Arsene Wenger’s latest injury update, Miyaichi, Nasri, Frimpong and Jenkinson set to start against Liverpool

August 20, 2011

Arsene Wenger on Friday gave the latest update on the squad that will face Liverpool today.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Arsene confirmed that Diaby, Wilshere and Gibbs will miss the game due to injury along with Song and Gervinho, who are suspended.

In an update on Djourou and Traore, who had positive tests on Thursday, the manager said that they won’t also be available. Djourou is out with a minor hamstring strain while Traore has a slight groin problem.

Rosicky, whose inclusion was pending a late decision on Thursday, will also be given a rest against Liverpool due to a thigh injury. However, he will be back with the squad by Monday as according to the manager the injury is not bad.

Meanwhile, Wenger announced, Japanese sensation, Miyaichi, and want away midfielder, Nasri, are available and included in the squad.  

Frimpong will also be in contention to start as Wenger admitted his likeness for the youngster and his ability and added only his injury proved a hindrance or he would have played last year.

Wenger also hinted at a possible start for Jenkinson after praising his performance against Udinese.

Arsene Wenger, ahead of the game against Liverpool, said:

“The morale is strong and the belief is strong. I believe we have had a decent start. We have Song and Gervinho suspended. Diaby and Wilshere are injured. Djourou and Traore will not be available and Gibbs will not be available.

We will give Tomas a rest tomorrow. It is not a bad injury and he should be back with us on Monday but he is rested tomorrow.

He [Ryo Miyaichi] came back from Japan yesterday and is in the squad. He [Samir Nasri] is in the squad tomorrow and available to be picked to play.

Frimpong will be in contention when I pick my team tomorrow morning. I like him very much. He is a fighter, he is strong in the duels, has fantastic levels of commitment and he uses the ball well with his feet. He was one of the players who dominated pre-season last year with Jack Wilshere and was stopped through a cruciate. I think he would have played last year.

Jenkinson did really well at left-back the other night [against Udinese]. I believe that he will have an impact and you will fight for him not to play for Finland.”

 

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Gibbs and Djourou join the injured! Vela and Botelho off on loan, Song suspended for three games

August 17, 2011

Arsenal played the first leg of the Champions League play off last night and ended up taking a slender lead into the second leg.

In terms of injuries, however, Arsenal are two more players down.

First off, left back, Kieran Gibbs, got off injured. He was having a decent game before he was substituted in the half time break.

Djourou,who came on for Gibbs after the break with Vermaelen going at left back, himself got off injured ten minutes later. Djourou produced one crucial block during his time on the field before he was replaced by Jenkinson.

After the game, official Arsenal site released this statement (later taken down):

“Kieran Gibbs and Johan Djourou both picked up minor hamstring problems during Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Udinese on Tuesday night. Gibbs was replaced by Djourou at half time and the Swiss defender was in turn replaced by Carl Jenkinson 10 minutes later. Both players could miss Saturday’s game against Liverpool.”

Arsenal official twitter account tweeted this:

INJURY NEWS: Gibbs and Djourou have minor hamstring problems and could miss Saturday’s game against Liverpool

With Traore already injured, during the reserve game against United, we are left with no left backs and only three first team defenders. Jenkinson filled in at left back last night and he wasn’t comfortable back there. The big question now is who are we going to see in defense against Liverpool? Wenger will certainly have to make some tough decisions! I shudder even at the thought of losing one of Vermaelen or Koscielny now.

In transfer news, last night, Arsenal announced that Carlos Vela and Pedro Botelho are going to spend the 2011/2012 season on loan in Spain.

Vela will join Real Socieded, he was unveiled today. Botelho will join Rayo Vallecano.

Although, I would have loved to see Vela play for us this season, I have to admit this loan move is the best option for him to play regular football. He has the talent and in my opinion he hasn’t been given a fair chance at Arsenal to show that. Spanish game will suit him better and will polish his skills further. Maybe, next year he will play for us. The only concern is he might not return as these loan moves usually turn out to be permanent transfers in the end.

Apart from this, Alex Song is going to serve a three match ban, starting from the Liverpool game, after he accepted the FA charge. He was charged with violent conduct after the game against Newcastle United for stamping on Joey Barton.

The FA statement on the official Arsenal site said:

Arsenal’s Alex Song will begin a three-match suspension with immediate effect after he accepted a charge of violent conduct. Song was charged following an incident during Arsenal’s fixture at Newcastle United on Saturday, August 13.

This is further bad news for us because our claim for Gevinho’s red card has already been rejected. And seeing how Song performed yesterday, he is going to be missed dearly in the next three league games. He will, however, be available for the second leg against Udinese.

