Final game of the season, Wilshere dropped form the under 21 squad? and another Fabregas Story!

May 22, 2011

To start off with, I would like all Gooners to stand up and give a great round of applause to the Arsenal Ladies for winning the FA cup yesterday. Congratulations to them!

Coming to matters at hand, only a few hours are left for EPL season to officially end. Except the relegation battle there is nothing exciting to look forward to. I hope that Blackpool does survive though. As for the Gooners, I believe many of you will be looking ahead to the long summer and hoping for some positive changes at Arsenal.

We are up against Fulham and to be honest there is nothing much to say about the game. It will be a nice change just to win and to end the season on a high. We may even finish third but don’t hold your breath.  

Arsene Wenger, however, is adamant that there is still something to play for.

“I feel there is something to play for because Man City still have a difficult game at Bolton. We know that through our own experience up there. So that means it is down to us to just try and win our game. If they win, they win. The most important thing is that we are responsible and fight for our future.”

I hope the players are on the same wavelength.

An interesting report has come up today. The Mirror is saying that we are prepared to sell Fabregas  to Barcelona if the price is in the range of £50 million. Whatever their source I don’t believe it. It is the final day of the season and it is the first of many stories that we will see this summer. Till the time Arsene Wenger comes up with anything, I am not buying any speculation about Fabregas.

The Mirror is also reporting some good news. They say that Stuart Pearce has finally omitted Jack Wilshere (and Andy Carroll) form the England under 21 squad. I cannot say what made him change his mind although I won’t bet on common sense. I hope it is true because Wilshere badly needs a rest as he has played insane amounts of football this season. He is only 19 and playing this much football without rest will be only harmful for him.  And we don’t want a tired player at the start of next season.

And then there were the usuall rumors of Gary Cahill and Chris Samba to Arsenal. I hope we sign Cahill though!!

That I guess is all for now. I want this season to end but I know I will miss the football badly.  The speculations and rumors will continue no doubt and there will be many surprises but it will take some time to adjust to weekends without football.

Have a good day and a great summer. For now just savour the final game of the season before the long summer starts!


Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy given deadline by Arsene Wenger to sign contracts

May 22, 2011

Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy are both approaching the final year of their current contracts and Wenger is hoping that they both will extend their contracts this summer to avoid what happened in Flamini’s case.

Mathieu Flamini left on a free transfer, three years back, after letting his contract to run down, a mistake Wenger is hoping to avoid with both Clichy and Nasri.

Arsene Wenger is aware of the importance of both the players and his priority will be to secure their services or else, I fear, they will be sold to the highest bidder. Both of them have already been linked with a few clubs.

Samir Nasri has been a vital player for Arsenal this season despite fading away in the latter stages of the season. It will be a hard time in finding a replacement for the Frenchman, if he doesn’t sign the contract.

The immediate danger, however, will be of losing Clichy as there is no one at the club to fill his place with Gibbs far from being the finished product. A replacement for him will be more than necessary if he doesn’t sign the contract.

Arsene Wenger said this to the official Arsenal website:

“We will sort that situation out quickly after the end of the season. We need to know very quickly. We do not want to do that [allow them to leave on a free like Flamini]. We won’t allow that to happen. It has to be resolved before the season starts again.”

Personally, I want them both to stay. If not, then they better decide it early so that we may have ample time to replace them. We suffered a lot by letting Flamini go and to be honest we haven’t yet replaced him.


Arsene Wenger geared up for the summer as he confirms there will be arrivals and departures!

May 22, 2011

Arsene Wenger is geared up for the summer as he recently admitted that this will be a massive and important summer on all fronts for Arsenal.

The task is three fold for Arsene Wenger this time. He has to make sure that our best players don’t leave, he has to sell the dead weight at Arsenal for whatever their worth and he needs to sign quality players to strengthen the squad.

The manager is ready for it as he said that work has already started with everyone at the club busy in finding solutions to improve the team. Wenger said that his priority will be to hold the squad together but didn’t rule out departure of some and arrival of new players.

Speaking to Arsenal TV online on Friday, the manager said:

“[That my first priority is to keep my squad together] is true [but it] doesn’t mean that there will be no movement. There will be some movement of players who have played less, who need to play and as well of course we will try to strengthen our squad again but we want to keep the basis and style of play we have.

