves Tricky Question….

Morning all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s it for today…..

 

112 Comments

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

Morning all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And of course, they share the same footballing philosophy:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

69 Comments

Arsenal Offer Free Beer Tomorrow!

Morning all.

Happy Birthday to Mesut Ozil who is 26 years old today. Not that I’m sure it will be all that happy for him…..

I once saw a sign etched into the bar in a public house. It read ‘Free Beer Tomorrow’…

Ivan Gazidis on Arsenal, where it is now and where it will be..

Commercial deals:

It’s the fuel to provide what we need for our ambitions on the field. We want to win and we want this club to be one of the great clubs in the world. That’s what this entire journey has been about.

How do we take Arsenal, which is a wonderful, historic football club based in a wonderful but slightly antiquated Highbury stadium, and really surge it forward so that it can compete with the biggest football clubs in the world?

Spending some of the vast amounts of money which sits in the AFC bank would help, having a squad which is strong and deep enough to compete, really compete, not one which goes to places like Dortmund and gets blown away with ease. A squad which can cope with injuries when they occur and as we know, at Arsenal, they always occur!

Where are we:

We’re not there yet – this is a long-term journey that we’re on. That consumes us every single day in our ownership, our board, me, our staff, our football manager and it’s important the players feel that as well. We want this football club to be at the top of the world’s game.

The reason we talk about a healthy business is because that’s what we need behind it. It’s easy to talk about ambition, anyone can use flowery words about what they want to be, but you’ve got to actually deliver. That’s what is so important and that’s why the stadium move was so important. That’s why the last five years of unlocking our international and our commercial revenues is so important for the club.

‘Flowery words’ – isn’t that what Arsenal fans have had to listen to for many seasons now? Flowery, or empty words? And all the time, the fans get stung over ticket prices, for what?

It allows us to go out and, if the manager believes in someone like Mesut Ozil, he can buy him. It’s the same with Alexis Sanchez. Underneath that tip of the iceberg, those star signings that we talk a lot about, there’s an awful lot else going on.

We’re signing some fantastic young talent and we’re keeping our players now, unlike the situation two or three years ago when we were really financially challenged and were losing our top players, we’re signing our top players to long-term contracts. Guys like Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey, I could go on. Underneath that you have all of this other stuff this football club is about.

Go on, tell us more, otherwise it’s simply empty words and ‘free beer tomorrow’! Signing players like Ozil, Sanchez etc is of course great to see but we needed just two or three more like that in the summer. I don’t mean big money signings, but players who really can make a difference on their day.

And again:

Where we are currently is off the shoulder of the world’s top teams. I think the best teams in the world are in Europe and you think about the great names in world football like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich – I don’t think we’re at that level yet but that’s where we’re aiming to get to. It’s one thing to say that and it’s another thing to be able to deliver it.

Off the shoulder of the top teams in Europe is a bit of an over estimation of where we are right now in my opinion, in fact I’d say we are about as far behind the likes of Bayern, Barca and co as Merts would be if he raced Theo Walcott over 100 metres…

When it comes to Arsenal right now and for the last few seasons, we have been told that things will get better, we’ll have more money, we’ll sign proper players and yes, we’ll be a club which can not only compete with the best, but beat the best and be the best!

But no, that day and that golden transfer window which would all but ensure a successful season never arrives does it….

Maybe it will in January, maybe we’ll have to wait until next summer…..

Or maybe, it’ll always be ‘tomorrow’….

On that miserable note, have a good day all….

 

 

100 Comments

Welbeck Set For Wide Role & Something Isn’t Right With Walcott & Gnabry Return……

Morning all.

Forgive me if I have got this wrong but since both players, especially Theo Walcott suffered injury and their expected return date was announced on the official site, I’ve not seen or heard the word we do so often and that’s ‘setback’.

Looking at the pictures on Arsenal.com, it doesn’t look like either are about to change that either, they both look fit, strong and ready to get back playing with the first team and boy don’t we need them? Yes, even Serge Gnabry as I think gives us something similar to what Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain does. He’s strong, direct, fearless and certainly isn’t afraid to shoot, unlike some.

Good News.....

Good News…..

As for Theo, we’ll I’m really looking forward to his pace returning to our game and Danny Welbeck must be too, the pair of them should cause defences a lot of trouble. Just a shame Mesut Ozil won’t be around for a while to play that killer ball through to both……

Going back to setback issue, perhaps this is the first sign of  Shad Forsythe taking over the players recovery and return programme and neither player is being allowed to train/play before their bodies are fully repaired and strong enough and I think I read something by Theo saying he’d been spending a lot of time in the gym building his muscles back up to full strength and again, the pictures of him training show him fully committed in training so my assumption is he’s good to go, in fact suggestion is he could be on the bench for Saturdays game against Hull City.

More Good News....

More Good News….

Olivier Giroud won’t, well not just yet but soon, sooner than expected and his return could see Danny Welbeck be shoved out wide according to Arsene Wenger:

Olivier Giroud is recovering very well. I believe he is ahead of schedule in terms of rehabilitation. The operation went perfectly.  

Welbeck and [Giroud] can play together in the centre or separately. Welbeck also played on one side to Manchester United. Welbeck played in the same team with Rooney and van Persie. He can play down the sides.

Not so sure Danny Boy will like reading the last sentence….