With players going down left and right for Arsenal through suspension and injuries, it looks to be a tough two weeks for us. With this pace, I am afraid by the end of this month, we won’t have a first team to field. I hope this makes Wenger realise that our squad is not big enough as he is claiming.

 


Newcastle United vs Arsenal: Preview and Starting Eleven with Injury Update

August 13, 2011

Finally, we are set to see some football after a summer full of speculations. We are up against Newcastle United away from home. If anything, this is going to be a tough opener for us. The last time we didn’t come back in good shape from there and went on a roller coaster ride backwards. I don’t want to talk about that but I do pray that this time it isn’t the case. 

Although, I don’t think we will see the same theatrics this time, it will be an exciting encounter. Newcastle is known to attack which also leaves them vulnerable at the back. They will definitely try to hold and see how we shape up first. They will use the aerial ball and utilize the flanks, and if I am not wrong, mostly the left. Their midfield will try to frustrate us with petty fouls.

We only have to keep focus and do our job. We have the same problem at the back but if we can maintain good communication and the midfield stays close to defence, we may yet come out with the maximum and start our season on a high. Every one has to do their job properly, it’s this simple. Gervinho and Walcott’s pace might do wonders for us today if they are fed regularly with the ball.

The last time we dominated them both at home and away. Somehow we never won any of the games. Whatever we do today, we don’t have to lose concentration, even if we are 100 goals up.

As far as the starting eleven is concerned, we are sure to miss Wilshere as he has still not recovered from his injury. Ryo Miyaichi also won’t be involved as he is Japan.

With no Fabregas and Nasri, the options are pretty simple. The injury update given by Wenger on friday was very encouraging. We will have Van Persie, Gibbs, Walcott and Vermaelen back in the squad. The only missing person except Wilshere is Diaby, who frankly is always out, so it doesn’t make a difference.

Arsene Wenger’s injury update:

“Basically we have Wilshere injured, hopefully in the short-term. Diaby is not back before the end of August or the beginning of September. Everybody else should be available. Van Persie and Gibbs should be available. They have a test today [Friday]. Walcott will be back in the squad and so will Vermaelen.”

With all this in mind, I am pretty sure to see Van Persie partnered with Gervinho and Walcott up front.

The middle will be taken up by Song, Rosicky and Ramsey.

The defense will be mastered by Vermaelen alongside Koscielny. Sagna will surely start and on the left I will go with Traore as he can do a better job in defense than Gibbs (at the moment). And last but not the least, Szczesny will be in goal.

Probable starting eleven: Szczesny, Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Traore, Song, Rosicky, Ramsey, Gervinho, Van Persie, Walcott

So, this is the first game and we need all our attention diverted to this. Transfer speculations will continue till the end of August but talking about them won’t help us much. These first 15 days are going to define our season. Wenger was right in saying in his press conference that he has to concentrate on players who can make a difference right now than to talk about players who won’t be involved.

“I believe the best thing for us, one day before the season starts, is not to focus on the possible transfers. What we want today is to focus on the players who play tomorrow and not the players who do not play.”

Let’s we hope we have everyone geared up and ready. Have a good day and enjoy the game. Hopefully we will start off with a bang.


Gael Clichy is not leaving Arsenal nor is Tomas Rosicky going anywhere

April 12, 2011

There is still more than a month to go for this season to end, but looking at the amount of rumours related to players getting linked in and out of Arsenal, it seems as if we are one month into the summer break. And If we were to believe all, the whole Arsenal team would have been changed twice already.

Meanwhile, it is good that some of our players and their agents are coming up with statements to put the rumours to rest (and I will like others to do the same).

Our left back, Gael Clichy, for instance, has ruled out an Arsenal exit by saying that his present and future is with Arsenal and his ultimate ambition is to win a trophy with the Gunners. This is what he said while speaking to The People:

“When I arrived at Arsenal it was because I wanted to improve myself as a player and to win titles, and that is normal with any player. Wenger persuaded me to come here at a time when I was receiving offers from other clubs – and I have to say that my present and my future is with Arsenal.”

I am leaving talks over my contract with my agent so that I can focus on my football. I know that there are rumours about me going elsewhere but I have nothing to say about that. I have always wanted to be at a club where I am content. Money is important but it is not a decisive factor. All I want is to win a title – that’s my ultimate ambition.

It is unquestionable that Wenger is a great coach but the problem is it becomes more difficult to win the title every year. He is trying to develop the young players at this club and I think that is something you cannot put a price on in football.”

