Category Archives: arsene wenger

End of the road for Arsene Wenger?

Arsenal Swansea

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough. With Arsene Wenger effectively conceding the title to Chelsea yesterday, and after a shocking defensive display that saw Arsenal slump to a 2-1 defeat to Swansea City; I think most Gunners’ fans’ patience has now been fully tested.

Watching the game was an absolute nightmare. Bar Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, we were awful. At the back Per Mertesacker had a shocker and Nacho Monreal IS NOT A CENTRE BACK. We had chances in the summer to buy a replacement for Vermaelen but failed. In midfield Aaron Ramsey played poorly and Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta were non-existent. When is Arsene going to learn that these players are not good enough for a championship challenging side?

The worst part about it all, was the fact that Arsenal went out with the most useless looking line up for a visit to Swansea. You have to attack these teams. You can break them with talent alone. Why on earth we are still not playing Podolski and Joel Campbell and prefer to bring Yaya Sanogo off of the bench is a complete mystery to me and just about every Arsenal fan.

Arsene Wenger has lost the plot. He is so powerful at the club, he is the decision maker from top to bottom. The problem is, he’s got too much power and calls the shots. If players like Campbell and Podolski want to leave, he doesn’t play them. He’s too much pride. It’s time for him to consider his future.

I’m pretty sure we’ll be up there at the end of the season. The only silver lining is that Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool are also useless this season. We’ve still got plenty of time to push our way into the top four, which as we all know, is like a trophy to our ageing coach.

Is it time for a change? Yes, it probably is…

Arsenal youngsters out of League Cup; Southampton win 2-1

Alexis Sanchez freekick

Well, how do we start? A disappointing performance last night saw us slump out of the Capital One Cup to a decent looking Southampton side. Fair enough, Ronald Koeman appears to have done wonders since taking over at St Mary’s, but I feel like we should have done better.

Our defence on the team sheet was not good enough. With Bellerin in the heart of our defence, you knew we were going to struggle.

It was nice to see Ospina get a start, and also good to see the likes of Joel Campbell and Lukas Podolski get a game too.

In terms of the action, the Arsenal started off in good fashion. Alexis Sanchez started and he also opened the goalscoring with a pearler of a free kick. I wonder how hard it was to persuade Podolski that he should take the set piece, but he spanked the ball over the wall and into the top left corner of the Saints’ net. A truly stunning effort.

Dusan Tadic later levelled things up with his first goal for Southampton, before the impressive Nathaniel Clyne scored a belter on 40 minutes.

The second half I would say that we did dominate, but we couldn’t get the win and thus we are out of the League Cup, again. Arsene Wenger has still yet to win this trophy during his Arsenal tenure, quite miserable, but to be honest he does have other priorities… just about everywhere else.

Anyway, we now have a much better and bigger came coming up this weekend, against our good friends Tottenham. I would love nothing more to see us continue our good league form after the 3-0 win over Villa with a win over the Spuds this weekend, I am confident that we will do so.

Who should we play? Well I think Ozil will be crucial and needs to start. I also think it’s time to play Sanchez up top alongside Danny Welbeck. Tottenham are looking shaky at the back and it’s important that we take advantage of that. Fingers crossed we can get a sneaky win.

Have a good one Gooners!

Arise Sir Welbeck – Arsenal sign striker

dannywelbeck

Most fans would have thought that Arsene Wenger was up to his old parsimonious self on transfer deadline day when they heard that he was refereeing a charity game in Rome (which apparently the pope was playing in) but the Frenchman did us wrong again and left it until the very last minute to sign a replacement for the injured Olivier Giroud, bringing in Danny Welbeck for 16m.

What a great little bit of business that is for us. Not only have we nabbed one of the country’s best forwards, but we’ve tied a young player down for the next four to five years of his career. A Man United fan as a kid, he was never going to get a fair chance under Louis van Gaal and now he’s a Gooner. Welcome to Arsenal, Danny.

Elsewhere, we sold Ignasi Miquel to Norwich City for a fee of around 1 million, a good bit of business I think; and then Ryo Miyaichi joined FC Twente on loan until the end of the season. The Japanese winger hasn’t really got a chance forcing his way into Arsenal’s starting line up this year so it will be a nice bit of experience for him.

