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Arsene, you must, even if you don’t want to! Alexis makes his mark…..

August 28, 2014

Morning all.

You have to love Paul Merson sometimes:

Man Utd have one bad season & they’re out of the Champions League. Arsenal have had a couple and still qualify every year!

We did, but phew, that was tough eh!

Besiktas came to The Emirates and at times, played like the home side and to be honest, what else did we expect? Slaven Bilic, up in the stands last night for his naughtiness during the first tie has been saying all week that his side weren’t heading to London on a sightseeing trip, they were going for a win and his side nearly did just that.

We had a couple of good chances through the game, but then so did they, especially towards the end when Ba headed into side netting and with just a slender 1-0 lead at the time, had that gone in, we would have been out. That’s how close it was.

We weren’t helped by Mathieu Debuchy receiving a second yellow card with fifteen minutes left on the clock either but what came out of that was a truly superb defensive shift put in by Santi Cazorla who I thought had a good game. Jack Wilshere too. He’s had a bit of stick lately but last night he showed glimpses of the player will all know is inside his body, it was a shame his shot went wide, he deserved a goal. Cazorla, Alexis and Oxlade-Chamberlain missed further opportunities to score, the best fell to the latter of the three players and really, he should have done better.

Our only goal came from Alexis and what a night to pop up with it. Debuchy had made a run up the right and fired in a low cross which looked like it was all for nothing but Wilshere had other ideas. He played a one-two with Ozil and as the ball fell for Alexis, Jack left him to it. Talking of Alexis, those legs of his never give up do they, his work rate is immense. Monreal was another who stood out and another who has been criticised by many all too often…

Chile Night in August....

Chile Night in August….

That was enough! Our players ran their legs into the ground last night, well most of them so their commitment can’t really be called into question but, it was very clear that the squad is lacking in a number of areas but then we have being saying that for a while.

Hope of further signings has been hanging on last nights match because without Champions League qualification, Arsene Wenger would no doubt be tempted to carry on through this season with the bare essentials. Well we have now qualified and if he really wants to win this big trophy, or the Premier League, then he really has to secure three signings between now and 11pm on the 1st September.

A big ask in just five, but not an unreasonable one as football is all about winning, not about merely surviving and if we carry on through the season with the squad we have now, we will seriously struggle.

Yesterday we drew Southampton in the Capital One Cup, thankfully it’s a home fixture but regardless, it’ll be tricky.

Who will we get...

Who will we get…

This afternoon we’ll find out who we’ll face in the group stages of the Champions League, the draw takes place at 4.30pm.

Then of course, it’s a trip to Leicester on Sunday followed by an International break….

Come on then Arsene, go and show some intent during the last few days of the transfer window!

You may not want to but you know you have to!

That’s it for another day…..

 

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Zigic flying in for medical? Pace Arsene, go for Pace!

August 27, 2014

Morning all.

Transfer gossip:

And according to reports in Serbia free agent striker Nikola Zigic has emerged as a shock contender to join us. The paper, Zurnal, suggest that the 33-year-old former Birmingham striker is scheduled for a medical as early as today.

What a load of poppycock… Isn’t it?

Danny Wellbeck is another name in the papers, some of which suggest we have made contact with Utd already about him and the Edison Cavani stories rumble on…..

There has been a lot of discussion on here lately about how many players Arsene Wenger could sign, if he really wanted to show a bit of ambition. Should we beat Besiktas tonight and progress to the group stage of the Champions League, we will have to submit to UEFA a list of players for the competition on the 2nd September. That is list A.

List A

No club may have more than 25 players on this list and two of them must be goalkeepers, and these players must be over 21.

The number of foreign players permitted is 17 and the remaining 8 places are reserved for club trained players or home produced players.

Where a club is unable to produce 8 C/T or H/P players the squad size is reduced . I E. If a club has only 4 C/T or H/P players the the Squad is reduced to 21 they cannot make up the shortfall by increasing the number of foreign players.

