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Arsene’s staying? Casemiro wanted & A night to blow away the bubbles…..

April 15, 2014

Morning all.

I’ll start with the transfer gossip and The Mirror report that as well as Morata, we are hoping to sign Casemiro, a Brazillian box-to-box midfielder. I’ll admit to knowing nothing about him but he’s being described as being the player who could take over from Mikel Arteta.

This is Jack Lang of The Mirrors view of him:

He has played a little deeper for Real, picking the ball up from the defence and starting attacks. While perhaps not a natural defender, he could perform a role similar to that of Arteta at Arsenal, anticipating danger rather than clattering into opposition players on a regular basis.

That made me chuckle…….

Seems like only hours ago that we were celebrating our penalty shoot-out victory in the FA Cup semi-final, maybe that’s because it was. Why this fixture has been scheduled for tonight goodness only knows, surely tomorrow would have been much more sensible.

Still, it is what it is and there’s nothing like playing again after what should be, a morale boosting victory…

We needed it too…..

Could do with these two on form tonight....

Could do with these two on form tonight….

Just like we need the return of a few players…

Team news from the manager:

We have plenty of uncertainties for muscular problems and fatigue. Who could be available who was not in the squad on Saturday? Maybe Rosicky and Koscielny – we’ll have to test him definitely today. There are plenty of uncertainties so I have to make up my mind late on.

The main uncertainties are Monreal who had to come off with a dead leg. Podolski had a little [muscle] problem but I think he will be alright. Then there is Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ramsey (both muscle tightness). They are the main problems.

Koscielny will be tested today (yesterday) and I have to decide after training if I take the risk or not to start him tomorrow (today).

Well I hope Laurent Koscielny passes his fitness test with flying colours because we need to get our defensive stability back again.

Same goes for Aaron Ramsey but considering he is only just back from a long-term injury and after playing for such a long period of time on Saturday, maybe it would be wise to rest him for this one and let Kim Kallstrom make his full debut, after all, that’s what we signed him for. If Serge Gnabry is fit, then play him too and let Oxlade-Chamberlain have a breather as he too struggled towards the end of Saturday’s game.

We have a squad and we seriously need to use it tonight. Zelalem, Akpom and Eisfeld are all options too although it does seem that Arsene Wenger is reluctant to call upon any of them right now…..

Nicklas Bendtner and Abou Diaby were both training yesterday, who knows, we could see either, we might even see both!!

Head-to-head

  • Arsenal have won six successive league matches against West Ham and are unbeaten in the last 12 meetings in all competitions since a 1-0 home defeat in April 2007.
  • West Ham’s only goal in their last five visits to the Emirates Stadium was scored by Jack Collison in a 5-1 defeat last season.

Arsenal

  • The Gunners have only taken two points from their last four matches. They have not gone five league games without a win since registering five successive draws in January and February 2009.
  • Arsene Wenger’s side have gone 15 home games unbeaten in the league since the opening-day defeat by Aston Villa.
  • They have earned more points than any other side this season after opening the scoring: 55 from 20 games.

Big Sam will no doubt head to The Emirates rubbing his hands together with joy, he’ll know there is no better time to be playing us. Not only because of recent form but playing 120 minutes of football just a couple of days ago will have taken a lot out of our players. Well some!

We have just six games left of this seasons campaign, six matches in which certain players need to step up and start playing the way we all know they can, the way they did before Christmas, the kind of dogged football which saw us rise to the top of the league and not the kind which saw us fall away so rapidly.

Arsene Wenger on the future:

We do make plans for next season, we are really focused and working very hard. Every day we spend time on that.

It’s vital to me to make the top four. I want this club to play in the Champions League.

What will be an advantage is our desire to play in this competition because we love the Champions League and just to imagine how much we love it will help us to achieve it. I would like them rather to concentrate on the pleasure to be in it rather than the pain of not being in it.

It is vital for the young players as well. You learn more by playing against Bayern or Barcelona or Real Madrid than if you play in the Europa League, that is for sure.

You don’t go backwards, but you want to play with the top teams.

On the other hand for many years I had to convince you it was important we were in the top four.

Now it is in a reverse ­position, you say to me, ‘you realise how important it is for us’.

A sure sign he’s staying?

Arsene Wenger wants that top four place and there’s no doubting that will have been drummed into the players minds.

Enough to see a better performance and a much needed league victory?

I think so…..

COYRRG’s, go blow away the bubbles and give us something to be cheerful about……..

 

 

 

 

 

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Too much damage done in London, or can Wenger get one over Pep?

March 11, 2014

Just two days short to the day, exactly one year ago, we travelled to Germany needing three goals to knock-out Bayern Munich. We managed two but couldn’t get that final goal to see us through.

We return to the same ground tonight needing at least two goals to give us a chance…. And of course, we mustn’t concede.

Giroud slotting one past Neuer a year ago...

Giroud slotting one past Neuer a year ago…

The teams’ performance that fateful night in Bavaria was deemed the ultimate failure steeped in honour and glory. After that victory, we went on an amazing run during which we dropped just 4 points, against Everton and Manchester United, out of a possible 30 to ensure we ended up with the trophy so craved by our ambitions board and manager for the 17th time.

But when the draw was made for this stage of the Champions League against the defending champions of the competition, we looked destined to perish at the same stage of the Champions League and against the same opponents as last season.

However, Senor Guardiola was quoted as saying “I have never won here, “I learned that you can never dominate Arsenal for 90 minutes. You can dominate for 30 minutes, to half-time, for 75 minutes, but for 90 minutes it is impossible. Arsenal, with these quality players, you always have a problem.”

