Wenger’s press conference: Consistency, Benayoun and Injury update | Marvin Martin to Arsenal? Lansbury’s contract and Cesc’s interview

September 16, 2011

The weekend is finally here with the new round of EPL games. This Saturday we are up against Blackburn but before that I have lots of catching up to do.

Dortmund game

To start off, my two cents on the positive result at Dortmund. I only saw the second half of the game and considering how the game played out, that was a very important point gained. I have to admit, I was really impressed by how Dortmund played. They really were very good with the ball and knew how to make things happen. They were also very strong at the back. They took the game to us and had it not been through some good defending and some great saves from Szczesny, it would have been a very different result. Also had they taken their chances, we would have come out with nothing. And that is why this was a very good point won against the opposition, who are surely the toughest in our group.

The whole team played their hearts out that night but the main performers for me (in the second half ) were, Koscielny, Song and Szczesny. In my preview, I mentioned how important both Koscielny and Song will be to our setup and they proved it with their play. I know Koscielny was not good in the first half but having not seen it, I cannot make comments on that. The second half was where he and Song really made some exceptional interceptions, blocks and clearances. Song alone got us out of three very tight positions if I remember correctly. Combined with Szczesny’s excellent keeping, we were able to keep the Germans from scoring goals. The goal that did come was a one-off and you won’t see any one saving a goal like that. It did, however, left me wondering as to why is it always against us the other teams find such goals?

However, despite the positive result, we are far from a finished product. Nearly improvement in every area is required. I know the team needs time to integrate but we will have to do it quickly as the games will be coming in thick and fast. Of all the things, one that really leaves me wanting is our lack of creating chances recently. Arteta, Benayoun Arshavin, Walcott, Gervinho and Van Persie all have to step up and find the right rhythm among them if we want to get back to creating aand scoring goals freely.

Marvin Martin to Arsenal?

Moving on, reports have come up related to France’s next big star, Marvin Martin that he might after all end up at our club next year. Despite signing a contract extension, the French star was quoted by L’Equipe saying this:

We had good talk and we found an agreement. The officials made a promise. Indeed, an agreement to let me leave. I will remain at Sochaux until the end of the season.

It is still too early to say anything because a year is too long a time. And it is not even sure if he will leave Sochaux to come here.  His performances for Sochaux have earned him a call to the French national team where he is set to become a regular. At only 23 he has lots of years ahead of him and if he keeps progressing, he will surely be on the radar of many top clubs. Now, how much are we interested in him will be answered either during the January window or at the end of this season. As far as I am concerned, he certainly has enough quality to add something extra to our midfield. And if we really are in to him, we would need to get him to agree a pre-contract during January before other clubs hijack the move.

Henri Lansbury extends contract!

I was glad to hear the news that Henri Lansbury has signed a contract extension with us.  After seeing him go on a season long loan, I had partly made up my mind that we had seen the last of him at Arsenal. Now, however, after having him signed that extension, I hope that one day he will be a regular player for us. He sure is one of the bright talents to look out for among the upcoming English players.

Arsene Wenger’s press conference

Moving further on, Arsene Wenger had his usual pre-match press conference ahead of the Blackburn game on Thursday. He talked about the Dortmund game, Consistency being the key and Benayoun’s permanent signing among other things.

Talking about consistency, the manager said that only getting good results is going to help the uncertainty and skepticism out of the club.

“We must win. We live in an environment that questions us when we don’t win. We do not criticise that and have to live with that. But we have to show performances, consistency, attitude and quality. That makes us respected. It’s as simple as that. That’s why it is as important that we don’t talk too much and play as well as we can. We feel we have turned the corner but we will be judged by the consistency of our results. We want to change the skepticism around us but that will only [happen] if we are consistent with our results.”

Can’t agree more on this! We don’t have to look too much ahead. One game, one positive result at a time and hopefully we can then manage to get the belief and positive vibe back into the club. We have started the process at Swansea and let’s hope that it continues for a long time.

