Wenger’s injury update ahead of Bolton: Ramsey, Sagna and Rosicky back, Benayoun out!

September 24, 2011

Arsenal host Bolton today at The Emirates after the midweek win against Shrewsbury in the Carling Cup. Arsene Wenger gave the latest injury update ahead of the game on Friday.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the manager gave positive news on Aaron Ramsey and Bacary Sagna’s scheduled tests. Both passed their tests and are included in the squad to face Bolton. Tomas Rosicky, who has been out since the International break, is also back in the squad.

Meanwhile, Yossi Benayoun who scored his first goal for Arsenal on Tuesday will be out at least for a week with a thigh strain. Johan Djourou will join him on the sidelines with a hamstring problem.

Both of them will be missing today’s game plus the midweek clash in the Champions League against Olympiacos. They have an outside chance against Tottenham next week.

Arsene Wenger on Friday, said:

“[Tomas] Rosicky is back in the squad. [Bacary] Sagna and [Aaron] Ramsey had positive tests this morning, so overall it is alright.

[Yossi] Benayou has a thigh strain and [Johan] Djourou has a hamstring [problem]. Both of them are very minor muscular problems.

They could play with a risk of making it worse. But we will not take the gamble. As I told you, we only play players when they are 100 per cent.

Both of them are out with muscular problems in the short term. One week so Bolton and Olympiacos for sure. They have an outside chance to play against Tottenham”

 

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Blackburn 4 – 3 Arsenal: Thoughts and Player Ratings

September 17, 2011

It is very hard to write something about a game that seems all too familiar now. Hours have passed since it ended and it is still painful and embarrassing. I thought I had the worst of it against Manu but this is in the same league.

What’s the count for us now in giving away leads after yet another farce? Starting from the season before last, it has now become a norm for us to give away leads. We are hardly over one loss when Arsenal ends up with yet another show of comedies.

I don’t have it in me to go over what happened in the game. In a nut shell, we scored, we conceded, we scored again, we scored (this time at our own end), we conceded, we scored at our own end again! (By this time we had scored 4 goals and were losing by two goals), and then we realized we have to score against the opposition, but it was all too late.

In between all his, we squandered a lot chances either through bad finishing or selfish play. We played the best first half that we have played all this season, despite some bad moments, yet we turned up in the second half as if Blackburn were going to give us the win gift wrapped. Why Why Why do we always do this?

Highlights of the game were we again showed how inept we are at defending and how leads can be squandered away by simply switching off after the half time break. We again showed how easy it is to make the same mistakes because it is quite difficult to correct them. We again showed that our problem is not individuals but the system we play. Although the individuals do amplify all the problems.

I know I am being too negative but tell me what the point of staying positive is when every other game we are going to witness is like this!? Yes, we had a great result against Dortmund, yes, we had a good first half today, but then you don’t have a one-game-season and you don’t have a football game with only one half. You have to fight for the whole season; you have to fight for the whole 90 minutes to have something at the end of it. One great result, one great half doesn’t make a difference in the long run.

The saddest bit is that we usually play like this at the end of the season, like we have done in the last couple of seasons. This time we are doing it from the start and if things are to continue like this, we are heading for a bottom half finish, forget the top four.

When will the team realize this is beyond me. As for Wenger, I am at a loss for words as to what has gone wrong with him. Why has he allowed the things to go wrong this much? Every defeat like this is going to be the final nails in his coffin. Or not!? Personally, I can’t seem to make up my mind on Wenger, one half of me wants him to stay and do well, and the other says his time is over. One thing is for sure, we need changes at the club, be it in the back room staff or the whole management, it should be done fast.

Looking ahead, I don’t see anything at the moment. It is going to take a season long time to finally get over this and that too if we end up in the top four.

I will now come to the player ratings:

Szczesny: (6) Made a couple of good saves but made a few school boy errors too like the one where he came forward in the first half and was caught in no man’s land. Wasn’t at fault for any of the goals, though, could have done better on the fourth.  

Sagna: (6) Going forward produced some good crosses. At the back was solid but did lose his man a couple of times. I hope the injury is not bad

Mertesacker:  (6) Can’t blame him for anything except for not putting the ball in the back of the net in injury time late on. We knew he was slow when we bought him! It is more of a fault with the way we defend.

