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Cavani In, Campbell Out? Wenger confirms he will be making signings on deadline day….

August 30, 2014

Morning all.

Did you know that on this day back in 1919, Arsenal FC began their unbroken run in the Top Division of English football? Yes, of course you did.

Portuguese newspaper Record reports that Arsenal are still working on trying to sign Cavani and we can agree a deal for him, Joel Campbell will be allowed to move to Benfica, who have made an offer. Hmmm!

Arsene Wenger held his usual press conference yesterday and of course, everyone wanted to know if he’d be heading off to Lidil with his basket in hand….

It’s harder to buy top, top, top players, yes. Many clubs are on the market and everybody knows each other.

The last few days are poker games. There’s a lot of lies there in the few days, everybody is interested in the same player even if you’re the only one who wants the player. [When you are experienced] you can call it a bluff when it is a bluff.

What on earth is he on about?

Then of course came the big question about about whether of not he’ll be signing a striker after Olivier Giroud has been confirmed to be out until 2015:

You have decided that I have to buy strikers – I have not necessarily decided that! I promise you that if we sign somebody, we’ll inform you.

I will be actively involved but on the last day of the window. I will of course be on alert until the last minute of the transfer deadline.

Heard it all before Arsene.

Our best striker is out and yes, Olivier Giroud is our best striker until Alexis truly finds his feet and the only way to deal with that loss is by signing another striker. Forget all the stuff about Podolski, Walcott, Campbell and Sanogo because he’s barely played some, and he’s hardly played any of them up front so to think they’ll suddenly will be our saviour would be naive and simply stupid!

I don’t know if Podolski was truly on the verge of leaving but from what the player has been posting on the social media networks, it certainly appeared that way, now though those plans have been scuppered. This is another Bendtner situation isn’t it, a player not deemed good enough by the manager who was keen to sell him and then at the last minute he pulled the plug because he lost out on Ba.. Not that I’m suggesting Bendtner is on the same playing level as Podolski, he’s not. I feel sorry for Lukas Podolski, he wants to play football but despite Wenger insisting that he’s staying, I seriously doubt he’ll play much.

Both Jack Wilshere and Mesut Ozil have been on the end of some cruel stuff in the media for a while now. Wilshere in the summer for his smoking and Ozil because, well I’m not really sure why but perhaps it’s because he cost the club £42 million and this couch potato experts think he should be doing better. Perhaps it’s just because he’s world class and those buffoons don’t like Arsenal having such gifted players!

Robbie Savage came out in defence of Jack Wilshere after the Besiktas match:

Suddenly, it has become the easiest game in town to jump on the bandwagon, pick holes in Wilshere’s performances for Arsenal and hammer him for every mistake.

Sorry. I’m not having that.

I thought he was magnificent in the two games against Besiktas – although Sanchez took the headlines for scoring the all-important goal, it was Wilshere’s persistence that set it up. I hope Wilshere’s most vocal critics will lay off him. I will not be criticising him just to conform with other people’s opinions. I am not going to be a negative pundit for the sake of it.

If Arsenal reach the later stages of the Champions League this season, I’m sure their knowledgeable fans will remember Wilshere’s role in getting them past first base.

Good on you Robbie, perhaps a few Arsenal fans could follow suit, yes, including me..

Yesterday, Arsene Wenger defended Mesut Ozil:

People are very harsh with Ozil because he’s a player who’s always very easy on his play but when you watch the game again after, the next day, you see what a player he is. Everything he does is intelligent. The timing of everything he does is absolutely perfect. You never catch him giving the ball too late.

The number of players you catch giving the ball too late is unbelievable. You never get that with Ozil. The timing, he’s like a guy who plays the music, the timing of what he does is perfect, you don’t get many players like that.

He is not getting enough praise. He came back as a World Cup winner. He played all seven games [during the tournament] and he played some good games.

