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No New Players Close. They Should be Arsene!

August 20, 2014

Morning all.

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

Last night was grim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After the match Arsene Wenger talked about the defence:

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

And his transfer plans:

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

I hope he’s lying!

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

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

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

 

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Top Class Free Signing. Where’s the Defensive signings Arsene?

August 18, 2014

Morning all.

Back in 2001, on this very day, Sol Campbell made his debut for Arsenal having made the switch across North London for free. Goals from Henry, Pires & Bergkamp (2) gave Arsenal a 4-0 win at Middlesbrough.

To nab Big Sol that summer was possibly one of the best, if not the best piece of business Arsene Wenger has ever done and what a message the big man sent to his previous club. He did of course go on to do what Tottenham had failed and still fail to do. Win trophies.

Did he move for money? Maybe, but why put yourself through so much abuse if you didn’t know the move was right for you. Sol knew and he succeeded….

Another factoid. Having come from behind to beat Palace at the weekend we became the only side to ever do that on the opening day of the season three times in Premier League history…

We know how to set records eh….. The Champions League is another I would suspect as every season under Arsene Wenger, we have qualified and the manager has made it very clear he wants that run to continue:

We are desperate to do it because we want to play in the Champions League and we know how big these games are.

We had to give a lot [against Crystal Palace], hopefully we will recover and be ready for Tuesday night.

We are desperate to go through, no matter what it costs we want to go through. We have always a difficult draw, we had Fenerbahce last year, this time we have Besiktas. It’s difficult.

We will assess Koscielny on Monday; if he’s fit and capable to play, we play him. It was our plan to bring the Germans back in contention for Everton. But in case of emergency I will take Mertesacker.

But we have Bellerin, who was 19 today, who can come in. We are a bit short. I hope Koscielny responds well to today’s game.

And so it begins.

From saying our German trio wouldn’t be back until this weekend, Mertesacker will be thrown in early because of injury. Young Bellerin is another who may need to be called upon because injury has yet again hit us and by the sounds fit, Wenger will risk Koscielny if he can walk and kick a ball. Monreal will clearly deputise for Kieran Gibbs who is expected to be out for a few weeks and that’s the whole idea of having two good players in each position but why haven’t the club signed a centre back to replace Vermaelen?

Arsene Wenger desperately wants to qualify for the Champions League but it may just turn out that it’s his lack of transfer dealings will actually prevent us from doing so.

Yes we have made some cracking signings but only Alexis and Chambers are additions. Debuchy and Ospina have simply replaced Sagna and Fabianski. We still have two key players missing from that list of new arrivals. A CDM and a CB and we need them fast.

Many fans want to see a top class goal scorer.

Talking of which, do you want Sanogo to stay and play, go on loan or go, full stop?

Just thirteen days left to sort this squad out and turn it into one which could win the Premier League.

After all, that’s what we all want isn’t it…..

Have a good day all…

 


PSG accept Arsenal bid. Defender Undergoes Medical. Terrible Performance but a Great Result.

August 17, 2014

Morning all.

Gossip:

The Daily Star report that PSG have accepted our £5.5 million offer for Adrien Rabiot and talks will take place between the player and Arsenal this week. Roma and Juventus still hope to sign him.

Goal.com report that Olympiakos centre-back Kostas Manolas is undergoing a medical at Arsenal ahead of a move to the Gunners.

Looking good...

Emirates looking good…

Here’s Scott’s view on yesterday’s PL opener….

Ok, to give you all something to chat about….here goes nothing.

We were disjointed, lacklustre and just plain average, imo.

The trouble was always going to be Palace defending like their lives depended on it and plenty of credit must go to them, as I dare say there will be plenty of sides unable to break them down this season, let alone twice in a game.

For positives, we need go no further than our back 4 who, in general, were fantastic.

Forget the conceded goal, as Sanchez should never have been marking a 6′ 6″ Hangeland in the first place, and letting him run compounded the problem. I don’t blame Alexis, I blame our entire unit for that one.

