Arsene Wenger’s positive injury update ahead of Liverpool, Wojciech Szczesny set to start in goal

April 16, 2011

Wojciech Szczesny is set to start in goal against Liverpool on Sunday as Manuel Almunia won’t be risked with his knee injury.

Arsene Wenger, at his pre-match press conference, confirmed that Szczesny has had a full week of training after recovering from his injury in good time and therefore might be in goal. Wenger, however, didn’t rule out the possibility of playing Lehmann as he said that Szczesny still has some tests to take.

On the injured players, Arsene Wenger gave positive update as he confirmed that Alex Song and Johan Djourou are back and available in the squad and also added that Thomas Vermaelen is in full training and a good chance to play this season.

The manager concluded by saying that except Fabianski all the injured players are back in practice with Bacary Sagna, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky the only doubts for Sunday.

Arsene Wenger, on Friday, said:

“We still have some tests to make but Wojciech is back in full training so it could be Szczesny [in goal]. It is a big surprise for us because we thought at the start [of his injury] that the season was over. But he was given the green light four weeks after the Barcelona game, so he had a full week of practice.

Jens wants to help out when it is needed, he knows the rule. If I decide to play him he will play without any problem and I can just congratulate him on the game he played. He saved a very important ball at 3-1 and overall his decision making was perfect.

[Manuel Almunia] is back in training, I have not spoken to him yet, how he feels, but it will be difficult to take a gamble after what happened to him in the warm up [against Blackpool].

We have plenty of players back, some are short of competitive edge but Johan Djourou and Alex Song are both available and even Thomas Vermaelen is in full training now. There is a good chance [he will play again this season].

We have some doubts still for Bacary Sagna, Aaron Ramsey and Tomas Rosicky but overall there is no big injury any more. Apart from Lukasz Fabianski everybody else is able to practice again.”


Arsene Wenger on Djourou and Szczesny’s start against Liverpool and Vermaelen’s return

April 15, 2011

Arsenal will face Liverpool on Sunday, where a win will take them to within four points of Manchester United. Arsene Wenger on Thursday gave the latest injury news ahead of the match.

While speaking to Arsenal TV Online, Arsene Wenger informed that there are no new injuries but there is a doubt on Sagna’s availability, who hasn’t yet recovered from his injury.

Meanwhile Djourou, Szczesny, Denilson and Song all have a chance to be available on Sunday. Wenger added that Djourou and Szczesny’s inclusion will be decided after how they perform in the training session because they have question marks on their fitness. 

The manager also gave good news on Vermaelen’s return as he confirmed that he has joined training. He added that we will need to show patience with Vermaelen as he has just joined the team and isn’t match fit yet.

On Thursday, Arsene Wenger said:

“We have no [new injuries] but we have a big doubt on Sagna. Djourou and Wojciech are question marks. Will they be fit? That all has still to be decided. We have two more days to find out. It could be a possibility that they could be available.

It’s difficult to say [what their chances are]. We have a test today [Thursday], we have a big test to see how they survive the training session. That will be very important. Denilson and Song have a chance to be available as well.

I am not reluctant [to use Vermaelen] but he is not match fit yet. He just joined the team this week so we have to be a bit patient with him.”


Alisher Usmanov will not sell his stake, Szczesny and Djourou back in training and some other news

April 13, 2011

The big news in the past couple of days has been the proposition of Stan Kroenke’s complete takeover of Arsenal. Stan Kroenke increased his Arsenal stake to 62.89 percent by buying the shares of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and Danny Fiszman. As a result, Kroenke has the control of the club and he was forced to make a complete takeover bid. If he can reach 90 percent, he can compulsory buy the rest of the club shares.

However, it seems now that it won’t come to pass due to a new development. Alisher Usmanov, whose RED and White Holdings own 27 percent of the Arsenal shares, has declined to sell his stake to Kroenke by saying that he loves Arsenal and that is the reason he is a shareholder. This is what he said:

“I’m not going to sell my stake. I love Arsenal, that’s why I’m a shareholder”

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) has welcomed the decision made by Usmanov and have also declined to sell their shares. AST, however, is not against Kroenke’s takeover as long as the fans have a say in the ownership of the club. An AST statement said:

“AST welcomes Red and White Holdings’ commitment to Arsenal and calls on all shareholders to work together. Their priorities should firstly be making Arsenal a successful football team, secondly placing no leveraged debt on the club or taking dividends and management fees out of the club, and thirdly helping supporters be directly involved in the club’s shareholding. Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one man.” 

