Arsene Wenger on Bendtner’s hat-trick and importance of Chamakh scoring

March 3, 2011

Arsene Wenger was delighted with both Bendtner and Chamakh ending up on the score sheet against Leyton Orient. Bendtner got a hat-trick and Chamakh opened the scores for Arsenal as they beat Leyton Orient comfortably.

Speaking after the match, the manager admitted the importance of Chamakh and Bendtner rising to the occasion and scoring after Van Persie’s injury as he added how confidence of both the players will be needed to be successful in the big games coming up.

Wenger was pleased with Bendtner in taking his chances yesterday as he said how it now puts Bendtner in contention to start in the vital game against Sunderland and added that all the focus is now on beating Sunderland as it will put Arsenal in a strong position.

Regarding Chamakh, Arsene added that he too will be required in the games coming up as he explained how fatigue caused his good start to the season to be disrupted and how he is now coming back to his best and how scoring will improve his confidence.

Arsenal will play Sunderland this Saturday before they head to Nou Camp for the 2nd leg against Barcelona on Tuesday.

After the match, Arsene said:

“We have lost Van Persie so for Bendtner and Chamakh to score is very important, they now have a level of confidence that we need to be successful in the big games.

You need your strikers to take any chance and tonight Bendtner did that very well. It puts him in contention to play against Sunderland. That for us, is a vital game. We have to make our decisions game by game, if we beat Sunderland we are in a great position so all our focus is on that game.

We need Chamakh with the games we have in front of us. He had a great start to the season until the end of November and after he had a little bit of burn-out. Now he looks, even in training, to be coming back. For a while he looked very tired but now it is good for him he has scored”


Arsene Wenger’s injury news with updates on Van Persie and Fabregas

March 2, 2011

Van Persie has been sidelined for a minimum of three weeks after a knee injury he got in the game against Birmingham on Sunday.

Speaking ahead of the Leyton Orient game, Arsene Wenger on Tuesday confirmed the bad news by saying how according to the scans it can be longer but three weeks Is the minimum time for which Van Persie is going to be out.

Van Persie as a result is going to miss the match against Barcelona as he joins Theo Walcott, who was ruled out of the Barcelona clash last week.

Fabregas, however, has a possibility to play in the return leg against Barcelona as the manager said that he is making good and quick progress on his hamstring injury.

Alex Song also has a good chance to make the Barcelona game as he is sideline for today and has a small chance to feature this Saturday due to a knee injury.

Meanwhile, Laurent Koscielny as well is going to miss today’s game due to a tight hamstring with the manager admitting he also needs a breather.

Diaby, on the other hand, is back in the squad and inline to start today’s game as the manger admitted he was cautious in not selecting him for the final on Sunday. Almunia is also going to start against Leyton Orient with Szczesny on the bench.

Speaking to Arsenal TV Online, Wenger said:

 “Unfortunately, we had bad news on the scan and he [Robin Van Persie] will be out for the next three weeks for sure. It could be longer. The shortest delay we can imagine is three weeks [so] he is definitely out for Barcelona. Cesc is looking possible [for that game]. He is making quick and good progress. It is possible. He [Theo Walcott] is out. We said from the day he got the injury against Stoke you could count three weeks.

Alex Song has a knee problem as well. From his scan we had good news, it is only blood from a kick on the outside of his knee. He is out for Leyton Orient and has a very small chance for Saturday. But he has a good chance for Barcelona.

Koscielny has a tight hamstring. There is a little bit of fatigue in there aswell so we will give him a breather. Diaby was not in the squad on Sunday. I was cautious with him. He has missed many games this season and I did not want to take a gamble with the intensity of a cup final. He will play on Wednesday night. Almunia needs games so he will play but Wojciech is alright and will be on the bench.”


Arsene Wenger on signing Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona

February 26, 2011

Arsene Wenger has confirmed the signing of Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona’s youth setup.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Wenger expressed his delight in signing the highly rated youngster who is half-English (English mother) and half-Spanish and has an English passport with the manager expecting him to arrive in the summer.

The news of his signing surfaced a few days back that left Barcelona fuming and which led Barcelona’s president Sandro Rosell calling the move ‘a little immoral’.

On Rosell’s comment, Wenger responded by saying that he doesn’t want to go any further on it as he explained how there isn’t anything illegal in signing a player who wants to join Arsenal in the first place. The manager further added that many of their payers leave under the same rule and if it weren’t legal he would have himself not signed the player.

On signing Jon Miquel Toral, Arsene said:

“You forget that this boy is English. He has an English passport, his mother is English, and hopefully he will join us in the summer.


[Rosell’s Comment]I do not want to go further on that front because it is very difficult. If you go in the academy of Barcelona and you look where all the players come from, come back to me and we can talk about it.