That’s it for another day, a day when things are starting to look a little more positive regarding the squad. Just need Arteta, Ramsey, Debuchy, Dibay and Ozil back but that might take a while. Arteta, Ramsey and Diaby shouldn’t be too long though…

Goodness knows what’s happened to Yaya Sanogo…

Finally, Ivan Gazidis has been talking about the club. The full interview is on the official site but the final part of the interview caught my eye:

Q – It’s Arsenal’s 17th consecutive season in the Champions League. In the world league table, where do you think Arsenal sit?

Where we are currently is off the shoulder of the world’s top teams. I think the best teams in the world are in Europe and you think about the great names in world football like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich – I don’t think we’re at that level yet but that’s where we’re aiming to get to. It’s one thing to say that and it’s another thing to be able to deliver it.

That’s why so many of these things that we talk about with Arsenal are about not just having the vision or the words to say that, but to actually have the infrastructure and the foundations to deliver it to our fans. That’s not something that happens overnight but we’re on that journey, which is why Stan Kroenke is involved in our club, that’s why our board, who are lifelong fans of this club, are involved and it’s why Arsène Wenger and I are involved in this football club. Right through our staff, on the field and off the field, I can tell you that’s what everyone is driving for – we want Arsenal to be in that elite group of football clubs around the world.

Sorry if that made you choke on your cornflakes……

Have a great day all…..

 

117 Comments

Ozil Out For Longer Than Expected? Giroud Set For Early Return…

Morning all.

If we are to believe what is written in the press, the answer to the question is sadly yes.

Apparently Mesut isn’t happy being played out wide and he’s ready to up sticks in January and head home to Germany with Bayern Munich.

Of course I haven’t a clue whether this story is true but to be honest, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it was.

The English press have been on his back since he became an Arsenal player, many fans have constantly and consistently been very critical of him and to be fair, his manager has done very little to help his cause by playing him out wide week in week out.

Ok, Ozil isn’t a work horse, he’s not the first player to knuckle down and put in a shift defensively but that’s not his game, no more than it’s been Santi Cazorla’s although we do see moments. Nearly every side has a player who is given a free role, a licence to roam, maybe even to be a luxury and those players are allowed such freedom because in a flash, they can destroy the opposition.

Mesut Ozil is one of those players… Yes, I know he doesn’t always look as if he’s having a fab time out on the pitch but just look at the difference in his body language during the Villa game and we all know why that was…

Arsenal FC made a huge statement when they signed Mesut Ozil and if they turn their back on him in January they will make another one, but for all the wrong reasons!

Arsene Wenger has to make sure this player is happy, he has to play him in his preferred position and he has to make sure he stays!

We need him, Arsenal need him and sure as heck Arsene Wenger needs him!

Danny Welbeck hobbled off down the tunnel during the England match last night but Roy Hodgson has been quick to settle the minds of Arsenal fans:

I think he just rolled it slightly, but the doctors are not concerned about it all.

Just wait until our doctors get hold of him!

Talking of strikers, Olivier Giroud could be back in action sooner than expected after Arsene Wenger confirmed his operation went swimmingly well and he’s ahead of schedule in his recovery. That’s good news.

That’s about it for today, try not to get soaked in this awful weather…..

 

 

70 Comments

Good Enough, Old Enough – Midfield/Defensive Problems Could Be Solved From Within…..

There comes a time when younger players need to be given a chance, especially when they are performing well for either the Arsenal under 21’s or their country at their respected age group and right now we have one or two who are doing just that.

Chuba Akpom is scoring for fun for both Arsenal and the England under 20 side, Hector Bellerin is looking solid for the Arsenal reserves side and Isaac Hayden is showing that he’s already a very composed defender both for club and country.

This weekend we face Hull City and we are without Calum Chambers as he’s notched up so many bookings, he’s now banned for one game. Surely Bellerin will be given another chance to prove he has what it takes to perform at this level?

Then we have Lauren Koscielny struggling with an Achilles injury which could present Isaac Hayden with his chance to play alongside Per Mertesacker.

I haven’t seen a great deal of Hayden but from what I have seen he looks a composed and calm player, a strong guy who isn’t easily brushed off the ball and one who knows how to tackle and he certainly didn’t look out of his comfort zone during the league cup fixture against Southampton just a few weeks ago and I’d much prefer to see him play than Wenger opting for a 5′ 10″ Nacho Monreal!

Of course it would be far better to have a big strong experienced centre back ready to step in the squad like most other clubs have, but we haven’t. What we do have is a 19 year old, 6′ 2″ Arsenal man, ready to take his chance and just as Calum Chambers has proved, if you are good enough, you are old enough.

Arsene Wenger has described Hayden as being a player whose key assets are concentration, intelligence and strength. Equally comfortable at centre-back or in central-midfield, whilst having also previously featured at right-back and as a play maker.

That kind of opens up a whole new debate really, if Wenger believes Hayden is as good in midfield as he is in defence, which in my opinion is pretty darn good, why on earth has he not been given a chance to play there?

After all, it’s not like we are seriously lacking a defensive midfielder is it??

Isaac Hayden could be the solution to a couple of problems we have on the pitch, if only he’d be given the chance……

Arsene Wenger signed a 19 year old Calum Chambers and has relied on him since the start of the season. Well in my opinion, it’s about time he started looking at a few players who are already in the Arsenal Academy and have been for a number of years, especially the English ones as it’s been a long time since Jack Wilshere burst onto the scene…

That’s it for this weekend, more internationals today so let’s hope and pray for no more injuries…..

Have a good day folks…

 

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