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Rabiot and Khedira deals on. Podolski off. Time to Stop the Rot!

August 16, 2014

Morning all.

Gossip:

Goal.com report that Lukas Podolski could soon be a gonner with both Galatasary and Besiktas showing an interest although a return to Germany could be favoured.

Adrien Rabiot has turned down the offer of a new contract at PSG and the 19 year old will now be sold. The Express believe for as little as £5 million as his contract expires next summer. We have been linked with the midfielder over the last few weeks so it’s no surprise that Jose Mourinho now has an interest in the player. That’s how he works, anything he can to in attempt to get one over Arsene Wenger, he will try his hardest to do so. The same newspaper believe that it’s a straight fight between us and Chelsea for his signature.

The same goes for Sami Khedira. Real Madrid don’t want their player to walk for free next summer and according to reports, he’s up for grabs for just £8 million. Mourinho wants him too strangely enough, so if he’s a player that Arsene Wenger wants, another battle with the under tall one will take place.

Per Mertesacker has called time on his International career. Good, Arsenal will benefit.

Winning the World Cup was the best possible end to 10 years in the national team. I’ve moved aside to let younger players take over.

We don’t have to fret about the future, we are better equipped than ever before. I’m happy that I’ve been able to play for so long, happy that people have trusted in me.

I’m still hungry for more titles, but I want to win them with Arsenal – to win the league, perhaps have a go at the Champions League. We’ve got a taste for silverware now, after winning the FA Cup.

I’m a world champion but you can’t let yourself go because of that. There are new challenges. I’m vice-captain at Arsenal and I know that I have more responsibilities now. I want to achieve big things with the club.

Having more time off for your legs and your head is not a bad thing in that respect – especially at my old age.

I’m still unsure why both he and Podolski aren’t back and ready to play today as neither were heavily involved in Germany’s campaign. I think Tomas Rosicky needs to do the same…..

Football is a funny old game isn’t it.

Over the last couple of years, many fans have called for Arsene Wenger to be sacked, some of us were less cruel and merely hoped he’d walk away gracefully when his contract expired, always believing that a new broom would sweep clean…

But, that situation didn’t materialise. Arsene Wenger signed a new three year contract, Ivan and his merry men have since been reasonably busy in the transfer window and we are looking in good shape. Yes we still need 2/3 more signings but fingers crossed at least two will arrive before the transfer window closes.

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis, the man who almost single handedly, not only saved Crystal Palace from relegation last season, but secured his side 11th place in the Premier League and was voted manager of the season by many, has walked out on his club. Apparently he made the decision after a breakdown over talks for a new contract.

Don’t get me wrong, Pulis is far from ever being on my Christmas card list, but I’m not stupid enough to not see just what he achieved last season and Crystal Palace may have just made a huge mistake.

Like I say, football is a funny old game, or rather football club owners are a funny old breed….

The odds are stacked against Palace today, with a roll over predicted by many. This time last season we all thought the same on the opening day of the season and none of us need reminding of what happened. We cannot start the same way again, we really can’t. The Emirates is our home and this season we have to make it our fortress. We’ve had a pretty good pre-season and last weekends victory should give the players a lot of confidence.

The fans should be up for the new campaign too and they need to make the stadium a much more hostile place to visit. Get behind the boys from the off and don’t let up all season regardless of how it unfolds. The players need us, 100% in every game.

Team news:

Our three German World Cup winners all sit this one out but Laurent Koscielny should be fit after an Achilles problem and David Opsina is still a couple of weeks away from a return so young Emiliano Martinez will be our reserve keeper. Diaby is tipped to be included in the squad too….

Calum Chambers, Alexis Sanchez and Mathieu Debucy should all make their Premier League debut and is there a better place for them to do so?

No, we are at home, we’re at The Emirates and we are The Arsenal!

We haven’t won our opening fixture for the last four seasons so it’s time to change that horrid record today.

Go kick this season off with a massive three points Arsenal…

COYRRG’s….

 

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First summer signing close? Arteta talks of disappointment…..

April 18, 2014

Morning all.

Happy Good Friday folks, don’t go over eating now!

Nom Nom.....

Nom Nom…..

According to The Metro, we are very close to signing Eintracht Frankfurt’s defender Sebastian Jung after his agent admitted a summer move to the Gunners is on the cards. £7 million is the price quoted for this German international.

