We need more players like Emmanuel Frimpong, Chris Samba wants to take the next step, Carlos Vela is staying at Arsenal!

June 24, 2011

These past few days have been really boring with nothing new happening. And in all the boredom, Samba’s signing has gone from being interesting to done to a matter of want-to and don’t-want-to and we are still where we were when we played the last game of the season. It now seems that Blackburn is not willing to sell their backdone. Blackburn’s manager, Steve Kean, has been quoted as saying, in regard to Samba’s possible departure

“We don’t have to sell him. He signed a five-year contract in the last window and he’s one of the players we would like to keep… we are going to try and hold on to all our good players.”

Well it was surely going to happen. On the other hand, Samba himself has come out said that he is ready to take the next step and hopes that Blackburn won’t “put a stick in the wheels”.

“I know there are discussions with some clubs. If a good opportunity arises, I want to seize it. It is necessary that the club understands that I want to go one step further. I hope they will not put a stick in the wheels. It’s been four and a half years I have been at Blackburn and two years I have played in relegation battles.”

This does sound similar to our own situation of Fabregas to Barca, the only difference in that Fabregas hasn’t publically said that he wants to move away (or has he?). Now I can’t tell what will happen in this case but one thing is for sure that if we really are moving in for him then we will be required to pay a hefty price. Is Wenger willing to pay such a price? This is a question that can be answered by Arsene alone, although, I myself am convinced that this summer he will. When remains to be seen!

By the way, the thing that made me laugh was when I read the same story that has been out there for the last two years, ‘Arsenal moving in for Phil Jagielka’. Seriously, do the people who right such stories don’t think for an instant what they are writing. One moment we are after Samba, Jagielka isn’t even mentioned, the next, as soon as Blackburn says we won’t sell him, we are after Jagielka. It is one thing to speculate and another to just put up the same story that has been read over and over again. They must really believe that people don’t think! 

Anyways moving on, the latest development on Clichy is that he wants a move to Liverpool despite an offer from Roma that includes £30 million wages for 5 years according to The Sun. Is Liverpool offering more in wages or Clichy doesn’t want to play European football next season? Sounds quite ridiculous to me but if this report is true then Clichy will have his reasons.

The only new development is in regards to Carlos Vela. His agent is saying that Vela is going to stay at Arsenal as he is very much in Wenger’s plans. His agent, Eduardo Hernandez has told ESPN Radioformula in Mexico

“I have had eight conversations with Arsenal, the most recent was last Friday, and Carlos is an Arsenal player, he will stay at Arsenal and is not for sale. The process with Carlos is a little bit slow. Arsene Wenger is an extremely demanding coach, he sent him on loan for six months to West Brom not with the results he wanted, but, nevertheless, everything is going very well.”

We have seen very little of Vela at Arsenal and I believe it has been unfair on him. He himself hasn’t been able to grab the opportunities and make his mark.  But that also is our own fault as we have been playing him out of position. His finishing is good, can improve, still the main problem is that we cannot get the best out of him by playing him wide. That is why I think the best option for him will be to move away from Arsenal or go on loan for a whole season. We do need a striker though and Vela is not the solution for next season. It is all my opinion though and we can’t really say what Wenger has in his mind.

Before I conclude, I would like to share what Emmanuel Frimpong has said on twitter about being ever shown the door at Arsenal

“Arsenal FC is pumping through my veins. I will never leave Arsenal even if I get released I will beg on both knees to stay they’re going to have to escort me [out].”

If only we can have the same attitude from all our players!


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

June 11, 2011

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

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

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

And what do you expect after Nasri said this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.


Player Ratings: Arsenal 2 – 1 Barcelona

February 17, 2011

The joy of wining last night was out of this world; it was an amazing feeling as we did what most have failed to do, beating Barcelona at their game.

The belief, determination, spirit, effort and brilliant team work were the key to this result. We never looked awed by their good play and possession in the first half and continued with our game plan in the second half which eventually worked in our favor.