We have done what is legal. I love Barcelona, I love Catalonia. I have nothing against them. But when a player who is half-English and half-Spanish wants to join us, why should we turn him down if it’s all legal? If we have done something illegal, I will say ‘sorry, my boy, we cannot do it’. But plenty of players leave us under exactly the same rule.”


Arsene Wenger: Van Persie will be the Captain, Fabregas out for two games and Walcott likely to miss Barcelona game

February 26, 2011

With Fabregas out of the Carling Cup final, Van Persie is going to lead Arsenal on Sunday against Birmingham city.

Arsene Wenger at his pre-match press conference on Friday confirmed that Van Persie will be the captain for the Carling Cup final as the manager was delighted with his return and added that the team is determined and will do everything to win the final.

On an update on Fabregas’ return, Wenger said that the Spaniard will miss at least a couple of games due to a small injury which could have been worse as he added that how it is important he doesn’t miss more games with so much to play for still.

As for Walcott who will also miss the final, the manager added that he is out for two to three weeks and admitted that he is likely going miss the Barcelona return leg.

Wenger concluded by saying how it is imperative now for the squad to focus on the final on Sunday as injuries are part and parcel of the game and added that even without Fabregas, Walcott and Vermaelen they have enough quality players to deal with the game.

On Van Persie, Fabregas and Walcott, Arsene said:

“The vice-captain, who is Robin van Persie [will be captain]. He is back and I’m delighted. We have belief, confidence, we are committed and we are determined to get over the last hurdle of the Carling Cup and will do absolutely everything to achieve it. That’s what we focus on.

He [Cesc Fabregas] is injured and is out. We had a scan yesterday. He is out for one or two games, maybe. Cesc is sad and disappointed of course. It could have been worse and the injury is a very small one. But we have so many targets in front of us, it is important that he is not out for longer.

Theo Walcott will be two to three weeks for an ankle problem. I would say today it will be very unlikely he will be fit for the second Barcelona game. I imagine the worst so maybe I will be surprised in a positive way but I just give you the gut feeling at the moment that I have.

What is important now is that the team and the squad focuses on the game we want to play on Sunday. Ideally you want everybody fit but before the season starts you know you can have some players injured. We can deal with that.

You never want accidents to happen but we can deal with the fact that Cesc will not be there, Walcott will not be there and, of course, Vermaelen will not be there. When you look at the squad we have and the number of players we have available, we have enough quality players.”


Arsenal outdo Barcelona again as Eden Hazard speaks about his future and Nasri is going nowhere!!

February 22, 2011

With the media busy in making up stories of Arsenal players joining Barcelona, it is Arsenal , who have signed another young Barcelona talent for €300,000, so it seems.

Sky Sports reported today that there is news circulating in Spain that we have signed a young midfielder named Jon Miquel Toral Harper from Barcelona’s youth setup. The 16 year old is a technically gifted midfielder who currently plays in Barcelona’s Cadete A.

Now I don’t know how true this is. However, if it is, we have outdone Barcelona again. And it seems Barcelona are not happy to lose another one of their promising players to Arsenal. I don’t want to predict anything, but if he arrives here, Wenger will surely mould him into a great player and in the next 5 to 6 years there will be talks again of Barcelona DNA.

In other news, Eden hazard has come out and spoken about speculations regarding his Lille exit. He has been constantly linked with a move to Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool. However, it seems it will be some time before he leaves with the player saying that he is happy at Lille. The player, however, spoke of Arsenal as an ‘interesting club’ and was pleased with Arsene’s complement regarding him. These were his words:

“It’s nice to be complemented by Arsene Wenger. Arsenal is a very interesting club. But I’ve never been in contact with clubs seriously. How will I choose my future club? It would be on sporting reasons. A club that plays good football – and does not kick and run pointlessly – is very appealing to me but if I had the desire to join a big club that, I would have gone by now. For now I’m under contract until 2014 and I’m good at Lille.”

So, he wants to play for a team that plays good football and not kick and run. A very few clubs fall in that category and Arsenal is one of them. I don’t know if we have made any contact with him but I would like us to make an offer for him in the summers as he is a talent to be secured.

The media has also not stopped short of making Nasri’s comments, about his contract extension, to be turned into talk of quitting Arsenal in the summer. Arsene Wenger had already told that Nasri’s contract will be decided in the summers. However, when Nasri said the same thing, it has been turned into ‘Nasri hints of quitting the club’. This is what he said:

“I’m always flattered when my name is mentioned in connection with any big club, but I also know how things work. As things are right now, I am happy here and I have ­confidence from the manager. But things can change quickly in football, and then we may have a new situation. We promised each other to speak about this subject after the season ends. For now all my focus is on winning the league title and also getting as far as possible in the Champions League. All I can say is that I am enjoying my time at Arsenal and in London, and I feel there’s still a lot for me to contribute. One of the reasons I came to Arsenal was to win titles, and I’m not expecting to leave this club without one.”