Wenger also didn’t rule out signing Benayoun permanently; however, he did make it clear that it’s too early to decide that.

“It’s too early to say at the moment [whether we will sign him]. I want him to contribute as much as he can to the rest of the squad like every other player – not more, not less. He gives his best every time he plays and we think he can integrate well – he can play on both flanks. He can play in the middle, although I think he prefers to play on the wing. Overall he has shown on Tuesday night that he is completely physically fit again.”

In my opinion, we must wait it out till January before making any move. Benayoun is good a player but his only concern is injuries. If he can maintain his fitness throughout the season and perform consistently, I won’t mind a permanent deal. At 31 he is not likely to be made an offer for more than a year though. Still looking at Arteta’s deal, anything is possible.

Injury Update

Arsene Wenger also gave the latest injury update. Of the injured, only Aaron Ramsey seems to have a chance to be back by next game if not tomorrow. He has a slight possibility to be available against Blackburn but I won’t bet anything on it.

As for Vermaelen and Diaby, they will be back after the international break if there are no setbacks for either of them. Both the players are doing well in their recovery from their respective problems.

Regarding Jack Wilshere, the manager had nothing new to give. Wilshere is in the boot for six weeks after which the tests will decide when he will be back.

“[Abou Diaby] should be available after the international break. He is doing well now. He is just starting at the level that we are in in pre-season. He has three weeks planned now, from this Friday. So if he has no set-back after the international break, he will be available.

[Aaron] Ramsey had a little test today [Thursday] and will practice tomorrow, he has a little chance to be available.  [Thomas] Vermaelen is progressing very well and will be available after the next international break. I cannot give you any news because [Jack Wilshere] is in a boot for [six weeks in total]. The test will come after that.”

Cesc Fabregas’ latest interview

Before I conclude, Fabregas’ interview to Sport Magazine, whether true or not, have caused quite a stirring. Cesc was quick to deny whatever was said in the interview but as far as I am concerned, it doesn’t matter what he says any more about Arsenal. He is gone and not part of this club so it doesn’t matter what he says, or does. I still wish him the best of luck and will always admire his talent, but when it comes to Arsenal, I am over him.

I will come up with the preview of the Blackburn game later.

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Arsene wants Nasri to stay as Chelsea shows interest in him!

August 16, 2011

With Fabregas gone, many believe, it is only a matter of time before Nasri also moves out. With continuously being linked away from Arsenal for the past eight months, the Frenchman hasn’t helped the cause as his intentions are still not clear. However, he, not signing the contract is indication enough of not wanting to commit his future with Arsenal. At the moment, it seems that he may be on his way to Manchester City.

Arsene Wenger, on the contrary, is reluctant to sell him. When asked about his future, the manager admitted that he wants him to stay and added he will do his best to sort the situation.

“Ideally I want Samir Nasri to stay, but as much as we were in a strong position on the contract side with Cesc, the situation is a bit different. Hopefully we can sort the situation out.”

I can’t help it, but I have made my mind that Nasri will leave us. If we couldn’t persuade him to sign the contract in the last eight months, how can the remaining 14 days of the window change that? Still, I don’t mind trying and I won’t mind to be proved wrong. Bribing him with the central role might change his mind!? or quality new signings!?

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s coach, Andre Villas- Boas, after their opening game on Sunday, expressed his interest in Nasri. Chelsea are in the market for a midfielder and Villas nonchalantly admitted that Nasri is an exciting player.

These were his words, when he was asked about Luca Modric of Tottenham:

“I just explained to you the sense of urgency in midfield. But it doesn’t mean that it’s Luka. Not that I’m interested, but you have Samir Nasri terminating contract. He’s one of the most exciting players in the Premier League and that’s the reality, as well as Luka, as well as other players.”

