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

September 16, 2011

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

Dortmund game

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

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

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

Marvin Martin to Arsenal?

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

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

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

Henri Lansbury extends contract!

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

Arsene Wenger’s press conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Injury Update

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

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

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

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

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

Cesc Fabregas’ latest interview

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

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

Advertisements

Arsenal fans await Kaka, Hazard, M’Vila, Marvin Martin, Zarate, Jagielka.

August 23, 2011

NOTE: This post is written by, Danish Shahid, a friend of mine. The opinion about every possible target is his own and not of this blog. Also, this was supposed to be published yesterday but due to a couple of reasons, I couldn’t. So, if there has been any new development, it isn’t included. In the light of recent departure of Fabregas and now Nasri, we will need to bring in top talent to replace them. Who will Arsene buy before the window closes is, however, one big question mark!

This is a brief summary of the players that have recently been linked to Arsenal. It enlists the current club of the player in question, followed with the latest updates about the transfer dealings and then my honest opinions about what they shall bring to the gunners’ game in totality.

Kaka

Current Team:  Real Madrid CF

Latest Update:

Arguably, the most sensational bid to be linked with Arsenal is that of Kaka for a loan deal. With Inter Milan also being linked to the Brazilian, he has dismissed the rumours of a move to London, insisting on staying with the Madrid giants. The playmaker desires to stay at the club and fight for his place and was recently quoted as,

My plan is to remain with Real Madrid and to obtain the confidence of the coach

Opinion:

With the above quote in mind there is almost no ground to run on over here with this story, but today’s world of football has taught us that anything can happen at any given instant, so we all may yet keep our fingers crossed hoping that Kaka makes the switch. If this deal is to happen and that is a very huge ‘if’ then it may work for the player, the club and the Premier League as well. Kaka may nail down a regular starting place in the first team which has avoided him now for almost two years; he brings experience to the club like no other player at the club and for the neutrals, watching a player of Kaka’s magnitude play in the Premier League would be an added bonus. It’s a win win situation if only this deal can go through. So, keep hoping Arsenal fans, it might just be the perfect answer to the club’s problems.

Marvin Martin

Current Team:  FC Sochaux

Latest Update:

Reports keep linking Marvin Martin to Arsenal, but, surprisingly there is no indication of the amount in question required to transfer the player to the club. There is constant speculation about this player touting him as the direct replacement for Samir Nasri, but any details of the deal are currently not available.

Opinion:

Any player that is flaunted as a direct replacement to Nasri and Fabregas must be first-class. He’s highly regarded and knowing Wenger’s eye for fine young players, I’m sure Marvin Martin is good at dribbling, creative, has vision and his passing must be suited to that of Arsenal. From what I’ve seen, and dare I say this, he does indeed seem like a tailor made replacement for Fabregas. Of course, his club record of a measly number of goals and assists may not amount to much, but then his three international appearances have resulted in two goals for his country by him. Therefore, with time on his side as it is with every Arsenal player (no pun intended) and Wenger’s guidance, he can be something of a phenomenon and develop into a complete attacking midfielder into the mould of Fabregas and Nasri. 

Mauro Zárate

Current Team:  Lazio

Latest Update:

Reports are indicating that the brother and agent of Zárate, flew in to London recently to discuss possible transfer moves with Arsenal as well as Tottenham. Since the speculation began, it has been claimed by the English press that Tottenham and not Arsenal would be his likely destination while the Italian press on the other hand claiming the opposite. His services would cost in the region of €25 million and it is understood that Lazio would not be interested in going lower so if Spurs can go higher then they have a genuine advantage in this case. But, with the arrivals of Miroslav Klose and Djibril Cisse at the club, the management may decide to do business in a lesser financial region then what is being quoted at the time.