Play the guy central, stick a top striker ahead of him and I’m sure the whole world will agree but all the time he is played out of position and not able to do what he does best, the world will forever be on his back. We all know Mesut Ozil is a world class player, just as Alexis Sanchez is but they can create all the chances they like but who can guarantee that one of Joel Campbell or Yaya Sanogo will take them?

I guess we’ll just have to carry on hoping that Aaron Ramsey is lurking in the box…..

Mesut himself is full of confidence:

It is important to remember that we won the FA Cup and that’s given us a lot of confidence. Arsenal can win the Premier League.

I doubt it Mesut, not with this squad………..

That’s it for another day….

 

 

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Who then Arsene? Too many rumours, not enough signings!

August 26, 2014

Morning all.

Not good news re Olivier Giroud it seems. Suggestion is that he had a second scan on his foot yesterday afternoon and it’s feared it’s broken. If so, we won’t see our big Frenchman for at least three months.

Just as he was starting to look fitter and a bit more mobile than the previous couple of games, we’ve lost him and his absence will be massive tomorrow night. He may not be the striker we all want to see leading the line against the top sides in the league and in Europe but he’s a workhorse for the good of the team.

Now we are left with Yaya Sanogo, Joel Campbell and Alexis Sanchez to fill the void. Alexis can play there but he’s not up to full speed and strength yet and playing up front on his own on Saturday didn’t quite work, he’s the kind of player to play off Giroud, not perhaps instead of him.

So that leaves the other three and just what Wenger’s plan will be remains to be seen. Of course, Lukas Podolski may simply be told he’s staying and be seen as the interim solution but he’s not played one single minute of pre-season so tomorrow is out of the question. Campbell and or Sanogo it is then. I’d go with Campbell because of his work ethic and have Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis either side of him. Pace, directness and grit!

Besiktas will be grinning from ear to ear. Not because Giroud has suffered a bad injury but the very fact that their chances of progressing to the Champions League group stage have just improved. No Ramsey, no Giroud, neither of our goal scorers from the weekend. Oh, and no Arteta or Gibbs either…..

If Giroud is confirmed to have a broken foot, surely Arsene Wenger will have to now sign a striker, he simply has to and he has just six days to do so. Even if that player is Remy, he has to get someone else through the door sharpish because relying on two young rookies for the next three months will not win us anything this season!

Suggestion is we are interested in the Italian winger Alessio Cerci, a player who is also able to play as a second striker.

Too many rumours and not enough signings this summer, it’s as simple as that.

This was meant to be our summer, the one in which the club and in particular Arsene Wenger showed true ambition in the transfer window and build a squad which truly was capable of challenging for the Premier League and other competitions but it’s not been, not yet.

We have added just two players to our squad, the other two were replacements for Fabianski and Debuchy, it’s a simple as that.

Yes there may be players lined up waiting to see if we qualify for the Champions League group stage but why wait so long? There are plenty of players around the world who would make this current quad deeper and stronger and not all are shallow enough to only want Champions League football. After all, Alexis Sanchez didn’t think twice about signing on the dotted line many weeks ago and I’m sure others wouldn’t have hesitated either had we tried just a little bit harder.

But Arsenal don’t do that do they, well, Arsene Wenger doesn’t..

Fourteen years ago today the club signed Sylvain Wiltord from Bordeaux for a club-record £13m. This summer, we could could have signed Loic Remy for less than that but we haven’t. Surely Arsene Wenger has to, simply has to go and sign or someone right now.

That is of course, if the club aren’t prepared to aim a little higher…

The club also need to sign a central defender and midfielder because if they don’t, 2014/15 will probably be the season that Arsene Wenger doesn’t get one of the top four places in the Premier League.

Get it done Arsenal, get it done Arsene Wenger!

That’s my rant over for today….

 

 

 


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.

 


Diaby crocked, Alexis on his own & A Tough August…..

August 9, 2014

Morning all.

On this day back in 1998: Arsenal beat Man United 3-0 in the Charity Shield  with Overmars, Wreh  and Anelka scoring the goals…..