Falcao was the major talking point of the transfer window though, he joined Manchester United on a season long loan. Hull City were remarkably active, bringing in three good players in Hatem Ben Arfa, Mohamed Diame and Gaston Ramirez. Chelsea appear to have finished their business early though, Jose Mourinho was quiet on deadline day and left the others to do the panicking.

So now we have the international break but I am already excited about the league season after that. Welbeck will be an important player for us and it’s a great bit of business. What a fantastic young English squad we have now? Kieron Gibbs, Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Calum Chambers. Brilliant and sustainable.

Olivier Giroud injury means Arsenal must buy forward

Olivier Giroud

It’s a story you get used to as an Arsenal fan. Your only recognised out and out first choice striker comes off the bench, scores an all important goal and then sustains an injury. In this case, Olivier Giroud’s injury leaves him out of action until December and comes at a critical time. Having just edged our way past Besiktas in the Champions League last night, it was painfully obvious that the Gunners need to sign a striker before the transfer window closes on August 31st. However, Arsene Wenger seems to be happy with his current selection of forwards. This is where we could be undone this season.

Yaya Sanogo, bless him, he’s got a lot of potential but he looks uncomfortable out on the pitch and with the ball at his feet at the best of times. I’ve no idea how he bagged a hat-trick in that pre-season friendly.

Joel Campbell appears to be a good option for us in the years to come but clearly Arsene Wenger isn’t convinced by his talents yet. No idea why that might be, in the World Cup, Campbell looked absolutely class. It also appears obvious to me that Wenger sees Campbell as more of a winger as opposed to a striker.

Then of course we have Lukas Podolski, who I think very nearly joined another club yesterday but Giroud’s injury means he’ll stay until January. Again, he’s not the right man to play as a lone striker.

We also have the Alexis Sanchez option, but he’s no out and out striker.

What does this all mean? We need to spend money to bring in a forward before the transfer window shuts. If we don’t, we’re missing that extra talent needed to win a Premier League title. We need to be ambitious – we need to stay in the Champions League and push for that competition as well.

This is a huge moment for Arsene Wenger. He’s finally opened his cheque book in recent summers but Arsenal fans want to see him spend even more. This is the time where he should be looking to bring in someone, anyone.

How about Fernando Torres? He wont get a game at Chelsea and is ready to leave on loan. Sign him up.

What about Fabio Borini? He did an OK job at Sunderland and seems to be lingering around at Liverpool, grab him on a loan deal until January.

There’s options out there, but will Wenger take them? We just have to wait and see.

Riproaring Gunners celebrate Community Shield success

Arsenal Community Shield

I was wondering whether or not Arsenal would continue to show the progress made at the end of last season and follow on with a win in the Community Shield and to be honest, I was skeptical, but yesterday’s brilliant 3-0 win over Manchester City could be the boost we need to show we can win a Premier League title.

Goals from Santi Cazorla, Aaron Ramsey and a stunning Olivier Giroud effort ensured we won the trophy.

We were excellent yesterday. Efficient all over the park. Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey are beginning to become one of Arsenal’s best ever central midfield duo and if they can keep up the performances shown in yesterday’s game, we can win the league with these two as our midfielders alongside Mesut Ozil.

I was impressed with the defence as well. Calum Chambers looks to be a steal and capable of playing in central defence despite being a full back (strange move I thought at first but well done Arsene), while Alexis Sanchez at times showed why he is going to be a great asset for us. He’s World Class. He needs to be on the ball at all times because this guy can run at any defender. Can you imagine Sanchez against John Terry next season? I love the idea of seeing Terry on his arse!

So, it’s an important victory for us. Not because the trophy is really that important, but more because it is a blow to City’s preparations and a boost to ours. We now need to prepare for the first game against Crystal Palace now and I look forward to seeing who Arsene Wenger starts in that game!

Come on you gunners!

