Wenger’s latest team update: Walcott, Gibbs and Frimpong back, Miyaichi and Rosicky out!

September 10, 2011

With the international break over, it is back to club football and Arsenal is up against Swansea today. Arsene Wenger on Friday gave the latest team news ahead of the game.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, the manager gave a mixed update on the squad. While Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs were confirmed to be available, Rosicky will miss the game due to a knee injury picked up on international duty. He has a chance for Tuesday night  

Jack Wilshere and Abu Diaby are, however, out for longer durations.

Wilshere has an inflamed bone and he will be in a boot for a month after which it will be further examined. Vermaelen is also out for a month due to his surgery.

Our new signing, Andre Santos, is in the squad but is lacking match fitness. On Ryo Miyaichi, Wenger revealed that he is injured at the moment and will join the squad on either Monday or Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Alex Song and Gervinho will sit out their last games due to suspension and Jenkinson will miss the game due to the two yellow cards picked up at Old Trafford. Frimpong is available after missing the game against Manchester United through suspension. Squillaci will also miss the game due to a calf injury.

Arsene Wenger, ahead of the Swansea game, said:

“[Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott] are available for Saturday. [Tomas Rosicky] has a chance to be available for Tuesday night, he has a knee injury. He got a kick during the internationals.

[Andre Santos] is not completely match fit, but is in the squad. [Ryo Miyaichi] will very quickly knock at the door. At the moment he is injured and is just coming back – he should join in again on Monday or Tuesday.

We have the players with long-term injuries out like [Jack] Wilshere and [Abou] Diaby of course; then we have players suspended like Gervinho, [Alex] Song and [Carl] Jenkinson as well; we have an injury from the internationals in [Tomas] Rosicky and finally [Thomas] Vermaelen, who had surgery on Monday and will be out for a month.”


Tottenham vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven

April 20, 2011

Manchester United has given us another lifeline after their stalemate against Newcastle. With us drawing against Liverpool on Sunday, it looked as if it was all over for us. However, the title race is back on and we have a slight hope. Even so, our hopes will be over soon if we fail to get the three points against the Spuds tonight. Even our top four spot will be in jeopardy if we fail to win the game.

After the Liverpool match, I said that it was very unlikely that Manchester will draw two games then lose to us before we take the title ourselves, by winning rest of our games. After last night, Manu have drawn one game and hopefully there will be more. The question still remains; will we win the rest our matches? (we will find out tonight) Man United have given us countless opportunities by slipping up on many occasions. Only that we haven’t been able to capitalize on them. We again have a chance now and I hope the team gives it their all tonight against Tottenham.

Coming to the game, Tottenham are playing at home and they will approach the game as if it is a Champions League final, they wouldn’t know the feeling though, what it is to be a in a CL final. Nonetheless, they will do their all to take the three points and they surely have a few players that can make things difficult for us. Their approach will be straight forward, deliver in as many crosses as they can and hope for Crouch to head in. With RVD Vaart and Modric they can also mix things up. So our backline will have to be alert and on their toes at all times. We have already made too many mistakes and it is time now that we deliver.

As for us, we will need to play our game and never slack-off, even for a second and even if we are winning by two goals. Chances will come to us and we will need to capitalize on them. Their keeper is prone to mistakes but at times he produces excellent saves and I don’t want their keeper to be the man of the match.

Upfront, the combination of Fabregas, Walcott and Van Persie will be the key. In the middle, Song and Diaby will have to play a massive game. We can’t afford to make any mistakes today and we can’t afford any more slip ups. And please Arsenal! don’t make things complicated. Keep possession, keep it simple and shoot whenever the opportunity arise and we will get the three points.

As for the starting lineup, Sagna will join the backline in place of Eboue as he has recovered form his injury. The rest of the defense will remain the same as it was against Liverpool.

Alex Song has also fully recovered from his injury, so I expect him to start alongside Fabregas and I will also keep Diaby for his strength and height. Wilshere for me will be on bench because he has already played a lot and Wenger hinted of rotation.

Up front. the trio will remain the same as it was against Liverpool. However, I won’t be surprised to see Arshavin in place of either Nasri or Walcott. Nasri is going through a quiet patch but considering how he played in the reverse fixture at the Emirates, I will start with him.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Song, Fabregas, Diaby, Walcott, RVP, Nasri

Similar to the Liverpool game, it is difficult to predict what the outcome of the game will be. We haven’t scored many goals in the last few games and we have been quite ordinary in the final third. Still, away from home, we have delivered. And considering Spurs, there will be goals today. Hopefully, we will score more and get the three points. Come on Arsenal!!