With Chelsea showing interest and Nasri not wanting to commit, the best option for us will be to sell him to the highest bidder, that is, if Nasri hasn’t agreed terms with City already. A bidding war between Chelsea and Man City is sure to increase  his value and that will help us to acquire a better replacement in return!

What do you all think? Should we keep him or bring this chapter to an end too?

 


Cesc, Nasri, defending and Wenger: A look into the summer that has passed and what comes next!?

August 12, 2011

Here we are, almost three months after we ended the last season in dismal fashion, at the start of the next. A summer that was promised to be different has so far been the same.

Although a lot has happened since I last posted on the blog but considering what we needed and what was required to be done hasn’t been done yet.

Yes, we bought Gervinho, who looks impressive and give us a direct approach for a change, and we bought Oxlade Chamberlain, who will be a star in the next three years and Jerkinson, who also is one for the future. They all are welcome additions to our squad and in future they will turn out to be great players for us for sure. But in terms of preparing for the next season, we have  been where we ended last season. In fact, if you ask me, we are considerably weaker than before. And before everyone jumps at me, I am not being negative, it is the reality.

The Fabregas saga, the Nasri situation, the way our defense performed in the pre-season, these are proof enough that we have stood still in terms of improving as a team.  

I am not fussed about Fabregas or even Nasri leaving, heck I am because you seldom find a Fabregas. It is just that if they wanted to go, they should have been shown the door at the start of the window. Their replacements should have been bought to gel in with the team. We are less than 24 hours away from the start of our first game of the season and we still haven’t figured out what’s up with both of them. Even now is not too late, sell them and buy the replacements, that is, if we do want to replace them.

I am convinced for sure that we will lose both of them before the window closes, what I am dreading is that we don’t bring in the proper substitutes.

I know most will say that we have Wilshere and Ramsey and I don’t disagree. These two are going to be great players and one day they will be world class. Nonetheless, they still have a lot to prove and for this season they certainly are not the answer to the void that will be left by Fabregas’ departure.

Personally, I don’t blame Fabregas for leaving and don’t have anything against him. I would have liked him to stay. He has given us close to eight years of delightful football. His skill, vision and ability to change games won’t be forgotten and I will always remember him as one of our great players. And I believe we will never truly replace him with any kind of player.

I, however, don’t have many sympathies for Nasri. I know he is a good player and likely go on to be a big player. Still after having one good season where he was close to consistent doesn’t justify his attitude. If he were loyal to this club, he would have signed the contract back in May. He isn’t and he never will be. The best thing is to sell him and get done with it. He isn’t worth more time than what he has already wasted for us.

As far as defense is concerned, I was always on the edge of my seat whenever the opposition was attacking in the preseason games. No matter what people say, we just have forgotten how to defend or just don’t want to.  I know that when we want to defend, we can, the game against Barcelona last season is proof enough. Why don’t we do it consistently is a question only Wenger can answer.

Why haven’t we improved our defense or why haven’t we bought any defender is also beyond me. Squillaci clearly doesn’t know defending, Djourou and Koscielny are known to make the stupidest mistakes, Vermaelen is returning after a year and I hope he starts from where he ended, when he was injured. On the left, the situation is even worse. I know this has turned into a cliché but Gibbs is not ready. I have said before, he is not a defender at all. He can be a good winger and that is all. And his injury record is also not great. Traore is stable but he is not better than Clichy right now and we all know Clichy had his flaws. So why haven’t we got a replacement for Clichy yet? For me this is  relying too much on hope!

The irony is that, at the moment, I myself am desperately hoping for Vermaelen, Koscielny and Djourou to have a great season without injuries. I am also hoping for Traore and Gibbs to pull off performances worth player of the season awards. And, I know I am getting too far, but I am hoping Wenger will buy a defender and a left back.  