Opinion:

Zárate’s ability can be summed up by comparing him to Arsenal over the last three years – inconsistent. Don’t get me wrong, the guy has great technical skill, he has the occasional flashes of brilliance, but that’s only when he’s playing good and that is not the usual case with him. He just fades in and out of the game. Just 15 goals for Lazio over three seasons prove that very fact. So, it’s safe to say that he does not exactly bang in goals for fun. The player has a good physical aspect to his game which can assist the team at times as Arsenal is not physically the strongest side in the Premier League. But, with this comes into question, his temperament which is a very big concern as he has shown that he has quite the ability to lose it at any time during a match. Therefore, at the end of it all, he doesn’t really paint a picture of hope, but stranger things have happened in the world of football and at the age of 24, provided stability at Arsenal, he may yet prove me wrong for one and may peak at exactly the right time for a club which desperately needs it.

Yann M’Vila

Current Team: Stade Rennais FC 

Latest Update:

As it turns out, reports are coming in that Arsene Wenger had failed with an offer of €20 million for the player over the weekend, but he shall now return with an improvised offer for the services of the defensive midfielder. Yann M’Villa is highly rated inside the football circles and combined with the fact that age is on his side or in this case Rennes FC the club is hoping for an amount in the region of €25 million to release him.

Opinion:

The first good thing Yann M’Villa can provide for Arsenal midfield is steel. He’s extremely good at getting the ball back, rotating possession and has good physical presence which can only get better considering his age. The guy is a good player with a great footballing mind as eminent by his performances for his current club, but then again he is inexperienced and a player with just 11 international appearances for France presently does not cut it for Arsenal this season. The reason being, that Arsenal fans have been on the back of Arsene to buy some experience and a proven player at the highest level for a couple of years now which can guarantee them at least one trophy this season. Although, He may prove to be a good buy for the future but I don’t see him winning any trophy with and for Arsenal this season and to top it off Frimpong is a decent player and he’s young too so the defensive midfield area should not be the biggest concern right now. So, knowing Wenger and his cash strapped instincts, it might be a blessing in disguise if Wenger does not buy this player now for the €25 million and rather invests in someone with a more proven background at the premier level.

Phil Jagielka

Current Team:  Everton FC

Latest Update:

Arsenal failed earlier with bids of £10 and £12 million for Phil Jagielka, but with time running out and the money from the Fabregas transfer available, Arsene is going to try again for the defender. Although, Everton are reluctant to sell nevertheless the tune of some £20 million may change their thinking. The lack of transfer activity due to shortage of funds at Everton may force the side to sell one of its prized assets and it may also prove to be the key signing for Arsenal.

Opinion:

Firstly, Phil Jagielka is a proven Premier League player. Over the years, the player has established his position at Everton and clawed his way into the England international line up. He offers the defensive cover at the back that fans yearn for and Arsenal so often crave. His man marking’s pretty good, is pretty solid at the back providing good cover for the goalie, a good header of the ball, offers a fine variety while going forward and the occasional direct shoot on goal can be dangerous as well.  He may not come on the cheap and is certainly against the transfer policy set by Wenger over the years, but, the defensive problems may be solved with his arrival and his arrival at the club might also give him a reprieve with the fans.

Eden Hazard

Current Team:  Lille FC

Latest Update:

Recent reports are linking Arsenal with a £20 million plus approach for Eden Hazard. Wenger has been interested in the player for the last two years and his approaches have been constantly rebuffed by Lille as they did not want to lose one of their top players. This summer saw them sell Gervinho to Arsenal and with things heating up at Arsenal, Wenger may just splash out some serious cash on recruiting Hazard to his cause.

Opinion:

Hazard’s been a top quality player over the last couple of years. His dribbling plus his pace is excellent and combined they can be devastating to any defence in the world. The guy’s a wing wizard, that’s what he is. They call him a defender’s nightmare in the French Ligue and he is one of those players who can just change the pace and course of a game with an instant dribble, cross or goal. Think in the terms of Arjen Robben and you’re getting close to this player’s potential, but, only without the injuries which is a good thing. He is young and has pace to burn on the wings and the challenge for the first team might even force Walcott to turn into a decent finisher of the ball. With this signing, Wenger can certainly soothe the jagged nerves of the fans in the recent years and as always he will be investing in a player for the future.


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.