This statement might put an end to the stories for now but they will surface again until Clichy extends his current contract, which is set to expire next year. For me, I will never sell Clichy even if we do get offers for him. The first reason being that he is the best left back we have with Kieran Gibbs nowhere near to replacing him at the moment and the second, there are no better options in my opinion available out there. I am off the view that it will be best for us if we can keep him here at Arsenal and in due time Gibbs will be able to replace him. 

And it’s not like Arsene is going to sign someone with experience, if we do let Clichy go, as we have unearthed a new talent in the shape of Charlton’s young left back, Carl Jenkinson. 

There is also news linking Rosicky away from Arsenal this summer. However, his agent has labeled all such news as false. His agent had this to say:

“There have been many false rumours circulating, but at the moment, there is nothing concrete. It has been quite some time since I have heard from Arsene Wenger. Therefore, there is no new news, and if there is a change, he will be the first to communicate this.”

So, at the moment there is no such indication but I believe that Rosicky’s time is over at Arsenal. He has never been the same after his injury and despite showing some glimpses of his talent last season; he has disapointed a lot this time. This season he has been ordinary and in some games he has performed well below par. And considering his age he isn’t going to get any better. If we do get an offer for him, I believe we should take it which will make room for a new signing, like Eden Hazard (if we can), as well as a chance for the younger players to come up.

What do you all think? Is it time we let go of Rosicky or even Clichy?


Player Ratings: Arsenal 5 – 0 Leyton Orient

March 3, 2011

That is more like it now. A good response by Arsenal after the disappointment on Sunday.

It was an unnecessary fixture to start off with but it proved useful as it was the right game for many of the players before the, now important, match against Sunderland on Saturday.

Overall, it was a very good performance by the whole team. The movement, passing and finishing was at times excellent. There were a few moments where it seemed that we lost our focus, especially after scoring the first goal and when the second half started where Orient looked like scoring. However, credit to the team for responding with a goal every time.

One thing I wasn’t impressed was with the defense although they did keep a clean sheet. there wasn’t much to do yet whenever Orient were on the attack we looked vulnerable. Our fullbacks also need to get their decisions right of when to make a run and when not to as they were caught out of position most of the times.

With a lot of important players injured, Bendtner, Diaby and Rosicky for me were the players that needed to show they can be relied upon and they didn’t disappoint at all.

Coming to player ratings:

Almunia (6): Had nothing to do throughout the match. Still not convinced with his positioning, however, he did catch the ball cleanly on the few occasions it went his way.

Eboue (6.5): He spent most of his time upfront as he was involved every now and then in attack. He did get an assist on the fifth goal but needs to improve his crossing and decision making. Defensively was almost always caught out of position but thankfully we weren’t punished for it.

Squillaci (6): He had a normal game as there wasn’t much to do. Lost his man on a couple of occasions and needs to improve his reading of the game.

Miquel (6): Another decent game from the youngster as again he was comfortable and composed with the ball. Still a lot to learn as his inexperience was exposed at times yesterday.

Gibbs (7.5): He too spent more time in attack than in defense. Upfront was amazing as he created the second goal and earned the penalty for the fourth with an excellent run. If only he can improve his defensive side of the game, he will be a top class left back.

Denilson (7): Played his usual game as he helped us keep  possession and played his part in the linking up the play.

Rosicky (7):  A very good game by Rosicky. He moved about all over the pitch as he was involved in everything thing that happened.  A brilliant run and pass to set up Chamakh for the first goal. We need more performances like this if he is to prove his worth.

Diaby (7): A good performance by Diaby as he returned after a month. He combined well with Rosicky as he showed what he can offer us last night and I hope he stays fit till the end of the season. Made some good runs but he still needs to improve his decision making in the final third.

Bendtner (8.5): Excellent. We needed someone to take Van Persie’s place and last night Bendtner showed that he is ready to fill-in in his absence. A powerful and accurate header to open his account, a clinical shot to get his second and scored a very well taken penalty to complete his well deserved hattrick.

Chamakh (7): Chamakh had a good game but he needs more time to improve his confidence. It was good to see him score after almost three months. His movement was good and he was involved in a lot of one-twos. However, he needs to take his chances in front of goal as last night again he hesitated to take shots.

Henderson (6): Was anonymous for major parts but he had a decent game. Did lose possession on more than a few occasions but it was good to see him complete the ninety minutes as he also kept things simple. His delivery on the free kick was good if not perfect.

Subs:

Clichy’s (6.5) strike was sweet as he scored only his second goal for Arsenal last night. Adjusted well in the advanced role as he was involved most of the time after he came on. Wilshere (6) had some good moments along with Nasri (6) as both of them increased the tempo of our game and created half chances.