Koscielny: (4) He produces a game like this every now and then which highlights the problems we face as a team. Nothing went for him today and he ended up with an own goal. Unlucky or incompetent you decide!

Santos: (5) Wasn’t the start I expected from him. If I had my way, I would not have started with him in this game. At fault for the first goal and not good with his positioning. Although his crosses late on in the game were great, defensive stability is what we need right now and he didn’t provide that today.

Ramsey: (6) Surprised to see him start today. Looked lively while going forward and was involved a lot. Produced a great assist for Arteta’s goal. Disappeared in the second half like most of our players did.

Arteta: (6) Opened his Arsenal account with a good finish. Was at the heart of every good thing in the first half. However, he needs to do much more as he was nowhere in the second half.

Song: (6) As I said in my preview that his ability to pick a pass can be useful. He proved it today with his assist on the first goal and started the move that led to the second. A great first half from him but in the second had the complete opposite. Was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he scored that own goal. Should have also done better on the fourth and rightly substituted later in the game.

Arshavin: (6) Looked lively and had a couple of good shots on goal. Created a few openings but it was his needless foul that led to the second Blackburn equalizer. Needs to do more in terms of creating opportunities and improve his finishing which has gone way off.

RVP: (6) He needs to be passed the ball if we want him to score. Had a couple of shots from tight positions late on that were saved and provided the assist for the third goal. Otherwise he wasn’t given the support required.

Gervinho: (6) Scored a good first goal and looked dangerous throughout the match. However, was frustrating at the same time with his selfishness and bad decision making. He needs to learn that the team is more important than individual goals. Needs to learn when to pass and when to go for goal.  Had he found van Persie late on in the first half, things might have been different.

Subs:

Djourou: (2.5) Don’t have anything to say about him as he has forgotten how to play football. Is it his entire fault!? Wenger will know the answer to this!

Walcott: (6) Produced some excellent crosses but then again we don’t attack the ball. Can’t blame him.

Chamakh: (6) It was a welcome change that he found the net with his head today. Should have scored another but really can’t blame him for the dropped points.

 


Arsenal officially announce the signing of Andre Santos and Per Mertesacker!

August 31, 2011

After unveiling Park, Arsenal has now officially announced the signing of Andre Santos from Fenerbahce. Santos has joined on a long term contract. He will be wearing the number 11 shirt at Arsenal and have A.Santos on the back of his shirt.

Arsene Wenger, on signing him, said

“Santos is a quality player, with the ability to both defend well and get forward and help with attacks. He has experience in the Champions League and for Brazil and has proven he can deliver at the highest level. We welcome Santos to the Club and look forward to him having a big impact for us.”

Santos, himself after completing the move, said

“I am delighted to have signed for Arsenal. It was one of my dreams to play for a major European football club and I have accomplished this. I am very happy to be part of this team. All the Brazilians who came to this club spoke wonders about it and I am delighted to be part of the Arsenal family.”

You can see some of his pictures here.

Following Santos, Arsenal also announced Per Mertesacker’s signing. He will complete the move from Werder Bremen which is pending completion of formal registration processes.

 

More to follow

 


Park officially announced, Yann M’Vila top priority, We can still get Hazard, Vargas approached!

August 31, 2011

With the transfer day dead line just a few hours away, Arsenal is looking very busy to bring in the players required.

Yesterday it was all about the signings of Santos, Mertesacker and Park. Park was later in the day officially announced as an Arsenal player who will wear the number 9 shirt. We are still waiting for the official announcement of Mertesacker and Santos, which will be any time today.

Apart from that, as I said yesterday, we still need at least three more players. And the news that is coming in looks quite positive.

First off, chances of Eden Hazard to Arsenal looks likely after Joe Cole’s surprise loan move to Lille. Metro was running the story last night that this move might pave the way for Hazard to leave Lille as they now have a replacement for him.

Although Lille is adamant they won’t be selling their prized asset this season, I am certain that something close to 26 million might do the trick here. I really hope that this rumor does come to life as we really need a creative midfielder and Hazard fits the bill perfectly. Also, although, most clubs don’t sell their best players on the last day due to not finding replacement, in this case Lille has the replacement. So I hope Wenger has one eye on proceedings at Lille.

The other positive news coming in is that we are in talks with Rennes for Yann M’Vila. They have put up a price tag of 30 million on him, but if we are negotiating, we can get him for around 25 million. Goal.com is reporting that he is our main target on the final day.

