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Arsenal Manager Quits, David Villa linked & Spare a thought for our fans at Wigan…

December 22, 2012

Morning all,

Start with today’s gossip:

Arsenal are ‘exploring an audacious swoop for Barcelona striker David Villa’ according to The Daily Mail. The cunning plan is a loan until the end of the season and if all goes well, we’re going to try for a permanent deal. Apparently Villa is getting fed up with warming the bench at his ripe old age.

Would that be the kind of signing you’d love to see?

It sure would me, add him to Henry, who is sure to join us again and we should score a few goals..

The same paper suggests that the manager is not happy with the level of competition for Wojciech Szczesny and link us to another goalkeeper, this morning it’s the Sunderland custodian, Simon Mignolet!

Most newspapers suggest that the race for Wilfried Zaha is a two-horse one between Wenger and Fergie next month – yawn!

Onto some real news:

Arsenal Ladies manager Laura Harvey has confirmed she will be leaving the club in January to take up a new role with American side Seattle Reign FC, in the newly formed National Women’s Soccer League.

Laura first joined the Arsenal Ladies set-up in summer 2008 as first-team coach, and was appointed manager midway through the 2009/10 campaign. Under Harvey, the Ladies have won three consecutive league titles, two Continental Cups and one FA Women’s Cup,.

They have also made it to the last four of the UEFA Women’s Champions League on two occasions.

Not a bad record in short period of time. I guess America is too big an opportunity to turn down.

If only the men could achieve what the Ladies have….

Talking of which, another tough test up the Northern part of the country today as we face Wigan Athletic.

Here are a few statistics courtesy of the BBC:

    Head-to-head

  • Wigan have won just one home Premier League game against Arsenal (W1, D2, L4) – a 3-2 victory in April 2010.
  • The away side won both fixtures last season – Arsenal 4-0 at the DW Stadium and Wigan 2-1 at the Emirates.

Wigan

  • The Latics have won just one of their last seven Premier League games (W1, D1, L5).
  • Roberto Martinez’s men have kept just two clean sheets in the league this season.
  • Wigan have lost 10 out of their 17 Premier League matches this season. They have only lost more matches at this stage in a top-flight season in 2007-08, when they had lost 11. They finished that season in 14th place.
  • Ali Al Habsi is on the brink of his 100th Wigan appearance, and his 100th Premier League appearance.

Arsenal

  • Victory against Reading gave Arsenal back-to-back league wins for only the second time this season – they have not won three consecutive Premier League games since a seven-match winning streak in February-March.
  • The Gunners have won just one of their last five Premier League away games (W1, D2, L2).
  • Only Manchester City (6) have conceded fewer goals away from home in the Premier League than Arsenal (8) this season.
  • Theo Walcott has scored 11 goals in all competitions for the club this season, leaving him just two short of equalling his most prolific season, when he netted 13 in 2010-11.

Injuries:

Wigan: Caldwell (doubt – hamstring), Alcaraz (doubt – groin), Ramis (hamstring),  Lopez (hamstring), McCarthy (ankle), Crusat (knee), Ryo (ankle, ineligible anyway) Watson (broken leg).

Arsenal: We don’t have any players keen to join Diaby, Fabianski or Santos.

Wigan are in a horrid position, they sit 3rd from bottom in the league and they have suffered five defeats in the last seven league matches and they will be desperate to put a halt to that, especially in front of their home fans. They have been conceding goals at an average or two or more in each of their last seven fixtures!!

Last season we won this fixture with ease, with Arteta, Vermaelen, Gervinho and Van Persie sealing a 4-0 victory and today we need to to do something similar.

We all know that Roberto Martinez likes to play the game in a similar style to what we used to play,  so no doubt that will make for an open, attacking game, one in which we should create enough chances to win.

Will Giroud come back into the side with Walcott on the right, or will Wenger stick to playing the side which put five past Reading on Monday night?

I don’t know but I hope it’s the latter as we looked so much better with pace and width in the side and why change a winning team?

With the Boxing Day fixture postponed, these players won’t play again until next Saturday, so plenty of time to rest their little legs!

Wigan will want to win this game. They will be up for this from start to finish and we need to match them.

We need commitment from each and every player, a good strong performance as a team and above all, we need three points!

All our fans who are travelling to the DW Stadium in this awful weather deserve that don’t they?

That’s about it for another day…

Let’s hope it’s a good one…..

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Roberto Martinez mind games?

April 16, 2012

There is all sorts of stuff in the football news, the Chelsea goal that never was, the Ashley Young impression of Tom Daley, again!

Gary Neville and Arsene Wenger are blaming the foreign players for showing their English counterparts the way to win free-kicks and penalties and our own manager is in favour of any player caught taking a dive, should be banned!

Well, my view is, there is technology out there, get it sorted and bring it in, that’s the only way to clean up the game. It’s clear referees need some help, it’s about time they got it. Too much is at stake in today’s game…

Enough of that, onto tonight and the Martinez mind games, or is he speaking the truth?

