Transfer Window thoughts, Wilshere’s injury, Arsene banned for two games, Vermaelen to be sidelined for two months?

September 5, 2011

So, it’s been almost five days since the end of the transfer window and the excitement of the dead line day. My one week leave are also over with today being the first day back at work (heck! I could have used another week).

The last four days, I spent the time with family and friends away from football, the reason for no updates on the blog. And considering that the International break is underway, I don’t have missed much.

Today, it is going to be a bit of everything that has happened in the last few days.

First off, the final two days of the transfer window were the best that I remember in terms of signings for us in recent times. Five players having experience and quality were signed, a rare thing at Arsenal, which did somewhat make up for the summer of inactivity. The thrashing at United, however, still hurts and this does lead to the question why weren’t players signed earlier? Also one wonders had United not defeated us the way they did, would these signings be made then? I know these and many other questions have been discussed a lot already. However, one cannot help why were we led into such a situation by the board and management considering we had three months to sort out all our problems?

Anyways what’s done is done and cannot be reversed. Sanity was restored to the Arsenal board and management team after the humbling at old Trafford. I do wish now that this had happened earlier (on second thoughts, no I wish it had never happened, to painful and humiliating!)

The players that we have signed do bring something extra to the squad and certainly add enough quality and numbers to make us challenge for the top four. Benayoun and Arteta are both Premier League experienced and will greatly improve our midfield. Santos is also experienced and Mertesacker will add height and stability to our defense. Park, considering where he comes from will give nothing short of 100 percent. And all of these signings are winners having won trophies in different capacities (if I am not wrong!) All have a number of caps for their national teams and they certainly will bring stability to our team and the young player will learn a lot.

As for what can be achieved with the squad we have, we can challenge for the top four now and maybe end our trophy drought with the cups. If we can pull something extra, we might also be involved in the title race. However, for that, I feel, we will need to maintain a good run till January where we would at least need a couple of special signings. I am hearing that Hazard, Cahill and Yann M’Vila are still our priority. If we can manage that in January, I am certain we are in for an exciting finish to the season.

We, however, should not get ahead of ourselves.  A lot of work needs to be done still. We need to get back to winning ways and close the gap with the leaders. We certainly have made a start in the right direction with these signings and with time we can add more quality to bring the glory days back to Arsenal (we still need to replace Nasri and Fabregas by the way)

Moving on, I am glad we did get to sell or loan out the dead weights at the club. I still, though, hope we get Henri Lansbury back, because considering such loan moves, mostly the players don’t return. As for Bendtner, I am happy for him to have finally moved on, even on a loan. He was being wasted here by being used in the wrong position. What he said recently of not returning to Arsenal is justified in the sense that he wasn’t properly utilized. However, in terms of quality, we are better off without him. I feel he will be a success at Sunderland which will in return prove beneficial to both him and in return to us, as we can get a better value for him in time. If we could have only rid ourselves of Almunia, Squillaci, Diaby and to an extent Chamakh, this summer would have been close to perfect.

Life, however, isn’t that kind, always playing its joke when you least expect it. And in our case they are always the cruelest. After having a great first season, we are now going to miss our most talented player, Jack Wilshere for at least another two to three months due to injury. What started out as a rumor has been confirmed by Wilshere himself. Jack Wilshere tweeted this yesterday on twitter.

I can confirm I will be out for around 2-3 months! I am working hard in the gym to stay fit and I am gutted but I will be back stronger!

I don’t know whether to blame lady luck, the Manager or our medical staff. This is certainly the result of playing a player over his limits which is completely avoidable. And then we ask why it is that our best players suffer long term injuries? And this has happened so many times now I am starting to believe it is more than bad luck.

It was Vermaelen the season before last. Excellent first season, injury in the next, out for a year. I just hope Wilshere doesn’t suffer the same because voices raised now will surely have to be answered then.  

In other news, UEFA again showed that they are a bunch of oafs. They do this every now and then just to make sure people don’t forget. Anyways, Arsene Wenger’s appeal against the two match ban has been dismissed by UEFA. The two matches ban was given to Wenger for supposedly breaking a rule that every other manger has broken in the world of football. I guess, I don’t need to go over the rule and when it was broken. Wenger is now going to miss the Champions League group games against Borussia Dortmund, away, and Olympiacos at home. Our officials are also fined 10000 Euros for improper conduct. Below is the UEFA stamen that is available on Arsenal.com

“The UEFA Appeals Body has rejected the appeal lodged by Arsenal FC and Arsène Wenger against the two-match suspension handed to the manager in the wake of the English club’s UEFA Champions League play-off first leg against Udinese Calcio on 16 August.
 
“Wenger will now be suspended from carrying out his duties at Arsenal’s next two UEFA competition matches – the UEFA Champions League group stage games against Borussia Dortmund and Olympiacos FC on 13 and 28 September – in accordance with the decision taken by the UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body on 22 August.

“The manager was awarded this suspension for not abiding by an earlier decision of the Control and Disciplinary Body during the Udinese home game – in which Wenger was serving a one-match ban imposed following Arsenal’s final UEFA Champions League game of last season.
 