Also Sky Sports was reporting last night that we have made an approach to Fiorentina regarding Juan Manuel Vargas. He is a talented left wing-back who can play both as an attacking midfielder and in the defensive role. He is valued at 12 million.

At the moment, after the departure of Traore, we have only two left backs, Andre Santos, signed yesterday, and Gibbs, whose injury record is not great. So Wenger has all the reason to sign him. However , I have a feeling that we will first of all complete the other signigns that are far more necessary than him.

Meanwhile, SkySports also reported that we have ended our interest in Cahill after signing Mertesacker. Tottenham are now more likely to sign him.

I hope this isn’t true because we really need another centre back.

That is all for now. More news and rumors are coming in which I will be covering later.

Before I conclude, I want to wish Eid Mubarak to muslims all over the world.


Arsenal fans await Kaka, Hazard, M’Vila, Marvin Martin, Zarate, Jagielka.

August 23, 2011

NOTE: This post is written by, Danish Shahid, a friend of mine. The opinion about every possible target is his own and not of this blog. Also, this was supposed to be published yesterday but due to a couple of reasons, I couldn’t. So, if there has been any new development, it isn’t included. In the light of recent departure of Fabregas and now Nasri, we will need to bring in top talent to replace them. Who will Arsene buy before the window closes is, however, one big question mark!

This is a brief summary of the players that have recently been linked to Arsenal. It enlists the current club of the player in question, followed with the latest updates about the transfer dealings and then my honest opinions about what they shall bring to the gunners’ game in totality.

Kaka

Current Team:  Real Madrid CF

Latest Update:

Arguably, the most sensational bid to be linked with Arsenal is that of Kaka for a loan deal. With Inter Milan also being linked to the Brazilian, he has dismissed the rumours of a move to London, insisting on staying with the Madrid giants. The playmaker desires to stay at the club and fight for his place and was recently quoted as,

My plan is to remain with Real Madrid and to obtain the confidence of the coach

Opinion:

With the above quote in mind there is almost no ground to run on over here with this story, but today’s world of football has taught us that anything can happen at any given instant, so we all may yet keep our fingers crossed hoping that Kaka makes the switch. If this deal is to happen and that is a very huge ‘if’ then it may work for the player, the club and the Premier League as well. Kaka may nail down a regular starting place in the first team which has avoided him now for almost two years; he brings experience to the club like no other player at the club and for the neutrals, watching a player of Kaka’s magnitude play in the Premier League would be an added bonus. It’s a win win situation if only this deal can go through. So, keep hoping Arsenal fans, it might just be the perfect answer to the club’s problems.

Marvin Martin

Current Team:  FC Sochaux

Latest Update:

Reports keep linking Marvin Martin to Arsenal, but, surprisingly there is no indication of the amount in question required to transfer the player to the club. There is constant speculation about this player touting him as the direct replacement for Samir Nasri, but any details of the deal are currently not available.

Opinion:

Any player that is flaunted as a direct replacement to Nasri and Fabregas must be first-class. He’s highly regarded and knowing Wenger’s eye for fine young players, I’m sure Marvin Martin is good at dribbling, creative, has vision and his passing must be suited to that of Arsenal. From what I’ve seen, and dare I say this, he does indeed seem like a tailor made replacement for Fabregas. Of course, his club record of a measly number of goals and assists may not amount to much, but then his three international appearances have resulted in two goals for his country by him. Therefore, with time on his side as it is with every Arsenal player (no pun intended) and Wenger’s guidance, he can be something of a phenomenon and develop into a complete attacking midfielder into the mould of Fabregas and Nasri. 

Mauro Zárate

Current Team:  Lazio

Latest Update:

Reports are indicating that the brother and agent of Zárate, flew in to London recently to discuss possible transfer moves with Arsenal as well as Tottenham. Since the speculation began, it has been claimed by the English press that Tottenham and not Arsenal would be his likely destination while the Italian press on the other hand claiming the opposite. His services would cost in the region of €25 million and it is understood that Lazio would not be interested in going lower so if Spurs can go higher then they have a genuine advantage in this case. But, with the arrivals of Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse at the club, the management may decide to do business in a lesser financial region then what is being quoted at the time.