While Barcelona were mesmerizing as usual, we weren’t behind. We defended, we pressed, we passed, we created and we finally scored. The defence was amazing as they bravely played a high line and played the offside trap really well. Once we were caught up which led to a goal but you can expect that with Barcelona playing so well. Overall it was a phenomenal performance.

Coming to the player ratings:

Szczesny (8.5): Confident and brilliant as he made a couple of excellent saves that kept us in the game. His decision making along with distribution was excellent. Cannot be faulted for the goal.

Eboue (7): Defensively did well throughout the match. Upfront wasn’t that good in the first half as he was losing the ball very cheaply and falling over time and again. Improved his game in the second half and made some good runs.

Koscielny (9.5): He was just magnificent. He was strong, quick and intelligent in his play. Made his usual important interceptions and tackles and I don’t remember he did anything wrong. Didn’t give space to any of the Barcelona players. Was early to every ball and covered up well for Clichy and Djourou. Simply phenomenal!!

Djourou (7.5): He too was excellent but made some errors by misplacing some of his passes but thankfully we weren’t punished for it. Otherwise he was solid and partnered well with Koscielny. Covered up well for Eboue.

Clichy: He was decent at the back but the Barcelona players exploited his flank throughout match. Was caught on the wrong side of the offside-line as Villa scored the opener. Made some important interceptions in the second half as he did well to cope with the situation. His pass to Van Persie that led to the equalizer was perfect.

Wilshere (9.5): Wilshere has certainly grown in the last couple of weeks. Last Night he was magnificently outstanding (if it makes sense). The way he dueled in the middle of the park with Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets was amazing. He didn’t look intimidated by any of them as he played his game, looked confident, showed good work rate and linked up the play brilliantly. He also did well in breaking the play of Barcelona.

Fabregas (7.5): He wasn’t at his best yesterday yet he produced some amazing balls. His through ball that led to the second goal and his pass to Van Persie in the opening minutes was a delight to watch.  Combined really well with Wilshere, Nasri and Van Persie.

Song (7): He got booked early on in the game but still didn’t stay back and played his game. His work rate was good as he broke up Barcelona’s  play many times and distributed the ball around nicely.

Walcott (7.5): A continuous threat on the right as Barcelona players would always surround him whenever he would get the ball.

Van Persie (8.5): That goal he scored was one of its kinds. Forget that he missed a couple of good chances as he got the goal at the right time which matters the most. His movement was excellent and did his defensive duties well.

Nasri (8): His start was slow as he was returning from injury. Yet he was a threat and in the second half he was excellent. The way he coolly created the goal for Arshavin was impressive. His passing and movement was excellent and did his part in defense by helping Clichy on the right flank.

Subs:

Arshavin (8): He is getting back to his best as he made that goal look so simple. Looked confident and helped in defending when required. He made a mistake near the end but again thankfully we weren’t punished for it.

Bendtner (7): Did his job and looked good. He just needs to be quick in making his decisions.

To conclude, the whole team deserves a standing ovation for their efforts. And let’s continue with what we did last night in all the other competitions we are in. The second leg can wait for now….just enjoy this moment!!


West Ham vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

January 14, 2011

So it’s back to the Premier League after two disappointing cup ties. Before the Leeds game I said that these cup matches came at the right time as our players can have rest and some like Ramsey will get the chance to up their match fitness. What happened is in front of you all with no results in our favor.

But as always we have to move on and start afresh. Tomorrow we have an opportunity to bounce back as we face West Ham at their home. Despite them being bottom of the table, this won’t be an easy game. They are coming on the back of an impressive win against Birmingham in the other semifinal of the Carling Cup and they will be pumped up. They will no doubt fancy their chances after seeing us play the way we played against Ipswich Town.

However, if we take the game seriously and perform well, it shouldn’t be much of a problem. Scoring goals will matter because lately we haven’t found the net. The more time we take to score our first goal, the more West Ham will grow in confidence. They will for sure park their busses and try to hit us on the counter, so it will be up to us to break them down and score and not give them chances to counter attack.  