Calum Chambers is a kid with one hell of a future. I cannot believe he’s 19, as his presence, awareness and composure is that of a very, very talented and experienced player.

Kozzer….well, he is Kozzer, and we all know what to expect from him. I believe he’s in the top 3-4 CB’s in world football.
Debuchy showed plenty, and one aspect he’s a definite upgrade on Sagna is his delivery of a cross….he did well.

Gibbs was fine until coming off, and Nacho did well.

Midfield…..we lacked spark and creativity, but that could come down, at least in part, to Palace defending so staunchly.

Sanogo offered very, very little, and I wonder if Arsene started him to test the waters, and see whether or not we need to bring in a striker. I believe the kid has plenty, but a loan spell is required right now, as is a new striker.

The work rate of Alexis is what I love to see in any footballer, and though very rusty, he showed glimpses of why we should all be so excited about the future.

Ramsey…..well, I will say it. He was ordinary, but once again found a way to influence the result, and the sign of any good side or player is to perform poorly yet gain the result.

The boys warming up...

The boys warming up…

I was extremely disappointed with Santi and Jack, but we know the quality they possess, so let’s give them time.

All in all, I believe Arsene did just enough to get the result, but left plenty in the tank for our trip to Turkey, so in that regard, we must say the result was a success.

For those stressing already, have a look at the side we put out.

It was stacked with quality, but there was plenty of new players in it and cohesion is exactly what was missing, so we have plenty to look forward to…..

Especially when 3 World Cup winners and a certain favourite of Rico’s comes back :)

Onwards, upwards and couple of more signings….

Written by Scott.

 


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….

 


Cavani, Reus & Khedira? No chance but Manolas is possible…

August 15, 2014

Morning all.

Arsenal are set to make moves for Edinson Cavani, Marco Reus and Sami Khedira in the closing stages of the transfer window according to The Express. We all love a rumour, but this one is up there with one of the daftest I have ever read.  I’d be over the moon if all three did sign but only as long as we sign a defender and a defensive midfielder as well. That would make five more signings, and that isn’t going to happen in my opinion.

Greek centre back Kostas Manolas is a more likely option, £8 million is all his current club are demanding.

Happy birthday to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He’s 21 years old today and a big season is expected from our midfielder/winger. Hopefully it’ll be an injury free season for him.

For Theo Walcott too, the poor guy has been plagued with injuries but he’s back, running and sprinting and according to reports he’s not lost any of his pace. Full training is not far away and he’s another player who if stays fit, will have a big part to play in our challenge.

Both players were seriously missed last season.

They weren’t the only ones of course but with the fitness guru Shad Forsythe on board, one can only hope that the repetitive injuries we have suffered for so long will now reduce dramatically.

Today’s post written by Anthony Walker:

Gunners hope for winning start against Eagles

As the opening weekend of the Premier League season edges closers, Arsenal fans are beginning to tingle with excitement about seeing new signing Alexis Sanchez make his debut. With the club preparing to welcome fellow Londoners Crystal Palace to the Emirates in their first game of the season, Betfair believe the Gunners stand a great chance of getting the new season off to a winning start as they urge fans to back Arsenal to open their account with a win.

Last year saw Crystal Palace yield six points to Arsenal over two 2-0 defeat to the Gunners, and Wenger will be looking for another three to start off his season. Both clubs have added new faces to their squad in the summer, but Palace fans will have looked on enviously as Arsenal signed Alexis Sanchez while they had to settle for Frazier Campbell.

After an incredible second half of last season, Palace will be hoping to continue that momentum into the new campaign, and Arsenal will need to make sure they are full focused if they are going to avoid slipping up in the season’s first game. Tony Pulis worked wonders with Palace last year and their fast tempo will need to be matched by Arsenal if Wenger’s men are going to be able to stamp their authority on the game. While Palace are among the favourites for relegation with a lot of fans, especially as Pulis has left the club, Arsenal will need to ignore what the odds are saying and focus on getting the season off to a positive start.