With Bacary Sagna’s future still hanging in the balance, Jung seems to be the player Arsene Wenger wants to replace him…

So, if true, it means all the chit chat about Lukasz Piszczek and Daryl Janmaat in the press has been nothing other than poppycock… Mind you, so is this I suspect as I still think Sagna will remain a loyal Gooner….

In other news, Mikel Arteta has been talking about his career with Arsenal and he’s not exactly overwhelmed…

That (playing Champions League football) I achieved what I wanted to achieve but with one particular regret — that I haven’t enjoyed it as much as I should have done.

And that”s because I always put too much pressure on myself, trying to improve things that are not going well, not just in my own game but other things around the players or the club.

I find it difficult to say ‘I love it’ because I’m constantly putting myself under pressure, there’s always a next target or a ‘we won but we didn’t do a certain thing well’ nagging away at you. And it’s always like that.

The fight to switch off gets harder and harder. I just can’t do it.

I have long discussions with my wife every time we have a bad result and I constantly think about what we can improve, what we did wrong, what happened in the game.

I wonder if Arsene Wenger goes through something similar?

Some good news is that Mesut Ozil could be back for Sunday’s trip to Hull City, the dress rehearsal for the FA Cup Final. Mathieu Flamini, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Aaron Ramsey should all be fit and raring to go too.

Arsene Wenger has been talking about Ozil:

He is a fantastic football player, and I would put him on the list to be player of the season next season.

The first season is the season in which you adapt, and then you know what happens and you get into it. I believe that he will know better his partners [in the team], he will know better the league and the potential is absolutely fantastic.

He is one of our main players offensively, and we are a team who is used to scoring goals, and recently away from home we haven’t scored so much, so it’s important we get our offensive potential back.

Go sign a pacey, deadly striker Arsene and your prediction might come true because as good as Ozil is, he needs some pace and movement ahead of him. Once that happens, we’ll start scoring a lot more goals than we have done this season, especially during the second half of this campaign. 

What to do with Kim Kallstrom though? He worked very hard for the team against West Ham and his defensive duties freed up Lukas Podolski to do what he does best, score goals.

If I was Arsene Wenger, I’d be tempted to stick with him against Hull, after all, it’s not like he’s going to be tired is it!

I watched some of the youth cup match against Chelsea last night, if that’s the best we have it will be a long time before we see many of the players who were on show making a step up…. Akpon and Vickers, despite his gaff for the goal, were the only stand outs…

That’s it for another day…..


Kalou & Kaboul in the summer? Is Project Youth on the return?

April 2, 2014

Morning all.

Younes Kaboul. According to many a headline, he’s about to follow in the path of Big Sol and switch from wearing a cockerel on his shirt to a black cat. Surely not….

If that didn’t make you laugh, this might, well you have to really otherwise, well slitting your wrists would be silly but shedding a tear might be nearer the point if any such story about Kalou became reality.

Kalou told the BBC World Service:

There has been a lot of talking about me going back to England. I had an amazing time with Chelsea and I always keep that good memory with me.

If I have the chance to go back, I would love to, because it’s the most exciting league in the world so I would like to try it again.

Whatever team comes for me after the World Cup, I can decide where I can develop as a player, where I can have an impact, because it’s important to go to a team who suit me and who give me the opportunity to excel.

If you happen to write for the London Evening Standard, those few sentences, although spoken in English, have somehow translated into a headline which suggests that Arsene Wenger is making plans to sign the Ivory Coast striker in the summer.

Poppycock!

Kalou has been linked to us more times than Olivier Giroud has poked his tongue out this season after missing a chance to score!!

He hasn’t joined us yet has he and I’m quite confident he won’t in the summer. Let’s forget that silly story right now!

Anyway, Kalou is getting on a bit at 28 years old and Arsene Wenger has been talking about just how important it is to give the youth players a proper chance:

It’s one of the values of our club. We want to be very successful without neglecting the need to give a chance to people. 

I want it to be part of our tradition and I also want to develop a spirit inside the club that makes the young players be faithful to this club. They think the club has given them a chance so they want to give something back as well. It has to work in both ways but we want to be the ones who give a chance.

It’s a big mental test for the players because you see how they resist stress, how they can deal with the pressure and how they can be committed in a very demanding environment. These kinds of qualities you discover only when you play the players.

