Wenger confident that Nasri and Fabregas will stay, Gervinho gives his word to join Arsenal, Alisher Usmanov talks

June 13, 2011

Till yesterday I had the impression that it was only Man City who could hijack transfer deals by splashing cash. It appears now that Liverpool has also learnt the art. Liverpool this summer is in the mix of everything. They for sure are looking to strengthen their squad and are rumored to be after many players. After signing Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for a hefty price, one thing looks certain that they are ready to spend some money.

I felt joy when I read that Liverpool have blown away Phil Jones deal with Man United into smithereens. Daily mail has reported that Liverpool have offered £22 million for his services as they also revealed that Blackburn owners will be trying their best to keep Jones. Worrying news for Ferguson!

However, the thing that has worried me is that Liverpool has also upped their pursuit for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. There are reports that Liverpool has matched our bid for him. If what the reports proclaim is true than we are losing our target faster than saying NO! Still I don’t believe this. If it comes to making a choice, I am certain that Chamberlain will pick us.

On the other hand, Bayern Munich has also joined Man United to sign Nasri. Money isn’t a problem for them but it remains to be seen whether Nasri really will leave Arsenal. With talks set to take place between Nasri and Arsenal this week, the Daily Mirror reported yesterday that Arsene Wenger seems to be confident in making him stay.  

In The Sun today, Arsene Wenger is quoted as saying:

“We will do everything to keep Nasri at the club. My wish is that he stays here. If he looks back he can see that he’s come quite a long way with us, and I think there is still a bit to do. It’s the club that makes the player’s career.”

Doesn’t it sound like ‘if you leave you won’t succeed elsewhere’? Still one thing is sure that Wenger will do his best to make him stay. As for reports surfacing yesterday about Nasri wanting £160,000 a week seem ridiculous to me. If it were a matter of money, Nasri would have gone to Man City or even Chelsea.

Wenger is also adamant that Fabregas is going nowhere. About Fabregas, The Sun has quoted him saying:

“I will be pretty clear about this. For me, Fabregas is with Arsenal for a long time and he will stay with Arsenal. It sometimes happens that the rumour can make the transfer.”

He will have a hard time in keeping Fabregas. I have resigned to seeing him go. It will be an added boost if he stays though.

Meanwhile, Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal’s second highest shareholder, is using the sentiments of the fans to make his way into the Arsenal board. He blames the current Arsenal board to be the reason for the club’s demise in recent years and calls for a change if he were to be on board. He labels the board as selfish as he mentions the increase in tickets price as unjust on the fans. You can find out what all he said to the News of the World here.

He does, however, know that we need a strong centre half, a strong defensive midfielder and Nasri and Fabregas to stay.

Elsewhere, French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that Gervinho has given his word to join Arsenal and a deal will be signed by the end of this week. Haven’t find many sources on this so can’t confirm if it is true. Also there is news saying that Ignasi Miguel will be sent on loan to Bolton to help secure Cahill. Now that seems something interesting.

Let’s see what happens in the coming days. For now have a good day and enjoy the summer.


We should let Nasri go! Carl Jenkinson signed, Gervinho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlane are the new signings?!

June 11, 2011

First off, my apologies to all who read this blog for not updating it for a while. The truth is, I was stuck first stuck with my final year project and then the finals. The last three weeks for me have been nothing short of chaos. Anyhow, I am done with my graduation, the wait now is for the final grades. Just to remind, I have been cut off from the football world ever since the final game of the season and it will be some time before I get the whole picture of what’s been happening out there.

Nevertheless, the transfer rumors are in full swing with plenty of reports surfacing, some of them quite unbelievable. A few have even surprised me and I am disappointed by some. Anyways this summer is make or break for Arsenal. We have always had players linked with us but this time we have as many linked away. I don’t know what’s happening at Arsenal but if players want to leave then things are certainly not good.