I am also off the opinion that the way we defend can only be improved if we change the way we practice. Right now, I am not convinced that what we are doing in training is helping. Is something wrong with our back room staff or is it just that we don’t give too much attention to it? Whatever it is, we need to solve the problem. And considering, we haven’t done it in the last two years, I know it will be much of the same this season, the pre-season showed that clearly. Still I am not giving up, there is always hope!

The thing that I am most pissed off on is that Wenger hasn’t kept true to his word. He said at the start of this summer that he will try to keep the best players and improve the team in places where it requires. He hasn’t done that yet. We have the same disastrous defense, we are about to lose Fabregas and Nasri, we have already lost Clichy. (I am grateful that we won’t be going to see Denilson this season though.)

Also If you remember, back in January Wenger said something about not buying a defender as we have too many of them already or something similar. Considering what we have bought this summer, doesn’t it seem ironic that he has brought in two wingers, when we already have a surplus amount of them but not a single defender which we need the most? And I am not complaining here. We do need them because we still don’t have enough depth in any position. We have many youngsters but they cannot be relied upon for the whole season. He also bought a right back but then went onto selling a left back and we are still stuck with Eboue.

He said that he will only buy players who will improve the team. As we don’t see any defender right now, does that mean there are no defenders out there that are better than what we have? Also except Gervinho, we can’t even be sure that chamberlain and Jerkinson will make it to the next level. I hope they will, but what is the guarantee that they will stay with us then. Nasri hasn’t committed yet after it took three years to develop him. Seriously! Sometimes I get really frustrated the way Wenger gives his justifications for not buying

Why the rant? Because I have to get these thoughts out of my mind. I know all is not bad. I don’t like the way we have dealt with the Fabregas and Nasri situation. I don’t like that we haven’t bought a defender and Left back. I don’t like that we are still stuck with Eboue (or not! a move to Galatasaray is on the cards)  and to some extent Diaby. I am willing to give Chamakh a chance. If I had my way, I would have sold him and played Bendtner in the middle, as there have been no buyers for him.

Despite all this, there are some great things to look forward to. I am delighted by Gervinho’s addition. He is the most direct player that we have bought in recent years after Arshavin. I just hope that he stays that way. He is quick on his feet, he can dribble and he has an eye for goal. He has adjusted nicely into the team and his partnership with Van Persie will be something to look forward to. Ryo Miyaichi has shown that he can play and he certainly has pace. He also got the work permit which is one of better news this summer. Frimpong is another one who impressed during pre-season. He certainly is going to be a great asset in the future. Jerkinson was also impressive and one day can be a replacement for Sagna. The partnership of Wilshere and Ramsey is what really excited me. Wilshere is certainly developing fast and his vision is improving. Ramsey too is doing great but he needs to take more responsibility. Both of them still need time though and they will get it this season. Van Persie is still on his goal spree and hopefully he will remain injury free. Szczesny is doing well in goal and no doubt he is going to get better. We have Fabianski and Mannone after him which leaves our goal keeping in good hands.

There are many other positives from the pre-season. However, for us to challenge for the top, we still are short on players in a couple of positions and if Fabregas and Nasri leave, we will need to add more. I just wish that before the window closes we will get the players we require and hopefully go on to have a great season and come out on top.

This season, the start for us is going to be what sets the tone to our season. With Newcastle, Manchester United, Liverpool and Champions league qualifiers in the next 15 days, we won’t have time to take a breather. We have to start on top from the first game and maintain that throughout the season. If we can get through these games with our heads held up high, than I will be convinced that we are there to challenge for the title. If we don’t, then I don’t even want to speculate on what will happen. Hopefully we will have a great season (I know there are too many hopes in this post but this is the only thing that will see us through the season, if things remain the way they are!)

Before I conclude, it was on this day last year that I published my first post. It has been one whole year for me since then and it has been a great experience. Going through all the games was fun, the wins and the loss, the delight and anger, the ups and downs, the happiness and frustration, it was just amazing. A big thanks to all who have visited this blog and still do and have been a part of it.