List B

Each club is entitled to register an unlimited number of players during the season on this list and it must be submitted no later than 24 hours before the match in question.

Player Eligibility – Players who are 21 or over on 1st Jan 2014 must be included and registered in the 25 man squad for the 2014-2015 season.

Players under the age of 21 on the 1st Jan 2014 do not have to be registered for the 25 man squad and can play in the C/L for the 2014-2015 season as a list B player.

Sanogo was 21 on 27th January 2014 and Oxlade-Chamberlain was 21 on 15th August but as they were under 21 on 1st Jan they do not take up a place in the 25 squad.

We have 24 players over 21 on our books and of these only 21 can expect to be in our squad after 2nd sept.

There are 6 C/T H/P players namely Szczesny, Martinez, Gibbs,  Wilshere, Ramsey and Walcott.

There are 15 foreign players, namely Ospinia, Debuchy, Monreal, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Rosicky, Cazorla, Arteta, Flamini, Diaby, Ozil, Podolski, Giroud, Campbell and Sanchez.

The future of Ryo, Coquelin and Miquel is still unclear and should all three depart over the next few days as expected that will leave further places in the squad to be filled.

Arsene is in the position to bring in 2 foreign players and 2 home produced players if he can find them.

Will he do it? Foreign players I still think he will, the home produced, no, I don’t think he will.

That was from Rick.

Of course, we have to qualify for the group stage first and that can be done tonight if we can find a way to beat Besiktas. If we don’t, it’s Thursday/Sunday night football for us and we really really don’t want or need that!

We have no Ramsey, Giroud (no ‘d’ Carragher!) Arteta and Walcott. Not good but we do have exciting, gifted and world class players amongst the rest. We have Ozil, Alexis, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Debuchy, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Rosicky, Cazorla and Chambers to name a few who could win this match for us tonight.

There’s plenty of pace there and add Joel Campbell into the mix, we have players who are prepared to get back and fight for the cause if we need to. We have Sanogo too……

As much as a couple of key players are missing, we have enough as long as Arsene Wenger picks the right players for the task ahead. Hit them with pace and hit them hard, none of this hogging the ball but doing nothing with it because Besiktas will be up for this game, they’ll want our scalp and they’ll fight tooth and nail to get it.

It’s up to Arsene Wenger and the players now and if they want to progress, they all need to step up their game and make it happen…

Arsene Wenger has said he won’t panic buy after injuries have hit us early this season. My answer to that is it’s not panic buying, it’s about addressing the needs of the squad, it’s about being ambitious and showing some intent this summer.

It’s about wanting to win the league and having a squad capable of doing so…..

COYRRG’s, get the job done tonight!

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

 


2-2, but should it have been? Giroud out of Besiktas fixture?

August 24, 2014

Morning all.

What a bunch of cheats. From the officials to a few Everton players…!

And I’m so glad we don’t play that way, I really am. The way Naismith went to ground so easily in order to con the referee was embarrassing enough but the way the referee Kevin Friend was taken in was disgraceful. To add insult to injury, Calum Chambers received a yellow card for no reason.

The fact that Naismith was on the end of their second goal which was offside, made matters worse. Linesman, wake up! The foul on Mertesacker in the build up to the goal went unpunished too which at this level is wrong, so very wrong.

The first half wasn’t a good one for us for many reasons but I’ll leave that for the comments section.

The second half began and getting anything from that game 2-0 down looked a high mountain to climb…

Alexis made way for Giroud and it wasn’t long before he had his first chance but the Frenchman blasted high over that bar. The next chance he had just before 70 minutes went low and just wide and very soon after another chance went begging. It didn’t look like it was going to be Giroud’s day, nor ours. Chances need to be taken more often but Giroud was certainly looking a lot more lively than he did last Tuesday.

As we strived to get something from this game, Arsene Wenger threw on Joel Campbell to make his first appearance in the league, ok he looked rusty but you cant fault his energy and willingness to track back and help out. I like that, perhaps a few others could learn from that side of his and Alexis game.