That was the respect arguably the best club team and football manager in European football had for us going into the game on the 19th of February. Some may argue that Pep was just paying lip service to our egos but looking at the team sheet just before kick-off, I was perplexed to see how cautiously the Bavarians were going to line up with only 3 attacking players in Gotze, Mandzukic and Robben as compared to the 4 very attacking players we fielded if we consider Wilshere as a defensive minded player.

Not surprising we started the game very positively as we did the previous year by testing Neuer on 2 occasions within the first few minutes. We even won a penalty on the 7th minute but we all know what transpired…

The general consensus by most Arsenal fans after the game was that the sending off of Wojciech Szczesny in the 37th minute was the turning point in the game. I am not so sure that was the case as leading up to the penalty that Alaba missed we had only had 3 shots on target and that included Ozil’s penalty save by Neuer.

Following Ozil’s penalty, Bayern attempted 4 attempts on goal before Szczesny was sent off without us making a single one.

In my view, the tide had turned against us more than 15 minutes before Nacho Monreal replaced Gibbs who I thought had been overloaded relentlessly by Gotze, Rafinha, Kroos, and Lahm on our left hand side. This is not questioning Gibbs ability by the way but rather the lack of protection afforded him on numerous occasions.

Before the game, most of us had identified the potential defensive weakness of our left hand side. Wenger on the other hand decided to throw caution to the wind and continued with his naive trend of not providing any protection to our fullbacks against some of the most lethal wingers in world football.

It was therefore no surprise that Bayern set out to exploit that side and compounded by Monreal’s sudden introduction into the game and going a man short as a result of the red card which was perfectly ‘orchestrated’ by Robben, it was bound to be a long night with our backs against the wall.

So the big question is do we stand a chance or will the damage which was done in London prove irreparable?

Going back and referring to the build up to the corresponding game a year ago, the club was in a bad state; our ability to finish 4th in the league was under great scrutiny after losing to our noisy neighbours 2-1 away from home at White Hart Lane. Moreover, Blackburn had beaten us 1-0 at home in the FA Cup just a few weeks before.

On this occasion we have just beaten a very strong Everton outfit convincingly with our record signing showing all the signs of the flair and ingenuity we all know he is capable of. Although our league position is not as secure as it was going into the first leg, there is a positive sense and air of expectation amongst the faithful.

Our opponents FC Bayern Munchen are smoothly sailing in all competitions they are involved in. Last weekend they racked up a record 16th successive Bundesliga win after coming from behind to beat VfL Wolfsburg 6-1 at the Volkswagen Arena. Their best player, Ribery who missed the first leg is back from his most uncommon of injuries with a superb performance and goal.

In fact it looks like the Bavarians’ who are unbeaten in a staggering 49 Bundesliga matches have no weakness for our toothless attack to exploit. But I beg to differ. As I mentioned before the first leg, I believe their centre-halves have a weakness against strong old fashioned strikers like Giroud. Even young Yaya Sanogo was able to cause the two defenders a few head-aches in the first legs.

As in most top-tier games in recent times, I believe we always ‘shoot’ ourselves in the foot by not doing the basics very well until we have gone behind. Maybe it is either due to nerves or a lack of tactical nous from our veteran manager or simply a lack of quality amongst the ranks. Some may say our line-up is always so predictable that it makes our opponents’ job very easy. Whatever our individual views and arguments are, I believe that the boys have to be mentally prepared and focused to work hard for at least 120 minutes if we can’t do the job in the initial 90 minutes.

In the ideal world I would like Wenger to change tact for once and play Serge, Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain in a 3-5-2 set-up so that we can match Bayern’s dynamic midfield in numbers. This will offer us the opportunity to press and stop Bayern from playing from the back.

However, I suspect Arsene will go with Giroud on his own upfront with three of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil and Rosicky behind him. Then play the experienced duo of Arteta and Flamini in a fluid formation which may translate to 4-2-4 if we score very early on in the game to mimic the performance against Napoli at the Emirates’ last year.

I am not so sure playing a back 4 which translates to a back 2 or 3 at best when we are on the attack is the best way to claw back a two goal deficit in the Allianz Arena. It’s clear that our fullbacks are unrealistically expected to provide both the width we need to have a good performance as well do their primary defensive duties.

Although playing our usual way on paper has an attacking edge, on this occasion we will be gambling on the clinical prowess of Ribery and Robben who will give Sagna and any deputising left-back another torrid time on the flanks. There is also the issue of the likes of Muller, Kroos and possibly Lahm playing in the area right in-front of our back four, thereby outnumbering our defensive midfielder for the night.

Our club captain may find himself thrown into the deep-end as Gibbs’s replacement since both our first choice Left-backs will be missing this crucial tie. I strongly believe that this injury gives us an ideal opportunity for Arsene to play a back three of Sagna, Per and Koscielny. Vermaelen, Arteta and Flamini should then be deployed in midfield with a dynamic front four of Ozil, Giroud, Alex and possibly Podolski or Rosicky.

If we are to inflict a defeat, similar to the one that ended Bayern’s 6 months winning streak at home when we won away in Bavaria last year, Arsene will have to dust off all his managerial manuals or go back to the drawing board.