Have a nice day Gooners and enjoy the game while keeping your fingers crossed. Tonight, we will resurrect our title chances!!


Arsenal vs Liverpool: Preview and Starting Eleven

April 17, 2011

Today we start our final push for the title. We host a resurgent Liverpool at the Emirates and no less than three points is what we require.

This is our title deciding week and I hope the team is ready to deal with it because it won’t be easy at all.

It has been a long time since we drew in the opening game of the season against Liverpool. With Liverpool going through many ups and down since then, with defeats against bottom placed teams to massive wins against top teams, they have been somewhat very unpredictable. However, under Dalglish they have been a changed side and make no mistake today’s game is going to be very difficult if we are to get the three points.

With their spending in the January window, they look more stable and have added two dimensions to their attack. With Andy Carroll, they can play the aerial route football and with Luis Suarez they can play the quick passing game. They will no doubt mix it up and it will be up to our defense to deal with them. With Dirk Kuyt always a threat, our team will have to stay alert at all times. Mistakes at the back will be costly today and I hope the whole team supports the defense when under attack.   

Upfront we will have to be clinical. Fabregas and company will no doubt create openings but it will up to our forward to finish them. Van Persie and Theo Walcott will have to be at the top of their game. The cost of missed chances will be more than a game today.

It isn’t easy to predict such a game as it can be either high scoring or one decided by a single goal. Both teams can win this, so we have to make sure we score the winning goals. Two years back we somewhat ended Liverpool’s title chances by a drawing against them at their home, Arshavin scored four goals back then, so, I hope Liverpool doesn’t return the favour today.

If things aren’t going our way, we will need someone to remind Liverpool that if they win, United will get the 19th title for sure. Now would Liverpool want that? Jokes aside, the title will be over for us if we don’t win any of the remaining games starting from today. Even a draw is fatal. I am gunning for a win and hoping that our team gives it their best shot and even if we lose or draw or end up without the title, we can hold our heads up.  

As far as the lineup is concerned, it will be interesting to see who Arsene opts to start with as many players are returning from injury and we do have three important games in 8 days to play.

Szczesny for me starts in goal after what Wenger said in his pre-match press conference. With no Sagna, Eboue will feature again on the right and the other flank will be taken up by Clichy. If and only if Djourou is hundred percent, I will start with him partnering Koscielny.

In the middle of the park Fabregas is the easy pick. Diaby for me stays in the lineup. I am caught up between Song and Wilshere. Again if Song isn’t hundred percent, I will start with Wilshere.

Upfront van Persie will be flanked by Nasri and Walcott. Arshavin is an asset in big games therefore he can be brought on at any time to change the game. However, I won’t mind if Arshavin starts this game at the expense of Walcott.

Probable Starting Eleven: Szczesny, Eboue, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Fabregas, Diaby, Walcott, RVP, Nasri

Before I conclude, below is what Arsene Wenger said about today’s game:

“When you are in the title race it is always like that. When we played the Carling Cup Final, Barcelona away and Manchester United three days later, we were out of three competitions.

Now Tottenham and Chelsea are out of the competitions. When you fight for big prizes in one week it can be gone. It makes Sunday’s game vital of course. If we do not beat Liverpool and Tottenham the season won’t be over but the title will be over for sure.

If we win all the games then yes, we will win the Premier League [as long as Manchester United] can draw somewhere. It’s not 100 per cent even if we win our games but we know what we have to do.”

I hope the players keep that in mind when they are out on the field.

That’s it. Have a good day and enjoy the match. Tonight we deal with the first of our seven remaining obstacles. Keep the faith and your fingers crossed!!


Alisher Usmanov will not sell his stake, Szczesny and Djourou back in training and some other news

April 13, 2011

The big news in the past couple of days has been the proposition of Stan Kroenke’s complete takeover of Arsenal. Stan Kroenke increased his Arsenal stake to 62.89 percent by buying the shares of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith and Danny Fiszman. As a result, Kroenke has the control of the club and he was forced to make a complete takeover bid. If he can reach 90 percent, he can compulsory buy the rest of the club shares.

However, it seems now that it won’t come to pass due to a new development. Alisher Usmanov, whose RED and White Holdings own 27 percent of the Arsenal shares, has declined to sell his stake to Kroenke by saying that he loves Arsenal and that is the reason he is a shareholder. This is what he said:

“I’m not going to sell my stake. I love Arsenal, that’s why I’m a shareholder”

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust (AST) has welcomed the decision made by Usmanov and have also declined to sell their shares. AST, however, is not against Kroenke’s takeover as long as the fans have a say in the ownership of the club. An AST statement said:

“AST welcomes Red and White Holdings’ commitment to Arsenal and calls on all shareholders to work together. Their priorities should firstly be making Arsenal a successful football team, secondly placing no leveraged debt on the club or taking dividends and management fees out of the club, and thirdly helping supporters be directly involved in the club’s shareholding. Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one man.” 