So, in the above where do you see that he has said he wants to leave the club? He is enjoying his time at the club and wants to win trophies. The contract will be settled in the summers and he is going nowhere and that’s that. End of the subject. There is nothing more to read in between the lines. It would be nice if we as supporters not delve much into it because the media will always make things up. They just a need a reason to conjure up irrelevant stories and we are better-off without them.

That’s all for now. It’s Stoke tomorrow and will come up with the preview later.


Wojciech Szczesny on what he wants to be for a decade

February 20, 2011

Wojciech Szczesny has set himself the target of being an Arsenal number one keeper for a decade.

The keeper, on his goal, said how he will be happy to continue with the number one spot for ten years if given the chance but knows he will have to remain at his very best to do it as he added how due to a lot of competition at the club, a slip up in performance is going to let others get the chance, the same way he got, which he seized.

Arsenal are to face Leyton Orient today and Szczesny admitted that the League One side cannot be taken as easy opponent even after beating Barcelona.

On the game against Leyton Orient, Szczesny added how they will have to perform at the very best to qualify because the lower league teams always perform well in the FA Cup. He said how they want to win every game and being favourites most of the time demands them to be focussed for all matches equally.

Szczesny concluded by saying how he is hoping for a good result as he reminisced the last time he faced Orient, when at Brentford, where he got a clean sheet and a win.

On his goal and the game against Leyton Orient, Szczesny said:

“That’s my target really [a decade], that’s my goal. I would love to [do that] but I know I have a few others that want to have the No 1 shirt. I’m going to have to be at my very best to keep it. If I am given the chance to stay the No 1 I would be very happy to [continue]. There is very good competition at the Club so I can’t say there is no threat. I know that I have to be at my very best because if there is any slip up or drop in my performance, other goalkeepers will be happy to take my place.

I can’t demand playing time at a Club like this being 20-year-old. I know that when my chance came I had to take it with both hands and try to take the No 1 spot.”

“It’s the FA Cup, it always has something special about it and lower League teams seem to do very well. We are going to have to be focused and be at our best to make sure that we get through. We just want to win every single game, every game is the most important. Yes we beat Barcelona and we are very happy but we are going to have to focus on Leyton Orient and treat every game in the same way.

We are Arsenal Football Club and we are favourites in most of the games we play, we have to make sure we are focused. I played against Orient [when I was at Brentford], I actually kept a clean sheet and we won 1-0, so I’m hoping for a good result at the weekend.”


Leyton Orient vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

February 20, 2011

After the remarkable win against Barcelona, it’s time now to move on to another contest that awaits us. I know most of us, inclding the players, will still have their thoughts on the Barcelona win, but if we are to continue with our impressive form, we need to put aside our win against Barcelona for the moment and deliver today against Leyton Orient in the best possible manner.

Arsene Wenger, in his pre-match conference, said that we need to show commitment levels against Leyton similar to those shown against Barcelona if we are to go the distance in the FA Cup and all other competitions we are in. In the coming 8 days, starting from today, we will be playing three games in three different competitions which is a chance to show everyone that we are ready and focussed. And a win in all three games is really going to ensure it.  

The bottom line is that we need to start with the right spirit and determination today and not take the opposition lightly.

For the starting eleven, Wenger has already said that he will rotate for this game, so hopefully those who start will get us a result.

In goal, I will keep Szczesny even though there is a strong possibility that Almunia will start this game. As for the centre backs, Squillaci for sure will start today and to partner him I will go with Djourou, if he is completely fit. Koscielny deserves a rest because I don’t remember the last time he wasn’t in the starting lineup. On the flanks, Clichy to be replaced by Gibbs and Eboue to keep his place.

In the middle of the park, Wilshere and Fabregas both need a day off. Rosicky and Denilson should come in for them. Song to keep his place for some added steel in the middle.

Upfront, Chamakh needs a start and he needs to deliver today after some not-so-good couple of months. Bendtner to start on the right and I will keep Nasri on the left, so that he can get some match fitness.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs, Song, Rosicky, Denilson, Bendtner, Chamakh, Nasri.

If you would remember the game against Wigan after the Chelsea win, we had started with a team similar to above and dropped points by drawing that game. I hope nothing like that happens today because, one, we need  to avoid a replay, and two, we need to show the world that we are focused for every competition and ready to face any type of opponent.

Leyton Orient will no doubt try to give us a hard time, and considering it’s their home, they will be pumped up with the crowd behind them. However, if we play to our strengths and play like we have done recently, this game will be over by the hour mark and us through to the next round.

So enjoy the game and have a great day. We draw ever closer to the final at Wembley with a couple of hurdles on the way that need to be cleared without any damage to us.

Keep them crossed!!