The clock was ticking down and despite piling the pressure on Everton, we just couldn’t get a breakthrough until Aaron Ramsey popped up in the box to score from a lovely ball from Santi Cazorla.

Giroud spurned another chance, this time he headed wide from a corner. It just wasn’t his day in front of goal was it…….

Until the 90th minute of course when he finally headed home a wicked cross from Monreal.

We nicked a point. No, we were robbed of two!!

Before the game, I honestly thought we’d win and we would have if the officials had got things right on the day but to be honest, in that second half we had enough chances to win regardless of the poor decisions given against us.

Now we need a win on Wednesday, secure the Champions League group stages and then, sign up 2/3 more top quality players.

Olivier Giroud is a doubt for that match according to Wenger:

It is a big game and I hope we have not lost him. In the final minute he stretched his ankle. At the moment it doesn’t look too good.

Sanogo or Campbell it might be then, unless Alexis gets the nod again…..

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

 

 


Cavani bid accepted? Reid linked & Who will nominate Arsene Wenger?

August 22, 2014

Morning all…

What’s all this ice bucket nomination thing all about?

Well, it’s all in aid of a wonderful cause and that’s Macmillan Cancer Support and many many footballers are taking part to raise money. The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.

Not only footballers are getting involved though, even George Bush has had a bucket of ice cold water thrown over him but as far as I know, no-one has yet had the balls to nominate Arsene Wenger but they should. Saying that, if it means parting with money, he’ll soon allow someone to throw the bucket of water over him….

I wouldn’t, I’d rather opt out and donate….. Actually, I’d do both….

Perhaps we could all join in but we’ll keep it fair and have just one nomination and for those who want to donate to such a fantastic cause, CLICK HERE.

But you must send a photo in to me to prove you have undergone the challenge and if you don’t, then I hope your conscience gets the better of you and you donate….

Well you didn’t expect that did you…

Aaron Ramsey has been talking about his red card on Tuesday:

I think it was a difficult game where a lot of players were going over easily and I think the European refs tend to give those fouls a lot more than they do over here, so that’s something I am going to have to learn.

That’s my first red card for Arsenal and hopefully my last as well. I’ll be a bit more streetwise and not give away free-kicks so cheaply.

I hope it is too because our side misses players like Ramsey who can have so much influence on the way we play and we are going to miss him next week for the second leg. On a perfect pitch and in front of our home fans, hopefully the performance will be a lot better than it was on Tuesday. We need a ‘Napoli at home’ kind of performance and if we can produce somewhere near to that level, we’ll be fine.

Ramsey also said that it’s vital we pick up points away from home against the so-called better clubs and he’s right. No doubt he is referring to the maulings we took at Liverpool, Chelsea and City. Everton was a fluke in my opinion and we’ll show that tomorrow.

Transfer gossip:

Well there a crazy story doing the rounds which suggests we are going to offer Olivier Giroud and £35 million for PSG striker Edinson Cavani. Someone on Twitter last night even had the cheek to suggest whatever offer we have made for the player, it has been accepted.

Dream on I say, why on earth would PSG want a cup-tied striker? Maybe PSG would like Campbell or Sanogo… lol

The Times link us to West Ham defender Winston Reid which is a new one in the media. His name has cropped up here on HH but I don’t think I’ve seen this story in the newspapers before.

Sami Khedira, well I think the football journalists are keeping their jobs because of this man, well him, Angel Di Maria and Marco Reus. Only ten more days to find out where they all end up. Same with William Carvalho and Kostas Manolas. Fingers crossed two at least end up in an Arsenal shirt. Guillem Balague believes Sami Khedira has a “personal agreement” with Arsenal but we all know how unreliable he is don’t we….

That’s it for today, have a good one.

 


Shock Exit at Arsenal! Podolski next? Wenger confirms more signings. Reus, Carvalho & Khedira back in the mix…..

August 21, 2014

Morning all.

