Arsene Wenger on the Liverpool game, Nasri and his own future and new signings

August 21, 2011

Last night Arsenal lost the game against Liverpool after being reduced to 10 men for the second consecutive League game.

Speaking after the game, Arsene Wenger said the team had a good performance under the circumstances and the result was harsh as it only transpired after going down to 10 men and through an offside goal. He added that all is not doom and gloom as we played without 8 first team players and there are positives from the game.

When asked about Nasri’s future, who was a surprise starter in the game, Arsene said he knows nothing. However, he added that at the moment he is an Arsenal player and would try to keep him.

On signing new players, the manager said they are looking and only the right thing for club will be done. He hinted at the possibility of no new centre backs by praising Koscielny and Vermaelen’s partnership.

In regards to his future, the manager said he is not the walking away type and he will give his best for the club.

Arsene Wenger, after the Liverpool match, said:

“[Result] Yes, I feel the result is very harsh on us. The decider was the sending off and as well the offside goal, it was the decider of the game.

I think the target is to have a good team and good players. You can spend money and have a bad team. You want the supporters to be happy and when you don’t win the game you can understand that they are not. But I think we had eight players out today and we still had a good performance. So it is not all doom and gloom, there are positives in the game today.

[Nasri’s future] I don’t know [what will happen]. I always said that I would try to keep Samir Nasri and I have never changed my mind on it because I played him today, to the surprise of everybody. He loves the Club, he wants to play for us, if we decide to sell him we will do it and we have to stand up for it. At the moment I am happy he is here. I don’t know if he will play on Wednesday, we will just play the game.

[On new signings] We look, you know? But we try to do the right things for the Club. I think Koscielny and Vermaelen are a fantastic pair of centre backs but it’s very difficult as well because if you buy another centre back and then someone gets injured I have to buy another one. You cannot do that every time you have an injured player.

[On his future] There is no chance I would walk away. I will try to give my best for the Club. We live under circumstances where every defeat is an absolutely a disgrace and an earthquake. We are at the start of the season and we are very disappointed that we lost the game. But we are at the start of the season.”

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Arsenal 0 – 2 Liverpool: Thoughts and Player Ratings

August 21, 2011

So, more of the same from Arsenal with a different result this weekend.

With a makeshift midfield and defense, we started this game very positively but then went into a nut shell. If was Liverpool who created the better ‘half chances’ as we drifted from one end to another, hardly having a shot on goal. Nasri did have a go at goal near the half hour mark, so did Frimpong. Otherwise both the teams lacked creativity. The second half was where things started happening. Kelly rattled the cross bar, Van Persie had a shot saved, Frimpong was then sent off, Suarez came on and tested Szczesny followed by Downing and then the unfortunate own goal, involving Miquel and Ramsey. From there it was always us chasing the game and Liverpool ended it with another goal, the final nail in our already full coffin.

There is nothing much to talk from the game so I will come straight to what I feel.

First off, this is type a result one is going to end up with by putting youngsters on the field, who hardly have any Premier League experience against a squad that surely means business. The youngster’s fighting spirits will give you hard earned draws and at times an odd win but you will never be sure.

What we saw today is prove enough that our young players have all the talent in the word but they need experienced players to guide them. They cannot on their own make us challenge for the title, they need support.  

And this is where I fear Wenger is wrong. To put so many burdens on players who have hardly played a full game in the League is asking too much and at one point it surely is going to spill over. Look what happened in the case of Fabregas.

And on top of that to come out and say that we need to keep patience is not going to go down well.

Result and obvious lack of investment aside, the players out there deserve plaudits for giving their all from the first ball to the last. The defense was solid and to have kept the scores level till the last quarter of the game against a fully fit Liverpool squad is proof that we are improving, at least in one area of the field.

