Arsene Wenger on Van Persie’s injury and why Rosicky was withdrawn

March 3, 2011

Robin Van Persie has a tear in his ligament that is going to rule him out for at least a month, if not more. Van Persie was already sidelined before last night’s match as Wenger revealed the extent of  his injury after the game.

Speaking after the match against Leyton Orient, Wenger revealed that he tore his ligament when he scored the goal against Birmingham by overstretching his leg as the manager added he continued with his injury during the game but had to be withdrawn in the end.

When asked about his return, Arsene replied that it is three to four weeks if there are no setbacks as the manager added it cannot be guaranteed and hoped that he will be available after the International break.

Meanwhile, Rosicky was also withdrawn last night due to an injury concern. Regarding him, Wenger said that he is good and how an elbow to his head left him a bit dizzy and had to be withdrawn.

On Wednesday, Arsenal qualified for the quarter finals of the FA Cup after beating Leyton Orient comfortably to set up a match against Manchester United.

Wenger, after the match, said:

“I am not a specialist but he [Robin Van persie] overstretched his knee at the back of his knee when he made the volley [to score on Sunday]. He got kicked or blocked by the defender and overstretched when he hit the ball. In fact we lost Van Persie after 30 minutes, we tried to keep him going in the second half but he was injured.

It is a ligament at the back of the knee, a tear in the ligament. It is three to four weeks, I take the short delay because I am an optimist but it could be four. As well it is the international break during that period so is it three or four, for us it is the same. We have two weeks to play now and then there is a two-week break because of international games. We have to hope it is only four; he cannot play before the international break, that is for sure. Let’s hope he can play after the international break. I listen to what the medical people say to me and you never know, he can have a setback. You can never guarantee.

He [Thomas Rosicky] is good, he had an elbow on his head. He was a bit dizzy so we took him off.”

Arsenal vs Man City preview: Yet another must win game!

January 5, 2011

Tonight it’s yet another important and must win game as we face Man City at our home. This season, if I am not wrong, most of the games have been must win and I believe the games to come are going to be no different. We can only keep pace by taking most of our points and capitalizing on others dropped points. Man Utd played yesterday and won their game, so we need nothing short of three points to keep up with them.

Matches against Man city have been feisty encounters in these last few years, except the one played at our home in April last year. With plenty of star players in their squad, this year they have the results going their way despite plenty of off-the-field incidents. Currently lying second in the table, they are a team to be beaten if we want to maintain our challenge.

For today’s game they have Silva out. Yet they have players like Yaya Toure, who is a very dangerous player if allowed to run with the ball, Tevez, Milner and Hart to name a few available. Defensively they have been very good and if they come out to play they can also be very creative upfront.

As for us, we will need to keep our focus from start to finish. They will be hard to break, so patience and alertness will be important. The real battles will be in the middle as we experienced last time, when we played them at their home in October.

I would start with the same back line as it was against Birmingham. Szczesny to start in goal. Fabianski had a good game against Birmingham but I still maintain we need to start more with Szczesny in goal.

In the middle, I would stick with same trio too but if Wilshere needs a rest, I would pick Rosicky to replace him.

Up front Van Persie should start in the lone striker role. Chances are high that Van Persie gets a rest and we see Chamakh up there. On the right, I would play Nasri today because in the last match he connected really well with Fabregas when he drifted to the centre or to the right. On the left, I would then go with Arshavin. He usually ups his game in the big matches and with him staying on the bench these past few games, he would want to do more to show his abilities, and this is where he can be a game changer.

Otherwise, Arsene, please pick the same team that played against Birmingham with Szczesny in goal.

Probable sarting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Nasri, RVP, Arshavin

This is going to be yet another exciting game no doubt and I believe we will win it. The way we have played against Chelsea and Birmingham has been really encouraging and if we maintain the same level of football, we will roll Man City, provided we take our chances.

Enjoy the match and keep your fingers crossed!!

Player Ratings: Birmingham 0 – 3 Arsenal

January 2, 2011

Yesterday, it was again a very impressive performance from the team. After a somewhat slow first half, the way we went on to dominate the game was just brilliant. All the players played their part and it was a nice win.

The defence was very much organized and the way we used the offside trap was very good. The communication was there and everyone was supporting one and other. There were a couple of moments in the first half where we were caught but thankfully weren’t finished. Aerially we also coped well with the long balls delivered by Birmingham into our danger area in the first half.

The midfield did their part by providing the cover to the defence and linking up play ahead. They pressed up nicely and did well in breaking up Birmingham’s game.

Up front it was all together a different story. With plenty of chances missed, we still ended up in scoring three goals, thanks to Nasri, Fabregas and van Persie. They simply were phenomenal in creating things up front. Nasri and Fabregas combined really well to take the game away from Birmingham.

Coming to player ratings:

Fabianski (7): Great when called upon. Made a brilliant save in the first half and did well on the aerial balls. Still it would be good if he catches them. His distribution at times was great.

Sagna (7): Good game from the Frenchman again. Never looked troubled and provided good support on the right.

Djourou (8): Another top class and dominant performance. Powerful on the aerial balls and had good communication with Koscielny. He needs to remain fit for sure.

