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Well That Was Daft Arsene!!

Morning all.

I didn’t see the game annoyingly and at the time of writing, I haven’t even seen the goals.

Anyway, we lost against a strong Southampton side and the only positive from that is we are out of one of the cups, leaving us to concentrate on the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup.

I get Arsene Wenger’s reasoning for playing fringe players, under 21 players and those coming back from injury but what I don’t understand is why Alexis Sanchez played for 90 minutes. Was he really rested against Aston Villa to play in the League Cup? Thank goodness he didn’t get injured.

In defence Wenger trusted Bellerin and Hayden and even Coquelin playing in an unfamiliar role, but why not play Chuba Akpom up front when he’s scoring goals for the under 21’s? And why wait until the 86 minute to bring him on when players before him couldn’t get that much needed equaliser?

Would have been amusing had we got the equaliser though as we’d have had to play 30 minutes of extra time without Bellerin at right-back!

Arsene Wenger said this about the defeat:

It’s disappointing because we had a good start and we made two unnecessary errors on the two goals – they were big ones. We lacked a bit of experience at the back. I agree with you but overall they did well. We gave a lot and it’s frustrating as we were not able to score in the second half.

When you look at the amount of possession we had you have to give credit to Southampton. They played well and were very organised. They abused the fouls in the middle of the park but they are a good side and they played well tonight.

Overall it’s frustrating because we gave a lot.

I’m disappointed to be honest as I’d love us to have won this cup but until we have a squad strong enough and deep enough to compete in all four competitions, this one will always be the one in which a second string of players together with youth will be fielded.

Perhaps a stronger side would have played had we not got a tasty NLD at The Emirates on Saturday. Perhaps a stronger side would have been fielded had the club been more active in the summer…..

Anyway, we are out and good luck to Southampton for the rest of the competition.

Finally, Happy Birthday to Anders Limpar who is 49 years old today…..

That’s it for today…..

 

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Strong Team For Tonight Confirmed. Diaby Set For Start….

Morning all.

Mathieu Debuchy will be out for at least three months after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle. Dreadful news for Arsenal, dreadful news for the player.

He has had surgery and will be out for three months. A reasonable delay is three months.

It all went well, but it can be a week or two earlier or a week or two later, but it will be around three months.

It is a blow of course, how big it will be we will only know afterwards because it will be down to how well we replace him. We bought Calum Chambers for that.

Funny that, I thought Calum Chambers was signed to replace Thomas Vermaelen! Silly me, no-one was signed to replace our captain!!

Gutted for Debuchy though, he’s slotted in so well and wham, injured! We really don’t get much luck do we……

Still, now we will have two new signings around Christmas time, him and Olivier Giroud!

Some good news though re Theo Walcott and Serge Gnabry:

Theo is doing very well, and Gnabry is doing very well too. They should be available after the international break for full training.

Southampton in the Capital Cup tonight and we can expect a few changes tonight if the squad details given out by Arsene Wenger are true.

Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin, Isaac Hayden, Chuba Akpom and Semi Ajayi are all included, as is David Ospina.

Arsene Wenger has been talking about Akpom:

I’m happy that he has developed as a goalscorer, because when he was a younger kid, his problem was finishing. That has gone now. He’s a very good finisher and he has now to learn the tactical side of his game. Then he will be ready, because he is a huge talent.

And about Isaac Hayden:

He’s a ball winner, he’s a good central defender and a good central midfielder. Technically he was working on his game a bit, but now he is ready for that level.

We all saw Hector Bellerin make his Champions League debut and he far from let himself down and he was certainly nowhere near being any worse than most of our players that night. I think he’ll start.

We could finally get to see Joel Campbell too and to be honest, him playing has been long overdue and at least we’ll see him getting back to help out our right back!

Nacho Monreal and Yaya Sanogo remain injured so won’t feature. Sanogo injured, now there’s a shock!

But a bigger shock is Abou Diaby, he’s set to make his 2014/15 season debut tonight after playing a couple of matches for the under 21’s and have being a substitute at the weekend.