Since in football anything can happen, my wish is that Dante and Neuer end up getting sent off in the first half giving us every opportunity to eliminate Bayern in order to continue the trend of no club being able to retain the Champions League trophy in modern times…

Finally, as the saying goes, there is no harm in dreaming and adding to the fact the ‘football gods’ somewhere smiled on us last weekend and allowed Wigan to defeat Man City in the FA, it is sane to say anything is possible so far as we are prepared to put in the shift during the entirety of the game…

Come on you gunners!

Written by Tsgh


Remy deal on? £25 Million for Morata & It takes two baby as Wembley date secured….

March 9, 2014

Morning all.

Soft penalty says Martinez, dead cert says Peter Reid, an Everton man….

I’m not sure you’d find one more clear cut and and easy for Mark Clattenburg to give than Barry’s foul on Oxlade-Chamberlain…

Lucky say the pundits, pointing to a couple of misses by Barkley when the scores were 1-1…

Don’t you just love it…

Ninety minutes of football and it’s all about taking your chances in front of goal and yesterday we did just that although we did take our time… lol

Four stunning goals in my opinion and yes, even the penalty by Arteta because having had the first one wiped out because Giroud was allegedly pushing an Everton player, up he stepped to fire home the second one. That showed mental strength.

Our first though was just a delight to watch wasn’t it. The run with the ball by Santi Cazorla, the movement off the ball from Ozil, the pass through the two Everton defenders was precise by the little Spaniard and the finish by Ozil was exquisite….

Great start and just what we wanted.

Flamini was the first in the book for a studs up tackle on John Stones. Another referee may just have been tempted to pull a red card out of his pocket. Thankfully, not Clattenburg.

Then just what we didn’t want was Everton to get an equaliser but they did and we certainly helped them get it.

Barry won the ball on the edge of his own penalty area, played it straight out to Ross Barkley who ran and didn’t stop running with the ball. Our defenders were trying to track back from having been on the attack and the nearest player to Barkley was Flamini. Not the slightest of attempt to block the cross was made by him and there was Lukaku and Mirallas were free to make sure the ball found the back of the net. Lukaku got the final touch.

It’s fair to say that Everton had a few chances to take the lead as did we but none were taken..

Half-time came and went with the scores level.

That nearly was 'Tackle' from behind...

That nearly was ‘Tackle’ from behind…

Again both sides had chances in the second half but neither could find that clinical finish when it was needed. That or good last ditch defending by both sides kept the scoreline the same…

Arsene Wenger made his first change on the hour mark, off came young Yaya Sanogo and on in his place came Le Quiff, aka Giroud.

Then a sudden burst of energy into our game. OC to Ozil and on went our Englishman down the right, Ozil played a quick pass back into OC’s path and he burst into the penalty area. Barry was on his trail and after OC had flicked the ball passed him and carried on with his run, Barry’s outstretched leg brought our man down…

Soft penalty decision, not in this world…

Arteta stepped up and buried the ball into the back of the net. 2-1…

Hang on, Giroud was deemed to pushed an Everton player, game stopped, Giroud booked and Arteta had to go through it all again…..

Cool as a cucumber……. 2-1!

Everton again had a few moments where they looked dangerous but they couldn’t make those moments count.

The next change for us came on 77 minutes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went off to a standing ovation and on came our old boy Tomas Rosicky.

2-1 became 3-1. Thomas Vermaelen picked up a loose ball in midfield and played the ball out to Sagna on the right, our captain looked like he was about to charge forward for the return ball but never did… Instead, Sagna played the ball to Rosicky and then carried on his run for the return ball which he duly received. He waited for Giroud to take a pace backwards into space, played a perfect pass into his fellow Frenchman and the rest is history. Great pass by Sagna, great finish by Giroud…

3-1 soon became 4-1.

Santi Cazorla was back defending and robbed Deulofeu of the ball, he ran and picked out Tomas on the right with a quick pass. Rosicky played the ball into Ozil and his quick ball sideways to Giroud was perfectly place for the big French striker to slot home….

What a perfect way to end a darn good performance…

You know, so many players get criticised each week for not defending, but yesterday, both Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla were back helping out, in fact our fourth was all about Santi winning the ball back in defence.

Yaya Sanogo, well he couldn’t get into the game could he but I don’t blame him, I blame the the lack of alternative experienced options within the squad. Sanogo is for the future that’s for sure.

Ozil showed yesterday just what he’s about and I hope that wonderful performance will go along way to silencing his critics, especially the Arsenal fans because they are the ones who will eventually destroy him and push him out.

Oxlade Chamberlain, well what a player he is, even when he made a mistake, he was the one back in defence making a last ditch tackle to make amends…

Captain Thomas, well for his first game in a long long time was very steady and if ends up playing in Germany, then I don’t think we have anything to worry about…

Credit to Arsene Wenger too, he made changes at the right time and they worked.

Better without Jack was the call here on HH yesterday, I personally feel it’s a bit too early to say that but time will tell…

If I’m wrong, I don’t care because life isn’t always about proving you are right is it? Is it?

Great result and the performance wasn’t too bad either was it…

Transfer gossip:

The Metro report that we can sign Morata IF we pay £25 Million to Real Madrid.

The Sunday People report that Arsene Wenger wants Loic Remy in the summer and will activate his £8 million get out clause which Qpr have in place and the same newspaper suggests that the reason our manager has yet to sign his new contract is due to him wanting reassurance that he will remain in total charge of which players come and go at the club.

If true, that does kind of suggest that the owner/board want us to be more proactive this summer. Well good, Arsene Wenger can name his most wanted and let someone else take it from there and get the deals done nice and early.

We certainly need a few don’t we……

That’s your lot for another day, I hope we get Wigan in the semi-final…….


