Any two of Jadson, Mata, Hazard will do as Fabregas is off!, Eboue on his way | Joel Campbell in London!

August 15, 2011

Finally, the inevitable has come to pass, the Fabregas saga after almost three years has come to an end with Barcelona and Cesc having their way in the end. Like all Gooners, I am relieved that it is over. Yet, I cannot emphasize that he we have lost a great player, a talent like him is very rarely found. Nonetheless, as the saying goes ‘no player is bigger than the club’. Fabregas leaves, just like many left before him, Arsenal was, is and still be here. I wish him the best of luck at Barcelona.

My gripe, one of two, is we didn’t sell him for what he is worth and secondly the timing isn’t right. If we knew he was not going to stay, the door should have been shown to him back in May. We have let it run for far too long and now suddenly with 15 days to end of the window, we are without our, I am afraid to say, backbone. As for the price, we are getting what was paid for Carroll! It is outrageous and I am amazed how the club agreed to it ( I am gutted, still nothing can be done now). The details of the deal are here.

Moving on, the immediate concern now should be to find the perfect replacement for him. One who can do a job straight away. And as Nasri also seems to be on his way out, a replacement for both should be a priority.

The rumor in the blogosphere is that we are considering Jadson as replacement for him. I have expressed my views on him here. Again, If he can do the job in 10 million, I am up for it. He alone, still won’t be enough.

There is also word on the street that Mata talks were to be opened if Fabregas was to depart. I hope they do start. Wenger recently revealed that we won’t be buying Mata and he didn’t give any reason. However, he said the same about Jadson and even said that Fabregas and Nasri won’t be leaving! I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will open talks and eventually buy him.

Personally, I would Like Mata to come. He is young, he is talented, he has pace, he has potential and he will adjust nicely to our style. With him and Jadson partnered with Wilshere and Ramsey, we can be a force to reckon with. Don’t forget we will be having Gervinho, Miyaichi, Walcott, Chamberlain and Arshavin on the wings. Honestly, I can already feel the excitement right now.

The other potential replacements are Eden hazard, I would love him too. We have been linked with him for a long time. This summer it looked like we will finally get him. Somehow the rumors have gone quiet. With Fabregas gone, I am sure they will surface again. Then there is Yoann Gourcuf. Last summer we were continuously linked with him. We never got him though. Even Chamakh has urged Wenger to buy him, may be that will bring the striker out in Chamakh, gone missing since December last year.

Javi Martinez, a 22-year-old, making waves at Athletic Bilbao is another option. Marvin Martin is another one who is making his name in France. There are so many options and all are quality. I just hope Wenger finds the right player and doesn’t use the excuse of not finding the right man.

For me, it will be great if we can sign any two of Mata, Jadson or Hazard. It is all in addition to Gary Cahill and, if we can, a striker. That makes a total a four signings. We have the money, so it all depends on Wenger now!  I will keep my fingers crossed till the end of August.

In other news, it is being reported that Eboue is on his way to Galatasaray. This was said on their official website:

“Galatasaray has begun negotiations with Arsenal FC for the transfer of Ivorian-Belgian professional football player Emmanuel Eboue. The public will be updated about the developments.”

No official word so far has been released by Arsenal though. However, Eboue has no squad number at Arsenal.

Personally, I am glad that he is moving on. He was what you would call a squad player and even not great at it. He also didn’t seem like improving. No doubt, he had his fair share of good performances, he won’t be missed on the field. I can’t say anything about the dressing room though. This move will be good for both the club and his career. After all, he wasn’t going to get much playing time with Jerkinson in the squad.

There are also reports that Joel Campbell flew into London last night to finalize his switch to Arsenal, a deal worth almost a million pounds (930,000). Young Guns Blog has all the details here.

That is all for now. Udinese game is up next, and we need to win this one.

Advertisements

Player Ratings: Arsenal 1 – 1 Liverpool

April 17, 2011

Well, the game ended in heartache for me as it would have done for all Gooners around the world. To be winning a game one minute and then to draw it in the fashion it happened is frustrating to the very core of existence. Liverpool returned the favour that we did them two years back, the title is out of our reach now. Didn’t anyone tell Liverpool that Manchester United now is in line to get the 19th title!! If not, someone should have.