As for the result, weren’t we expected to lose this one? Yet, we lost only after going a man down and that too by gifting a freak own goal and through some bad refereeing by the lines man. I know these will sound like excuses but it is the reality. Liverpool were ordinary. We had eight first team players missing against a squad that has spent a fortune on players since January, yet, they couldn’t do us any damage with 11 on 11. (There is sure hope!) And looking back, I have a regret that we could have even won this game had our first team played.

Yet, this is no reason for where we are or why we don’t have to buy. We had a whole summer to solve our problems and buy the players required. What we have been doing can only be answered by Arsene and company. To play Miquel and not Squillaci, to bring on Bendtner and not Chamakh shows indecisiveness on our manager’s part. With the season two games old, we haven’t decided who will we keep and who we won’t. I don’t mind though, because late is better than never and this show that Arsene has lost his confidence with Squillaci and Chamakh (or am I seeing too much into it?)

I don’t even want to go over the players that are out injured or suspended. The Udinese and Manchester game just got a lot tougher for us. Qualification for the Champions League must be, however, the priority. If we fail to qualify, I am afraid, we will have to find another coffin. More on the Udinese game when the time comes.

The bottom line is we still need to strengthen despite having many players out injured or suspended because we won’t survive the season playing like this.

Before I conclude, apologies are also in line for Nasri who showed he truly is a professional and his commitment is spot on. He was on fire and looked like he cared for the team.

Coming to player ratings

Szczesny: (8) He again was commanding and covered his area well. Made some great saves, one each from Carroll, Downing and Suarez. Not at fault for both the goals.

Sagna: (7) Shifted from right to left and didn’t put a foot wrong. Offensively didn’t contribute as he was not on his preferred side.

Vermaelen: (8.5) Well he surely is a beast. Got his head onto every ball and never gave Carroll or any Liverpool forward space. Led by example and later on tried to revive the team by some forward runs. Caught out of position on the second goal but we were already losing then.

Koscielny: (no rating) Unlucky, looked decent before he went off injured.

Jenkinson: (7) He looked solid on his preferred flank and he sure is the right cover for Sagna. His crossing was better but as always we had no one attacking them.

Frimpong: (7) He really impressed me bar his second tackle that earned him the second yellow. Not afraid to put a foot in and was extremely quick on his feet. Had Liverpool in check till the time he was on. Even had a go at goal from range. As for his temperament and discipline, he needs to keep that in check. Will learn with time surely but I liked what I saw from him today.

Ramsey: (4.5) He really disappointed me today. He was slow and didn’t have things going his way. Lost the ball on countless occasions and didn’t give the support I expected from him.

Nasri: (6.5) As mentioned above, he deserves some slack after his performance today. Sure he did fade away at the end but we were already stretched to the limits. Made a great run in the first half that ended in shot going just wide. Moved the ball around and even dropped down deep to get it.

Arshavin: (4.5) One word, unacceptable! He did try to change things around but nothing was going his way. Ironically, he created the only chance for us. Should have been substituted early in the second half.

Van Persie: (5.5) Was isolated and never got any support. Only got one chance and he hit it straight at Reina in the second half just before things started going from bad to worse for us.

Walcott: (4) He too was anonymous and below par. He was always surrounded whenever he got the ball though. Lost the ball on countless occasions and made runs that ended in nothing.

Subs:

Miquel: (7) He justified his picking ahead of Squillaci. Comfortable and calm on the ball and read the game well. His positioning was also good. Being involved in the own goal was unfortunate.

Lansbury and Bendtner: (no rating) Didn’t have much time to make impact and by that time we had faded. Lansbury had the time to get booked though but liked his attitude.


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.”

 


Wenger on Nasri and Miyaichi’s inclusion in the squad against Liverpool and signing new players.

August 19, 2011

Arsene Wenger, today, in his pre-match conference confirmed Samir Nasri and Ryo Miyaichi are in the squad to face Liverpool.