I have been busy for the last three, four months due to lots of reasons. However, I will try my best to posting regularly.  I love Arsenal and will continue writing about it. Thank you all once again! I have my fingers crossed for another great season, hopefully….


Wenger will do his best to keep Nasri and Fabregas, Juan Mata linked!, Benzema rumor surfaces again!, Denilson to Villareal?

July 8, 2011

After venting my anger a couple of days back, I am back to myself again. However, I do stand by that we need to strengthen the team and sort it out quickly. With pre-season matches just round the corner, all focus needs to be diverted towards getting ready for next season. Transfer rumors do hinder a teams performance, no matter how hard one denies it.

We have until end of August to buy players, however, the speculations surrounding few of our players needs to be quickly addressed. Only then the negativity that is emanating from all corners of the blogosphere is going to stop. A couple of signings now will also be great!

First and foremost, Nasri’s situation needs to be solved. It should have been sorted out by now as everyday it gets more annoying. Dragging it on is only making things worse for us. If Nasri really wants to leave, for whatever reason, he must be sold to the highest bidder and as quickly as possible. Manu has already enquired about him.  Reports of an offer, official or unofficial from United, for Nasri has also been reported. Even though we have denied it, there might be some truth to it. There were also rumors of Man City claiming that they are close to acquiring him, which I don’t believe. With Chelsea also in the mix, we can have a bidding war which can only be good for us, if we get to a point where selling is the only option. The money received should then be spent to acquire a top replacement.

If he doesn’t want to leave, he must sign the contract quickly, Arsenal must announce it so that we may get on with our preparation for the season.

Personally, I want him to stay. He has been a good player for us and he has the potential to be a great player. He has had his ups and down but he seems to be getting consistent. No doubt he lost his touch in the later stages of last season; he still was phenomenal for us. It has taken him three years to somewhat fully express himself and he is only going to get better. That is the reason that all top three clubs in the league are after him. We can’t afford to lose an experienced Premier League player on a cheap to our rivals. For me, he is more important than Fabregas (this doesn’t mean that we need to let Fabregas go!)

We have the money, and we can offer him what he asks. Arsene Wenger’s comments today were positive and shows that the boss is intent on holding him. Speaking to Arsenal player, Arsene said:

“We will do everything we can to keep him [Samir Nasri].”

I know Wenger will try his best, but then, we did lose Clichy. So, you can’t do anything if a player wants to leave, which is the bitter truth in modern football. Allowing Nasri to run out his contract is going to be more costly to us than letting him go this season. A contract must, therefore, be signed this summer or else he must be shown the door. I am just hoping for him to commit to Arsenal quickly. All this, as I said before, need to be done without more delay. We cannot wait till September for Nasri to make a decision!

One announcement that we have all been waiting for is Gervinho’s unveiling. He is likely going to be declared an Arsenal player any day now. According to many reports he was in London for his medical on Wednesday, which was successful. The Daily Mail has gone on to add that only a small problem in the paper work has delayed the announcement. Better late than never, in my opinion. I am really looking forward to seeing him play in the pre-season. With so much being said about him in the press, I am certain that he will turn out to be a great player for us.

As for the recent rumors linking us to Juan Mata and Karim Benzema, they are great, I am more than certain that they are only rumors. With Gervinho arriving, I don’t see Wenger going for another forward. Mata might be an option only if we lose one of Fabregas or Nasri.

I am more interested in Hazard though. He, alongside Nasri and Fabregas, with van Persie ahead will be perfect! I know, sometimes it’s great to live in fantasy!