On This Day 2010 Theo Walcott scored a hat-trick as Arsenal beat Blackpool 6-0. Hurry up and get back Theo, we need you…..

On this day, also back in 2010 Highbury House was born. Thank you to each and every one of you guys and gals who turn up each and every day to keep this place ticking over. Without you all, I’d be doing something very different to writing a load of rubbish each morning just to keep the place refreshed… lol

A big thank you to Wath, who makes sure I can have a few holiday’s each year and of course to those who often chip in with posts. More are most welcome of course….

As HH enters another Arsenal year, it seems Tom Fox won’t be.

Having played a big part in securing the multi million sponsorship with Puma, he’s rumoured to be heading off to Aston Villa as their their new CEO. Tom Fox joined the Arsenal staff back in 2009 but it seems he’s tempted to take a role which would give him far more responsibility…

Oh well, life will go on I guess, perhaps the next man in will clinch even bigger and better financial deals.

Talking of deals, we need a few done don’t we.

Loic Remy is still up for grabs. Good ol ‘Arry has confirmed that he’s staying at Qpr unless a top four side in the Premier League come in for him. Having supposedly failed a medical at Liverpool and Chelsea ruling themselves out of a deal, that leaves just Manchester City and us. Ok, there’s no way Manchester City would entertain such a signing in my opinion, so that leaves us.

Should we?

Another is Marco Reus.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, CEO of Dortmund, was asked about the transfer rumours concerning Reus and gave a boost to the interested parties. He said:

We will have to wait and see whether we can keep hold of Marco.

All I can say is that I know him really well and it’s not about money with him.

Respected German newspaper Welt stated last week that Arsenal were leading the race to sign him, they even suggested that we are set to launch a bid to secure another big star this summer.

The Sun report that Galatasaray willing to pay £22m to prise both Lukas Podolski & Joel Campbell away from Arsenal. They and other newspapers suggest Podolski would be allowed to leave but not Joel Campbell. The same paper suggests that both Milan sides want Podolski too. How about a deal with AC for Super Mario?

The Metro, well I know they are hardly the most reliable but they report that Carvalho and Khedira remain possible additions before the transfer window closes as Mikel Arteta is expected to be out for at least two weeks with sprained ankle.

TalkSport reckon we could scupper Everton’s move for PSG midfielder Clement Chantome…..

Don’t you just love all the silly gossip?

Arsene Wenger has held his press conference this morning and confirmed he is open to signing more players:

We’re open to any opportunity in the transfer market.

Dearie me Arsene, you do know how to reassure us fans don’t you!

But when asked about the possibility of signing a defensive midfielder:

We are not against that, no.

There are just eleven days left in this transfer window and we have gaping holes in our squad which seriously need addressing and filling. I hope he’s more than just open to doing further business, he has to be……

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

 


No New Players Close. They Should be Arsene!

August 20, 2014

Morning all.

On this day back in 1995, Dennis Bergkamp made his debut for us against Middlesbrough at Highbury. We only managed a 1-1 draw but regardless, it was the start of a wonderful relationship between Bergkamp, Arsenal FC and the fans…

Last night was grim.

Aaron Ramsey, who has so many times been our saviour, showed immaturity to pick up two bookings which will see him miss next Wednesday’s do or die match. Shirt pulling, the first was silly enough but to go and repeat such antics and get sent off was stupid.

Mikel Arteta hobbled off injured and it’s looking likely that he’ll miss the second leg too.

Olivier Giroud, well he could have won the game and given us a huge away goal which would have given us a great advantage in this tie but his shooting boots and his legs were clearly missing last night.

Alexis shone, as did Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when he replaced our Chilean international but why the pair of them weren’t on the pitch at the same time amazes me. Wilshere, Cazorla, Arteta to name just a few just didn’t get into the game. Cazorla seldom does when playing on the left. Calum Chambers was again a rock in the centre of defence, a defence which did well to keep a clean sheet.

We were fortunate not to conceded and Ba came very close to doing just that from the kick off. Thankfully Szczesny was alert to tip the ball onto the bar.