To start off with, that penalty to Liverpool was never a penalty. It was a dive by Lucas which conned the referee into giving it. Eboue was at fault not for the penalty but for getting close to Lucas, who took full advantage of it. The ball was going away towards the corner, there was no danger, it was 4 minutes beyond the stoppage time then why the hell would you put yourself in a position where the opposition can take advantage. Lucas played it intelligently and the referee fell for it. It did make one thing clear, ‘LUCAS, YOU ARE A CHEAT!!’

Coming to the free kick conceded in the 98th minutes, that was our own fault. Szczesny had the ball with him and he should have passed it on to his own player, the way he did all game. Only when it was needed most he tossed into the air, the ball came back towards our goal and bam a free kick, which later turned into a penalty. This is where experience comes in. We only needed to defend for a minute and we couldn’t do that. We shouldn’t have relaxed at all after scoring the goal which now has cost us the chance for a title.

However, the penalty and free kick incident shouldn’t have taken place at all if the referee had blown the whistle when the time was over by 98 minutes. Or even if he has given the free kick after 98 minutes, he should have blown the whistle as soon as the ball hit the wall. It was 102 minutes on the clock and the ref is still playing on. THAT WAS PLAIN RIDICULOUS!!

As for the rest of the game, it was all Arsenal with a bit of Liverpool in the second half. Liverpool defended well for major parts. However, I am surprised that with the amount of talent we have we couldn’t open up Liverpool easily who had teenagers in their backline. We were wasteful with our possession and never created anything of worth. Van Persie missed one glorious opportunity which should have been a goal, Koscielny hit the bar once, other than that it was all possession by us with no penetration and only defending by Liverpool.

I would also like to add here that we sure have our problems but most of the points that have been dropped this season have been stolen from us. Bad decisions have cost us too many games. Should I blame the players for always being in the wrong place at the wrong time or the referees, whose job is to make sure the game is played fairly? I will leave it for you to answer.

As it stands, the title is well beyond our hands now but the season is still not finished. Chelsea is right behind us and we need to at least finish second. Heck we may, may, may, win the league only if we win all our games and Man United draw at least two. I know that is too much to ask for!!

Coming to player ratings:

Szczesny (6.5): A good performance returning from injury. Didn’t have much to do but when called upon, he did well. Made a good save on a Suarez shot in the second half. Only one gripe, as I said before he should have passed the ball to our player in the 98th minute as he had done all game and not lobbed it into the air.  Experience matters on such occasions!!

Eboue (6): Well, what can I say?! As always provided good support upfront and had a decent game at the back. He did his usual theatrics which was frustrating to see. I won’t blame him for the penalty as explained above but he should have kept his distance from Lucas. Cost us more than points today.

Djourou and Koscielny (7): Decent game from both the defenders. Had a couple of odd moments but thankfully we weren’t harmed. Other than that cleared whatever danger came their way. Koscielny also hit the bar in the first half.

Clichy (6): Nothing much to do at the back and provided good support up front.

Wilshere (5.5): Moved the ball around well and made a number of good interceptions. Didn’t add much in final third though.

Fabregas (6.5): Didn’t produce the amount of delightful balls as he did against Blackpool. He did drop deep to get the ball and most of our openings were created through him. And of course, it was his run that won us the penalty, unfortunately not the game.

Diaby (6): Made good use of his strength in the middle of the park. Made good interceptions but again on occasions kept the ball with him for too long.

Nasri (6): He has lost his touch in front goal but makes it up with his brilliant runs with the ball. However, he didn’t create much today. Did misplace a few of his passes as well.

Robin van Persie (6.5): His movement was good but didn’t get enough deliveries to find the goal. Did miss a chance that should have won it for us. Scored an excellent penalty but unfortunately it wasn’t a winner.

Walcott (6): As always looked dangerous with the ball. Some of his crosses were excellent but no one met them while on other occasions he was wasteful. Wasn’t released much either.

Subs:

Song (6) looked alright and did his part. Did give away the late free kick though. Arshavin (6) was lively and delivered in a couple of good crosses and even backtracked. Bendtner (5) didn’t add much.