The Fabregas situation has also gone quiet. There are reports that Barca is offering Abidal in addition to cash, which I don’t see Wenger taking in a million areas. For me, anything less than Messi plus cash should be rejected. Wenger, today, made it clear that he will be trying to hold onto him at all costs. Speaking to Arsenal player, the manager said:

“Our position is always the same, we want to keep Cesc and I will fight as hard as I can to keep him”

I feel, by now, Barcelona should have realized that we won’t accept an offer less than what Fabregas is worth. Also, Fabregas should realize that Barcelona don’t really value him. He needs to stick with Arsenal, get over his injury and lead us to trophies. I am certain that this saga is going to continue till the end of the transfer window with Fabregas staying at Arsenal! I have my fingers crossed.

Before I conclude, I got excited about the news linking Denilson to Villareal. However, I haven’t seen any follow up to the story. So, I am guessing that it was another false rumor and we will be seeing him around the Arsenal squad a bit more. I am starting to wonder if anyone will ever ever buy him!!    

Till next time!


It is quiet out there, Fabregas might stay after all, Clichy gone? Fixtures shouldn’t be a concern!

June 22, 2011

When I had last posted on my blog we were close in on Gervinho, Cahill, and Samba.  A week later, a week into my vacations, we are still nowhere (or somewhere that only Arsenal can tell). Many have reported that they are done deals and I am hoping this really is the case but the silence from the Emirates is deafening. I have been waiting for an official Statement but nothing has come out yet. Do they want to give us a surprise? Or are they waiting for 1st of July? I do hope it is a good surprise.

Even the tabloids have gotten bored with the stories and now many have started asking questions. I believe in one thing though that if we have reached an agreement on the above players than there can be no stopping them in moving here. If, however, it was all speculation, we can forget them. Expect to see only Gervinho arrive as he is from the French League. While keep everything crossed for Samba and Cahill as their value has gone up and Man City and Tottenham are all also getting involved. And with 8 days to 1st of July, a lot can happen as within football things change within a day.

By the way, what were they thinking when they linked us to Barton, Odemwinge and Taarabt. Eto sounds interesting but I know it will never happen.

Coming to other matters, there has been a positive development for us in the case of Fabregas. Sandro Rosell’s, Barcelona president, comment regarding Fabregas’ value going down clearly speaks that they don’t regard him much and won’t go all out to buy him. Sandro Rosell said

“What is the limit for signing him? We’ll need to see. First we need to know what his salary is and what are his conditions. Everything is in relation to the salary and the transfer fee but, if last year we offered 40 million [euros], a year has passed, it is clear that this year his value is less. Since then there has been wear and tear and now he’s worth less. In the case that we were interested our offer would be reasonable. We would not go overboard.”

And added

“I don’t think he will go to another Spanish club. Cesc is of Barça, and if I were the president of another club I wouldn’t sign a player who holds dear the colours of another team.”

It also seems that they want Fabregas to put in a transfer request so that he can be acquired for less money. Well Mr Sandro, you can forget about Fabregas for now and forever for one, you don’t have the money and two, Fabregas is happy here and he won’t give in a transfer request. And after your comment no sane man will as you don’t appreciate his quality. I hope Fabregas does realize that Barcelona don’t want him and that the best thing to do now would be forget about Barca and play like a true leader for Arsenal and guide us to trophies. And in return Rosell will get to know the true value of Fabregas.

There has also been progress on Clichy’s situation with Roma showing interest in him. The value that is being quoted is £7-8 million. Although this is better than what Liverpool were offering but still in my view it is less. And I am astonished that the value of our players is so less considering a certain striker went for £35 million who isn’t better than Bendtner IMO.

The replacement for Clichy is a bigger concern though. Gibbs is in no man’s land, Traore is not better than Clichy, Enrique, with whom we are being linked, seems fine, Leighton Baines might do well. The rest is up to Wenger as to who he has in his mind. Else force Clichy to extend his contract as I have been saying all along.

Nasri’s situation has also gone quiet. And I still haven’t figured out what the real issue is. Is it money or trophies or is it his position? A month has passed since we played our last game of the season and still we haven’t sorted out one of our best player’s issue. And I can’t help it but ask what the hell are the people at Arsenal doing? We haven’t bought anyone! we haven’t been able to sell anyone! what really are we doing? Maybe I am getting impatient but seriously by now a decision on Nasri’s contract should have been taken!