40 injuries Diaby has suffered during the eight years he’s been with us and now at 28 years old, Wenger hopes his future is a good one:

He’s a giant mentally. To do what he has done, with the severe injuries he had, he comes back every time, is dedicated and he deserves a lot of respect.

I’m a huge believer in his quality and I’m sad as well that he couldn’t show it more. If there is some justice, the future will be much better for him.

I hope the future will be much better for him too, I really do as to have suffered the way he has is rotten. How he’s still with us though I’ll never know but that’s a different issue. I hope for our sake and his, he stays fit and can offer the team something different in midfield.

At least he brings a little more height into the team as will Isaac Hayden..

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman has promised the 5000 travelling fans that he will field his strongest squad tonight:

Okay, it’s a difficult match, it’s the League Cup. But what I said before, in the League Cup against Millwall, we like to win everything.

If a player’s in good shape, he’s able to play. We don’t take risks, but normally we like to play our strongest squad for Tuesday.

I think it’s going to be a tough match if too many changes are made by Arsene Wenger but in this competition, that’s what he likes to do..

Fingers crossed whoever gets the nod, has a bit of fire and passion in their bellies…

COYRRG’s – let’s get through to the next round…..

Have a great day all……

 

141 Comments

Two January Deals On? Wenger Thrilled with Welbeck and Ozil…

Morning all.

What a bizarre weekend of football that was. Well, good actually as it’s always nice to see the sides who the media love fall by the wayside.

Everton and Tottenham got spanked at home, Utd threw away a 2-1 lead to lose 5-3 at Leicester and Liverpool got hammered at Upton Park and finally, City and Chelsea drew 1-1. Not only did Man City go down to ten men, Chelsea were playing with Mike Dean in their pocket. Two penalties clearly missed and all in all, Chelsea were allowed to get away with their dirty tricks, the same ones they get away with every time we play them…

I seriously hope Dean doesn’t officiate our match next month, in fact I hope he doesn’t take charge of any of our games. He’s awful and very unfair!

Anyway, whilst all those clubs were dropping points, we of course got all three and climbed right up the table into fourth place! I bet Stan Kroenke would love the season to end right now!

Well it doesn’t, in fact we play again tomorrow night against a Southampton side who are having a pretty good start to the season, despite losing a few of their players. In fact, their start has been so good, they sit in second place in the league but they did struggle to beat a ten man Swansea side at the weekend.

Whether they will rest/rotate many players tomorrow night remains to be seen but I’m sure Arsene Wenger will.

Talking of Arsene, he was clearly pleased with the way both Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil linked up:

That’s the positive of the day. When they played close to each other, they combined well, with pace, and that was very interesting for us.

Ozil had a good performance. The performance is not necessarily linked with the position he played. It was the plan of the day to play him there but that can change game by game. The whole team played better as well and he’s a guy who depends a little bit on the quality of our game.

I was impressed by Welbeck’s performance because he had good ball retention, he scored, he had an assist, he worked hard and he had a great game.

We had a good focus from the start on, a good work-rate and good togetherness. Our team play was convincing – we could play patiently and we could play quickly when needed. We scored three goals in [just over] three minutes and that was game over. The second half was more controlled and it was a very convincing performance.

I know we only played an illness struck Aston Villa, but Utd only played a newly promoted Leicester side….

Finally, Sami Khedira will be ours in January according to the mischief makers on the internet and we are keeping tabs on Fulham winger/striker Patrick  Roberts who is 17 years old and just under 5′ 6″. A few reports suggest we could make a move for him as early as January….

Don’t knock him, Lionel Messi is only an inch taller……

That’s it from me for another day…..

 

227 Comments

Wenger’s Ozil Comments Strange.. Diaby Creeping Back?

Morning all.

I didn’t see the entire game, just a few highlights including the goals. The two we scored were pretty good weren’t they and good to see Danny Welbeck open his goal scoring account and Mesut Ozil get his first for the season.

Happy Chappies

I must admit, I didn’t expect us to get anything at Villa Park against a side which had only conceded one goal so far this season and who Roy Keane and Paul Lambert had clearly got his players set up to defend well.