We are very very busy all over our Club, we are looking, analysing, talking to people. There are two steps in the transfer market during the summer, the first is very early and the second one is very late. In between there is a little bit of no man’s land because people are on holiday, it’s difficult to get in touch so a lot will happen at the start and a lot will happen at the end but I believe June will be relatively quiet. But early end of May, early June could be quite busy.

[One of the most important summers of my time at Arsenal?] Yes, I think so, we had a few important ones but this will certainly be a big one, on all fronts.”

Denilson is the first one to come out and say that he wants to quit and maybe there will be others. Let’s hope Wenger has the right people looking in the right areas and we get to see new faces early in the transfer window.


Andre Arshavin is going nowhere, Denilson is!! And we have made our first signing!?

May 21, 2011

I cannot understand why everyone out in the football world is reporting that we are getting rid of Arshavin this summer. Arshavin has been one of our most important contributors this season in terms of goals and assists. Take away his contribution and see where we would have ended up. No doubt, he had his bad games and he has looked anonymous many times but he still has been producing important assists and goals. And seriously, do we want goals and assist or someone who warms the bench and comes on to make things worse?

There have been reports circulating that Chelsea are looking to acquire his services. Even Zenit St Petersberg has their doors open for him. What I find interesting is that they cite the manager’s frustration with Arshavin not performing well being one of the reasons that may lead to Arshavin’s departure. The other being that Arshavin himself wants to leave as he hasn’t been playing regularly. Both of these reasons are ridiculous because Wenger has many other players to be frustrated with than from someone who has scored 10 goals and produced 17 assists. And to make 51 appearances in a season, I guess, is more than enough.

Andre Arshavin is going nowhere until and unless he or Arsene Wenger says it.

And by the way why should we let him go!? He is a type of player that will produce something out of nothing. He is a game changer and despite looking lazy, he will produce one moment of brilliance that can win games.  Look at the game against West Bromwich. We were two goals down and going for a double loss against a newly promoted team. And bam out of nowhere, he scored the first goal. The keeper didn’t even have time to move. He followed it with an assist for the second and we were saved from another embarrassment. There are many other important goals that he has scored this season and you cannot rule out his assists.

And if I am not wrong, he is the most direct player we have. He is one of the few who will go for goal whenever there is a chance. This habit of his is on the decline though but that is due to the way we play. He is intelligent, he has these sudden bursts of speed and can power away from any defense and he has tricks up his sleeve. This season he might have looked lazy and uninterested but he has done more than some of the others who have played.

And you cannot deny that there has been a positive improvement in his attitude after his bad spell at the end of last year. These last few months he has been doing his defensive duties quite well too. At times he has drifted off but what more can you expect from a player who is nearing 30 and his specialty is playing upfront.

We brought him to score and create goals and that he is doing. Also, this season stats are his best yet for Arsenal in a full season.

We need to improve our team and selling Arshavin is not the way to go.  We can be better off without Denilson, Rosicky, Eboue to name a few but we will go a step back if we let him go.  

And speaking of Denilson, he has finally decided to quit Arsenal (about time too!!) which is the best thing that has happened ever since the win against Man United. He has told The Sun that this has been his worst season ever and wants to leave now for a fresh start in Spain or Italy. Below are some of his words which seem a bit ironic because he was responsible for some of the embarrassing moments in the last three years.

“A footballer’s career is over very quickly so it is time for me to move on. This has been the worst season of my life.  I’ve been to see Arsene Wenger and told him how I felt and he agreed to let me go. I need a fresh challenge and although I’m taking a big gamble, I’m ready to take that risk. So I am flying home to Brazil on Sunday and I’m hoping I can make a fresh start in Spain or maybe Italy.”

I am so upset. I am a winner and I came here to win trophies but I’ve been here for five years and won nothing. There’s something missing at Arsenal but no one knows what it is. Not the manager, not the players – nobody.  But we are still the best footballing side in Britain, we play beautiful football. Only Barcelona do it better. But we don’t win trophies. That’s so frustrating, you can’t imagine how frustrating. Some people say we don’t succeed because we are too young and naive – but that’s no excuse.

I remember leading Liverpool 1-0 and they scored in the last seconds. We were 4-0 up at Newcastle but drew. We also lost to Newcastle at home and West Brom and Aston Villa. We threw it away against Sunderland and Blackburn at the Emirates. Let’s be honest, some of those games were shocking, shameful. We are better than that. But until Arsenal stop throwing away those silly points in those stupid games nothing will change.”