Wenger: We first have to qualify, Van Persie might start, Djourou is out and Koscielny returns

December 8, 2010

Speaking ahead of the all important, must win, game against Partizan Belgarde, Wenger wasn’t concerned about the oppoenent in the next phase. He said that we should not look ahead at which team we encounter in the next round. The focus first should be to qualify and see what happens next. Be it Barcelona, Bayern or even Real, to go ahead, we have to beat them. Be it in the next round or further ahead. Wenger said it’s even not a guarantee we will get these teams as there are other possibilities. What happens will happen. We simply have to proceed with it.

“If you want to win it, you have to play against these big teams. What is important is not to focus on the teams we might play, we first have to be very pragmatic and qualify first. We will see then who we get. First of all, it is not a guarantee that we play Barcelona or Bayern Munich in the next round – there are some other teams we can play and what happens, happens.”

Wenger further said that he expected to win every game before this, but as it is you have to be prepared for every situation and still the most important thing will be to qualify.

“I expected to win all the games before but you have to be ready for every possibility in our job and the most important thing is to qualify.”

At the moment it’s not in our hands who we meet in the next round. Our job, as Wenger has said, is to go out tomorrow and qualify. Who knows, If results go our way we might even top the group.

In team news it has been revealed that there is a possibility that Van Persie will start the match. Speaking about him, Wenger said if you would have asked him two weeks back he would have said he was ready to start. At the moment he is getting better by every match. As he has been out for a long time he needs more games to get back to match fitness. There is a chance that he will start tomorrow as Wenger hasn’t yet decided the starting lineup.

“He is getting better and better and ready to start. He was ready to start two weeks ago if you ask him. He is a player who has been out for a long time and wants games. I haven’t decided the starting line-up but it is a possibility [that Van Persie will be in it].”

Finally, for  a change we have good news on the injury front. Koscielny, who till yesterday was out for three weeks, has been remarkably declared fit. He is in the squad and will start tomorrow. 

As for Djourou, he will not be available as he has a minor thigh injury. He was very dominant against Fulham, but Wenger says we have to be cautious as risks cannot be taken with him.  

As for the rest of the squad it will be available as it was against Fulham with Emmanuel Eboue to be included.

“Koscielny has been declared fit to play and will play tomorrow. We lose Djourou, because we are a bit cautious with him. He could have played with a risk, but we did not want to take a risk. Emmanuel Eboue comes back into the squad, the rest will be the same against Fulham.”


Eboue recovers, Squillaci out, Wenger yet to decide on Van Persie, Leeds in FA Cup and Ramsey appears for Forest.

November 30, 2010

Eboue: Has made a quick recovery

Coming to matters at hand, Wenger has given away the injury news ahead of Wigan’s match tomorrow. Emmanuel Eboue, who was last week judged to be out for at least four weeks due to a knee injury, has made a remarkable comeback. He had a swollen knee but his ligament was intact. The latest tests reveal that he has recovered.

“Emmanuel Eboue is back in the squad much quicker than planned. When we made a scan his knee was swollen but the ligament was intact so we decided to push him back as quickly as possible and the tests were successful.”

Fabregas: 'Couple of weeks away'

Squillaci: Suffered a knee injury

Cesc Fabregas on the other hand is on his course to recovery. It will be 10 to15 days’ at least before he will be fit. Squillaci on the other hand has a suffered a knee problem from Villa’s game. Rest of the squad is available as it was on Saturday.

“Cesc is still out. He has ten more days or two weeks maximum. Sebastien Squillaci has a knee problem from Saturday. He is out, everyone else is available.”

Wenger has also said the he will take the tie seriously without revealing the team. He said that he will decide on who to include and who not as they have been playing football every three days for the past 6 weeks. He said that it will be a strong team with the regular players.

“I don’t want to give the team today. The only thing I promise is that we will take the tie seriously. I have to consider how many games my players play. For six weeks we have played every three days with Champions League and internationals. I will consider who needs to play and who needs to rest. But we will play with a strong team. You will see regular players.”

Van Persie: Will he play against Wigan?About Van Persie he said he has yet to decide. He said that he will speak to him on how he feels before he plays him or not.