Speaking ahead of the game, the manager insisted he has no problem in picking up Nasri against Liverpool. He praised the commitment of Nasri to the club and how he has worked in fantastic spirit in training ever since his arrival and in preseason.

On Nasri’s inclusion and commitment, Arsene said:

“[Hesitation in picking Nasri] Not at all. One thing I don’t question is the commitment of Samir Nasri to this Club. Every day since he has arrived here, and every day in pre-season, he has worked with a fantastic spirit in training.

The fans will want Arsenal to play well and win the game. I think they do not make an individual case of each player in each position. They want good players and to win the football game. I don’t see what you can reproach Samir Nasri about. His attitude in training, everybody has witnessed that he has been fantastic from the first day of pre-season.”

The manager also revealed Ryo Miyaichi’s inclusion in the squad. With words full of praise for the young winger’s abilities, the Frenchman said he possesses all the qualities to be a top footballer and he will be given time to adapt to the Premier League.

On Miyaichi, Wenger said:

“He is in the squad for tomorrow. We are impressed by Ryo’s quality, his spirit and his attitude. Everybody is absolutely convinced he will be an Arsenal player. He has a good understanding of the game, he is very quick, he is a fighter and has all the attributes that you love of a player at the top level.

He is 18 years old and has come from College football straight to professional football so we want to give him time to adapt to the Premier League.”

On the summer transfer dealings, Wenger asked for his judgment to be trusted. The manager maintained despite losing some big players, Arsenal is capable of doing well and added that the new players are all top class. On signing more players, the manager insisted only quality will be added and the club is working very hard to find quality.

On the transfers, Arsene said:

 “You have to trust my judgement – one day somebody else will make the decisions in my place and we will have to trust him. I believe I have shown in my 15 years here I am capable of making the right decisions for the right players. In the last 15 years you have seen more world-class players here, or as many, as anywhere else in the world.

You will soon see that they [players already signed] are all top-quality players. We have not lost so many players. We have, of course, lost big players but number-wise we should be capable of doing well.

If we find quality we will add quality to our squad and we work very hard on it.”


Nasri’s Man City move to be completed today?, Moussa Sow wants Arsenal move as Wenger awaits UEFA’s decision

August 18, 2011

This week couldn’t get any worse for Arsenal. After Fabregas’ departure, following suite, Samir Nasri too is on his way out of Arsenal.

It was, however, expected this will be the outcome with Nasri stalling contract signing since January. BBC reports that the deal will be finalized by today.

Metro also reported late last night that Nasri is set for a medical at City today which confirms the speculation that the deal will be done by today, the estimated worth of which is around 25 million.

I know most of us saw this coming but it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. How come Wenger and company didn’t saw it, I will never know! For Nasri I don’t have any good words but I am more frustrated with how the club has dealt with the situation. Leaving things this long only to fail in convincing him to sign a contract! Back in May, we should have played hard with him, ‘sign the contract or you are going out!’ Simple as that!

This would not only have given us time to buy a replacement but also time for the new player to gel in with team. Moreover, Nasri could have decided to stay.

Heck it’s going to be over now, time for this chapter to close. So much for loyalty these days! Three years to develop and the moment one shows some class, wants to leave!

We are ourselves to blame for the situation too. If two of your best players want to leave, one has already left, then things surely aren’t being run the way they should?

To be positive, even now is not too late. We need to get a midfielder fast. The two games of the season so far have shown we seriously require a creative outlet in the middle.

Nasri’s move will, no doubt, leave us in a very bad shape and further push us back against the wall. The price of every possible replacement for him and Fabregas will increase three-fold. It has already happened with Hazard’s price, now priced at 30 million.

But then, Wenger says he is willing to pay even 40 million for a player worth it. Looking at Hazard’s ability and the situation we are in, 30 million will be good business.

Arsene Wenger, speaking to Sky Sports, said:

“I will pay 30 (million) I will even pay 40 if I find the right players. But it’s not a question of money, it’s a question of quality we find. I think I have a wrong reputation of not wanting to spend money – I do not want to spend money for average players.”