You can read the rest of it here.

So, we have our first positive news for the summer. I think no one will be upset by this because except a few games, Denilson has always been a liability for us. And to be honest, he won’t be missed. My only regret is why he didn’t realise three years back that his time was over at Arsenal!? I will never know!!

Jokes aside, we now have to find a club that will offer the right money for him and then to find a top replacement for him. Bastian Schweinsteiger anyone!!

Another interesting bit of news has surfaced. Fox Sports is reporting that we have agreed a pre-contract with 23-year-old Argentinean, Ricky Alvarez. He will be joining Arsenal after his current deal expires at the end of the Clausura campaign. He is currently playing for Velez Sarsfield’s in the Argentine Primera División.

At the moment we only know that he is a 6’2” left footed attacking midfielder. Reports are that he is a versatile player and can play as a second striker. He has pace and has a powerful shot. He suffered a knee cruciate ligament injury when he started for Sarsfield back in 2008. However, since recovering, he has won the Argentine Primera División title in 2009.

Is this our first signing of the summer? Can’t say anything with certainty, although, we will know in a couple of days how true the reports are. Also can’t say what he can offer us with having not seen him play at all. He is left footed and his pace can only be an advantage. It does seem though that we are going back to old days with pacey wingers and all, if we do sign him.

Hoping for the best. That’s all for now. Have a good day!!

p.s. This post was written in two parts. I had written the part about Arshavin on Wednesday but didn’t get the time to post it. Arsene Wenger in his press conference on Thursday said that he expects Arshavin to be at Arsenal next season.


‘The best defence in open play”….Open your eyes Arsene!!

May 16, 2011

“We have the best defence in open play”, this is what Arsene Wenger was saying before the Aston Villa match and look at what happened during the game. The best defence in open play was opened up so easily that it looked like our team wasn’t even on the pitch.

And on top of it, Arsene has an excuse for this as well:

“We were punished because we went into the game too tentative. We were not dominant enough in anything we did and we were on the back foot at the start.

We have been hit very hard by bad results and you could see that at the start of the game, we suffered a little bit. But we have to rise above that and overall you could see we were a bit nervous defensively.”

How can you go in to a game being tentative when you know you have to fight for your third position in the table to be confirmed? And when all of this occurs after Arsene is saying that quality-wise and attitude-wise this season has been excellent then there is something wrong.

I really wish now that the season was over.  No need to play the final game against Fulham. It is too much to take in. Frankly, it has been embarrassing.

We know this team can beat anyone but why can’t they do it consistently is beyond me. Why do they need to go down two goals to wake up?  

Although I wasn’t expecting anything from this game, I was hoping for a good response from the team with having Vermaelen back. The game was lost in those early 15 minutes when our team was having a nap and Villa so easily sliced opened our defence with Bent finishing expertly.

After that it was attack versus defence. We woke up from our slumber and did better in the second half but it was too little and too late. Villa just had to defend their goal which they did with some help from the referee, which by the way is getting a norm.

We could have drawn or won this game. Why that penalty wasn’t given and why was Chamakh’s legit goal disallowed, I will never know. Although I have a question for the ****** referee that if he has disallowed the goal scored by Chamakh for a push that was never there, why bringing down Ramsey, while he was going for the goal, not a penalty? And a question for FA, Why are the referee’s exempted from explaining their decisions?

Nonetheless, the problem still is our defence. If we don’t let in stupid goals, even the referee won’t be able to give away goals to the opposition.

And I believe that till the time we don’t change the way we train, our defending will remain the same even if we buy all the Cahill’s and Jagielka’s. We need someone in the backroom staff that can show our players how to defend. At the moment who  ever has the task is failing miserably. More than the new players, I will be hoping for a new face in the backroom staff.

There is nothing else from the game to discuss. It was good to see Vermaelen return. He grew in confidence as the game went on. It was good to see Van Persie score again.  

I won’t comment about Squillaci. He is going backwards game by game. By the way why was he picked ahead of Djourou? Same goes for Gibbs. I have been saying for a long time now that he doesn’t know how to defend. Why was Clichy left out when before the game he was declared fit? I will never know.

Man City now has an excellent chance to finish third. From fighting for the title to second then to third and now fourth, that is progress and in just over two months. Extraordinary! Even by our standards.