That wasn’t the case yesterday at all and they gifted us a large amount of space at times which clearly suited our game, how it was only 3-0 at the end I don’t know but it was and it’s always fantastic to win and especially when we haven’t conceded a goal and Villa had a few chances, and a number of set-pieces so we did well to keep a clean sheet.

Our goals were like buses, as soon as one came, three were in and the game was over and all within a few minutes.

Goal number 2

No doubt they’ll be a lot of talk about the Villa players being poorly with some kind of bug but so what, no-one cares when we get a bug do they, and we have had our fair share of those in the last couple of seasons.

All in all a good day for the fans but I’m not getting carried away. I doubt we’ll face another side who will give us as much freedom on the pitch for a long while and until we can come away from grounds like Anfield and the Etihad etc with a respectable result and start beating those same sides at home, nothing has really changed.

Things could have been very different for Calum Chambers yesterday had the referee not been so kind. Already on a yellow card, he tugged back one of the Villa players and could, in fact should have received a second yellow card and sent off. He needs to learn from that very quickly.

Mesut Ozil is taking all the plaudits today after a very lively game with a goal and an assist and the manager was asked about our little German:

I didn’t really consider leaving out Ozil. I have a lot of attacking players and you are always looking to find the right balance. Alexis Sanchez for example has played every game and I felt he needed a rest.

I wanted Ozil to play behind their midfield. It was important for him to find space between the lines and it worked.

I felt we were at the point where I had to show confidence in him. You never know how people respond to being left out. It’s a sensitive point.

At least he knows where Mesut prefers to play:

In the middle. But I can find you 10 more players in my squad who want to play in the middle.

Maybe that’s true, but I doubt very much that all of those other ten players, if any, will give our side what Mesut Ozil can and just why it’s taken so long for Wenger to actually play him there beggars belief. Let’s hope our little maestro stays there now….

Southampton up next on Tuesday and we should see a bit of rotation…

Maybe we’ll even see Abou Diaby who was on the bench yesterday so he’s clearly fit and ready to play….

That’s it for another day…

 

 

220 Comments

£120 million in the Bank! More of the same or will Wenger start proving his critics wrong?

Morning all.

So, £173 million sat in the Arsenal bank before the summer transfer window, now there is £120 million according to reports and that’s not including the £30 million set aside to pay the mortgage. Disgraceful!

I’m not a huge fan of all these ex players who instead of getting on the football training ground and using all their so called knowledge of the game to help others, prefer to sit in the warm and cosy indoors and rip shreds out of the way teams play, but for once, Jamie Carragher has a point..

Whilst securing another handsome pay cheque writing for the Daily Mail, he has torn into Arsenal, well Arsene Wenger really:

For a decade now, Arsenal have been unable to contain opponents who go with a fast, physical gameplan. Everyone knows how to play against them.

When I watch Arsenal now, I get frustrated. They play the same way wherever they go — with their full-backs pushed up high and wide — and get caught on the counter-attack. They are the away team! They should be doing that to the home team when they go travelling.

Why don’t they learn? It is unforgivable that this keeps happening.

The penny needs to drop. When I played in Europe with Liverpool, the first objective was always to get a clean sheet: make yourself difficult to break down then, if a chance arose, pounce and pick up whatever you could. If the home fans didn’t like it, so what?

Yet Arsenal feel they can beat anyone. Anywhere. Playing their own game. It’s naive. The only team able to get away with such a philosophy in recent years was Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona — one of the greatest sides of all time — but even he wasn’t afraid to concoct different tactical plans.

With Arsenal, though, it seems there is one way only and you can’t help but wonder where it is all heading. Wenger is a legendary figure in our game; his achievements will stand the test of time but you sometimes question whether there is a negative to him being so secure in his job.

Of course it’s no coincidence that a decade ago, the Invinsible side started to fall away with players leaving one by one and it wasn’t long before we’d gone from being a big strong team at the back and in midfield, a team with pace and flair up front in abundance, to a side full of midgets, no midfield anchormen and our ruthless build up play and finishing has long disappeared.