While the summer arrivals of Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy and Calum Chambers have all gone down well with the fans, there is still the feeling that the club need to sign an out-and-out goalscorer, a holding midfielder and defender if they are going to have any real chance of going all the way this season. With time running out before the end of the transfer window, Gooners will be hoping to have a few new faces in place before the end of the transfer window.

There were plenty of lessons for Arsenal to take from last season, and the club’s fans will be desperate to see their team sustain a title challenge throughout course of a full season.  There were times last year when it looked as though it was going to be Arsenal’s year, but a second half slump cost the club dearly in their bid to win their first Premier League title for ten years. Arsenal fans will now be hoping Sanchez’ arrival this summer proves to be the missing piece in the jigsaw.

Click Here for a look at the season ahead, not just for us, but for all….

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


Big Signing a Certainty. Debuchy comments will upset a few!

August 14, 2014
Morning all.

Jim White, the Mr Excitable of Sky Sports on deadline day of the transfer window has predicted that we are far from done with signings:

Arsenal will do more business and a big name as well, I’m certain.

There you go, we can all relax safe in the knowledge that Jim White knows everything! Pffff!

One of our summer signings, Mathieu Debuchy has really laid the boot into his old club. We snapped him up pretty quickly after Bacary Sagna decided to jump ship to get more money trophies.Talking to the Arsenal Magazine, he’s been honest and pretty ruthless.

When my agents told me Arsenal were interested, I said yes straight away!

There was no question, no debate, no doubt, nothing! You don’t turn down a club like Arsenal. A lot of players would like to be in my shoes right now.

This is another dimension. If you compare the training grounds for example, nothing at Lille or Newcastle can match the Arsenal one. It is another world.

Everything here is made to optimise your preparation and you as a player. So you can be in the best condition to play and win football games.

Mathieu Debuchy also believed that the timing was perfect to join a big club:

It was the right time for me to make this big step forward and this big move.

I have learnt a lot in the last two years from playing at Euro 2012 and the World Cup this summer, by discovering the Premier League as well.

Alan Pardew won’t like that will he, neither will the Newcastle fans. Good!

Pardew is one of those managers who get’s right up my nose. He berated Arsene Wenger for signing overseas players a while ago and he even had the bare faced cheek to goad our manager when Englishman Marlon Harewood scored the winner against us to earn his West Ham side three points.

Rumour has it that the comment made to Arsene Wenger after Harewood scored was pretty horrid. To be fair to Arsene Wenger, he doesn’t react to trivial stuff does he and this comment which apparently made reference to the goal being made in England, clearly irked him.

Nice bloke isn’t he that Pardew!

Oh how the table has turned since he’s been at Newcastle. Strapped for cash, Pardew went French! In fact, this time last year, Alan Shearer was moaning about how Loic Remy became the eleventh French played signed up by the same man who slated Arsene Wenger for doing something so very similar. Shearer said that Newcastle had far too many French players on their books. Meanwhile, Arsenal have have slowly ensured that we have a glut of  British players.

Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Aaron Ramsey, Carl Jenkinson, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs and young Chuba Akpom. And there are many more who might just push through from the Academy in the future.

I wonder what Pardew thinks about that now…….

Or the fact that one of the better French players he ever signed, couldn’t wait to jump ship and join a proper club!!

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

 


Defender & DM heading to Arsenal. Pick your worst eleven ever…..

August 13, 2014

Morning all.

Gossip first:

Kostas Manolas was left out of Olympiakos squad for a friendly fixture against Atletico Bilbao yesterday. This of course must mean that he’s on his way to Arsenal having been linked to us for a while now. Apparently a few other PL clubs, including the neighbours are interested in the big Greek defender, so there’s no guarantee he’s heading our way. Although if he really is a target of Arsene Wenger, I’m sure we are the better prospect.