How have we gone from 3 to 1? Strikers off! FA need to look further than Adam!

March 4, 2014

Morning all.

Nicklas Bendtner has confirmed he won’t be staying beyond his current contract:

I’m not going to stay at Arsenal – first team football is what I’m after.

The plan is for me to move on. I’m ready for a new challenge.

I’m sure he knew before he was off but when a young Yaya Sanogo is getting more playing time than him, I guess any hope of him staying was dashed. Hope for him I mean, not us!

Other news which no doubt everyone will know by now relates to Charlie Adam and the fact that he’s been charged by the FA for stamping on Olivier Giroud. Just why Glenn Whelan hasn’t also been charged is beyond me, his bad tackle could have broken our strikers leg.

Onto today’s main post which is from ‘Down Under’….

Where to now?

Two weeks ago, we were competing on 3 fronts, yet now it’s realistically one. The FA cup.

Why is that?

Lack of ambition?
Lack of quality?
Lack of depth?
Lack of tactical nous?
All of the above?

But why, why do we have these problems and it’s not for the first time is it?

Our manager must take his share of responsibility, naturally enough but I maintain that those above him are ultimately responsible for the culture of acceptance which seemingly runs throughout the club.

Acceptance that near enough is good enough.

Stan Kroenke and Ivan Gazidis have the power to demand success and more importantly, they have the raw ingredients in place so there is no great overhaul required!

The stadium, commercial deals and fan base is up there with the best clubs in Europe, so why do they sit on their hands and accept top 4 positions as the measure of success?

Why?

Those pointing the finger at Giroud, Arteta and Wenger himself must surely see they are at worst, symptoms of a bigger issue but why are they constantly the targets for abuse?

They are easy targets, that’s why.

Surely Stan is the guilty party here because he has no love for Arsenal, no care for the history of the club and no feeling of responsibility to the fans.

What does Stan bring to the table?

Why is Stan not the focal point of abuse and protests?

The analogy I use is that if a child is a spoilt brat and never disciplined, then is the child at fault or the are the parents responsible?

The same applies at Arsenal, because whilst Stan and Ivan ask Wenger to provide profits and little more, why blame Wenger for the lack of success when those above him see him as the ultimate manager for their cause?

Something needs to be done and it may well be to get rid of Wenger, but it will not change anything while Stan is in the background ensuring that the number one aim is the share prices.

Would a new manager really be given free reign to spend? I am not so sure.

Fresh blood could be the answer but I believe the changes must start at the top and the sooner the better.

On a brighter note, I have touched on the Football School my son attends and the idea is gaining a little momentum here in Australia. Here is the link if you are interested….

Australia, considering its small population, has always provided world class athletes in a huge variety of sports but football has always been the 3rd or 4th sporting choice and because of this the money has not been invested so the level of coaching has been left serious lacking.

But not now.

Even our very own Highbury House coach is impressed… ;)

The level of training is far beyond anything Australia has ever seen and although the fruits will take a few years to become ripe, I am positive that this country will be providing world class players on a regular basis at some stage.

My message to Stan Kroenke is to send over a few hundred kits for the kids each season, a player to visit once a year, a few bob in sponsorship and you will immediately turn a few hundred kids into Gooners.

This group will be providing professional footballers soon enough and I would stake my years salary on that – and for a tiny bit of investment, a large club, our club could have first pick of them.

Oh, but that would take foresight and cost, so Stan is out…..  :)

Anyway, we Gooners move on but where to right now I really don’t know……

Written by Scott from Oz.


State Of Play. Truly fortunate to have Arsene Wenger……..

February 26, 2014

When we look at the trials and tribulations of PL managers and just how difficult it has evidently become for a club to make the transition from one to another with any degree of success, I believe that in Arsene we have been truly fortunate.

I can imagine the conversations that must have taken place at board level and between Kroenke and Gazidis as to contingencies should Wenger decide that he has had enough and wants to either retire or seek pastures new.

It would be easy to assume that Kroenke knows little about football, but he is a billionaire who hasn’t made his money by blindly stumbling through his business dealings, waving a Stetson while yelling “Yeee Ha”. For him Arsene is the prudent goose that lays golden eggs season after season. He advocates and practices creative, quality football and gives the club a degree of respectability across the footballing world and though he can be outspoken, he is never going to display the same level of crass petulance that we can expect every time Mourinho opens his mouth.

How vulgar and classless Wenger must find that little man who spends so much of his time either bigging himself up or taking cheap shots at other managers in an attempt to enhance his reputation.

Though it wasn’t a difficult task, he dragged Chelsea down to his level when he was their manager a few years back and true to form, the footballing press adored him. I found that there was always a certain sick edge to his despicable rants that, alongside their owner’s willingness to spend crazy money, made it quite easy to detest everything they stood for. Yet, even after the great financial splurges and their on-field success very few could argue against the fact that they had bought their trophies and there was still the festering, open sore that was Mourinho.

A man like him, who was unable to show even a modicum of class towards his opponents whether he was winning or not, was the architect of a footballing ethos that was so negative, boring and cynical that even Abramovich was moved to throw him out. Watching his toy produce the never ending cycle of tedious long-ball crap, exemplified by the incessant and continuous cheating of Drogba, from his perch high above the pitch must have proved just too much. Mourinho was gone and the PL was much better for it. It was though a stain had been removed from the game and Chelsea began trawling for a manager who might bring a smile to the grey miserable expression that clouds the Russian’s face whenever the camera flashes on him during a game.