It’s a sad situation to be in for all of us having gone from being great to mediocre over the last few years and I struggle to understand how a manager who really hit the ground running in the Premier League has sat back and allowed the change to take place in front of his very own eyes.

We all know when we moved, the purse strings were tight but I strongly suspect that not all players with power, pace and who stood over 6′ tall would have stretched the finances any more than signing yet another under-tall midfield midget would! And had he signed those kind of players, his ancient tactics might still work on the pitch.

He didn’t, he still hasn’t and I doubt things will change and perhaps that’s where Carragher’s view is right. His job being so secure is having a negative impact on the team and most importantly, the club and it’s fans.

So, as we head off to play an in form Aston Villa side, we can only hope Arsene Wenger learned from the performance and his kamikaze tactics on Tuesday and tries something a little different. Maybe he’ll try a bit of defending, send the team out to defend as if their lives depend on it and then perhaps try and catch Villa napping on a couple of occasions. However, new assistant coach Roy Keane will make sure that doesn’t happen and Villa have conceded just one goal so far this season. Steve Bould should be doing the same at Arsenal, but somehow I suspect his defensive knowledge and advice gets brushed aside….

After all, the best way to defend is by attacking isn’t it??!!

COYRRG’s  – do yourselves and our club proud…..

That’s it for another day…..

 

 

184 Comments

Regrets, he’s had a few.. Sign them, ruin them……

Morning all.

I would have loved to have managed Didier Drogba, for two reasons. One, I missed him when he played at Le Mans in France, not even in the top league. I knew there was a good player there and I missed him.And secondly, because he hurt us so much in big games that all this pain would not have happened.

Not so good at spotting great talent in France then is he, or was it a case of Drogba isn’t French so he didn’t bother?

Not only Drogba did he miss, but also Cristiano Ronaldo:

My biggest regret? I was so close to signing Cristiano Ronaldo. And not only did I not get him, but he signed for Manchester United.

That, of course, still hurts today.

And he’s not lying, honest. Even Ronaldo admitted he was close, very close to signing for us instead of Manchester United back in 2008:

I was within an inch of joining Arsenal. I have a lot of respect for Arsene Wenger, he is a very clever man.

Then of course there has been Yaya Toure and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, both of whom had trials with us but neither were snapped up…

No doubt everyone can remember when our manager plucked young players like Anelka, Fabregas, Clichy, RvP and…. I’m sure there has been others from overseas clubs for little money but he sure missed out on a few too. Why? Money or simply bad judgement?

As far as Ronaldo goes, I am sure that when Arsene Wenger and Fergie were sat side by side when Wenger said he was close to signing the Portuguese man and Fergie said he was a few noughts short on the price. Just like he/the club is so often today really, in fact I still wonder how they got Alexis and Ozil wrapped up….

But they did and I admire them for doing so and they showed that if they really want to get a deal done, they can and they do. However, on one hand they show a bit of determination and intent at times, yet on the other, they leave the squad so depleted…

And then of course, and in the case of Mesut Ozil and others in the past, including Andrey Arshavin, Arsene Wenger does all he can to make sure the team does’t get the best out of the player. It doesn’t make sense does it!

Mesut Ozil isn’t a young play who needs to learn his trade in other areas of the pitch, he’s a world class footballer who if used properly, will show the world just how good he is but the longer he is played out of position, the further his head will drop and the more he will be criticised.

Even the Arsenal fans are turning on the German World Cup winner and I know he could put in a bit more effort each week but he’s a flair player, perhaps a luxury player who if given freedom to roam, he will and it will pay off.

The trouble with Arsene Wenger is, it appears that he likes to change a players style/position and then take the credit, and Lauren is just one of many examples. A midfielder turned into a really really good right back.

Wenger still rates him as one of his better signings:

I’d never say which player was the best, but I think it’s the signings like Lauren who you spot when nobody else does.

He was a right midfielder who I played at right back and was one of the Invincibles. 

Sometime it works and back then it did but not now and that’s when a manager has to quit his stubbornness and admit defeat..