Of course it’s an early test that not everybody can take on. Some fail but the strong ones just feel they belong there. They are not at all surprised that you give them a chance. In fact they are more surprised that you did not do that earlier! 

You could take that one of two ways.

Either, project youth is on it’s way back and no more experienced players are going to be signed in the summer. No, Arsene wouldn’t do that would he, that’s not his style. (cough)

Or, he truly believes that one or two of the younger players are simply proving they deserve a chance to make the step up into the first team squad.

I don’t count the likes of Serge Gnabry, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain etc as they are already proving that they have what it takes, although strangely, our young German, who despite putting in a number of solid performances earlier in the season, is being overlooked these days.

We have a vast number of players out on loan, 13 I think it is in total – some like Park, Djourou and Coquelin are no doubt heading for the exit door but others, younger players like Aneke, Campbell, Wellington, Afobe, Boateng etc are no doubt waiting for the summer to arrive arrive and only then will their future be more clear.

Boateng has not long signed a new contract and Wenger has hinted that Joel Campbell could finally be part of the team next season but as for the others who are on loan, I’m not sure where their future is…

And let’s not forget, there are one or two in the Academy side who no doubt believe they are ready to join the big boys….

Not everyone will have what it takes, not everyone will make the step up but I strongly suspect that one or two will or at least be given the chance.

It’s been a long time since Jack Wilshere came through the youth set-up and surely we are long overdue seeing another young player follow in his footsteps…

That’s your lot for another day….

 

 


Striker Deal Done? Why Arsene, Why???

March 30, 2014

Morning all…

No match report as I’m bored of writing the same old stuff each week..

Yet again yesterday, the lack of passion, pace and width in our side was exposed.

The first half was awful, we were outplayed, over-run, out fought and yet thanks to some solid defending, we only went into the break with a one goal deficit…

But, during that first half, Tomas Rosicky stole the show, he was everywhere and seemed to be the only player wanting to get hold of the ball and drive us forward. Gibbs was being run ragged and it was a long time into the game before either Cazorla or Podolski gave him a bit of a helping hand.

Yet again the midfield lacked a beast, a true organiser and player who would take control and stop the ever flowing Manchester City attack…

Half-time came and went and I for one haven’t a clue what took place during that fifteen minute break…..

Whatever is was though, worked.

Suddenly there was life, there was attitude and there was a meaning to the way we played and to be honest, we were all over City.

I thought Giroud did really well during the build up for our goal, for once he showed a bit of ‘speed’ to move out to the right, collect the ball and carry on a move which ended up with a fine finish from Mathieu Flamini…

Giroud really should have made it 2-1 soon after when Sagna fired in a wonderful cross along the ground, the big lump striker didn’t even move, yet all he needed to do is get something, anything on the cross and it would have found the back of the net.

Podolski also went very close with a stunning near post shot, one which Joe Hart will no doubt admit he doesn’t know how he kept it out….

All that aside, we were a very different side in the second half, we were suddenly first to the ball, we were winning tackles and we were really having a go at the Man City defence and we as a team looked a much better football side.

Ok, so here is the why..

Why couldn’t we have started the game as we did the second half?

Why couldn’t Arsene Wenger say before kick-off what he clearly must have said at half-time?

Why couldn’t the players give as much effort in the first half as they did the second?

Why on earth and how on earth did we not win that game?

Why, when Tomas Rosicky went over in the box was he not booked? After all, if it wasn’t a booking for simulation, surely it had to have been a penalty?

So many questions, none of which I know the answer to but what I will say is how good it was to see our boys turn up and give a true account of themselves against a side who may well turn out to be the league champions this season.

That kind of second half performance is all that many of us here on HH have been crying out for, for a long while and considering the quality and experience that was in the Manchester City side, they couldn’t match us and to be honest, at times, they didn’t know what was hitting them.

Play like that for the rest of the season and 3rd place, maybe even 2nd is possible.

And don’t forget, we are soon to see the return of Ozil, Ramsey and even Diaby over the next few weeks….

See Arsene, you can do it and if you are staying, get Sagna and Fabianski to stay with you and then sign a DM, Striker and a winger in the summer…

Mind you, that striker may have already been signed as according to Sky Sports Germany, we have sealed a deal for Josip Drmic from Nuremberg. The news was broken by Lothar Matthaus and relayed on Twitter by colleague and former Swindon and Middlesbrough forward Jan Aage Fjortoft.