The Daily Star suggest Juventus are out to pip us to his signing….

The Mirror report that Wenger is lining up an £8 million bid for Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote and he’s ready to join his old team-mate at Arsenal.

If both stories are true, we should get the DM and Defender signings we need, although perhaps not the players we’d hoped for….

On this day back in 1980, Arsenal signed Kenny Sansom in a £1.25m exchange deal with Crystal Palace for Clive Allen. How many Gooners were glad to see the back of him?

Takes us to Bob John’s article, one which will get you all scratching your heads.

Q – Well Bob, you have been coming to Highbury for over 40 years now, although you’ve been privileged to see some real quality in that time, you must have seen some dross as well!

A- That’s true. I saw my first game in the mid-sixties when we had a great attack but a crap defence. In the mid-seventies we nearly got relegated and the mid-eighties and mid-nineties weren’t much better! Some of the t***ers who moan and slag as soon as a pass goes astray these days should be locked in a room and made to sit through film of Arsenal in those eras. Perhaps they could then appreciate what they are seeing now!

Q- Right, you’ve got a choice of every player you’ve seen play for Arsenal. Who’s your goalie?

A- No hesitation. Vince Bartram! Whenever I think of him, circus music comes into my head! One particular game stands out. We lost 3-1 at home to Leeds, who were really poor and negative. Phil Masinga (remember him?) managed to score the worst goal I’ve ever seen past the hapless ‘Coco the clown’. I think this was the game where we ended up with Andy Linighan up front having high balls pumped up to him! Believe me, no one else comes close!

Q – What about your full-backs?

A – Not quite so easy. We’ve been pretty lucky over the years and seem to have had excellent, long-standing partnerships. One man however stands out. One of the few Arsenal players that I have ever hated! Nelson Vivas. I detested everything about this man. He used cynicism to cover up his lack of ability. Mauricio Tarricco with straight hair! Summed him up when he got needlessly sent off in the FA Cup semi against Manure. What annoyed me even more were the morons in the crowd with their da da da da VIVAS chant! What this plank ever did to deserve his own song is beyond me. Lee Dixon gave years of brilliant service and yet got constantly slagged off!

As I say, we’ve been pretty lucky with full-backs over the years but we’ve had a glut of useless centre-backs. Therefore, Tommy Caton gets the left-back spot. I think he may have even turned out there once or twice. Terry Neill had a habit of signing players that scored against us and the late Tommy was a prime example of this. To sum him up; he started badly….. and got worse! His signing was also responsible for the decline of Chris Whyte, who had been playing really well until Caton’s signing was announced over the tannoy before a League Cup game against Walsall. Knowing Caton had been signed to replace him, Whyte had a ‘mare’ and we lost 2-1. He was never the same player again for Arsenal but gladly for him, won a championship with Leeds. So, Vivas right-back and Caton left-back.

Q – As you’ve already said, you are spoilt for choice at Centre-Back!

A – Absolutely. Ian Ure, Jeff Blockley, Terry Mancini, Pat Howard, Colin Hill, Tommy Caton. This lot make Igor Stepanovs look like a cross between Tony Adams and Franz Beckenbauer! Ure was remembered mainly for his horror show in the 1969 League Cup catastrophe against Swindon. Howard just kicked everything. Sometimes he even kicked the ball! Hill was a useless forward converted into a useless defender!

I’m going for a well- balanced pairing, Blockley and Mancini. Well- balanced because it’s difficult to know who was the worst! Not only was Blockley a big useless lummox, with a penchant for own goals and dodgy back-passes but also his signing meant Frank McLintock going to QPR! We signed Mancini from QPR because he was ‘a clown who would make the dressing room laugh’! He never amused me in the slightest! Some might consider Gus Caeser. Although he was error prone, it was usually only one per game. This bunch were consistently rubbish! And please, no one mention Steve Walford, who never let us down. Anyone at the City Ground in the 1979 FA Cup game when we broke Forest’s long unbeaten home record, knows what I mean. He was superb that night. No, it’s got to be Blockley and Mancini.