I don’t know what will happen next but one thing is for sure that Arsenal will not be in the hands of a single owner, which is good news. I don’t want Arsenal to turn into a plaything for one individual. As long as the fans hold some part of the club, Arsenal will remain the club it is.

All I want is that whatever happens next, it doesn’t disturb the way the club is being run. As long as we have the money to sustain the team and buy players, ownership issues won’t matter much. I will also add that the best thing is to wait it out and see how things turn up, and hopefully it will be for the best.

Coming to matters concerning injuries, there have been reports that Szczesny and Djourou have both returned to training ahead of the Liverpool match and both will be available for selection in the squad. The reports confirm what Arsene said in his post-Blackpool comments that Szczesny is not far from returning. So if all goes well, we will have our first choice keeper and  Djourou available for the crunch final run in.

Yesterday there were also reports of a row between van Persie and Diaby at half time during the Blackpool game, concerning the way Diaby reacted before he was booked in the first half. I don’t know if it is true, although, if it is then it is good because it shows that the senior players are taking responsibility to put the wrong things right. It will be better for Diaby to realize that the way he reacted is only going to harm him and Arsenal and no one else. However, I would want that whatever happens inside dressing rooms should remain there because media will always find ways to exploit such incidents.

In other news, Wilshere has slammed the news of a possible move to Manchester City in the summer by saying this on his official twitter:

“People asking if I’m going city? I don’t kiss the Arsenal badge then leave – this club in my heart!”

Denilson is here talking about Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian and wants him to come to Arsenal.

Champions League quarter finals are also under way and sadly we are having no part in it. Last night Man United and Barcelona qualified for the semi finals at the expense of Chelsea and Shakhtar respectively. Tonight we will find out who the other two teams are, although by now it’s pretty clear which teams will make it.

Till later…


Gael Clichy is not leaving Arsenal nor is Tomas Rosicky going anywhere

April 12, 2011

There is still more than a month to go for this season to end, but looking at the amount of rumours related to players getting linked in and out of Arsenal, it seems as if we are one month into the summer break. And If we were to believe all, the whole Arsenal team would have been changed twice already.

Meanwhile, it is good that some of our players and their agents are coming up with statements to put the rumours to rest (and I will like others to do the same).

Our left back, Gael Clichy, for instance, has ruled out an Arsenal exit by saying that his present and future is with Arsenal and his ultimate ambition is to win a trophy with the Gunners. This is what he said while speaking to The People:

“When I arrived at Arsenal it was because I wanted to improve myself as a player and to win titles, and that is normal with any player. Wenger persuaded me to come here at a time when I was receiving offers from other clubs – and I have to say that my present and my future is with Arsenal.”

I am leaving talks over my contract with my agent so that I can focus on my football. I know that there are rumours about me going elsewhere but I have nothing to say about that. I have always wanted to be at a club where I am content. Money is important but it is not a decisive factor. All I want is to win a title – that’s my ultimate ambition.

It is unquestionable that Wenger is a great coach but the problem is it becomes more difficult to win the title every year. He is trying to develop the young players at this club and I think that is something you cannot put a price on in football.”

This statement might put an end to the stories for now but they will surface again until Clichy extends his current contract, which is set to expire next year. For me, I will never sell Clichy even if we do get offers for him. The first reason being that he is the best left back we have with Kieran Gibbs nowhere near to replacing him at the moment and the second, there are no better options in my opinion available out there. I am off the view that it will be best for us if we can keep him here at Arsenal and in due time Gibbs will be able to replace him. 

And it’s not like Arsene is going to sign someone with experience, if we do let Clichy go, as we have unearthed a new talent in the shape of Charlton’s young left back, Carl Jenkinson. 

There is also news linking Rosicky away from Arsenal this summer. However, his agent has labeled all such news as false. His agent had this to say:

“There have been many false rumours circulating, but at the moment, there is nothing concrete. It has been quite some time since I have heard from Arsene Wenger. Therefore, there is no new news, and if there is a change, he will be the first to communicate this.”

So, at the moment there is no such indication but I believe that Rosicky’s time is over at Arsenal. He has never been the same after his injury and despite showing some glimpses of his talent last season; he has disapointed a lot this time. This season he has been ordinary and in some games he has performed well below par. And considering his age he isn’t going to get any better. If we do get an offer for him, I believe we should take it which will make room for a new signing, like Eden Hazard (if we can), as well as a chance for the younger players to come up.