Meanwhile, the fixtures have also been released for Arsenal for the next season and I had a smile when I went through the list. I was smiling because we have all the difficult fixtures in the first half of the season. No doubt the month of August is difficult but we always have a good start to a season and I am hoping we will be having another good start. However, it is a long way to go and  it shouldn’t be a concern as a season doesn’t depend on the fixtures, it depends on how you play. Before that we need to address the issue of our players and our team. Just over three weeks to our first game of pre-season before which we need to sign players so that they can gel-in and adjust with our style.

Before I end, WTTGT is reporting that Clichy has been sold to Paris St. Germain for £10 million. This seems bizarre to me. For now we can only wait and see what happens in the next couple of days. Have a good day!


Barcelona players get extra wages for tapping up Fabregas! Man City after our targets and van Persie has a point!

June 12, 2011

Going through the all the news, I was surprised at how much time Barcelona players have. Every now and then you will hear someone asking Fabregas to come back to Barcelona.  It’s like they get extra wages for tapping up Fabregas on daily basis and saying how much he loves Barcelona. A couple of day’s back it was Iniesta who said that Fabregas will gel in well with Barcelona. A day later it was Pique having a go with saying something similar. At least change the script. It is getting boring. And it reminds me of how Barcelona plays, “It’s my turn with the ball… it’s my turn with ball…”

And just imagine what their conversations these days will be

Pique: “Today it is my turn to tap up Fabregas.”

Iniesta: “No! It’s my turn.”

Pique: “But you had your say yesterday!”

Iniesta: “But I am short on money! Give me your lines and no one will notice.”

Pique: “No way dude! I have memorized all the lines for today. You can have Xavi’s turn tomorrow.”

Seriously! Get a life or come up with a bid worth of Fabregas’ caliber.

Jokes aside there is nothing much happening. There was a report that said that our bid for Gervinho has been hijacked by Man City. After saying in yesterday’s report that we may have signed him, I can’t say anything about this. But one thing is for sure that Lille have refused Tottenham’s bid of €12 million for Gervinho.

Lille’s general manager Frederic Paquet has been quoted as saying

“We received an offer of €12m (£10.6m) from Tottenham which was refused”

That means that his price is more than that of €12 million and it seems very unlikely for Wenger to splash such amounts on him. Or maybe he has already signed for us. We can now only wait and see where Gervinho goes, if he does leave Lille.  

Man City has also launched a bid for Bolton’s Gary Cahill. It will be another great blow for us if Man City can somehow buy out Cahill.  Wenger get him now or it will be too late.

Tough times indeed for us. Meanwhile, Van Persie had something interesting to say.

“Every year it always goes wrong in an identical way and that is frustrating. When you look at results in the last years, then Arsenal shouldn’t be talking about winning the league because too many times things have gone wrong.

Sometimes you have to eat the truth and be realistic. But I do believe with the signing of a number of players, then next season we should be in there competing for prizes.”

Harsh but he speaks the truth and till the time we don’t realize our mistakes and correct them we will tend to suffer. It is also a clear message to Wenger that the players want to see some new faces. If van Persie is saying that we shouldn’t be talking about winning the league then something really is wrong.

As for Diaby, I can’t believe what he was thinking when he was talking out loud with owning a spurs shirt. Geez!! From where did we get such players? Even if you own it keep it to yourself. And if you really want to go to spurs say it out loud and go. You won’t be missed seeing you never play three games in a row.  And you won’t have any difficulty wearing the shirt out on the streets.

I guess that would be all for now. At the moment every player on whom we are laying our hands are being snatched out of our clenches. But hey! I am not giving up and never will. Keep your fingers crossed!!


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.