The first bit of update I checked was on Nasri and Fabregas and the way things are, I am afraid we are going to lose both of them. I know in the back of my mind that Fabregas might go this season. The disappointment for me is Nasri’s situation. Frankly, we have made things worst for ourselves. A contract that should have been signed in January was delayed till summer and now things have gone too far for my liking. I know it is still too early to say anything but if the news ‘that initial talks with Man United have started’ are true then we may as well start looking for his replacement. In fact we would need to look for a couple because Fabregas might well be on his way too. I know Wenger will try his best to keep both of them. However, if both are willing to go then we should let them as it would do none of us good. I for one don’t want Wenger to lose transfer opportunities by wasting time in persuading players to stay who don’t want to.

And what do you expect after Nasri said this:

“Let’s find out if their [Man United] interest is true first. Then we’ll talk about it. I don’t know if I will sign a new contract. Anyway, the discussions are ongoing. Do I want to go to United? We should see if their interest is real and if it is concrete first.”

If he was committed he would have said straight away that he is staying. But hey! that’s just me. We can only wait and see what happens. Maybe it is to put pressure on us to increase his wages. Anyhow, Wenger is adamant that he won’t let him go to United. That would be like applying after shave to an open wound!!

The other disappointment for me has been Clichy’s situation. Why haven’t we secured him till now is beyond me. If Wenger has found a better replacement for him than Gibbs then I have no worries. If, however, nothing is being done then we are heading for more troubles. Daily Mail is reporting that Liverpool have offered£5 million for his services. I have said before that despite his flaws he is the best option available out there. I for one would like him to stay.

The better news on the other hand is that we have signed a 19-year- old right back, Carl Jenkinson from Charlton. Does that mean we have seen the last of Eboue? Time will tell. The good thing is that we are active in the market. Wenger seems to be excited about him as he described him as, ‘a player with great talent and natural defensive ability, but also a powerful player who likes to go forward”. I haven’t seen him play much so I have my fingers closed. Young guns are reporting that he will be given a chance in preseason to make his place in the first team.

On getting signed, Jenkinson said this to Arsenal.com:

“It’s a dream come true to have signed for Arsenal and I’m just so happy to be joining one of the biggest clubs in the world. I can’t wait to meet my new team-mates and work hard ahead of next season. Arsenal is a club with one of the best managers in football, many world-class players and an absolutely huge following. It’s a successful Club which will win trophies in the near future and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.”

The other news that has surfaced is of Lille striker, Gervinho. With Talksport leading, everyone is reporting that we have signed him for £10 million with no proof of course. We have shown interest in him but till the time Wenger doesn’t come out with anything as he did in the case of Jenkinson, I am not getting excited.

The mirror on the other hand is reporting that we have finalized a deal to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. A deal worth £12 million and it is claimed that he will be declared an Arsenal player on the 1st of July. We have been linked with him for quite some time along with Man United and Liverpool. His father, at the start of this month, said:

“Considering where he was at the beginning of the season and end of last season, to have the clubs we’ve been hearing about looking at him, he’s made great strides. But watching him and watching his performances I think it’s well deserved. He’s only going to get better. A lot of people speak to me and say, ‘Maybe it’s too soon – look at Theo.’ But for me, I think Theo’s doing fantastic, he’s developing as a player, he’s still developing and he’s only young. To develop at a place like Arsenal can’t be a bad thing. In my eyes, I’d like him to go there as soon as possible, and continue his development.”

Everything is pointing in the right direction. I can see this deal happening if Wenger really wants to. With Ferguson getting the better of Arsene in signing Phil Jones, I bet Wenger will want to get Chamberlain now.

Well that is all for now. There is so much more to talk about that I have missed in the last three weeks. With time, I hope, I will have an update on all. At the moment I am brining myself up to date. By the way, it feels good to be back.

One thing is looking certain that this summer will be exciting!! Have a good day and best of luck to all those who are having their exams or will have in the near future.


[Guest Post] Match Preview: Manchester United vs Arsenal

March 12, 2011

Note: This guest post is written by Hamza, a friend of mine, who is a Manchester United fan through and through. Here is how he sees today’s FA Cup game against us.