Emirates Cup ends on sour note

Alexis Sanchez Arsenal

Hi everyone,

So the Emirates Cup is over and unfortunately we didn’t win, not that it is that important anyway. It would have been our first win in the cup in four years but a spirited performance from Monaco and some dodgy refereeing probably cost us a draw. Instead it was Radamel Falcao who scored the winning goal and Valencia went on to win the trophy. What we did learn from this tournament is the following things:

  • Calum Chambers could be playing as a centre back often this season
  • Aaron Ramsey is going to have an excellent season, he finished right where he left off
  • Joel Campbell is unlikely to be staying at Arsenal even though he’s quality – I really liked the way he linked up with Yaya Sanogo against Benfica
  • The players are some way off of full fitness, it will be a real test against Man City

Our next game takes us to the Community Shield at Wembley against Man City, which should be an interesting one. What we do know is that Bacary Sagna is playing for the opposition and I doubt there will be many negative feelings toward him, fair play to him for moving elsewhere after what he’s done. City are also probably a bit short on fitness having had so many players on international duty at the World Cup.

I really liked the look of Alexis Sanchez during the game against Monaco. He looked lively and ready to run with the ball, something Arsenal desperately need throughout the season. Someone who can go at the defence. Walcott can give it a go but for me he doesn’t have that little bit of skill to get past the last defender as much as Sanchez has.

Jack Wilshere was a bit off the pace as well – I know the guy gets a lot of stick for smoking and also for under performing, but this is a massive season for him. He needs to prove that he is a class act as Arsene Wenger has put so much faith in him.

In transfer rumours, there seems to be some noise from Portugal that we’re going to wrap up a deal for William Carvalho for 30 million euros. I will believe that when I see it. If we do get him, that could spell the end for Mikel Arteta (who has today been linked with a transfer to Athletic Bilbao as it goes)…

That’s all for now.

Does Fabregas joining Chelsea make him a traitor?

Cesc joined Chelsea

The signing of Cesc Fabregas surprised many English football fans. After growing up at Arsenal and later going on to captain the side, we’re sure most were shocked that the Spain international midfielder decided to move on to Chelsea. That’s just what he did and our Arsenal correspondent James Turnbull shares his views on the whole saga.

 

Arsene Wenger truly has one of the most impressive track records in world football when it comes to finding and signing the best talent. Even when Wenger had responsibility for the transfer dealings of French giants Monaco, he unearthed one of the best talents from African football; George Weah. Weah later went on to join AC Milan and win the World Player of the Year award, even to this day the Liberian merits Arsene Wenger as one of the main reasons for his rise to prominence.

 

Aged 16, Arsenal plucked Cesc Fabregas from the relative obscurity of Barcelona’s youth side. Two years later – and I fondly remember his first game for the club and also his first goal – Fabregas would earn his debut for the Gunners. Just three years later Fabregas would captain the Gunners’ side. Then who could blame the Spaniard when he decided to up and leave and return home. He’d done his bit for Arsenal and had won very little silverware.

 

Arsenal fans have been watching Fabregas’ progress closely since his return to the Nou Camp, almost begrudgingly, we felt only a little happy for him as he won multiple titles in his first two seasons at the club. I then heard a rumour back in May this year that Cesc wanted a swift return to England. Surely, we’d be in the race for him… even if we had Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey in our ranks. Unfortunately we were not, but I understood the reasons why; we already have quality. However, what happened next will haunt me for many years; the moment I checked Twitter and saw that my feed was full of references of a completed transfer to Chelsea. Then a quick peek at Fabregas’ Twitter account, and there it was and all confirmed – a picture of Cesc, our captain and idol for many seasons – wearing a Chelsea shirt.

 

I read the interviews with Cesc and I have tried to come to terms with the fact he’s a Chelsea player. I really still haven’t begun to understand why he chose to move to Stamford Bridge. I’d read in the past that Fabregas once quipped: “I’ll never play for another Premier League club.” I saw Cesc as a man of honour and with a true understanding about what it meant to be a Gunner. Seemingly, he’d forgotten his roots and just how much Arsenal had done for him and could not resist joining one of our most bitter rivals.

 

So in answer to the question, does it make him a traitor? It certainly does. Over the years, very few players from abroad have come through and show signs of the dedication, respect and understanding of what it is to be a loyal English football supporter. Cesc’s words always filled me with pride, he seemed to have some of that very spirit that only a true fan could possibly have.

 

Am I surprised that he took that route? No, to be completely honest, I am not surprised. Arsene Wenger has plenty of talent in that area of the park, but when it comes to having a first option on a player of Fabregas’ calibre, Arsenal need to take every chance we can get to bring in such quality. The only thing of note that I could agree with from Cesc’s interview was his quote, “I have unfinished business in England.” I’m sure most will agree with that statement.