Q – Ok. On to the midfield. Four across the middle?

A – Yes indeed. Amongst them, in central midfield, another one of the few of our players I’ve ever hated. Peter Nicholas is a cert! I hated the dirty git when he was at Palace and then we went and signed him! Then to cap it all, we played Swansea at Highbury and he was quoted as saying, “I’m playing for Arsenal but my heart is with Swansea”. We lost 2-0 and at least one of the goals was down to him. Alongside him, John Jensen. Another example of a player playing above himself in a major tournament and securing a big transfer. Couldn’t run, couldn’t pass, couldn’t tackle, couldn’t head a ball, couldn’t shoot and he had a moustache! Some people found it amusing when he blasted yet another shot into the upper tier.

Not funny! I can hear a lot of people saying, “what about David Hillier?” Well, whatever his limitations, he did the business when he first came into the team in the 1991 championship year.

Out wide it has to be another waster from Palace, ‘Steady’ Eddie McGoldrick. What was going on there? Can’t remember him having even an average game! Toss-up for the other wide position between Jimmy Carter and Glenn Helder. I’ve no doubt that Helder had the most talent of the two but that’s’ what made him so frustrating in my opinion. Plus, Carter was a Gooner. So, Helder it is. One decent game followed by twenty awful ones!

Q – And finally. Up front?

A- Thierry Henry and Ian Wright! Only joking! Well, before anyone mentions him, not Chris Kiwomya. The day George Graham was sacked we played Forest at home and were in real danger of going down. Kiwomya scored the winner and then got two in the next game at Palace.

We stayed up by nine points in the end so we owe him a lot. Ray Hankin only played less than half a game in kit that barely covered his gut so he doesn’t qualify. Must admit, I never liked the poser, Paul Mariner but he wasn’t anywhere near bad enough to get in this side. Kaba Diawara was the unluckiest player I’ve ever seen. He must hold the record for hitting the woodwork! Paul Vaessen was excellent until his knee busted and anyway, for that goal in Turin alone he deserves recognition.

No, it has to be two classic Terry Neill signings. John Hawley and Lee Chapman. Both scored against us for their previous clubs, so Neill signed them! To be honest, we had no great expectations of Hawley. He didn’t cost a lot but it was still embarrassing watching this lower league journeyman trundle about in an Arsenal kit. A replacement for Frank Stapleton. You’re having a laugh! Chapman cost a million and that was at least a million too much! We went to Stoke to see his debut and gave some old Stoke supporter a lift on the way. He told us how bad Chapman was and boy was he right! So these two ‘classic English centre forwards’ complete the line up!

Well, thanks for that. Let’s look at the line up in full.

Vince Bartram, Nelson Vivas, Jeff Blockley, Terry Mancini, Tommy Caton, Eddie McGoldrick, Peter Nicholas, John Jensen, Glenn Helder, Lee Chapman, John Hawley.

A right pile of poo!

Written by Bob John…

 

 


German Captain on his way to Arsenal? A nice welcome for new summer signing….

August 12, 2014

Morning all.

We are being linked to Greek CB Kostas Manolas again today. The 23 year old, 6′ 1″ Greek international currently plays for Olympiacos and was apparently voted as one of the top 50 performers in the World Cup. How many players were on show, 51? He’s under contract with his current club until 2017. Apparently a deal was agreed with Everton a couple of years ago but he refused to move as it would leave his club short at the back. What a decent chap…

The Telegraph suggest that Benedikt Höwedes, Luiz Gustavo and William Carvalho are among the players being monitored by Arsenal as manager Arsène Wenger aims to end the transfer window by recruiting a player with the versatility to provide cover at centre-back.

Höwedes stands out because he has the ability to play DM, CB and left back. He’s the current captain of Schalke and his contract doesn’t run out until 2017. He’d be a top top signing wouldn’t he and you can never have too many World Cup winners in a squad…. Maybe our current three have whispered good things in his ear…..