As far as the team is concerned, there won’t be many changes for this one.

With Fabianski injured, Szczesny will remain in goal.

The back line will also remain the same as from last match with the only change that Clichy should come in for Gibbs.

In the middle, Song will return to partner Fabregas and Wilshere.

Upfront Nasri and Van Persie after their rest are also going to start and Walcott will retain his place.  

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Wilshere, Walcott, RVP, Nasri

No matter how we played in the last two games, I, as always, expect us to win. We can’t afford to drop more points in the Premier league so this is a must win game. With Manu playing against Tottenham on Sunday, three points tomorrow will put more pressure on Manu.

Hopefully, we will get the three points and Tottenham will do the rest. Keep your fingers crossed and enjoy the match!!


Braga vs Arsenal preview: Will we have learnt anything!?

November 23, 2010

The million dollar question after Saturday is: Will the last defeat have thought us anything? I don’t know the answer to this. In fact the answer will only be given at the end of the season because simply words don’t matter now, results do and they haven’t been going in our favor consistently. The defeat on Saturday is still hurting. The away wins against Everton and Wolves are a distant memory as we head into today’s match to redeem our lost faith, or will it?

Today we are facing Braga at their home and a win or a draw will see us qualify for the next round. A loss will make the next group match a must win for qualification.

Our squad is somewhat depleted for today with Andrei Arshavin, Clichy and Van Persie not travelling. Arshavin has been given a rest, Clichy has a back problem and Van Persie isn’t 100 percent so he has been left behind. Besides these Diaby and Vermaelen are still out. Almunia and Ramsey are with the reserve team; in fact they have started the reserve game against Wolves. Wenger was to yet to make a decision on Fabregas. The starting team therefore for me would be

Probable XI: Fabianski, Sagna, Squillaci, Djourou, Gibbs, Song, Wilshere, Fabregas, Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky.

Fabianski to return in goal. Djourou is improving a lot and he shall a get a start today alongside Squillaci. Koscielny wasn’t spectacular against Tottenham so he should be on bench. Gibbs shall replace Clichy on the left and I hope he lasts for the whole game. Sagna on the right or if he needs a rest then Eboue to replace him.

In middle Wilshere has had his rest so he is likely to start. Song and Fabregas to retain their places. Or if Fabregas isn’t ready Nasri should start then.

Upfront Chamakh needs a breather and as Van Persie hasn’t travelled Bendtner will get an opportunity to start. Walcott to start on the right and I hope he returns to the way he was playing before the injury. Rosicky to start in place of Arshavin to complete the eleven.

The team from here looks strong but we have come to know that nothing comes easy with Arsenal. On any other day it would have been an easy game but after last Saturday you never know. Still it is a new day and we may yet be surprised. We need to be at our 200 percent best for the whole 90 minutes to come up with a win. Anything less will be bad for us and more tense times ahead.

We have beaten them before but this season we have lost against those whom we have beaten before; like Newcastle, Shakhtar and Tottenham. I am not saying anything about this match as the outcome depends on how we show up and how we play. Frankly speaking I will take a draw. We have been so inconsistent that a win won’t change much. I am being pessimistic but that’s how I have been since the derby collapse; we have massive results away from home and then we lose at home a game we are dominating.

Wenger is giving his every drop of blood for success as he said:

“I want so much for this team to win that I am giving every drop of my blood to make sure that they win. I want them to be successful because they deserve it and it hurts when you get so close as you did on Saturday and you don’t manage to do it.”

Let’s hope the team does come up with a solution because something is not right with so much inconsistency.

May be this game will start a run of games for us that will put the defeat behind. Not looking too much ahead, let’s get a result in this one.

Fingers crossed!


Player Ratings: Everton 1 – 2 Arsenal

November 15, 2010

Another away game and another massive result. Not a perfect game from us but again we showed the desire and determination to get the three points and the whole team delivered. Now twice in a row we have grinded out results despite not being at our best. On both occasions we have done enough. Just imagine what the results would be if we played in our best form. We just have to show consistency. Read the rest of this entry »