Surely Stan, Ivan and the rest of the Arsenal board must cast a worried but amused glance toward Chelsea when they think about who and what comes after Arsene. But hold on, Chelsea have come full circle and after spending tens of millions exhausting all other possibilities, Mourinho is back and of course it’s still all about him. After serving up a trophy filling in a shit sandwich to his employers in both Italy and Spain he has come ‘home’ but this time his gob is not so golden.

He has become rather tired and passé, more Mr Bean than James Bond and his barrage of insults have lost some of the sparkling quotability the press might have seen in them before. Now he seems like a rather odd hate-filled little man, shouting at the world and still bathing in his own excrement on a daily basis.

His recent insults toward Wenger and our club fell on ground somewhat less fertile than he anticipated. The football family worldwide grimaced at how truly pathetic he has become and now, in response, he has gone all sulky. He constantly plays down the chances of his own side with nonsensical metaphors and I imagine that in his own egocentric world he sees this as a brilliant psychological ploy to heap pressure on Pellegrini and Manchester City and on Arsenal and his old nemesis Wenger. Arsene had reeled him in quite nicely a couple of weeks back and he bit, big time, like the inflated-headed bully he is. Arsene of course knew he simply couldn’t resist. Pellegrini probably shook his head in indifferent disgust as he already despises him after their time as adversaries in Spain where Mourinho’s behaviour plumbed new depths of repulsiveness when he attempted to gouge an opponent’s eye after a defeat. Now, that’s class.

When Kroenke looks at this and the car wreck that is Manchester United and realises that the extremely odd Glazers are going to have to dig very, very deep to get Moyes back on track he must shudder. Rooney’s obscene new contract must have old Stan wondering if he can’t sign Wenger up for another 10 years as a buffer against all the madness that we are witnessing in football these days.

Every year we are told that things will change and that the manager will be fully supported in the transfer window and every year we never seem quite able to put together the balance of players that will equip us for competitive success at the highest level. Almost, but not quite.

Watching us line up against Bayern last week with the very inexperienced Sanogo as our striker bought this home with a bang. Giroud, out of the picture because he sees himself as a mirror-obsessed, superstar stud, banging away 24 hours a day, is not the player that we need to complete the picture and allow Ozil to express himself by doing what he does best. This is a very justifiable criticism of Wenger and one that he should have addressed before now with a speedy and deadly marksman. But, we could still win the PL. You never know. If we do, then it will surely be the greatest championship for many, many years and a great tribute to Wenger’s methods and single-minded determination to do things his way.

But then there is the club’s PR and that is the face of Arsenal to its supporters. As anyone who attends the games through a Season Ticket will tell you, it is getting fearfully expensive these days and the cynicism with which us customers are treated with regards to pricing of games that fall outside the ST and any refunds that are due is breathtakingly opportunist and does absolutely nothing to foster a feeling that we are all part of the club. If Gazidis spent his time changing this perception alone, then the supporters would feel a lot better. Give a little and you’ll get a lot more back Ivan. Let’s not kid ourselves that Arsenal aren’t primarily motivated by money because they are, but perhaps if they attempted to make it less obvious then supporters might not feel quite as marginalised as they have grown.

Overall, Arsenal are in a pretty good place at the moment. The squad is generally ok, despite a couple of glaring gaps and some unfortunate injuries, but there are challenges in the immediate and mid term future. The games will come and go and what will be will be. But the transfer window in the coming summer is possibly going to see players, big players, leaving. In other words there are times, a few months ahead, that may well see more players than usual come and go. Wenger and Kroenke understand the need for stability for different reasons I am sure and will want to keep that turnaround to a minimum.

We mustn’t be afraid of change but, through sites like HH, we do have a voice no matter how small that may seem and we owe Wenger the benefit of the doubt even when he seems entrenched in his own ways. He is never going to satisfy everybody, but a trophy would go a long way toward making his point more emphatically.

I think that he really deserves it.

Written by Adam

 

 


Seven summer departures on the cards! Campbell wants Arsenal chance!

February 25, 2014

Morning all.

The summer transfer window may seem a long way off right now but before we know it, this season will be over and players will start leaving. Some will be out of contract, others like our captain will no doubt be in search of regular football.

Here’s who I think will be packing their bags and I’m not including those not in the first team squad.

Goalkeepers

Wojciech Szczesny
Emiliano Viviano – Going Loan expired.
Lukasz Fabianski – Going OOC.

Defenders

Bacary Sagna – Likely to go – OOC.
Per Mertesacker
Thomas Vermaelen – Likely to go as wants starting place.
Laurent Koscielny
Nacho Monreal
Carl Jenkinson
Kieran Gibbs

Midfielders

Tomas Rosicky
Mikel Arteta
Jack Wilshere
Mesut Ozil
Aaron Ramsey
Santi Cazorla
Mathieu Flamini
Abou Diaby – Likely to go through fitness.
Kim Kallstrom – Going and not likely to ever start.
Gedion Zelalem

Forwards

Lukas Podolski – Could go and has hinted at return to Koln.
Olivier Giroud
Theo Walcott
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Yaya Sanogo
Nicklas Bendtner – Going OOC
Ryo Miyaichi – Likely to be going
Serge Gnabry

Lukasz Fabianski and Nicklas Bendtner are definitely departing and it’s looking more and more likely as the days go by that Bacary Sagna will be joining them in the departure lounge.

That of course means that Arsenal will need to sign three players even before they address out short fallings within the current squad.