I think it’s fair to say that Arsenal fans have been very impressed with new summer signing Calum Chambers. He’s really hit the ground running and has looked totally unfazed in the heart of our defence. In fact he looks like he’s been playing there for a few years and he’s far more mature than his 19 years of age would suggest he could be.

He’s settled in really well and is already loving life as an Arsenal player:

I’m really enjoying my time here. Everyone has welcomed me really well so I’m really enjoying it.

It’s been quite a whirlwind of a few weeks. I’m taking every day as it comes, just concentrating on what I’m doing next. I’m really enjoying it here and everyone has welcomed me really well. I just want to play the best I can and show everyone what I can do.

We’ve got a lot of quality players here. The team spirit is really high at the moment so I think we can do well this season. We’ll go into every game and give it 100 per cent, and with the quality in this team, we’ll hope for a result in every game.

Over the years we have seen a few suspect defenders signed up and a couple have been at an early stage in their career and expected to do great things. Johan Djourou and Philippe Senderos spring to mind..

Both players struggled to cope with the demands in the Premier League. Drogba singularly all but finished an Arsenal career for Senderos and Djourou lost any confidence he did have when he was asked to slot in at right back. Prior to that, I think I’m right in saying that he partnered either Koscielny or Mertesacker during a time when Arsenal went on a long winning streak…

His case wasn’t helped by suffering an injury which broke up that solid partnership….

Both players were always called up by their country but neither could cement a place for their club.

So here we are again with a young centre back who looks very assured early in his career but there’s something different about Calum Chambers.

Not one of the Manchester City players got to him, just like none of the big players on show at The Emirates Cup didn’t. He clearly believes in his own ability and he’s confident. No cocky, or arrogant, just confident and his performances show exactly why he should be.

As said earlier, Arsene Wenger has signed a few dodgy defenders in the past, but I have a sneaky feeling that Calum Chambers isn’t going to be another…….

Neither will Mathieu Debuchy. Older and wiser he might be but so was Mikael Silvestre and that idiot Sebastien Squillaci and we all know how they worked out…..

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

 


Defender signing imminent. Captain departs & Wembley, here we come again…..

August 10, 2014

Morning all.

Just a few weeks ago, Arsene Wenger told us that if Thomas Vermaelen leaves, he’ll sign a replacement. Thomas Vermaelen has now gone, he’s joined Barcelona and I strongly suspect that Wenger has known all along that was going to happen. Why else would he have not played any part of or pre-season? It’s clear he’s not been injured as otherwise his medical could have been tricky.

Yes Calum Chambers has been signed, but Wenger has maintained that once Vermaelen’s exit was confirmed he would sign a replacement and that’s now done so a new signing must be imminent, it must be. Calum Chambers is good, very good but not even Arsene Wenger would go into a new season with a 19 year old as his 3rd choice CB. Would he?

I don’t think so as I’m not even convinced that the player or coaching staff/manager have truly found his best position, not yet but he’s going to be good, on that I think we all agree. No doubt today, he’ll start alongside Laurent Koscielny in the heart of our defence because there aren’t many other options. Other than Miguel of course.

As for the rest of the team selection, I’ll leave that to the manager, that’s what he gets paid for, that’s what he does and as much as fans think they know better, they don’t. If they did, they wouldn’t be typing away on a keyboard professing to be experts, they’d be doing what Arsene Wenger does, only at a different club.

Yes we all have our favourites and think they should start before others but as Adam said a few days ago, Wenger knows his players better than anyone and he’ll do what he believes is right.

Manchester City have a plethora of players missing today’s fixture. Negredo is injured, Lampard isn’t yet fit enough and neither is Sagna. Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis, Fernandinho and skipper Vincent Kompany all sit this game out too having been involved in the latter stages of the World…

It should be a good game and one I think we’ll win……

COYRRG’s…

Have a fab day all….

 


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….

 


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