Opinion:

Zárate’s ability can be summed up by comparing him to Arsenal over the last three years – inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, the guy has great technical skill, he has the occasional flashes of brilliance, but that’s only when he’s playing good and that is not the usual case with him. He just fades in and out of the game. Just 15 goals for Lazio over three seasons prove that very fact. So, it’s safe to say that he does not exactly bang in goals for fun. The player has a good physical aspect to his game which can assist the team at times as Arsenal is not physically the strongest side in the Premier League. But, with this comes into question, his temperament which is a very big concern as he has shown that he has quite the ability to lose it at any time during a match. Therefore, at the end of it all, he doesn’t really paint a picture of hope, but stranger things have happened in the world of football and at the age of 24, provided stability at Arsenal, he may yet prove me wrong for one and may peak at exactly the right time for a club which desperately needs it.

Yann M’Vila

Current Team: Stade Rennais FC 

Latest Update:

As it turns out, reports are coming in that Arsene Wenger had failed with an offer of €20 million for the player over the weekend, but he shall now return with an improvised offer for the services of the defensive midfielder. Yann M’Villa is highly rated inside the football circles and combined with the fact that age is on his side or in this case Rennes FC the club is hoping for an amount in the region of €25 million to release him.

Opinion:

The first good thing Yann M’Villa can provide for Arsenal midfield is steel. He’s extremely good at getting the ball back, rotating possession and has good physical presence which can only get better considering his age. The guy is a good player with a great footballing mind as eminent by his performances for his current club, but then again he is inexperienced and a player with just 11 international appearances for France presently does not cut it for Arsenal this season. The reason being, that Arsenal fans have been on the back of Arsene to buy some experience and a proven player at the highest level for a couple of years now which can guarantee them at least one trophy this season. Although, He may prove to be a good buy for the future but I don’t see him winning any trophy with and for Arsenal this season and to top it off Frimpong is a decent player and he’s young too so the defensive midfield area should not be the biggest concern right now. So, knowing Wenger and his cash strapped instincts, it might be a blessing in disguise if Wenger does not buy this player now for the €25 million and rather invests in someone with a more proven background at the premier level.

Phil Jagielka

Current Team:  Everton FC

Latest Update:

Arsenal failed earlier with bids of £10 and £12 million for Phil Jagielka, but with time running out and the money from the Fabregas transfer available, Arsene is going to try again for the defender. Although, Everton are reluctant to sell nevertheless the tune of some £20 million may change their thinking. The lack of transfer activity due to shortage of funds at Everton may force the side to sell one of its prized assets and it may also prove to be the key signing for Arsenal.

Opinion:

Firstly, Phil Jagielka is a proven Premier League player. Over the years, the player has established his position at Everton and clawed his way into the England international line up. He offers the defensive cover at the back that fans yearn for and Arsenal so often crave. His man marking’s pretty good, is pretty solid at the back providing good cover for the goalie, a good header of the ball, offers a fine variety while going forward and the occasional direct shoot on goal can be dangerous as well.  He may not come on the cheap and is certainly against the transfer policy set by Wenger over the years, but, the defensive problems may be solved with his arrival and his arrival at the club might also give him a reprieve with the fans.

Eden Hazard

Current Team:  Lille FC

Latest Update:

Recent reports are linking Arsenal with a £20 million plus approach for Eden Hazard. Wenger has been interested in the player for the last two years and his approaches have been constantly rebuffed by Lille as they did not want to lose one of their top players. This summer saw them sell Gervinho to Arsenal and with things heating up at Arsenal, Wenger may just splash out some serious cash on recruiting Hazard to his cause.

Opinion:

Hazard’s been a top quality player over the last couple of years. His dribbling plus his pace is excellent and combined they can be devastating to any defence in the world. The guy’s a wing wizard, that’s what he is. They call him a defender’s nightmare in the French Ligue and he is one of those players who can just change the pace and course of a game with an instant dribble, cross or goal. Think in the terms of Arjen Robben and you’re getting close to this player’s potential, but, only without the injuries which is a good thing. He is young and has pace to burn on the wings and the challenge for the first team might even force Walcott to turn into a decent finisher of the ball. With this signing, Wenger can certainly soothe the jagged nerves of the fans in the recent years and as always he will be investing in a player for the future.