I truly believe that Thomas Vermaelen will depart too as he’ll be in search of first team football on a regular basis. The same could be said of Lukas Podolski who isn’t always the first player off the bench these days let alone the starting eleven.

Nothing seems to have gone right for Ryo Miyaichi since he joined us with both injuries and unsuccessful loan spells playing their part. He’s in the first team squad and surely, at 21 years old and with us lacking a left sided winger, he’d be playing right now if Arsene Wenger believed he has what it takes…

The World Cup kicks off in Rio on the 12th June with the final on the 1st July, the day the transfer window officially opens but as we all know, many transfer deals will go through long before then.

What does Arsene Wenger do bearing in mind it’s looking very likely that he’ll have to have one of the most productive transfer windows he’s had in many years?

Sign his targets early and take the risk that any one of them could get injured, or wait until the World Cup is over and then make his move?

As I said earlier, the transfer window may seem a long way off right now but when we consider the amount of players we could actually lose, the club are surely already thinking about how to replace them and who with.

No doubt one or two will make a step up from the Academy but that still leaves us with quite a number of positions which will need filling with experienced quality players.

The three key areas for me are a goalkeeper, left sided winger, striker and finally a strong, hard tackling midfielder…..

If Sagna, Vermaelen and Podolski do decide to up sticks, that list will seriously increase….

Arsene Wenger once said that he doesn’t like signing too many players during any one transfer window as that can cause problems.

I don’t think he has any choice but to do just that in the summer…

Finally, Joel Campbell is on show tonight as his Olympiakos side take on Manchester United and despite there being stories about his loan deal being made permanent, it looks like he is only thinking of playing for us next season:

As soon as Arsenal came, I wanted to join them and I believe I am ready to play for Arsenal next season.

I know I have the capacity to play there. I am only waiting for the opportunity. With hard work I know I can get there.

Let’s see if he can score a few goals against an average Manchester side, if he can, maybe he’s worth keeping…..

That’s your lot for another day….


Arsene makes early move for new striker? Rosicky new deal & Flamini explains Ozil words…

February 24, 2014

Morning all.

Everyone is very happy to have him here because he’s such a talented player and I don’t understand why people are hard on him.

Couldn’t put it better myself Mr Flamini.

I really don’t get why Mesut Ozil is being given such a hard time. Yes it’s frustrating when he’s not laying on goal scoring opportunities or scoring for himself but wouldn’t it be fair to say that he’s not been alone in that department?

Just because he has a £42 million price tag on his head, it doesn’t mean he is not human and come on, the Premier League is far from La Liga where the referees allow little, or no contact. Not only that, but he’s used to having pacey players moving off of and around him and that’s something we don’t have much of right now and of course, his body is used to having a winter break.

And don’t always fall for the ‘player rift’ storyline either, we all know the press like to be negative:

When you’re a journalist or you’re a fan seeing it from the outside, it’s difficult to interpret it. But Mesut is one of my closest team-mates and we were on the pitch.

It was not about arguing it was just about communication. Mesut is a winner, I’m a winner; we were both fighting because we just wanted to give everything to the team to make sure we defended properly.

It was about communication, but at the end of the day it proves to everyone that we really wanted to win and we’re winners. It’s important, as you want a team with character, not a team who doesn’t react.

That was said after the two players had crossed words during the Bayern Munich game and of course the press have made a big deal about it but as Flamini says, it’s all because he cares.

We were all thrilled when he signed and there’s a reason for that. That reason is because Mesut Ozil is a world class player and one day very soon, his critics will be silenced…

One player who has silenced his critics is Tomas Rosicky. He’s been really good this season and when he starts, we look that little bit quicker going forward and a little bit more complete. Well he’s set to be rewarded with a new contract.

Arsene Wenger:

Tomas Rosicky will stay. We have an agreement with him and it will come out soon. I am absolutely adamant he has to stay at the club.

I think he is one of the players who plays the game of give and move. He is a great accelerator of the game. When the ball comes to him it goes into second gear and that is something I admire in him.

That’s good news, now we just need to get Bacary Sagna tied down to a new deal too.

The latest transfer gossip, The Metro  report that we have already been in touch with Standard Liege asking them to name their price for striker Michy Batshuayi. £10 million is reported to be the players value.

I can’t see this having a scrap of truth as since when do we tell a club to name their price?

That’s your lot for another day….


Rosicky better than Jack? Make room Arsene, make room!!

February 23, 2014

Morning all.

We needed a good result after the Bayern match and we got just that.

Just a few months ago we were all raving about over that very special team goal which Jack Wilshere finished in style. What a treat that was eh…

Back then, doubts were that we’d witness such a goal again this season.

Well shiver me old timbers, the boys went and did something very similar again yesterday, the only difference being that Tomas Rosicky was the player to finish the wonderful move off.

The goal was good, no, it was really really good and it will no doubt be up there with Jacks for goal of the season. The little dink over Mannone was superb and possibly the goal overall, was better than Jacks.

I bet Dennis Bergkamp enjoyed it too……

The rest of our goals were taken well and although Sunderland didn’t exactly do a lot to stop us scoring, the players still had to make sure they found the back of the net and they did just that.

Although when I heard we had 70% possession in the first half, maybe we should have scored a few more….. lol

The downside to the afternoon was Jack Wilshere, Lauren Koscielny and Nacho Monreal all picking up injuries and us conceding a goal, something we haven’t done at The Emirates in the league for a long time. Mind you, it’s been a while since Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny haven’t played alongside each other and when Sunderland scored, our Frenchman was having an early bath….