Tonight we face one of the toughest sides in the Premier League in my opinion and their position in the League is just wrong. Wigan were robbed against Chelsea, they battered the league leaders 1-0 and their manager has his side playing football the right way.

No hoof ball, no dirty tactics either and I truly hope that after tonight they win their remaining games and survive the drop. Martinez comes across as being a good man too and he always speaks from the heart.

Having beaten Manchester United on their own ground, Martinez was asked about their next fixture:

Probably this is an even tougher task, we are going away from home and playing against a side which have been as successful as ever at home.

If you look at the last few performances they have been untouchable in the way they are playing their football, controlling games and scoring goals.

But we know that if we are at our best, we can be competitive against anyone.

Is he taking the pressure off of his own team?

Is he trying to instil a little bit of complacency in our side, getting us to think that it’s all going to be easy?

My own view is he’s trying to take the pressure off his own side, letting them know that no-one really expects them to win.

However, we all know that is when sides can play at their best, just look at Manchester City’s results after we beat them. Mancini dismissed their chances of winning the league on that day, now they are right back in the race…

So, this is where we step in, we don’t listen to all the talk about who is better than who, we concentrate on the job ahead and as we know, that kicks off at 8pm UK time tonight and we need three massive points!

Wigan

Wigan have won three of their last four league games and lost just two of their last 10.

The Latics have won more games away from home (4) in the Premier League than they have at the DW Stadium (3) this season.

Roberto Martinez’s side are the lowest scorers in the Premier League this season with 31 goals. Wigan have scored just once in the opening 20 minutes of Premier League games this season – Jordi Gomez’s seventh-minute strike in a 3-3 draw with Blackburn in November.

As for us – well no stats as usual.

Wigan will get something from this game if we are too complacent and think this game is a walk over!

It won’t be, Wigan are fighting for survival and they will give their all from start to finish and we need to do the same!

There are just five games left until the end of the season, we need 100% from every player in every one of those games, nothing less will do!

Have a good day all….

 

 


Fab out of Wigan fixture, Chamakh and Denilson recover! No thank you Mr Woodgate!

January 22, 2011

Back to the Premier League today with Wigan coming to The Emirates.

News is that Szczesny is to continue in goal today with Fabianski still ruled out with injury but Chamakh and Denilson have recovered – good news about Chamakh but the latter, well I hope he doesn’t start anyway. I hope we field the same side we watched hammer the Hammers and not the side that dropped two points in the away fixture at Wigan a few weeks ago.

Again we have the matter of a Carling Cup semi-final in the week, so let’s hope this side today can kill the game off early then bring off a few to rest their ageing old bones! I really hope Wenger doesn’t pick his side with Tuesday in mind; he can worry about that at 5pm today and no sooner.

We have played Wigan eleven times in the Premier League, winning eight, drawing two and losing just the once but they have never beaten us at home. In fact we haven’t been beaten in the league since our trip to Old Trafford in December and we haven’t conceded a goal this year either. We have the strongest strike force in the league, scoring 45 goals in 22 games, if only we had conceded a few less, eh!

Wigan

They have Victor Moses and James McCarthy missing today, despite recovering from injury and being back in training they are unlikely to feature today. Another doubt for them is goalkeeper Chris Kirkland – he’s recovered from his head injury but today may have come too soon for him to return, Al Habsi is his deputy. Tom Cleverley is also out for the visitors with a hamstring injury.  They have lost just one of their last seven, league fixtures but have the weakest strike force in the league – scoring only 19 goals in their 22 fixtures. For those who love stats, Wigan are the only side not to have conceded a penalty so far in this campaign. Hope Theo is reading ;)

Players to watch are Hugo Rodallega who has scored 6 goals and N’Zogbia who has 4. I know that is not many but we don’t want them adding to their goal tally today.

Kevin Friend is today’s referee, don’t think I’ve heard of him, at least it’s not Howard Webb. Talking of which, Manchester United have a tricky home fixture today against Birmingham, Manchester City head to Aston Villa in another tricky fixture – I hope Darren Bent hits the ground running at his new club and proves he is worth what Villa paid for him.

Tit bits – Jonathon Woodgate is the latest defender linked to us, I won’t even comment on a rumour which really only deserves to be printed on the 1st April! Wenger tells Fergie that his side are lucky to be unbeaten so far and there’s a long way to go before the word ‘Invincible’ is on their mind and finally, Vela, Ramsey and Lansbury are all going back out on loan. Rambo is to be a short-term; Vela and Lansbury are yet to be confirmed.

BBC’s Friday Focus presenter Dan Walker was at Arsenal’s training ground yesterday doing a preview of today’s fixture. He talks with Terry Butcher and Arsene Wenger – this is being shown today on Football Focus 1215 GMT on BBC One and their BBC website.

That’s it for today, three points up for grabs for this fixture, so best Wenger makes sure we get them too as the others around us at the top could just drop some….


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