Don’t forget the Highbury House Fantasy Football League. To access it, just go to the Highbury House league and use the PIN: 8071009 to log in..

Martin Keown has been giving his view on new signing Alexis:

Work-Rate:

This is what makes him stand out. He dictates the pace the team plays at because he works so hard out of possession. I’ve rarely seen that level of tenacity and intensity. He gets through so much work, closing down the opposition defenders. That attitude turned an ordinary team in Chile into an excellent one at the World Cup. He is not like so many forwards, who only come alive when they have the ball. He will set a new benchmark of what’s required from a Premier League striker.

Finishing:

Only Lionel Messi scored more for Barca than Sanchez’s 21 last season. Alexis scored or assisted in 63 goals during his 88 La Liga appearances. He will score more as he grows in confidence. He was forever playing second fiddle to Messi. As the main man at Arsenal, he can really thrive.

It seems he won’t be playing second fiddle to Olivier Giroud either as many reports suggest our new man is going to start tomorrow as our lone striker. Wherever he starts, I can’t wait to see how he fairs against the current EPL Champions. But not just him, I’m really looking forward to watching all our players on the opening day of our new campaign.

One player who may not feature at all is Abou Diaby who according to L’Equipe, has suffered a hip injury! Didn’t see that news coming did we…..

As we know, Besiktas is the side we need to beat in order to progress into the Champions League proper. It’s not a competition I am overly fussed about but I know that our involvement each season is crucial. Top players want to be on the big stage and as far as football goes, this is the biggest tournament on show outside of the World Cup and Euros.

I’m a huge fan of the Premier League and I’d much rather we win that again than to throw everything into winning the CL because it’s all about luck of the draw and of course, the usually dreadful performance by the man with the whistle. And his side kicks of course.

Here’s our August fixture list:

H – Sat 16th – Crystal Palace  5.30pm

A – Tue 19th – Besiktas 7.45pm

A – Sat 23rd  – Everton 5.30pm

H Wed 27th  –  Besiktas 7.45pm

A Sun 31st  Leicester City 4.00pm

That’s a tough few weeks of fixtures. Not so much because of who we face, although if Everton are anywhere near the level they were last season, that fixture will be really difficult but, we have a very different squad this time and of course it’s not a lunchtime kick-off. The FA have slipped up there eh!

Then after the Leicester fixture, there’s a two week break which one can only assume will be for international friendlies. What the heck is the point of those? With no World Cup or Euros looming, why, when the new domestic campaign has just kicked off, do we need these pointless fixtures?

In any case, didn’t the ‘big wigs’ in football say this time last year that this wouldn’t happen so early into a new season, or did I dream that?

After that, we face Manchester City at home and no doubt we’ll all be praying that each and every one of our international players return unscathed…

Just like we always do….

Thomas Vermaelen is expected to be confirmed as a Barcelona player later today, if of course he passes a medical and considering he’s supposed to have been injured throughout our pre-season, he might not. I wish him well, I really do.

Finally, happy birthday to Lee, have a great day blue eyes…. lol

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

 


Wilshere to Juventus, Rabiot to Arsenal? Arsene, Let’s Hear The Second Protocol.

August 8, 2014

Morning all.

Fingers crossed the Champions League draw favours us this morning. One of Athletic Bilbao, FC Copenhagen, Lille, Besiktas and Standard Liege await us….

We’ve never won that competition but we have lifted the Community Shield trophy a few times and back in 2004 and on this very day, we battered Manchester United 3-1 with Reyes, Gilberto and Silvestre scoring the goals. Silvestre?? Yes, Ashley Cole’s cross got a deflection and the old cart horse got lucky… lol

I’ve set up a Telegraph Fantasy Football League for anyone interested. It’s just a bit of fun and if you want to join in, the league is called Highbury House and the PIN: 8071009.

Gossip:

The Daily Star report that we are close to securing a deal for PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot. He’s 19 years old, 6′ 2″ tall and French. The poison dwarf wants to sign him too according to the Express.