21-year-old Drmic has scored 15 goals in 26 appearances for the Bundesliga side this season, has denied any such deal but has said it would be ‘every boys dream’ to sign for us.

Other reports suggest that France want Arsene Wenger to manage the international team and want a deal done ready for the 2016 Euros and can you believe, Roberto Mancini is the man being tipped to become our new manager with Patrick Vieira joining him….

No, I don’t think so either.

COYRRG’s……

 

 


Sagna to City? Final chance for Arsene Wenger to get 3 points against a top four side this season….

March 29, 2014

Morning all.

Would Bacary Sagna really sign for Manchester City?

Would you blame him if he did?

Apparently, we have now caved in and offered the right-back a new three year contract but still he hasn’t signed…

Not so many years ago, Kolo Toure, Gael Clichy and Samir Nasri made the move to Manchester, not to the red side of course, but the blue side. You know the one, the one which had and still has very wealthy owners and a squad which we as Arsenal fans, if honest, would admit nothing other than envy for….

When both players left, and let’s forget that Adebayor was another, many Arsenal fans suggested and maybe even screamed that all they wanted was a bigger pay packet.

Well, even if money was the initial attraction, surely it can’t be denied that those players who decided to move have been totally vindicated? Ok they haven’t won vast amounts of trophies yet but it must be fun playing in a side with so many top players.

I’m not trying to heap loads of praise on a club which has bucket loads of money and who are prepared to ‘buy’ their way to any trophy they can get their hands on but what I will do is praise a manager who is willing to say, ‘you give me the money and I will spend it and try to make us a great side’.

And there’s the difference.

Not only that, the City owners tried with one manager and gave him time but it failed. Roberto Mancini was like a kid in a sweet shop as he signed players. But what he didn’t do was sign players he needed to fill the gaps in his squad and therefore, his side was always unbalanced. (Ring any bells?)

Yes he won a couple of trophies but he could and maybe should have done so much better considering the amount of money he spent. The City owners clearly thought that too as he was sacked and in came Manuel Pellegrini it looks like he’s about to make his side a side for the long haul…

Pellegrini is no spring chicken though is he?

No, he’s 60 years old, just a few years younger than Arsene Wenger, yet he knows how to sign wingers, he knew which striker to sign in the summer to make his attack just that bit stronger and when it comes to playing attacking football, is there really a better side to watch?

But this isn’t meant to be all about Manchester City, it’s about a manager who has money and is prepared to spend it for the good of the club and the fans.

It’s about an older manager who has a younger mans footballing ideas, a manager who has the ability to get his players to play out his ideas on the pitch.

Arsenal FC have the money and to be honest, we have the bulk of players we need to play fantastic football but, what we don’t seem to have is the manager who can beat those around him. A manager who can take us from trophy chasers to trophy winners. A manager who will make us strong again and turn us into a side which doesn’t crumble at the first sign of trouble.

Today we face Manchester City…..

The old ‘newbie’ in the Premier League against who appears to be the old ‘has been’….

If Arsene Wenger wins this battle today, I’ll be very shocked but very very pleasantly surprised.

Should we win, it would mean Arsene Wenger has out thought and finally beaten one of the clubs who sit above us in the league for the first time this season and with it, prove he’s not completely out of ideas….

We need a win and we need it badly because sadly, not only are the clubs ahead of us creeping further ahead, the clubs behind us are catching us up……

COYRRG’s, give us fans something to be proud of today!!

Go get those desperately needed three points……

 


Thank Goodness they’re over! Akpom recalled to save us?

March 24, 2014

Morning all.

Still bitter, angry and totally downhearted after Saturday? Yes, me too!

Over the last few seasons we have managed to go on a last ditch strong run to secure Champions League football but I don’t think we’ve ever had to do that after such an embarrassing and disastrous defeat as we suffered just two days ago.

I don’t think it’s over yet either as Manchester City head to The Emirates on Saturday and if Arsene Wenger sends them out in the same fashion next Sunday afternoon, it will end only one way.

In any case, what’s chasing Champions League football all about? Attracting top players? Of course because top players want to play at the top level, do we sign them? No, not often and I think we all know it’s more about making money than spending it.