Arsene Wenger on the Liverpool game, Nasri and his own future and new signings

August 21, 2011

Last night Arsenal lost the game against Liverpool after being reduced to 10 men for the second consecutive League game.

Speaking after the game, Arsene Wenger said the team had a good performance under the circumstances and the result was harsh as it only transpired after going down to 10 men and through an offside goal. He added that all is not doom and gloom as we played without 8 first team players and there are positives from the game.

When asked about Nasri’s future, who was a surprise starter in the game, Arsene said he knows nothing. However, he added that at the moment he is an Arsenal player and would try to keep him.

On signing new players, the manager said they are looking and only the right thing for club will be done. He hinted at the possibility of no new centre backs by praising Koscielny and Vermaelen’s partnership.

In regards to his future, the manager said he is not the walking away type and he will give his best for the club.

Arsene Wenger, after the Liverpool match, said:

“[Result] Yes, I feel the result is very harsh on us. The decider was the sending off and as well the offside goal, it was the decider of the game.

I think the target is to have a good team and good players. You can spend money and have a bad team. You want the supporters to be happy and when you don’t win the game you can understand that they are not. But I think we had eight players out today and we still had a good performance. So it is not all doom and gloom, there are positives in the game today.

[Nasri’s future] I don’t know [what will happen]. I always said that I would try to keep Samir Nasri and I have never changed my mind on it because I played him today, to the surprise of everybody. He loves the Club, he wants to play for us, if we decide to sell him we will do it and we have to stand up for it. At the moment I am happy he is here. I don’t know if he will play on Wednesday, we will just play the game.

[On new signings] We look, you know? But we try to do the right things for the Club. I think Koscielny and Vermaelen are a fantastic pair of centre backs but it’s very difficult as well because if you buy another centre back and then someone gets injured I have to buy another one. You cannot do that every time you have an injured player.

[On his future] There is no chance I would walk away. I will try to give my best for the Club. We live under circumstances where every defeat is an absolutely a disgrace and an earthquake. We are at the start of the season and we are very disappointed that we lost the game. But we are at the start of the season.”


Wenger on Nasri and Miyaichi’s inclusion in the squad against Liverpool and signing new players.

August 19, 2011

Arsene Wenger, today, in his pre-match conference confirmed Samir Nasri and Ryo Miyaichi are in the squad to face Liverpool.

Speaking ahead of the game, the manager insisted he has no problem in picking up Nasri against Liverpool. He praised the commitment of Nasri to the club and how he has worked in fantastic spirit in training ever since his arrival and in preseason.

On Nasri’s inclusion and commitment, Arsene said:

“[Hesitation in picking Nasri] Not at all. One thing I don’t question is the commitment of Samir Nasri to this Club. Every day since he has arrived here, and every day in pre-season, he has worked with a fantastic spirit in training.

The fans will want Arsenal to play well and win the game. I think they do not make an individual case of each player in each position. They want good players and to win the football game. I don’t see what you can reproach Samir Nasri about. His attitude in training, everybody has witnessed that he has been fantastic from the first day of pre-season.”

The manager also revealed Ryo Miyaichi’s inclusion in the squad. With words full of praise for the young winger’s abilities, the Frenchman said he possesses all the qualities to be a top footballer and he will be given time to adapt to the Premier League.

On Miyaichi, Wenger said:

“He is in the squad for tomorrow. We are impressed by Ryo’s quality, his spirit and his attitude. Everybody is absolutely convinced he will be an Arsenal player. He has a good understanding of the game, he is very quick, he is a fighter and has all the attributes that you love of a player at the top level.

He is 18 years old and has come from College football straight to professional football so we want to give him time to adapt to the Premier League.”

On the summer transfer dealings, Wenger asked for his judgment to be trusted. The manager maintained despite losing some big players, Arsenal is capable of doing well and added that the new players are all top class. On signing more players, the manager insisted only quality will be added and the club is working very hard to find quality.

On the transfers, Arsene said:

 “You have to trust my judgement – one day somebody else will make the decisions in my place and we will have to trust him. I believe I have shown in my 15 years here I am capable of making the right decisions for the right players. In the last 15 years you have seen more world-class players here, or as many, as anywhere else in the world.

You will soon see that they [players already signed] are all top-quality players. We have not lost so many players. We have, of course, lost big players but number-wise we should be capable of doing well.

If we find quality we will add quality to our squad and we work very hard on it.”