 

Jose Mourinho has acquired a gem of a midfielder. Do I think that he might be the missing link in Chelsea’s side? Quite possibly. What Chelsea have lacked for a long time – apart from a striker who can scores goals week in, week out, of course – is a midfield fighter, that’s what Cesc is. He also adds unparalleled creativity to the heart of the Blues’ midfield. The price that has been quoted appears to be an absolute steal.

 

So next season, when I’m watching Chelsea visit the Emirates, how do I expect most Arsenal fans will react? Probably the same as I; furious that our former captain has betrayed the club where he grew up.

Who should Arsenal sign to replace Bacary Sagna?

Astuto Uchida

Hi all – thoughts today have turned to discussing who might be brought in to replace Bacary Sagna. The Mirror is reporting today that the Frenchman has already agreed terms with Man City and will have a medical on Monday afternoon before agreeing a huge salary and signing a reported three year contract at the Champions.

Who can we bring in to replace Sagna? Many are expecting Carl Jenkinson to step in and fill the void. I’m not sure if Jenkinson can do the job to push us on to become genuine Premier League challengers and I think we need to bring someone in. Here are some of the options that have been mentioned:

Atsuto Uchida
I have to admit, I know nothing about the 26-year-old Japanese international. He’s spent four years playing in Germany with Schalke; playing in the Bundesliga seems to be very common for most Japanese youngsters, he’s short and has rapid speed much like Sagna and has played over 65 games for his national team. The player has two years left on his deal and has apparently been contacted by Arsenal representatives already – I like the idea of signing someone who still has his best years ahead of him but already has experience in one of Europe’s top leagues – definitely a good option…

Serge Aurier
I’ve watched a few videos of Serge Aurier and he looks quality. In most of those videos he was always far too forward though, so I didn’t get a chance to see how good defensively he really is. He seems to have a decent cross and pass and occasionally gets himself into the box to score goals. With 8 goals in 70 games for Toulouse, he definitely is an option for us. The one thing I would say is that he’s only 21-years-old so does he really have the experience to take over Sagna?

Micah Richards
For not the first time, Richards has been linked with a move to the Emirates. If Sagna does move to City that makes Richards their 3rd choice right back. I’m not sure why he’s still there and he would be a great option for us. Having watched him and his defensive abilities before, at times he can be a bit of a liability. But he does have strength and pace and still has a few good years ahead of him. He’s also English so he won’t need to acclimatise to Premier League football.

Juanfran
The Spanish right back has been one of Atletico Madrid’s best players in their title winning season and I really like what i’ve seen of him. The one question I have is whether or not he can produce the same creativity we saw from Sagna, but defensively he is solid.

Of all of the above names, I think I would like to see us move for Richards first and then Uchida second. I don’t think Aurier can offer what we need right now and it is almost inevitable that he will move to someone ready to take a risk on him now and throw him into the first team, someone like Everton or another up and coming Premier League team.

FA Cup winners 2014 – come on you Gooners

FA Cup Winners 2014

So, that’s the end to another long and hard season. What a wonderful finish it was indeed – and our 9 year long spell without a trophy ends.

The game itself was a cracker and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one shitting themselves after Hull went 2-0 up after just 10 minutes. It was the same kind of goal that has haunted us for many years, but not so much this season. A ball in from a corner or free kick and one of the centre backs getting a head on it. We seemed to have got that out of our game over the past few seasons but in the FA Cup final of all games, it came back to haunt us.

What came next was a rapid fire response from Santi Cazorla. He’s been a crucial player for us over the past two seasons and he proved it yet again with a stunning free kick from range to put us back in the game in the 21st minute. From there onwards, Hull were never able to really get back into the tie.

The 71st minute then saw us find our equaliser, as Laurent Koscielny got himself in the right place at the right time to spank the ball home past McGregor in the Hull goal. Game on.

Kieran Gibbs missed an absolute pearl of a chance as he hoofed the ball over the bar in the 87th with the goal at his mercy… finally the game ended and went into extra time.

From there, we finally found the winner as our hero of the season, Aaron Ramsey, scored the winner with the outside of his boot. Our barren run would be over!