Koscielny (7): An improved performance from him. Made some good tackles and looked at ease.

Clichy (7): Another one of his excellent performance. Offensively was superb and delivered in some good crosses. At the back was solid and never looked troubled.

Song (7): Did his job superbly without being too flashy. Didn’t have to do much upfront as Fabregas and Nasri had the situation under control.

Wilshere (6): Looked a bit slow and off pace. Still did his job. Should have scored when presented with a chance by Nasri.

Fabregas (8.5): Top game from our captain. Involved in everything upfront. His movement, on and off the ball, plus his passing was superb. Teamed up nicely with Nasri for the two goals. We surely need him to remain fit.

Walcott (6): Always was a danger whenever he got the ball.

RVP (6.5): I was impressed by his movement off-the-ball. Some of his touches were impressive but should have done better with the chances. Any other day he would have ended up with four goals. Still scored the first and vital goal.

Nasri (9): Another excellent excellent game from the Frenchman. His movement and touches were just awesome. His final balls on all the occasions were beauties and deserved a goal every time. As mentioned before, the way he linked with Fabregas was awesome to watch. The goal he scored was as simple as it can get yet it was brilliant.  He too was involved in everything good upfront.


Arshavin and Denilson had very less time to make impact.  Arsahvin nearly scored a goal on his first touch while denilson did his part. No ratings for them.

To conclude I would say that this is yet another important result that we have achieved. Let’s just hope that we continue with it.

Arsene Wenger on Arsenal’s performance and Lee Bowyer’s tackle on Sagna

January 2, 2011

Arsene was delighted after Arsenal overcame the physical battle against Birmingham and recorded a convincing win yesterday at St Andrews. With goals in both halves of the match, Arsenal dominated the game with Birmingham at times mere spectators. 

However, Birmingham did try to get something from the fixture by resorting to their physical game. Arsenal coped well with it and responded with some excellent passing which completely shut Birmingham out of the match.

When asked about the match, Wenger said that the team was mentally prepared for the physical challenges. The plan, Wenger said, was to keep the ball down and play their game. Wenger said that the team played well with plenty of chances in the first half and an outstanding game in the second half.

He gave the credit to his players for keeping their focus and staying calm and intelligent in the game. He further praised the resilience showed by his squad and said that he was proud of them.

Regarding Lee Bowyer’s tackle on Sagna, Wenger said that he can’t comment on it as he hasn’t seen the replay. He continued by saying that he doesn’t want to think about it because the way Arsenal want to play football is more important. Wenger is, however, convinced that the win will have further strengthened the belief in the squad.

Arsene Wenger after the match said:

“We were prepared mentally today to face physical challenges and we prepared ourselves not to lose our game and be calm, intelligent and especially to have the focus to put the ball down and play our game. We had chances in the first half and in the second half we had an outstanding game.

We needed to be resilient without losing our nerves. I give great credit to my players for doing that because they kept calm, intelligent and never let nerves come out in their game. I am very proud of my team today.

I don’t want to talk too much about that because I haven’t seen a replay yet. I don’t want to keep that in my mind tonight because what’s more important is the way we want to play football. I am convinced this win today will strengthen the belief of the squad.”

Birmingham 0 – 3 Arsenal report: A good start to the year

January 1, 2011

A good start to the year with a great win and a clean sheet.

That was some good football played by us out there. We played with good organization, good movement, on and off the ball, some great passing, which at times simply left Birmingham players rooted to the spot, and scored plenty of goals.

The first half overall was a bit scrappy but we did enough to hold on to the early goal. The start was better as we got our early goal thanks to a deflection. Van Persie was fouled just outside the box, and on the resulting free kick, on a deflection from Birmingham player, scored.

After the goal, Birmingham had some good time in attack. With plenty of free kicks going their way, they were delivering in balls after balls into our danger area. A couple of times they went close to scoring but we survived.

We, on the other hand, should have killed the game had we taken our chances. Nonetheless, we headed into the break with a goal advantage.  

The return from the break was when we started to control the game fully. Nasri, Fabregas and Van Persie got more and more into the game and our movement improved. The second goal was a treat to watch. Nasri and Fabregas exchanged one-two before Nasri coolly slotted the ball home.

From that time on, Birmingham never got hold of the ball. Fabregas and Nasri again combined well for the third, which was an own goal, turned in by Johnson when Fabregas’ shot was saved by the keeper.

With the game in our control, we started to toy with Birmingham as we looked for our fourth.

Arshavin and Denilson were brought on and Arshavin straight away brought about a save from the keeper. Van Persie still had time to miss one more goal before Birmingham, at our end, stuck the cross bar  near the finish.

We held onto the clean sheet as the game finished with the score three goals to nil in our favour.


One thing I liked about the game was that we weren’t put off by the Birmingham tactics. We kept our focus and did what was our task. At times our movement was just awesome.

The other thing that I liked was the combination among Nasri and Fabregas. The moment they both connected with each other, Birmingham were shut out form the match. The way they shifted positions and passed the ball was awesome. Van Persie also did his part with excellent off-the-ball movement.