I don’t know what will happen next but one thing is for sure that Arsenal will not be in the hands of a single owner, which is good news. I don’t want Arsenal to turn into a plaything for one individual. As long as the fans hold some part of the club, Arsenal will remain the club it is.

All I want is that whatever happens next, it doesn’t disturb the way the club is being run. As long as we have the money to sustain the team and buy players, ownership issues won’t matter much. I will also add that the best thing is to wait it out and see how things turn up, and hopefully it will be for the best.

Coming to matters concerning injuries, there have been reports that Szczesny and Djourou have both returned to training ahead of the Liverpool match and both will be available for selection in the squad. The reports confirm what Arsene said in his post-Blackpool comments that Szczesny is not far from returning. So if all goes well, we will have our first choice keeper and  Djourou available for the crunch final run in.

Yesterday there were also reports of a row between van Persie and Diaby at half time during the Blackpool game, concerning the way Diaby reacted before he was booked in the first half. I don’t know if it is true, although, if it is then it is good because it shows that the senior players are taking responsibility to put the wrong things right. It will be better for Diaby to realize that the way he reacted is only going to harm him and Arsenal and no one else. However, I would want that whatever happens inside dressing rooms should remain there because media will always find ways to exploit such incidents.

In other news, Wilshere has slammed the news of a possible move to Manchester City in the summer by saying this on his official twitter:

“People asking if I’m going city? I don’t kiss the Arsenal badge then leave – this club in my heart!”

Denilson is here talking about Shakhtar Donetsk’s Willian and wants him to come to Arsenal.

Champions League quarter finals are also under way and sadly we are having no part in it. Last night Man United and Barcelona qualified for the semi finals at the expense of Chelsea and Shakhtar respectively. Tonight we will find out who the other two teams are, although by now it’s pretty clear which teams will make it.

Till later…


Wenger’s update on Vermaelen and Gibbs, Diaby and Fabianski are good to go against Chelsea

December 23, 2010

The postponement of the games over the weekend might have left many people fuming, but it has turned out to be a good mini break for us. Most of our injured players are back and better than before as Wenger revealed while speaking to Arsenal TV online.

Diaby, Fabianski, Fabregas and Van Persie are all good to go against Chelsea. Most of them would have been available for the Stoke match but an extra week would have certainly helped them to prepare better and get their fitness levels up.

“We have everybody back. We had them in the squad for Stoke – Diaby, Fabregas, Van Persie. Fabianski too.

They have had one more week to prepare for this game and build up their fitness. That will have helped them of course.”

Apart from them, the ones who have been involved twice a week for the past couple of months will also have benefitted from this postponement.

On the other hand Vermaelen, Gibbs and Almunia are still out injured and won’t be back over Christmas.

“So overall we miss only Vermaelen, Almunia and Kieran Gibbs now. They will not be back in the short–term – over Christmas – but everybody else is available.”

The timeline that Wenger gave on Gibbs is that he will be back by early January.

On Vermaelen’s return, Wenger said that he will be back by late January. At the moment the signs are good from Vermaelen as he needs to build his match fitness. It will take about four weeks to get him fully match fit. Wenger is, righfully, being cautious with him as he already has had a lot of setbacks.

“I would rather say late January. He is short on fitness and we have to build it up. That will take three to four weeks. He has started now and the signs are good. But I have been hit so many times with backlash that I am very cautious with Vermaelen.

“However Gibbs should be available at the beginning of January.”

So, if all goes well we will have the whole squad back by the end of January, provided there are no new injuries, and hopefully till then we will remain near the top and continue with our title charge.


The Problems are to be Eradicated

September 28, 2010

The next couple of games, starting from today, are very important for Arsenal as it will determine where our season will head. The way we present ourselves in these games will show us whether we are capable of putting aside our mistakes and grind out results in our favour. Read the rest of this entry »


Arsenal vs West Brom: Embarrassed or Not, Keep Your heads Up and Move On

September 26, 2010

Where to start on this one; from the draw against Sunderland or the massive win against the spurs in midweek, from the record profits that we have made or come straight to the embarrassing defeat against the baggies at home. We were sure to get the three points yesterday, we were this much sure that the whole team thought that the goals will be given to us gift wrapped by Albion themselves and we just have to show up and have a walk in the park.

Read the rest of this entry »