Edinson Cavani islinked to us too, the players agent, Claudio Annelluci told Uruguay newspaper El Telegrafo:

There was much interest in the player during the past six months. I can confirm that Cavani has heard proposals from Liverpool and Arsenal.

Lastly, the Mirror believe that Juventus have been knocking on the door asking if Jack Wilshere fancies a move to the Italian club.

Talking of Jack Wilshere, here is today’s post:

For lovers of high level intrigues in the espionage world of intelligence and counter-intelligence subterfuge of the Cold War era, The Fourth Protocol is a master class. It comes a close second to the other Forsyth’s bestseller, The Devil’s Alternative as the best novel I’ve read and I’ve read plenty.

When I first watched a full Arsenal match with a bi-spectacled beanpole watching from the technical area, I had same feeling that this man, whose first name, Arsene rings in accord with club name Arsenal, was the man to take the club to the pinnacle of being the best in the world. This happened in 1997.

Seventeen years have gone by and although Arsenal is not yet the best in the world, the signs are quite ominous the North London club is not far off. This assertion is certainly a matter for another write up.

Recently, Arsene Wenger revealed that what he told Aaron Ramsey, transformed him from a pathetic player who struggled all over the pitch, into a world class box-to-box midfielder in less than a year. In simple summary, the gaffer told the Welshman to play it simple to get confidence first, then do every other thing as much as the natural talent permitted. Knowing Wenger as a man who hardly ever made such personal conversations public, I reckoned that was Le Prof breaking his First Protocol.

Now, he has to go further…

In his ranks is another player, blessed with the same ability as Ramsey, one who needs same words in private. This player may even be a greater player than his box-to-box team mate.

Jack Wilshere.

Having gone through all football tutelage in Arsenal right from the kindergarten age of seven, Wilshere is one name well revered by everything Arsenal. His early displays promised a player of highest quality. His progress to the main team was heralded. From some perspectives, including mine, the fearless-ball-carrying lad represented a poor man’s version of Lionel Messi. But that’s not taking anything away from dear Jack. Any version of Messi is still world class.

His mazy runs, close control, swift change in direction, fearless take-ons suggested any coach that attempted to clone the England international into the Argentine demi-god could hit pay dirt. Wilshere works tirelessly on the pitch, he’s always ready to receive the ball, always ready to withstand and fly into a challenge and perhaps, it’s the latter qualities that made Le Prof choose to shift from the Messi proto-mold and create a completely different player – a Jack Wilshere.

What came out of Le Prof’s perfecting machine was still excellent. At just 19, Wilshere had made his name pronounceable by any football fan anywhere in the world. At that age, he had faced the Barcelona midfield comprising the famed Xavi and Iniesta in a two-legged affair and never blinked for once. So dogged were his breathtaking performances in those two games that Pep Guardiola, the man who re-invented Barca’s tiki-taka to near ephemeral domination, singled out Wilshere as the brightest spark in the Arsenal team which had surrendered via 3 -4 aggregate.

While Arsenal fans endured in the agony of those trophyless years, every one of them happily pointed in the direction of Wilshere as a proof dear Gunners would rise again. Of course that barren comatose had been banished to history but sadly, our beloved Jack has fizzled out and his contribution to that landmark transition was largely anonymous.

Trying to go into the reasons for this non-envisaged drawback could draw miles of print as it certainly would the ensuing debate. However, like Le Prof talked to Ramsey, Le Prof has to talk heart-to-heart to Jack.

Of course, one would conclude he already has but then we should imagine he woould have long talked to Ramsey before he claimed he did. From Wilshere’s displays in the pre-season games, he hasn’t shown any sign of departure from the Wilshere of last season and I sincerely believe that if he hasn’t already done so, Le Prof needs to talk to Jack ASAP.

If he already has, then Wilshere didn’t understand him, so Le Prof has to invite him over for a repeat conversation before the actual season kicks off. As many times that are required, Le Prof has to get the message into Wilshere’s skull, for in the English father of two, the world of football has a great footballer. Nobody with his technical abilities was ever destined for less – Jack is world class.