Our midfield just isn’t right. Arteta, Ramsey and Wilshere just doesn’t work in my opinion. Not one of them is good or strong enough to protect our defence when needed and last night should have been clearly obvious to Arsene Wenger that he needs to sign a defence minded midfielder as if he doesn’t, we’ll be ripped apart all too often. Maybe the injury to Mikel Arteta will force him to act, not that he should need last night to make him realise we need that kind of player, it’s been clear for a while.

Callum Chambers, as good as he is proving he is, is just 19 years old. He’s played all through pre-season and if he carries on playing each week, he’ll soon be either injured, or exhausted and that would be wrong and unfair on such a talented player. Yes we have Mertesacker coming back but he alone isn’t enough, we desperately need a CB.

On last night’s showing, I’m slowly joining the ‘we need a striker’ camp to because Giroud really was woeful. He could so easily won that match for us.

The bright side of the game was Alexis and the very nearly goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain who was denied by the post. Chambers too had a chance near the end but he just couldn’t get his headed on target.

After the match Arsene Wenger talked about the defence:

We are a bit short at the back, yes you’re right. But we should have Mertesacker and Ozil and Podolski available again at the weekend. Let’s hope they are in good shape when we go home.

And his transfer plans:

Not at the moment, no. I have nothing special to add on that at the moment. Honestly, we are not close to signing anybody.

I hope he’s lying!

We’re not out of the Champions League just yet and if the club get a move on and make a couple of signings, we won’t be next week either.

Before then though, we face a very tricky trip to Everton…….

That’s your lot, have a good day all….

 


Medical complete, so where is he? Besiktas benefit from Arsenal education…..

August 19, 2014

Morning all.

Well I know nothing about tonight’s opposition, other than Demba Ba plays for them, as does one of our old youngsters, Oguzhan Ozyakup.

Arsene Wenger has spoken about the 21 year old:

I’m happy that he came here. He was educated by us and we saw that he had top quality and technically he is very good. Physically he can run all day, he has very good stamina and a good final pass.

I always thought he could make a career but at our club he had big competition in front of him and that is why we let him go.

It is good to see he has made it to the top level and is now an important player in Turkey.

That good eh Arsene, well why didn’t he get a chance?

Both Kieran Gibbs and Yaya Sanogo have hamstring injuries and miss out. As do the three World Cup winners.

Laurent Koscielny has recovered from his injury problem and he will partner Calum Chambers in the centre of defence.

Arsene Wenger also had this to say in his press conference last night:

The play-off is not not affecting too much my transfer policy. Financially it is a big game but it’s not that that’s the most important thing. We want to compete at the top level, we want to fight against the best in Europe and that’s the real target of the competition tomorrow.

To be honest, his transfer policy seems to have died an early death after the flurry of quick signings were announced so either this match and the away leg is holding things up or we really have done all we are going to do this summer. Somehow though I doubt it’s the latter as the manager would have to daft to believe we have a squad anywhere deep enough or strong enough to compete this season.

Right now the best thing Arsenal can do is get a handsome victory tonight, one which will almost guarantee our place in the group stages and if there are a few big names waiting for us to qualify before signing on the dotted line, they may just be snapped up a bit earlier.

One can only assume that Besiktas, being the home side, will be all out to score goals tonight in attempt to take a lead to The Emirates.

That might just play into our hands, unlike Palace whose defence was tighter than Arsene Wenger!

Gossip:

Kostas Manolas is soon set to to sign for us as according to many reports, he’s agreed personal terms and had his medical. So where is he I wonder?

The Sami Khedira stories rumble on too and bearing in mind his agents were supposed to be in London yesterday to sort out his future, perhaps he’ll be an Arsenal player soon too..

The Star continue to report that Podolski could soon be a Gonner.

Come on Arsenal, get the victory tonight and then get the final pieces of the jigsaw signed and sealed…

COYRRG’s….

Have a good day all…

 


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