Player Ratings: Leyton Orient 1 – 1 Arsenal

February 21, 2011

Well, that was very very disappointing from Arsenal after what we have seen in the past couple of weeks. I didn’t even want to write anything about the match as I felt that a team who is going for all trophies don’t show up to face opponents like that. Nonetheless, after having a good night sleep and analyzing, I guess there are a few positives to take. One, Ignasi Miquel is one for the future, two, we are still in the FA Cup and three, Rosicky scored a goal.

The negatives I will leave for you as it was a night to be forgotten to say the least. I tweeted after the game that maybe we need a performance like this after every great win just to get back on the ground (if you know what I mean). One thing is for sure, the players who started yesterday have to step up exponentially if they are to help the team achieve something because Wenger can’t play our regulars in every match.  

Coming to player ratings:

Almunia (4): I didn’t want him to start yesterday as I said in my preview that we must keep Szczesny in goal. Why? Almunia demonstrated it with the manner he let that ball go past him. Didn’t have to do anything for the whole game and when the time came….. you saw what happened.

Sagna (6): Nothing special from the Frenchman. At the back wasn’t tested much and up front didn’t contribute significantly.

Squillaci (6.5): A good game from the centre back as he was composed and didn’t make his usual mistakes. A good block with his face to deny Orient a clear goal although he didn’t knew much about it.

Miquel (6): He is one for the future as I said before. Was calm and comfortable on the ball and did well on most of the occasions. Should have done better when Tehoue went past him to score the equalizer. I won’t blame him, though, because Gibbs was the senior player there and he should have done better than him.

Gibbs (5.5): I have a feeling that he needs a lesson in ‘how to defend’ as he demonstrated with his naivety in letting Tehoue go past him to score the goal. Upfront, however, he was useful as he made a couple of good runs and should have had an assist. Needs to improve his crossing through.

Song (4): He just moved up and down without any positivity.

Denilson (5): Did what he mostly does. Enough said.

Rosicky (7.5): He had a good game as he was one of the two better players out there for us. Moved around well and dropped deep to make things happen. Scored a very well taken goal and could have had another if not for the Orient keeper. Had the players around him been better, he would have had a very influential game. Keep it up Rosicky!

Bendtner (6): Poor finishing, poor first touch and add to that selfishness and arrogance (some may call it confidence) you get Bendtner. Again no end product.  May be I am a bit harsh on him as he isn’t playing at his favored position but still, he needs to play for the team. I thank him for the good assist though.

Chamakh (2): No comment.

Arshavin (7): The second of our two better players. Despite not at his best he looked lively at times and moved around well. Could have gotten a goal, as he hit the post, and had an assist, keeper saved Rosicky’s effort.

So, another extra fixture that we have to play now and I hope, if similar players start again, they will play better at the Emirates. I would not want them to start together again but the timing of the fixture is such that we cannot play our whole first team. I hope when the time comes, Wenger puts up a good balanced side that can finish the job.

Time to turn our focus on the Stoke game now as we cannot drop points in the League.

Have a great day!


Arsenal vs Ipswich Town: Preview and Starting Eleven

January 25, 2011

So this is it, the final obstacle in our way to Wembley. A top performance from us today and we are there and hopefully it will be a start of more great things to come from this team.

Ipswich is leading by a goal coming into this game and their game plan will be to frustrate us by parking the bus and hoping to score on the long balls. And mind you they are much disciplined at the back. But seeing what our team did at the weekend against Wigan, I have no doubt that we will go through but we have to be at that level and never switch-off.

We just have to give our best and not take them lightly. Wenger has said that he will rotate for today’s game also. I feel that we should start with the same team that started against Wigan, with one or two changes, and kill the game off early. The more we delay in killing the game the more Ipswich will fancy their chances.

For the starting eleven, Szczesny is going to stay in goal with Djourou and Koscielny retaining their places. On the left, Gibbs should replace Clichy but on the right I will start with Sagna.

In the middle I will keep the same trio of Wilshere, Song and Fabregas as it is vital that we dominate the midfield today.

Up front I will start with Van Persie and Walcott but rest Nasri and bring in Arshavin on the left.

Probabale starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Fabregas, Song, Walcott, RVP, Arshavin

Start with this team today Wenger and we will be in the finals with one hand on the trophy and hopefully we will claim it.

I won’t make any score predictions but  keep everything crossed for this one. This game won’t be a walk in the park but we can make it by giving a quality performance.

Come on Arsenal!!!Wembley is waiting!!!