And what should we expect Le Prof to tell Wilshere?

PLAY SIMPLE!

Yes, Wilshere has been derailed by injuries but unlike most injuries, he invites his. In just three preseason games so far, Jack has got himself into no less than three career-threatening tackles! I’ve never watched a player who never shied away from a challenge however dangerous. Not even Italy’s Gennaro Gattuso was as carelessly daring.

I recall one league match with Birmingham City. Wilshere, the smallest man on the pitch, tackled the biggest man on the pitch, Nicola Zigic with both feet off the ground. The 6’7” giant landed on his back and lay still while Wilshere continued as if he didn’t make contact. That was courage and fearlessness to an admirable level but those have been the traits threatening to force Wilshere into the dust bin of has-been’s. Believe me, Jack is one of the strongest lads that has ever played the game or he would have long ended his career.

I believe Jack still possesses the footballing ability to be among the very best of his generation but he must learn to be pitchwise and he must learn fast. When he is clearly losing a ball he should let go, instead of that careless challenge that makes fans’ hearts skip a beat. He should know that even Messi doesn’t dribble into impossible situation, release the ball when you perceive a cul-de-sac and not attempt to ride through it, thereby attracting vicious tackles.

Wenger has to make certain this season doesn’t end another of failed promises for Wilshere…it just can’t because the clocks are ticking. And when the gaffer does, we’ll happily await him to break his Second Protocol, with that knowing grin of course, by end of season.

Written by Tai Emeka Obasi 

 

 


Transfer talks set for today. Could Reus & Nastasic heading to Arsenal?

August 7, 2014

Morning all.

Remember this day in back 1999 when we beat Leicester 2-1 at Highbury?

Of course you do, it was debut day for the one of the best players, if not the best player Arsene Wenger has ever signed for Arsenal…..

Awesome!

Awesome!

If only he could hop back a few years in time and start all over again, he truly was a wonderful player. He’s not bad now either…

German newspapers are reporting that Marco Reus could be on the move to Arsenal! 25 millions Euros is the players release clause according to those reports and if Ivan and Dickie could get a deal done for him, we’ll all be going ‘wow’!

What a signing he would be, still, it’s all rumour right now, nothing more…

As is our link to Manchester City’s centre half Matija Nastasic who has reportedly been told he is surplus to requirements as City are on the verge of signing another defender.

Daniel Agger looks to be heading to Barcelona which may rule them out of signing Thomas Vermaelen, leaving Man Utd as the only club really interested in him and some newspapers report that Utd are to up their offer to £15 million.

Other reports around suggest Barca officials are heading to London today to secure a deal for our captain so who knows what to believe.

One player we didn’t sign when I think many of us thought we would was Julian Draxler and he’s been talking about why he didn’t move:

The [buy-out clause] stayed with me. I did not play like 20 clubs were ready to pay this sum for me last season. I have to become attractive to big clubs again.

Now I know what it’s meant to be the bogeyman. After the derby loss to Dortmund, it felt like I was the only one who was blamed for it.

How’s that for honesty.

£37 million is a lot of money and to have that kind of figure attached to a 20 year old shows just how daft the transfer fees have become, well, valuations but, and like with any young player, if they are to go on and really fulfil their potential, that valuation could double by the time he gets itchy feet and wants to return home.  That would be considered a very good piece of business..

Unlike players like Vidal of course who is reported to be valued at a staggering £47 million. His valuation will only decrease as the years go by. No wonder LVG is thinking twice about shelling out for him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love us to sign Vidal, he’s a very good player, but at that price and with a few niggly injuries recorded, far too risky.

Champions League draw tomorrow and I hope we can’t be drawn against Legia Warsaw, they have just thumped Celtic 6-1 over two legs. Ouch.

That’s it for today and writing that was like pulling teeth, I feel sorry for those who read it… lol

Have a good one all, let’s hope we get some good news on the transfer front real soon….


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