 

It’s that time of the year again where the best of English football comes into action. Within the span of three weeks, Manchester United finds themselves against another top rival. The last two encounters have certainly not gone according to the plan resulting in media blackout. So definitely, the Red Devils would be eager to end their losing streak after a breathtaking start to the season.

Today promises to be a fighting encounter as the FA Cup is at stake here. With Chelsea and Liverpool out already, today’s winner would be heavy favorites to lift the cup (though Man City might be favoring their chances as well).  Going by the records, Man United have still won their last eight games at home and have not lost to Arsenal at Old Trafford since 2006. The last encounter between the sides saw Manchester United prevail 1-0 at home courtesy Ji-Sung Park strike.

Coming into the match, Manchester United would surely be a little low but the gunners aren’t well off either. Although they have played quite an attractive football of any season, their recent blows in Carling Cup and Champions League states that they have failed to come to terms in the off-league games. Arsenal’s captain (Cesc Fabregas) is out which means Rob Van Persie would lead the side. Arsenal would also be without its first choice of keeper, Szczesny, leaving Almunia to wear the gloves. He has not had much of a game practice this season, playing hardly 10 games altogether. Theo Walcott and Alex Song are also on the injured list. Not that I am much concerned about them, but its (rival worries) always an added advantage one should keep in mind.

Manchester United comes into this match following an unconvincing 1-0 win over Crawley Town.  It was another forgettable encounter with the Red Devils failing to show their dominance over a non-league side. Injuries further add to the agony of the team with Nani tearing a tendon on his left leg in the game versus Liverpool. Ji-Sung Park still remains on the bench but on the positive side Antonio Valencia is back in the side after almost 6 months and is likely to get a nod today. Captain Nemanja Vidic would also be back after the suspension period, Darren Fletcher is expected to return to the side and Rio Ferdinand is also on the comeback trail, though it might still be too early to play him against Gunners. All these rejoining would be a huge boost to Sir Alex Ferguson, who might play it a little cautious considering the upcoming second leg against Marseille in Champion League, having settled for a nil-nil draw previously.  So don’t be surprised if some unexpected members get a go today.

Following the injuries, Manchester united are likely to come up with a different set of formation and if Antonio Valencia is kept back for later stages of the game, we might find Darren Fletcher playing the role of right-hand side midfielder. As Arsenal is keen to play on the wings, John’O Shea and Patrick Evra would most likely be retained at the back. The central midfield would probably be occupied by Michael Carrick and Darren Gibson as Anderson’s inclusion remains a question mark following a knee injury. Upfront we might see Javier Hernandez in place of Rooney after scoring the only United goal against Liverpool.

The game is also being viewed as a curtain raiser to the Premier League title race with both teams marginally separated. Hopefully for Man United, this is a glorious chance to shrug off their poor form and overturn the plunge. Along with the home advantage and decent record we are surely the favorites to nail this one. And if we play as per the start of the season, take our chances and make the most of Arsenal’s negligence, then there is no doubt we’d emerge victorious. Good luck Reds, here is hoping you bring the trophy home.


Player Ratings: Man Utd 1 – 0 Arsenal

December 14, 2010

Well we didn’t get to see the performance we were expecting from our team. And I am still disappointed, not in the loss but the way we showed up. We made United look so much better where in fact they were not that good.

As for us, our whole team was all over the place. None contributed in any department as we failed to get our game going. Our passing was poor and we failed to keep possession. We also didn’t create much as United easily broke us up.

The defense was decent on most occasions but on few they had no clue what was happening. Once or twice they were very easily opened up. The goal that we conceded was also down to a defensive error when no one picked up Park unmarked in the danger area.   

The midfield was also anonymous throughout the match as we failed to get a foothold. There was one brief spell in the second half where we looked dangerous but we couldn’t keep it up. I still think that had our midfield stepped up a gear, the scores would have been different.

In attack too we lacked creativeness as we had only one decent shot on goal.