But then again we always have next season to witness more of the same!! Let’s hope Wenger opens his eyes this summer or he won’t have any one left in support!! Have a good day!


Karim Benzema to Arsenal! Agent denies rumours

May 14, 2011

We have got plenty of players getting linked with us at the moment and Karim Benzema, the former Lyon striker and currently playing at Real Madrid is one of them. He hasn’t enjoyed the best of times at Real Madrid ever since his transfer and speculations are rife that he may move to other clubs this summer. Even today there was a report that claimed that Benzema has been given the green light for a £25 million move to Arsenal. He has also been linked with Juventus and Inter Milan. The questions that remains is, Are these rumors true? I hope they are but I am not holding my breath!

The reason being, Benzema’s agent, Karim Djaziri,  recently dismissed all transfer rumours by saying that the front man is going to stay at Real Madrid next season as he is happy.  

“At the moment there is nothing and I think Benzema will stay at Real Madrid even next season as he is happy there. The rest is just talk.”

However, in football things can change pretty quickly. If we really are interested in him, and personally I feel that he will thrive here, then we should pursue him. He is not only talented but has won things and can adapt quickly to our style of play. He is strong and powerful and has an eye for goal. Only recently he had a goal spree for Real Madrid when Gonzalo Higuain was out injured. We were also interested in him while he was still at Lyon before Real paid big money to acquire his services. And the argument that I always give is he is only going to get better under Wenger.

We also need someone who can compete with van Persie upfront because frankly speaking Bendtner and Chamakh have failed this season when RVP has been around. Bendtner still has done somewhat better considering he has mainly played on the flanks and mostly as a substitute.

The only major obstacle in his signing can be the asking price as Wenger is not known to spend this much amount of money on a single player. But then nothing comes cheap these days. If we want to buy quality this summer, we will have to pay the price.

Many other clubs will be looking at how the situation develops at Real and they will be ready to pounce.  

But then again, Real Madrid might decide not to sell him at all as Benzema’s agent has suggested that he will be staying in Madrid.  

Anyhow, I have my fingers crossed but I won’t be surprised if it bears no fruit. I can already see the argument Wenger has in store for not acquiring a forward!

What do you think? Do we need a striker and should we pursue him?

Bonne journée!!


Defending, Nasri and Bendtner | Injury news ahead of Villa | Wenger will strengthen the squad! |

May 14, 2011

“When are they going to learn …” this is what Ray Parlour, our former player, said that after the Stoke defeat and I feel no one but the team can answer this question and only when they play better. In my opinion not learning from our mistakes has cost us this season. I have not watched the last three Arsenal games and I regret only missing the Man United win. However, watching the highlights of the Stoke game has not been easy as once again we demonstrated our naivety in the basics of football.

Much has been already said about the Stoke defeat (it is my first post in two weeks!!) so I won’t discuss the game. Will something be done about the problems this summer? We will find out soon!! However, the thing that disappointed me was what Wenger said after the game. He said:

“We [have] conceded, I think, 21 from set-pieces and only 17 in open play. Less than anybody else in open play [but] we have been caught on set-pieces. Today, [Kenwyne] Jones didn’t even need to jump to head the ball in. That is something we have to correct. It is the easiest thing to correct in the game but you still must understand the flight of the ball and want to be first to the ball. I feel we are sometimes a bit naïve.”

The second goal that we conceded against Stoke was from open play and does anyone here think that it should have been conceded. If Wenger thinks that conceding such a goal is not a problem then I am afraid we are never going to improve. The numbers of goal doesn’t matter, the manner in which they are conceded matters. And what to say of the goals we have conceded on set pieces. Gibbs ducking at the last moment for the Stoke player to deflect the ball in for the first goal says it all. If Wenger is realizing that we have been naïve and need to correct our way of defending at the end of the season, then I am afraid we deserve where we are. Let’s hope, now that he has spotted the weakness, he corrects it for next season.   