“The Control and Disciplinary Body also fined Arsenal €10,000 for improper conduct by their officials during the match against the Italian team in north London.”

As for the International break, it continues in all its boredom. There have, however, been plenty of goals for our players. Van Persie bagged four, Park has had a hat-trick, Ramsey and Lansbury also ended up with goals. Chamberlain also impressed greatly. Possibly a sign of good things to come!

That is all for now. Swansea game is not far now and it will great to see how we line up against them. Good times ahead for sure!

p.s. While writing this, news about Vermaelen’s ankle surgery are circulating that can rule him out for possibly two months. It is not yet officially confirmed but twitter is abuzz at the moment with this news. More on this to follow!

 


Confirmed: Arsenal sign Arteta and Benayoun!

August 31, 2011

Arsenal has done a great job on the transfer deadline day.

It is now officially confirmed that Andre Santos, Per Mertesacker and Benayoun have joined Arsenal.

According to BBC, we also have signed Arteta for a fee of around 10 million. He will join the club on a four year deal.

This is what @bbcsport_david tweeted on twitter minutes after the window officially closed:

“I can confirm Arteta and Bendtner are DONE deals #bbcfootball #afc #safc #efc”

“Arteta signs for Arsenal for fee in region of £10m. No news on contract length, squad number. Bendy to #safc on year-long loan #bbcfootball”

Arsenal has officially confirmed Arteta’s signing and Bendtner’s loan move to Sunderland.

Great news all around!

More to follow!


Wenger confident that Nasri and Fabregas will stay, Gervinho gives his word to join Arsenal, Alisher Usmanov talks

June 13, 2011

Till yesterday I had the impression that it was only Man City who could hijack transfer deals by splashing cash. It appears now that Liverpool has also learnt the art. Liverpool this summer is in the mix of everything. They for sure are looking to strengthen their squad and are rumored to be after many players. After signing Jordan Henderson from Sunderland for a hefty price, one thing looks certain that they are ready to spend some money.

I felt joy when I read that Liverpool have blown away Phil Jones deal with Man United into smithereens. Daily mail has reported that Liverpool have offered £22 million for his services as they also revealed that Blackburn owners will be trying their best to keep Jones. Worrying news for Ferguson!

However, the thing that has worried me is that Liverpool has also upped their pursuit for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. There are reports that Liverpool has matched our bid for him. If what the reports proclaim is true than we are losing our target faster than saying NO! Still I don’t believe this. If it comes to making a choice, I am certain that Chamberlain will pick us.

On the other hand, Bayern Munich has also joined Man United to sign Nasri. Money isn’t a problem for them but it remains to be seen whether Nasri really will leave Arsenal. With talks set to take place between Nasri and Arsenal this week, the Daily Mirror reported yesterday that Arsene Wenger seems to be confident in making him stay.  

In The Sun today, Arsene Wenger is quoted as saying:

“We will do everything to keep Nasri at the club. My wish is that he stays here. If he looks back he can see that he’s come quite a long way with us, and I think there is still a bit to do. It’s the club that makes the player’s career.”

Doesn’t it sound like ‘if you leave you won’t succeed elsewhere’? Still one thing is sure that Wenger will do his best to make him stay. As for reports surfacing yesterday about Nasri wanting £160,000 a week seem ridiculous to me. If it were a matter of money, Nasri would have gone to Man City or even Chelsea.

Wenger is also adamant that Fabregas is going nowhere. About Fabregas, The Sun has quoted him saying:

“I will be pretty clear about this. For me, Fabregas is with Arsenal for a long time and he will stay with Arsenal. It sometimes happens that the rumour can make the transfer.”

He will have a hard time in keeping Fabregas. I have resigned to seeing him go. It will be an added boost if he stays though.

Meanwhile, Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal’s second highest shareholder, is using the sentiments of the fans to make his way into the Arsenal board. He blames the current Arsenal board to be the reason for the club’s demise in recent years and calls for a change if he were to be on board. He labels the board as selfish as he mentions the increase in tickets price as unjust on the fans. You can find out what all he said to the News of the World here.

He does, however, know that we need a strong centre half, a strong defensive midfielder and Nasri and Fabregas to stay.

Elsewhere, French newspaper L’Equipe is reporting that Gervinho has given his word to join Arsenal and a deal will be signed by the end of this week. Haven’t find many sources on this so can’t confirm if it is true. Also there is news saying that Ignasi Miguel will be sent on loan to Bolton to help secure Cahill. Now that seems something interesting.

Let’s see what happens in the coming days. For now have a good day and enjoy the summer.


Arsenal vs Sunderland: Preview and Starting Eleven

March 5, 2011

We are back in action today in the Premier League with Sunderland coming to our home. I know no one needs to be reminded but all the remaining fixtures from now on are of great importance and points dropped in any will be crucial in the end. And after Chelsea’s win, this game is where we just don’t have to drop points. The ball is in our court, it is up to us to take the initiative and capitalize on this opportunity to put pressure back on United, who travel to Liverpool on Sunday. We shouldn’t be looking too much ahead but if we win today’s game, we will only be a point behind United and hopefully top of the table by 20th of this month.