“Van Persie? I don’t know. Do I get him a week of work or do I play him? I have to speak with him frankly to see how he feels. We will see [on] Monday.”

FA Cup third round draw: Arsenal vs Leeds

On Sunday, draws for the FA Cup third round took place. We have been drawn at home against Leeds united. The ties for the third round will be played on the weekend of 8th and 9th January. The other ties are here.

Leeds is currently at 8th place in the championships. Still they will be looking for a repeat of last season when they overcame Man Utd in the third round. They took Tottenham to a replay in the fourth round. Their manager said that it is amazing for the club and fans to be having such draws. He said that they have been giving the performances and the support they have had is really good. Yet he added that they have plenty of games before the Arsenal game and they have to focus on them as the Championship is important.

“It’s a fantastic draw. Arsenal are one of the best teams in the country and are one of the top footballing teams in Europe. I’m sure our supporters will look forward to the game and will sell the full allocation once again. After knocking Man United out in the third round last season and taking Tottenham to a replay in the fourth round, the current crop at Leeds have shown they relish the big occasion. It’s amazing when you look at the draws we’ve had and the performances and the support we’ve had. In an 18-month period, we’ve played Liverpool, Man U, Tottenham, and now Arsenal in the cups which is fantastic for the club and the fans. But…as I said before the Man U game last season, we have a lot of league games to come before then and that is our focus. The players will all want to be involved for the Arsenal game and the league games are so important to us.”

In other news, Aaron Ramsey made a first competitive appearence in a match after suffering his injury. He came on as subsitute for Nottingham Forest in a match against Leicester. They went onto lose the match but his appearence was good to see.


Fabregas’ injury investigation, Wenger’s injury update and Ramsey loaned out

November 26, 2010

Wenger: Gives an update on the injuries

It has been confirmed today by Wenger that Fabregas is going to be out for a couple of weeks at least. Wenger said that we will be a bit cautious with him as it is a recurrence of his hamstring problem. He said that he will listen to the medical team and Fabregas before deciding to play him. It all however depends on how he feels and if he is ready.

On being asked about the injury, Wenger said that he is not sure if it’s because of the World Cup. He said that the one thing he is sure of is that they will have to be cautious because if you have a hamstring injury you have a chance to get another. As for occurrence of the injury on the other leg, Wenger said that it is very difficult to predict. He further added that he doesn’t know much about it scientifically as the medical staff they have seen can’t say more about it. He said that they are investigating his injury. They have analyzed his body and it is not due to fatigue or tiredness. They will consult every specialist but the problem he said is that despite having scientists today you still get injured.

“It could be two weeks but we are in a position where we may need to be a bit more cautious with him because it is a recurrence of his hamstring problem.
I will follow what the medical people tell me and Cesc tells me – if he feels perfectly alright after two weeks then I will play him.
I don’t know if [the injury] is down to the World Cup. What is for sure is that every hamstring injury you have gives you more chances to have another one. That’s why I say maybe we have to be a bit more cautious.
This time we were concerned with one leg before the game and it happened on the other leg. It is very difficult to predict – I am not scientific enough to speak about that and none of the medical people we have seen yet can tell us more.We have analysed his body and it is not fatigued and he is not tired.
We are investigating as much as we can. The problem [is] before when you were injured you waited at home and when you could play again you played again – today you can have ten scientists around you but you still get injured.
We will consult every specialist we can. But at the end of the day it doesn’t stop him from being injured.”

Fabregas: We need him at 100 percent!

So with this time line, Fabregas is sure to miss the Aston Villa, Wigan, Fulham and Partizan Belgrade matches. He might be back for the Manchester game but seeing the past record I have my doubts about it. It will be a bonus if he will be back for that match but we have seen Fabregas takes time before getting to his best.  So playing him just because he gets fit might not be enough.

As Wenger has said that we have to be patient with him, so let’s not push him hard.  We need to give him time because if he gets another injury, he will be out for far too long then the two weeks now. Wenger has already gambled with him and let’s not go on the same path. The Christmas period is coming up and we don’t want to have a large number of players out with injury. I believe that he shouldn’t be played until he is hundred percent the rest is up to the Boss.