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny: He was our best player yesterday. He did start nervously which can be expected and it affected his distribution early on. As a whole he had a good game.  Caught everything and made some crucial saves that allowed us to stay in the game till the very end. Can’t be blamed for the goal as it were the men in front of him that were at fault. 7.5

Sagna: A solid game from the Frenchman in defense. Upfront didn’t contribute much but he did try to get forward often. His crosses weren’t that good but did make some crucial interceptions. 6

Squillaci: Still not convinced from his overall contribution. I have said again and again that he does his job but he is not aggressive. He should be a leader on the field with his experience. His clearances  are also weak and sometimes he is slow in reading situations. 5.5

Koscielny: He did well in keeping Rooney quiet. Made some vital interceptions and used his aerial ability. He still needs to raise the level of his game though. 5.5

Clichy: All will be pointing the finger at Clichy but I believe he did well. He was always alone on the left against Nani and none supported him. And still he was good on most occasions but a few times made some crucial mistakes that will be highlighted more. Partially at fault for the goal as he allowed Nani to come in but I feel he had no other option. 5.5

Wilshere: Tried hard but couldn’t make much impact. Lost possession plenty of times and couldn’t support the midfield. Also didn’t help Clichy against Nani. 5

Song: He started slowly and in the first half didn’t make much impact. In the second his shielding of the defenders was better but still didn’t help control the midfield. Did misplace a lot of passes upfront and never really created much. His work rate though was very good but he needs to be effective along with it. 6

Rosicky: He also tried hard but things didn’t work out for him. He was supposed to lead our midfield and failed to do so.  Was anonymous for major parts and didn’t contribute anything of worth upfront. 5

Nasri: He was never brought into the game often as he was tightly marked by United. And the irony is that the few good moments that we had came through him. Still I feel he failed to lead us when it was required. 6

Arshavin: Another poor game from him. Tried to do the hard things when he could have kept it simple. Maybe two games a week is too much for him. 5

Chamakh: Worked hard but never got the delivery. He still needs to improve his goal scoring instincts though. His contribution at the back was decent. 5.5

Subs:

Walcott (6) looked lively and gave us some pace. Delivered in a couple of good crosses. Fabregas (4) didn’t do much except gave the ball away. He shouldn’t have been brought on. Van Persie (4.5) also didn’t contribute much. He still needs games to get to his best.


Man Utd 1 – 0 Arsenal: We did it again!!

December 14, 2010

We did it again. We bottled up big time and have gifted them an easy win.

Highlights of our game were sloppy passing, poor clearances, no possession, poor final balls, bad defending as a team and no control over the midfield. We allowed Manu to take control of the match. For us no one took the responsibility to lead as every one was giving away the ball as if they will score an own goal.

The first half especially was very poor. We improved somewhat in the second half as there were some good moments. The problem was they were far too less and United never really panicked. They were tearing us part on the counter with Rooney single handedly controlling the midfield and Nani the wings for Manu.

United got the opening goal when Rooney picked up Nani on the wing. He coolly drifted into out danger area, picked a pass and Park put it into the far corner with Szczesny trying his best to stop it. Our whole team was ball watching as they realized pretty late that Park was challenging for the ball unmarked.  Apart from that Rooney missed a penalty and Szczesny made some brilliant saves from Anderson and Rooney, to keep us in the game, when our defence was  sleeping.

For us, we had only one decent shot on goal that really tested Van Der Saar. Nasri was the shot taker and on the rebound Chamakh had a difficult chance to equalize but the ball was deflected for a corner by Vidic. Other than that we never really threatened united.

I will leave the ref out of this although he was also very poor and not consistent.

For us only Szczesny was the outstanding player as his saves allowed us to stay in the game till the final minute. No one else really did much out there.

I won’t go into the analysis of the game as it was a very poor performance from us. I don’t know what was wrong but it seemed that the players did not come out with a free mind. None of our better players were brought into game often and none seemed to take the initiative to make things happen for us. Had we played better for only half an hour we could have put Man Utd on the back foot. The dissapointing thing was United didn’t play that good, it was us not playing that allowed them to dictate the game.

Final word is if we keep up showing like this when it matters, then I feel things won’t be in our hands in the end. Still, all is not lost. Although we do need some quick measures to solve the problems that we have been ignoring for quite some time now. Or else we will always be dissapointed.