Wenger said this about Jack:

He had a tight hamstring, I don’t know if it is bad or not. They tell me it is not too bad.

On Monreal and Koscielny, Arsene Wenger said

Koscielny is a back problem and Nacho is his foot. I think both of them should be available next week.

Our next fixture is away at Stoke and hopefully all three will have recovered by then….

Still more mobile than Giroud? ;)

Still more mobile than Giroud? Ha Ha.

Finally, I’ll end with Arsene Wenger’s comments about Dennis Bergkamp:

He changed the destiny of the club because he arrived at a moment when football in England was changing. He was the first big star to arrive at this club, having been at Inter Milan. Overall I think he contributed to transforming the way we played football here. Nobody forgets him. Always the biggest admiration is from the players who played with him. Everyone admitted Dennis in our team. Even today, when I meet the former players they speak always about his class. He was class, intelligent and he had another quality that is a bit lost today: he was loyal to this club. He deserves special treatment.

On whether he could join the club…

I am not against it one day. One, he has the qualities, but you need to have the need as well because we have a big staff already. He is now at two clubs that made Dennis Bergkamp. The first, and certainly the most important one, is Ajax. He is at Ajax now and a coach there. The second club that is important in his life is Arsenal. Maybe that will be the next step!

I imagine every Arsenal fan would love to see Dennis Bergkamp return and if our current ‘big staff’ situation is the only thing preventing that then I’m sure one of the coaches would relish a fresh challenge elsewhere.

Make room Arsene, make room and get Dennis Bergkamp back home where he belongs……

That’s it for today…


Every reason to be proud Arsenal, Every reason……

February 20, 2014

Morning all.

So we lost 2-0…

But, all time the game was 11 verses 11, we matched the current Champions of Europe in every sense. In fact I’d say that until Szczesny was sent off, we were the far better side side.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was causing Bayern all sorts of problems down the right and but for Neuer being sharp, he may have got us an opener. Neuer prevented Sanogo from scoring his first Champions League goal too with a good save on seven minutes.

Kroos too had a chance for the Germans but Szczesny made  a stunning save to keep his shot out.

We started well, we looked the best we had done for a while and to be honest, we were good….

Then we were presented the best chance of the match after Mesut Ozil was tripped over in the penalty area.

Up stepped the German, well, more like up strolled the German and yet again his spot-kick was feeble and needless to say, Neuer saved with absolute ease.

What happened to power, pace and precision?? It’s not the first time Ozil has approached a penalty kick with such lethargy but I sure hope it is the last. That was our chance to take what would have been a well deserved lead and kick on. I wish Sagna had stepped up and blasted the ball into the back of the net….

Ozil’s head went down, his shoulders dropped and to be honest, his performance from then on did far from reflect his reputation and he was still caught shaking his head late on in the game. Flamini was clearly annoyed by Ozil’s lacklustre display late on in the game and let him know too……

Boateng was booked for the foul on Ozil and it wasn’t too long before he committed another foul either but this one, just before the 40 minute mark went unpunished.

The red card came out for Szczesny after he caught the forever diving Dutch cheat Robben as he went through on goal. Yes our keeper caught his leg but the ball was going away from goal so was a red card really necessary?

Maybe the triple somersault by Robben helped to convince the referee that it was.

Anyway, Santi Cazorla was the player to make way for Fabianski. I’d have oiked Ozil off!

David Alban fired the spot-kick against the post. Ha!!

We as a group defended well although Monreal, who was on for the injured Gibbs, looked all over the place at times and his task wasn’t helped by others who left him exposed on the left…..

It was inevitable that Bayern would make the breakthrough and they did soon 53 minutes through Toni Kroos and credit where it’s due, it was stunner and Fabianski could do nothing to prevent the ball from finding the top corner.

The sucker punch was dealt when Thomas Müller headed home Bayern’s second with just minutes to go…

We aren’t out just yet but it’s a tough task ahead…

There are plenty of positives after last night.

Yaya Sanogo, who was playing in his first Champions League match looked full of life and attitude and never stopped trying. Ok, he didn’t, maybe doesn’t have the finesse to his game yet but it certainly looks as if that might come any day soon. His pace and determination up front certainly gives us something different.

The defence looked totally untroubled all the time we were 11 v 11 and that’s a huge plus considering we were playing a side who is deemed the best in Europe.

The one thing I did find strange though was replacing Oxlade-Chamberlain with Tomas Rosicky. Our Englishman was having a decent game yet Mesut Ozil, who was awful, stayed on.

Is Arsene Wenger afraid to upset him by taking him off? Well he shouldn’t as in my opinion, he should have gone off when Fabianski came on, let alone when Tomas came on but somehow and for whatever reason which only Arsene Wenger knows, he remained on the pitch until the end….

Ok, it’s going to be difficult to overturn this result in Germany but if we can play like we did last night for the remainder of the season, we still have a huge part to play in the league title race, just as we do in the FA Cup..

Don’t be too disheartened – there’s a lot to be proud about after last night.

That’s your lot for another day….


5 Times European Champions in town… Do we stand a chance?

February 19, 2014

When the draw for the second round of this year’s Champions League was made on the 16th of December last year most fans and probably majority of the football world concluded we won’t stand a chance against the current reigning Champions from Bavaria.

The more positive one’s said that if Wenger changed habits and bought a top striker in the mould of Costa and added a top midfield player in the form of Draxler then maybe we might have a chance.

But we all know how our winter transfer window unfolded so…

Since the draw was made we have lost our best player of the year in Ramsey, Theo, who these kind of games are made for and Giroud has been caught with his pants down.