What a season it’s been.. now we must grow on this success. We need to improve the playing squad and find talent that is capable of building on this victory. As Lukas Podolski said, the monkey is off the back now.

Final day victory for Gunners

MesutOzilNorwich

Well, what a season it’s been. Up and down that’s for sure… but I can’t help but feel most Arsenal fans will be thinking what could have been.

Arsene Wenger went out and spent big at the beginning of the season, at the last minute of course. Mesut Ozil was the player who came in for a big money fee. Initially, and for the first four months of the season, the German was first class. After January though, he looked to be tired and short of fitness. This, as has been in the past, was the story of Arsenal’s decade. A short squad, lacking the players needed to make a title challenge.

The first few months, in and around the Emirates, it felt like we supported a different team. The fans were more friendly, the atmosphere was buzzing; people felt like Arsenal could go on and win some trophies this season. We looked like we could do it and Wenger had finally got it right.

Then the injuries started coming, as they usually do. What we need to look at desperately is firstly our team of physios and also the training that Wenger is adopting. It seems to tire out our players and makes it easier for them to pick up injuries during the big games. Think about this, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was missing this year, Mesut Ozil for a lengthy spell, we lost Lukas Podolski for a while; Aaron Ramsey, Tomas Rosicky picked up an injury for a short time, Kieron Gibbs picked up his annual niggle too. There were many. Why does this happen to us at all important times of the season?

Into January, the injury to Theo Walcott against Tottenham was the final nail in the coffin. Even though we were top of the league then and flying high, we were short of pace on the flanks, all important in the modern game. Look at any other title chasing team, Liverpool have Raheem Sterling; Chelsea have Schurrle, Salah; Man City have David Silva and Jesus Navas. Arsenal did have Serge Gnabry on the bench, but he didn’t have a go, not really sure why Wenger didn’t put much faith in him. I expect to see Gnabry play a more important role at Arsenal next year. If he’s not guaranteed a chance, then please send him out on loan somewhere Arsene.

Then, everything went downhill into the last 10 games of the season. Psychologically, Arsenal took a battering with the 6-0 defeat against Chelsea. That’s when it was all over. We still continue to show that we can’t compete against the best top teams, that really does hurt. We need to change that if we’re going to compete next year, that means we need a class defensive midfielder, someone like Fernandinho; also a good replacement for Bacary Sagna. We also need to keep Lukas Podolski and think about bringing in yet another striker. We don’t have enough forwards to challenge for the title. I wonder if some of our promising wonderkid’s will have a go next season?

As for the final day for Arsenal, it was a victory and a comfortable one as well. Aaron Ramsey scored a wonderful goal, Marco van Basten-esque in fact. Then Carl Jenkinson also got on the scoresheet as well with an impressive goal. Finding some room in front of goal and spanking home in decent fashion. I wonder if he’ll be brought in to replace Bacary Sagna next year as a straight swap? So very ironic that his first goal for the club comes in Sagna’s last game…

So it’s on to the FA Cup Final against Hull City next week and then it’s job done and on to the World Cup for the majority of our players. We have had a brilliant little spell of form recently, it’s just a shame we couldn’t hold up against the top teams this season and it might’ve been different indeed.

We’ve also got the all important and expected contract signing of Mr. Wenger coming up soon. When will that be announced? How long will he sign for? Is he doing a Sir Alex and will he retire at the end of the season unannounced? Very unlikely, but it is peculiar that Arsene is keeping his cards close to his chest. I expect he’ll sign a two year contract and that he’ll not be spending much money at all this summer. He really doesn’t think he needs to. What he should be doing though is bringing in some experienced heads to join his coaching team. Dennis Bergkamp is doing a wonderful job at Ajax as Frank De Boer’s assistant, how about bringing him onto the coaching team? What about the medical team? Can we bring in some experience from a rival club there? How about the backroom team? In the age of big data, do we have quality people who are analysing our opponents? Can we add some knowledge here… I’m sure most of our rivals do.

Anyway, it’s a final day win and congratulations to Man City. To be honest, of all the teams at the top I was personally happier that City won the league… can you imagine if Liverpool won with that average squad? What about Jose Mourinho with his negatron tactics?

Let’s learn from this season, lift the FA Cup and spend big in the summer. It’s been a mixed season indeed… onward and upward.

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