One thing of concern is that we missed a lot of chances. Thankfully we weren’t punished for it but we need to work on that.

In the end, I would just say that it is a great win and a great performance and hopefully we will continue with it in the games to come.

Birmingham vs Arsenal preview: Let’s start the year with a win!!

January 1, 2011

Just a quick preview as I have to prepare for my finals.

Today is the third game that we are playing in quick succession and, in short,  the team will have to deliver today as we cannot afford to drop more points.

St Andrews is a tough place to go to and get the maximum points. In recent years we have witnessed some frustrating draws against them. Today they will frustrate us again.  They as usual will park the bus at the back and try to score on set pieces or counters.

For us, some quick and persistent passing along with clinical finishing will do the job. They will let us have the ball but we will need to be creative. Patience will be the key. At the back we will need to defend as a team and our midfield will have to stay alert at all times and clear away the second balls.

As far as the starting eleven is concerned, I will go with the same team that was put out against Chelsea with the only difference of Szczesny for Fabianski. Fabianski lately has looked weak on the aerial balls with his poor decision making. Tonight there will be plenty and to deal with  it we will need someone like Szczesny. He is confident, he communicates and is good in collecting long balls.

Probable Starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Walcott, RVP, Nasri.

In the end I would just say that it’s our first match of the year and let’s start it with a win.  And Happy New Year to all and May you all have a good one. Hopefully it will be a good year for us  in terms of silver ware too.

Keep your fingers crossed!!

Arsene Wenger’s latest update on Frimpong’s recovery and Diaby’s injury

December 30, 2010

We have an away game at St. Andrew’s  in two days time. Wenger, today, gave the latest on the squad ahead of the fixture while speaking to

Diaby: Out for three weeks

Wenger confirmed that from last night’s game we have only lost Diaby to a calf injury. He is to undergo tests but could be out for a minimum of three weeks according to Wenger.

Kieran Gibbs is still out due to his ankle injury, Vermaelen is not yet back and Almunia is also injured.

Fabregas, however, will return after his suspension. Rest of the squad will be available for the match against Birmingham.  

Wenger also gave the latest update on Frimpong who has been out since pre-season with a knee injury. He was sidelined for 9 months of which close to 6 months have already passed. Even so he is making good progress in his recovery from the injury. Wenger confirmed today that he is coming along well and close to running. In a month’s time he will be back to playing in training.

Wenger told

“We lost Diaby last night for a while and he will have a scan today [Thursday] but in my opinion he will be out for over three weeks.

Of course Thomas Vermaelen is not back, Manuel Almunia is still injured and Kieran Gibbs is injured as well with his ankle. He is not back but everybody else should be available.”
“He is coming along well for a guy who has a cruciate.

“You count nine months and it is now nearly six. He is close to running and in one month he should start to play in training.”

Arsene wenger on the points dropped and making 8 changes to the team

December 30, 2010

After the impressive win against Chelsea, it was necessary to follow it up with a win. However, that didn’t materialize as we were held by 10-men Wigan.

Wenger, after the game, admitted that Arsenal didn’t do enough in the second half after coming back to lead the game. He was disappointed that they dropped points by conceding a goal when Wigan were reduced to 10 men.  According to him it was a difficult game as Wigan were committed. He acknowledged Wigan for fighting hard and never giving up.

However, Wenger maintained that Arsenal did well in coming back and dominating the game in the first half but was disappointed that they couldn’t continue with it in the second. In games like these you have to score the third because it can end up very easily as a draw.

Wenger, however, didn’t blame the 8 changes, that he made for the match, for the points dropped. He defended his decision on making the changes after the match by saying that it wasn’t a problem as he cannot play the same team every match with two games coming up in quick succession.

Many would argue that Wenger shouldn’t have made these many changes. I for one feel that although the changes were necessary, Wenger should have kept the balance of the team. Starting Denilson with Diaby, Bendtner with Arshavin, Eboue against N’Zogbia where some of the odd choices. However, with the team put out, we should have still won had we showed some urgency.

On the impact of this game on title race, Wenger commented that it will be known at the end as Manu also dropped points.

After the match, Wenger said:

“We were 2-1 up and playing against ten men and we dropped two points. Overall, it was a difficult game with high levels of commitment from Wigan. They caught us a bit at the start and after that we came back into it a little bit. In the second half we didn’t do enough and we conceded two goals from two set pieces.

Credit to them, they didn’t give up. I thought we tried very hard. The pitch became more and more difficult for us to put passes together. They defended deeper in the second half and it was more difficult for us to find space. Wigan fought very hard today. I felt in the first half we had a great dominance and came back well but in the second half we didn’t produce enough or offer enough.

We had a disadvantage that Wigan played three days ago and only 48 hours ago we played a big game in the evening. I had to change it because we play on Saturday and again on Wednesday so we can’t always play with the same team. But I don’t think that was a problem at all.

Last night Manchester United drew 1-1 with Birmingham, we drew 2-2 today so we will know at the end of the season. It was a difficult game, you always felt that any mistake at the back and we could pay for it. As long as we didn’t score the third goal in this kind of game it can end 2-2.”