With Mesut, it’s that time.

Maybe tomorrow eh…. Maybe not….

Have a good day all….

156 Comments

Are we just making up the numbers? 3 Signings imminent?

Morning all..

Tsgh kindly wrote his thoughts after the match on Tuesday so here they are….

For a man who started his European football management career so promisingly 30 or so years ago and even made the semi – finals with a moderately assembled team in his second attempt, one would have expected Arsene Wenger to have won the CL trophy by now but we all know it still a pipe dream for both him and Arsenal fans.

Has it just been a question of luck or just a lack of ambition from our ‘esteemed’ manager?

Going into the game in Westfalenstadion against a team who has at times, outplayed us off the pitch on the last four occasions we have faced them away under Klopp, one would have expected Wenger to go in with a battle plan. Maybe Wenger was counting on sheer luck again to come away with a result again as has happened in the last two visits.

When Debuchy was sent off in the second match of the qualifiers against Benfica and Arsene Wenger failed to make the defensive signings during the summer, the likelihood was always going to be that young Hector would be required irrespective of Debuchy’s injury last weekend.

Going into this game, the old Achilles heel of Wenger, which is the lack of squad depth in key areas of the squad showed up again, but on paper this was the weakest BVB 09 team we had faced in the last four or so years in the Champions League.

Nonetheless, with Szczesny, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs, Arteta, Sanchez, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and Welbeck away from home in the first game of this seasons Champions league game against a team whose manager has described his teams style of play as heavy metal, we were bound to have a tough night. This was a game by all accounts that Rosicky should have started but as usual Wenger was hell-bent on implementing a formation from the sidelines’ looks rudderless.

It never fails to surprise me how many times we go into this big games starting with more attacking players than the opposition but still come away with a loss.

To say the first half was a disappointment would be an understatement in my opinion. Last January Ciro was allegedly close to joining us but we in the end decided against him for whatever reason and he ended up being the man who on the 44th minute after a superb individual move opened the scoring for his team after a splendid BVB first half performance.

It must be said that had it not been through poor finishing from one or 2 of the BVB players we could have gone off the pitch at half time at least 3 nil down. The only noticeable effort from us in the first half came in the 40th minute when Ramsey superbly found Welbeck with a clever ball but he failed to make the right connection.

At the start of the second half Kehl was taken off for Ginter (another player who was available last summer and could have given us another defensive/ midfield options but as we all know our manager is now more interested in kamikaze football than making a winning legacy.

Unfortunately for us the second half started off the same way the first half ended with BVB dictating play with their midfield 2 of Ginter and Sven finding the clever movements of their front 4. On the 48th minute Pierre Aubameyang, a player Klopp after signing described as being an Arsenal type of player, put the tie beyond us.

With things looking rather predictable, Arsene took off Ozil and Ramsey and bring on Santi and Oxlade but the damage had already been done.

The only positive for me was Hector Bellerin showing no signs of being an inexperienced defender at this level of professional football. Albeit sections of fans may say he was poor but to me he did the best he could considering the circumstances.

Unfortunately for us and Wenger the pressure is now on after this lose but just maybe us finishing 3rd or even 4th could be a blessing in disguise for us this season because in my view, this squad is completely ill-equipped to sustain even 3 competitions this season irrespective of the number of player e have on our books.

Wenger may point out that this is our first lose in Germany for over 10 years but putting aside the score line, taking a detailed look at the performance of the team put together by one of the longest serving managers in any of the top 5 leagues in Europe paints a worrying picture.

We can only hope the boys can put in a performance we can all be proud out against Villa on Saturday……

Written by Tsgh

Just to add a bit. There are reports doing the rounds on newsnow which suggest Wenger may try and sign two defenders who are available on a free contract, that’s  Joseph Yobo and Diego Lugano. There is also talk of Lassana Diarra heading our way. According to the Express, he left Lokomotiv Moscow in the summer and is now a free agent.

Yobo or Monreal in the centre of defence?

Diarra or Arteta in the CDM position?

It smacks of desperation, but we are not far from being desperate are we……

Have a good day all….

 

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