Meanwhile, Jack is struggling with his form and Diaby, well he is still Diaby but at least he has a new companion in Kim.

The Bavarian War machine.....

The Bavarian War machine…..

Listening to the media and pundits will make most Arsenal fans assume that there is no point in even turning up for the game but most forget that even the 5 times winners of this competition have not had it all their own way over the last twenty odd years.

As the club and German legend rightly said this week whilst singing the praises of our often under-appreciated manager and taking a dig at Jose for not being a Bayern material, the last 30 years has been very disappointing for them. If you consider that the Bavarians won 3 European titles in the 70′s but then had to wait almost 25 years to win another trophy in 2001 and another 12 years in 2013, it seems that they are not quite the efficient German machine we all assume they may be.

The Bavarians come into this tie having scored a respectable 13 goals in their last 4 games in the Bundesliga with even the ‘pensioner’ Pizario chipping in a few over the weekend.

Poor Giroud....

Poor Giroud….

We on the other hand have scored 5 and conceded 7 in the last 4 EPL games but do the last 4 results paint a clear picture of both clubs form coming into this all important game?

In my humble opinion I would say No!

Bayern have played against the likes of Stuttgart and Freisburg who are all lingering around the bottom half of their league whilst we have played the two biggest clubs in England based on history, although one might say United are not currently a force.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to diminish the scale and quality of the opposition we are about to face but merely trying to put things in perspective.

With this in mind, if we compared the form of both clubs in their respective leagues then a completely different and rather frightening picture can be painted. After all, FC Munchen are leading the Bundesliga pack by a colossal 19 points whilst we sit respectably one point behind the ‘special needs one’s’ team’ in the EPL.

But as a long term enthusiast of the Bundesliga all due to my fellow other country man Tony Yeboah, I have to admit that this is one of the weakest Bundesliga seasons I have watched in over 20 years. The gulf in financial power of the Bavarians, who I consider to be the most financial stable club in world football, is clearly taking a toll on the rest of their rivals.

Since Klopp’s Dortmond  beat Pep’s Bayern in the German equivalent of our community shield in the summer, Dortmond have regressed and misfired on a few occasions and they now find themselves sitting in 3rd place 17 points behind league leaders Bayern.

However, all is not well with the Bavarians. They come into this game with their own set of issues that include Ribery requiring surgery in his backside to repair a burst blood vessel…

Shaqiri who has truly improved under Pep is also missing from the clash but Bayern have a fit again Schweinsteiger and Martínez to call upon. But I suspect even with Schweinsteiger and Martínez back to full fitness, Pep will persist with Lahm and Kross in midfield with Gotze and Muller giving them the attacking prowess they may need to take a good advantage away to the Allianz.

I think the Bavarians will line-up with Neuer; Alaba, Dante, Boateng, Rafinha; Lahm; Muller, Kroos, Gotze, Robben; Mandzukic in a 4-1-4-1 set-up with Muller and Gotze interchanging places during the game and also overloading our left hand side knowing that again either Santi or Poldolski may not be very disciplined to help our left back.

On our side we have no new injuries and so ideally I would like Gibbs and Sagna to come in for Monreal and Jenkinson with Poldoski playing on the left hand side of our attack. I presume Podolski will have a big point to prove against a club he may feel did not give him many opportunities during his brief spell with them.

In midfield, we have Rosicky fully rested after having been given a break away from the FA cup game and with Arteta suspended; Flamini should resume his defensive role in front of our back 4. I am hoping that Wenger will play Tomas in the all important box to box role in a 4-1-4-1 formation, no doubt Bayern will line up in the same way.

Wenger will no doubt expect Giroud to put aside all of his off the field issues and lead the attack so that he can cause Dante and Boateng a few problems in their defence.

I am not sure why Bendtner has not been selected in the last 2 games but personally I think he is another big game player who may relish coming on if needed instead of Yaya. I would prefer Serge to be given the last place on the bench instead of the young Frenchman.

With Alaba and Rafinha likely to play in a very attacking mode, I expect Wenger to use Oxlade on the right of our attack in order to impress again and help stake his claim for a place in the England squad for Brazil.

Arsene may however think that it won’t be fair on Alex to be playing 2 tough games in 4 days soon after coming back from injury.

I also believe another big decision Wenger will have to make will be who to choose between Santi, Jack and Ozil in the second attacking midfield role.

Personally, I think he will give Ozil the nod over Jack and Santi and I don’t think Jack would suit the type of game Arsene would have to play at home in the Champions League against a very fast and technical F.C Munchen team oozing with confidence in their own ability…

I hope Arsene shows the world that the old dog still has a few tricks up his sleeve and shows Pep why Wenger is still the old master he publicly admits to respect.

The line-up will most likely be Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny; Gibbs; Flamini, Rosicky; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ozil, and Giroud. I think Wenger will however drop Alex for Wilshere.

Those with interest in tactics may observe that Pep and Arsene have both reverted back to playing 4-1-4-1 after both played 4-2-3-1 in the past 6 or so years… an interesting move by both managers in my opinion.

I think the Bavarians have a weak area in central defence and so if we’ turn up’ and play without the proverbial hand brake on we stand a good chance of making sure that the history of no club retaining the European title continues for another season at least. The key in my view will be how and who Arsene chooses to stop both Kroos and Dante from playing the ball from the back.

Come on you Gunners… Let’s hope the players give the home fans something to shout about.

Have a good day…

Written by Tsgh


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