What do you all think? Is it time we let go of Rosicky or even Clichy?


[Video] Blackpool 1 – 3 Arsenal Highlights: An Important win for Arsenal!!

April 11, 2011

Arsenal overcame a determined Blackpool to record an important win after Diaby, Eboue and Van Persie scored vital goals. Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored the only goal for Blackpool.

Arsenal scored the first goal in the 17th minute after Diaby ended a brilliant move started by himself. Diaby won the ball in the middle of the park and passed it onto Fabregas, who found van Persie on the left with an inch-perfect pass. Van Persie controlled the ball and crossed it to Diaby, who had continued his run, and guided it into to the back of the net.

The second goal was scored three minutes later after some good work by Eboue and Wilshere. Eboue got the ball on the right and made a run into the danger area. He did a one-two with Wilshere before smashing the ball past the Blackpool keeper.

Blackpool came back into the game early on in the second half when Gary Taylor-Fletcher scored a goal after the referee played an advantage.

However, Arsenal scored the third goal 14 minutes from time to put the match beyond Blackpool. Van Persie scored the goal after some good work by Squillaci and Diaby at the back and Walcott’s excellent run.

You can watch the full match highlight by clicking on the link below.

http://jogabonito.co/video/arsenal-vs-blackpool-31


Arsene Wenger on the ‘necessary’ Blackpool win and fight for the title

April 11, 2011

Arsene Wenger was clearly delighted after Arsenal ended their three match draw streak with a deserved win over Blackpool.

Speaking after the match, the manager said that it was a good performance as the players responded positively after a flat game last week. The manager explained that the win was necessary today despite being on an unbeaten run and added that it has to be continued from game to game now.

Arsene acknowledged to having nervous moments during the game but said that a determined performance out of Blackpool was expected as they are fighting to avoid relegation.

The manger concluded by admitting that only three points were important to keep their chances alive for the title as he said that Arsenal will fight for it till the end.

After the game, Arsene Wenger said:

“I think it was a good performance because we had a good response to the flat game last Sunday. What people forget is that we are on a long unbeaten run, even if we had not won recently. But it was important to get a win again and we now have to go from game to game.

That’s what you get with Blackpool and with a team [that is] fighting against relegation. I knew that, at 2-0, they would not give up. We missed some chances in the first half and, at 2-1, we had a little nervy period. Making it 3-1 killed the game because they had given a lot.

Today, only three points would help us keep our chances [alive]. We have promised ourselves to give everything until the end of the season. There are still seven games left and that is a long time.”


Arsene Wenger on Lehmann’s performance, Almunia’s Knee injury and Szczesny’s return

April 10, 2011

Jens Lehmann did well during Arsenal’s win over Blackpool after his surprise start due to an injury to Manuel Almunia in the warm ups.

Speaking after the game, Arsene Wenger praised the performance of Lehmann by saying how his decision making was spot on and how his authority helped the team on set pieces.

The manager added that he wasn’t concerned about starting the game with him but admitted that the only problem was of replacing Lehmann, if something had happened to him during the game, due to having no keeper left on the bench.

There did come such a moment during the game when Lehmann could have been sent off for bringing down DJ Campbell in the danger area but Blackpool scored the goal, when the referee played the advantage, and Wenger admitted that it was an important split second of the game.

Regarding Almunia’s injury, Wenger said that he has a knee injury which needs to be assessed and added that he doesn’t yet know If he will be available for the next match. However, Wenger concluded by saying that Szczesny is not far away from returning.

Arsene Wenger, after the win, said:

“[Jens Lehmann] did well. His decision-making was spot on. In fairness, he didn’t have a lot to do because we controlled the game quite well. He is commanding and his authority helped us on set-pieces.

I was not concerned because I replaced a good goalkeeper with a good goalkeeper. The only concern was not having a goalkeeper on the bench anymore. If something had happened to Jens, because he had not played for a long time, we would have had a problem.

Yes. That was the important split-second of the game. I felt Jens played the ball, even if [the referee] gives a penalty he can give a yellow card because he tried to intercept the ball.

{Manuel Almunia] has a knee problem, we have to assess that. I don’t know [whether he will be ready for the next game]. We have [Wojciech] Szczesny who is not far away.”