Now is the time to respond and go for our targets. Excuses of not finding the right player won’t do this time. And we will need to be ruthless as other clubs will be circling around. Chelsea has already made approach for one of our targets, Mata, which was rejected.

So, before other clubs do business, we must act. (I have my everything crossed for Wenger to make his move!)

Moving on, UEFA will act like a bunch of hypocrites if they charge Wenger for communicating with the bench though a third party.

UEFA rule is as follows:

Article 70 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations state any banned manager may sit in the stands, but ‘may not enter the dressing room, tunnel or technical area before or during the match, nor may he communicate with his team’. (Source: Football.co.uk)

Wenger appeared to be communicating with Pat Rice through first team coach Boro Primorac. Is this a breach of rule?

Nonetheless, the point I want to raise is, if this form of communication is indeed a violation of the rule, then seeing Ferguson and Mourinho and many other managers do it before without any consequences, shows how much UEFA is inept in executing their own rules. Simply, a rule must apply to all managers!

UEFA will, however, take action if the match officials claim our manager broke a rule in their match report.  The report usually takes 48 hours after the game to come in. This means, by today, we will know whether UEFA press charges or not.

Moreover, there will be some sort of a fine for Wenger for not giving the post match press conference after the Udinese game.

In other news, Lille striker Moussa Sow wants a move to Arsenal and admitted it will be a dream come true.

Speaking to French radio, he said:

“I want to play at Arsenal. I think my game is best suited to the Premier League. It is my dream and I want to be playing Champions League football.”

It may be his dream, but I fear we won’t go for him. We have already signed Joel Campbell, who according to Wenger will play for the first team. And if we do go after another striker, it should be someone who is in league with Van Persie. (We do need one more striker but I know Wenger will never buy another with reinforcements in other positions more important)

We can all only wait and see what happens in the next 12 days.

Have a great day!


Arsene wants Nasri to stay as Chelsea shows interest in him!

August 16, 2011

With Fabregas gone, many believe, it is only a matter of time before Nasri also moves out. With continuously being linked away from Arsenal for the past eight months, the Frenchman hasn’t helped the cause as his intentions are still not clear. However, he, not signing the contract is indication enough of not wanting to commit his future with Arsenal. At the moment, it seems that he may be on his way to Manchester City.

Arsene Wenger, on the contrary, is reluctant to sell him. When asked about his future, the manager admitted that he wants him to stay and added he will do his best to sort the situation.

“Ideally I want Samir Nasri to stay, but as much as we were in a strong position on the contract side with Cesc, the situation is a bit different. Hopefully we can sort the situation out.”

I can’t help it, but I have made my mind that Nasri will leave us. If we couldn’t persuade him to sign the contract in the last eight months, how can the remaining 14 days of the window change that? Still, I don’t mind trying and I won’t mind to be proved wrong. Bribing him with the central role might change his mind!? or quality new signings!?

Meanwhile, Chelsea’s coach, Andre Villas- Boas, after their opening game on Sunday, expressed his interest in Nasri. Chelsea are in the market for a midfielder and Villas nonchalantly admitted that Nasri is an exciting player.

These were his words, when he was asked about Luca Modric of Tottenham:

“I just explained to you the sense of urgency in midfield. But it doesn’t mean that it’s Luka. Not that I’m interested, but you have Samir Nasri terminating contract. He’s one of the most exciting players in the Premier League and that’s the reality, as well as Luka, as well as other players.”

With Chelsea showing interest and Nasri not wanting to commit, the best option for us will be to sell him to the highest bidder, that is, if Nasri hasn’t agreed terms with City already. A bidding war between Chelsea and Man City is sure to increase  his value and that will help us to acquire a better replacement in return!

What do you all think? Should we keep him or bring this chapter to an end too?

 


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.