Speaking about others, Wenger said that Eboue is going to be out for a minimum of 4 weeks with a medial knee ligament strain. Everyone else will be available for the next match. Speaking of Almunia he said that he will be capable of playing but it will depend on how he responds.

“Eboue has a medial knee ligament strain. It can be four weeks, can be six weeks or can be eight weeks. But I think it will be four weeks minimum. We have a lot of bumps and bruises but everyone else should be available. Almunia should be capable to play but I will see how he reacts.”

Ramsey: Goes out on loan

The thing that has surprised me is that Aaron Ramsey after making a positive return in the reserves game has been loaned out. He has joined Nottingham forest on loan until 3rd January 2011. It is a surprise because Wenger had said before it will better if he stays here and makes his comeback with us. Now all of a sudden he is loaned out to a championship team. Maybe Wenger did give a hint when he said that he needs competitive games.

“Ramsey needs competitive games. He played 45 minutes and he did well. We need to get him slowly and progressively into competition mode.”

It is good for him in that he will get some match time but we know how it is in the championship. If he is pushed too hard it might hamper his return.  We know what setbacks can do if one tries too hard on returning from injuries. Diaby, Eduardo and Rosicky are a few examples. At first I was behind the notion that he should go on loan but the thing that changed my mind was that if he can get his match fitness by playing with reserves then it will be ideal. Still I really hope this move comes up good for him and he returns with no setbacks. Good luck to him.

This is all for now. The next game is just round the corner. We have to be ready for that and bounce back better than ever. We sure need a win this weekend.


Fabregas & Eboue injured, Denislon apologizes, Djourou remains upbeat as Ramsey makes a positive comeback.

November 25, 2010

Fabregas: Out with a hamstring injury

Eboue: He picked up a knee injury last night

Things are certainly not going our way at the moment. Two defeats in a row and now Fabregas and Eboue are out with injuries. Eboue has a knee injury whereas Fabregas has a hamstring problem. Fabregas was doubtful to start before the match but Wenger took a gamble with him and it didn’t pay off.

Wenger said after the match:

“Eboue has a medial knee ligament strain from the tackle from behind. Fabregas has a hamstring strain.
Eboue will be out for a while. We will assess Fabregas tomorrow [Wednesday] but it could be two to three weeks, we don’t know yet.
It is very disappointing because I had a hesitation to play him [Fabregas] before the game started. But I took the gamble and it back-fired on us.”

Fabregas should not have been risked for this match. If it’s a recurring problem we will miss him for more than the time Wenger is saying. We will know more about the extent of injuries tomorrow.

Denilson: Disappointed after last nights match

Denilson after the game has come out an apologized to the fans for the two defeats in a row and the bad performances. He said that the next game has become important as it is a must win.  He talked about  focusing on the games ahead and to try and win trophies as they are important this season.

“It’s very disappointing. I’m very bad about the [defeat], very sad, I’m very sorry for the fans, for this match and the last game as well. We have one game left against Partizan where the three points will be very important. We now have to focus on our next game, we have many games [coming up], we have to keep on going on, we have to win trophies this season because it is very important for us.”

Djourou: Remains positive after the defeat

Djourou too has come out and said that it would be disaster if we didn’t qualify for the next round in the champions league. He spoke about remaining positive and that the whole team wants to win a trophy. He said that the defeat was a shock and that they should have done better with the possession and the goals should have been avoided.

“If we didn’t qualify, it would be a disaster. We shouldn’t think we are not going to qualify. We have to think positively. This defeat was a shock for everyone and we need to bounce back. We have the players to do it, it is just how much we want it. And we do want to win a trophy. When you have so much possession [65 per cent] the game should have been done. And theirs were silly goals, we should have avoided them.”

Ramsey: Made a positive start yesterday

The only good news is that Ramsey made a positive return to the playing field for the first time in 9 months. He played the first 45 minutes for the reserves yesterday in which the signs were positives. It is the last step in his rehabilitation process after which he will be available to play for the first team. Wenger has said that he will feature regularly for the reserves from now on to make him get to match fitness. The Christmas period is the busiest one and I hope he gets there by that and is available to us. And I hope he makes a complete recovery and returns better than ever.

Thoughts!