Anyway, up next is Swansea at home tomorrow night and after that it’s:

Man City at home Sunday 29th March

Everton away Sunday 6th April

Wigan – FA Cup Semi Saturday 12th April

West Ham at home Tuesday 15th April

Hull City away Saturday 19th April

Newcastle at home Monday 28th April

West Brom at home 3rd of May

Norwich away Sunday 11th May.

That’s just nine games to define our season and thankfully, not one kick-off time is 12.45. I’m glad they are over because we really have a poor record when playing away from home at that time. Just why I don’t know and clearly Wenger doesn’t either as it wouldn’t happen time and time again.

Of course the FA Cup is our best chance to finally win a trophy but there’s no way should Wigan be underestimated. After all, it’s their best chance to win something this season too and they’ll be up for the match at Wembley. Even if we do manage to beat them, we’d still have a very awkward and tricky opposition to face in the final so that big jug remains very far from our grasp.

Although mathematically we can still win the league, it’s highly unlikely as things stand. However, from now until the end of the season, that should be our aim. Arsene Wenger really has to get a grip of things and get our boys playing the best they can in every single remaining game.. 

Starting tomorrow in front of the home fans..

Finally, Chuba Akpom has been recalled from his loan spell. There are mixed stories around why he’s returned, one suggests it’s us who have recalled him, others suggest Coventry got fed up with him returning to help the kids out. I wonder if Arsene Wenger, like us, is fed up with watching Giroud? Somehow I doubt it…..

Have a good week all, I’m off to sunny climates….

Well, not really, but I am off for a few days and if anyone wants to write a pre-match and/or match report, please let Wath know…

That’s your lot…….


Defender hints at staying & Biggest game of the Season says Arsene…

March 22, 2014

Morning all.

Much speculation surrounds the future of Thomas Vermaelen but here’s a big hint that he’s staying put whilst talking about his manager and his 1000th game:

It’s incredible – not a lot of managers do that nowadays because they come in and out, so for him to achieve 1,000 games is something unbelievable.

Everybody wants him to stay as long as he can. He’s been incredible with what he’s done for this club and for the players as well.

We would be really happy to see him signing on for a few more years. If you see him off the pitch there’s always a lot of hunger in him and a lot of ambition still. He’s not losing that at all.

So the captain wants Arsene to stay, which suggests he wants to stay and play for him, the players want him to stay and the man himself wants to stay…..

So my guess is, he’s staying…….

Sometimes, some people just really do let themselves down don’t they and Jose Mourinho did just that yesterday.

On a day when so many managers paid tribute to Arsene Wenger for reaching such a milestone, the poison dwarf, aka Jose Mourinho could only muster up a few words. None of which were full of praise:

I admire him and admire Arsenal.

It is not possible to have 1,000 matches unless the club is also a fantastic club in the way they support their manager, especially in the bad moments – and especially when the bad moments were quite a lot.

What a horrid man he is!

Anyway, the best way to shut that squirt up is to finally beat him, get the three points and then go get that league title which has eluded us for far too long.

Yesterday was an emotional day for Arsene Wenger, Arsenal FC, players past and present and of course us fans but that’s done and dusted now and today it’s back to business…

Business means getting three points and closing the gap between us and the top spot.

Chelsea have Ashley Cole out injured and both Ramires and Willian are suspended.

Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Theo Walcott and Abou Diaby are all out injured and Tomas Rosicky is a doubt too which is not good news. I hope he passes his late fitness test.

I doubt anyone really expects us to come away from Stamford Bridge with all the points but I’m not sure why. We have shown this season how determined we can be in defence so if we can get an early goal there’s no reason why we can’t go on and win the game.

Head-to-head

  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last four Premier League games against the Gunners (W2, D2).
  • Arsenal have a good record at Stamford Bridge, winning almost a third of their 76 league visits (W25, D25, L26).
  • The Gunners have also outscored the Blues at the Bridge, with 100 goals to 95.

So, all is not doom and gloom going into this game and I honestly don’t think we should play with any fear….

Pace, width and decisive passing will win this game, together with strong defending, discipline and 100% commitment to win.

That all has to come from us.

A mention for Scott from Oz, our resident blogger from ‘down under’. He’s here in the Uk and after a trip up the river, he’s off to watch the boys play for the first time. Is he excited, for sure he is and I hope he becomes the players lucky mascot both today and for the City game….

‘Game of the season’ says Arsene..

Let’s get one of the best results of the season by beating that horrid lot on their own turf!!

COYRRG’s


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