Besides the reaction to the Stoke defeat, there has been lots of other news related to Arsenal but I haven’t had time to look at all of them. Mostly it has been speculations, possible transfers and what should be done to right the wrong. Many pundits have the same opinion that we need to buy to strengthen the squad. Yes! buying will help. We need players at certain positions and we need to let go of certain players who haven’t improved in the last three years. But with that we also need to address the attitude of the players. We have the talent, the players and we can beat any team if we want to. The problem is we don’t show up on plenty of occasions, which hurt the most, because we know that this team can perform. The Stoke game is the perfect example where we didn’t show up and there are countless others throughout the season. If we can’t change this, then I am afraid even buying players won’t help us much. Nonetheless, there is only one way to find out if we can improve by buying players and that is if we buy. And this is the only thing we haven’t done. So let’s hope that Wenger does buy quality for a change this summer

Also there were a couple of developments that I wanted to discuss. First was Samir Nasri’s agent comment regarding Nasri’s contract that went something like this:

“There is nothing going on with Juventus or Inter Milan. There are no problems with Arsenal, the opposite rather, as we are negotiating his contract extension.”

I hope this is the case because our first priority should be to improve and that can only be done by keeping our best players. Nasri was nothing short of phenomenal in the first half of the season and it will be a great loss if we don’t get him to sign the contract. That’s what I feel about Cesc Fabregas too. I know this hasn’t been his best season but he still has been one of our better players and we need to keep him at all cost. More on this when the time is right. Coming to Nasri, there was news on Arsenal.com where Wenger has said that he will do anything to keep him.  

“I will do anything possible to make him stay. We will do it at the end of the season.”

I personally feel that Nasri will stay and Wenger will do his best to keep him. However, it would have been so much better had the contract been signed in January. At least we would have avoided so many speculations. With no harm done as yet, we need to settle the contract as early as possible and before Nasri has a change of heart.

The other bit was about Bendtner who is looking forward to a talk with Wenger in the summer.

“I need to have a talk with him [Wenger] because I’m not satisfied with playing on the right wing, which I’ve done more or less all season long. I’m concentrating on getting our Champions League place and then we’ll do the evaluation at the end of the season. It’s certainly not the best thing for me but it’s not up to me and sometimes you have to adapt to what the manager says.”

I am not surprised here. Any one will be frustrated if he wasn’t playing in his favored position. If we want to keep him, Wenger needs to play him in the centre and not on the flanks. I don’t see it happening because of what Arsene has said recently:

“We are not specially buying on the flank. We have Walcott, we have Nasri, Arshavin and Bendtner.”

There you have it! Bendtner has been linked to a couple of clubs so it will be for the better if we let him go because here at Arsenal, Arsene will always play him on the flanks. At least it will create space for a winger and a new striker because right now Bendtner is occupying two places and not playing well at both positions (and sadly all is not his fault). The more thing that can be deduced from the above statement is that Arshavin, Nasri and Bendtner are all going to stay this summer. If this is the case, Wenger will be having a hard time in keeping Bendtner. 

Also Arsene Wenger had his usual pre-match press conference on Friday. The injury news ahead of the Aston Villa game looks positive. I am looking forward to Vermaelen’s return. Fabregas and Nasri may also be involved.

“We have lost Laurent Koscielny with a thigh strain from Sunday against Stoke. It opens the door for Vermaelen. I have not completely decided yet but there is a probability he will start. We have question marks against Fabregas and Nasri. They will be late decisions. During the week we lost Tomas Rosicky with a thigh strain. Diaby will be out but I believe that Clichy will be back.”

Apart from this, Wenger also said that he will look to strengthen the squad in every position.

“It is down to availability and quality. We don’t rule out any position and we don’t target any special position before the transfer market. We look to strengthen every year of course. But first we look not to weaken because we want to keep all our players, and then we try to strengthen. It’s not about the number [of players], it’s the quality. I don’t want to give out a number [we’ll go for]. I promise you that if we sign a player we will inform you and when we sell a player we will inform you as well. I would like to keep out of all the other speculation before that.”

I know it sounds more like ‘I won’t be buying’ but let’s hope this isn’t the case and we do get the players we need.

Tomorrow we play against Aston Villa.  Where we want to finish this season depends on how we play against them. We need at least four points from the last two games to finish above City and in third spot. Seeing the last three games, I don’t know what to expect from the team. Anything is possible. Maybe seeing Vermaelen return will put some extra energy into the players. And it won’t do any harm in finishing the season with a couple of wins.

The team that I expect to start is: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Vermaelen, Clichy, Song, Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, RVP, Arshavin

I hope we get a good game to witness and we win. And as I was writing this, Man United have won the EPL title by drawing at Blackburn. Good for them and well done!!

That is all for now.