As far as today’s game is concerned, I expect a difficult match for us. Although, Sunderland haven’t been playing well recently but I believe them to up their game as they always do against top of the table teams. Now, most teams go for ‘park the bus’ approach against us at our home but today I don’t see Sunderland doing the same. They will go for the attack as they did earlier in the season against us (although it was after we went down to 10 men) and they certainly can cause damage with Asamoah Gyan upfront. They are also good in keeping things compact at the back and then cause damage on the counter as they did to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

However, it doesn’t matter how Sunderland approach the game because it all depends on how we play. If our start is good, Sunderland will certainly go on the defensive. On the contrary if it isn’t, Sunderland will grow in confidence and try and take their chances. So for us to get the maximum points, all our players will have to perform. Be it the defenders, the midfielders or the attackers, all of them will have to work hard for the 90 minutes. The other thing we have to ensure is that we don’t concede silly goals at the back. If Djourou and Koscielny start I don’t see many problems but our midfield will have to contribute a lot.

As far as the starting eleven is concerned, I expect all of our regulars to start after Arsene admitted that Premier League is the priority and all focus is on this game.

Szczesny along with Djourou, Clichy and Sagna will surely return. If Koscielny isn’t hundred percent only then Squillaci should be started and not because of Barcelona but because Koscielny will be required for the FA Cup Quarter final and any recurrence of his injury will leave us very depleted at the back. And I hope Szczesny and Koscielny have one hell of a good game.

In the middle with no Cesc and Song our possibilities are limited. I will go with Wilshere, Nasri and Diaby. In this setup, Wilshere will have to stay a lot deeper.   

Up front Arshavin will return. Bendtner deserves a start after his hat trick against Leyton and on the right I will keep Rosicky. Rosicky and Nasri can interchange if things are not going to plan.

Probable starting XI: Szczesny, Sagna, Djourou, Koscielny, Clichy, Wilshere, Nasri, Diaby, Rosicky, Bendtner, Arshavin

As I said before that this game won’t be easy but I expect the three points. We can win this but as easily we can drop points if we are not focussed – I am as always gunning for a big win.

Aaron Ramsey may also feature today and I am looking forward to it. I hope he comes on for a few minutes after all this time being on the sidelines but it will only be possible if we have the game in control.

Have a great day Gooners and enjoy the match. Barcelona can wait for now as today we reduce the gap to one point from Manu. Go Arsenal go!!


Arsene Wenger’s injury news ahead of Sunderland and Aaron Ramsey’s inclusion in the squad

March 4, 2011

Aaron Ramsey is in inline to be included in the Arsenal squad for the match against Sunderland this Saturday with Koscielny having a small chance to feature.

Speaking to Arsenal TV online on Thursday, Arsene Wenger admitted how there is a chance for Aaron to be included in the squad with him getting better every day as he praised the midfielder’s passing ability and ability to score goals and added that it will be good to have him back.

Meanwhile, the manager said that there have been no new injuries and added that how only Koscielny has a small possibility to make the Sunderland game with the Frenchman having a good chance for Barcelona.

Regarding Alex Song, the manager revealed that he isn’t available for Saturday and is also doubtful for Barcelona and added that his knee will be assessed on Monday.

Cesc Fabregas also has a possibility to feature against Barcelona as the manager said his injury is being assessed every day and as things are going, he has a good chance for Tuesday.

Ahead of the Sunderland game, Wenger said:

“There is a chance Aaron could be available in the squad for Saturday. It will be very good to have him back. He is getting better and better now. We know he has a great engine, has great passing ability and can score goals as well.
 
We did not lose anyone last night. There is a meager chance we could have Koscielny back for Sunderland. But he is the only one we can hope to have available. Koscielny has a good chance [for Barcelona] though. His hamstring is getting much better and he is not completely out for Sunderland yet.
 
However Alex Song is out on Saturday and he is doubtful for Barcelona. At the moment he has not practiced at all. He has this knee problem that gets better everyday. But we’ll assess it on Monday. As for Cesc, we go day-by-day. We assessed him today and he is positive about his injury. We feel he has a chance. I do not want to disappoint people so I say he has ‘a chance’, I strongly believe that.”


Points Dropped or Gained, Arsenal has Improved

September 21, 2010

After the Sunderland draw, many negative and skeptical things have been said about Arsenal. As every person is entitled to their own view, I can do nothing about that. Although, I decided to take a look at how Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United fared last season until now in the league. What I found is interesting:

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A Point is Good Enough!

September 20, 2010

I was left really disappointed and angry on Saturday about how the game played out. After giving myself time to think, I realized that it was just one of those games that hits you smack on the face without you even realizing and you can’t do anything about it. For most part of the game, I was convinced that we would get the three points even though we weren’t playing the way we play. It wasn’t the Arsenal that we are used to seeing. It was something different from what we have seen over the last couple of years and nothing was bad about it – except yes we didn’t create much. What I am talking about is the composure shown by our team, even with a man down. As for the goal that we let in at the last moment, shit happens, unfortunately we were at the receiving end.

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